UTG Designers Create “Fast Fashion Fixes”

This week on Under the Gunn, there was a lot going on within the challenge. Benefit Cosmetics, the beauty sponsor for the show, was an underlying inspiration. Benefit was founded on the grounds of solving the everyday woman’s quick beauty problems/issues. With that in mind, the designers were asked to solve a new client’s fashion need — quick/easy fashion solutions. And by client, it was your average everyday woman so really this was also a challenge designing for the everyday woman — what this show calls a real world or “real woman” challenge.



Shan was partnered with Brittany, a young mom who was ready for a figure flattering makeover so she could start dating again. Oscar was paired with Dani, a very petite young woman who wanted a look that was age appropriate and sophisticated. Blake got matched with Ruzena, who desired a look that would give her a more feminine feel. Sam’s client was Norah, a young professional who wanted a bit more edge and modernity with a day look so that she could easily transition it for the nighttime. And finally, Asha was put with Erin, a curvier woman who wanted a sexy party dress for her upcoming birthday, a look that would be special and also make her look more slim. With that, the designers were off to Mood with a $200 budget to begin this quick fix challenge in 1 day.



The designers were ready to begin their work at their FIDM home — their workroom. The mentors were also all ready to begin their initial meetings with their remaining designers. Sam’s talk with Mondo & Tim wasn’t a great start for the young talent and so he was left to begin again from scratch. Asha’s client seemed to want it all, the bells & whistles. And so Mondo & Tim were quick to remind her to keep an editing eye. Blake too was demonstrating some early struggles and not sure of a specific direction to take.

Obviously the major drama this week was surprisingly not amongst the designers, but a shocking issue that arose between designer & client. Shan’s initial look was an immaculately designed shimmery sequined top. It looked great and during his fitting with Brittany we saw how amazing it looked on her. It was later that night, with one hour left to work, that Anya came in with some troubling news. Apparently, Brittany was allergic to the coating of the sequins or some aspect of the top. She had broken out in hives. She hated doing this to Shan, but she was not going to be able to make this work. She truly needed another issue solved and Shan truly had to solve it very fast. I think somehow he could have been given a little extra time. This was a first in PR history so an additional hour or 2 I think would have been fair. But luckily for Shan, he didn’t need it!


What I appreciated so much from Shan was his true can-do attitude and spirit. This would have been nice to see perhaps from another designer last week who thought she was in the worst position ever. Shan embodied true professionalism this week and for that I’m happy for his dual wins this week. The judging panel was joined by Annie Ford Danielson, the Global Beauty Authority for Benefit Cosmetics. She took part in awarding Shan 1 of his 2 wins this week. Benefit has been randomly handing out $1000 for various “kudos” moments. And this week, for truly working with this quick-fix mentality and exemplifying the Benefit brand and doing so with fun/laughter, Shan was awarded this $1000 prize, very well-deserved.


Since were on the Shan train, let’s take a closer glance at his new look for Brittany. I’m happy Shan was in the top and I’m happy for his $1000 win from Benefit, but I’m still not convinced this was truly the winning look this week. But it definitely was worthy of being in the top. My issue with this hi-lo dress is there is really not much design to it; I don’t see Shan’s aestetic. What makes this dress great is the polka dot print. You will notice under Shan’s look I put in a couple images of Anya from this week. Do you notice anything similar?

Anya too is wearing a basic hi-lo dress with a great print. It’s also belted just like Shan’s is. I know Shan was running out of time this week so I give him the credit for making it work, but full credit for the win?? I’m just not quite as convinced. He also didn’t make this look until the morning of, was perhaps Anya and her garment the true inspiration for his quick creation?? SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s this week for the chic clear clutch & also to Benefit Cosmetics for the subtly dramatic beauty look — the winged smoky eye & nude lip.


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Although since my choice for the win was missing from consideration I am so happy Shan won over Asha. I just do not get how this look was in consideration for the win. I think it should have been between Oscar & Shan. I don’t see how Asha’s look is some “wow factor” birthday dress. I put a few images of myself under Asha’s look of my last 3 birthday dresses. If I were going to a designer to make me a birthday dress, I would want something more than a shimmered drab look. Yes there was some sparkle, but what is with this boring golden brown color. The color doesn’t pop, but neither do the criss-crossed straps or the ill-fit. Asha was quick to point out the judges loving Natalia’s poorly constructed looks, but here, I see some major fit & construction issues so jump right on that train then Asha & I guess enjoy the ride!

I don’t get why Asha didn’t work with leather or something more bold & sexy for this clearly larger than life woman. Erin had such a big personality and I don’t think this look was matching to that personality & spirit. SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for this lovely side-swept wavy do & for Francesca’s with the gold fringed bangle, golden metallic strapped heels & gold clutch.


122            131             1452347_10201906653643315_1999888071_n1Clearly I was not on the same pages with the judges this week since Oscar was somehow only safe, oh wait, I think my differing view with the judges is almost every week now, haha! I am baffled every week at what Oscar can do in 1 day. I mean this green with envy gown is just stunning!! I would not be surprised to see this at some major red carpet event. And trust me, it would not be on the worst dressed list with accusations of being too dated! Dani, guest judge Annie, myself, and I’m sure a ton of other women would gladly line up to wear this look. When you are wearing a luxe gown, it is hard to not look a little older, but that is the point. You want the sophistication. You want the maturity. And that is exactly what Dani wanted in her look this week, something to make her look older since she is so petite.

And what is with this claim of the looking missing sexiness?? It’s asymmetrical, but the cleavage here is not hiding. And also, did we all see the thigh high split?? I don’t think they need to encourage Oscar to put in more sexiness. Let’s not forget a few weeks back, I added in the images below, but the dual split for his day to night look. I think Oscar should stick to what he is doing because some of these judges are cray cray this week! SHOUT-OUTS to BlowPro for this amazing up-do, Benefit Cosmetics for the dramatic smoky cat-eye & nude lip; & Francesca’s for the nude platforms & gold dangling earrings.


utg-rr-ep9-ogl2-f                                                                                                      utg-rr-ep9-ogl1-fMoving onto the un-fun part of my blogging duties — the discussion of the bottom 2, first being Sam. 🙁 It’s hard seeing Sam in the bottom because I have him pegged for a finale spot and that better happen! There are only 5 designers left so someone has to be in the bottom. Since the judges were oddly head over heels for Asha this week, I think this somehow left Sam in the bottom. I don’t quite get all of the harshness for this look, but I will say it is not one of Sam’s stronger pieces. The judges seemed hung up on the day look being for some high-power profiled job, but all Norah said was she wanted a day look that could transition to night. I could easily see this look, paired with some flats and that it would work at a large # of jobs. And then when the sun goes down, slap on some heels and Norah could easily go out to dinner or drinks with a date or the girls. The judges also seemed hung up on that this look wouldn’t work at the bar, it wouldn’t stand out. I think the judges were missing the day to night concept, a look that would transition, not boldly work for just one aspect of the day. You are never going to find a look that perfectly works for some high profile boardroom and be the look of the night at one of NYC’s hotspots.

SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s for the bold turquoise clutch & BlowPro for the long & luscious wavy locks.


This leaves me sadly to report that Blake was the one who had to go this week, double 🙁 :(. I’ve heard all of this talk about how everyone feels each mentor will somehow magically end up with 1 designer to go to the finale. If that is the case then it was inevitable between Shan/Blake with Anya & Sam/Asha with Mondo, that one of those 4 would be out this week. I personally would have picked differently, but the judges decided upon Blake. Blake has struggled a bit throughout the season and it was pointed out he had never won a challenge. But I thought he had some shining moments as well so I’m sure he will gladly take those and continue his successes from there.

The look for this week though, for Ruzena I did take notice of something with the neckline. I thought perhaps a different silhouette or shape, but when I think Jen said something about flipping the print around, adding the bolder color to the top of the look, I kind of thought that was some good advice. But what was great and really for everyone this week was that all the clients seemed happy; no one looked uncomfortable or disappointed. And at the end of the day, if Ruzena was happy that was the important thing. SHOUT-OUT to BlowPro for the side-swept wavy locks!


So with 4 left for next week, are we in for a shock in that maybe a mentor will be completely out of the running or will Sam or Asha be on the chopping block, can’t wait to find out!

UTG Team — Come Together, Right Now!

That’s right, on Under the Gunn this week it was all about coming together — the mentors & their working together, the designers coming together from various mentor teams, & hopefully, the mentors & the judges not being on different pages! It sounds all harmonious right? Well almost, all but 1 pairing that is. So what challenge caused all of this coming together?!?

UTG01-ep10-episode15                                     UTG01-ep10-episode17This week was all about Francesca’s, owners of the season’s accessories’ wall. And all I can say is it’s about time! As a huge fan of this retail boutique I was very excited the store was serving as this week’s inspiration. Two designers were set together and from that they were to create 3 looks, a mini collection. The collection needed to embrace the Francesca’s customer, be on trend, unique, and special. The Francesca’s customer is a fun and confident woman, who knows trends and is not afraid to dress boldly; I guess that’s me, right, haha!

FrancescasSaleThe pairings were as follows:

  • Sam/Blake
  • Asha/Natalia
  • Oscar/Shan

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So this meant that the mentors would all be working together as well, Anya with both Nick & Mondo, as well as just Nick & Mondo. The designers & mentors had a tough road ahead since this was a 1-day challenge. And with that, the pairs were off to Mood with a $450 budget, still without their mentors if I’m not mistaken!

The FIDM workroom certainly had it’s fair share of drama this week, mainly with Asha & Natalia in their pairing, which I will discuss later. It seemed as if Nick could have sparred some with Mondo during their critique with the ladies, but Nick decided to keep quiet. But speaking of boy drama, we did get a little something something between Sam, Shan, & Oscar — CALM DOWN GUYS, HAHA!


The judges panel was full this week, with all 3 main ladies in tow — Zanna, Jen, & Rachel. Tim was also there and joining as well was guest judge Sei Jin Alt, Chief Merchandising Officer for Francesca’s. So where to begin this week, hmmmmmm, let’s start with guys’ duo who were I guess 2nd or safe, but still deserving of some high praise — Sam & Blake!


Sam & Blake were one pair who worked great together and it’s the great teamwork that is half the battle in any team challenge. I was so happy for Blake since he was in the bottom last week — way to bounce back! I am of course always proud of Sam and was as always impressed by the work done here. When you pick a bold print, you never know how so many judges will receive it. Sadly with so many this week, all it takes is one lower score and you are out of the top. But the guys should feel proud & accomplished for a job well done.

I love the easy, breezy vibe of this collection. I certainly think it embodies the Francesca’s woman. The silhouettes are fun and flirty. SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for some amazing hair looks — messy ponytail & side braided ponytail, but also to Francesca’s for some bold accessories — statement heels, blue clutch, turquoise bracelet, stunning drop earrings, & a statement making red necklace.


Let’s move on now to the winning pair this week — Shan & Oscar. This was another JOB WELL DONE! It was great that with this 1st look, the modern jumper/overalls, that the guys thought of the functionality concept they just did last week as the straps were adjustable/movable. I wasn’t as in love with the blazer as the judges were, but it was definitely done in a stunning & bright bold turquoise color, which was a great choice. But what stole the show for me was of course Oscar’s multi-printed haltered maxidress. And even more brownie points — the maxi had pockets!! I can’t tell you how much I love when a dress has pockets!! But I too just love maxidresses; they are effortless, comfortable, versatile, and so chic. And Francesca’s always has some great ones to choose from and I have no doubt that Oscar’s maxi will perform well in sales.

The judges were clearly not going to make an easy decision when it came to the winning designer this week. I was so touched & moved when Oscar told the judges Shan should win, I mean how selfless is that. Oscar knows the feeling of having a few of those 5k wins in the bank and it was just so nice what he said about wanting Shan to have that moment, for his family. Shan too had a nice gesture in saying they should split it, which was also very admirable. This clearly showed great teamwork on both parts and great respect the 2 had for each other as well.

SHOUT-OUTS to Benefit Cosmetics for some wonderful beauty looks, great bold red/tangerine lips; also to Blowpro for some flowing wavy locks!


Now onto the losing team this week, with one designer going home — Asha/Natalia. I will say I’m a much bigger Natalia fan than Asha fan so you may have to excuse my rant, but I have to say a few things here! Doomsday was of course the initial thought with this pairing and that is fine. But if a designer can truly and authentically act professional and just make it work, it doesn’t have to spell Doomsday! Of the 3 pairings, both Asha & Natalia have certainly had some bottom moments and construction issues. But in the last group challenge, everyone thought Nick’s group was doomed and they won, with Natalia’s help I might add. I don’t think Oscar carried her & Stephanie, who is FYI, now eliminated. Also, it appeared as if nobody wanted to be paired with Natalia at the start of the episode and with Asha drawing what she considered a short straw, I’m sure she felt down & out. But get over it!! We even saw later in the episode how other designers, ahem Sam & Shan, started backtracking on some negative views of Natalia. I think had Asha given this a real chance, not a “faking of the funk” as she called it, things might have not been so disastrous. And even if it was still the inevitable end, it could have been one on a higher note. Asha might say she got a bad edit here, but I’m just not seeing how she did anything here to make this work. And if that was a bad edit, boy did they have a lot to choose from.

I’m not sure if Natalia’s slight swan song was the reason she ultimately went home; I mean she really fell on her sword. She said Asha should stay. That she didn’t want Asha blaming her departure on this pair challenge, more specifically on Natalia. And I would say with a 100% certainty, had Asha gone home this week, she would have blamed Natalia. I’m not sure if she thought the public would feel sorry for her, but I don’t think she is receiving much pity, at least not from me!

I hate Natalia going, but I do think Asha should have gone instead or as well. Asha pretty much called the shots with this pair. The collection lacked cohesion & that was because there was no evidence of any true collaborations, either before or during the Mood shopping trip. In fact, all I heard was Natalia repeatedly asking questions and Asha saying “No!” It seems to me if you are going to take the more dominant stance in a group challenge, you should be held just as accountable for your actions. Asha claimed to have done most of the work and if that were true that is just one more reason she should have gone. I think the work was more evenly spread, just my humble opinion!

Both ladies had some construction issues and specifically Natalia was called out for the bustier on the 1st look, her printed dress. But if you look at the design, the concept alone, I think Natalia should have stayed on those grounds. If you had a problem with Natalia’s print, remember, Asha picked most of the fabrics. And while Natalia’s dress had the issues up-front, I still think her dress, which had a stunning back, and the teal shorts she made for the 2nd look are more commercial and Francesca’s friendly then Asha’s dashiki. Asha created the 3rd look, the crop top and asymmetrical skirt. While very commercial, I don’t think either embrace the Francesca’s woman. And the clear loser here for Francesca’s was this dashiki; you would never see something like this in the boutique.

Rant over, sorry for the length, but I was just not happy this week, with the outcome or Asha’s attitude.

SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for the wavy golden brown locks & Francesca’s for the amazing belts & nude-strapped heels.


Next week looks as if the designers are working with the average woman, so not models, should be interesting!!








UTG — All About “The Showdowns”!!

Yes, this week, battles, duels, showdowns, all the same and they were all over the place this week on Under the Gunn — mentors, judges, & designers. So what brought on all of this drama? Well first, let’s take a look at the challenge. The designers received their directions this week at FIDM. The idea stemmed from a partnership with Glade this week and their latest fragrant product — Glade Plug-Ins Customizables, which allow fragrances to be switched up! The designers were asked this week to have their looks make a switch. Right on the runway the look had to transition from day to night — multifunctionality was key!


With that, the designers were off to Mood to start their 1-day challenge, with a $250 budget. I noticed the mentors did not go this week so I wonder why?? Everyone gets back to the workroom and quickly we saw Nick and Tim with another mentor job description discussion! Tim counseled Nick to pose questions versus answering and we saw this play out later on in the episode, quite well if you ask me. An issue of co-dependency was brought up this week with Nick & his designers, which I question a little bit. I can see the angle slightly with Natalia, but I think Oscar is clearly doing his own thing. But personally, I like Nick’s hands-on approach versus Anya’s vague commentary & plastered smiley face approach.


But pretty much from the get-go, we knew the direction this episode was heading in — all about Natalia! I will get into specifics in a bit, but in my opinion, this was just the wrong episode for all of this drama. I don’t pretend to know how production might be involved in all of this, but throwing someone under the bus and wishing for them to go home when they were in the top — WRONG TIMING! Why not do it last week when she was actually in the bottom?? It’s also weird with timing since the other 3 bottom looks were fully agreed upon by the judges as being “bottom looks”; I mean there were some issues the judges adamantly discussed with each look & really not many if any positives. This reminded me of an episode of ANTM — one cycle, a model had professed over and over again feelings of wanting to go home. She ended up on top that week, while others who were loving the experience were in the bottom. But, one of the safe models quickly brought this to Tyra’s attention. Needless to say, it didn’t go over well & was clearly an issue of poor timing. That is how I feel about this pointless drama this week. And I get Mondo being upset, but Anya, really?? Her questioning Natalia’s talent is just sooooooo amusing to me, but we won’t get into all of that again!


The judging panel was missing Zanna this week, but in her place was guest judge Macklemore. I guess he picked a good week with all of the drama! Even with a clear-ish top & bottom, there was some major drama after all of the deliberations. So basically, after everyone had left the runway, Mondo & Anya stayed behind to speak of their disappointment this week. They not only didn’t think Natalia should have been in the top, but they also thought she should go home. The judges were needless to say in shock, but clearly didn’t regret their decisions. They all seemed to be in agreement and I thought answered the 2 mentors very well for why they made the decisions they did this week. Again, I reiterate bad timing for this drama to play out and it still doesn’t make much sense to me. Also, I’m not sure if this happened when the episode aired, but when I watched later, a poll flashed on the screen and the public agreed, overwhelmingly, with the judges this week, 76%. So they too were clearly in disagreement with Anya & Mondo.


The only designer I still wish I could have seen more from this season was Brady. But everyone else, I agreed that it was their time to go. So even if this had all happened last week, I still don’t see how Stephanie should have stayed. And Nicholas, I mean I won’t get into all of that again, but it was his time to go as well. So let’s take a look at how everything stacked up this week, safe zone first!


I’m still not sure how Sam’s look was the solo safe look for the week; it was pretty awesome! And I will say this every week, but it was so SAM! Each week, I am so happy to see Sam’s work & to see that he is not changing who he is as a designer, but rather growing. The day look was perfectly casual & chic, and what a print! And then to change it up to this sexy, yet still cool look for the evening was just fantastic! Shout-out to Benefit Cosmetics for this fresh beauty looks, effortlessly gorgeous!



So now to the looks in the top & heck let’s just start with the winner — OSCAR!! I’m a fan. Every week I am in awe and if he is not in the finals I will be shocked, disappointed, sad, and just an array of other feelings. What he can do in a day just blows my mind! His day look, I mean it’s sexy for day, but you can’t deny that it’s well made & perfectly fits the woman he designers for. Then you flip some details for the night look & it shines like a night sky full of shimmering stars. Clearly, well deserved win! Shout-outs to Francesca’s for the statement making heels & stunning black clutch; Blowpro for the side-swept bangs updo; & Benefit Cosmetics for the ever so slight smoky eye, perfection!



So Natalia, yes the one who all the drama was about this week, actually came in 2nd place. You would have thought for all of the craziness her look would be in the bottom, but that just wasn’t the case and shouldn’t have been the case with this look. Yes, there was a bubbled issue with the front of the day look, but many other looks had construction issues this week too. Asha said this was “Forever 21”?? Ok, please take me to whatever Forever 21 has this. Yes, they specialize in bodycon dresses, but their dresses are very short and of very little quality; that is not the case with Natalia’s dress, in either way it’s worn. Was the dress over the top or full of bells & whistles?? No! But who said it has to be. It was minimalism, which can very easily be applauded. I loved the cowl-neck for the day look & I thought the night look was effortlessly easy-going and could work for dinner, dates, drinks or dancing! Shout-outs to Francesca’s for the perfect black heels; Benefit Cosmetics for the smoldering gray eye; & Blowpro for the up-do with casually falling pieces!



The final top 3 look was Shan, but again, I’d rather have seen Sam! But Shan’s look was okay, not overly exciting for me. I think it was Anya & Tim who suggested to Shan about not using black, but I am not a fan of the mix of black with this plaid. I just didn’t love either look fully. For day –I loved the silhouette & it had a great fit, but I didn’t care again for this plaid. Then for evening — I loved the side cutouts, but I didn’t care for the godet zippered effect. Either way, even if not in 3rd, his look should have been safe. Shout-outs for Francesca’s with the great strapped heals & gorgeous statement making jewelry (Love the necklace!); Benefit Cosmetics for the smoky eye & lightly pink lip; Blowpro for the messy, but still chic ponytail.



Switching things up, no pun intended, let’s look at the bottom looks. The one the judges quickly saved was Asha, although I thought it could have been a bit more deliberated. All episode, Asha was putting Natalia down and was very much into her own look; I think that was a delusion. This look was just not great — poor construction, poor fit, very boxy. The concept of the transition was okay, but it added even more boxiness to this look, which didn’t help matters any. I’d say Asha should worry about herself from now on out, because for me, she was my vote to go this week. I don’t see a clear vision from her as a designer and I think she needs to step it up! Shout-out to Francesca’s for the cool shades & orange side satchel;



So that leaves Blake & Michelle for the bottom 2 looks, which very much saddened me as I’m a fan of both! So with Blake’s day look I was happy we saw some pants because it’s not often we do on PR. The judges said something about the shape, but again, if I’m not mistaken, I think Anya said something about the fit of the pants — so was that 2 pieces of bad advice this week?? I loved this print BTW! Moving onto the evening look, yes, it was short, but other than that, what was the issue?? This is why Asha made more of a bottom look for me and not so much Blake! Shout-outs to Blowpro for the curly up-do; Benefit Cosmetics for the smoldering grey eye; & Francesca’s for the gold jewelry & black handbag.



Ughhhh, this sucks to write this week, but sadly we have to say bye to Michelle. I don’t agree with all of the Natalia drama, nor do I agree with this decision. I don’t get why the judges don’t see who Michelle is as a designer. I was very happy to hear her say she knew last week, that look, was outside of her wheelhouse. The day look was a very casual and easygoing look. The silhouette seemed to perfectly fit the LA lifestyle & woman. The transition for the evening look didn’t work quite as much for me and I know Michelle liked the color palette, but for some reason, I think a mix with a bolder color or print might have helped here. I’m all for nudes & browns, but maybe a little color diversity could have made the look pop a bit more. I think the judges used the word “boring”, which I don’t agree with, but maybe a different color story was the answer??


So I wonder if next week, will we be in for even more DRAMA!!?? A pairs challenge is forthcoming & this time, unlike the last group challenge, the designers are being mixed around, dum dum dum — SOUNDS INTRIGUING!!

UTG’s Next Set of Designers are Up for Grabs!

Under the Gunn, aka UTG, is here for another week, a new slate of designers, and a new challenge. So last week 8 designers were up and only one went home, leaving for this week’s group, 2 of 7 going home. At this point, for this week’s challenge then, I’m sure the pressure was amplified. But I think with that in mind, the challenge operated with a bit more freedom this week, less limitations.

Last week, the designers had only 6 fabrics to work with, none of their choosing, and definitely some pretty unique fabrics — a horse print, red/black flannel, etc. This week though, as Mood exploded onto FIDM’s lawn, the designers had a lot larger of a selection. There was one drawback though — they only had 30 seconds to grab what they could. The rest of this week’s challenge operated pretty much in the same fashion as last week — each designer needed to show their point of view as a designer and only had 6 hours to do so. It was the same thrive or fail/make it work challenge.

UTG01-ep2-episode22So as this week’s work process began in the very spacious FIDM workroom and with the mentors right outside discussing portfolios we saw/learned a few things. Mondo knows one of the designers, Stephanie, so we were left to see how that would impact his selection decisions. Designer Rey started off with a great deal of chatter. And then with Isabelle, we saw her quickly make her way into the Brother sewing room, but I’m sure as we know from later on, obviously that was no indicator of her speed or time management!

It was then time for the mentors to come around to check each designers progress. This week’s Brady, or the one each mentor seemed to want was Sam. The mentors were eager to see how menswear designer Nicholas would translate his work to womenswear. We saw that Amy sure grabbed a buttload of fabrics, but was able to weed out the losers of the bunch. Isabelle started showcasing her wacky side, which would be fine if it just stayed in the cute-wacky zone, but again, as we see later, it doesn’t! Asha picked out a stunning ombre burgundy/red fabric and so the mentors were eager to see how she would utilize it. With Rey, the mentor’s concern was perhaps overdesign. And then finally, with Stephanie, the mentors wanted to make sure she pushed herself and didn’t play it safe.

UTG01-ep2-episode15So two quick vent points before getting to the runway and mentor selections and first up, is Isabelle’s complete disrespect for the timing process. There can be no doubt in PR history that when they give a time limit, the designers must adhere to it. We’ve seen Tim have to push a designer along right at the end, maybe repeat himself a few times, but literally going into the sewing room, giving several firm orders to stop, and having to pull the model away, I’m sorry, but that was just ridiculous. It would be one thing if Isabelle only does this once, but from future scenes we see that she does this again. And I’m sorry, I don’t care how great her work ends up being, I’m not rooting for a rule breaker! It’s unfair and very disrespectful to this entire process for her to blatantly disregard the rules & time parameters. She can’t raise a language barrier issue, pretend to be that oblivious or even that wacky. And then oh, we can’t forget she was still trying to mess with her dress in the hallway, she was swatted away, and then did she really jump up & down in a hissy like a 5 year old, SO OVER IT!

My other quick vent point is about mentor Nick and I just felt so bad for him this week. I thought he was being so involved each week, mentoring all of the designers, even though there were no teams yet. I hate that he had such a hard time being picked and for the 4 he ended up with, I think they are going to be in great hands. I have a lot of respect for Mondo as well, but I don’t think all of the best pairings were made between these 2 weeks. And just with Nick specifically, I think they were forgetting his impressive resume, the fact he teaches at FIDM, and he just has more experience. This makes me wonder how this will impact the ones I think made the wrong decisions, or how their mentor will actually mentor them and help them grow. But nonetheless, I’m anxious to see!

UTG01-ep2-episode12It’s now runway time and really I was overall unimpressed this week. I’m not sure why the designers thought this was the overall stronger group. I believe they were at a far better creation advantage since they had so many more fabric choices to work with. So here is the runway breakdown based on the mentor selections.

Nick chose 1st this week and right along with Anya & Mondo, Sam was 1st selected. I loved Sam’s oversized sweater, but I wasn’t a big fan of it’s pairing with his skirt. I think for me, his pieces would work better as separates, but he definitely has the goods. I think Nick might have worked well with Sam, but I don’t doubt Mondo’s capability here so I’m excited to see how these 2 work together.


Anya was up next and surprisingly chose Nicholas. Again, he was surprisingly wanted by all 3 although I’m not sure why. Nicholas’s tunic was just so boring!! I think when we get back to one larger group, if he doesn’t step it up in a major way, he will not last long! None of the mentors really work with menswear so I’m not sure who would be best to help Nicholas translate to designing for women, but I guess we shall see how Anya measures up!

under-the-gunn-recap-nicholasAnya’s team was now full and Mondo only had 1 spot to fill so he allowed Nick to go again as he still needed 2 designers. I feel so bad and I’m just going to say it that he got stuck with Isabelle. And this is the sad thing, her black dress was not bad. There was a great shimmer detail to the fabric and the back was just stunning. Two designers played with shape to the skirt and Isabelle did that far better than the other. But again, she seems really difficult to work with and doesn’t seem to want to adhere to the time parameters. I just hope she doesn’t drive Nick bonkers!


Mondo really let Nick go as he wasn’t sure how to decide between I think he said 2 designers and he said Nick’s decision didn’t help. So we were left to watch him contemplate and he ended up choosing Asha. I’m surprised he didn’t choose Stephanie since they kind of already knew each other. And again, this group to me, on the whole, was not impressive. Asha’s burgundy ombre look caught my eye, but not in a good way. She had a great fabric and really could have knocked this out of the park, but I surprisingly agreed with Anya — this look just showed too much skin.

utg-rr-ep2-ad-fSo we were down to 3 designers — Stephanie, Amy, & Rey. And poor Nick had to make one final decision, leaving 2 to go home. I thought this was an easy decision though and I would have selected Amy. I had her in my intro piece as an early fave. Her portfolio was so fun and modern. I was very surprised that someone a little older could really design with such a fresh and youthful take. And her dress this week, it was fun, had great details, and her open-back was done beautifully. Maybe the print was a little safe, but I think she made it work. I also think she could have worked well with Nick.

-eaf2576e203bb72cBut he chose Stephanie. I won’t say this made no sense, but I was not impressed by her grey dress this week. It looked lop-sided and everything else just felt so safe and not unique. Everything about the dress, the cut-outs and all, just seemed to be something I’ve seen. However, she is with Nick and in good hands, so hopefully he can help her to amp up her designs.


This leaves Rey also left, going home. He seems like a nice guy, but I too wasn’t a fan of this look. His printed pants did have a great fit, but the blazer was just all wrong for me. It was way too slouchy and I thought the V-neck was a bit too deep. And even though the pants had a great fit, I really didn’t respond that well to the print. It kind of looked like tree branches. I think he should have gone with a solid color since his blazer had so much going on.

under-the-gunn-recap-reyAnd let’s give a quick shoutout to the wonderful job by the various styling and accessories sponsors here:

  • Benefit Cosmetics — so many models had such clean, fresh looks; the smoky eye on Asha & Isabelle’s model — to die for!
  • Blowpro — great job with the structured ponytail for Amy’s model
  • Francesca’s — so many great black booties, sunglasses; dying over the heels for Amy’s model; & glad something for Nicholas’s look standout and that was the black clutch!

Can’t wait for next week!! Until then…..














UTG: Is Project Runway meets “The Voice”?!?

Ok so maybe Under the Gunn, aka “UTG” is not like The Voice, no singing, but there was a similar aspect or two when it came down to the team selections. But most certainly, UTG started off in true PR form with the meet & greets and then out comes Tim. He of course doesn’t just say “Hello”, but rather brings out the mentors and really gets right down to business.

images   MEETS  The-Voice1When the mentors — Nick Verreos, Mondo Guerra, & Anya Ayoung-Chee — come out, we find out that eliminations are not just for the designers, but the mentors too. If a mentor’s team of designers are all eliminated, so to is the mentor. Only 1 designer and 1 mentor will win Under the Gunn. But this week was all about forming the mentor’s team and the 1st challenge.

Under-The-Gunn-Key-Art-VerticalSo really a mentor’s group is just that, it’s not like a season of team challenges. The designers were reminded this is an individual competition. The 1st challenge was basically a “show us who you are” challenge. The designers were given a Mood tote bag with 6 different fabrics — gold/shiny fabric, black/white polka dot, black/red flannel, horse print pattern, black knit & a bright blue knit. The look had to show who they were as a designer and only these fabrics could be used, as many different ones or little of each. This challenge was also about seeing how the designers coped with this level of pressure as they only had 6 hours!!

There were 15 designers though waiting for instruction, but only half competed this week. We will see the other half next week. But each mentor’s group will only have 4 members so that means 3 are eliminated right after the 1st challenge. So the 1st 8 designers were off to their new workroom at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, aka FIDM. We got to see the lovely Francesca’s accessories wall. But after a few oooo’s & ahhhhh’s, it was time to get to work!


The designers were all having mini-freakouts and the mentors were also starting their work. They began to look thru the designer portfolios and discussions of who was already catching their eye! We started seeing what each mentor wanted — Nick wants versatility; Mondo wants a risk-taker; Anya wants to see clear aesthetics/visions. While Tim came to check in on the mentors, it was actually the mentors who came to check on the designers’ progress.

So from the mentors workroom visit, here is what we saw — they all still want Brady!; they want Oscar to find an element of surprise. They were worried about Melissa only using the polka dot fabric. We kept hearing Anya ask the most ridiculous question ever, about if the designers, first being Michelle, were nervous! We get to Camila and a point was made about 3 designers using the black and gold fabrics. This seemed kind of pointless, there were only 6 fabrics for each designer to choose; there was bound to be a little commonality. They questioned how much Blake could show with just an LBD. Shan sort of came to the forefront as a potential front-runner since he created a bomber jacket. And finally, Natalia, who was a great big ball of energy, was definitely showing the most nerves this week.

UTG01-ep1-episode17So it was nearing the time for the final runway moment. Natalia decided to change up to a braiding technique during pretty much the final hour. But other designers too threw in some last minute additions — Oscar with a hat and Brady with name stitching on his crop top tee. Now though, it’s the moment that counts and who impressed on the runway.

My favorite look was Blakes’. Yes, it was just an LBD, but it was done beautifully. There were some great details as well from the straps to the back, and it really just had such a great fit. I was then in a toss-up between Michelle and Shan. Michelle’s look was also very chic and had a great fit. But I wasn’t sure if I loved all of the cut-outs with use of the gold fabric, but it definitely had a great futuristic vibe. Shan’s LBD dress was also great and really rivaled Blakes’, but you have to give some credit for him also making a jacket! For me though, as much as I loved that ability, I didn’t like this particular one with the crazy mix of fabrics, but then again, he was working with what he was given.



Next is Brady and while I would probably never wear that look as it came down the runway, I would wear some of the pieces separately. He also created a lot — the tee, skirt, and jacket. I can just see who is girl is and it’s not me, but I don’t hate that girl! Oscar was next for me and there were a few aspects I might have changed, but I liked the potential I saw. He did use a few too many accessories, but he is all about glam and chicness and I like that!

tvfash2112       OSCAR’S LOOK

The bottom for me was Natalia, Melissa, & Camila. With Camila, I do agree with the mentors and she just created something she knew how to do with the slashed detailing and it really wasn’t that spectacular. I also didn’t care for the length or the flapper bottom. Natalia’s dress, I mean yes, it was way to short! But I think if it was longer, it wouldn’t have been such a bad dress. I liked her mix of the blue & black fabrics and I think the braiding technique somewhat worked. So Melissa’s problem was just using the black/white polka dot fabric. It really wasn’t special and you can find those pieces almost anywhere. If she even made the top out of the blue fabric or used some other fabric it might have worked.

under-the-gunn-melissa                MELISSA’S LOOK

It’s always sad with elimination time and Melissa was the 1st and only to go this week. The decision made sense in light of her limited vision this week. There was also a concern for Natalia as she was the last one standing, but then, in a surprise move, Mondo invited her to be on his team and Nick did as well. It was definitely a surprise moment since she too had a not so great look this week, but I think it was right for her to stay. The potential is there and I think Nick will be a great mentor for her, especially in light of her time management issues.

-4c471b03cb9d5136      NATALIA                     UTG101-Look-3-BackSo this is where “The Voice” comparison comes in. No the mentors were not choosing blindly, but they did get to voice who they wanted on their team. But if more than 1 mentor wanted a designer, it was then the designer who chose. This is where some concern came in for Nick this week. I think some designers made the wrong choice by not going with Nick, but he did end up with 2 slots filled, Natalia & Oscar. And I think he will work great with both. He also will have 2 slots for next week and that leaves him a lot more choices versus Anya, who quickly filled up 3 of her 4 slots this week!

-b760643af52bf577               Brady                    img-thingBlake’s Look

I think it was a bad move to fill up 3 slots because 7 designers are still to come next week; it’s just a big risk. Anya did score a great pick though with Brady and I think they will make a good team. Shan also joined her team and while I was sad for Nick, since I know he wanted him so badly, I am intrigued to see how Anya’s design abilities will help Shan develop his?? And then finally, Blake picked Anya, and again, I’m not sure if this was the best match, but I’m interested to see how Anya will mentor her designers!

tvfash4112          CAMILA’S LOOK

Finally, let’s look at Mondo’s picks and I think he started off well with his 2 picks. I still was surprised he was going for a 3rd to fill with Natalia, but Mondo is not looking to shabby. I think his best pick was Michelle and I think they will be a good pair. I’m still not sold on Camila, but I want to see what else she able to create/design and maybe Mondo can get that out of her.

under-the-gunn-michelle             MICHELLE

So 2 must go for the next episode and I wonder how that will all come about, CAN’T WAIT!!