To Dress or Not to Dress??

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To dress Melania Trump or not dress Melania, with fashion & politics mixing, that is the question! As of late, a host of designers have been posed the question and stating what they would do. I am not a designer, but I have definitely formulated my own thoughts and opinions on the matter, so here goes. But first, a little background on how this all came to be.

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Fashion designer Sophia Theallet, one of outgoing first lady Michelle Obama’s go-to designers, recently posted an open letter asking fellow designers to boycott and to not dress Melania. Ms. Theallet of course has her reasoning, mainly stemming from a dislike and disagreement of President-elect Trump and is forthcoming presidency. My initial thought on reading this was why she posted the letter? Was she asked to dress Melania? I haven’t yet read where the designer was asked to do so. Naturally, I would assume Melania and whatever stylist team she was working with would not first approach Michelle’s go-to closet of designers. I wasn’t also surprised that not every designer would want to loan out pieces to Melania as this recent election was certainly a very polarizing one. I then landed on an age-old saying — “there is no such thing as bad press.”

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I do not doubt for one minute that Theallet is not a Trump supporter, but what better way to not only keep your name in the press, but to also increase the presence than calling for a boycott. Because of how much I do in fashion, I of course know Theallet and her work. In fact, a couple of times, I have featured her work as part of my best dressed lists, such as Anna Chlumsky at the 2015 Tony Awards. I don’t gather that her brand is as well known as that say of a Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors, but I imagine she has been introduced to a lot more people now. Additionally, because of the anti-Trump sentiments, specifically in Hollywood, she may get some new work opportunities. And following from this, now many designers, who have too not yet been asked to dress Melania, are weighing in. These designers are of course a bit more established, but with the question now floating about, any designer is of course going to state their opinions as well.

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Those who have also said they would not dress Melania, Marc Jacobs — “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. I didn’t see [Sophie Theallet’s] letter. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Derek Lam — “What a tough question to answer now that the election has been decided! I’ve been slammed on social media when expressing an opinion about the election outcome. I was warned by people that I should not make an opinion which could alienate a client. Having been duly warned, my response is, while I have incredible respect for our country’s political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”

I believe Derek made a good point about alienating clients. This leads to one of my reasons as to why designers should make their own decision, but to not write the opportunity off so easily. And if a designer did choose to reject an actual offer to dress Melania, I wouldn’t be so quick to brag about the rejection. Like it or not, President-elect Trump did win the election. Of course he has his haters, but he too has supporters. Household names in fashion I think would not be so quick to risk backlash on a decision such as this. And that could happen. Those who have also said they would not dress Melania are Phillip Lim and Tom Ford. Although with Mr. Ford, what wasn’t quite so prevalent in the headline, was that he too wouldn’t dress Hillary Clinton!

But one designer who I think hit the nail on the head was the lovely Diane von Furstenberg. She said, “Donald Trump was elected and he will be our president. Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”

A major fear of those on the anti-Trump side has been all about issues with diversity and inclusiveness. The answer to combat this is not to act in the same manner. I would think leading by example would work better than boycotting. Again, I wouldn’t expect every designer would want to dress Melania. However, putting forth such strong desires to not do so in such a public forum is a bit hypocritical, especially when one is wanting or expecting a change in behavior and actions with this forthcoming presidency.

Tommy Hilfiger and Thom Browne both have said they too would dress the first lady and would consider it an honor. Whether one agrees with Trump being our next President, it is still such a huge opportunity for one to be given the chance to dress the first lady. Both established designers and those still working to build their brand are given the chance to do so. Established designers might have a bit more flexibility in their decisions to dress Melania or not, but I imagine they would consider their views a bit more carefully before decisions and severe expressions are made. Vera Wang was a bit ambiguous in her response, but I believe she would ultimately decide to dress Melania as she would want the first lady to support American fashion. And her “PC” answer is a bit more in line of what I would expect from an established designer. I must point out though, in response to Vera Wang, that it would be hard for Melania to demonstrate continued support of American fashion designers if those designers choose to follow Theallet and her call for a boycott.

But on the flip side, an independent or emerging designer would have to realize the potential in the opportunity. It could not only be a once in a lifetime opportunity, but also one that could lend to repetition, as in the chance to repeatedly dress the first lady. This sort of goes back to the “no press is bad press” sentiment. Could a designer receive some backlash for dressing Melania? Of course. But with that decision, you would also receive some support, and ultimately, it is press for your brand. And that is very important for emerging designers to accumulate.

Cynthia Rowley too made some great points — “In the midst of this heated debate, the question actually seems somewhat irrelevant. She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone’s ethical beliefs before they’re allowed to purchase, sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction. Some people say fashion and politics should never mix, but when given the choice, I think you should address and dress your conscience.”

The first lady, just as any other lady must do, has to create a look for every day. Yes, there are certain occasions that might warrant a more special look. But Melania will be in the public eye daily. Most of her wardrobe will not be from designer loans. So in regard to some of the debate going on about dressing Melania, some of it is a bit moot.

I was happy to see that Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley spoke to the Daily Mail about the future First Lady, whom he styled for her 2005 wedding. He would be in support of designers working with Melania. He had nothing but positive things to say about her.

I did read what might have been some unsubstantiated gossip that designers have already not been working with Melania, but also Ivanka and Tiffany. They made purchases or wore Ivanka’s brand. However, this was during the campaign, and I expect things to be different now that the election is over. Just as many stars and actors said they would leave the U.S. if Trump was elected President, of course they didn’t and are not going to! But I imagine designers will too change their tune once the dust settles some. And those who may have not loaned pieces this year, might do so over the next 4 years!

Proj. Runway — Let’s Take a Ride

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For this challenge, the designers began with a helicopter ride over NYC, to take in the aerial views, but to also be inspired by the sites. The reason for this bold, “power trip” was so the designers could create a bold, high fashion, dramatic and powerful editorial look for Marie Claire. In fact, the winning look would be featured in a spread for the magazine.

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Tim Gunn, alongside Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Anne Fulenwider, provided all of the details. In addition, Anne was also one of the guest judges for the week, and it was announced she would soon be the new mentor on Project Runway All-Stars. With all that said, the designers were ready to hit up Mood, with a huge budget of $300, all for this 1-day challenge.

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Tim-time was pretty much ho-hum, with the exception of Erin & Nathalia. To each lady, he really urged some re-thinking on what they had already started on. Nathalia was also a focal point of this week, specifically when it came to the newfound help she had been receiving from Rik. Jenni used to be her go-to, but with her gone, Rik has seemingly taken her place in the aide department. He even helped her out in finishing her look. Fellow designers, specifically Erin, took issue of this. My thought — even though Nathalia’s help might have been excessive, the designers always seem to ask each other for thoughts and help at times. It happens. Get over it. Nathalia and Erin are a bit like Dexter and Cornelius, in their somewhat hypocritical back and forth on one another. It is definitely a bit of humor listening to them bad-mouth each other, when more often than not, what they say is the equivalent of the “pot calling the kettle black.”

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Joining Anne Fulenwider this week as guest judge was actress Camilla Belle. So who ended up making the pages of Marie Claire, and who fell short?

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Rik being in the bottom this week was surprising, and this left Laurence and Roberi being safe. This was the area I guess I was most in disagreement with, but it was either Rik or Laurence in the bottom, and both were worthy of being safe from the bottom 2, so I guess all is well that ended well.

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Rik’s look was not all bad, and in fact, it had some huge positives. But the judges were right in pointing out the lack of design on the back of the dress. And while the movement and initial impact of the splotched-created fabric was great, it did lose luster upon further inspection. The splotch-work wasn’t the most glamorous looking. Perhaps in a different color, it might have looked better, but brown on white, certainly an unfavorable color-combo choice. But on a positive note, Anne really loved the look!

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The bottom 2 was Dexter and Nathalia, who both ended up being eliminated. I felt badly for Dexter since he thought he was safe, but it did unfortunately really feel like Nathalia’s time. I think the pressures of the competition have been too much for her to handle. She has frequented the bottom and hasn’t been excelling in this environment. Her look this week did read costume, not editorial. And I agreed with the judges’ assessment that the look was too basic, with reflectors put on as gimmicks.

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A double elimination at this point in the competition was not surprising. The judges had not been feeling Dexter’s work and I didn’t get the feeling he loved the critiques, so it might have been best for him to go. It was a shame to see a similar jacket from Dexter again, but he was correct to point out about designer aesthetics, because other designers, namely Erin, has sent down the runway some similar coats. But I did forget that the first jacket was not loved by the judges, and with this really being the predominant aspect of the look, it was a huge gamble. Especially since the only other item he made was the goth-lace dress. I completely forgot the undergarments were not his creation.

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JustFab, Sally Beauty, & Mary Kay shoutouts — Killer heels, love the hair, and the bold red lip is fierce!

The top 3 this week was Mah-Jing, Cornelius, and Erin, with Cornelius receiving his first win! I was in agreement with this decision and very happy for him. This look had some quirk to it, but it was definitely intriguing and easily wearable. I would think it would span to a wide audience of women who would love to wear this look.

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Sally Beauty & Mary Kay Shoutouts!! — Gorgeous hair & makeup work!!

It was nice to see Erin bounce back this week and finally not send down yet another outerwear piece. Nina was right in pointing out that this was not her best look, nor was it the best look on the runway, but it was very different and a great bit of excitement to see on the runway on the day.

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And finally, we have Mah-Jing, riding a great stride with his recent work — can he keep it up! I am not huge on wearing denim, but I did like what he did here, with the use of denim in a mixed media capacity. It was innovative and it was clearly inspired from the helicopter trip.

 

 

 

Latter 2016 — Best Dressed Round-Up

In the past month and a half or so, there have been a ton of red carpets, not all award shows, but events where stunning looks were nonetheless on display. Check out some of my faves from the LACMA Gala (aka the Met Ball of the West); Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards; L’Oreal Women of Worth; Baby2Baby Gala; Hollywood Film Awards; Governors’ Awards; MTV EMAs; the Netflix premiere for Gilmore Girls; & InStyle Awards.

Nikki Reed — Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards

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Karlie Kloss — L’Oreal Women of Worth

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Miranda Kerr — Baby2Baby Gala

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Kate Hudson — Baby2Baby Gala

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Also at the Hollywood Film Awards —

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Nina Dobrev — MTV EMAs

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Attending the 2016 Governors’ Awards

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Rachel Bilson — Baby2Baby Gala

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Salma Hayek — LACMA Gala

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Lucy Hale — Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards

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Alexis Bledel — Gilmore Girls Netflix premiere

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Jourdan Dunn — MTV EMAs

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Erica Pelosini — LACMA Gala

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Jordana Brewster — 2016 InStyle Awards

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Skyler Samuels — InStyle Awards

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Vanessa Hudgens — Elle’s Women in Hollywood Awards

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Alessandra Ambrosio — LACMA Gala

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Kristen Bell — Baby2Baby Gala

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Selma Blair — Baby2Baby Gala

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Petra Collins — LACMA Gala

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2016 AMAs — Best Dressed

Here is my list of the best of the best for the 2016 American Music Awards, ENJOY!

HANNAH JETER

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GIGI HADID

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SELENA GOMEZ

2016 American Music Awards - Arrivals

HAILEE STEINFELD

2016 American Music Awards - Arrivals

FIFTH HARMONY

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REBECCA ROMIJN

2016 American Music Awards - Arrivals

SHAWN MENDES

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NIALL HORAN

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BLAKE JENNER

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Proj. Runway — Who Won $50K!!

Well it’s more like not just who, but which two! In the setup for this week, an overall $50,000 was awarded and yes, that is actually half of the cash prize the winner of PR receives. Of course the winner gets a host more of other prizes, but $50K is still a pretty hefty prize!

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Tim met with the designers to provide all of the details and joining him in the workroom was Barbara Shipley, Sr. VP of Brand Integration from AARP. AARP was the challenge sponsor, and ultimately who awarded the prize. As part of the challenge, the designers would be creating a look for a very special client and this look would be a part of representing that client’s next chapter. The special client turned out to be for each designer a family member or friend.

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The winning look would not only awarded $25K to the designer, but another $25K to the client. This I believe was the first 2-day challenge of the season. And with that, the designers were off to Mood with a $250 budget.

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When designers typically work with real world clients to that of models, sometimes issues or drama arises. This time there was not much of that with the exception of Jenni and her mom as their seemed to be confusion on the direction of the look. I wondered during Tim’s critiques though if he was being a little extra hard on Erin and Dexter? It was clear he thought Cornelius should not have gone home, only then assuming Erin or Dexter should have. He certainly didn’t hold back on critiques!

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I believe the biggest workroom issue of the week however was Nathalia and really biting off more than she could chew. This week’s guest judges were fashion and beauty trendsetter Olivia Culpo and co-founder of Birchbox, Katia Beauchamp (who also is on the new Lifetime show, Project Runway: Fashion Start-Up).

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The safe designers of the week were Laurence, Cornelius, and Dexter. I pretty much agreed with this result, but Dexter would have been in my top 3. His look was a knockout and really fit his client well. I thought he gave his friend exactly what she wanted, while still ringing very true to his designer aesthetic.

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SHOUTOUTS — Sally Beauty for a gorgeous, chic straight look & JustFab, love these killer blue booties

The judges’ top three was Roberi, Mah-Jing, & Rik. All were very deserving, but my winning look was Roberi. I got why they chose Rik, but Roberi, just as Dexter did, stuck true to his designer POV, all while giving his client a very fashion-forward look. I thought Rik’s dress was super great as well, but I’m not sure I really would have known it was his work in the midst of some very strong designer aesthetics.

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Roberi’s choice of prints and the ability to mix them together was genius. The look was fun and the pops of color were spot on!

JUSTFAB SHOUTOUT — More cute heels!!

Rik was certainly deserving of accolades though. His dress was very cute, perfect for his mom, not about the bells and whistles, but rather conveying a story, with very intricate details. It was very much age appropriate, but didn’t come across as a mature, mumsy creation.

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SHOUTOUTS — Sally Beauty, love the hair & Mary Kay, love the bold red lip

Mah-Jing certainly stepped it up though this week. His look was bad-ass. I didn’t get the same vibe as the judges that his mom was really working the look. I kind of thought it was wearing her and not the other way around. Perhaps in the right setting, but Mah-Jing really did give her what she wanted and he designed the look beautifully.

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The bottom 3 was Erin, Nathalia, and Jenni. All who have been in the bottom before and all who unfortunately had the worst 3 looks of the week. Erin was again saved from the bottom two. If I’m not mistaken, every time she has been in the bottom, she has escaped the bottom 2 — very interesting. I wonder if she can find her way back to the top. I’m not seeing much by the way of improvement or growth from her the past few weeks, and she really is doing the same coat over and over again. And with this being a 2-day challenge, I would have expected her dress to have looked way better since we know she can do a coat easily in a day, if even that.

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JUSTFAB SHOUTOUT — Gorgeous killer heels!

Nathalia escaped elimination this week, I believe her ideas were her saving grace. She attempted to do a lot and pretty much each article of clothing was poorly constructed. Everything read too oversized. She listened to her mom and the idea was there, but not fully conceived with regard to execution. I wish her coat had been longer and more fitting. I didn’t love the concept of a bell-bottom pant either. Jenni has had some success in the top so I would have picked her to stay in this scenario, but with 2 friends making up the bottom, sadness was inevitable.

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SALLY BEAUTY SHOUTOUT — Lovely waves!

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So yes, with that, Jenni was out this week. Her look too had some construction issues, but a more major issue here was this look was not at all suited for her mom. It read “Jenni” 100%, but there wasn’t any adaptability to the client. I really wouldn’t see her mom wearing this at any of the events she mentioned. Jenni does have a strong aesthetic, but in terms of it being expansive and having the ability to be molded to different occasions, I’m just not sure she is there yet.

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2016 CMA Awards — Best of the Red Carpet

Best of the best from the 2016 CMA Awards red carpet, check it out!!

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Carrie Underwood

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Show

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The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Press Room

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Carrie Underwood

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The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Show

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The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Show

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HAYLEY ORRANTIA

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Hayley Orrantia

KELSEA BALLERINI

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MADDIE MARLOW & TAYLOR DYE

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

JENNIFER NETTLES

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

  • red high-slit J. Mendel gown with a floral sequin bodice and illusion detailing
  • navy Tamara Mellon heels
  • Pasquale Bruni diamonds

FINAL 5 USA GYMNASTICS TEAM

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  • a strapless tea-length Rubin Singer design with a statement train (on Gabby Douglas).

RAELYNN

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

MAREN MORRIS

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

LUKE & CAROLINE BRYAN

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DAN & SHAY, ALSO W/ ABBY LAW & HANNAH BILLINGSLEY

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HUNTER HAYES

Hunter Hayes

HIGH VALLEY

The 50th Annual CMA Awards - Arrivals

Proj. Runway — Sally Beauty Challenge

I’m not sure if dubbing this episode as the “Sally Beauty Challenge” is 100% accurate, but Sally Beauty did play a major role this week. The designers met Tim Gunn and lead Sally Beauty stylist Gregory Patterson on the runway for all of the details!

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Gregory announced that Sally Beauty would be hosting a pop-up shop in NYC, more specifically in Soho. The designers’ looks would be showcased in the window displays and the the public would cast their vote for the winning looks. The public’s vote would count for 20% of the overall results. Three teams would be put together with 3 designers each. The separate teams would each be assigned a color palette to then create a 3-piece cohesive collection. Here were the team breakdowns —

Team Red Violet — Erin, Dexter, & Cornelius

Team New Neutral — Jenni, Nathalia, & Mah-Jing

Team Hues of Blue — Rik, Laurence, & Roberi

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Each team received a $600 budget for Mood and 1 day to create their collection. Naturally since this was a team challenge week, there was some workroom drama. Mah-jing initially felt left out of his group, but after Tim’s critique, they really came together. Cornelius felt left out of his group and never really jived with them as it soon became evident post runway.

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The designers were off to the pop-up shop to see how the public voted. It really came down to neutral versus blue, with Team New Neutral pulling out the win. Each team member received $500 to shop for Sally Beauty products. I kind of wish the judges had not known who the public voted for, although it didn’t seem to sway their scores. The judges went with Hues of Blue as the winner, leaving Red Violet as the bottom group.

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Joining this week’s judging panel was Kelly Osbourne. This was a hard runway I think to really label a “losing” group. I think Heidi said it correctly to Team Red Violet in that their looks were not all bad, but compared to the others, they did pale in comparison. I could see why new neutral won the NY public vote and it was a toss up for me between them and hues of blue. But I think if I had to choose, my winning team this week would have been New Neutral. But my favorite individual look would have been Roberi.

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With New Neutral, there was such a edgy, cool, street-chic vibe with this collection — also very boho chic. These tones could have been a bore, but this group made a neutral pop. I liked the great show quality here, but also wear-ability was a huge factor.

SHOUTOUTS — Sally Beauty for all, naturally with all of the highlights put in

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But as I mentioned, the judges selected Hues of Blue as the winning team. I love blue, so I did love most of what the designers did here. I really loved the plaid. Roberi was the winning designer of the group and I of course loved this decision. The sweater was intricate, very fashion-forward, but was also super practical. It worked on so many levels. And the skirt was also top notch.

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SHOUTOUTS — More lovely highlights from Sally Beauty, but I also loved the beauty look here from Mary Kay

Laurence’s look was also pretty great, especially the blazer. The pants were also nice as well, some stunning details as you looked closer. I was not as in love with Rik’s look as the judges were. I thought the dress was a little plain, a little basic. I recall Tim saying some of the pieces were a little simplistic and that was my thought with Rik’s dress. The plaid coat was okay, but it read a little thin to me. I didn’t look at it and think it would provide warmth compared to that say of Nathalia’s jacket.

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So of course, Team Red Violet was the bottom group, meaning Dexter, Erin, or Cornelius would go. Firstly, I would put out there that all 3 groups were made up of 2 friends. Any of these groups being in the bottom, I feel as if one designer due to friendship would have been the one picked to be eliminated, such as Erin and Dexter did with Cornelius. I don’t think I would have called them “Mean Girls” because we all knew they were friends and would leave Cornelius out in the cold. None of this being right of course, but was fairly predictable from the get-go.

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It did seem as if at first, Cornelius was not being listened to. I thought we were seeing a change here, but the one area that was not truly listened too was regarding the “too much read” comment. This was the biggest problem in my eyes for this group. The other groups had some breaks in the color. And with red being so bold, so bright, you would think a plan would have been executed on this. And then to further exacerbate the issue, the styling was also too red. For more on the direction of the collection, this did put Dexter in jeopardy. His look was also not that great. I felt a little underwhelmed. And when looking at all that Cornelius did, some at the direction of Erin it appeared, I think that is what made his look suffer.

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The judges were right to point out that Erin should have thought a bit more about her team here. She executed an excellent coat, but why would she not do more. I’m not sure of the episode slant in how it was portrayed that Erin & Dexter were goofing off quite a bit, but my thought is that if they weren’t talking and playing around, their wouldn’t have been enough footage to show on the matter. Cornelius did really get the raw end of the deal here, doing all of the work and then ultimately being sent home. Tim Gunn was right in that regard to save him as this was result was not the fairest of all. I was still a little upset Tim didn’t use the save a few weeks back, but Tim’s use here was the right thing.

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Proj. Runway & the Urban Jungle

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As PR began this week, we saw the designers taking a ride on the Rip Ride RockIt rollercoaster. But no episode of PR is about fun & games. As the “8 hours earlier” caption came on the screen, we were transported back to the runway, where the designers were chatting with Heidi. Heidi informed the designers they were going to recharge their batteries a bit, as they looked restless, and doing so by heading to Universal Studios in Orlando.

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There, the designers met up with Tim Gunn and Mike West, the Director of Design for Universal Creative Studio, recently creating “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” Of course, the challenge instructions were then provided. The designers were to find inspiration from the theme park, the Skull Island jungle, and then create looks for the Urban Jungle, aka streetwear for NYC.

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The designers sketched at the park and then headed back to NYC to hit up Mood with a $200 budget. It was then back to the workroom to begin this 1-day challenge. The designers faced normal hiccups this week, lots of doubts and frantic flurries to finish up on time.

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Heidi announced at the start of the runway show that whomever won this week would hold the last immunity for the season. The guest judges for the streetwear runway were designer Rebecca Minkoff and actress Carly Chaikin.

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The judges’ top 3 was a little confusing. Dexter I assume was on the top, but certainly didn’t get love from all 5 judges. This has happened before, and it always makes me wonder how nobody else received a higher score to make the top 3. There were certainly a couple of other good looks. I thought Rik and Jenni did some good work, very strong streetwear pieces.

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I didn’t mind that Dexter was in the top, it’s just if he is going to be there, let’s get mostly praise, not crazed arguments. I thought this was elevated streetwear, definitely something different. The shorts were very tight, and that was my main critique.

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JUSTFAB SHOUTOUT — Love these bright yellow heels!

The clear top 2 for the judges was between Nathalia and Laurence, ultimately with Laurence being selected as the winning designer. This was the right choice. Her jacket was fierce. Nathalia’s color palette was a little bland, so with Laurence, she at least had the great pop of color.

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Nathalia’s pieces were not all bad, despite the monotone color choices. I did appreciate that she made so many pieces and they all looked very well made. I wish she had instructed the model to take off the jacket on the runway because the top she made, it really had an interesting back. It would have added some dramatic flare to the whole look.

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JUSTFAB SHOUTOUT — Gorgeous earrings!

The bottom 3 consisted of Brik, Erin, & Cornelius. I really could have seen the bottom 2 going in all possible directions because they were pretty hard on all 3, but Erin escaped the bottom 2. She certainly was deserving of this bottom 3 placement. Last week, other looks could have ended up there over her. But here, it was a very different case. She really needs to start thinking of the challenge, and how to adapt her aesthetic a little better. So much time on this look made “0” sense. It makes one wonder in the next episode, will she get back to the top???

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I really wasn’t sure who was going home between Cornelius & Brik. Both had faults, but it seems as if when one designer does too much versus one who does too little, the one who does too little goes home. Thankfully that was not the case this week and Cornelius was saved. I didn’t have a problem with his pants, but the top was not only too basic, it was poorly constructed.

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SHOUTOUTS — SALLY BEAUTY & MARY KAYChic, sleek locks & a great pop of color on the lip!

This meant Brik was the one out and I had no problem with this. I have not been a fan of his work this season and kind of thought his elimination was long overdue. I agreed with pretty much all of what the judges said — mismatch of prints, it was too much, and there were some construction issues.

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SHOUTOUTS — SALLY BEAUTY, MARYKAY & JUSTFAB Love the heels, stunning beauty look, and this updo is beautiful!

 

No Drink & Chill for Proj. Runway Designers

pr15-ep6-5Right at the start of this week’s PR episode, heck, no paying tribute to Alex or anything, but right into the action we went with the designers attending a press event at Absolut Elyx House. Also in attendance were Nina, Zac, Heidi, and Tim. And of course no press event would be complete without press — bloggers Sydney Salick with Daily Front Row, Jonathan Cordero, Lauren Kornutik, Lemara Ablyakimova, and then also Asst. Editor of Marie Claire, Chelsea Pants. But as my title hinted, there was no drink and chill time for these designers.

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Jonas Tahlun, founder of the Absolut Elyx vodka brand, began the challenge chatter, ending up saying how all martinis naturally come with a twist. And we all know, so does PR. Heidi said the event was not just a fun cocktail party, but the start to the next challenge. In spirit of the evening, the room serving as inspiration, each designer would create a luxurious cocktail dress. This would be a 1-day challenge with a Mood budget of $300.

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Tim-time brought about an interesting paradox — pretty much half the designers were good and the other half literally started all over! I’ve seen a few designers in the past having to start over, but so many, very much a shocker, including Tasha, Cornelius, Mah-Jing, Roberi, and Nathalia. Some more delightful workroom moments were that Jenni was really being a super helpful designer this week, giving fabric to both Nathalia and Tasha, and she also helped Nathalia with some rushed touches to her look.

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Guest judges this week was designer and model Emily Ratajkowski. I thought she did a standout job with her critiques, making lots of sense, quality thoughts and notions. And I kind of loved her disagreeing with Heidi so much! So who captured luxury this week with their looks?

pr15-ep6-37Firstly, Heidi often scolds designers with immunity if they missed the boat with their recent look. Dexter was called out this week. I didn’t love his look, but I certainly didn’t hate it. There is no way it would have gone home over Tasha or Nathalia, so I don’t think the comments were necessary!

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SHOUTOUTS — JustFab, cute heels; Sally Beauty, such chic sleek locks, & Mary Kay, love the deep burgundy lip

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SHOUTOUT — JustFab, killer heels; Mary Kay, stunning smoky eye; Sally Beauty, love this updo/bun!

I didn’t totally agree with the judges top 3, but of their top 3, I think Laurence would have been my winner. I wouldn’t have ever advised her going with a black look and I think Emily mentioned that as well. This is a great LBD, but black and cocktail is all too common, so to stand out even more, I would have picked another color. But other than that, this look was top-notch. Everything from the back to the shoulders to the bodice was A++.

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SHOUTOUT — Sally Beauty, another chic updo & Mary Kay, great golden-bronzed beauty look!

Jenni was the winning designer however for the judges. The look read a little wrinkly to me, but I didn’t hate it that she was in the top. This by far has been her best work and I am interested to see if she will stay on top. What I didn’t like was that so much of her win was spent comparing her work to Erin — the workroom, the judges, and during judges’ deliberations. I am so glad Nathalia, kind of in a smart ass way, said that Erin is not the 1st person to ever embellish a look. I didn’t find it that similar!

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Rounding out the judges’ top 3 was Rik. I definitely didn’t love this look and it probably is the reason for my disagreement with the judges’ top 3. I would have gone with Roberi. The look had a great fit, was certainly unique, but I didn’t love the leather look in this color choice. I get that the color was stemming from the apron inspiration, but I think the silhouette gave that away, so a different color might have worked.

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Moving onto the bottom 3, let’s start with Erin, a surprising designer to be found there. I think a couple of designers barely missed making the bottom, it could have been a toss up, but probably better that Erin found herself there now than later in the competition. I don’t think this look read as Erin being the designer. This might have been part of the reason for the Jenni comparisons. I didn’t mind the brocade, but the feathers were a little cray cray!

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SHOUTOUTS — Chic sideswept updo from Sally Beauty & love the pink-a-licious makeup look from Mary Kay

This left Nathalia and Tasha as the bottom 2, which unfortunately was very obvious from this runway. I like both designers, but at this point in the competition, week after week, good designers, faves of all the fans, will sadly have to go home. Nathalia had quite a few construction issues, but from her original garment, this was much better. She showed some creativity and has been doing fairly well in previous challenges. But clearly having Emily & Zac disagreeing with the look being so bad, obviously Tasha was going home.

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So Tasha, who has sort of been declining in her creations the past couple of challenges, was eliminated this week. The first challenge of the season, she was in the top and she did amazing work. But from week to week, I can barely remember her looks. And I know from even last week, all she did was really do a simple yellow pencil skirt. Her streetwear aesthetic was going to have a hard time comporting with the range of themes PR wants, so she gave it her all. But at least at the end of the day, she knows who she is as a designer.

 

 

Proj. Runway — How Wrong Can You Go!

I can’t recall an episode in PR history where I disagreed so vehemently. Wow! More on that later on, but first the episode details. This episode marked the 1st team challenge of the season, more specifically the Mary Kay challenge.

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The designers were divided into 2 teams of 6. Tim was joined by Mary Kay’s Global Beauty Ambassador Luis Casco for all of the details. Each team would create a 4-piece mini-collection, with the concept left up to each team, but it had to be cohesive. This would be a 1-day challenge. The extra challenge on top of the challenge, as PR always has one, was that each team’s budget would be set on how well the teams pitched their concept to a panel of mystery investors. Each member of the winning team would receive $5000, as well as a feature in Marie Claire. Onto team formation —

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Rik, as the winner last week, selected first. Tim drew a name from the infamous button bag, Brik, who started the selection process for the 2nd team. Each selected designer would then choose the next. So we had Team 1, Team Unity, with Rik, Alex, Roberi, Cornelius, Mah-Jing, & Nathalia. And so for Team 2, House of Bouton aka Team Button Bag, there was Brik, Tasha, Laurence, Erin, Dexter, & Jenni.

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Each team went to plan their pitch, and then it was time to “sell it” to the mystery investors, who ended up being Heidi, Zac, & Nina. Each investor had $1000 to spend. Team Unity wanted to create a collection to empower women, give them confidence in the workplace. Comparing their looks to Theory or Helmut Lang, Alex took on the leadership role in really selling the pitch. Team 2 wanted their collection to be a little more fun, aka bad-ass. Dexter came up with most of the gameplan, pitching a concept of women in the tech industry, an untapped market, looking for fashion forward looks.

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The investors were more impressed with House of Bouton, seeing their concept as more fashion forward, more creative. (Splits — T1/T2 — Heidi, 400/600; Zac 200/800; Nina 200/800) This left Team unity with an $800 budget and House of Bouton with $2200.

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It was then off to Mood and begin work on the collections. In the workroom, Mah-jing initially was feeling left out of his team, but soon seemed to find his groove. Dexter was all over the place with his team, really doing his part to oversee each look. As the runway neared, Team Unity seemed to be calm, cool, and collective. Whereas House of Bouton was all over the place, scrambling to finish. But sooner rather than later, it was of course time for the runway. This week’s guest judge was Disney star Sabrina Carpenter. So, why did this episode frustrate me so, here we go!

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To me, neither team really deserved the title of the “winning team”, but of course one had to be chosen. I really did disagree with the judges, but after some thought, I guess my disagreement stemmed more from the ending result than the actual decision. I feel like each collection had some standout pieces, but again, neither collection, in its entirety, was full-on amazing. The judges chose House of Bouton as the winning team.

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Laurence on the jacket, Tasha on the skirt; SHOUTOUTS — Stunning beauty look, with Mary Kay, the bold red lip, & Sally Beauty, all of the luscious waves

One of my issues with the win being granted here, was there were only 2 standout pieces here, Laurence’s leather jacket being one. The rest of the looks were kind of boring and basic. Such as above this very simple, easy to make, bright yellow skirt from Tasha. I’m not sure what else she worked on, but I don’t think we saw enough of Tasha in this collection.

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Erin’s coat above, was another standout piece for the collection. It’s a fun coat, might not be wearable to all, but this team really did state their vision for who their client was, so it wouldn’t be a coat for the masses. But back to my point from above, what was under this coat? I don’t even think the judges looked at it, probably because it was nothing special.

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Another stunning Mary Kay makeup look!

This was the judges least fave of the collection, mine too! It didn’t fit in with the other looks and  it was way too short. This kind of brings me to my next issue with this collection, the money! This team had a larger budget, but I didn’t really see it in this collection. I expected more with $2200. The problem with Team Unity was overdesign, seeing too much. I felt as if we saw more from them with less though and that didn’t sit well with me. Brik and Jenni created this look above. I’m not a fan of Briks’ and this dress does nothing to change my mind on that opinion!

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Mary Kay & Sally Beauty shoutouts!

Then we have Dexter’s look, the suit with trimming details. The details were nice, but I didn’t care for the fabric here and it didn’t really standout to me. I think he spent more time on overseeing rather than designing, but of this group, he was the winning designer, and I do think for his leadership role, that was well deserved. However, if it was based on the best look, Laurence should have won!

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With House of Bouton winning, that meant someone from Team Unity would go home. The decision really came down to who had the worst look and who had the most responsibility in this collection’s creations — Alex & Roberi. Mah-jing, somewhat surprisingly, had the best look of the collection. Surprisingly just because he was worried on his lack of voice in the creation of the collection, but this look was chic and modern.

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I don’t even recall discussion on Cornelius’ look, but this printed jacket was super cute. But it led to the start of a major problem with this collection, the cohesion. These looks individually, were not all bad, but put together as a collection, didn’t make much sense.

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Sally Beauty shoutout — gorgeous curls!

This look seemed to create the most discussion, with Roberi really taking control of this look. Nathalia did the jacket, which was not a bad jacket, but back to cohesion, I didn’t really get how it fit with this collection. But the judges really didn’t care for the top or bottoms here, which put Roberi in jeopardy.

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As much as I didn’t want to see Roberi leave, I never wanted to see Alex leave either. And sadly, that is what happened. Generally in group challenges, teams try to throw someone under the bus. But that was hard to do here. In fact, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it to this magnitude, but several of the designers said to send them home if it came down to it. Alex leaving was a pure shame, a major head-scratcher. And what was even worse, Tim Gunn didn’t use the save!! Are you kidding me! I am all but hoping that tonight, they start off with a “Gotcha” moment and Alex gets to come back. This look above was not the worst of the bunch. And this collection was certainly not the worst mini-collection in PR history. Alex should not have gone home this early. Perhaps Tim has in mind who he would use the save on if it came down to it. I can only think of Erin being deserving at this point. But she seems to be doing okay, so I don’t get Tim’s logic here at all. The judges decision, while hard, did make the most sense I guess with how everything came to be during this episode. But Tim could have turned it around & to me, failed in making a good decision here!