Project Runway Recap: Which Designers Are Going to the Season 17 Finale?

Project Runway Recap

And then there were three. Thursday’s Project Runway, the first half of Season 17’s two-part finale, sent home one last contestant, setting the stage for next week’s three-way melee.

After receiving $10,000 to produce their 10-look collections, the four remaining designers — Bishme Cromartie, Garo Sparo, Hester Sunshine and Sebastian Grey — went their separate ways and immediately got down to business. And aside from Christian Siriano’s brief hometown visits, including a pilgrimage to the legendary gay island known as Fort Lauderdale, the contestants were mostly left to their own devices.

And just when the foursome started to get comfortable, Nina Garcia summoned the designers back to Elle Magazine’s New York offices, where she ambushed them with one last twist: Their finale collections now had to include 11 outfits, three of which would determine who makes it through to the finale.

No one was particularly thrilled by this game-changing announcement, but Bishme was understandably the most nervous of the bunch. With only eight garments ready to go, getting up to 11 would surely prove difficult. (That said, my heart goes out to Bishme. Considering everything he went through during his time away from the show, I’m surprised he was able to finish as much as he did.)

After reviewing the four collections-in-progress, Nina handed out assignments, helping the designers use these unexpected 11th pieces to fill glaring voids in their collections. For Sebastian, that meant incorporating a “soft” evening look; for Garo, a tailored suit; Bishme was instructed to design a “street-inspired outerwear look”; and Hester was… well, she was practically begged to put together anything devoid of print.

To say that the designers let the pressure of this final challenge get to them would be a grave understatement. Just ask poor Hester, who pierced her finger with a needle and bled out all over her new look. Or Bishme, who got so emotional ahead of the runway presentation that he needed to excuse himself from the group.

Most of the judges’ praise was directed at Hester’s playful, “cohesive” aesthetic. “It feels like a real collection,” they said, while Hester’s fellow designers fumed in the background. They also enjoyed Sebastian’s “fresh,” ready-for-Fashion-Week outfits, praising his clear understanding of the geometric arts. (I made up that phrasing, but it almost sounds like a real thing… right?)

Sadly, they confessed to being “disappointed” with Bishme’s sloppy, misguided 11th look, which he attributed to the emotional trauma he suffered as a result of his various family issues. The judges also weren’t crazy about Garo’s “ill-fitting” pantsuit, nor did they fully understand his “reveal” outfit.

After much deliberation, Karlie Kloss announced that Bishme was eliminated, leaving Garo, Sebastian and Hester to battle it out in next week’s finale.

Do you think the right designer was sent home? Cast your vote below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.