SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the sixth episode of “Project Runway” Season 18.
Sergio Guadarrama is a self-proclaimed political designer and in this week’s heritage challenge, he had a message to share — literally.
Guadarrama’s story behind his “Project Runway” design ultimately overshadowed the garment itself. His hot pink, cotton, Mexican-inspired cocktail dress was embroidered with the names of the six children that died at the border.
“We need to have this conversation because nobody is less than, so I’m pissed off as a person, and I want to tell these stories,” he told the judges.
Meanwhile, the peanut gallery in the backroom was piping up. “I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being politically inspired,” said Brittany Allen, “but make it beautiful,” finished Geoffrey Mac.
In the end, the judges thought Guadarrama did enough to warrant another week and sent Shavi Lewis home instead. Let’s be honest: Guadarrama makes good TV; “Runway” can’t lose him this early.
While in the workroom, he refused to let mentor Christian Siriano see his design in progress at first. “I’m never nervous when Christian comes in. At the end of the day, you have to listen to who you are as a designer and do what you do best because that’s really what the competition’s about,” he confessed.
Siriano tried to coax the competitor into showing something, but Guadarrama was having none of it. “I don’t think you can have accurate opinions until you see things closer to them being done,” he told Siriano.
Eventually Guadarrama came around, revealing his personal project that paid homage to his Mexican heritage and the six immigrant children killed at the border.
Moldovan contestant Victoria Cocieru couldn’t resist giving her take on the situation, saying, “Sergio definitely has very good stories behind his designs, and I appreciate this. But, at the end of the day, this competition is about fashion. If your design looks bad…your story won’t save you.”
Allen also chimed in after Guadarrama enlisted the help of models to help finish his garment. “This is a fashion competition, and the way that the models are helping him really — it’s putting me off a little bit,” she revealed in a confessional.
Chelsey Carter made varsity with her letterman jacket, and finally won her first challenge. Her inspiration? Her grandmothers, who are both principals.
“Being African American, often the heritage doesn’t always stretch back to having an educational background. We’ve often missed opportunities. So I really want to highlight that this time because I come from that,” she told Siriano.
The real winners of “Project Runway” so far, though? The editors and producers behind-the-scenes. Highlights from this week episode include:
- Cocieru proclaiming at the top of the episode that she felt guilty for being on top week over week. Her only competition (according to her)? “Geoffrey, Brittany and Delvin.” What about Sergio? “No, of course not.”
- In the most relatable moment of the week, Mac’s mom couldn’t figure out how to get the tablet to work during a video chat session with her son. “Tell somebody I can’t hear you,” she said to Mac. “I can’t do that,” he replied. It’s fashion, mom, look it up!
- Delvin’s McCray’s pre-runway commentary: “I’m just preparing myself for my casket and my funeral because I’m dying on the inside”; his runway show commentary: “I hate watching this. It’s like walking torture. The tailoring is not up to my standards. It’s not couture. It’s trash”; and learning of his Latino ancestry on the show just moments before it was time to sew: “I did not know I was Latino until right now.”
- Allen’s growing annoyance with Cocieru and the judges’ “obsession” with her.
- And last, but not least, guest judge Fernando Garcia’s humble brag that he went to Notre Dame while critiquing winner Carter’s look. “I love anything collegiate,” he said.
“Project Runway” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.