Because nothing says “avant-garde” like shilling Samsung televisions.
Previously: The designers were not allowed to breathe the same air as the Chopard jewels that served as their inspiration and their models’ accessories.
The Challenge: Create an avant-garde look inspired by corporate sponsor Samsung, because, you know, that’s not a complete oxy moron, or anything. Oh, and it has to walk down a runway in the midst of a torrential downpour. Dear producers: stop trying to make “rainway” happen. It’s not going to happen. I guess I should just be happy the designers actually had two days for this challenge, and shut the hell up. (Though is it just me, or did we see no extra time in the workroom, just footage of the designers being forced to bond with each other over alcohol? Is that really the magic of the two-day challenge – extra drinking time? Not, like, the ability to create garments that require any sort of thought or innovation?)
Guest Judge: Caitlin Fitzgerald from Masters of Sex. I can’t remember a single thing she said, but let’s go ahead and assume she was a fine judge.
It’s a raincoat with stuff all over it, on top of a black catsuit. Whatever. It’s fine. It didn’t look “experimental” so much as “the first idea that popped into Alexander’s head,” but I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t think it really made a statement. And while this came out better in photographs than I expected, you could hardly see the outfits on television because of the ridiculously obnoxious laser lights they were flashing all over the place.
I absolutely loathed this on television, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad in pictures. In fact, it almost looks cool. It was, however, literally falling apart on the runway, which you can see in the back. But before Amanda changed the layout of those weird shapes, it did spur Tim Gunn to say the immortal words, “This is nothing if not the season of the vagina.” I want that quote on the back cover of my memoirs.
Why did half the designers pair a black catsuit with their looks? I get that they wanted them covered up from the rain, but that superhero look got tired REAL quick. This looks more like a homemade dinosaur costume than anything else. And too many designers on this show hear “avant-garde” and go immediately to “asymmetrical with 3D shapes coming out of the shoulder.” Just because it worked for Christian Siriano and Chris March does NOT mean it will work for you.
It’s kind of boring, which is the one thing avant-garde should never be. Her idea of experimentation was an accentuated bust and hip line, which actually just served to collect rainwater and didn’t look all that creative. I like the shoulders, and pretty much nothing else. Half the looks on this runway were clear knock-offs, and this was no exception, but Emily’s was more boring and less functional than the rest.
FÄDE ZU GRAU
I am full-on in love with this darling little dress, and would wear the absolute shit out of it. But that’s kind of the problem – I could totally see myself in this look, and I do not, as a rule, run around in avant-garde fashion, because I am not a megalomaniacal pop sensation. So although I feel that Fäde never got his due from the judges, and was never recognized for how great a designer he is, I can’t really argue with this elimination. This look was a lot of great things, but avant-garde wasn’t one of them.
Kini got thrown a pity win, because it was “his time,” or some bullshit like that. I loved the idea of turning an umbrella into a skirt, but the resulting look was just such an obvious McQueen rip-off that it feels disingenuous to give him the win. Copying someone else’s avant-garde work is not avant-garde. Otherwise, this was powerful and dramatic and by far the best use of the inexplicably ubiquitous catsuit. But the hat should have been way more gigantic and dramatic, and I wish it had looked a little less like a condom.
I really hated this look. It required the bare minimum of creativity, which should have left Korina plenty of time to execute it perfectly. Except that it looks like torn-up duct tape. Again, I understand why Fäde was eliminated, but I would have given Korina the auf. And not just because I’ve never liked her, while I’ve liked Fäde since I stopped letting his name bother me.
This was craftsy and cheap-looking, and that was a real disappointment. If anyone should have nailed this challenge, it was Sandhya. I don’t particularly like anything about this, but it didn’t feature a catsuit, and therefore, it makes it into my top three by default. How sad.
It was a shocking moment when Sean’s model hit the runway in the least avant-garde look imaginable. But when her darling white dress started to transform into that watercolor rainbow once the water hit it – WOW. A show-stopping moment if there ever was one. And there was something McQueen-esque about his idea to transform the dress onstage, almost as performance art (I urge you to watch this incredible spray-paint show of Alexander McQueen’s from 1999, as it will blow your fucking mind). But it wasn’t a knock-off; it was an inspiration. No one took a bigger risk on this runway than Sean – he really had no clue whether the dyes would actually work – and the fact that the bottom layer of the skirt is waterproof lining to prevent the model’s legs from turning red and orange? Absolutely brilliant. Well done, Sean.
Judges’ Top 3: Sean and Kini, Sandhya
Diva’s Top 3: Sean, Kini, Sandhya
Judges’ Bottom 3: Korina, Emily, Fäde
Diva’s Bottom 3: Fäde, Emily, Korina
Next time: All my childhood dreams of owning a Samantha doll will finally come true in S13 E09 – The History of the American Girl.