PRAS Designers Get Personal this Week


That’s right! The designers got very personal this week, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Everyone was off to the Hearst Building, home of PRAS partner Marie Claire, to receive the challenge details. To provide these details, Alyssa was joined by creative director of Marie Claire Nina Garcia and Zales VP of Marketing Scott Davies.


Davies introduced Zales’ past, present, and future jewelry collection. In fact, the winner of the challenge would win a $10,000 Zales gift card and a diamond pendant from this collection, worth $15,000. The “past, present, future” element carried over into this week’s challenge. The designers had to create a colorful party dress inspired by their personal relationships, their own journey with love. Each look needed to incorporate an element representing the designers’ past, present, and future with regard to love and relationships.


You would think with such a pricey prize package at stake PRAS could have afforded a little more than a mere $100 Mood budget. With that in mind and only a 1-day challenge at hand, I was very impressed by what the designers created. At Mood, we quickly knew we would be in store for lots of red looks! And of course with the challenge being so personal in nature, we would hear many designer tales about their love lives. There were stories of happiness, such as with Kate’s marriage to a life-long friend and companion. But there were also some quite sad memories being brought back up, such as with Helen’s on & off again boyfriend struggles, or Gunnar trying to work thru a recent split.


It was then time for Zanna-time. She reminded the designers to add surprising elements into their looks, there needed to be a Wow-factor! We got to see how creative Justin was being with his hand-prints painted treatment. I was impressed, just as Zanna was. As Zanna was departing she let the designers know she still felt as if their looks could be a little more representative of their personal journeys; there needed to be more vulnerability.


Generally it’s after Zanna-time that a designer might be prompted to change up their look. But for Kate, this happened after her model fitting. She wanted to create a more sexier outfit so she began making changes. But with the morning of the runway, Kate was not the only one still scrambling away with last minute changes and work.


The judging panel this week consisted of Nina Garcia, filling in for Georgina Chapman who was missing again. But we also had 2 guest judges, fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat, and last season’s PRAS winner Seth Aaron Henderson.


The designers put on a fairly impressive runway and Zales took note of that as well. In addition to an already amazing prize for the winner of the challenge, each designer would receive a $1000 gift card — SUPER NICE & KIND OF ZALES! While the runway put a smile on my face, the judges baffled me somewhat this week, so let’s just get right to it, looking at the top 3 and winner for the week.


Helen being in the top this week was confusing for me. I wouldn’t have put her in the bottom or have sent her home, but this dress seemed kind of boring to me, so for me, a safe look should be just that, Safe! But the judges flipped over Helen’s red dress and not only was she in the top 3, but she also won. Hearing the judges and Helen talk about the elements of her dress and how it reflected the “past, present, future” part of the challenge sort of began making sense. I found her dress to be a little more interesting. But I still don’t think this look was enough of a wow-factor to make it a winning number.

Chi Hair Care shout-out — this is such an exquisite and gorgeous up-do!


I was even further baffled that there was so much debate between Isaac and Nina over who should win this week. I guess I just didn’t get it with Helen’s look. But I will give a shout-out for the Mary Kay beauty look, love this bold, deep red lip!


Once again, the judges were in a heated debate over who should win between Helen and Sonjia. And with that, I would have picked Sonjia. I’m not sure that right when I saw this look that I was totally head over heels for it, but the way the burgundy lace worked with the cobalt blue under-garment, there was something very eye-catching about it. Zanna gave Sonjia some great advice about making sure her look wasn’t too matronly. I think she turned it around very well, but I still felt as if there was a slight matronly vibe in play. The judges flipped over the back of the look, but I’m not sure why.

Chi hair care shout-out for another stunning up-do!


Sonjia created a very intriguing look this week. She was very smart, picking such an interesting lace fabric with eye-catching details, and then taking that eye-catching appeal even further by pairing the burgundy lace with the cobalt blue. QVC shout-out for these perfectly coordinating cobalt blue heels. Also, Mary Kay makeup shout-out for another gorgeous bold burgundy lip.


But once again, all in all, Dmitry would have been my winner this week, just as I pegged him as my winner last week. Come on judges, two times now, let’s show Dmitry some love! But thankfully, he’s at least still making top 3 so that is good! When Dmitry first said he was working with vinyl, and that it was his first time ever doing so, I was a little scared. But his work with it was freakin’ awesome. The incorporation of vinyl panels made his dress stand-out; I was intrigued. This look had such an impeccable fit. It was sexy, but still tasteful.


The debate between Nina & Isaac over the flounce, I’m not sure what side I land on. Is it my favorite aspect of this dress? No. But I think if it were to not be there, the dress might have been more hoochie, or like another bodycon dress you could find at Bebe. Chi hair care shout-out, love this side-swept braided look, gorgeous!


So for the most part, the top 3 made sense, exception being the winner. I will also say the bottom 3 made sense, with the exception of Benjamin being a part of it. I loved his flowy gold dress. First off, in a sea of red, pink, and purple, it was commendable he went with gold. I also thought his work was very much the epitome of a party dress. This should not have been in the bottom 3, especially over some other questionable looks that came down the runway.


We have to also do a minute love-fest on this back detailing. I mean come on, this is stunningly gorgeous! I got what Isaac was saying about not wearing chains then, but those can easily come off.


Thankfully though, Benjamin was not in the bottom 2 so the judges at least got something right after wrongfully placing him in the bottom to begin with. He was thinking outside of the box by not going with red like so many others did. I love this dress so I say to Benjamin, Great job!


I’m going to move onto the designer who went home, Kate. Because as much as I disagreed with Benjamin being in the bottom, I too fully disagree with Kate being sent home. I knew Kate was going to be in trouble this week. She changed up her design last minute. And then there were some obvious execution issues since she was running low on time. The judges also didn’t love her use of a neutral color.

Chi hair care shout-out, lovely up-do.


The bottom was messy, but the top beading work was beautiful. I think this should have been enough to save her this week. Gunnar was the other bottom 2 look this week and I just didn’t see a saving grace with his look. I also think his execution issues by far surpassed that of Kate’s issues. QVC shout-out, killer gold sandal heels.


I do love Gunnar, just not this dress. He spent so much time on these details of his dress, the flaps, but it all just came across as messy. The backside was even worse than the front, just so sloppy looking. Gunnar was trying to convey chaos and this look was chaotic, just not in a good way.


I think the slight popping out of the printed fabric he chose was a commendable element, but I was disappointed this dress just had so much wrong going on. And again, I love Gunnar and didn’t want him to go. But over Kate, he should have been out.








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