The Challenge: Take a deep breath, because this was a hot mess of a challenge – in teams of three, with each team member creating one look, drive a Lexus car (and be inspired by it, but only if you feel like it – um, okay, producers) to your choice of two out of three possible locations for unconventional materials – wallpaper, food, or hardware/party favors. If that made less than no sense to you, well, then we’re on the same page, dear readers. The designers had a suggested budget of $1500 (this budget thing has become a pain, since it’s just an excuse for everyone to fulfill their contractual requirement of saying GoBank a thousand times per episode) and one day to complete their looks. I don’t like one day challenges in general – the quality of every garment goes up by about a million percent when the designers have more than just a few hours to complete their looks – and for an unconventional challenge, it’s even more important that the contestants have time to figure out how the hell they’re going to sew wallpaper like it’s fabric.
Guest Judge: June Ambrose, stylist. She wasn’t particularly memorable, but whenever the guest judge is someone who actually knows about fashion, rather than whatever Z-list reality star the producers could scrape together, I can’t complain.
Team Jeremy, Karen, & Kate:
Jeremy’s placemats-and-glitter dress was certainly the best look he’s created thusfar (though a lot of the beauty is in the detailing on the sides, which you can’t see too well here). But since I don’t get to sit on the judging panel and inhale their crack smoke, I cannot even come close to understanding how the judges were able to pretend that this was the best thing on the runway, or that this team could even compare to Team Alexander/Bradon/Miranda. Once again, the judges would rather tell a redemption story (Jeremy was in the bottom three last week) than actually award the win to the winner. It’s always been a problem, but it gets more frustrating with every challenge.
The back is kind of a nightmare, and the general shapelessness of this look was a problem, but it was definitely a big improvement for Karen, who has made some really unfortunate garments in the past. This had intrigue and thought behind it, even if the construction leaves something to be desired. Also, I’m pretty sure those cap sleeves are made of coconuts. COCONUTS. This wouldn’t have been anywhere near the top three for me, but it at least proved to me that Karen’s got some tricks up her sleeve.
I love that Lifetime’s official photo of this look shows Kate’s model in a freaking robot pose, so you can tell even in pictures just how impossible it was for the model to walk down the runway in this outfit. This poor girl walked like she was being stabbed by a thousand tiny little knives. And I don’t know why a little black dress was deserving of so much of the judges’ positive attention, but then again, if it were up to me, their pet Kate wouldn’t even be on this season. She was rightfully eliminated last year, and no one except the producers is interested in her redemption story.
Team Dom, Helen, & Justin:
This team used real, fresh berries on their garments, which got my respect – those are difficult materials to work with. But I thought the wallpaper they chose was just a terrible color and print, though Dom did her best to make it look fashionable. And don’t get me wrong, I love a crazy little Lady Gaga shoulder as much as the next girl, but this model looks like she’s slowly transforming into a dinosaur. And not in a good way.
The most hilarious part about this dress is Helen looked at in and said, with a straight face, that it was perfectly constructed. Girlfriend better hope for more team challenges so she can continue to rest on the far superior skills of her fellow designers, because she can’t make a good look by herself to save her life.
The construction on that blouse and those pants is actually incredibly impressive, but again, the print and the color palette are just incredibly stuffy and matronly. It’s a shame, because the berries on the back of that blouse are used brilliantly, and I truly can’t believe he made such a well-fitting pair of pants out of wallpaper, but Justin’s looks tend to err on the old side, which is why he just can’t seem to find his way to the top three.
Team Alexander, Bradon, & Miranda:
There were so many things that made this team the clear winners, but their cohesion was truly remarkable. Unlike their competitors, this team really created a mini-collection: three looks that truly spoke to each other, and not just because they were rendered in similar materials. They brilliantly decided to do separates, a cocktail dress, and a wedding gown, to show their wide range of skills and to keep their mini-collection interesting and fresh. Like all of Alexander’s looks, this had a lot going on, and maybe too much. But that scarf and those pants sold it for me.
I got EMOTIONAL when this came down the runway. Granted, that might be more PMS than anything else, but I swear, I got a little bit teary-eyed when this wedding gown made of plastic tablecloths and window blinds appeared. I could not believe how it moved like it was not just made of fabric, but made of the richest, most luxurious fabrics in the world. I’m still on season two of Game of Thrones, but if there’s ever a wedding in Winterfell, this is clearly what the bride should be wearing. I understand not wanting to give Bradon the win every single week, but I can’t even pretend that anything else on the runway came close to this. I’m Team Bradon til the end.
It’s better than most of the crap she’s thrown down the runway thusfar, I’ll give her that. It doesn’t have much in the way of design, and it looks like a Mary Katrantzou knock-off, but at least it vaguely resembles clothes that an actual human being would wear.
Team Alexandria, Ken, & Sue:
ALEXANDRIA VAN BROMSSEN
I could not stop laughing at how NOISY this skirt was – with every step the model took, the skirt crackled like it was about to explode into a roaring fire. It was incredibly distracting, but not so distracting that I could ignore the fact that this was terribly underdesigned. Alexandria had to work with a total bitch (Ken) and someone with basically no construction skills (Sue), so I appreciate her predicament, but she also played the nice girl until she knew she’d have to throw someone under the bus in order to stay in the competition, so I can’t have too much pity for her.
Get off your high horse, Ken. There was nothing even remotely acceptable or appropriate about his attitude throughout this entire challenge, which means he knows exactly how much of a little bitch he was being, and he did it all on purpose so that his “drama” would force the producers to keep him on the show. But Ken simply lacks the skills to back up his diva attitude – he’s all talk, but I can’t even remember a single thing he’s made this season, and this look was no better. Sue’s dress was worse, and she just doesn’t have the skills to stay in this competition, but I’d have been equally happy with a Ken elimination. But I’ve long since stopped expecting the judges to not reward bitchy little divas for their terrible attitudes. And speaking of terrible attitudes, at some point during this episode, Sandro came back to “apologize” to the designers for his sociopathic mental breakdown. It was almost funny, the way he kept looking at Tim as if he couldn’t remember his next line and needed a cue, but mostly, it was a complete waste of time and yet another desperately staged moment that would have been better off on the cutting room floor.
And it’s good riddance to Sue, who seemed like a nice enough lady, but whose hand-sewing skills were simply not enough to allow her to compete with her fellow designers. That was evident from the beginning, and I refuse to believe that there aren’t designers who can actually sew aching to be on this show, so why we had to watch five episodes of her being afraid of sewing machines, I’ll never know. But at least she’s a thing of the past.
Judges’ Top 3: Jeremy, Karen, Kate
Diva’s Top 3: Bradon, Alexander, Jeremy
Judges’ Bottom 3: Alexandria, Ken, Sue
Diva’s Bottom 3: Alexandria, Ken, Sue