The Challenge: In two days, with a $400 budget, create an “avant-garde” look inspired by one of L’Oreal’s new makeup collections. You know, because nothing speaks to the innovation and creativity required for avant-garde quite like desperately pairing them with tacky makeup to make a quick buck, right?
Guest Judge: Zoe Saldana, by far the greatest actress/starlet to ever guest judge on this show. She was knowledgeable, invested in the show, and didn’t base her entire criticism on “I’d wear that” or “I wouldn’t wear that” the way every model/actress who comes on the show does. (Heidi, that includes you.)
The best advice given during this episode was that avant-garde should not be a costume; that’s where a combination of Christopher and the producers failed miserably. Christopher made himself quite the little Mockingjay costume, but is that his fault? Each of the four L’Oreal makeups had some ridiculous name for the entirely nonexistent woman they were supposed to represent – this one was “Enchanted Queen.” And though I don’t have a lot of experiences with enchanted queens (my queens are more of the drag variety), I think it’s safe to say that this is what an enchanted queen would wear to her enchanted masquerade ball or wherever the fuck an enchanted queen goes. The feathers around her neck and shoulders were a good idea, even if the execution was less than perfect. But poor Christopher can’t do an extra-wide hip if his life depended on it – as the judges noted, if the model didn’t have such an itsy-bitsy waist, you’d never know that those are artistically enhanced hips for the purpose of being avant-garde, would you? And the eye was drawn immediately not to the beautiful shoulders or the stunning, haunting hair and makeup, but to that God-awful bustline. It’s sad, it’s crooked, it’s wrinkled, and it looks downright tortured.
I think that Dmitry’s look had enough innovation and seemingly unique cuts to give it a slightly avant-garde vibe, even though the look overall doesn’t come across as avant-garde to me. But the side-slits, the way the back fits, and the shape the front makes it just exquisite. And I think the judges were wrong about the collar – without it, this would have been just a suit. An impeccably-tailored suit, but just a suit nonetheless. It needed a piece for extra drama and intrigue, and I think the collar was just a phenomenal way to do that. It’s clearly a Dmitry and it’s executed to perfection, so kudos to him for this week’s win, even if the meaning of avant-garde is lost on the judges and contestants alike.
Fabio’s got ideas and creativity, and that’s why I’m glad he’s made it this far in the competition. Turning the jacket upside-down was a game-changing moment for him, but I have to say, this was infinitely more impressive on television than it is in pictures. But the more Heidi refused to acknowledge this because it was “sad” and because it didn’t fit her personal aesthetic – which we all know is questionable at best, as evidenced by the hooker-tastic Herve Leger dress she wore at the beginning of the episode – the more I rooted for Fabio. The reversible jacket was innovative, and I don’t even hate the giant pants, but I do think the vertical strips of fabric in the bust weren’t executed well enough.
Like every other entry, I’m not at all convinced that this is avant-garde, but it packed a fucking punch on the runway. The leather vest was incredibly sharp, and though the skirt looks a little stiff and uneven in photos, I thought it worked well on the runway, particularly with the color popping out. I believe Melissa is one of the more talented people left in the competition, but if she can’t push her creativity past high collars and leather, I won’t be rooting for her to win.
I really love Sonjia. I think her personal style is incredibly unique and fun, and I think she’s made some great pieces on this show. But I hated everything about this. I felt this was the least avant-garde of the bunch. Half the gowns we see on the red carpet use illusion netting for the faux-nude effect that Sonjia thought was so avant-garde, and she used it terribly. “She looks naked but isn’t” isn’t avant-garde, and when it’s done so terribly that there’s no way she could be confused for naked, it’s worthy of the auf.
Judges’ Top 3: Dmitry, Christopher, Melissa
Diva’s Top 3: Dmitry, Melissa, Fabio
Judges’ Bottom 2: Fabio and Sonjia
Diva’s Bottom 2: Christopher and Sonjia