Come sail away.
The Challenge: In teams of two, the designers had one day to create a day-to-evening look
that advertises a cruise ship is inspired by a particular locale. Blah blah blah, “oh no! the dreaded team challenge!” Blah blah, “button bag!” Blah, “don’t get paired with the designer who has immunity because you’ll definitely go home!” It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It was kind of torturous to sit through. Like, even more so than usual.
Guest Judge: The beautiful Tracee Ellis Ross. She has a great personality, even if she didn’t bring much in the way of constructive criticism. But seeing her try on Swapnil and Laurie’s garment was extremely adorable.
AMANDA PERNA and GABRIELLE ARUDA
Bottom 3 | Inspiration: South of France
I loved the way the bottom part of this blouse moved, and I actually wasn’t as offended by the bellbottoms as the judges were. But yes, the back of that top is a construction nightmare. But at least I can see the south of France inspiration, and they had some good ideas, even if the execution went a bit awry.
ASHLEY NELL TIPTON and CANDICE CUOCO
Winners | Inspiration: Venice
I still don’t get the undying love the judges professed for this outfit. I didn’t think the draping of that reverse cowl neck was anything to write home about, and I maintain that those pants are hideous and create the appearance of a forty-foot-tall pelvis. This would have slipped into my top three by default, and because I can feel the Venetian inspiration, but it was beyond overpraised.
BLAKE PATTERSON and KELLY DEMPSEY
Inspiration: Greek Isles
This was the only thing on the runway I loved. It was interesting, the inspiration was clear, the execution wasn’t obviously atrocious, and it may even have – gasp! – not looked like six thousand other things that have come down this runway in the past. Someone please explain to me how this ended up in the safe pile while Jake and Lindsey’s Asian explosion landed in the top three.
EDMOND NEWTON and HANMIAO YANG
Bottom 3 (Edmond), Eliminated (Hanmiao) | Inspiration: Caribbean
This was straight-up terrible, but I would have sent them both home for it, immunity or no. Edmond and Hanmiao just couldn’t work together, but Edmond refused to recognize that he wouldn’t be going home no matter what. If I were Hanmiao, and I saw Edmond thinking about putting his own swimsuit on the model, you bet your ass I’d have sewn the model into my swimsuit. She was the only one in danger of going home, and if they judges realized she designed literally 0% of the garment, there would be nothing Hanmiao could say to save herself. And until the model turned around, I thought Edmond’s yellow skirt was even worse than Hanmiao’s swimsuit. And it was his idea to do swimwear in the first place – Hanmiao thought that was too obvious, and Nina ended up agreeing. But then I saw the cut of that bikini bottom, and my soul died. Hanmiao, I will forever love you for the line, “I’m tiny, but I still have my opinion,” but I do think you deserved the axe. (But so did Edmond.)
JOSEPH CHARLES POLI and MERLINE LABISSIERE
Bottom 3 | Inspiration: St. Petersburg
Can we stop with the “matronly is the worst thing you could call an outfit” nonsense already? Yes, looking youthful and fresh is important in fashion, but all of this “mumsy” talk came across as a bunch of whiny babies saying, “OMG AREN’T OLD WOMEN HIDEOUS AND DISGUSTING AND PROBABLY SMELLY?!” I don’t even think this twisted cape thing is the problem – it’s more that there’s not much in the way of design happening here. That emphasizes the fact that the conservative hair ages the model, and the fabric just doesn’t feel new and interesting.
JAKE WALL and LINDSEY CREEL
Top 3 | Inspiration: Hong Kong
What were these two praised for, again? Having vaguely Asian fabrics that were given to them as part of the challenge? Because I’d sooner have worn those fabrics straight out of the suitcase they were shoved in than be caught dead in whatever the hell this mess of an outfit is. A maxidress with shorts underneath and a long vest on top, none of it fitted properly? No thank you.
LAURIE UNDERWOOD and SWAPNIL SHINDE
Top 3 | Inspiration: India
This ensemble was all about the reveal, as the model transformed from her sari to her sassy crop top. (Remember how this was supposed to be a “day to evening” look, and pretty much no one paid attention to that except for this team?)
Yes, I agree that those pants had some issues in the crotch, but honestly, it didn’t bother me. Everything else about this outfit was thoughtful, locale-inspired without being a costume, and really goddamn wearable. That little top is cute as a button, and the judges couldn’t wait to start modeling the sari-inspired top. Swapnil and Laurie made a terrific team, and made me want to see more from them. Which is an impressive feat, since I’m already counting down the seconds until this season is over.
Judges’ Top 3 Teams: Ashley & Candice, Jake & Lindsey, Laurie & Swapnil
Diva’s Top 3 Teams: Blake & Kelly, Laurie & Swapnil, Ashley & Candice
Judges’ Bottom 3 Teams: Amanda & Gabrielle, Joseph & Merline, Edmond &
Diva’s Bottom 3 Teams: Joseph & Merline, Jake & Lindsey, Edmond & Hanmiao