Project Runway Recap: Parachutes on the Runway  

On last night’s season 12 premiere of Project Runway, “Sky’s The Limit,” the season kicked off with a high stakes unconventional challenge using parachute fabric–and the judges bring back a former contestant to round out the new batch of designers. 

Copyright Lifetime Networks Inc / NBCUniversal

Copyright Lifetime Networks Inc / NBCUniversal

By Naima Abdi—

Even though it’s way too early to tell if this season’s group of designers will deliver an authentic and runway-ready aesthetic more times than not, it’s cut and dry—the producers really hit the jackpot in terms of contestants on Project Runway. Especially since feisty designer Kate Pankoke from season 11 has returned to take the last spot in this season’s competition.

It seems like it’s been forever since there’s been a solid majority of the designers with colorful personalities on the show, seeing as how last season everyone for the most part was fairly mild-mannered. Perhaps it was the whole team dynamic? In any case, this season also has a lot more over-confident–and some outright cocky–contestants that really talk a big game but on the first challenge, failed to make a positive first impression.


Take the young, weird “sustainable” designer Timothy Westbrook, who made a complete train wreck in the workroom that he foolishly sent out on the runway, in no shoes nonetheless! The kicker with this guy is that on top of being a designer with a phony aesthetic he seems to know jack about, his work isn’t actually any good. Sure Timothy has some good ideas, but his radical way of going about them solely to prove his commitment to a sustainable lifestyle worked against him in a big way.

What’s worse is that he made such a big stink about not adding any element to his look that would require him to use electricity, without even realizing that he contradicted himself at the very beginning by burning the parachute fabric fibers to create a cool texture effect. It’s disappointing that he’s so full of it because as a sustainable fashion designer he has the chance to make some very beautiful and interesting things. Yet, Timothy decided to send his poor model out in a rag-looking dress with no shoes, make-up or hair style, and for whatever reason, he did not get the boot.

Instead, former rockstar turned designer Angela Bacskocky was eliminated for presenting the judges with an incomplete look. Understandably, the panel wasn’t in love with her pancho-esque top but the fact that a top was all she had to show really sent the wrong message about what she’s capable of. As for the ego centric California girl by way of Sweden, Alexandria von Bromssen, who delivered a garment that was just okay compared to a lot of the other looks, she surely has potential to be the one designer everyone loves to hate.

But despite her boastful comments she made about knowing that her functional, geometric-inspired dress would be the winning look, the judges felt it was just safe. Truthfully, her garment was actually pretty cool and it was impressive to see that she was able to make something as decent as she did regardless of the complex parachute fabric. Yet, it wasn’t exactly the runway masterpiece to catapult Alexandria into the competition making her the one to beat.


For the time being, it looks like we’ll be reserving that title for Brandon McDonald, who seemed to effortlessly wow everyone with his long, whimsical and color-rich dress that glided perfectly across the runway. The silhouette was both modern and intuitive to the body’s curves, while the long train in the back gave the dress a special movement and flow. Brandon played with this high-low dynamic that really worked to add depth and dimension, and he also incorporated an elaborate string arrangement on the front, underside and back of his dress that added an extra zest to the look, though the dress would have looked just as amazing without it.

Given Brandon’s attitude about perfection and his humble nature, it doesn’t seem farfetched that he’ll do well this competition.

Still, as Project Runway history has proven in the past; anyone can fall off at any time.