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Project Runway recap: Descending into Good and Evil [S16.Ep5]

Project Runway. Season 16 Episode 5 on LIFETIME. judges: Heidi Klum, N’ina Garcia, Zac Posen. Guest judge: Demi Lovato. Host: Heidi Klum. Mentor: Tim Gunn.

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An easily forgettable overall snooze of an episode. It starts with Tim Gunn taking this designers to the Lynhurst Castle where they meet the stars of Disney Channel’s Descendants 2—Dove Cameron and China Anne McClain—this week’s guest judges. Not even Disney but Disney Channel. Come on Lifetime and Project Runway! These children’s film tie-ins are tiresome. How about a tie-in with Mother! or Battle of the Sexes? Have I aged out of Project Runway? Who are these stars?

This week’s challenge: create an evening wear look inspired by the movie Descendants 2.

Some will be designing a good look and some an evil look. As last week’s challenge winner, Michael assigns good and evil. Good looks: Amy; Brendan; Kentaro; Aaron; Ayana; Claire. Evil looks: Kenya; Samantha; Shawn; Margarita; Batani; Michael.

“I love stories and I Love making garments inspired by them.” –Samantha

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Being a model-focused season, the designers discuss which models they’ll be designing for and if there are challenges, concerns or particular inspirations. In the workroom, Margarita struggles and videochats with her parents. She’s crying that she’s not a crazy designers and that making women beautiful is her thing. She says: “I would hate to go home trying to be something I’m not.” Okaaaay Margarita. It’s season 16. You know there’s going to be avant garde, evening wear and unconventional challenges. The twins persist in annoying some of the designers. The Brandon/Kentaro bromance continues.

Tim comes in to critique. He tells Brandon that he’s full of the unexpected as Brandon designs another menswear-inspired shirt dress. He tells Claire to “beat back the costume” and questions whether or not lace on Michael’s look is matronly. Shawn feels that her design is really her. Aaron’s look. Oof. He’s not lasting all that much longer. He says he’s trying to “be more innovative and fun” but Tim says “it’s a gimmick.” He tells Margarita that she’s moving in a “beautiful direction.” So she needn’t worry. Tim tells Samantha her look is “like a big craft project.”

The Brandon love fest continues as his model Christina says: “I love Brandon. All these girls have a crush on him. But he does have a girlfriend FYI.”

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Runway notes: Shawn’s look is cool. Kentaro’s is flowy. Brandon’s look is interesting. Samantha’s is basic. Aaron’s look is a big no. It looks like post-school dance. Michael chose gorgeous fabric and it’s a pretty design. Claire’s is simply. Ayana’s look is lovely.

SAFE: Batani; Amy; Kentaro; Ayana; Shawn; Margarita

HIGH SCORES:

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Brandon
He says he thought about his girl as a superwoman for inspiration.

Heidi: “It’s a modern straight jacket. I love it. It feels very fashion forward.”
Dove: “You did a fantastic job of taking the challenge and making it your own.”
Zac: “We’ve seen a lot of these different length shirt dresses. You can’t be a one-trick pony.”

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Kenya
She says: “I’m evil and I thought about a dark tuxedo look.”

Heidi: “It all works. I’m just in love with this look.”
China: “It’s tailored perfectly.”
Nina: “I love the fact that you didn’t do a gown. The drama is in balance.”

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Michael
He says he’s inspired by “darker elements.”

Heidi: “She was a queen walk down the runway.”
China: “I wrote fabric sleighs in all caps.”
Zac: “It fits spectacularly.”

LOW SCORES:

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Claire
She says the first thing she thought of was princess.

Zac: “It looks like Cinderella on her day off.”
Nina: “We have seen a version of this a billion times. This is a cliché.”
Heidi: “This to me is forgettable.”

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Samantha
She explains that she was inspired by poison fruit and poison flowers.

Zac: “I don’t like your fabric choice. It’s just ugly.”
Nina: “This feels very old.”
Heidi: “It’s kinda like an 80s prom dress.”

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Aaron
He says: “I was given good and I thought that resonated with a pink.”

Heidi: “It’s just so messy. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Nina: “It looks like a child put together this outfit.”

Brandon is the WINNER
Aaron is OUT

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Project Runway recap: We’re Sleeping Wear? [S16.Ep4]

Project Runway. Season 16. Episode 4 on LIFETIME. judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen. Guest judge: Demi Lovato. Host: Heidi Klum. Mentor: Tim Gunn.

Episode 4: “We’re Sleeping Wear?”

Heidi and Tim arrive onstage. Apparently designers were called back right after last week’s elimination. Heidi is wearing a backpack and Tim’s hauling backpack on wheels. They announce that designers will be spending the night atop the Empire State Building.

This week’s challenge: create a sleepwear look for Heidi Klum Intimates sleepwear inspired by Empire State Building and New York skyline. Designers will also create their own textile.

Aaron: “Sleepwear’s kinda cute and sexy so I think it could be fun.”
Samantha: “I love painting so this seems like it’s right in my wheelhouse.”

Heidi calls out Claire for looking scared. Claire says: “That building is very tall.” They all head over in pajamas. Claire holds Shawn all the way up on the elevator. Amy notes: “It feels like floating through some kind of vintage movie dream.” Once on the 86th floor and out on the observation deck, they sketch for 30 minutes. “It’s definitely a magical moment,” Brandon observes.

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Kenya plans to design a romper. Michael is making a slip style garment with angles like the Chrysler building or a “Harlem renaissance” dress. Kentaro says he’s not going to construct an all-black garment but instead a colorful maxi dress. In the morning, a full suited Tim bearing breakfast sandwiches sneaks up to wake the designers. I hope they brushed their teeth at least!

Back in the workroom they have about 11 hours for this one-day challenge. Brandon’s wearing his hair in two braids. Aaron said he’s doing a two piece. Sounds like pajamas to me. Kenya says her style is classy, sexy, trendy and she doesn’t do sleepwear. Shawn’s designing a long jumpsuit while her twin Claire is making an art deco print. The twins seem calmer and quieter. As annoying as they can sometimes be they’re also enthusiastic and dedicated. It’ll be hard when one gets eliminated before the other. Deyonte isn’t yet sure of his direction.

Kenya’s struggling with her textile. As he holds up his textile, Kentaro says to Brandon: “Hey brother it looks like I killed someone with this fabric.” Brandon explains: “Kentaro’s my buddy. That’s my G. That’s my brother. I look to him for advice. Just to have the connection has got me in a good place.” We’re getting to that time in the season when bonds get formed.

Heidi and Tim arrive for critiques and Heidi says: “Did you have time for a shower or no? No. That’s okay.” As they approach Shawn, Tim tells Heidi: “This is remarkable. She has something on a form. She never has for me.” Tim may not be a fan. Heidi tells the twins to chat less, work more. Deyonte’s hot pink and gray confuses Heidi who refers to it as a clown costume. Ayana explains she won’t be designing modest this time around because under the modest clothing is something not so much modest. Margarita shows her kimono robe. “I see a menstrual cycle,” Tim says. When Michael shows his strappy design, Heidi’s concerned. She wonders how to get out to go to the bathroom. I think it’s not the bathroom that concerns her. Claire is using purple and bright pink. Amy talks about a sunset and cityscape and Heidi tells her she’s thinking too literally. Heidi doesn’t think Kenya’s romper jumpsuit is very sleepwear. “You wanta be in the bed. You’ve got a boo. It’s gotta be easy.” In other words for the Heidi Klum Intimates collection it should be easy access and easy in and easy out. [I took a look at Heidi Klum Intimates and wasn’t wowed by anything. nothing stands out as unique sleepwear.]

Later on as they continue to work it turns out the twins ARE irritating everyone again. This time their tag team approach bothers the other designers. “I think we all help each other out in the workroom but I think the twins take it to another level. It’s not fair,” Margarita says.

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Kentaro’s model says she’s the “Naomi of plus size” and that she gave some advice to Kentaro because she’s known for her shape. Aaron’s having problems with his fabric as its texture changed and there’s not much flow. Amy had remarked that he’d have a tough time working with his fabric. Kentaro has learned a new American term and tells Samantha he wants to stop being anal so often. Samantha hugs him. “Kentaro is all sugar and happiness and butterflies and so sweet,” she explains. A model says she feels frumpy and matronly and too covered up in Deyonte’s design.

Runway notes: Amy’s design is in a pretty print and color. Margarita’s look is bleh. Claire’s doesn’t do it for me. Michael’s look is very pretty. Don’t like anything about Deyonte’s design. I want Ayana’s look. It’s super lovely. I want Shawn’s look in a different color. Kentaro created a nice print. I adore Samantha’s design and want those pants.

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HIGH SCORES:

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Michael

He tells judges his inspiration is art deco.
Demi: “I love the color combination. The blush is so pretty and flattering on many complexions. The neckline is unique. It’s practical and comfortable.”
Heidi: “It looks sophisticated, sexy, expensive.”
Zac: “I wrote down Deco Cleopatra.”
Nina: “I love the effect in the back. The multi straps. It feels very 1920s. Very New York.”

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Shawn

She says she noticed the plaque of origin that stated that the building is sleek and slender and she wanted to “evoke the same kind of feeling.”
Heidi: “You are giving us something sophisticated, sexy, elegant.”
Zac: “It looks very polished.”
Nina: “I love the detail of the print. It looks modern, sophisticated, sensuous.”

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Kentaro

He says he saw a sunrise and the top part he modeled after the building. He also noted that it “flows like a butterfly.”
Heidi: “This I can see a woman wanted to go to bed in. We have design here. It feels easy. A little flouncy.”
Nina: “This is adorable, charming, fresh. There’s something very feminine about it in a very quiet and modern way.”
Zac: “Beautiful draping. Effortless. Easy. It has something playful. I thought it was a breeze and happy.”

LOW SCORES:

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Aaron

He tells designers that he was inspired by a vent. Which is problematical in and of itself. A vent? Of all the aspects of that building?
Heidi: “I’m so surprise. You’re giving two pieces that are too tight.”
Nina: “The waistband looks like a bad sweatpant. It’s a problem.”
Zac: “I thought it was lackluster. This is Runway. The world is watching.” IS it Zac? I’m not sure ratings-wise.

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Deyonte

He tells the judges that after Tim and Heidi’s critique he did some revamping and thinks the model looks beautiful and dreamy.
Nina: “First of all, this doesn’t even look like something to sleep or lounge in. It looks like a dress. Her armhole feels very high up so she’s looking tight on top. The shape is nothing.”
Zac: “It’s boring. This didn’t do it for me today.”
Heidi: “Where is the sexy? Show me the sexy.”

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Kenya

For her inspiration, she says she thought art. She starts crying during the critique and judges go easy.
Heidi: “I’m sad to see you at the bottom.”
Zac: “You have a beautiful color palette.”
Nina: “You didn’t take the easy way out and you get a lot of credit.”

Michael is the WINNER

shop Michael’s design here.

Deyonte is OUT

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Project Runway Recap: ‘A Leap of Innovation’ [S16.Episode 3]

Project Runway. Season 16. Episode 3 on LIFETIME. judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen. Guest judge: Maddie Ziegler. Host: Heidi Klum. Mentor: Tim Gunn.

This week’s challenge: create a look inspired by dance, movement and innovation.In another inexplicable tie-in/inspiration, designers watch the children’s animated film Leap! as well as a performance by the dance group Hiplet. Designers will have 30 minutes to sketch and $200 to shop at Mood.

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Batani: “This challenge is perfect for me. I do hip-hop dance. I do belly dance. I do Indian dance. To bring it together with fashion is just going to be explosive.”

Kentaro remarks that he’s only worked with size 0-4 models. Might be challenging for him that his model this week doesn’t fit that size range. Margarita will use her Puerto Rican culture as inspiration. Ayana has become an early favorite for me. This week she creates her own starry textile. She notes that her design is “flowy and has movement but also looks like stars and looks like midnight. Reach for the stars.”

Kudzanai wants to get the judge’s attention this week as he’s been safe so far. Whenever someone says this they ultimately win or get eliminated. He states: “I’m African so I’m incorporating a lot of different aspects from African culture—feathers, colors, all those aspects of motion and movement.” Deyonte chose a chartreuse fabric. He then has a sewing accident. A needle goes right through his finger. Medics bandage him up and he continues on.

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In the workroom, there’s not yet much friction between the designers. The twins seem to annoy everyone. And you know producers were excited to bring this element to the show. Because why not? Twins worked on The Bachelor franchise. Kenya: “I’m just tired of the twins running around the workroom like their heads are cut off.”  Kudzanai: “The twins are a lot. I wish I was sitting somewhere a bit quieter.” Project Runway has always attracted vast swaths of designers, this season’s cast is especially diverse. Michael and Margarita bond over their Latina backgrounds [he’s Mexican; she’s Puerto Rican] and speak Spanish to each other. Brandon, already quiet, gets in what he calls “Zen mode” when designing. He’s so focused that he blocks out all noise and distraction.

Tim comes in for critique. He tells Claire what maybe many are thinking, to “stay away from Red Bull and coffee.” He tells Shawn she might be thinking too literally. He warns Aaron not to make his garment “a pu-pu platter of different treatments.” [side note: do millennials know a pu-pu platter?] He tells Margarita that her design “looks like full tilt costume.” To Ayana: “There’s a lot going on. I’d reel it in a bit.” And to Kudzanai: “It’s a look that’s about being a lot of look and at this point I think you just have to go for it.”

Runway show notes. Deyonte’s design is way too short. Not flattering. Kudzanai’s design isn’t flattering at all. Margarita’s look is puffy. Claire’s looks ill-fitting. Ayana’s look is stunning. Shawn’s look is okay. Batani created a pretty flowy floral look. Samantha’s design is edgy.

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HIGH SCORES:

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Batani

She tells judges she got her inspiration from the inventor in Leap! She thought about colorful butterflies.

Nina: “When I first saw the shadow of this I already liked it and then when it walked down the runway, the print, the color, the fluidity of the fabric really captured it for me.”

Zac: “I was mixed on it.”

Heidi: “I am a huge fan of Burning Man and a lot of people wear this kind of stuff there. It’s loud. It’s a little bit sexy but a lot of people have wings.”

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Margarita

She tells judges that she’s inspired by dance and that Bomba, the traditional Puerta Rican dance came to mind. “So I set her in a little tropical paradise ensemble,” she states. I didn’t love this look. I wouldn’t have picked it for top three.

Heidi: “I loved this look. It moved beautifully on the runway. It looked sophisticated. Maybe the midriff is a little too open.”

Nina: “I love the spirit of this dress.”

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Brandon

He tells judges that hip-hop was the inspiration. Also something that’s inspired his designs from the beginning. After this runway, I expect Brandon to be showing at NYFW. When I saw his final look I just thought: it’s black and white. It doesn’t appeal to me.  I like man-bun Brandon and his quiet Zen energy though. The models also favor Brandon. He’s handsome. And mysterious.

Nina: “Wow. I love this. I love the creativity. I love its boldness.”

Heidi: “I love your taste. It is fabulous. It is different. Something we haven’t seen before.”

Zac: “These are the moments I wait for on Project Runway. It’s a really focused point of view. It talks about movement and innovation.”

LOW SCORES:

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Kentaro

His inspiration [and his inspiration from the beginning of the competition] is his training as a pianist and classic ballet.

Zac: “I don’t think it had the biggest runway impact. It’s just not enough. I’m not impressed.”

Heidi: “It’s a little too literal. It’s a little too snoozy.”

Nina: “There needed to be some kind of punch when we saw it.”

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Deyonte

He tells judges his woman is going out on the town to see the Hiplet dancers.

Zac: “It’s definitely vibrant. That’s about it. It’s dull. A sheer skirt and lace top and a mullet hem?”

Guest judge Maddie Ziegler: “This reminds me most of dance because I’ve worn a costume almost exactly like that.”

Heidi: “You guys are designers. This is supposed to be fashion. I see an ice skater. I see bad 80s. It is a little bit painful.”

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Kudzanai

His inspiration is mixed West Indian culture. Earlier in the episode we saw Kudzanai’s African/West Indian backstory.

Heidi: “I feel you got a little too inspired by a children’s movie because it looked very juvenile. It’s also not very flattering. It kinda looks like a piñata that exploded in the back.”

Nina: “This is maximal at the max. You embellished it so much that it’s taking away.”

Brandon is the WINNER.

Kudzanai is OUT.

Project Runway airs Thursday at 9pm on LIFETIME.

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Project Runway S16: meet the designers

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Season 16 of Project Runway premiered August 17, 2017 on Lifetime. This season designers will design for various sized models (from 2-22 Tim announces in the first episode). The designers will work with a different model on each challenge. They’re also incorporating a model mirror where the models comment about the designs and the designers. Another season featured model “confessions” and I think it didn’t carry over to the next season as its a design show and focus is on the designers not necessarily the models.

The first episode featured a red carpet challenge. Amy stated: “My trunk is packed full of wisdom so I don’t think this is going to be that hard.” Brandon, who designs menswear, said: “I’m out of my element. It’s got me questioning myself and my abilities.”

Deyonte won. ChaCha lost and was eliminated.

Deyonte’s winning design:

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ChaCha’s losing design:

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On the second episode designers worked in teams on an unconventional materials challenge using recycled materials. Why do they do unconventional and team challenges so early on? During the judging, Claire said: “I’ve never designed for a curvy girl.” Maggie Q whispered to Marie Claire‘s Anne Fulenwider:  “She’s totally normal.” Anne replied: “I think she’s skinnier than I am.”

Ayana won. Sentell lost and was eliminated.

Ayana’s winning design:

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Sentell’s losing design:

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Here are the designers:

aaron

AARON MYERS

Age: 23

Hometown: Sevierville, Tenn.

Resides in: Brooklyn, New York

Education: Columbia College Chicago

Style Icon: Alanna Pearl

amy bond

AMY BOND

Age: 46

Hometown: Idaho

Resides in: Los Angeles, Calif.

Education: MFA in fashion design

Style Icon: Tilda Swinton

Current: professor at Otis College of Art & Design

ayana

AYANA IFE

Age: 27

Hometown: New York, New York

Resides in: Salt Lake City, Utah

Education: Middle Tennessee State University– textiles, merchandising and design

Style Icons: Chriselle Lim, Rihanna

batani

BATANI-KHALFANI

Age: 32

Hometown: East Los Angeles, Calif.

Resides in: Inglewood, Calif.

Style Icons Rihanna, Janelle Monáe

Brandon

BRANDON KEE

Age: 24

Hometown: Murray, Utah

Resides in: San Francisco, Calif.

Education: Art Institute of San Francisco

Style Icon: Rihanna

chacha

CHACHA

Age: 24

Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan

Resides in: Chicago, Ill.

Education: Art Institute of Chicago– masters in fashion design

Style Icon: Miley Cyrus

claire

CLAIRE BUITENDORP

Age: 27

Hometown: Grand Ledge, Mich.

Resides in: Grand Ledge, Mich.

Style Icon: Katy Perry

deyonte

DEYONTE WEATHER

Age: 36

Hometown: Chicago, Ill.

Resides in: Lynwood, Wash.

Style Icon: Beyonce

 kenya

KENYA FREEMAN

Age: 37

Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia

Resides in: Atlanta, Georgia

Style Icon: Tracee Ellis Ross

kentaro

KENTARO KAMEYAMA

Age: 38

Hometown: Gifu-Ken, Japan

Resides in: Los Angeles, Calif.

kudzani

 

KUDZANAI KARIDZA

Age: 32

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Resides in: Atlanta, GA

Style Icons: Pharrell, A$AP Rocky, David Beckham

margarita press

MARGARITA ALVAREZ

Age: 30

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Resides in: Los Angeles, Calif.

Style Icon: Iris Apfel

michael

MICHAEL BRAMBILA

Age: 25

Hometown: Oakland, Calif.

Resides in: Oakland, Calif.

Style Icons: Tilda Swinton, Panos Yiapanis

samantha

SAMANTHA REI

Age: 36

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.

Resides in: Minneapolis, Minn.

Style Icon: Janelle Monae

 

sentell

SENTELL MCDONALD

Age: 33

Hometown: New York, NY

Resides in: Bronx, NY

Style Icons: Tracee Ellis Ross, Corinne Bailey Rae, Solange Knowles

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SHAWN BUITENDORP

Age: 27

Hometown: Grand Ledge, Mich.

Resides in: Grand Ledge, Mich.

Style Icon: Gwen Stefani

 

 

 

 

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National Women’s Soccer League Game of the Week to be broadcast live on Lifetime on Saturdays beginning April 15

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Lifetime cements its commitment to women and women’s television and entertaining by airing National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) games on Saturdays. Supporting and showcasing women’s sports strengthens Lifetime’s position as a television station focused on women and airing programming by women, about women. I played soccer in my youth and it’s an empowering team sport.  I look forward to watching the games. Honestly I’ve always wanted to watch women’s soccer but it’s often difficult to find the games on cable. Knowing that there will be a NWSL game every Saturday makes it easy to support NWSL.

The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will air Saturdays beginning at 3:30pm ET with a 30-minute pregame show leading up to kickoff at 4pm ET. The season opener on Lifetime will be Portland Thorns FC hosting the Orlando Pride, The schedule includes 22 regular-season matches as well as playoff semifinal games and the NWSL Championship.

DATE PREGAME KICKOFF HOME TEAM VISITING TEAM
April 15th 2:30PM 3:00PM Portland Thorns FC Orlando Pride
April 22nd 3:30PM 4:00PM Orlando Pride Washington Spirit
April 29th 3:30PM 4:00PM Portland Thorns FC Chicago Red Stars
May 6th 3:30PM 4:00PM Chicago Red Stars Houston Dash
May 13th 3:30PM 4:00PM Houston Dash Sky Blue FC
May 20th 3:30PM 4:00PM Sky Blue FC Houston Dash
May 27th 3:30PM 4:00PM Houston Dash Seattle Reign FC
June 3rd 3:30PM 4:00PM North Carolina Courage FC Kansas City
June 17th 3:30PM 4:00PM Chicago Red Stars Washington Spirit
June 24th 3:30PM 4:00PM Orlando Pride Houston Dash
July 1st 3:30PM 4:00PM North Carolina Courage Sky Blue FC
July 8th 3:30PM 4:00PM North Carolina Courage Seattle Reign FC
July 15th 3:30PM 4:00PM Portland Thorns FC North Carolina Courage
July 22nd 3:30PM 4:00PM Chicago Red Stars Orlando Pride
August 5th 3:30PM 4:00PM Portland Thorns FC Houston Dash
August 12th 3:30PM 4:00PM Orlando Pride Sky Blue FC
August 19th 3:30PM 4:00PM North Carolina Courage Washington Spirit
August 26th 3:30PM 4:00PM Seattle Reign FC Portland Thorns FC
September 2nd 3:30PM 4:00PM Orlando Pride Boston Breakers
September 9th 3:30PM 4:00PM Orlando Pride Seattle Reign FC
September 23rd 3:30PM 4:00PM Houston Dash Chigaco Red Stars
September 30th 3:30PM 4:00PM Portland Thorns FC Chigaco Red Stars

The NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime will be available for live and on-demand streaming via the Lifetime iOS and Android apps and online at MyLifetime.com. Use #NWSLonLIFETIME to discuss on social media.

About NWSL

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a ten-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, FC Kansas City, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, and the Washington Spirit. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.

About Lifetime

Lifetime is a premier entertainment destination for women dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies. The critically acclaimed UnREAL, Project Runway, Dance Moms, Bring It!, The Rap Game and Little Women franchises anchor the network’s programming, in addition to its over 25 original movies annually that continue to define the TV movie genre. In 2015, Lifetime launched Broad Focus, a major global initiative dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers to make its content which totals over 450 original hours. Lifetime’s Fempire positions the network as a curator of feminist content and conversations, as well as a place where women connect, learn and are entertained. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and Hearst Corporation.

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TV review: Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Michel’le

 

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“Rap was about rage not beauty. Rap hated most women.” –Michel’le

After Straight Outta Compton premiered in theaters last year, many remarked how the film completely avoided depiction of N.W.A.’s violence against women. Here’s the counterpoint. It’s hip-hop artist Michel’le’s powerful and courageous story. As Michel’le narrates the film, this is her truth. Raised by her grandmother in Compton, Michel’le learned to expect men to hit women. That it was just something men did and that women should avoid provoking men and if he hits you to “fix it.” There’s this tragic conditioning of women and acceptance of violence against women. This is Michel’le’s story about her experience in the rap world, particularly her relationships with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.

Plucked from a department store, Michel’le [adeptly portrayed by Rhyon Nicole Brown] starts singing on N.W.A. albums. She’s a surprise as she speaks in a high voice like Minnie Mouse but sings in a deep, gorgeous tone. She almost immediately attracts Dre’s attention and the two start dating. Michel’le remarks: “We were like family. They were like my brothers. Except for Dre of course.” Dre [Curtis Hamilton] had five children and “didn’t take any of these girls seriously.” Almost every guy that Michel’le knew had a baby. She said it was nearly a “Compton right of passage.” She and Dre move in together and she records her first album.

In the studio, Dre comes up and punches her hard. Repeatedly. It’s a disturbing scene. Being young and in love and not understanding love, Michel’le stayed with Dre. Another time he chokes her and exclaims: “Sing the song stupid bitch now.” They’re together for several years and have a son together. Here’s this distorted perception on love and loyalty. Women are afraid of men who control them. It’s often difficult to leave. Many women don’t feel self-confident enough to do so. She’s also young, inexperienced and swept up into this wild scene with drugs, booze, parties. In order to numb the pain, Michel’le started drinking and doing drugs. She also starts becoming successful apart from Dre. She opens for MC Hammer on tour in 1990. She also becomes an alcoholic and drug addict.  Death Row Records co-founder [and Dr. Dre’s business partner] Suge Knight [R. Marcos Taylor] becomes an ally, a protector of sorts, and offers to get her into rehab. While Suge’s in jail, they marry. She has a baby. She takes her child to her grandmother because she doesn’t feel confident enough in raising her own child. When Suge beats her, Michel’le leaves him.

See this film. It provides a memorable and potent first-hand female perspective on the rap world. Although a music critic, I only know what I read in the news about the rap world. Alternative music has always been by genre. It’s literally about a woman being knocked down and picking herself up and carrying on. Tremendous respect to Michel’le for this film.

Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Michel’le premieres Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

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Project Runway S15: meet the designers

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Heading into episode three on S15 of Project Runway, two designers have been eliminated: Linda and Ian.

In episode two, the designers needed to design something that would appeal to a wide variety of women. The winner’s design would be sold on the Just Fab website. Laurence won. Linda got eliminated.

winning design by Laurence:

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Project Runway S15 Designers

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TASHA HENDERSON

Age: 41

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Resides in: Shreveport, LA

Favorite Designers: Kanye West, Control Sector, Daniel Patrick

Style Icon: Kanye West, Jesse Boykins, SZA, Rihanna, Janelle Monae, Pharrell

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano, Samantha Black, Sonjia, Mondo Guerra, Dom Streater

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SARAH DONOFRIO

Hometown:  Toronto, Canada

Resides in:  Portland, OR

Favorite Designers:  Jean Paul Gautier, Ungaro, Walter Von Bierendonck and

Martin Margiela

Style Icon:  Madonna

Favorite past Project Runway designer:  Amanda Valentine and Mondo Guerra

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ROBERI PARRA

Hometown:  Caracas, Venezuela

Resides in:  Miami, FL

Favorite Designers:  Different designers for different moments.  I prefer those with a unique point of view and ideas.

Style Icon:  Bjork

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RIK VILLA

Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

Resides in:  Los Angeles, CA

Favorite Designers:  Maison Margiela, Acne Studios, Rick Owens, Lanvin,

Nicolas Ghesquiere

Style Icon:  Gwen Stefani

Favorite Past Project Runway Designer:  Seth Aaron

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NATHALIA JMAG

Age: 24

Hometown: Framingham, MA

Resides in: Boston, MA

Favorite Designers: Alexander Wang, Eileen Fisher, Riccardo Tisci, Stella McCartney, Jeremy Scott

Style Icon: Rihanna, Cher, Gwen Stefani

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Layana Aguilar & Kelly Dempsey

Education: Framingham State University design program

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MAH-JING WONG

Hometown:  Philadelphia, PA

Resides in:  Philadelphia, PA

Favorite Designers:  D2square, Zac Posen and Versace

Style Icon:  Pam Grier, Lil Kim

Favorite past Project Runway designer: “I don’t have one, I love them all.”

Education: Art Institute of Philadelphia

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LINDA MARCUS [eliminated week two]

Age: 55

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Resides in: Milwaukee, WI

Favorite Designers: Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Ricky Owens, Vivian Westwood

Style Icon: Iman, Jessica Alba, Zendaya

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra, Austin Scarlett, Dom Streater

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LAURENCE BASSE

Age: 41

Hometown: Paris, France

Resides in: Los Angeles, CA

Favorite Designers: Tom ford, Balmain, JPG, Alexander McQueen

Style Icon: Grace Jones

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Kini Zamora

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KIMBERLY RICHARDSON 

Age: 42

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Resides in: New York, NY

Favorite Designers: Rodarte, Marchesa, Valentino, Stephane Roland and Vera Wang

Style Icon:  Miroslava Duma

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano

Education: Art Institute of New York

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JENNI RICCETTI

Age: 22

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Resides in: San Francisco, CA

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo

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ERIN ROBERTSON

Age: 29

Hometown: Provo, UT

Resides in: Cambridge, MA

Favorite Designers: Elsa Schiaparelli, Pheobe Philo, Miuccia Prada, Roksonda Ilincic, Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen,

Style Icon: Anna Dello Russo

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Sean Kelly

Education: BFA in Fashion Design and Fiber Art from Massachusetts College of Art and Design

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DEXTER SIMMONS

Age: 32

Hometown: Oakland, CA

Resides in: Oakland, CA

Favorite Designers: Victor and Rolf, KTZ, Hussein Chalayan

Style Icon: Grace Jones, Prince

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Michael Costello

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CORNELIUS ORTIZ

Age: 24

Hometown: Boston, MA

Resides in: Boston, MA

Favorite Designers: Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens

Style Icon: Janelle Monae

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Sonjia Williams

Education: bachelors in Fashion Design and Retailing from Framingham State University

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BRIK ALLEN

Age: 26

Hometown: Baton Route, LA

Resides in: New Orleans, LA

Favorite Designers: Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, and Kenz Style Icon: James Dean

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra

Education: Bachelor of Science in Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising from Louisiana State University

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ALEX SNYDER

Age: 30

Hometown: Boca Raton/Delray Beach, Florida

Resides in:  San Francisco, CA

Favorite Designers: Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Christobal Balenciaga

Style Icon: Frida Kahlo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, the Mara sisters, Sia, and Kate Blanchet

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Jay McCarroll

Education: MFA in design (unspecified school)

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IAN HARGROVE [eliminated week one]

Age: 30

Hometown: Cary, IL

Resides in: Chicago, IL

Favorite Designers: Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Baja East

Style Icon: Jaden Smith, Jenna Lyons

Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Fabio Costa

 

 

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