Well….not exactly! But with time spent on the Celebrity Cruise line this week, as well as designing exotic location inspired looks, everyone was definitely embracing the vacation spirit. The designers met Tim aboard the Celebrity Summit (great little brand promos here!), as well as the President & CEO of Celebrity Cruise, Lisa Lutoff Perlo. I’m sure the designers were hoping for a small break in the craziness after the unconventional materials challenge last week, but no such luck as this week was the dreaded team challenge!
Each duo was called upon to create 1 look, a luxurious, high-end piece that could transition from day to night, all while embracing the spirit of the destination which would serve as the inspiration for the design teams. The button bag made it’s return to name the teams. Each team would then pick their suitcase, naming their destination inspiration. Inside each suitcase were fabrics capturing the spirit of that particular destination. Here is the breakdown for each pairing —
- Amanda & Gabrielle with the South of France
- Ashley & Candice, Venice
- Lindsey & Jake, Hong Kong
- Laurie & Swapnil, India
- Kelly & Blake, Greek Isles
- Edmond & Hanmiao, the Caribbean
- Joseph & Merline, St. Petersburg
After snacking on some delicious cruise treats and sketching, the designers were off to the workroom to continue work for this 1-day challenge. Back in the workroom were some additional fabrics the duos could make use of, solid fabrics courtesy of Mood. There was a quick squabble between Amanda/Gabrielle and Blake/Kelly over some fabric, but it was clear from the get-go which teams would lead in the awards for drama in this episode!
The underlying problem for these teams, as well as for almost every other PR team challenge episode, was COMMUNICATION. Edmond was encouraging Hanmiao to actually communicate, but all she seemed to know how to say was “Shut-up, let me think.” They truly could not agree on a direction. Joseph took charge on his team’s look and Merline kind of sat back, let it happen, and really didn’t do much else. And with Lindsey & Jake, since early chats weren’t being received properly, all communication just kind of halted completely. More on this later, but for now, let’s check out Tim-time!
Tim applauded a few, but his main critiques were on the more troubled groups. For Edmond & Hanmiao, it was Edmond who wanted to go the swimwear route. Tim seemed to encourage this, although he failed to mention this during the judges’ critique, who didn’t really love the idea! Go figure! He warned Joseph & Merline about their look being too matronly, which clearly this advice was not taken. And for Lindsey & Jake, by Tim validating Lindsey’s ideas, I guess Jake couldn’t handle being shut down. Jake had spent most of the day talking down to Lindsey and shooting down her ideas. However, he came up with nothing to add in return. I don’t think Jake could handle Tim being more in agreement with Lindsey and he shut down. Boohoo! Had he been able to actually then re-group and work with Lindsey, maybe their look could have won.
Guest judge this week, Tracee Ellis Ross
The morning of the runway probably showcased the craziest bit of drama in the entire episode. Hanmiao’s bathing suit was not looking good, not finished and not great quality. With no discussion, Edmond started whipping up a new swimsuit. When Hanmiao caught wind of this, she quickly took the model into the bathroom to sew the model into her swimsuit. With time running out, Edmond was left with no choice but to send Hanmiao’s suit down the runway. CRAZY!! Both were in the wrong here, but this trainwreck of a duo really had no sign of hope!
Moving onto the runway, I will begin with the only safe look, Blake & Kelly. I was SHOCKED at how this look was not at least in the top 3. This was actually my winning look. The looked screamed destination or resortwear. I could easily see with the change of accessories how this jumpsuit would transition between night & day. What’s even more baffling was pretty much every top look this week had some criticism. So I’m curious to know what 1 judge hated this look so much because that is my guess as to how it missed being in the top! Shame, shame!
Sally Beauty hair shout-out — gorgeous up-do!
Ashley & Candice not only landed in the top 3, but both were this week’s winner. Usually in a team challenge, there is only 1 winner. Both did work so well together and couldn’t choose a winner themselves, so it was a pleasant surprise that the judges didn’t either. As soon as I saw this was in the top 3, I figured the judges would pick the look as the winner.
The judges called out Amanda & Gabrielle for having too much going on, so I’m not sure how that critique was overlooked here. You have mixed prints, oversized bottoms, cowl neck top, a huge one at that, and a jacket that covered everything all up! For me, I loved the pieces individually. A more simplistic, solid top would have worked just as well for this look since there was a bold, floral jacket. I just wasn’t a fan of it all together. But with all the drama in this episode, I very much loved seeing two strong, confident women work so well together and not be afraid to take some risks!
Of the judges’ top 3, I would have picked Lindsey & Jake. It was a little literal for me with Hong Kong and I wasn’t head over heels for the shorts, but the look just worked for me. The shimmering gold was a runway stand-out. The look had such great movement. As the judges pointed out, the fabrics were a huge benefit here, but I am still a fan! Lindsey had a breakthrough moment here and it was such a shame that the Jake drama had to pull away from that!
Shout-outs, Sally Beauty for the beautiful top-knot bun & Mary Kay for the stunning makeup look!!
I will say with Lindsey & Jake, it was such a nice “in your face” moment for Jake that this look landed in the top. He was so dismissive to Lindsey at first and then decided to let her do all the work. He thought the look would for sure land in the bottom and I’m sure he planned on blaming it all on Lindsey. Well ha, in yo face and not so much!!
Shout-outs — Another gorgeous bun, courtesy of Sally Beauty, and bold beauty look from Mary Kay!
Swapnil & Laurie rounded at the top 3. I am going to bring up Amanda & Gabrielle again. So it seemed the judges didn’t like their top, fine with the pants, putting them in the bottom. Yet the judges with this look, liked the top and sari, but not the pants, and this somehow means top 3?? Let’s face it, the pants here were not great, not at all! To me, the pants threw off the entire vibe of the look and were not made well at all, so I just couldn’t get behind this look.
I will say the sari was done in a great print and the top was exquisite. But I look back to Tim’s words when Swapnil conveniently picked India as an inspiration for the challenge. He said the standards would be higher at that point. I expected more from him and I didn’t get that from him with this look.
Gabrielle and Amanda were in this week’s bottom 3. I didn’t see this as a bottom look at all though. The judges’ focus was on the top, which the top portion was a bit wonky. But I thought the side bit with the underlining print was cool. And with all the pants that came down the runway this week, these were the best IMO. Also, the judges thought a little too much was going on here for just a top and a pair of pants — really?? I’m not sure about that, but seeing the other bottom 2 looks, it was clear these ladies were going to be safe so it all worked out in the end.
Next up for the bottom 3, Joseph & Merline. I was fine with the judges sending Hanmiao home, but really Joseph or Merline could have been eliminated and I would have saw no great loss. This lavender look was not only boring, but also not well-made. And if I’m not mistaken, was this fabric not the same as the lavender fabric from the 1st challenge. Mood must be really trying to get rid of this one!
This was definitely more of Joseph’s look than Merlines’, but neither designer gets a pass from me. Even if this dress was perfectly made, it would have been nothing special. And to say it wasn’t the best because you had to help your teammate, I mean really, what more were you going to do here!?! But Merline had some issues too. She sat back and said nothing to benefit the creative effort. And if Joseph had to help her that much, it makes me question her capabilities then as a designer. She wasn’t making anything that complex, just a cape.
This leaves Edmond and Hanmiao rounding out the bottom. And of course with Edmond having immunity, he was not in danger of elimination. Hanmiao was the eliminated designer. Even if Edmond could have been eliminated, I didn’t see that happening here. He’s been in the top twice, just a better body of work. I know the swimwear concept was his, but it didn’t seem as if Hanmiao wanted to do anything here unless it was her idea — her way or the highway. She drew the sketch, yet didn’t want to execute the look. She didn’t care for the fabrics. Edmond was right though, had they used a bunch of solids and nothing out of the suitcase, they would have been called out. And clearly she was out of her element in making the swimsuit. Edmond should have mentioned making a new one, but her going behind his back and forcing this swimsuit to go down the runway was not the best of ideas. Two wrongs do not make a right!
Sally Beauty shout-out — luscious waves!!
I actually thought the swimsuit Edmond was working on would have been better, but what was with this skirt!! It’s a surprise these 2 got anything accomplished. Time must have really been an issue here. I do think they spent a lot of time arguing and trying to figure things out. Clearly, the work suffered. Zac pointed out that Edmond stopped work on his skirt to create another swimsuit. But more work was not going to change the fact that this was a boring yellow skirt, nothing special! But as I said, it didn’t bother me that Hanmiao went home. Edmond made attempts to work as a team and she did not. Had she tried I believe a different outcome would have resulted!