2017 SAGs — Best Dressed

A little late on this, but I do love my best dressed lists! Here are the looks that stood out most to me —

TARAJI P. HENSON

KALEY CUOCO

GIULIANA RANCIC

NICOLE KIDMAN

  • Gucci — emerald sequin gown featuring multicolored feather and beaded parrot embroidered sleeves, plunging neckline and skirt with black tulle cascading ruffles
  • a Kotur clutch
  • an Omega watch
  • Fred Leighton jewels

MICHELLE WILLIAMS

TERESA PALMER

MISSI PYLE

JULIE BOWEN

FELICITY HUFFMAN

EMMA STONE

  • Alexander McQueen mixed floral & lace gown, symmetric draped dress
  • Tiffany & Co. jewelry, including a $90,000 bracelet in 18k white gold with diamonds, $25,000 earrings in platinum with chrysophrase and diamonds and a $9,500 diamond ring
  • Alexander McQueen clutch

GINA RODRIGUEZ

TALULAH RILEY

SANIYYA SIDNEY

JAMES MARSDEN & SON, JACK

People’s Choice — Best Dressed

So early in 2017, and we have already had some pretty epic red carpets! Here are my fave looks from the 2017 People’s Choice Awards, enjoy!

VICTORIA JUSTICE

KELLY McCREARY

CHELSEA KANE

PEYTON LIST

SARAH DREW

KARINA SMIRNOFF

JORDANA BREWSTER

FIFTH HARMONY

SOFIA VERGARA

CHRISTINE KO

WILMER VALDERRAMA

TOM HANKS

JOEL MCHALE & SARAH WILLIAMS

Globes AfterParties — Best of the Best

The Golden Globes main red carpet was phenomenal, but so too were the various looks from the whole Golden Globes weekend, the Art of Elysium Gala, W Mag’s It Girl luncheon, and afterparties from HBO, InStyle & Warner Bros., and Netflix. Enjoy!

Angela Sarafyan

Lucy Hale

Nikki Reed

Naomie Harris

Maya Henry

Constance Wu

Sophia Bush

Kristen Bell

Amanda Crew

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

Halston Sage

Zoey Deutch

Mandy Moore

Vanessa Hudgens

Lisa Rinna

Shanina Shaik

Hailey Baldwin

Caitriona Balfe

 

Golden Globes 2017 — Best Dressed

At the end of 2016, I had such joy in looking back at all of the red carpets throughout the year. So it seems only fitting that one of my first posts of the new year is a best dressed list, the 2017 Golden Globes Awards to be precise. I think some of these looks will be remembered all year long!

GIULIANA RANCIC

LILY COLLINS

  • rosewood pink floral Zuhair Murad gown adorned with cape and showered with beads

EMMA STONE

PRIYANKA CHOPRA

CHRISSY TIEGEN

  • Marchesa metallic lace fishtail gown with halter neck, sculptural peplum, and floral embroidery from the recent Spring 2016 line
  • Jimmy Choo Carmen clutch
  • Lorraine Schwartz jewelry

KRISTIN CAVALLARI

OLIVIA CULPO

GINA RODRIGUEZ

SOFIA VERGARA

KELLY PRESTON

BRIE LARSON

AMY ADAMS

  • Tom Ford anthracite sequin strapless gown
  • sparkly Cartier earrings and bracelet

THANDIE NEWTON

MILLIE BOBBY BROWN

FELICITY HUFFMAN

TRACE LYSETTE

JANELLE MONAE

LOLA KIRKE

JESSICA CHASTAIN

Sistine, Scarlet, and Sophie Stallone

BLAKE LIVELY & RYAN REYNOLDS

For Ryan…

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

 

Proj. Runway — The Finale!

Alas, another season of PR has come and gone. So let’s see how season 15 played out, from the final runway prep to the announcement of the winning designer.

After the judges’ preview, with 2 days until fashion week, the designers were back to work. Tim came in to announce a final trip to Mood with an additional budget of $500. Upon return and a little designer re-working, Tim then came by for a critique.

He urged Rik to open his work up, both literally & figuratively — don’t be afraid to show some skin. For Laurence, he advised on reworking a few pieces. He instructed Erin to avoid being too arts and craftsy. And for Roberi, it was all about lessening the confusion.

It was soon the day before fashion week, which hosted for the day some making of new garments and model fittings. Also as a part of the day, it was Tim’s emotional final round-up with the designers. The morning of the runway too had a lot of stirred emotions. Rik was done, all ready for the runway. But other designers were having some final issues, Roberi with a missing model and Laurence with a garment rip.

It was time though for the final runway during NYFW. Guest judge for the show was Zendaya. This was my 2nd time attending the final runway show and it was once again, another surreal experience. It was great seeing the collections live and also being a part of it with other fans. So here are my thoughts on the final runway and my ranking of the final 4.

I 100% agreed with the judges naming Erin as the winner of season 15 of PR. Project Funway was the WAY to go!

I saw such quality in her very well-made pieces. Right from the start, with the very first look, that top, I was blown away! Erin started the season making a bunch of coats and I was half expecting to see many in her final collection, but gladly that was not the case. But with missing coats aside, I still saw Erin’s aesthetic and touches come thru. I saw embellishments galore and I was in love with her uniquely creative prints. This was artsy, but certainly not arts and crafts.

The attention to detail and all of the tiny little erin-nisms, like the bananas, I just loved. I saw a modern, fashion forward collection and I was proud of what Erin sent down the runway. I’m glad the judges too loved the kookiness of her collection. Zendaya pointed it out perfectly by mentioning the balance of kook & chic!

The only negative I can come up with in Erin winning was that Roberi had to lose. I was glad he at least came in 2nd, very close to winning because I too loved his collection.

I saw fun, something different, and it was great to see. He used such beautiful colors. The full on purple look, to die for! I do feel as if some of his pieces didn’t quite fit in with the collection as a whole, like the denim pants look. I also felt like every time he was asked about his collection, he kind of said something different each time.

But overall, I saw his looks being imaginative. The second to last look, the more formal gown, it was stunning! And the very last look, going back to his threading technique, it was so impressive. I was mad that Heidi was hating on the gown I loved, and Nina of course liked the one look I didn’t care much for. But again, Zendaya was spot on in discussing the light versus heavy quality to this collection, how well it mixed or blended together.

The judges pretty much put Rik in 4th, but I thought he should have came in ahead of Laurence. Her collection was a yawn, but at least with Rik’s Bandits collection, there was some excitement.

I loved the leather pieces, especially the ones in black and white. But the denim pieces were just not my style. It was a risk for me, a love or hate type factor, and I unfortunately just wasn’t a fan. I kind of felt that way with Rik throughout the season. I would really love a piece of his, or not at all. There wasn’t much by the way of middle ground. And I guess I didn’t really get the connect between the leather and denim pieces.

I did appreciate his eyewear creations. I think the judges were too still on the same page though about the overall cohesiveness of the collection.

And finally, there was Laurence’s work. She was really working down to the last literal second on these looks. To be so minimal, not much by way of bells and whistles, I’m not sure what was taking her so long to do, but working away she did.

I know she spent a lot of time reworking the “potato sack” looking dress, but I was still not a fan. When I was there watching the finale, before I realized there were no decoy collections, I thought this one was. There were some lovely small details to appreciate with the collection, when you could see the looks up close. But from afar, it was a basic, RTW collection, and with no “Wow” pieces, it sort of seemed very bland.

On the day, seeing this come down the runway first, and seeing the more exciting collections to follow, it was just apparent that this one was lackluster. Zac too pointed out about the lack of runway impact. There needed to be a wow factor. I wondered why during the many Tim critiques or the judges preview that this was not pointed out!

Zendaya kind of made a plea, saying that seeing the collection, it kind of made her want to see more, wondering what else she had to show. But this is not a good thing to say at this point! You need to show what you have now, not leave us all to wonder! I missed the cool-girl factor we saw during the season. This was lacking in the collection. And it was the main reason she didn’t fair well.

What a season — can’t wait to see the next one!

 

Proj. Runway — NYFW Prep!

As per PR tradition, the finale was divided into 2 parts. The first being the road to fashion week — the preparation, the changes, Tim Gunn consults, all concluding with a special judges’ preview presentation. Sometimes during the judges’ preview, one designer is eliminated right before fashion week. But luckily for this final 4, that was not the case. All 4 would show at fashion week! And so the mini-presentation would be the chance for the designers to get some vital last minute feedback in hopes of being the final one standing!

But before all of that, we start with Tim & Heidi sending the final 4 off to begin work on their collections. Each designer would have 6 weeks to work on a 10 look collection, with a $9000 budget. And with that, each designer was off and soon, Tim would be too for his visit and check-in with the designers.

SHOUTOUTS — Mary Kay & Sally Beauty fresh faced & easy going

He started first in L.A., 2 weeks until fashion week, with a visit to Laurence’s studio. Laurence’s collection was about the story of her life, going thru some rough times, starting dark and finishing with light. She had 7 pieces made and Tim was all on board. I think he could have stood to give her some real words of wisdom though. I was seeing some very wearable, minimalist pieces. But I was worried how this type of collection would standout above the rest? What was the draw?

Around the same time, while also in L.A., Tim met with Rik next. They started with some bowling fun, but then it was on to his work. Rik’s inspiration was a 70s vibe, Sgt. Pepper feel. It was a mix of denim and embroidery, unique artist collaborations and optical illusions. He had a lot made, even some cool accessories, like eyewear. Tim saw what I saw, too much! He worried about cohesion and seeing more than one collection.

Next up, with 10 days until fashion week, Tim was in Boston, visiting Erin. She lucked out being able to use MassArt studios. What wasn’t quite so lucky for her was that she didn’t have a single garment made. She had been busy creating textiles and fabrics. Her inspiration was all about positive vibes, thinking of her friends. She had a lot going on as well, embellishments, sequins, plexi-glass, bananas and more! For her though, Tim saw rule breaking and encouraged her to go with it!

SHOUTOUTS — Sally Beauty & Mary Kaystunning, gorgeous beauty looks!

Tim’s last visit was back in NY, with Roberi. His inspiration was about a woman going to different places, in search of something wonderful, different pieces, different moments, all at those different places. Just as with Rik, he too had lots of ideas. Tim wondered if the looks were representative of the same customer. He encouraged Roberi to think of being a designer versus a mere dress-maker.

After the visits, all 4 were back to NY. Naturally, they all wanted to see what each other had been doing. With the exception of Rik who was in the sewing room, very hard at work! Tim joined to inform them of the preview for the judges. Each designer would show 3 looks to the judges on the next day, a tease, an amuse-bouche! They would also use the Brother Dream Machine to present a logo. Laurence went with her initials, Rik with a graphic signature logo, Erin’s full name, but handwritten, and finally, Roberi, Ro.Pa., but as typography.

Tim then consulted with the designers again before the preview. His thoughts were pretty much the same as the visits, happy to see pieces from Erin finally, but very encouraging, and positive words for Laurence as well. But with Rik & Roberi, he was still worried on cohesion. As we all would later see from the judges, cohesion was the main criticism!

For this special preview, Heidi was judging remotely, but to sub for her in person, they brought in former PR judge, designer Michael Kors. So who seemed most ready for fashion week, and who still had lots of work to do?!?

While this above look was my least fave of the 3, I still loved the other 2 and what I had seen in the workroom. I was actually in attendance during the finale, and now that I can put the pieces of the puzzle together, Erin’s collection was my most fave. I believe she stuck true to who she is as a designer, minus seeing all the coats we had during the season.

The embellishments were great. I think she received the least amount of negative feedback from the judges, so I am hoping that is a good thing! I’m happy they saw the sparkle in her collection, and to encourage her to stay on that track.

This maxidress was amazing though! I’m mad at the judges for the bit of hate they gave on it. The print was unique, all the little characters. I can’t wait to re-visit her entire collection during the finale.

Roberi created some debate amongst the judges, but it wasn’t so much a negative debate, just some ideas on tweaking the collection a bit. But from what I remember, Roberi’s collection was pretty close to how I felt about Erins’ — it was great! My hope is that either he or Erin will win!

I do wish Roberi had worked a bit more on shapes and innovative silhouettes, as he had done during the season. But I did appreciate his interesting use of materials, and while there might have been a lot to take in, I was impressed. Of these 3, the pant look was my least fave, but I know he has more to offer with the whole collection!

The judges’ debate was centered around excitement versus sexiness. We all know Heidi was pushing for more of a sexy feel. But I’m glad the other judges, namely Michael, was able to state it wasn’t necessary to make the collection more sexy, but just to make it a bit more exciting. There is a difference!

I feel as if the judges, as did Tim, really were all loving Laurence’s work though. I just wasn’t seeing it. I remember during the finale, her pieces showed first, and I immediately thought, oh, this was a decoy collection. Usually during the finale at fashion week, they show 9 or so collections, just so you can’t tell who ends up making it to the finale. This year was different though, they only did 4. So after that, I knew there were only 4 and I remembered being underwhelmed by this collection.

The white pearl top from above was a standout, but I don’t remember caring for much else. All during the season, we saw Laurence creating crazy cool leather jackets, designing for a modern, young, hip girl. This collection seemed very mature and just full of a lot of basics. Laurence has always been a minimalist designer, but that is hard to pull off for a runway show and achieve excitement.

I think it is safe to say Rik received the most by the way of feedback. This can either be great, in that he can make some changes to elevate himself to the top. Or it can be bad, in that he is just doomed and there is no time left.

Rik’s collection wasn’t really my taste, but there was at least some intrigue. He still had a lot going on, so I am not certain that he was able to simplify into one collection, with that needed cohesive thread. I recall seeing a lot of denim, so I think he tried to focus on that, but the denim wasn’t my favorite choice. So depending on the judges’ mood that day, we shall see if it pays off. My hope, my guess, and really what makes sense though, is that it come down to Erin or Roberi.

Proj. Runway — The Last Challenge

That is right! We are right at the end of this season of PR, ready to see who will make it to NYFW! I was actually in attendance during the finale. Of course, I saw close to 50 shows during the fashion week season, so I don’t remember everything I saw, but I have a decent idea. And I think I could narrow the winner down to 2! But a hold on that for now, let’s see how the final challenge played out first.

Tim & Heidi met the designers before sending them off on a quick trip. Nothing too fancy, just that of Austin, TX, but it would serve as the inspiration for the challenge. Upon arrival, the designers met Tim by the pool of the Best Western they were staying at. Joining him was PR designer alum Nick Verreos. Underlying this challenge was Best Western as the sponsor. In line with their hotels’ modern, contemporary, and stylish new look, the plan was for these concepts to aide in the design process for the designers this week.

Austin is an unconventional city and with that each designer would be creating a look out of unconventional materials. It would be high fashion, and again, inspired from their trip to Austin. They were given a $500 budget to shop at either Georgetown Farm Supply (America’s country store) or Stubbs BBQ (a legendary rock n’ roll venue and bar). And with Best Western being the sponsor of the challenge, naturally it was announced that the winner would receive 50 free nights to stay at pretty much any BW worldwide.

After sketching and shopping, the designers were back to NY to begin this 2-day challenge. PR is infamous for their twists and turns. I can’t imagine the designers thought for the last challenge, that this would be it, especially being given 2 days. So on day 2, when Tim announced the twist, it was certainly not a “color me” surprised moment.

Tim described this twist as the ultimate test to conceptualize, innovate, and execute. And with that, there needed to be another dimension. Each designer would create a 2nd look, another high end fashion look, to correspond to their unconventional look. This look would be created out of conventional materials though. They were off to Mood then with a budget of $200.

Roberi was at a loss for words, but again, this shouldn’t have been a surprise! At the end of Day 1, Cornelius was already feeling the pressure with time. But in light of this news, Roberi was joining that club. It was soon time though for the runway! And this week’s guest judges were actress Priyanka Chopra and designer Georgina Chapman. So who came up just a smidge short on making it to fashion week?!?

With only 5 left, there wasn’t the standard top and bottom 3. So the designers with higher scores were only Erin and Roberi. I think Laurence was more or less in the land of mixed reviews. Which means it would be either Rik or Cornelius leaving this week. I was in agreement with the top 2 and very happy for Roberi to have the final win! I would have not chosen to send Cornelius home though!

Sally Beauty & Mary Kay SHOUTOUTS — Love the hair & beauty looks for Roberi

Roberi certainly took a risk with his unconventional look. It really rode a thin line, but I think he covered all his bases! It was certainly something different and I could see the inspiration of the trip. But his conventional look was my fave of the 2. It was Roberi all the way — shaping and  mixed prints. I didn’t really get a sense of connection with most of the designers 2 looks, a complimentary thread. But overall, Roberi did a great job with these 2 looks.

Erin too did a phenomenal job this week. Her work on the bodice of her unconventional look was stunning. And the use of mealworms, how quirky and super fitting for the challenge at hand.

And this jumpsuit was a fave of mine from this runway. Not sure why Nina took such issue with it, but I am glad the other judges loved it. I would certainly rock this look anywhere, anytime!

Laurence was placed in the middle, but sadly, I think I would have sent her home this week. I didn’t really care for either of her looks. The unconventional piece read a little sloppy to me. And seeing so many other unconventional looks being very wearable, I didn’t get that this dress was easy to wear. I just didn’t love it.

From the front, I thought this marigold dress was very boring. Great for her to use color, but that doesn’t alone create excitement. The back was an interesting pop of intrigue, but other than that, this sheath dress just looked poorly made and wasn’t extremely innovative.

MARY KAY SHOUTOUT!! — Beautiful glam looks!

I haven’t loved every look Rik has created during the season, but I was surprised to see him in the bottom 2, at risk of going home. His conventional look had it’s faults, but I thought his unconventional look would have been his saving grace. I guess in a way it was, but Rik didn’t deserve his bottom 2 placement!

Mary Kay & Sally Beauty SHOUTOUTS — Gorgeous work for all beauty looks!

In a way, I kind of feel as if no matter what, Cornelius was going this week. But in looking at all of the looks that came down the runway, there is some missing logic! Both of his looks were well-made, had some intrigue, and were fitting to the challenge. I don’t think that could be said of everyone. I guess we already know who I would have sent home, but I hate on some great final work for Cornelius, it really was his end!

 

 

Proj. Runway Goes Hybrid

Yes, that’s right, for the first time ever, PR created a hybrid challenge for the designers to tackle. It could also be dubbed as the Lexus challenge, since that was part of the underlying inspiration and concept of the week. Each designer had to create an innovative, avant grade look crafted from conventional fabric and unconventional metal themed materials. The designers met Tim at a warehouse, alongside the GM of Product and Consumer Marketing for Lexus, Brian Bolane, for all of the details.

As Brian described, just as the Lexus cars push with innovation, so too must the looks for the week. The designers had 5 minutes to gather their various pieces of machinery and metal from the warehouse. They were then off to Mood, in style this week, driving in a fancy Lexus, to spend $150 on fabrics. It was then off to the workroom to begin this 2-day challenge.

Erin had some drama creating her embellishments for her look, which Mah-Jing had advised her against doing. (It worked out in the end though) But it was Mah-Jing, Laurence, and Cornelius who Tim seemed most concerned with on this challenge, and they were the ones who landed in the bottom 3. Needless to say, the pressure was on. At the start of the episode Heidi informed the designers there were only 2 challenges left, not 3 as they expected. Tim too reminded the designers on the expectations for this week, and those were for spectacular and show-stopping looks to be created. As Heidi said, they had to go big or go home!

The guest judge for the week was actress & director Shiri Appleby. I already mentioned the bottom 3, but let’s start discussions on the top 3, Erin, Rik, and Roberi. The judges got the bottom and top correct, but my winner would have been Rik or Roberi, slightly for me would be to name Rik as the winner.

His look was shiny and cool, a great merge of the conventional and unconventional materials. I saw avant garde, even if Nina and Zac had doubts. I’m glad Heidi made a point to really accentuate the positives here. This was certainly the most wearable, well integrated, and avant garde look of the bunch!

A close runner-up for me would be Roberi. This look was futuristic, intriguing in the shaping, and I was saying “Beam me up Scotty!” I loved that Roberi created a well-made, mixed media look.

Shoutouts — Mary Kay & Sally Beauty Love the hair and the makeup went in line with the overall theme for the look, perfection!

Rounding out the top 3 was Erin. I liked the unconventional creation, but the pants for me were a little ho-hum. I didn’t think it made the look overly exciting. Whereas Rik’s look really merged his materials together, I didn’t quite get the connecting link here. The pop of color was great though. And hearing here paper doll concept was what made the overall look, all the more interesting.

Mary Kay shout-out — Stunning makeup look

Of the bottom 3, as sad as it is to see a designer go home at this point, I think Mah-Jing being eliminated was the right choice of the 3. Laurence’s look was only in the bottom because it was safe. She put in some great work. It was a wearable look, but I agreed with the judges in that it produced no surprise effect. I didn’t get why the judges though were focused on discussing colors for this look. There wasn’t a wide variety of choices with the unconventional materials.

Mary Kay shout-out — Love this gorgeous, glam beauty look!

With Cornelius’ look, I really liked the concept actually. The amount of tubing use and certainly the placements were a bit odd. But it was different and intriguing. I liked his use of color, as well as the mixed media. The main positive about the look was there wouldn’t be any lack of conversation regarding ut. Whether it be good or bad, it was attention-grabbing.

Mah-Jing, again, was the one to leave this week. Nina had it right in saying that the unconventional material usage seemed more like decoration than integrated materials. It did kind of looked placed on, not really a true part of the overall look.

Until next week….

 

To Dress or Not to Dress??

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To dress Melania Trump or not dress Melania, with fashion & politics mixing, that is the question! As of late, a host of designers have been posed the question and stating what they would do. I am not a designer, but I have definitely formulated my own thoughts and opinions on the matter, so here goes. But first, a little background on how this all came to be.

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Fashion designer Sophia Theallet, one of outgoing first lady Michelle Obama’s go-to designers, recently posted an open letter asking fellow designers to boycott and to not dress Melania. Ms. Theallet of course has her reasoning, mainly stemming from a dislike and disagreement of President-elect Trump and is forthcoming presidency. My initial thought on reading this was why she posted the letter? Was she asked to dress Melania? I haven’t yet read where the designer was asked to do so. Naturally, I would assume Melania and whatever stylist team she was working with would not first approach Michelle’s go-to closet of designers. I wasn’t also surprised that not every designer would want to loan out pieces to Melania as this recent election was certainly a very polarizing one. I then landed on an age-old saying — “there is no such thing as bad press.”

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I do not doubt for one minute that Theallet is not a Trump supporter, but what better way to not only keep your name in the press, but to also increase the presence than calling for a boycott. Because of how much I do in fashion, I of course know Theallet and her work. In fact, a couple of times, I have featured her work as part of my best dressed lists, such as Anna Chlumsky at the 2015 Tony Awards. I don’t gather that her brand is as well known as that say of a Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors, but I imagine she has been introduced to a lot more people now. Additionally, because of the anti-Trump sentiments, specifically in Hollywood, she may get some new work opportunities. And following from this, now many designers, who have too not yet been asked to dress Melania, are weighing in. These designers are of course a bit more established, but with the question now floating about, any designer is of course going to state their opinions as well.

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Those who have also said they would not dress Melania, Marc Jacobs — “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. I didn’t see [Sophie Theallet’s] letter. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Derek Lam — “What a tough question to answer now that the election has been decided! I’ve been slammed on social media when expressing an opinion about the election outcome. I was warned by people that I should not make an opinion which could alienate a client. Having been duly warned, my response is, while I have incredible respect for our country’s political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”

I believe Derek made a good point about alienating clients. This leads to one of my reasons as to why designers should make their own decision, but to not write the opportunity off so easily. And if a designer did choose to reject an actual offer to dress Melania, I wouldn’t be so quick to brag about the rejection. Like it or not, President-elect Trump did win the election. Of course he has his haters, but he too has supporters. Household names in fashion I think would not be so quick to risk backlash on a decision such as this. And that could happen. Those who have also said they would not dress Melania are Phillip Lim and Tom Ford. Although with Mr. Ford, what wasn’t quite so prevalent in the headline, was that he too wouldn’t dress Hillary Clinton!

But one designer who I think hit the nail on the head was the lovely Diane von Furstenberg. She said, “Donald Trump was elected and he will be our president. Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”

A major fear of those on the anti-Trump side has been all about issues with diversity and inclusiveness. The answer to combat this is not to act in the same manner. I would think leading by example would work better than boycotting. Again, I wouldn’t expect every designer would want to dress Melania. However, putting forth such strong desires to not do so in such a public forum is a bit hypocritical, especially when one is wanting or expecting a change in behavior and actions with this forthcoming presidency.

Tommy Hilfiger and Thom Browne both have said they too would dress the first lady and would consider it an honor. Whether one agrees with Trump being our next President, it is still such a huge opportunity for one to be given the chance to dress the first lady. Both established designers and those still working to build their brand are given the chance to do so. Established designers might have a bit more flexibility in their decisions to dress Melania or not, but I imagine they would consider their views a bit more carefully before decisions and severe expressions are made. Vera Wang was a bit ambiguous in her response, but I believe she would ultimately decide to dress Melania as she would want the first lady to support American fashion. And her “PC” answer is a bit more in line of what I would expect from an established designer. I must point out though, in response to Vera Wang, that it would be hard for Melania to demonstrate continued support of American fashion designers if those designers choose to follow Theallet and her call for a boycott.

But on the flip side, an independent or emerging designer would have to realize the potential in the opportunity. It could not only be a once in a lifetime opportunity, but also one that could lend to repetition, as in the chance to repeatedly dress the first lady. This sort of goes back to the “no press is bad press” sentiment. Could a designer receive some backlash for dressing Melania? Of course. But with that decision, you would also receive some support, and ultimately, it is press for your brand. And that is very important for emerging designers to accumulate.

Cynthia Rowley too made some great points — “In the midst of this heated debate, the question actually seems somewhat irrelevant. She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone’s ethical beliefs before they’re allowed to purchase, sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction. Some people say fashion and politics should never mix, but when given the choice, I think you should address and dress your conscience.”

The first lady, just as any other lady must do, has to create a look for every day. Yes, there are certain occasions that might warrant a more special look. But Melania will be in the public eye daily. Most of her wardrobe will not be from designer loans. So in regard to some of the debate going on about dressing Melania, some of it is a bit moot.

I was happy to see that Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley spoke to the Daily Mail about the future First Lady, whom he styled for her 2005 wedding. He would be in support of designers working with Melania. He had nothing but positive things to say about her.

I did read what might have been some unsubstantiated gossip that designers have already not been working with Melania, but also Ivanka and Tiffany. They made purchases or wore Ivanka’s brand. However, this was during the campaign, and I expect things to be different now that the election is over. Just as many stars and actors said they would leave the U.S. if Trump was elected President, of course they didn’t and are not going to! But I imagine designers will too change their tune once the dust settles some. And those who may have not loaned pieces this year, might do so over the next 4 years!

Proj. Runway — Let’s Take a Ride

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For this challenge, the designers began with a helicopter ride over NYC, to take in the aerial views, but to also be inspired by the sites. The reason for this bold, “power trip” was so the designers could create a bold, high fashion, dramatic and powerful editorial look for Marie Claire. In fact, the winning look would be featured in a spread for the magazine.

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Tim Gunn, alongside Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Anne Fulenwider, provided all of the details. In addition, Anne was also one of the guest judges for the week, and it was announced she would soon be the new mentor on Project Runway All-Stars. With all that said, the designers were ready to hit up Mood, with a huge budget of $300, all for this 1-day challenge.

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Tim-time was pretty much ho-hum, with the exception of Erin & Nathalia. To each lady, he really urged some re-thinking on what they had already started on. Nathalia was also a focal point of this week, specifically when it came to the newfound help she had been receiving from Rik. Jenni used to be her go-to, but with her gone, Rik has seemingly taken her place in the aide department. He even helped her out in finishing her look. Fellow designers, specifically Erin, took issue of this. My thought — even though Nathalia’s help might have been excessive, the designers always seem to ask each other for thoughts and help at times. It happens. Get over it. Nathalia and Erin are a bit like Dexter and Cornelius, in their somewhat hypocritical back and forth on one another. It is definitely a bit of humor listening to them bad-mouth each other, when more often than not, what they say is the equivalent of the “pot calling the kettle black.”

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Joining Anne Fulenwider this week as guest judge was actress Camilla Belle. So who ended up making the pages of Marie Claire, and who fell short?

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Rik being in the bottom this week was surprising, and this left Laurence and Roberi being safe. This was the area I guess I was most in disagreement with, but it was either Rik or Laurence in the bottom, and both were worthy of being safe from the bottom 2, so I guess all is well that ended well.

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Rik’s look was not all bad, and in fact, it had some huge positives. But the judges were right in pointing out the lack of design on the back of the dress. And while the movement and initial impact of the splotched-created fabric was great, it did lose luster upon further inspection. The splotch-work wasn’t the most glamorous looking. Perhaps in a different color, it might have looked better, but brown on white, certainly an unfavorable color-combo choice. But on a positive note, Anne really loved the look!

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The bottom 2 was Dexter and Nathalia, who both ended up being eliminated. I felt badly for Dexter since he thought he was safe, but it did unfortunately really feel like Nathalia’s time. I think the pressures of the competition have been too much for her to handle. She has frequented the bottom and hasn’t been excelling in this environment. Her look this week did read costume, not editorial. And I agreed with the judges’ assessment that the look was too basic, with reflectors put on as gimmicks.

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A double elimination at this point in the competition was not surprising. The judges had not been feeling Dexter’s work and I didn’t get the feeling he loved the critiques, so it might have been best for him to go. It was a shame to see a similar jacket from Dexter again, but he was correct to point out about designer aesthetics, because other designers, namely Erin, has sent down the runway some similar coats. But I did forget that the first jacket was not loved by the judges, and with this really being the predominant aspect of the look, it was a huge gamble. Especially since the only other item he made was the goth-lace dress. I completely forgot the undergarments were not his creation.

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JustFab, Sally Beauty, & Mary Kay shoutouts — Killer heels, love the hair, and the bold red lip is fierce!

The top 3 this week was Mah-Jing, Cornelius, and Erin, with Cornelius receiving his first win! I was in agreement with this decision and very happy for him. This look had some quirk to it, but it was definitely intriguing and easily wearable. I would think it would span to a wide audience of women who would love to wear this look.

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Sally Beauty & Mary Kay Shoutouts!! — Gorgeous hair & makeup work!!

It was nice to see Erin bounce back this week and finally not send down yet another outerwear piece. Nina was right in pointing out that this was not her best look, nor was it the best look on the runway, but it was very different and a great bit of excitement to see on the runway on the day.

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And finally, we have Mah-Jing, riding a great stride with his recent work — can he keep it up! I am not huge on wearing denim, but I did like what he did here, with the use of denim in a mixed media capacity. It was innovative and it was clearly inspired from the helicopter trip.