Last night, a perfect amalgamation of nerdom and fashion aired. For those of you who don’t know, the hit reality show Project Runway (which is a competition reality series based on fashion design) now has a spin off called Project Runway:Under the Gunn, a play on words since Project Runway’s iconic mentor’s name is Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn has now become a beacon of light for all women in fashion, showing us that every woman can “make it work.”
Under the Gunn takes three contestants from Project Runway’s past seasons and allows them to choose a team of new designers to mentor. The three mentors are former Miss Universe contestant from Trinidad and Tobago Anya, Red Carpet Gown designer Nick, and the always crazy and flamboyant Mondo (I think the name says it all). Currently, all three each have at least one designer in the competition… Mondo has two. In this penultimate episode, the designers are asked to design a complete outfit inspired by a superhero from the Marvel Universe, with special guest judge Jamie Alexander aka Sif from Thor.
Each designer must pick one of the following superheroes: Falcon, Captain Marvel, Gamora, and Hawkeye. Anya’s only designer, Shan, chooses Captain Marvel. Shan seems to be the judge’s favorite, as he won the last challenge, finishing his garment in only a short hour because his model had an allergic reaction to the fabric he was using. Next, Oscar, Nick’s only designer, chooses Gamora, from Guardians of the Galaxy. Oscar is… an immensely passionate Cuban, let’s say. He at one point in the episode compares the competition to Chernobyl… yeah, passionate is putting it lightly.
Then there’s Mondo’s designers. First there’s the underdog, Asha, who chooses Falcon, who’s going to be featured in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She chose him because he was the first African American comic superhero, and she identifies with him, not only because they share the same ethnicity but because he has no superhuman powers but becomes a superhero using his own wit, strength, and tenacity, just like Asha. Finally, Sam picks Hawkeye. Sam is the really dark one of the group. As Mondo said, “He needs to go to a dark place before he can truly make something wonderful and harmonious.” This is the very reason Sam chooses Hawkeye is to appeal to his dark side, as he sees that Hawkeye has.
The designers are allotted two entire days to design, construct, and style their garment(s). In these two days we truly get to see what these designers are made of, and how they make their art. Shan does the most direct approach by looking at Captain Marvel’s garment, and picking the thing that catches his eye the most- her ripped leather pants. He then constructs a garment with ripped leather on the top and a chic camouflage/mesh print on the bottom. Honestly, this was my favorite look.
Asha takes a more intellectual response to the challenge. She looks at Falcon and sees a frailty and strength. The frailty comes from his mortal form, and the strength comes from his superhero capabilities. She creates a beautiful flowing top with an almost cape-like train out of chiffon-silk as the soft and frail side, and leather leggings as the strength side. The ending effect is a fun bohemian/rocker-like look that I really liked.
Oscar is probably the most laughable of all the designers with his interpretation. Although this challenge is most assuredly NOT a costume challenge, he wants to make Gamorra incredibly sexy and flashy. Now, I love flash, but at the same time, there’s a time and a place for everything… including flash. He created a backless pant suit that was a tad too shiny and crazy, even for my taste, BUT also created an amazing side cloak over it. Honestly, if he had done a simple little black dress with that cloak over it, it would have been perfect because that cloak was everything and more, merely hinting at a superhero’s cape! And even Sif said that she wanted to wear it in Paris.
Finally, Sam’s interpretation was the most emotional. He was the only one seen actually reading the comics, which was rather ironic considering that at the beginning of the challenge he said, “When I was little I wanted to grow up to be Britney Spears… not a superhero.” But by the middle of the challenge, he was immersed in a Hawkeye book, in a very emotional state. He goes on to say that he relates to Hawkeye because he is a loner, like Sam. We find that he was bullied mercilessly as a child, and tried to take his life twice in his youth. But out of the ashes comes the most beautiful things. Sam creates a really interesting outfit consisting of asymmetrical polka dotted pants, and a flowy top with a dark patch painted on the back. I thought that the outfit was amazingly well constructed and wonderfully quirky, but could not see the Hawkeye reference as easily as I saw the other superhero references.
If you want to see who made it past this episode to the finals, you’re just gonna have to watch it for yourself. I have not been keeping up with this series, but I have to say that I loved this episode, especially seeing my girl crush Jamie Alexander. I really wanted to hear more opinion from her, but I suppose she has to keep up appearances and stay sweet, much unlike her superhero counterpart. That all being said, I very much look forward to the finale episode and seeing who wins $100,000, an all expense paid trip to Paris, a 2014 Lexus CT 200h, a fashion spread in Marie Claire as well a spot as a guest editor for one year, and lots of other great prizes as well as the title of the first winner of Under the Gunn.