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!!












Saying Hello to “Under the Gunn” & Goodbye to “PRAS”

I’ve never been satisfied with only 1 season of Project Runway a year. Well then came PRAS, which I still have my qualms about, but it at least gave me somewhat of what I wanted. Of course now, maybe we won’t need a PRAS EVERY YEAR! WHY? Because now we have “Under the Gunn.”

tim-gunn-anya-ayoung-chee-nick-verreos-mondo-guerra-under-the-gunnSo as PRAS closed the curtains for season 3, Lifetime’s new show UTG unveiled it’s 1st showing! From writing/blogging at this point, I have not watched the 1st episode yet, but I wanted to do a fun intro post to kick things off — discuss the outline of the show, maybe see who my early faves are, etc. But first, since there was a reunion special for PRAS, I have to say a few parting words right!

So the reunion started off with a recap of the finale presentations. Ultimately I still agree with Seth winning, despite all the more detailed backstories given. But Korto is not without other good news since she announced she was pregnant so CONGRATS to her!! We also saw a bit more on the Elena story I always thought they were pushing this season — her dark horse title, never winning a competition her season, etc. I think the producers really wanted to push her as the winner, but couldn’t after the final collections were made. Her collection just wasn’t that great.

PJAS3We also had to relive the Chris/Viktor argument. I still think Viktor overreacted. He gave a few bits of advice to Chris, yet somehow that made his garment suck?!? Ahhhh, no, I don’t think so! But not all drama, we got to see some extras from some of the designers’ wins — Debbie Harry will be wearing Elena’s punk jacket on tour; Jeffrey did costume work for Lifetime movie Flowers in the Attic; Viktor made Alyssa his cocktail print winning look, which she said she would love to wear.

There were some un-fun parts as we saw about Daniel’s horrific-looking car accident; I’m glad he’s okay! Oh and wait, another surprise announcement, what is in the PR water because Zanna also announced pregnancy news. So DOUBLE CONGRATS to her since she’s expecting twins!! Irina was very quiet during the show so it was nice to see some attention finally shift there. We of course had to relive the “bridal” catastrophe. Although I still contend that dress was not bridal and it could totally have been worn on the red carpet! And as she said, I don’t see why she was not given the chance to move forward when other designers this season got 3rd and 4th chances.

But to end on a positive note, it was back to Seth and he said he just finished his QVC line. Also, he will be partnering with Mary Kay to work on a collection so that is great news! I look forward to seeing some of these designer’s names in the future because I think a few will have some continued successes!

But now onto the highly anticipated new reality design competition, UTG! Tim Gunn has been such an integral part of PR and I am very excited to see him in a new role. He is now passing his mentor-ship role to 3 former PR alums — Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee, and Nick Verreos. This is all with the goal of proving they have the vision and business savvy to mentor and manage a fashion empire with 15 new up-and-coming designers under their watch.

TimGunn                    UnderTheGunn_NickVerreos                 UnderTheGunn_MondoGuerra

UnderTheGunn_AnyaAyongCheePersonally, of these 3, I love Nick the most so I am definitely rooting for him. Although Mondo did a great job with his design time on PR, so I am excited to see how he does as well. Now with Anya, this is a whole different story for me. I will say, not a fan, but I am interested to see how she copes with this type of show. She could barely sew on PR, but somehow pulled thru & won, so let’s see if she can self-teach her way thru the business of fashion too!

Each mentor will have a team of designers they must manage, coach and, when necessary, knock down with tough love in order to lead them to runway success. This new crop of designers will face the critiques of designer Rachel Roy, celebrity stylist Jen Rade, creator of some of the most iconic red carpet looks in Hollywood, and TV fashion correspondent and Marie Claire Senior Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi.

UnderTheGunn_RachelRoy                    UnderTheGunn_JenRade                 UnderTheGunn_ZannaRobertsRassiThe show’s sponsors are: Lexus, Marie Claire Magazine, Benefit Cosmetics, Blowpro, francesca’s, Brother Sewing and Embroidery and ROWENTA. I have to say, I love francesca’s. I have shopped their for years, always considering the boutique vintage shop as almost a hidden treasure. But I’m so ecstatic they are making their way to the forefront on as big a platform as this show! Their jewelry and accessories are some of the most fave pieces I own with my personal collection so I think they will do a great job with complimenting the looks this season!

In the first two episodes, the process is, Tim will present a race-around-the-clock challenge to the fashion hopefuls. The three mentors will measure the skill level of the contestants and duke it out to determine which four designers will land on their teams. Then, Tim will present new challenges that will test the mentors’ ability to bring out the best in their designers as they guide them through the competition. But remember, only 1 designer and 1 mentor will win and I am EAGER to see how this all plays out! And this is what they win:

  • a cash prize of $100,000
  • a sewing and embroidery studio
  • an all-expense paid trip to Paris
  • Blowpro styling products
  • the opportunity to design the uniform for Benefit Cosmetics’ field team members and unveil the ensemble during a national press conference in New York City
  • a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine
  • a one-year position as guest editor for Marie Claire
  • a 2014 Lexus vehicle
  • and the opportunity to design a collection sold exclusively at Francesca’s.

Pretty decent prize pack!! So you can look at all the designers on your own and do so right here, but these are the few I was impressed by the most when looking at their past work, bios, etc.

OSCAR GARCIA-LOPEZ:                                                      UnderTheGunn_OscarLopez

I mean, all I can say from reading his online bio & looking at his portfolio of work is WOW!! His story seems like such a real-life struggle and thru hard work and determination, he is finally living his dream. For his work, I mean the eveningwear is stunning. I could seeing it rivaling some of the many gowns I’m seeing on the red carpet season now! Very eager to see his work develop and hope he does well on the show!




AMY SIM                                                   UnderTheGunn_Amy

So first off, wow, this lady is over 50! I am shocked because she certainly doesn’t design for the over 40 crowd, nor does she look her age! I see from her past work she is very versatile with her range — menswear, dresses, pants, jackets, blazers, etc. I love how fun, flirty, & feminine her looks are and look forward to seeing her on UTG!



NATALIA FEDNER:                                                                              UnderTheGunn_Natalia_Fedner

In just reading Natalia’s online bio she seems like a ball of energy and of charm. So much of her portfolio were sketches and I wish I could have seen those actual pieces, but regardless, she still had a few actual looks that were eye-catching. I am all about gorgeous back details and I saw one from her that was STUNNING!




BRADY LANGE                                                 UnderTheGunn_BradyLange

I can say I didn’t love every look in the portfolio, but there were a few that caught my eye and definitely make me think there is something about this guy! From reading his online bio, it sounds as if he might be a handful, but hey, that’s reality TV!












This is Still Project Runway All-Stars, Right??

So I’ve made the argument before that PR shouldn’t have an All-stars every year. It kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion. But if they are going to do this, they should really remember the definition of the term All-Star: best of the best; a star performer or in this case designer. I don’t know in what universe what transpired this week makes any logical sense. It just doesn’t, plain & simple. But like I’ve thought all along, I think this season has already been carved out for someone. I feel all during PRAS season 1, we knew Mondo was going to win. And then the same thing for season 2. I felt pretty certain Anthony Ryan was a shoe-in; it came as no surprise. What are your thoughts?? Who do you think I’m thinking of!?!




And before we get to the individual image critiques, I want to share some images I quickly discovered in all of 5 minutes. Pictures of what you say?? White dresses, that yes, could go bridal, but were nonetheless stunning on the red carpet. That whole quip this week about white dresses not being on the red carpet was crap. I guaran-frickin-tee, these judges probably loved many of these dresses I’m showcasing, but I guess to find an excuse to get out a front-runner, it was an easy go to!

kate-hudson-white-plunging-back-gown-at-SAG-awards-celeb-red-carpet-fashion                                                             article-2320672-19A6E054000005DC-749_634x865More on that later! So the designers were whisked off this week, by helicopter no less, to QVC‘s headquarters in Westchester, PA. The challenge was delivered this week by QVC program host Lisa Robertson, who also served as a guest judge this week. The instructions were to create a stunning and glamorous red carpet gown. The winning look would be worn by Lisa for QVC’s star-studded gala broadcast for the Oscars. The designers were told the dress needed to be very versatile — had to walk well for the red carpet, ability to stand/sit with ease, look good on TV for the live broadcast & photograph well. Also, the winning look this week would have a version sold on QVC later on, probably after the Oscars broadcast I think.

Snow-White-Celebs                                                                 GGThe designers sketched away, right at home, in Isaac’s studio at QVC. He also stopped in for a visit and told the designers to “Go for it!” & “Pull out all the stops!” The designers were then off to Mood with a $300 budget. This was a 1 day challenge so yes it was filled with freakouts, mainly by Elena as per usual. PRAS also aired a personal share moment from Viktor this week. He apparently has told only his partner, not even his family, but on a show aired to millions, he comes out that he is HIV+. I applaud Viktor for his courage, but I’m not sure where this came from, very left field. Mondo had a similar touching moment during his season, but it seemed to be more in place when it all happened. I’m not sure if PR was trying to repeat that moment, but it was a bit confusing for it to come out now.

The guest judges this week, along with Lisa, were Mondo Guerra (PRAS 1 winner) and talented actress Elizabeth Moss. Zanna made sure to really push some buttons this week when she told the designers that she wasn’t seeing all-star quality this week and I sort of agree. This was an odd week and I didn’t see a clear top and bottom. I had only one designer I clearly placed in the top, my winner and then one I clearly placed in the bottom and who I think should have gone home. Everyone else just sort of drifted in the middle because there were both good and bad elements to each look.

pras03-ep7-episode1Let’s start with Irina and let me get a bit more venting out of the way, haha! Irina’s look was not a winning piece this week, but should not have been the look that sent her home. I was rooting for her so I’m very upset she’s gone. As you can see throughout this post, white dresses are often on the red carpet. And her mermaid gown was more off-white if you ask me. Yes, it ripped. I think the walking aspect was a bit difficult this week. She didn’t quite meet the mark all the way, but still in no way think should she have gone home. Gowns are hard to do in 1 day and this was something, done right with time, that could easily be worn on the red carpet and be on many’s best dressed list. You wouldn’t have to say “change the color and material to make it work”, which I think Alyssa said to do in order to make Viktor’s work more appealing. Why not just change the entire design? But I was surprised Irina even came back on PR. I don’t think she needs this show, whereas other designers might!


I will move to Elena next, since I had issue with her scale-like gown, but I don’t think she should have been in the running to go home. I will say, at least Irina stuck up for her gown, whereas Elena couldn’t muster any support. Her gown was different, it was a risk. I applauded those efforts. The details were great, but I don’t think they photographed well. I also think the shape was off-putting and it needed to be a bit longer. But other than that, it was at least something different, something unique.


Next up, let’s look at Seth Aaron. I always look at Buddy TV. They do a slideshow and rank their looks. As I’ve said and they agreed, Irina shouldn’t have gone home. But they had Seth in the bottom two?? I had a hard time ranking this week, but I think Seth’s look was fitting there or definitely bottom 3. It wasn’t a bad look, but it just wasn’t glam enough for the red carpet. It looked comfortable, easy to walk-in, but hey, Lisa still wants to fit in with the rest of the glamorous A-list celebs while at the Oscars and this dress wouldn’t have done the trick.


Speaking of a lack of glam, let’s look at the winner this week, Korto. This look, while also not horrible, just didn’t translate to Oscar red carpet. I mean, red carpets happen for so many events. Maybe this could have worked for a movie premiere or charity event. But this is for the Oscars and this look is going to fade away that night, guarantee! Adding a sparkly belt doesn’t make this a glamorous red carpet dress. I love that she went for that bold tangerine color and I wish somehow the top could have been just as bold. But the taupe mixed with tangerine just didn’t work.

-project-runway-al3l-So my winner would have been Chris. It could have used a tweak here or there, but this dress worked for the Oscars red carpet. It was a gown, floor length & tulled out to the  max and was stunning. I think the model looked like she was walking just fine. It also had the leather details, which did modernize the look. I also loved the navy blue color and think it would have been most fitting for the night. Lisa would have looked great in this, much more so than Kortos’. Maybe QVC was more about selling the winning look than the gala?? I could see Korto’s being easier to sell than Chris’. But why, because Chris’s gown is just that special and really would only work for a few special situations. Korto’s gown I think has more commercial appeal so that was probably the driving force this week.


So that leaves Viktor, who for me, should have gone home. That olive green color was ghastly. I typed in olive green on google for the red carpet and very few images showed up. The color just doesn’t work. I’ve shared those images as well. But I typed in just green and yes, a few more appeared. But that was more of a forest green or emerald green, something more bold or bright. Color aside, this look also had too much going on, wings, ruffles, etc. I was not a fan. This was the losing look this week, Viktor’s confession aside. I hope that had nothing to do with his staying, but I just don’t see how if someone were Irina’s look and someone wore this one, that Irina’s look would come off worse.

-project-runway-all-No sense, but oh well, onto next week. I’m rooting for Chris now, let’s go!


celebrities-white-dresses-at-met-costume-institute-gala-red-carpet-trend                                     2010-sag-awards-red-carpet-dresses-white-500x436

2010-Emmy-red-carpet-dresses-white-500x415AND YES, SOME, IF NOT MANY OF THESE ARE A BIT BRIDAL AS WELL!