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Project Runway 13 - Sean Kelly Designs transforming 'Rainway' Dress

Updated on October 21, 2014

Project Runway's First Ever 'Rainway'

Project Runway is in it's 13th season, and most viewers think that they have seen just about everything. And, really how can things get any different? Yes, every designer has a unique view. Yes, fashion trends change quickly throughout a year. Yes, the judges do their best to 'Shake things up'. But still, the format of the challenges are starting to become a little expected.

Not in this episode though, this episode featured a 'Rainway'. What's a Rainway you ask? Char has the answer - 'It's a Runway, with Rain', she states in the personal interviews. Very perceptive. But she is right, that's exactly what it is.

For this week's challenge the designers had to create an avant garde look that would be presented to the judges on a Runway as it was showered with rain. Oh, and it should incorporate curves as a tribute to the Samsung Curve TV - this week's shameless product promotion. Still, a Rainway is new, and will provide a unique challenge. Most runway looks can barely stand up to the careful stomping of a model, let alone look amazing in a torrential downpour.

Sean Kelly vs. Kini Zamora

Who do you think is the better designer?

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Sean Kelly Vs. Kini Zamora

Sean Kelly has always been my pick for the winner of Season 13, but he has some stiff competition in Kini Zamora. Kini has shown every episode to be really fast at sewing - often finishing his garments with hours to spare while the other designers are running around trying to finish their pants. He also seems to have flawless construction, which you wouldn't necessarily suspect from someone who is cranking out the garments so quickly.

I believe Kini is one of the most seasoned designers on the show this year. Its been 9 years since he graduated from the Honolulu Community College’s Fashion Technology program, and he spent a year in NYC honing his skills. Experience and raw talent will take him far, but he has yet to win a challenge this season. He has however been in the Top 3 three times, and the bottom 3 once.

Sean on the other hand has won two challenges, been in the top 3 three times (including wins), and had an early rough patch with being in the bottom 3 twice. He is fresh out of design school having graduated from the Collage of Creative Arts at Massey University New Zealand this year. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in innovation, creativity, and skill. This week was no different. When he was presented with the Rainway challenge he came up with a risky idea, that would guarantee he would be either in the top or the bottom three.

Sean Kelly - Before the Rain
Sean Kelly - Before the Rain | Source

Sean's Project Rainway Design

Sean Kelly created a very simple white gown that reminded me of a sundress that a farmer's daughter might wear. Well, maybe not, it's a little low cut - and what farmer's daughter would dare display such flesh, but you get what I am saying. In any case, the simple dress had Tim Gunn staring with concerned disbelief until Sean let him in on the 'wow factor' for the dress. Sean decided to sew powered dye into the seams of the garment - the intent being that when the rain hit them, the dress would be transformed into a fanciful colored gown. Tim Gunn loved the idea, and they both expressed concern over if it would work. On it's own, the gown would be very boring for such a hyped up runway show. If the rain didn't activate the dye, if the dye didn't run down the dress, if anything went wrong, Sean could be guaranteed a spot in the bottom and would be in danger of going home.

But things didn't go wrong. As Sean's gown appeared on the runway, fans who knew what was planned were holding their breath waiting to see if the idea would work. As the colors started to be released, there was a collective exhale across the country that was matched by the sharp inhale of the judges as they saw what was happening. Never before has a gown transformed on the runway right before their eyes, and it was a Project Runway moment.

Sean Kelly - Transforming in the Rain
Sean Kelly - Transforming in the Rain | Source

Kini Zamora's Rainway Design

Kini also had an innovative design, going with the concept of an upside down umbrella. The look in someone else's hands could have been a hot mess, but there was never any concern as he started to drape and construct the skirt with its large upside down pleats. A tight form fitting bodice contrasted nicely against the bulk of the skirt and continued with the umbrella theme. A clever hat protected the model's face from the rain allowing the makeup to remain flawless as she walked down the runway. It was a beautiful gown and it looked like Kini could get his first win of the season.

Kini Zamora's Rainway Design
Kini Zamora's Rainway Design | Source
Fade's Elimination Design
Fade's Elimination Design | Source

Who is In and Who is Auf?

The third contestant that joined Sean and Kini in the Top three was designer Sandhya Garg. I didn't quite understand the design and the judges also commented on the childish presentation. Her design consisted of a colorful jumpsuit that was under a clear vinyl raincoat adorned with silvery pinwheels. It was interesting, but I thought Amanda Valentine's gown based off of the eye of Cleopatra would have been a better choice. Still, it was clear that the decision would be between Sean and Kini - and the judges were split with a vote of 2/2. Again it looked like Kini would get his first win of the season - but the judges announced that Sean was the winner. When Heidi turned to Kini to tell him that he was in - she surprised him and let him know that he was also the winner - they could not decide. Congrats go out to both Sean and Kini - but especially Kini on his first win.

The bottom three were Korina (who had immunity from last week's win), Fade, and Emily. Korina's look was based off of the concept of a Thunderbird, could have been a great design if only it had been made with sturdier materials and hadn't fallen apart on the runway. Emily's look had a sense of armor to it, but didn't seem to take it to where it needed to be to accomplish its goal. It should have been bigger and more pronounced. Fade's look was a simple tube dress showing the concept of a circuit board that tied into the Samsung component of the challenge, but didn't have any tie to the rain. In the end, Fade went home, and we will all miss his casual quirky sense of style.

Top Three
Bottom Three
Sean Kelly
Kini Zamora
Sandhya Garg
fäde zu grau
Korina Emmerich
Emily Payne
Project Runway Season 13 Episode 8 In's and Auf's

Next up on Project Runway

Episode 9 of Season Runway may turn out to be the toughest challenge yet. The designers will need to make a look for a tween girl, based off of their American Girl Doll. This challenge will enable the girls to have a unique look that will work for them and their look-a-like doll. In the past, the challenge to design for a child has always thrown the contestants for a loop since the children are often very opinionated, and they certainly don't hold back. Designing for a tween girl would be a challenge for the most experienced and patient of designers.

Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Lifetime. Tune in to see who is In and who is Auf!


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