Project Runway NZ Week 3 recap + exit interview with Matt Costello

Project Runway NZ week 3

The Project Runway NZ designers collect their recycled techology to make into garments. Image by Tom Hollow.

It’s time for episode 3 of Project Runway New Zealand already, which opens with the remaining 12 designers questioning what the judges are looking for after the last elimination. Benjamin thinks it’s all about hard graft and not worth overthinking it. While the ever enthusiastic Caitlin gives her roommates a quick pep talk before they head to meet host Georgia Fowler.

Georgia says the designers blew away the judges with their contemporary streetwear. She teases that the challenge is about not the modern world but an outdated one. The designers head to meet Andreas at the warehouse of Computer Recycling Ltd which is full to the brim of old phones, computers and all sorts of old technology. Upon walking in Kerry remarks “Oh my god, we don’t belong here!”

Andreas explains that this is the first unconventional materials challenge and the designers are asked to integrate old outdated techology into a new fashion design. He emphasises that it’s not a wearable art project, it has to be fashion. Matt doesn’t like it one bit. Andreas pairs up the designers to do this challenge as a team with the pairs being Matt and Beau, Caitlin and Benjamin, Massey and Jess, Judy and Kerry, Camille and Beni, and Misty and Beth. Some of the designers are happy about the pairings and others are questioning their partner’s aesthetic suitability and way of working.

Then they’re all off to spend $150 per team at The Fabric Store with Andreas reminding them that while this is a hard challenge, the judges are expecting to see extraordinary things. Beth and Misty agree on some brightly striped fabric that has a pin-up feel. While Matt and Beau choose moodier fabric with Beau worried that he doesn’t want to adjust his tailored design aesthetic to Matt’s slouchier style.

Camille and Peni take a guitar back to the runway, with Peni noting that Cami is an oddball but has been among the top designers so far. Kerry and Judy are finding their lack of upper body strength challenging when trying to take apart the equipment. With Kerry noting that neither one of them is the muscly type. Benjamin and Caitlin are already BFFs and agree on their design straight away.

Massey has immunity, which makes Jess feel like she has to take the reigns of the project. Jess reminisces about her grandmother who was a seamstress and always surrounded by fabric while raising six kids. She’s not impressed about working with Massey and labels him a rookie for his lack of knowledge.

Project Runway NZ week 3

Guest judge Stephen Tilley, judge Benny Castles, judge Sally-Ann Mullin and host Georgia Fowler.

Beth talks about how she loves vintage style and loves to add spookiness to her pin-up style. She notes that Misty is a no bullshit lady. The two agree on a unique design which meshes Beth’s 50’s style with Misty’s Maori style.

Judy and Kerry are enthusiastic about their design coming together as are Caitlin and Benjamin with Caitlin trying on the jacket and remarks on how much she loves it.

Peni is questioning whether or not their design is meeting the brief as they are using more recycled pieces than fabric. Matt is feeling tired and like Beau isn’t helping him while Beau is trying to concentrate on finishing his skirt.

Jess and Massey’s blue tailored outfit gets Andreas’ attention and Jess comments that she and Massey are getting on better and getting on with the job. Andreas warns Peni and Camille not to make their piece out of circuitboards too heavy. While he tells Matt and Beau to make sure their look is cohesive and works well together.

The models arrive for their fittings and the designers get busy making sure their designs fit just so. Beau and Matt are really not getting on with each getting more annoyed at each other. Beau notes that he feels like he’s micromanaging Matt and is not happy about it. The other designers notice that they’re not getting on and might be in trouble.

Jess adds that the designers ‘will all need a mani’ after working on the hard materials. Peni remarks that the vibe in the workroom is intense with some designers getting along and others not talking to each other or being snappy. Andreas arrives to let the designers know they have two hours until the next runway presentation to get their models through hair and makeup and styled.

Camille is worried that she and Peni don’t have enough time to finish their look while disaster strikes over at Caitlin and Benjamin’s bench with a zipper popping off their dress made out of electrical cord, thankfully they locate a back-up zip in the nick of time.

Project Runway NZ week 3

The judges inspect the designer’s garments more closely.

Georgia asks the designers how they feel about working together and Beau remarks that it was ‘challenging’ working with Matt. Georgia introduces judges Sally-Ann Mullin and Benny Castles along with guest judge, esteemed photographer Stephen Tilley.

The runway presentation begins and each pair enthuses about their designs with all of the models working their garments. Massey and Jess, and Caitlin and Benjamin are safe and leave the runway. While Misty and Beth, Judy and Kerry, Matt and Beau and Peni and Camille stay to find out who are the top and bottom ranking teams.

Beth’s and Misty’s clever merging of pin-up and Maori style resulted in a stunning full-skirted dress that is a collaboration for both the top and skirt and well-liked by the judges. The judges question Matt and Beau on their working together and even though they hadn’t gotten on previously Georgia notes that they’re finishing each other’s sentences.

Stephen loves the colour of Misty and Beth’s design. While Benny muses that Judy’s and Kerry’s coat is ‘Vodafone goth’ although aren’t as impressed by the jumpsuit. The judges love Beau’s skirt but aren’t as into Matt’s top and don’t think they work well together. Stephen isn’t sure about the wearability of Camille’s and Peni’s design and think’s it’s too much like a wearable arts piece.

Kerry wins the challenge with the judges loving the coat that was more his design than Judy’s. Beth and Misty are also complimented on their design. Peni and Cami are in the bottom as are Matt and Beau with Georgia telling Matt that his design was the weakest and he is eliminated.

“I really love the saying ‘win or learn’. When I came into the competition, I was winning every second I was there, sucking up all of the new experiences and challenges,” says Matt Costello. “Of course I would have loved to win the competition, but this is not the end of Stelloco – just beginning.”

Project Runway NZ week 3

Designer Matt Costello was the third contestant eliminated on Project Runway New Zealand. Image by Tom Hollow.

We caught up with Matt to find out more about his experience on the show, what he would have done differently and what’s next for him.

How would you describe your Project Runway New Zealand experience in five words?
Challenging, exciting, overwhelming, humbling and mind-opening

What was your favourite outfit that you designed on the show and why?
Would have to be episode two, because I design always from passion and feeling. This design held a lot of emotion for me.

Which challenge did you find the hardest and why?
Week one (cocktail) was the one challenge I was not looking forward to, I thought it would be the one that would send me home. As you could tell I really just did my own thing with that one.

Is there anything you would do differently if you could do the show again?
Voice to the judges they shouldn’t be sending me home, because I came up with the whole vision of the look and drive that challenge from start to finish. If you can’t design from a vision or story then get the hell outta here son, I felt the wrong person went home.

Which other designer/s did you bond with on the show?
Everyone was amazing in their own way, But I roomed with Massey – so that’s definitely a solid relationship.

What was your favourite moment from the filming of the show?
Getting to see how a show is made and how it all comes together, so much hard work is put into making this show. I would really like to just say a big thanks to all the filming crew and people behind the scenes, the hours and work ethic is out of this world. Mad respect.

What is your advice for anyone who wants to be on Project Runway New Zealand in future?
If you have a will and a growth mindset, go for it. But I recommend becoming a monopoly for sure you stand out, bring a point of difference.

What’s next for you?
I want to drive Stelloco to the next level! I want to play with the big dogs and speak some truths about the industry, so watch out I’m coming in hot.

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.