‘Project Runway’ returns for its 16th season, and the stakes are higher than ever for these talented designers. Read our recap of the season premiere and carry on!
First things first — let’s meet Project Runway season 16‘s talented contestants. First, we have Kenya Freeman, 37, from Atlanta. Right off the bat, she says that she’s “here to murder the competition.” She says it with a big smile, so we’re not getting “I’m not here to make friends” vibes off her. Aaron Meyers, 23, of Ridgewood, NY (represent!) says that what others find crazy, he sees as normal clothes. Welcome, resident quirky guy!
Ayana Ife, 27, from Salt Lake City feels like a “badass” for winning a spot on Project Runway. We don’t blame her! Margarita Alvarez of San Juan, Puerto Rico gets the coveted spot of “girl who cries on the first episode.” Though there are other contestants (obviously) that we get glimpses of in the opening, there’s one last contender we meet in depth. Actually, make that two — Shawn and Claire Buitendorp, identical 27-year-old twins! But don’t fret; one of them has a shaved head, so it’s not too hard to tell them apart. Now that we have introductions out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
We’re introduced to Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum for the first time when they drive into a cocktail party in a tour bus. Casual. They immediately give out their first challenge: designing a red carpet look for a celebrity. Easy peasy, right. Duh, this is Project Runway; nothing goes right! The first surprise for the designers is what was teased in the Project Runway promos. The models this season are of diverse shapes and sizes. They range from size 2 to size 22! It’s about damn time that Project Runway represented all women!
Brandon Kee, a blonde bro from San Francisco, immediately freaks because he’s exclusively designed menswear. Now, he has to make a red carpet look for a plus-sized model. His model, Liris, is just as wary as he is about this challenge. The show now has “model mirrors,” which is basically the fashion equivalent of a confession booth, and Liris tells the camera that she’s pretty sure he’s not going to make this work for her figure. By the way, Brandon is the main focus of the premiere.
It’s the usual problems throughout the rest of their time in the studio. Everyone is making fun of Shawn (shaved) and Claire (hair) for the way they enunciate. The sisters both use the word “indeed” and speak very carefully. Yeah, it’s hilarious. Now, you know that one day in fashion, you’re in, and one day you’re out. Thanks, Heidi!
The runway show begins with Kenya’s look. Model Janine is breathtaking in a white, strapless gown with structured pockets. She looks like she’s going to the Oscars. Kudziani Karida‘s model is wearing what can only be described as a geometric, red and pink frock. Interesting! Ayana’s look is amazing. The fashion designer explained that she’s Muslim and wants to prove that a modest look can still be fashionable and sexy. She succeeded with a charcoal grey sequined gown with floral appliqués. The gown featured a high neckline and long sleeves, as well as a sheer shawl on her head reminiscent of Ayana’s hijab. So lovely!
Shawn’s outfit looks like it’s fit for the VMAs very specifically. It consists of a shredded, white crop top and silver running shorts. That’s about it. Baton Khalfani favors African prints, but her dress was a subdued grey jersey topped with fuchsia ribbons and floral appliqués. Her model said that she loved it, though. Claire’s dress is a peach and orange tulle cocktail dress very reminiscent of her mentor Betsey Johnson‘s work. It’s cute! Brandon manages to pull through and create a sporty two-piece look: a bubblegum pink maxi skirt paired with a long-sleeved camo crop top.
ChaCha‘s dress really is…something. It’s a shimmery, pinkish-greenish minidress with bell sleeves and a pink ruffled neck/back. Hey, he did describe his style as “fun, flirty, and wacky.” Out comes Amy Bond’s look. The fashion design professor from Otis College did her school proud with this ensemble. The model’s wearing black cigarette pants and a black bra top, along with a black cape that turned into a skirt. Witchy!
Sentell‘s model looks like an extra from Zenon. Sorry! Her boxy gold dress and minibuns scream space princess more than red carpet. Tim worried that Kentaro Kameyama‘s black, tulle dress was going to go limp on the runway, and he was right. Hard pass. Deyonté Weather‘s model looks sexy as hell in a one-shouldered resort-esque, tropical flower printed dress. Michael Bramila‘s model is wearing pinstriped pants and what looks like a dead Muppet as a top.
Seriously, how many contestants are there?? Aaron made a “flip-flopped tuxedo” — aka a structured top and flowy, oversized pants. Not sure how that translates, but I’m a writer, not a designer! Samantha Bei‘s model is wearing an adorable, black, strapless cocktail dress that kind of looks like a homecoming dress. But it works! Okay, one more. Margarita designed flowy red pants paired with a red bra top. It’s accompanied by a sheer red cape with flowers at the neck.
Judges Heidi, Zac Posen, Nina Garcia, and Olivia Munn make the hard decisions: Deyonté wins, and ChaCha goes home!
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 8:00pm on Lifetime.
HollywoodLifers, are you excited for the new season of Project Runway? Who’s your favorite contestant? Let us know!