The Challenge: The designers fly to Paris for a crash course in couture, touring the house of Valentino and attending the Valentino couture show. With a budget of 3000 Euros (thank goodness – with a hefty budget at a couture fabric store, the designers at least stand a chance of making something good), the designers are to create a couture-inspired look.
Guest Judge: Cynthia Rowley, who was hilarious and potty-mouthed and generally a great addition to this sorry excuse for a judging panel.
ANTHONY RYAN AULD
Anthony Ryan has now won five of this season’s eleven challenges, and I don’t think he’s ever once made the best thing on the runway. Once again, I’ll repeat my broken-record speech and say that this wasn’t the worst thing on the runway, but it was overpraised to the point of stupidity. It’s a nice dress, but it didn’t fit the model at all, and I don’t think what he did with combining the fabrics made for as nice an effect as the judges seemed to think.
But a memo to Lifetime: those of us who are still watching your increasingly terrible program are doing so half-heartedly and without enthusiasm, and that’s entirely your fault. I’m not expecting a reality show not to have producers choosing who wins from the outset, but for the love of God, BE BETTER AT HIDING IT. That’s your job, Lifetime – to make it look as if this is actually a design competition instead of a painful charade with an undeserving winner who was handpicked at the start.
I agreed with the judges that this could have been better in a tea length, but it was certainly th ebest thing on the runway. I thought the fabric looked heavy and stiff on television, but when Isaac and Cynthia actually touched the fabric, it was incredibly light. He chose an absolutely stunning fabric and did a very classic sort of 1950s couture silhouette with it – not the riskiest move in the playbook, but at least he executed it beautifully. He reminded the judges what he’s here for – impeccable construction, simple but powerful silhouettes, modern but romantic looks.
The fabric of the top half was beautiful, but I’m not sure Joshua had enough time to make something that would really make that fabric look as beautiful as possible. But the colorful floral was far from couture, and a terrible choice altogether. When the judges were torn between whether to eliminate Uli or Joshua, they gave both designers one hour to tear apart their dresses right there on the runway and make them into something completely different. (The “right there on the runway” part seemed unnecessary – the judges didn’t stay to watch them sew, so why couldn’t Joshua and Uli have gone back to the workroom where they could be more comfortable?)
Joshua’s reboot of his dress was infinitely more wearable and kind of cute in that slightly tacky hipster way, but it was kind of just a youthful, ready-to-wear version of what he’d already made. And thank goodness, because although Josh has grown on me significantly this season, it would have been a real shame to watch him win over Uli, who is a more experienced and talented designer.
This looks a little too much like a combination of everything Uli’s made this season, but I still thought it was beautiful and powerful on the runway. The lining didn’t bother me as much as it did the judges, and I didn’t agree with Carolyn that the back looked like a “blob.” I thought it looked elegant and expensive and I liked the negative space and illusion netting. The judges didn’t agree, but mostly I felt Uli was in the bottom because the judges refuse to give any actual criticism to Anthony Ryan, ever.
But as Cynthia Rowley said, Uli’s method of using the lining (which the judges hated) as the entirety of the dress was such a “fuck you” to the judging panel, in the best possible way. I agree wholeheartedly, and thought she made an incredibly chic look that was shockingly different from the gown she originally presented. The black and gold shrug was gorgeous, and the effortless draping of the lining had that easy, old-school Uli quality to it that I love. But sadly, we’ll all be tuning in next week to watch the incredibly talented Uli and the fantastic Emilio be beaten by Anthony Ryan, the judges’ pet.
Judges’ Top 2: Anthony Ryan and Emilio
Diva’s Top 2: Emilio and Uli
Judges’ Bottom 2: Uli and Joshua
Diva’s Bottom 2: Anthony Ryan and Joshua