Project Runway NZ Week 8 recap + exit interview with Misty Ratima

Project Runway NZ Week 8

This week’s remaining Project Runway New Zealand designers redesigned bridesmaids dresses for this week’s challenge. Image by Tom Hollow.

While the resident colour queen Camille may have left the runway last week, this weeks’ episode of Project Runway New Zealand was vivid and packed with vibrancy in it’s own right. This time, it was an array of brightly coloured, out-dated bridesmaid dresses that provided a colourful challenge, as the designers reworked them into outfits for their models-come-clients.

The challenge

The challenge begins with the meeting in a picture-perfect vineyard, reminiscent of a romantic wedding destination. Aptly dressed in a billowing white gown, Caitlin laughs that she’s appropriately dressed for the romantic location.

Keeping in theme with the whimsical setting, the designers are told that their challenge this week is to repurpose a multitude of bright, loud and out-dated bridesmaid dresses. They will be working with the models as their clients, and must collaborate with them to create an outfit they would wear.

After deciding the designer and model pairings by a traditional bouquet toss, the designers ventured to choose their fabrics and trimmings. Misty and Judy looked at clashing colours, while Andreas raised the alarm among the designers after noticing a lot of the contestants picking out white, striped fabrics.

With no more immunity for challenges, the designers head to the studio as the pressure revs up. Misty limbos with the idea of creating overalls for her model, and, in her words “mushing” their styles and Jess is hesitant about using her least loved fabric, satin. Peni has qualms about turning his cocktail dress into a top. Judy offers him sound advice encouraging him to find his voice and not just listen to the model, while “married couple” Caitlin and Ben share advice of their own.

With 8 hours to go, Andreas questions if Peni’s oversized coat idea may take away from the geometric pants and coloured coloured top. Misty seeks Andreas’ advice about creating a sculptural shape and drama with fabric.

Andreas and Jess are scratching their heads and pondering how Jess’ design fits within a fashion context, Andreas concludes that we have a problem — as well as “nutty” blue and red plaid trousers. Admitting she’s struggling, Jess is determined to prove Andreas wrong. Her strategy? Going for 96% blue, and 4% red. She powers on with a smile, a hair flick and a “get excited!”

Next we see Ben exclaim his love for Caitlin’s white, high-waisted pants that are complete with a wide-leg bell-bottom. As well as trading hemline advice and sartorial compliments, Benjamin offers a Caitlin his extra 5 metres of white fabric that he isn’t going to use — an offer that didn’t fall deaf on the ears of Kerry, who’s noticed a partnership forming between the contestants.

Project Runway NZ Week 8

Mentor Andreas Mikellis and the models in their bridesmaids dresses.

Day two

As the models arrive back into the studio to meet the designers, they catch up on all the developments of their garments. Kerry breaks the news that the yellow bra has been axed from his outfit, Misty finds out her velvet pants might be better fitting for, in her words, an 8-year old, while Peni’s neck ruffles make some, well, ruffles.

Judy’s red bodice with its plunging neckline woos her model, who is nothing short of impressed by Judy’s re-working of the garment. Caitlin’s model is ecstatic about her one-shoulder sleeve top, while Caitlin is proud of her design, Benjamin’s model Gracie loved the idea of a skirt. And the two collaborate seamlessly on the rest of the look.

Kerry’s model Dante is in a limbo of whether or not she likes yellow pants. Jess’ model has her own ‘oohh moment’ with her pants, as she isn’t the biggest fan that there was two clashing patterns. Jess admits once again that she’s in the midst of a struggle – torn between what she wants, and what her model expects.

As the clock ticks on into the final hour of the night — Peni offers some home truths to the room along the lines of “suck it up” (as well as an epic eye roll). And is echoed by Misty who offers the pearl “get your sh** sorted.”

Model fittings

While Jess twirls around a pair of Snow White-esque sleeves, worrying about getting everything done in time for judging, Andreas re-enters the studio. He reminds the designers they have two hours until runway, and gives a last word of encouragement.

The final touches are underway — but not without tension. Caitlin states that at this point in the game the pressure’s on and that “this is going to be where it’s going to get quite interesting.” Surely enough, she delivers a near-iconic and gif-worthy eye roll when Kerry grabs the iron she was using straight out of her hand while pressing her garment.

In an air of confidence, Peni exclaims that if his model doesn’t like his new and improved design, he’s going to make her like it as he sets his eyes on a place in the top three. Peni’s heart stops for a moment when he hears a huge rip, only to discover it’s fixable. Misty’s model Heidi exclaims that she looks “like a freakin’ diva” with her outfit’s new and improved sleeves.


As the designers return to the runway in a mix of emotions, Georgia announces that fashion guru Robert Niwa, is joining the panel as a guest designer.

Judy’s crimson ensemble is first up and she, just like her model, loves it. Kerry state’s that his model Dante “doesn’t look overly happy” in the coat, pants and shirt he designed for her, admitting he doesn’t think it’s his best work. Misty’s model Heidi emerges sheathed in oversized sleeves, prompting a “yaaas queen” from the crowd. Peni is proud of his work (and is praying the pants don’t rip in front of the judges) as his model Isabelle takes to the runway next.

Jess admit’s she’s not excited to see her look, nor the back of the corset top. Benjamin loves his creation, especially the marabou. Caitlin is proud of her pants and one-shoulder ensemble, saying it’s her favourite yet.

Project Runway NZ Week 8

The judges and host Georgia Fowler discuss Caitlin’s outfit.


Sally-Ann starts off the feedback by stating that Kerry’s tie front blouse with yellow pants has missed the mark and Robert finds that he could’ve done something more fashion forward. Benny, on the other hand, loved the controversial “limoncello” yellow pants, but the deemed the outfit itself as pedestrian.

Robert finds that Misty’s creation has too much going on, Benny agrees that the drama of the sleeves has overwhelmed the rest of the look. The amount of re-purposing that went into Peni’s look was questioned by Robert, who wanted to see more of the original dress. Benny loved the neck detailing of the Peni’s coat as well as the patterned pants, which brought the look to life for him.

Jess’s bold choice of fabric for the pants and red-orange stripe appealed to both Sally-Ann and Benny, however the execution and the crop top didn’t sit well with the panel. Benjamin’s “classic but quirky” outfit was well liked by Sally, Benny, Robert, and his model who each gave glowing reviews of the playful design. Benny touted Caitlin’s outfit as his favourite of the ‘before and after’ of the challenge, with the other designers lovingly likening it to Bianca Jagger and 90’s Madonna.

The verdict

The designers return to the runway and for the second time in a week, Caitlin is crowned as the challenge winner. An ecstatic Caitlin exclaims that the feeling of winning two challenges at this stage in the game is priceless as she joins fellow consecutive challenge winner Judy backstage while the rest of the designers learn of their fate.

Benjamin is next off the runway, after Georgia tells him that he continues to amaze the judges. He is then followed by Peni and later Kerry, leaving Misty and Jess in the bottom two. Although let down by the execution of her garment, Jess is safe for another week. Georgia tells Misty that the judges appreciated her risk taking, however the look didn’t cut it this week. Grateful for the opportunity, Misty has found this competition life changing and a testament to her resilience. She says she’ll be hitting the floor running and will continue designing.

Project Runway NZ Week 8

Designer Misty Ratima was the eighth contestant eliminated on Project Runway New Zealand. Image by Tom Hollow.

We caught up with Misty to find out more about her experience on the show, what she would have done differently and what’s next for her.

How would you describe your Project Runway New Zealand experience in five words?
Laughter. Friendships. Courageous. Crazy. Unforgettable.

What was your favourite outfit that you designed on the show and why?
The Hopt. Soda challenge was my favourite. It was our very first challenge and everything was a hype with other designers, competition, mixed character and design aesthetics, cameras, competition, new surroundings, interviews, living arrangements etc. I also loved what I made inspired by the flavour Pear & Basil.

Which challenge did you find the hardest and why?
The Athleisure wear challenge was probably the hardest for me. I didn’t really have the technical skills to design sportswear using the appropriate fabrics like spandex, specialised elastics and the like. But I enjoyed incorporating my take on a sports/street coat as part of the look.

Is there anything you would do differently if you could do the show again?
Yes, I would push to design outside of the restraints of traditional methods and figure out ways that produce results more organically, to create more interesting looks. Also, I’d win the damn thing!

Which other designer/s did you bond with on the show?
Everyone actually got on quite well. But I made special bonds with Peni, Beau and Beth in particular. Those friendships happened effortlessly and grew naturally through a mutual respect and understanding, bucket loads of laughs and also trust in each other through struggle.

What was your favourite moment from the filming of the show?
Too many to choose from. But I’d say every camera moment with Peni, no matter how we interacted, it was bound to be one with laughs, back chat and sorting each other out. Those moments give me ‘lols’ like no other.

What is your advice for anyone who wants to be on Project Runway New Zealand in future?
Opportunities are lost because of self-doubt and hesitation. Whether you think you’re ready or not, just go forward with the idea that you’ll do whatever it takes to make the most of everything!

What’s next for you?
I design, I teach, I mum, I life. I’ll continue to do those things and roll with any opportunities that come my way after being on the show. I’m thankful for the experience and confidence as a designer that PRNZ has given me. I’m also grateful for a set of life skills that continue to drive my willingness to succeed in everything I do.  So who really knows what’s next for me, but whatever it is, I’m excited and ready for anything!

Tune in to Project Runway New Zealand next Monday, 7.30pm on TVNZ 2 to find out who will win the challenge and who will walk. We can’t wait! If you missed an episode you can always catch up on TVNZ On Demand here.

See every look from the runway this week below.

Images by Tom Hollow.

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