“Project Runway All-Stars” is closing in on its finale, but to get there the designers had to get through a show-stopping menswear challenge. So who survived “Let Me See Your Peacock!” and who was sent out of the competition in fifth place? Scroll down for our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments and commentary throughout the episode.
Korto Momolu was sent home from “Runway” last week in the confounding“Double Bind” challenge leaving five designers competing for another chance at the “Project Runway” title: Brittany Allen (Season 18), Prajje Oscar Jean Baptiste (Season 19), Laurence Basse (Season 15), Bishme Cromartie (Season 17), and Rami Kashou (Season Four). The winner of the competition will get $250,000, a mentorship with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), and a feature in Elle magazine.
‘Project Runway 20 episode 12 recap: Fabulous men strutted their stuff
“Let Me See Your Peacock!” tasked the designers with creating extravagant red carpet looks for men that embraced the trend of flamboyant fashion. The fact that this was strictly a menswear challenge had the potential to throw a wrench in the competition as these designers spent most of the season creating looks for women. Brittany in particular might have been looking for redemption as she was eliminated two seasons ago on a menswear challenge — that was when Christian Siriano used his Save to keep her in the competition. Prajje was looking for a different kind of redemption since he was coming off of four straight weeks at the bottom, making the stakes of this challenge especially high for him.
Emmy-winning actor Colman Domingo, himself known for fabulously peacocking on the red carpet, joined the show as guest judge for this challenge. So what did he and the rest of the panel think of the looks? Follow along below to find out starting at 9:00pm (times listed are Eastern).
9:02pm — Bishme is “very self-conscious” about being in the bottom two right after winning two consecutive design challenges. But Rami reminds him, “Whether top or bottom or safe, you’re kept here because your creative voice is important.” Bishme is reminded by Laurence that they’ve all “rocked the bottom,” and he’s like, “Have we?” Yeah, Bishme, you were actually the very last designer this season to rock the bottom. Conversely, Laurence is asked how it feels to win the “triple crown,” but she doesn’t see winning three challenges that way: “I didn’t come here to win challenges. I came here to win the competition.” So nobody exactly feels comfortable where they are in the top five.
9:04pm — Christian emerges on the runway with a giant fan of peacock feathers. “The era of male peacocking is upon us,” he explains. Laurence isn’t sure what TF that is until she’s shown images of Timothee Chalamet and Lil Nas X absolutely showing out on the red carpet. Their challenge is to create a red carpet-ready menswear look “worthy of a thousand flashbulbs.” The goal is to stand out and attract attention, but still be chic. The good news is this is a two-day challenge. Even better, the winner of the challenge gets $5,000. Simple enough. No contradictory design styles like last week.
9:06pm — Bishme isn’t much of a “peacocker,” but he likes bold looks, and honestly we’ve seen what he can do with a big shoulder. Prajje definitely relates to the challenge, though, having been picked on for his bold attire. He’s taking his inspiration from the aforementioned Lil Nas X.
Let Me See Your Peacock
9:09pm — Wow, at Moon Laurencce is told that her advantage from winning the last challenge is an extra $200 to shop, bringing her total to $950. That means everyone else has a not-too-shabby $750. They’d beetter peacock the hell out of these designs then. Christian is shocked to find Laurence shopping somewhere besides leather … she’s going there later. She’s making a “four-piece situation” with skinny pants, a kilt, a shirt, and a sleeveless jacket. “I love a kilt on a man.” Prajje eyes some fabric, but it’s already on hold for someone — Christian Siriano as it turns out. Rami wants to incorporate draping into a men’s challenge instead of just designing that way for women. “Menswear has been so rigid” for so long that Rami wants to expand the boundaries. I have a good feeling about him in this challenge — don’t quote me on that later if his look sucks. Christian clearly does not like Brittany’s fabric choices — whenever he says, “Do you love this?” what he always means is, “I don’t.”
9:11pm — “It took me a long time to get over that tuxedo challenge,” Brittany tells Rami back in the workroom. Menswear is “not my forte,” and she was booted from the competition the last time she tried, though Christian blessed her with the Siriano Save. “I’ve had three years to run through my head what I could have done differently, but I cannot be second-guessing myself.” With only five designers left in the competition, I’ve gotta say Brittany is probably at the greatest disadvantage. The three male designers have worn menswear at the very least even if they haven’t designed much of it professionally. And Laurence is Laurence. She could tailor a look for a literal peacock and probably win the challenge. But Brittany has also had time to think long and hard about what she’d do with menswear given her previous misadventure. So she should be prepared for this.
9:15pm — Prajje is returning to his voodoo influences, painting special designs onto his fabric. His voodoo look in “Freedom” didn’t go over too well with the judges (I think they were dead wrong about that design), but it’s always a highlight when Prajje brings in some custom graphic artistry.
9:19pm — Christian’s walkthrough begins. Brittany seems to be taking “peacocking” very literally. He notices that she doesn’t seem all that worried about menswear this time around. Thankfully she designed for a man in the “Below Decked Out” client challenge, which allowed her to get her bearings. Now she’s going to “push an aesthetic” more. Christian’s a little confused about Laurence wanting to make a “leather bulletproof vest” over a flowy chiffon blouse. “I know it sounds crazy,” says Laurence. But the more ambitious she gets, the better she seems to do. Her worst challenge was “Toying with Fashion” when she couldn’t care less. With Prajje, Christian worries because “she’s a lot of look … just don’t do everything.” We find out he has a lot at stake here; he wants the $5,000 to pay for an immigration lawyer to bring his daughter to the US.
9:21pm — Christian likes Rami’s ideas of a deconstructed suit jacket and pants that look like a skirt., and so do I. He wants to bring women’s bridal ideas into menswear. But Christian warns that it needs to be sewn “gorgeously.” Bishme has ideas of a “western,” and Christian thinks the idea is “cool,” but I’m a little worried about Bishme designing a mint-colored cowboy.
9:29pm — Time for models, “and remember, $5,000 is up for grabs,” and speaking of “grabs,” be professional with these models because you don’t want to have to spend that prize money defending against a sexual harassment suit.
9:31pm — There will be blood! Bishme got poked, doesn’t seem to be a major injury, but he got blood on the pants for his look. Christian doesn’t think he should try to wash it. He should cut it out and replace it instead. Prajje recommends hydrogen peroxide. The blood comes out. Crisis averted.
9:37pm — Christian looks at Laurence’s work-in-progress with its bulletproof vest and low-slung kilt. “You need the blouse,” he warns. He loves the big bow on Brittany’s look, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’d trust Christian’s judgment over my own, of course, but … that’s a big-ass bow. Prajje may be having crotch problems, but he assures Christian that it’s not done yet.
9:39pm — Stressful challenge — time to drink! “Getting people drunk, it’s an art,” says Laurence, who used to bartend.
9:48pm — On the day or the runway show, the models return. And in a rare turn of events I’m worried about Laurence’s look. The vest and the blouse and the kilt all look like they belong to different outfits. Laurence isn’t sure the blouse is working either. She decides to scrap it, but it’s not reading red carpet to me without it. Christian is a little worried that Prajje’s bronze turtleneck top is a little too basic, but honestly the rest of Prajje’s look is anything but basic, so I’m not sure that’s gonna be his problem. And Christian is encouraging Brittany to tack on that big bow. She’s worried about it, but she’s going for it. The good news is that I could see Chalamet or Harry Styles wear that outfit yesterday — did I see Chalament or Styles wearing that yesterday? But Prajje thinks Brittany’s shiny pants are a mistake after the judges sent home Korto for big shiny pants. But as Korto pointed out last week, the judges aren’t always consistent about what they like and dislike.
9:50pm — Time for last looks. I’m not sure who has the advantage. There’s a fine line between peacocking and costume, so it’s hard to tell exactly how these will read walking down the runway — Brittany’s big bow, Rami’s deconstructed bridal, Bishme’s green cowboy. Laurence is looking around and doesn’t think any of the designs are really working. And … I’m kinda with her? Of course, I’m including Laurence’s own look in that assessment. Again, I may think differently when they all hit the runway.
9:53pm — Enter guest judge Colman Domingo, one of my current male fashion role models. He’s joining regulars Nina Garcia, Brandon Maxwell, and Elaine Welteroth.
BRITTANY: “Oh that’s hot,” says Colman wwhen he sees it walk out. I like it, especially the blouse. The pants are giving me a little genie-in-a-bottle, but I think the overall effect is successful. Definitely more successful than Brittany’s tuxedo challenge a few years ago, and that’s putting it mildly.
RAMI: I kinda love it. My biggest fear was that the cream color would come across too muted for a peacocking challenge, but the unique design and construction really stand out. The blend of masculine and feminine is well balanced. A potential winner for me.
PRAJJE: I’m not sure how I feel about it. It’s busy but not wowing me, and even Prajje thinks it’s kind of falling flat, with the runway lighting throwing off the color. He thinks it’s too burgundy. I think the fit is off on both the pants and the jacket, though I like the train on the jacket.
LAURENCE: “I feel 75% okay … I’m a little bit disappointed,” she says. It’s a no from me. The vest is cool, the kilt and pants are cool. They don’t really go together, though, and I get no sense of red carpet from it. As good as she has been for most of the season, I could see her being eliminated, which is kinda shocking. Brandon seems nonplussed by the blue kilt.
BISHME: Okay, I like this a lot better than I thought I would. The fedora shawl is pretty great, the sleeveless jacket is great. The elevated cargo pants are great. I could see it on Colman. Maybe the winner for me? “The color is everything,” says Elaine, and I’m right there with her despite my initial misgivings. She “struggles” with the hat though. So does Brandon. Maybe there could have been a way to incorporate a shawl without that hat?
9:59pm — For me this challenge breaks down pretty cleanly. I’d personally put Rami and Bishme at the top, Brittany in the middle, and Laurence and Prajje on the bottom. Based on this challenge alone I might send home Laurence. Based on their track records throughout the season and how much I’d like to see them in the finale, I’d rather keep Laurence and eliminate Prajje.
10:00pm — “We’re getting to that point where it’s really so hard,” says Nina about judging the looks in this challenge. “Is it?” says Brandon witheringly. He clearly has someone — or multiple someones — he’d like to boot from the competition.
10:05pm — One of the judges’ favorite looks belonged to Rami! Damn straight! Brandon “loved this.” It felt “original.” Colman would wear it. Elaine thinks there are some fit issues, and the fabric comes across as inexpensive, but the idea spoke to her. Nina calls it “a draping delight.”
10:07pm — Another high score goes to Bishme. Amen! Colman thought it was “so cool” and “playful” with nods to streetwear. Elaine says, “You took the opportunity to peacock, and you put a capital-P on it.” The cut and fit celebrated the best of his model. Nina loves that Bishme always thinks about the body of his model. The hat and shawl turn the corner into costume for her, but “it made us look.” Brandon thinks it’s a great suit, but the fabric of the hat was a problem.
10:09pm — The next look got a low score: Prajje‘s. So this officially marks his fifth low score in a row. “It’s not my favorite,” says Nina, who especially “hates” the copper mesh turtleneck. It’s too much shine with shine — “a lot of ideas all in the same direction.” Colman thought the story of the design was unclear. Brandon describes it as “a nutcracker waiting to go to the gay club.” His painting and artist POV are great, but this look wasn’t as elevated as he’s delivered before.
10:11pm — Another top score went to Brittany. Colman thinks there would be a run on the store if this went on sale. There would be a fight between him, Jeremy Pope, Harry Styles, and Timothee Chalamet for this look — “That is hot!” Elaine thought it was a fun look with the oversized bow tie. The pants look a little too Gucci, though. Nina calls it referential, but she recognizes the pants and closures as uniquely Brittany. Brandon loves it too, but he wants her to branch out in more original directions rather than bringing in her most common elements.
10:12pm — The last look got a low score, and it was Laurence‘s. I think the judges got it right on this challenge. Colman didn’t think it was the most inspired red carpet look. It didn’t peacock enough. “If you’re going to go rock star, go full out.” Elaine is confused about the vision, there are two different vibes that were confusing together. Brandon thought it was two different things at once: “To me it’s a confused businessman whho moonlights at an S&M bar.” Burn.
10:16pm — Nina asks Laurence what the story is behind her look. She was thinking of a version of herself, but male. They all agree Lenny Kravitz could pull it off. But while the pieces by themselves are okay, but the story is missing. They just don’t work together. I think Prajje will be out, though, because honestly I can’t see them giving him another pass after so many trips to the bottom, especially not against Laurence who has won three challenges.