Trinidadian fashion designer Anya Ayoung Chee came perilously close to being sent home on episode nine of Lifetime Televisions reality series, Project Runway. Her ill fitted, poorly designed garment (to quote her own words) landed her in the bottom three, along with Kimberly Goldson and Olivier Green.
The remaining eight designers on Thursdays show were challenged to create a look for the four members of up and coming rock band Sheepdog, while still keeping the essence of who they are. Most of the designers were worried about the challenge because, with the exception of Green who is a menswear designer, none had previously designed for men. Ayoung Chee said she had never even ventured into this area. She was also concerned about the bands aesthetic, which seemed stuck in the hippie era, a time she was not comfortable using as inspiration for her design.
The designers were divided into two teams and two designers, one from each team, were assigned to each of the band members, the first time on Project Runway that designers shared models. Ayoung Chee, Bert Keeter, Laura Kathleen and Anthony Ryan Auld were assigned to the first team (Team Harmony) while Team Untitled comprised Goldson, Green, Joshua McKinley, and Viktor Luna.
Ayoung Chee and Goldson both chose drummer, Sam, who said he liked dashiki or kaftan type garments, which gives some relief to Ayoung Chee, who said she had some experience in designing similar garments. However she never seemed settled or confident in this challenge, even disliking the fabric she eventually chose from design store Mood. Although Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn assures Sam that Anya is a master at prints, referring to the fabric of the shirt Ayoung Chee was creating, she had problems with the fit and design of her garment and with sewing what was her first pair of jeans. In another Project Runway first, instead of the clients modelling the designs on the runway, Sheepdog performed two songs on the runway, dressed first in one teams outfits, then the others. During the weekly chat, the judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge rocker and American Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert were especially critical of Ayoung Chees design, commenting that Sam looked like Pocahontas, a reggae Jesus, or Peter Brady at a Fall harvest.
Kors said this week her garment, a brown and tan kaftan-type shirt with gold trim and a dark grey jeans, showed that she had only been sewing for the past four months. Sams pants showed poor sewing skills and even a split in the seem at the back. Ayoung Chee herself said everything about the garment is sloppy and does not fit; I just want to run out of the room, when she saw the band performing in her teams design. In the end, Ayoung Chee was allowed another chance, but with a firm warning from Klum. Luna won the challenge while Green was sent to clean out his workspace in the design room.
The challenges seem to continue for Ayoung Chee in the next episode. The preview revealed that she loses the money she is given to shop for fabric and accessories at Mood. It appears that she is reduced to tears and is only allowed to get muslin fabric from the store.