Project Runway NZ Week 9 recap + exit interview with Caitlin Crisp

Project Runway NZ Week 9

The remaining six Project Runway New Zealand designers on the runway. Image by Tom Hollow.

It’s week 9 already and the pressure is really on the Project Runway New Zealand designers with just six of them remaining. The show opens with the designers talking about the divide between them with Kerry commenting on how much help Benjamin keeps giving Caitlin and that he doesn’t think it’s fair. Jess is annoyed that she was in the bottom two and wants to do everything she can to do better this week.

The challenge

The designers head to the runway to meet host Georgia Fowler and mentor Andreas Mikellis where they get told that this week it’s all about the bling. The models arrive wearing pieces from Pascoes jewellery that the designers must make evening pieces inspired by. Each designer gets to choose the piece they want to work with and Caitlin chooses first since she won last week’s challenge. They are given a day and a half to mae their outfit and $200 to spend at The Fabric Store.

But the tension is continuing to build with Judy also commenting that Benjamin gives Caitlin a lot of help. Caitlin herself says that she knows that people are aware of her close friendship with Benjamin but maintains that her ideas and sketches are her own. The other designers feel that there is a divide with Benjamin and Caitlin off together and everyone else on the other side.

It’s off to the fabric store where Andreas tells them that they need to give the designers something unexpected that is fresh and modern with the eveningwear challenge. Jess is excited to make an eveningwear look while Peni is loving his sapphire jewellery inspiration. Andreas tells Caitlin to be careful doing something to similar to her previous effort and reminds her to keep it eveningwear appropriate.

Off to the workroom

Back in the workroom, Peni changes his mind on his design while Andreas reminds the designers that the fit and construction is really important. Kerry didn’t do that well last week and says he needs to go hard this week and impress the judges. Judy is feeling the pressure to do well as she is an eveningwear designer by trade but she is staying focused on getting the job done and mixing hard and soft with her look.

Jess is creating a look that has lots of shadow and light to reflect the pearls and is concerned about getting the construction right. Benjamin loves sequins and has gone for a full sequinned look in tiers. Kerry mentions again that Caitlin and Benjamin are very insular and don’t want anything to do with the others while Caitlin says she gets the feeling the rest of the designers don’t like her and Benjamin anymore.

Project Runway NZ Week 9

Jess works on her design in the workroom.

Day 2

Peni has his back brace on as he was in pain yesterday and gets stuck into making his gown. Jess employs the help of Benjamin to sort out her garment as she’s over-gathered it. Andreas arrives and isn’t sure how the ruching is going to work to make a flattering garment. Peni’s garment contrasts two different blues which is quite hard to make work. Judy is making a cage-like garment inspired by her jewellery and Andreas said that it’s more like a costume.

Andreas is intrigued by Kerry’s design and thinks that it works although Kerry is concerned that the judges might not like it. Benjamin’s design hinges on delicate shoe string straps which need to work perfectly to work. Andreas isn’t sure about Caitlin’s design and she says that the fringe isn’t as wide as she wants it to be and isn’t sure if it will work.

The models arrive and Jess is keen to see her model so she can fit the design to her body shape and is pleased with how it’s going. Judy isn’t ready for the model fitting but isn’t concerned as her design isn’t fitted. The models leave and Caitlin starts to sew the fringe onto her satin jumpsuit and is having trouble with it because of the fabric. Peni changes his design and still isn’t sure about it and is leaving things late to get it all finished.

Runway day

Jess is stoked with her dress and wants to dance around with joy. Judy still has a lot to do and is worried her look might not fit properly. Benjamin comments again that he doesn’t like Kerry’s work and that it isn’t his thing. Caitlin is still struggling to get all her fringing done but is trying her best. Andreas arrives to tell the designers that they need to get their models styled and ready for the runway.

Georgia welcomes the designers to the runway and asks them how they’re feeling about this week’s challenge before introducing judges Sally-Ann Mullin and Benny Castles as well as guest judge singer Ladi6. Kerry’s design is first up on the runway and he loves how it all looks but wishes he could have done more. Peni isn’t too happy with how his design looks and doesn’t think it fits well or is finished properly. Caitlin is really pleased with her design and how it moves on the runway. Jess loves how her look has come together but is worried that the judges will notice her model is taking smaller steps because of the dress. Benjamin comments that his model looks sick and is storming the runway. Judy is really happy with her look and how it works on her model.

Project Runway NZ Week 9

Guest judge Ladi6 checks out the designs.


The models return to the runway and Georgia asks Kerry to explain his gown which he says is inspired by the cage-like look of the jewellery he chose. Sally-Ann says it has some execution issues while Ladi6 says it feels like a Beyoncé outfit. Peni says his design is inspired by his elegant sapphire jewellery and Georgia says she’s seen it before and Sally-Ann adds that it isn’t flattering around the bust. Caitlin says her look was inspired by the movement of the jewellery she chose and Georgia says her fabric choice let her down. Ladi6 says it could have done with more tassles while Benny says it’s a sexy lampshade and that the white doesn’t work. Jess’ look was inspired by pearls and Georgia says she loves the dress and it’s fun while Benny says it’s unexpected but it works. Benjamin had black pearls as his jewellery and Georgia loves the dropped waist of his dress while Ladi6 says it has a fabulous 90’s vibe. Judy picked amethyst jewellery that had lots of lines and Sally-Ann says that Judy is the gown queen. Benny says that the boning and the bodice is what makes it work.

The judges have a closer look at the designer’s outfits with Kerry’s outfit making the judges not sure if it’s wearable art or not. They agree that Peni’s garment looks messy and unfinished. They add that Caitlin’s needed more tassles and should have been in a different fabric. They agree that Jess’ outfit is special and that it’s impressive. They love Benjamin’s design and that it look’s perfect on Benjamin’s model Gracie. The judges are pleased with Judy’s caging and agree that the gown is well made. They agree that it’s a tough decision this week.

The verdict

The designers return to the runway and Georgia tells Jess that the her dress was stunning and unique and she is the winner of this week’s challenge. As well as winning the challenge she is also gifted a $2000 Pascoes voucher. Benjamin is the runner up and Kerry and Judy are also in and can leave the runway. Peni’s garment was messy and he is second to last this week while Georgia tells Caitlin that she is the eliminated designer. Caitlin says she’s had the most amazing journey and feels like she’s only just started discovering who she is as a designer and has been surrounded by the most inspiring people.

Project Runway NZ Week 9

Peni and Caitlin are the bottom two designers this week.

We caught up with Caitlin 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?
Intense, challenging, lots of pizza.

What challenge were you hoping to have competed in?
I loved all of the ready-to-wear challenges as that’s what I’m comfortable with but doing some of the more creative ones ended up being fun too!

Is there anything you would do differently if you could do the show again? 
I would love to go back and do it all again knowing what I know now. Before the show started I hadn’t sewn in about a year, I guess I used it as a way to give myself a hard kick in what I felt was the right direction.

What was it like walking in and meeting everyone for the first time?
Crazy! I quickly realised I was one of the younger and perhaps less experienced of the contestants so would have to really step up and do my best.

Which other designer/s did you bond with on the show? 
I loved Camille, Peni and Benjamin. They kept me sane.

What was your favourite moment from the filming of the show? 
There were so many funny moments but I particularly enjoyed working with Benjamin on the team challenge. I love working with other people so it was great to get the chance to team up with someone.

What is your advice for anyone who wants to be on Project Runway New Zealand in future? 
Just do it! The crew were amazing, the experience was amazing and it’s a really cool thing to be a part of.

What’s next for you?
I’m starting a label! I didn’t want to stop doing what I loved everyday so I’m giving it my best shot.

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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