This week on PRAS: Innovation and technology are the theme of this week's challenge, with just five designers left in the competition. This week's challenge is a mix of new and old -- it's another avant garde challenge, but this week's look will be illuminated by black light during the runway show and the designers must employ lighting techniques in their design. This week's guest judge is Pharrell Williams; Pharrell will use the look in a future video. The designers have a $300 budget at a lighting store, and $100 at Mood; this is a one-day challenge.
Michael says, "I've never done anything with, like, technology and like, electricity." I guess Michael sews everything by hand, and by candlelight. Austin gushes over the challenge, but Kenley is intimidated by the foreign lighting materials. She goes over budget at the lighting store, while Austin waxes poetic about creating fantasies for design and real life. Austin is très excited.
The designers have a darkroom in the workroom where they can work with the lighting effects for their designs. Michael is having a tough time committing to one look, and starts spending a lot of alone time in the black room. Most of the designers are struggling in the workroom, but luckily Joanna Coles is on her way to mentor them to victory. While they wait for Joanna, Michael starts his new design, prompting Jerell to comment, "It's no secret that Michael can pull out beautiful dresses in the time it would take Kenley to learn to tie her shoes." She takes the ribbing well, but Jerell follows it up with a deadly-serious second "It's no secret."
Joanna enters the workroom and seems pretty charged about "the most electric challenge" in PR history. How Joanna can tell what is going to emerge from the designers' stacks of wires, lights and fabrics -- the designers don't seem all that sure about what they are creating themselves.
In one of the few glimpses into our designers' home lives all season, we see Austin and his mom discussing finances during a Skype chat. Austin learns his mother's home went into foreclosure, and it's eating him up. Austin is in tears but his mom is chipper and supportive. Austin's mom? She's awesome.
When runway day arrives, everyone is hauling around their garments on the dress forms while they finish sewing lights into the fabric. Michael's girl is wearing a weird hood that makes her look like a ninja, while Kenley's dress has a cape that looks like air conditioning ducts. Austin is the only designer who did not use any neon elements in his design, explaining, "I don't do neon." His model looks a little like a Tim Burton character.
Kenley: All of the judges love Kenley's look. Pharrell likes the design, though he questions the placement of the lights. Mizrahi calls the look "divine," and Angela compliments the plaid textile Kenley created with neon glow tape.
Mondo: The judges have issues with the way Mondo incorporated the lights vis-à-vis the model's body, but they do see his point of view in the work. Isaac questions whether or not Mondo has created a truly "avant garde" look.
Jerell: The judges like the movement the fiber-optic lights create, but they thought Jerell went too far with the tribal element; Angela calls it "tribal rave." They also question his choice to put the model in a long, black tube skirt under the fiber-optic skirt.
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Austin: The judges adore his dress, using adjectives like "love," "mysterious" and "beautiful." Georgina calls it romantic, and while she thinks the piece might just be "lights on a pretty dress," she is "enchanted."
Michael: Michael's description of his design has a lot of fun words like "ninja warrior princess," but the judges call out his sloppy work. "It looks like tape on a dress," says Isaac Mizrahi.
There are five designers left...and then there were four. Jerell goes home, leaving our final four: Austin, Kenley, Michael and Mondo. As for the winner ...
Austin is victorious! Austin is glowing after Pharrell chooses his design and tells him "you're a star."