On the vibrant streets of Braamfontein, Lerato and Gert announced the next challenge: to create innovative, pop-culture-inspired streetwear.
As always, the designers had very little time to find their inspiration and sketch their designs. And, as always, they each found it in their own ways. Kireshen was taken by the geometric forms of the buildings and the vibrant colours in the streets, Kentse was transported back to the birth of Kwaito and Pantsula, and Jaimie was mesmerised by an art installation he saw through a window.
But no matter how deep their inspiration ran, they still had only 15 hours to create their garments. And as if that wasn’t enough, Gert still pushed both Sandile and Stephen to be edgier. He also told Kentse that her monochromatic orange could “easily look like something you could wear to jail”, but it was the only fabric that spoke to her, so she decided it was a risk she was willing to take.
In his consultation with Gert, Jaimie wondered out loud if his mannequin, in her black and white tiger print faux fur jacket looked like a raccoon. But, rather delighted with Jaimie’s look so far, Gert exclaimed: “No, no, she looks like a very sexy racoon!”
Kentse was sceptical. She’s admitted more than once that she thinks Jaimie tends to start off strong, but then adds unnecessary details that end up killing him. She kept her mouth shut though.
Sandile however, not one to keep his mouth shut, got a little dig in at Kentse when he casually joked that maybe they should all be doing origami because the judges seemed to crave it so much. In her video diary, Kentse kicked back with “I’d actually like to see you guys try”.
The designers pushed hard, but they were looking mighty fine in the heavy silence of the workroom with their razor sharp lines, their gentle curves, their fine details. Fine… until runway day.
With five hours to runway, even Sandile was sweating a little. He still had a tutu and a top to finish. At least he’d finished his jacket – Kireshen hadn’t even finished his yet, never mind his skirt and hoodie. Stephen also had a jacket and a skirt to finish. Zip details and all. Kentse was grappling with a bucket hat, and Jaimie burnt the shoulder of his delicate mesh top on the ironing board and had to whip up a new one.
So who made it to the top four?
Well, Jaimie for one. He won his second challenge on the show with a “glam night out” take on streetwear, combining leggings, a detailed mesh crop and a hot pink-lined faux fur jacket that had Lerato positively purring. Noni also said Jaimie was redefining streetwear as we know it.
Sandile was in too, even though Noni didn’t think his look worked as an ensemble. She didn’t think the girl who would wear his “very classic, beautifully-made coat” would pair it with the more unconventional camo-detailed top and salmon tulle skirt. Guest judge Andile Cele, the renowned luxury sportswear designer behind Dope, disagreed, saying he loved the balance in the chaos. “This is talent,” he said.
Kentse and her risky-orange Pantsula-inspired ensemble? In.
Kireshen and Stephen were at the bottom two. And while Kireshen’s innovatively designed reversible bomber jacket saved him, Stephen had floundered outside of his comfort zone.
But Gert had no doubt that one day, he would see Stephen’s name in the stars.
And while Stephen packed up his workstation, the top four of South Africa’s first-ever Project Runway were whisked off for a night away to celebrate.
But they still have mind-bending challenges to face.
Next week, they’re off to Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind where their next challenge demands the answer to some very tough questions: Who are you as individuals? Who are you as Africans? And who are you as designers?
Don’t miss a single moment of Project Runway SA on DStv Channel 161 at 9.30pm next Tuesday.