Standing at the birthplace of humanity, Gert asked the designers some intense questions. Who are you? Who are you as individuals? Who are you as Africans? And who are you as designers?
Questions that pulsed deeply in their hearts as they journeyed through Maropeng at the Cradle of Humankind and learnt about the origins and evolution of humankind.
And then came the challenge: to create a new take on a traditional wedding dress, to create an update on a Nubian bride, to create a dress that would stand out on the runways of the world, to create something that would say who they are as designers and why they are here.
All that in one dress.
At least they had a bigger budget this time. To a collective sigh of delight, Gert announced that each designer had R2 500 to spend in the fabric store and a generous 45 minutes to shop.
Kireshen scoured the store with two designs in mind, one as a pantsuit, one as a dress, Jaimie headed for the illusion tulle and pale flesh fabrics, Kentse for dark satin and beading and Sandile liked the structure and sheerness of an off-white voile. He figured this Nubian bridal challenge would be an easy one for him… this was his playground.
Back in the workroom, Kireshen decided to create a gown instead of a pantsuit because he wanted to be the one who would bring drama to the runway this time. Gert brought his own drama when he sternly reminded them that they were all fighting for a spot in the top 3 and they had to make every second count.
The workroom almost vibrated with the intensity of the meticulous detail painstakingly crafted by hand and machine… until a sudden tearing noise ripped through the room. And another. And another. A tired and frustrated Jaimie was ripping all the binding off his bodice. And more than just leaving him disheartened, it also left a big hole in his outfit.
By the time runway day dawned, Jaimie still had no idea what he was going to do with the bottom of his dress. He just wanted to get the challenge over with and go back home.
But the judges loved the raw, unfinished look of his flowing tulle skirt and the vibrantly detailed top. They were even more impressed when he explained how he created the top with colourful strips of binding to represent fingerprints and people from different races, religions and cultures.
CEO and founder of Ndalo Pictures and Ndalo Media Khanyi Dhlomo, back in the guest judge seat for a second time, found his design “enormously creative” and “very African”.
Kentse’s dress flawlessly balanced simplicity and drama, but Gert didn’t think it was her best work, and the judges were starting to wonder about her range as a designer.
They weren’t sure about the risk Kireshen took in his leap into African bridalwear, but it was Sandile’s sheer white dress that disappointed the judges the most in its predictability.
Tsamaya hantle, Sandile, go well.
Project Runway SA fans, meet your top three designers: Jaimie Liu, Kentse Masilo and Kireshen Chetty!
And Jaimie won the challenge! That’s three wins for Jaimie, four for Kentse, and none to Kireshen. Yet.
Next week is intense though… especially now that Gert and Lerato’s expectations have soared through the roof.
Don’t miss a single moment of Project Runway SA on Mzansi Magic, DStv Channel 161, at 9.30pm next Tuesday.