Ahhh! Can you believe it — the Under the Gunn finale is coming to an end. The 3 mentors are all still standing and 4 designers are fighting for their chance to be the UTG Season 1 winner. Nick has Oscar, while Anya has Shan. But it’s Mondo who has the 50/50 shot to win with 2 designers — Sam & Asha. So how will this season’s winner be selected??
Each designer had to create a 5-look collection showcasing their point of view as a designer. The challenge was limited to just 3 short days and with a budget of $2500. Before heading off to Mood though, Brian Bolian, the Corporate Marketing Manager for Lexus stopped by to hand each mentor/designer team keys to a Lexus to drive to Mood for their shopping trip — SWEET! The UTG models were also in store for a bit of luxe treatment as they were off to the Benefit Cosmetics boutique for some spa brow treatment.
The sketch-time & Mood shopping trip revealed each designer’s initial thought process. Sam & Oscar were sort of taking a look back for inspiration. Sam re-discovered his shimmery gray fabric from his winning jumpsuit. Oscar thought to go back to some strong looks for him with capes & coats. Asha seemed to also know exactly what she wanted to do, but Shan was feeling a bit of a struggle right off the bat. However, once he got to Mood, as he was looking thru the fabrics, he seemed to find his way.
So after the shopping trip, the designers were back to the FIDM workroom to continue their 1st day of work, lots of busy busy bees! But there were more than just the 4 finalists quickly working away; they were joined by some helper bees — a few of the eliminated designers. It seemed as if maybe each finalist got to pick their helper because the pairs weren’t made based off of the mentor teams. Natalia did assist Oscar and Michelle helped Asha, but it was Anya’s designer Blake who came to Sam’s aide, while Nick’s designer Stephanie was at Shan’s side. I have to say, Shan & Stephanie was the most odd pairing, but if that is who he wanted, who am I to question it!
Day 2 started off with a nice surprise — each of the finalists’ families came in for a little visit! But because this was only a 3-day challenge the designers were back to work and it was time to meet one-on-one with their mentor(s). Mondo & Tim wanted Asha to keep an eye out for her looks being too costume-y and to keep an editing eye. Anya & Tim similarly told Shan the same thing — edit, edit, edit! Mondo and Tim were split with their thoughts when speaking to Sam. Mondo thought it was a little too “Legend of Zelda.” But Tim quickly piped in and told Sam to defend his work, which he did. Tim also mentioned that he was a fan. And finally, Tim’s talk with Oscar was basically over his decision to showcase a couple of jacket looks that the judges had already seen — so proceed with caution!
The day of the runway was quickly approaching as day 3’s work consisted of model fittings & final touches. I’m sure all of the designers thought the day of the final runway came much too quickly! But they were soon off to the official locale for the runway show — the LA Theater. There were 2 guest judges in tow that joined Jen, Rachel, & Zanna — PR host & judge Heidi Klum & talented actor Neil Patrick Harris. I was late in watching the finale, but of course I had heard in advance who won. As I saw each collection come out I definitely thought the deliberations were tough on this one. I’m happy with the winner, but had Oscar not won I was very much ecstatic that Sam would have been next in line. But first, let’s take a look at the 4th place finalist — Shan. (The order of the photos is the order in which I like the looks! & This is for all of the designers!)
Shan’s collection was his interpretation of hard & soft — taking soft fabrics and giving them a hardened touch. I did have a few pieces in this collection which I loved. I saw some great work with his signature jackets. So I’m not sure if I agree with Jen in Shan needing to show his work with graphic prints. But I certainly saw what the other judges were mentioning in maybe a little bit of a lack of harmony or cohesion within the collection. I actually thought Shan should have placed 3rd, but the judges and I were clearly not on the same page on this one!
I loved this red jumpsuit and I hope I could pull it off, and would certainly try. The lace detailing in the back was stunning and I think the side cutouts into a back cutout were just right!
SHOUT-OUT to Benefit Cosmetics for the brown smoky & light pink coloring for the lips — ALL MODELS!
I think the judges mentioned there was too much going on in this collection and specifically mentioned these tights. But I am a tight girl all the way & certainly a fan of lace so LOVED these tights & want them like right now!
SHOUT – OUT to Blow Pro for the chic loose ponytail
In this look, I was just a fan of the leather jacket. Would I buy it? I’m not sure, but what I liked about it was how different it was since the lace detailing here was literally a part of the back of the jacket.
SHOUT – OUT to Blow Pro for the gorgeous messy/loose up-do
SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for all of the strapped heels & in addition here for the little black envelope clutch
Next up, coming in 3rd, was Asha with her collection for “Nefertiti in Harlem”. This was my 4th place finisher and I am still not sure she was deserving of a finale spot, but the judges seemed to be on board with this collection. It’s just not me and for a commercial appeal I’m just not sure these looks would work for many women. And you have to think commercially because none of these looks really are high fashion or couture. With the fabrics chosen I just don’t get a luxe feel. Most of the judges appreciated her creativity but Heidi thought there was a bit too much going on, while Neil was also not a fan. He said it was like a 1920 circus carne couture. I’m not sure what that is, but I thought it was interesting with many of the individual designer critiques how Jen/Zanna/Rachel would seem to be on one page, while Neil/Heidi were on another. So even with Shan, Neil seemed to echo a bit differently than the rest and he liked what he saw.
I remember Asha saying something during the episode about not caring who didn’t like her collection. I’m not sure how a a designer “your not caring” makes any sense?? If you have a client, they are going to want what they want. And if they don’t like it, you might not get paid or a repeat of business. And then just on a mass commercial side, you will need people to like your work. If not, they won’t buy it and then that limits your success as a designer. For me, this just all means Asha was clearly designing for a small handful of people and I think she should have broadened her horizons for this finale.
I did actually like this gold dress, but that was about it. I know Oscar made a few repeat looks, but I thought this look was similar to Asha’s quick fix challenge. And I actually think this was a lot better than that one so I wish she had thought of this before.
SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for the black sandal heels
SHOUT – OUT TO Francesca’s for the nude sandal heels
SHOUT-OUT to BlowPro for the curly side up-do
So as already mentioned, Sam came in 2nd. He was so close & I am very proud of his growth on UTG, but always remaining true to his aesthetic and voice. These looks, Sam’s final collection was what he calls “Hipster Nonsense” — showing his growth and beauty coming from the inside. I thought he did an astounding job — the looks were fresh, fun, chic, and very creative. They certainly fit Sam’s girl with an easy breezy vibe. I think Sam also designs with a certain woman in mind, but the difference with him versus Asha is that many other women could still make these looks work!
The judges all seemed to be fans! But again, the Jen/Rachel/Zanna trio seemed to have competing thoughts with that of Neil, who thought this was weirdly safe? If you have to pick a criticism here, fine, go with the one the judges gave — is this safe? Could Sam design on a more higher end level, more couture?? I think he could and I would love to see Sam’s interp for that, but for this challenge, remembering it was to show your point of view as a designer, Sam hit the nail on the head!
Love this neon printed asymmetrical maxi, definitely my fave! It has such an effortless vibe!
The judges thought this look was simple, but I say it’s basic — minimalism at its best. Sam is about bells & whistles with his designs so this is another homerun look for me!
SHOUT – OUTS TO Francesca’s for the open-toed black booties; & also Benefit Cosmetics for the clean & fresh beauty looks — nude lips, basic eye appliques
SHOUT – OUT to BlowPro for the many models sporting long luscious wavy locks!
And finally, we come to the winner — OSCAR!! CONGRATS!! It’s hard to not be impressed with this collection. I will agree with the judges in the concern for having seen 2 of the coats. But for me, it’s selfish reasoning in that I just want to see more of Oscar & as much as I can! But I think there was some variation to the coats and Oscar still was able to re-create perfection. And I also love that Oscar didn’t just send down a collection full of gowns because we know he can make them and we know he can make them well. It was nice to see his true versatility. Oscar’s collection is all about women, his love of women and the need to protect them. Oscar can create & protect me with his designs any time is really all I have to say! His looks just have such wonderful elements — even the tiniest details are so stunning. His creations are high-end, high fashion, and very luxe.
But really the only criticism here was the repetition in the collection. The judges couldn’t think of much else and it really was Oscar & Sam who matched the challenge the best — showing off their POVs as designers. And I think in choosing between the 2, the judges just went with more of a wow factor in that of such high-end pieces coming down the runway versus those that would sell perhaps a bit easier on the commercial level. This is not the 1st time this has happened in PR history! But congrats again to both guys; they are both winners in my book!
SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for the black sandal heels, golden earrings
This flowing purple gown is AMAZING!! Using such a deep purple is bold and statement-making and I love it! Red carpet worthy for sure — Emmy’s, Grammy’s, etc.
SHOUT – OUTS to BlowPro for the models’ long wavy locks & Benefit Cosmetics for the beauty looks of a lighter brown smoky eye & nude lip
SHOUT – OUT TO Francesca’s for the black platform strapped heels
Until PR starts again, tata!!