PRAS Designers’ Showdowns — Good v Wicked

Well the set-up was all there. The challenge was couture inspired fashion. The underlying inspiration was the Broadway hit musical Wicked. We had the drama, huge showdowns between equally talented designers with “Good v Wicked”. But all in all, I was somewhat underwhelmed this week. I wasn’t WOWED by many of the looks. I was expecting some touch choices to be made between pairings on who had the best design. Instead I witnessed a battle of who had the worst look. The episode wasn’t all terrible, so first let’s backtrack a bit and get all the details on this week’s challenge.


Alyssa descended upon the Wicked stage to greet the designers and provide the challenge details. Joining her were Wicked’s stars, Christine Dwyer (Elphie The Wicked Witch) and Jenni Barbour (Glinda the Good Witch). A major theme for Wicked is that every story has 2 sides. So as a tribute to the musical and the witches’ rivalry, this week, the designers would too rival one another by facing off and presenting a couture look representing the concept of “good” or that of “wicked.”


The pairings were set —

  • Justin (wicked) v Fabio (good)
  • Kate (wicked) v Sonjia (good)
  • Ben (wicked) v Helen (good)
  • Chris (wicked) v Michelle (good)
  • Samantha (wicked) v Jay (good)
  • Dmitry (wicked) v Gunnar (good)


Part of the issue with the designers’ work this week I think could partly be blamed on the challenge details & parameters. Couture work means so much more work than a mere 2-day challenge. That is PR though and even in short time frames we’ve seen some stunning work come down the runway in the past. I did feel as if a $250 budget for Mood seemed a bit low for such a high stakes challenge. I’m looking for a bit of blame though because I still feel as if something was off with the work this week. I felt with many of the designers I didn’t dislike their entire look. There were aspects I very much enjoyed and was impressed by. Some had a decent start and I’m not sure whether it was a lack of time, a bit of nerves, or maybe not enough of a budget, but somewhere, somehow, things went off course a bit.


As the designers headed back to the workroom for their 1st day of work many recognized some stiff competition for themselves with who they were paired against. I think head games might have been a factor with lackluster looks. Gunnar seemed to be the only one with a diehard spirit on wanting to truly beat out his competition — Dmitry. The 2nd day of work brought us Zanna-time and model fittings.


Zanna announced a prize for winning the challenge. The winning look would be on display for all to see at the home of Wicked, the Gershwin Theatre. Sadly though, this incentive nor were Zanna’s encouraging words enough to boost many of the designers’ looks. Zanna encouraged the designers to think couture, replace crafty with exquisite details. Samantha & Fabio were likely given the harshest critiques. Samantha was told her original look was a snooze-fest so she started over. Fabio’s dress/pant combo had Zanna worried so he hesitated on moving forward. But ultimately he stuck with his gut and his original look that he loved.


The morning of the runway saw a few designers working away, lots still to do. But for others, there was confidence and a ready-to-go spirit, such as with Chris, Dmitry, and Jay. Of course, not all of these designers had true reason to be so confident! The judging panel was sans Georgina this week, but there were 2 guest judges — eclectic designer Betsey Johnson and star of ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family Ariel Winter. Betsey was a little on the nicer side, but Ariel, to be so young, I was very impressed by a lot of what she had to say. She knew what she was talking about and what she liked. Not sure why Georgina was out, but it was probably best because we didn’t need 5 judges, let’s keep it at 4 every week!


The only designer I want to give a side shout-out to is Kate. I think the Kate/Sonjia pairing was the only one where both designers went all out. For every other pairing I was able to pick the high score, except this one. This was certainly no white dress or bridal type look this week. I love this skirt, the vine detailing and the tons of tulle covering up the skirt. Also, Mary Kay shout-out, great call being dramatic with the make-up. A lot of the designers for “Wicked” went with a bold, dark lip and a dark, smoky eye. But Kate mixed it up and was wise to try out this “white-out” eye. Gorgeous!


From here, we can easily transition to discussing Kate’s face-off partner, Sonjia, who was also this week’s winner. Sonjia wasn’t my pick for the winning look, but she definitely did a good job.


The judges loved this cover-up skirt over a shorter fitted dress. I was not a fan of this aspect. It took the luxe, couture factor down a notch for me. The reason I think I disliked it was actually because of how much I loved what Sonjia was doing with the under-dress, the lacier portion.


The neckline, the sleeve detailing were all just insanely gorgeous. I think a dress going more in this direction, all of this type of work, would have been a total knockout and a winner for the night in my book.

Shout-outs for QVC, love the metallic gold sandal heels, & Mary Kay beauty look, subtle smoky eye & semi-dark lip combo worked beautifully together and with this look!


You can see above Sonjia’s winning look on display, but my winning look for the week and more fitting for a Wicked display was Dmitry! This dress was full on wicked and it was stunningly eye-catching. The feather detailed work, the cut-outs at the waist, sheer tulle overlay, the stunning back, I mean WOW! I can’t believe Dmitry wasn’t even in the running for the win, so yes top 3, but to then not be top 2, really?!?


Michelle said you could see the model’s cooter in this dress, yet then we saw Isaac & Betsey wanting more skin. Not sure about more skin here, I think we can see enough! I’m not sure I could rock such a high slit, but it’s definitely a red carpet trend right now and Dmitry was smart in knowing many celebs and starlets would love this aspect.


The back and the neckline did it for me with Dmitry’s very wicked-esqe dress. So sad it was not the winner, but had it not been in the top 3, that would have been a true travesty!


No disrespect to Samantha this week, but I in no way believe she even thought she would be in the top 3. Actually she was in the top 2, very near winning this week, which is still a bit mind-boggling to me. We as viewers got see her many troubles over the 2 days in creating this look. But even had that not happened I still wouldn’t have pegged this look as a near win. The entire back side is very disappointing, poor execution, nothing special going on.


Chi hair shout-out for this gorgeous fishtail braid though! I’m just not sure how the judges overlooked the entire back side of this dress. I will say her showdown pairing with Jay wasn’t as much of a slam-dunk as Jay thought it would be. Jay’s dress was not amazing at all so Samantha being the higher score made sense. But top 2, still scratching my head on that one.


Even the front had execution issues to me, but I think the judges called this “raw” or “organic.” The sequins are gorgeous, but really are Samantha’s saving grace this week. They did all of the work to make this dress sparkle the little bit that it did. The dress had potential so Samantha going this direction made sense. And I’m sure with more time it could have been so much better. But maybe since so many dresses this week were safe or lackluster, the judges decided to grade on a “Potentials” curve.  Mary Kay beauty shout-out, beautiful cat eye and deeply bold wicked lip color!


Fabio was the first of the bottom 3, being saved from near elimination. The judges said this dress/pant combo was not couture and I agree. He clearly has an aesthetic, but his style has a way to transition into a couture look and this was not it. If the printed pants weren’t enough to catapult this look into a non-couture zone, the harnessed back certainly did the piece no favors.


Fabio already won a challenge and I think the judges took that as well as couture work not being in his wheelhouse into consideration. But he can’t let his work be so confined into one box or one type of design work. He needs to be able to show growth and development.


Mary Kay shout-out for this sweet & delicate beauty look and QVC shout-out for these cute black sandal heels. Great choices to help in some way for this look!


During this episode we saw Helen working tirelessly away on ruffle details. I was super-excited to see where she was going, but this end result was not great. I knew she would be in for some trouble. The ruffles didn’t marry well with this embroidered fabric. Also, the ruffle placement was too much for the look. It made the garment really heavy feeling. The judges were spot on in saying just because something takes you so long to do, it doesn’t mean it will be the best part of an ensemble.


Helen works with eveningwear so this letdown was a bit of a surprise. I’m not sure what she was thinking here. It’s clear she really wanted to do these ruffles so the only way I think she could have made it work was maybe to make use of them at the bottom of the dress? And then even as gorgeous as the vines on the shoulder were, I’m just not sure how all of these elements were supposed to combine and work together harmoniously.


Love these QVC ivory sandal heels though, so QVC accessories shout-out!


So with Chris rounding out the bottom 3, sadly this meant it was goodbye Chris. I know Chris has talent, but something did veer off course here. It was not his best work. The judges expected more from Chris on this challenge, and coupled with his bottom appearance last week, were reasons leading to his ouster this week.


It was no surprise Betsey loved his dress. In fact, the bottom portion looked very Betsey Johnson-esque. But to me, it kind of felt costume-y. Chris didn’t want his “Wicked” look to be black, guessing like a few others. But there are tons of colors you can go wicked with, really anything dark, browns, blues, purples, reds, etc. Being wicked is not all about color! Color aside, this shredded detailing didn’t help either.


The fabric, the shredded detailing, it just didn’t feel couture or high red carpet quality. Sad to see Chris go so soon, but I’m sure that will be a constant sentiment for many designers on this season of PRAS. Another QVC shout-out though over another pair of heels, dying over these silver sandal heels!


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