Designers “Try” Avant Garde

Huge Willy Wonka fan, so the start of this week, this challenge, was a super exciting one for me. The designers headed to Broadway in NYC, the Theater District, to meet with Alyssa and get the challenge details. They went to the Broadway venue for the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory show, where joining Alyssa was Tony award winner, star of the Willy Wonka show, Christian Borle.

One underlying message of Willy Wonka is the power of imagination. Fitting for this week, to push the bounds of creativity and let the imagination run wild, an Avant Garde challenge. The designers would use Willy Wonka as an inspiration to create new inventions in fashion. It could be something practical, but a surprising use; inventive way to wear something new; or an unexpected innovation.

Cute segment with the designers not having sketchbooks, and they magically appear. This would be a 1-day challenge, with a $300 budget. However, there was a pile of chocolate bars, and in the spirit of Willy Wonka, one contained a golden ticket. This golden ticket would allot one designer an extra $100, and Biddell won that honor. After sketching at the show venue, the designers were off to Mood. We later learned the designers could source materials from 3 other locations as well because of the innovation component to this challenge — a dollar store, building supply, or an electronic shop.

With that in mind, Anthony got tons of dry erase markers, while Michelle ordered some foam carpet padding. After some new materials arrived, Anne came by for her check-ins. Of course, Django looked miserable! Anne had faith in some, such as Michelle. She thoughts others needed more strength in their looks, such as Cynthia. Django’s look also received some crazy concern, as he was discussing an apron — I was concerned too!

I am not sure why Django then went in full attitude mode, getting mad at Anthony for calling Anne, Ms. Anne, and then Christina for her look. There was definitely some other designer shade throughout the episode — Dmitry on Sean’s zebra prints. And then super funny Irina calling out Michelle for repetitive designers, but Cynthia thought the same of Irina.

The end of the day was crazy, especially seeing Sean decide to start over! Naturally the morning of the runway was going to be crazy, very much so for Sean with a whole look to complete (not a great birthday for him!). It was then time for the runway! The guest judges this week were Broadway star Andrew Rannells & actress Anna Camp. Overall, I was unimpressed with this being an avant garde runway. I am not sure for this type of environment, a 1-day challenge, if anything else was to be expected. The looks were not bad, they just weren’t Avant Garde…. well most of them.

Cynthia is riding the safe wave, and she needs to step up. Her look was so similar to Christina’s vibe, so definitely wasn’t avant garde. At least Cynthia incorporated more. Evan went with a futuristic vibe, but that doesn’t equate Avant Garde. For him getting extra money, I don’t see it was used wisely. I loved Dmitry’s look, not sure how inventive it was, but it did read super chic to me.

For the judges’ top 3, it made sense, and was fairly obvious. Christina created a super chic look, very bad-ass, loved the colors with the pop of the blue. I wish we had seen a bit more with the music aspect, but overall this was solid work.

Michelle had such a purpose with her look. The story worked for this challenge and I did see something different in her look. I don’t quite get the over-the-top praise for the under dress, but the creativity here worked.

Anthony’s gamer look was cool. It was kind of a throwback in a sense of writing, so really how new is that concept? But working that into the garment was interesting. The judges were right to point out the childhood imagination here. His win made the most sense.

Irina being in the bottom was kind of comical. There were 3 similar pant, futuristic bad-ass looks of the bunch, clearly not super inventive, yet Irina was in the bottom? I’m glad at least 2 of the judges had different thoughts, and this was clearly not a unanimous decision. Given that, there was no surprise she would not be in the bottom 2.

Sean’s look was a clear mess, and Django riding the bottom wave as of late, this was the clear bottom 2. Sean survived, barely! I love Sean, but if the judges were sending a look home this week, it would have been Sean. He was saved because he shows more potential. I am fine with that decision, because he does have more potential than Django, but it shouldn’t be held back that his look for this challenge was bad. His styling was cool, but as Anna Camp pointed out, the look was very much unresolved.

It was Django’s time. His look was interesting, but it was not Avant Garde. The top was cool, the hat was a little whacky, and the pants were a bore. The judges were right to point out that this look did read more cinematic and historical than creative and inventive for the future of fashion.

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