The Challenge: Design a dress inspired by a flag from one of the major world regions.
Guest Judge: The beautiful Catherine Malandrino.
AUSTIN SCARLETT, Bottom 3
This only made my personal top three by default, because there was a whole lot of sloppy on this runway. The prototype of an interesting dress is there, but it looks like Austin stopped about 1/4 of the way through his design. The judges were right to point out that this doesn’t really incorporate enough of the colors from the flag – the blues in the dress are different from that of the flag, so he’s really just counting on the yellow to do all the work of recalling the original flag. That little braided belt is pathetic, but I can appreciate the sort of island getaway aesthetic he was going for. But he got lost, completely lost in the challenge – this was probably his worst entry of the season.
JERELL SCOTT, Bottom 3
I can’t quite believe Jerell managed to stick around after throwing this pile of garbage down the runway. This looks like a low-budget American remake of a Bollywood blockbuster film. The close-ups of this were truly terrifying – the construction was hideous, from the neckline to the seams down the arms do the way that green curtain gets caught in her belt. It’s awful, it’s tasteless, it borders on offensive, and still Mila got sent home because the judges subscribe to McCarthyism.
That thing down her sleeve is atrocious. And as if the headband and earrings weren’t enough, she’s got eighty gold bracelets on. To add insult to injury, this doesn’t even remotely recall the Indian flag. I’m not even close to a Mila fan, but there’s no way she deserved to go home over Jerell. This was pathetic.
KENLEY COLLINS, Top 3
Listen, at this point in the game, everyone is just pulling out whatever tricks they use the most because they’re sleep-deprived and just trying to make it through the next forty-eight hours of hell. Kenley is guilty of it, but she’s not the only one. What upsets me here is that this looks more like Kenley’s work from her first time around on Project Runway – practically everything she made was a printed dress with half the skirt in a different and much more voluminous print. It’s not just overuse of a polka-dot or a girly silhouette – we’re really starting to see the same dresses over and over again, from Kenley and from other designers.
The asymmetrical collar is killing me, and I think the fit is much nicer in the front than in the back. But unlike nearly everything else on the runway, it was chic, wearable, and at least marginally relevant to the challenge, even if it’s boring as hell to recap a show where people make the same dress eleven thousand times in a row.
MICHAEL COSTELLO, Top 3
Wow. Way to push the envelope, Michael. It really must have taken all the inspiration in your soul to come up with … a white Grecian gown with blue trim. The judges were right to mock the Christmas ornament on her shoulder, but wrong to suggest it would have been a fine dress otherwise. It would have been a cheap, poorly made Marchesa knockoff – and, apologies to Georgina Chapman, but it’s not even a knockoff of one of Marchesa’s better designs. From the front, at least, the draping worked, which is what protected Michael from my bottom 2 and the judges’ bottom 3.
You can’t tell in the photo, but when this was on the runway, you could see just how horrible the fit was. I’m shocked her breasts didn’t pop out the sides – there were gaping holes between where her body ended and where the dress began. It was made with practically no conception of a woman’s body and didn’t remotely fit his model.
MILA HERMANOVSKI, Eliminated
Yeah, this was pretty awful, but it was practically couture compared to Jerell’s hot disaster. It’s unattractive, it’s too Mila, and it’s extraordinarily literal, as far as its use of the flag as inspiration.
And that swerved colorblocking looks just terrible from the back, as does that giant sleeve, which is pretty poorly executed. I’m always happy to see Mila go, as she’s always been far too painfully one-note for this show. But there’s no way this was worse than Jerell’s.
MONDO GUERRA, Winner
This is hard to recap about with photos, because you can’t see the beautiful seaming and fit that went into what looks like a basic black gown. I’m not saying this was the greatest thing on earth – it was extraordinarily simple and also a little too literal – but man, did this dress fit his model like a dream.
And whatever the judges say, I thought the panel in back was expertly done and very beautiful. Sure, it was a pretty literal interpretation of the flag, but it didn’t look tacked-on and random. It made the dress interesting and unique and sexy, while serving as the reference point to the flag. Let’s just hope that next week, the challenge encourages the designers to put away their favorite tricks and push the envelope.
Judges’ Top 3: Mondo, Kenley, Michael
Diva’s Top 3: Mondo, Kenley, Austin
Judges’ Bottom 3: Austin, Jerell, Mila
Diva’s Bottom 3: Michael, Mila, Jerell