Five weeks in and Project Runway New Zealand is gaining momentum. Here’s what you missed.

29 October 2018

Designers change it up a gear in this week’s avant-garde challenge; Caitlin has a cry, and Benjamin makes a joke – okay, a half-joke.

Peni was all of us this week when he declared: “Can’t we just knock it back to bottom three already, this is taking too long.”

But little did Peni – and myself for that matter – know, this week would be the first week where the bottom three would have heads rolling.

Five weeks into the competition and intense eliminations have commenced. (I know, I didn’t see it coming either). But, why?  Well, it could be one of two things: We’ve become familiar with the designers and started to understand the workings of their personality and ultimately why they’re here i.e. we’ve identified our faves; And secondly, until now, it’s been a game rife with luck and coincidence. It requires a certain level of talent to make it to week five and no one enjoys seeing talent sworn off the runway. You know, unless you care for #drama and Beau represents some kind of spirit animal for you.


To create an avant-garde look inspired by the Holden Astra.

During the challenge

Two and half days and $300 to observe the elements of the Holden Astra sees the designers hit the road to drive inspiration. Oh yeah, you can expect plenty of car-related puns for the duration of this article. Just saying.

Silent assassin Judy has immunity this week following last week’s win guaranteeing her the freedom to steer her design in a completely new direction.

Project Runway New Zealand Episode 5 6

Mentor AUT University senior lecturer Andreas Mikellis and guest judge fashion designer and Holden ambassador Tanya Carlson brief the designers on this week’s challenge.

Meanwhile, blind spots Beth, Misty and Camille keep to themselves this week trucking on with their concepts. Which is probably fair enough ‘cause Caitlin’s getting a lot of screen time with her crying episode. The silver lining of her tears? The words to live by provided by none other than BFF Benjamin:

“If you’re going to hit a wall, hit it hard and go straight through it.”

And while we’re on the subject of quote-unquote, is there anything more Kiwi that Kerry revealing he won an avant-garde competition once… That was rural… Using only farm materials… That was showcased at the Fieldays? Nope. Didn’t think so.

The models arrive for their fitting and the common consensus among designers and models is that everyone loves Judy’s sculptural design. We start to see everyone’s garments take form, some by way of shiny panels and asymmetry, some by way of upholstered seat covers *cough, Kerry* and road kill *cough, Beth*.

Project Runway New Zealand Episode 5 7

Kerry takes the driver’s seat quite literally in his avant-garde design.

Runway Day

Two hours ahead of the runway and Peni and Caitlin are pedal to the metal and at risk of not completing their avant-garde designs in time. Cut to the Maybelline makeup suite and Schwarzkopf hair station and I’m here to indulge in one of my favourite Project Runway pastimes… How the designers describe their intended look, versus what look they actually get. Judy wants a dramatic black eye, Judy gets a Hamburglar mask. Beau requests a curly asymmetrical hairstyle with lots of height, Beau gets a just-woke-up-like this lob with a side part.


This is where a Pinterest board would have really shone.

The designs start to file down the runway and despite being present for the fashion, I’m completely lost in the electronica-Bollywood fusion soundtrack assaulting my eardrums. If I order a lamb korma on UberEats this evening, I blame Project Runway. (LOL, like I need an excuse).


Judging this week’s avant-garde runway challenge is Fashion Quarterly magazine editor Sally-Ann Mullin, WORLD director and designer Benny Castles, supermodel and host Georgia Fowler and guest judge fashion designer and Holden ambassador Tanya Carlson.

Georgia looks divine in a Georgia Alice metallic mini dress (it did not look that good on me at the Miss FQ Influence Awards, that’d be for real) and I’m considering booking an appointment to dabble in some hair extensions ‘cause her long locks are looking LUSH. @Loxysnz, HMU.

Anyway, back to fashion.

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The judging panel from left to right:  Tanya Carlson, Benny Castles, Sally-Ann Mullin and Georgia Fowler.

Six names are called and the designers step forward. The remaining designers descend backstage. AND THIS IS WHERE IT GETS INTERESTING.

The six left on the runway comprise of the top three and bottom three (it’s week five, you know this is how it works by now, surely) and yet, it’s full of all the favourites?!

Left to right stands Benjamin, Peni, Caitlin, Jess, Judy and Beau. Avant-garde is an unusual concept at best so on first glance, it’s hard to discern what is considered good and bad? I have no idea what is going to happen.

The designers are joined by their models to explain their work to the judges. Key theme here? Sexy. Shot glass on your marks.

“Sexy and sleek she is,” remarks Georgia.

“There’s an element to this dress that is so sexy,” says Benny.

“It’s really sexy in a second degree…It’s not in-your-face-sexy… It’s very elegant in its sexiness,” Benny continues.

Say sex again. Sex.

Top three: Benjamin, Jess, Judy

Project Runway New Zealand Episode 5

Though I am so stoked to *finally* see Jess in the top three and not cruising in the middle, this week’s win deservedly goes to Judy. She hand sewed her little fingers off. Benjamin ’s struck the perfect balance of wearable, accessible pieces with high impact avant-garde elements. So much so, they made his model cry… For heat exhaustion, that is. There, there Dante.

Bottom three: Peni, Caitlin, Beau

Project Runway New Zealand Episode 5 2

Peni was always likely to land in the bottom two for obvious reasons. But I love Peni like I love lamb korma and it’d suck if he is the one to go home. While Beau’s final look certainly wasn’t my cup of tea (like urgh, that necklace), it didn’t necessarily underwhelm. And Caitlin, well she’s always been a strong ready-to-wear contender and this just wasn’t her week. So who walks?

Beau does. Beau walks.

Having made a home in the bottom two for weeks now, it was high time for our resident mean girl Beau to haul his silver Lexus back to the mall.

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Georgia farewells Beau.

“This experience has been so good. Like so good,” says Beau.

“If it’s my time, it’s really out of my control but what I know for sure is that I’m extremely happy with my garment.”

You go, Glen-Beau-Beau.

Scroll for the final runway looks below from week five:


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