The Challenge: We were led to believe this episode would be ALL ABOUT NINA, but it was actually all about fashion bloggers. And since Democracy Diva was not included in that group of fashion bloggers, no one cared about them at all. The designers were paired with beauty and style bloggers who served as their models, and were tasked with creating a new trend for 2014. They also had to include a color that everyone very seriously referred to as “radiant orchid,” as if that’s a color we’ve all heard of for our whole lives and not just a completely random pairing of words. The winning designer gets to shoot a video with Nina for a fashion blog, and received a lovely $10,000 prize package that includes a stay in Belgium. (Random, but undeniably fabulous.)
Guest Judges: Nina Garcia (who should be part of every judging panel for everything, until the end of time), Christian Siriano (who appears to have halted the aging process altogether), and Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein (whom I find kind of boring, but he’s a big name, so Runway likes to grab him when they can, I suppose).
I laughed my ass off when Christopher opined about the lack of romantic, feminine trench coats on the runways, only to have Zanna deadpan “Burberry” as her response. His follow-up stammering just proved how little this boy actually thinks before he speaks – and more importantly, at least in this industry, how little he thinks before he designs. It seems that a lot of the designers came up with their outfits first, and tried to pick something out that could serve as the next big trend, but the point of the challenge was to start with the trend and work from there. Christopher decided he wanted to make a girly trench, and wouldn’t let a little thing like it not being at all relevant to the challenge get in his way. Unfortunately, he’s no Christopher Bailey of Burberry. Even a perfectly-executed version of this look wouldn’t have really impressed me, because it still would have lacked the requisite trend prediction, and it just barely used the “radiant orchid” (I can’t discuss that color without using sarcastic quotation marks around that ridiculous name) that was also a requirement for the challenge. But this was ill-fitting, unflattering, not particularly unique, and worst of all, it didn’t even seem like Christopher was trying to fulfill the requirements of the challenge. He just knew that his obnoxiously big mouth would mean that the judges wouldn’t send him home yet, no matter how bad his look was, and so he gets to stay, even though pairing that military green with that “radiant orchid” purse should be considered a war crime.
Alyssa Milano won a permanent place in my heart for standing up for the petite ladies of the world, and wondering why on earth Elena would do something like this to a 4’9″ woman. The pictures actually make this look decent, but on television, this poor little woman was absolutely swallowed by that insane jacket, and the length of the skirt only made her look shorter. And in usual Elena fashion, she spent so much time working on one of her “signature” jackets that she seems to have forgotten to design literally anything else. Most of Elena’s jackets, while stylish and cool in a futuristic way, are so thick and bulky that they seem impossible to actually wear. Combine that effect with such a petite woman, and anything the jacket had going for it just fades away. Also, a peplum? For a challenge about a new trend, not one that we haven’t gone a day without seeing for the last year? Thumbs down.
Crappy QVC accessories aside, this was the clear winner. Korto seemed to be the only designer who actually thought about her 2014 trend first (the white suit) and created the look around that concept. I think that’s why she had so much success compared to her competitors. I loved the way she used the “radiant orchid” color on the other side of those panels – it was just a pop of color, but somehow it looked like a bigger and better use of the shade than Christopher’s little clutch. The vest was a great idea, the panels on it were beautiful, and the pants fit like a dream. I can’t say my pale ass will be rocking a white suit in the new year, but for darker-skinned ladies, it’s definitely a killer trend.
SETH AARON HENDERSON
A beautifully constructed, well-designed dress. But what was the new trend supposed to be? Seth Aaron babbled about colorblocking and seaming, but he didn’t really have a specific enough trend nailed down. He should have said the trend was leather cap sleeves – I’m not a huge fan, but at least it’s something specific and recognizable about this look. This is definitely chic and wearable, but it lacks the kind of originality that I expect from someone as talented as Seth Aaron.
That’s a dress you could pick up at any mall in America. The leather jacket is undeniably cute and definitely wearable, but like Elena, Viktor focused too much on the jacket and not enough on the rest of the design. And there’s no element of this look that I can pick out and say, “This will be the new trend for 2014.” I still maintain that Christopher’s sad little Burberry knockoff was far, far worse than this, but I can’t say this was All Stars worthy.
Judges’ Top 2: Korto and Seth Aaron
Diva’s Top 3: Korto and Seth Aaron
Judges’ Bottom 3: Elena, Christopher, Viktor
Diva’s Bottom 3: Elena, Viktor, Christopher