The first few episodes of any Project Runway season invariably are a struggle for me to remember most of the contestants. How many are there? Like 38 or something? For example, please explain the difference between Christopher and Gunnar. You can’t. Well, the “unconventional challenge” episode each year tends to rectify that. In what I’m hoping isn’t — but fully expect is — a trend, this one’s especially product placementy. Does Dylan’s Candy really need this much exposure? Are they planning to expand worldwide or something? Usually this challenge takes place in a grocery store or a party store. Here, it’s logos galore. Oh well.
On to the final looks!
DM: Loves it. Still hates him, but this really is a great look. I’m not entirely crazy about the neckline, which could be a little lower, or the models weird bangs. God I hope those bangs are clip-ons because those helmet bangs are horrific.
MJ: Dislikes it. The peplum is very, very odd. It’s poofing and lifeless in the front yet smooshed in the back. Is it candy? I don’t hate the checker pattern, and it looks like it took a lot of work. I think I just don’t like Gunnar.
DM: Loves it. It’s like the Jetsons meets the Little Mermaid. I am in love with the back.
MJ: Likes it. It absolutely looks put together and registers in the vicinity of candy without screaming, “I glued candy to a dress.” I’m just not sure what I’m looking at. Where does one wear this? It’s Little Mermaid’s Manatee Waitress Friends Collection 2022. Hates the hat, though I kind of love the shark embellishment in general.
DM: Hates it. I wanted to like it, but I just feel like it’s an ill-fitting piece of fabric draped with licorice. Not the bad-ass look she was going for.
MJ: Hates it. It’s super boring yet slutty. It’s one of those costumes sold in vinyl bags at a pop-up Halloween store. And doesn’t it seem like she used a ton of non-candy to make the garment work?
DM: Hates it, but I almost feel like it’s because the model so obviously hates it. She is not selling this garment AT ALL. The dress is actually kind of cute in a futuristic little bo-peep way, but maybe the weight of it just brought the model down. If she looked like she was having fun, I think the fun feeling of the dress would have come out more.
MJ: OMG Loves it! It’s post-Katy Perry / Lady Gaga, for sure, but it’s so fun and vibrant. Oddly, I don’t read it as costumey, though it clearly is. Maybe it’s the way the shape holds itself so well, yet it’s apparently very heavy on the model. It’s one of the few looks that elevates candy as a material yet retains the essential sweetness and color. It’s a chocolate drop dress. Brilliant. The blue chocolate box ribbons in the bag tie it all together, natch.
DM: Hates it. Wait? Is this the exact same dress she made for the last challege, just made out of candy? Oh, now, this dress also has a rainbow diaper. A FULL diaper at that.
MJ: Loves it. Obviously she was heavily edited to come off as a sure loser, but I wanna say she could be a contender? Tim’s advise to clean up the candy dot lines clearly paid off. I’m not sure I entirely love the unexpected bundle of mariachi fabric at the bag, but the plainness of the front definitely needed something. Without the styling and background, I wouldn’t necessarily have known she was inspired by a sort of 19th century candy-purveyor aesthetic.
DM: Hates it. It’s a half bathing suit-half toga. It would look good on Pebbles? Oh that’s why she gave her that hairstyle!
MJ: Hates it. This miss-mash of colors, shapes, and fits makes me want to puke. Or is it the model who puked all over herself? I have no clue where this woman is going in this outfit. And P.S., shame for using candy bracelets as…bracelets.
DM: Hates it. Such a good idea, just poorly executed. I almost wonder if everyone who chose licorice was screwed from the beginning. However, it does end up looking like a box of macaroni.
MJ: Dislikes it. Very hard to tell on television, but it just looks like a stiff paper dress proof of concept. The candy didn’t contribute and indeed begins to commit suicide. The back boning work is nice, though. It looks like she rolled around in raw French fries? Maybe in another color this could have worked.
DM: Hates it. There’s just nothing interesting here. And it doesn’t really fit well enough to be pretty.
MJ: Likes it. It’s very simple, sure, but I do enjoy the shades of blue he was able to obtain with what I’m guessing is powdered or crushed candy. I wish the rock candy bodice was somehow more. Maybe a variety of large and small, or a single section of higher interest? It’s pretty clear, though, that he concentrated up top and just sort of made something to cover the model’s vag.
DM: Loves it. I like that it moves and it doesn’t look like candy, but I’m not super psyched about the fact that most of it is just fabric.
MJ: Loves it. The only negative I can posit is that he probably used [or showed] too much of the underlying fabric to technically meet the challenge. Also, it’s a little dated. But it’s very sexy and complete. I would have a hard time putting a price on something like this, since I don’t buy women’s clothing on a regular basis, but it seems expensive. This is maybe one of the most “candy as substitute for traditional material” approaches, and it works.
DM: LOVES IT! From the front, at least. I think this pattern is fabulous. But what’s going on with the ropes on the model’s butt??
MJ: Likes it? Holy what. Just, what. What is happening. WUT. I’m not even going to address the fact that it falls apart as the model walks or that Kooan’s approach seems to have been to add add add. What is going one with this pattern on the front…and the foam rope candy thing on the back? I like it? I can’t really tell. Do I want to see more? Yes, obviously.
DM: Loves it. I like the color scheme and the pattern, however it could be better fitting, considering how well some of the other designers did with structure.
MJ: Dislikes it. This to me is the definition of making a boring short dress with unconventional materials. It’s made fairly well, and I like the use of color. It’s just nothing special.
DM: Hates it. Why do designers always put weird things on or under their model’s butts. She’s pooping out the logo for the store. I don’t understand the new colors being introduced on the back.
MJ: Likes it. I’m not super sure the two pieces go together, but separately I find interest in both. Though everyone apparently used licorice, I think Raul maybe succeeded the most in keeping the vines linear yet moving. Why are other looks stiff as foil, yet this simple look flows as the model walks?
DM: Hates it. It’s just a pink mess. Like a chewed up piece of bubble gum.
MJ: Hates it. Ugh. Saccharine to the max. And she compares it to Sarah Jessica Parker! I can’t handle this at all. From the broad use of real fabric to construct the skirt, to the ugly pink fascinator, to the odd orange weave bodice…just no. No.
DM: Loves it, but she really didn’t fulfill the challenge. I actually think it’s super cute, but there’s barely any candy. And her attitude is so annoying.
MJ: Hates it. Does this even deserve discussing? She barely used any candy at all. The rain boots were apparently not even worth showing, because the camera cut them off for television. Yikes.
DM: Loves it. As much as I hate him. This was hands down the winner. It stands out in every way from the rest. It doesn’t look like candy, yet it’s all candy. It is perfectly tailored and it is interesting and still tasteful. I either want him to start making crappy clothes or stop being a crappy person.
MJ: Loves it. I wanted to hate this, I really did. Ven is amongst the douchiest contestants this season, but you just can’t ignore his expertise. Maybe it’s the runway lights, but I didn’t expect this beautiful array of colors in the rock candy. The dress is striking yet subtle. I don’t love the lack of movement, but you can’t exactly fault him for not making a wearable dress out of candy. None of these looks are wearable, technically.