Project Runway Season 13 - American Girl Doll & The American Dream
The Design For A Child Challenge
In Episode 9 of Project Runway Season 13, the designers faced their most challenging assignment yet. Sponsored by American Girl, the designers were tasked with making a look for a girl age 9-12 that was inspired by an American Girl Doll and her Beforever story. The Beforever series features American Girl Dolls in a historical fiction setting. The series lets the doll’s owner connect with their doll and learn history through entertaining stories within historical timeframes.
8 Designers 8 Dolls
There are eight dolls in the American Doll Beforever series, and each designer was allowed to choose their doll which was accompanied by the Beforever story, a sweet & sassy tween model who knew all about the doll, and fabric that matched the one used in the doll’s clothes. The designers had time in the American Girl Doll store to browse the dolls, stories, and clothes and interview their model about the doll. Each of the designers came away with compelling inspiration for their design.
Would you have used the fabric provided?
Which Fabric To Use Dilemma
When the designers returned to the workroom they were presented with the doll they had chosen and matching fabric that had been used in the doll’s clothes. The designers could opt to use the fabric provided or go with fabric they had chosen at mood. I would have thought that this would be an easy decision – the American Girl brand is all about the girl connecting with the doll and wanting to be just like her. It’s all very carefully crafted – so why wouldn’t they choose to use the fabric provided? Unfortunately you can ask seven of the remaining eight designers since Kini was the only one to incorporate the fabric into his design inspired by Samantha.
The Complications of Children
Only designer Emily Payne has designed for a child before. It seemed that she would have an advantage over the other designers. Each of the designers remarked that designing for a child was challenging either because the dimensions are all different or because for a tween you would need to straddle the line between childish and adult. Most of their go-to design techniques were just not going to cut it this week. Critiques with Tim were mixed. Sean showed him a jean jacket that he mentioned he would attach fringe to the back. Tim suggested that adding the fringe would be too much. He suggested the same for Char who decided to go against Tim’s advice and keep the fringe in her jacket. Sandhya also went against Tim’s advice, saying she was highly confident in her look. This same scenario plays out with her every week, so Tim told her to carry on.
With there being only eight designers left, that means that 75% of them are either top three or bottom three, and this week the tops and bottoms were a little surprising (to me). Amanda, whose inspiration doll was Addy, and Alexander, whose inspiration doll was Kit, were the two designers who were able to immediately leave the runway as their designs were neither top nor bottom three. If I were to guess though, it was Amanda before Alexander in the rankings. Both designers were immensely relieved and happy to put this week’s challenge behind them.
The Bottom Three
The bottom three ended up being Sean’s jumpsuit inspired by the 1970’s doll Julie, Sandhya’s 1800’s sailor jumpsuit inspired by the 1800’s doll Caroline, and Emily’s sweater and taffeta/tulle skirt. It was surprising to me that Emily was in the bottom having had prior experience designing kids clothes, and I actually liked her look. The sweater was super cute, I loved the pattern and the silhouette. The skirt I could have done without, but I didn’t think it was terrible. Unfortunately the judges don’t ask me my advice, and they though the color scheme was sad and the complete look was frumpy
Sean’s jumpsuit received mixed reviews. All the judges liked the fabric choice, but they didn’t all like the style, and all of them hated the jacket. I myself particularly didn’t like the Jacket. It looked like the denim that is not really denim, and the pocket was odd. Unfortunately that wasn’t the only thing wrong with it. Heidi pointed out that the peace sign on the back was instead the Mercedes symbol. Oops!
Sandhya’s jumpsuit was just all wrong. The age group for the challenge was tween girls – but this looked more like a romper for a baby and not even a cute one at that. Commenter Nao Chronicles commented ‘I must say when I saw this, I kept on thinking shrimp costume. Something very shrimp like about it for me.’ This puts in words what my mind couldn’t comprehend. At least the model who wore it did a rockin’ job as she walked down the runway.
Who Should Have Gone Home?
The Top Three
Left remaining for the top three is Kini Zamora, Korina Emmerich, and Char Glover. Each designer used their unique design perspective to incorporate the story of the doll to today’s fashions for their tween models. Char’s inspiration doll was Kaya, a Native American from 1764. Kaya wears fringe deerskin, and Char incorporated that into her look with a fringe jacket over a red and blueprint dress. The judges loved the fringe jacket (which seems to be a trend this season), and I will admit that it was cleverly done and different as the fringe on the sides were longer than in the front or back.
Korina’s inspiration doll was Josephina, a girl of Spanish Heritage in 1824. While her design aesthetic typically would align more with the Kaya doll, she took on the challenge and created a great graphic dress that was fun and had a lot of movement. It also cleverly incorporated an element in the story where the girl always wears yellow flowers in her hair. The undersides of the patches on the dress were yellow instead of the Red and white of the top side.
Kini’s Inspiration doll was Samatha. Known for her large heart, her wealth, and her style, Kini was the perfect designer for this doll. He used the scarlet and black plaid fabric provided to him, and created a sleeveless dress that was crafted well, and looked like it belonged on a wealthy girl. He also created a gorgeous balck and white jacket. The two pieces came together wonderfully and would have only needed a headband to be worn by Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl. Kini took the win, which gives him two well-deserved wins in a row this season.
Coming up on Episode 10
Episode 10 is the real-woman challenge for Season 13. In it, the designers will have to recruit a woman from a park in new York and convince her to be their muse for the challenge. Real women proportions are clearly different than a model’s, and typically throws the designers for a loop. It doesn’t look like this challenge will be any different as Tim Gun rips into the contestants – even saying that one of the designs is ‘Butt Ugly’. Wow Tim, tell us what you really think! Hopefully my favorite Sean Kelly will fare better in this challenge, I still have high hopes that he will be the ultimate winner this season.
Project Runway 13 Episode 10 airs September 25th at 9/8c on Lifetime. Tune in to see who is in and who is Auf!