Project Runway: Belk Challenge Season 12 Episode 9

THE REMAINING NINE (back row from left to right) Jeremy, Brandon, Alexander, Alexandria (front row from left to right) Kate, Ken, Dom, Helen, Justin
(back row from left to right) Jeremy, Brandon, Alexander, Alexandria
(front row from left to right) Kate, Ken, Dom, Helen, Justin

Heidi: “Are you impressed that you’re still here?”

All of the designers: “Yes!” *nodding their heads*

Southern style brunch on Project Runway Season 12 Episode 9.
Southern style brunch on Project Runway Season 12 Episode 9.

Hey y’all!–imagine my saying this in my most genuine Southern Belle accent–Are y’all ready for the VIP’s weekly recap of Project Runway?


Tim Gunn: “She is a modern Southern woman…She is the Belk customer…She dresses vibrantly and impressively. She is always fashionably put together. She knows how to use accessories, and she loves color and anything with feminine detail.”

Me: “Mom, I think Tim Gunn just described me perfectly!”

Mom: “Sweetheart, he just described every true Southern lady perfectly.”

Ken purchasing his fabric at Mood with his GoBank card. Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Ken purchasing his fabric at Mood with his GoBank card.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

After their classy Southern brunch and thirty-minute sketching time, the designers were given thirty minutes in Mood to find their fabric and were given a suggested GoBank spending budget of $200–$250. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have a $200–$250 GoBank shopping budget at Belk? I can imagine myself walking out of those doors with bags of fabulous attire, accessories, and sweet high heels. Do I have a shopping addiction? Sure, some would call it that…now, back to Project Runway!

With one day to create their looks, the designers were antsy about creating something that a modern Southern woman would wear.

Helen: “I do not design for the modern Southern woman…this is way out of my comfort zone.”

Alexander: “I do not dress like a modern Southern woman…just like a modern 80s woman.”

When time was up in the workroom, Tim Gunn (looking dashing as always) escorted the designers and models to the runway.

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The winner of this challenge was Brandon. I liked the concept of his design; however, I am not too crazy about the plaid. I can definitely see this dress in vibrant colors and a pretty, flowy fabric…perhaps then…the true modern Southern woman would snatch it off the rack at Belk. Kudos for the fabulous design concept, Brandon! Boo on the plaid!


Heidi: “We think you all did not fully understand the concept of this challenge, and you all could benefit from a little bit more time…For the first time in Project Runway history, I’m going to send you back to the workroom. Right now—you will have one hour to work on your look, and to give you a little help, each of you can choose one fellow designer. You have access to all of the fabrics in the workroom….”

So…Designers Dom, Jeremy, and Ken were sent back to the workroom…all I could think was good luck, my darlings!

Designer Dom's second look. The second winning look of this challenge.
Designer Dom’s second look. The second winning look of this challenge.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

I LOVE THIS DRESS! Just so all of you know….when this dress arrives at Belk, I will be running to get it!

Designer Jeremy's first look.
Designer Jeremy’s first look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Bless his heart…Despite Jeremy’s valiant effort, he was sent home. I was very sad to see him go because I am going to miss his wonderful designs and especially his British accent.
Ken Laurence's first look.
Ken Laurence’s first look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.
Ken Laurence's second look.
Ken Laurence’s second look.
Image provided by The Weinstein Company.

After watching Episode 9, I chatted with Ken about the challenge and his two spectacular garments.

Me: “If you could have created a completely new garment, what would you have created?”

Ken: “I would have created the exact same dress in a different fabric. My goal was to find a lighter, more flowy fabric, but I ran out of time in Mood…and the color was most important.”

Me: “What was the concept behind your first design?”

Ken: “I wanted to design something that I witnessed selling on a day-to-day basis when I worked as a stylist at BCBG–before Project Runway. Southern women came in looking for maxi dresses that were simple, easy-to-wear, and could be accessorized for all occasions. Another factor I tried to think about was the climate here in Alabama, and that was why I wanted to go with a lighter fabric.”

Me: “What was your goal when you went back to the workroom to modify your look?”

Ken: “My main goal was to just have a dress…I was not thinking about the modern Southern woman anymore…I was just thinking about giving the judges a different look. In my original sketch, I actually created a silhouette similar to the one in my second look so I just went with it.

Personally, I loved designer Ken’s first look the most! I loved the fact that it could be easily accessorized…we all know how much the VIP loves her accessories!


Phew…this episode was quite the humdinger! I cannot wait to see what Episode 10 has to offer!

Don’t forget to live tweet with YOUR favorite designer by using the hashtags below!









Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn


2 thoughts on “Project Runway: Belk Challenge Season 12 Episode 9

  1. It was Episode 10, not 9
    Project Runway – Season 12: Let’s Do Brunch
    EPOSIDE 10 – Sept 12, 2013
    The designers must create a vibrant look FOR THE BELK CUSTOMER: A Modern Southern Woman….To be manufactured and sold at BELK

    Winning Contestant Brandon McDonald STARTED OFF describing the attire of his Black model as wearing “cotton”with the dress as “having a bit of HISTORY and a bit of …. Needless to say, the Confederate Cross (“X” pattern) was subtly stamped out in the plaid pattern.
    Fashionably, tailoring of a PLAD pattern is usually, “lined up” to match it’s counterpart.
    Across the model’s heart is a RED CROSS
    The top portion of the dress and the bottom MERGED with the UPPER waist portion merge to form a BLACK cross representative of a Confederate (flag) symbolism.
    The LOWER HIP SECTION also shows another FULL cross.
    Nina Garcia, a judge and journalist, commented that this was a “VERY EXPECTED FABRIC”
    The EXPRESSION on the BLACK model’s face, during the judge’s critique, was the look of a Black Slave Girl being helplessly SOLD at market!
    Ken Laurence the BLACK MALE CONTESTANT was rolling his eyes. Another BLACK female contestant, Ms. Dom Streater was ALSO ROLLING her eyes in disgust WHILE PURSING HER LIPS, during Brandon’s critique!
    It was unusual for another contestant to speak up during a rival contestant’s critique, however, when. Heidi was critiquing Ken Laurence, who had been rolling his eyes during Brandon’s the PLAID presentation. Heidi, commented about his “rolling his eyes to the back of his head”… And Ken Laurence, THEN responded about the “Plaid Pattern” for the “South”,
    On this web page Ken Laurence indicates that Alabama was inspiration site for the challenge…
    In case the message of the CONFEDERATE X was not recognized, Alexander Pope, another contestant ALSO used this pattern in HIS PRESENTATION. The Bold X was tattered across the model’s tummy area – was it a Hop Sing, Bonanza moment?
    In Gone With the Wind, there were no Plaids, and I cannot recall ANY reference to plaid attire being anything but SCOTTISH.
    Earlier, another contestant had tried to give invent a presentation and was un-suggested by Timm Gunn, that her proposed presentation looked Bohemian and DISCOURAGED her from proceeding. Therefore she also used a subtle X pattern.

    • It was surely too late for Ken to gather new or additional Fabric. But I believe that if he KNEW what he was going up against, he surely would have chosen diagonal red and white stripes in a somewhat sheer fabric, which would “breeze” and blow in FREEDOM on the runway. This striped fabric would be incorporated with a pattern of African motif fabric indicative of the RED, BLACK, AND GREEN stripes , TO REPRESENT the African Flag of Ghana, a center of Slave Trade. A base additional Red and White stripes of the American Flag (not of the same sheer material) would MERGE with the red stripes of the Ghana Flag in some manner. The Star would be portrayed in the JEWELRY. As the Ghana Flag has one STAR, as well as the American Flag having many Stars. SUBTLY, the model would NOT be wearing ANY FORMAL FLAG, because the fabric itself would NOT contain Flags…… The Cohesion would be the “RED”. Whether the American flag was a sheer shawl or whaterver. . the base material was the bottom portion of a dress OR pants; it would be left to the imagination on how these fabrics would be used by Ken,

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