The Challenge: First, the show made us sit through the final audition, where we have to watch people on the show say “I can’t believe I’m not on the show yet!” EVEN THOUGH WE’RE LITERALLY WATCHING THEM ON THE SHOW. One man named Tim was silly enough to think that the judges might be open-minded enough to accept him when he announced his ideal client is a middle-aged lesbian. But the offensively incredulous look on Heidi’s face after he said that sealed the deal. “Your dream client is not me? YA AWWWT.” So farewell Tim, Nzinga, and Emmanuel, we hardly knew ye. Actually, we didn’t know ye at all.
The sixteen remaining designers enter the newly designer, tackier-than-ever workroom. It’s purple and teal, like the dream house I designed in my head when I was ten years old and thought the Spice Girls would have the lasting power of the Beatles. We have an ALDO accessories wall – hey, it could be worse – and a new sponsorship from Red Robin. Because nothing says high fashion like fast food, right?! Each designer gets a small black trunk containing five fabrics of three yards each. They can trade fabrics with their competitors, but they only have one day to create a spring look for the runway.
Guest Judge: Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen. She was … let’s say overly enthusiastic, instead of terrifyingly manic.
I use the phrase “standard middle-of-the-road fare” for SO many things on this show (particularly in the first half of the season) that I think it deserves an acronym. Let’s call it SMORF. Now every time someone creates something that was clearly designed to be considered safe in the eyes of the judges, we can just yell SMORF and be done with it!
Alexander’s entry was total SMORF. Pretty and inoffensive, with just one element making it anything other than the world’s most basic dress. If that’s not guaranteed to make it to the middle of the pack when there’s still sixteen designers left, I don’t know what is.
For some reason, Amanda was voted to return to the show. (The fans had the option to choose forgettable Amanda, Ken Lauren the sociopath, or Alexander Pope, the fabulous ginger dandy with the crazy eyebrows and delicious drag queen aesthetic. I obviously voted for Alexander.) She basically says that on her previous season, she wasn’t enough of a camera-whore, and she wants to change that. OH, GOOD. Because this show DEFINITELY needs more people who act out for attention. Sigh.
Anyway, her look was well-praised, and for good reason. Those are some very nicely-fit pants, which is quite an achievement – even in multiple-day challenges, most designers on this show never seem to be able to create a well-crafted pant. It wasn’t my favorite look, but it was chic, vaguely interesting, and it had a point of view.
During the final audition, Angela seemed on the precipice of a complete panic attack, dropping things and stuttering and generally looking terrified to be breathing the same air as Heidi, Nina, and Zac. (Zac Posen is darling, but I do miss Michael Kors.) Angela was immediately cast as the Nervous One, and her fellow contestants seemed to be actively trying to get her to implode. Over/under on how soon this poor girl has a meltdown and quits the show?
Nina called those slits “sluts,” but maybe she doesn’t know what 21-year-olds are wearing on the red carpet right now. Because Miley Cyrus would wear the shit out of those pants, and she’s not the only one. Tim Gunn was not wrong to suggest that these pants need to come with a free bikini wax, but I didn’t hate them. I was actually completely on board with this look – the top was cool, the colors were fresh, and the styling was flawless – until the model turned around. This photo only displays the barest shadow of ass-crack, but I promise you, it was on full display. Even Rihanna would have been like, “eh, it’s a bit much.”
They are two female contestants with blue hair this season, so I have to specify that Carrie is the one who has the long blue-and-purple hair, not the one with the blue pixie cut. Anyway, her dress was bright and interesting, and this kind of look is incredibly trendy on the red carpet right now. From the cut-outs to the hip embellishments to the print, this was an all-around great look, and very impressively executed for a one-day challenge. It wasn’t quite original enough to make it into my top three, but it came close.
Char is the only contestant so far who I find both memorable and refreshingly un-obnoxious, so I’m on her team for now. Her fellow contestant whined that circle skirts are too easy to make, but this one was impeccably done. Paired with that bright, interesting, and on-trend crop top, it was an all-around fantastic look. My favorite element of this look was the neckline:
THAT COLLAR. I LOVE IT.
Emily is the other blue-haired chick, but I was not a fan of this look. A basic gown with a cardboard-looking bustier over it? This was just lazy and uninspired.
FÄDE ZU GRAU
Heidi loves having a German friend to talk to, but I admit, I initially could not take this man seriously. Until the runway show, that is, because I absolutely adored this dress. Zoe Saldana could wear this on the red carpet tomorrow with absolutely no alterations, and she’d make every best dressed list there is. The silhouette is simple, but the print-mixing is fantastic. Definitely worthy of my top three.
Hernan got lucky that there were more obvious disasters on the red carpet. This is sad and boring, and I think I can see the model’s colon.
This definitely had its problems, but it wasn’t the worst thing on the runway. I like the shape of the top – at least from the front – and I could at least see where Jefferson was trying to go with those shorts, even if they were a disaster. They also sort of floated off the model’s body in a way that displayed way too much under-butt, so I can understand why the judges were quick to eliminate him. But at least this showed an attempt at taste and creativity, whereas Mitchell… well, we’ll get to him later.
Talk about SMORF. This was about as underwhelming as possible. A cute enough dress, but there’s very little design to it at all, and it’s not remotely memorable.
I was calling Korina “Jessa from Girls” before she even said she was from Brooklyn. She may have spent half the episode shit-talking everyone with Mitchell, but at least she ended up creating something decent. This had its execution issues, but it stood out from the rest of the pack. The color is fantastic, and Korina shows a strong point of view.
I could not pick Kristine out of a line-up if my life depended on it. And her design was equally unmemorable.
There’s always an impossibly immature starved-for-attention camera whore that stands out for sheer annoying-ness from the moment the season begins, and this year, it’s Mitchell. I was sick of him by the first commercial break, and his design was a complete joke. Maybe if he had spent less time judging every contestant in the room, and finishing early to
get more camera time help his competitors, he could have actually designed something more than bike shorts and a tee shirt that looks glued together. But of course, he’s an obnoxious personality and that equals ratings, so the producers let him live to see another week. Sigh.
This was actually a very chic and stylish look, but rendering it in all black made it impossible to see the details. And particularly in the first episode, those details need to be visible on-screen in order to have a real impact.
This was a controversial look for sure – Sandhya’s competitors were stunned that she won, and so was plenty of the Twitterverse – but I loved it. It wasn’t the best-executed piece on the runway, but it was by far the most creative, and the only one that wouldn’t look out of place in a real fashion show. During her process, I thought Sandhya was extremely talented with textiles, but not necessarily capable of creating a beautiful garment. She proved me wrong. This look wasn’t for everyone, but it made a fucking statement. And I love to see a designer make a statement with their fashion designs, rather than with their nonstop soundbites.
Sean talked up this look like it was the most creative, innovative thing on the planet, so of course it was a bit of a disappointment. Sorry, Sean, but I’m pretty sure every other designer in Brooklyn is also making this dress. It’s not particularly bad, but the back isn’t very flattering.
Judges’ Top 3: Sandhya, Amanda, Char
Diva’s Top 3: Sandhya, Char, Fäde
Judges’ Bottom 3: Angela, Jefferson, Mitchell
Diva’s Bottom 3: Jefferson, Hernan, Mitchell
Next time: The designers go apeshit when they have to work in teams for an unconventional challenge in S13 E02 – Movie Night.