Project Runway’s Winter Wonderland!

In sharp contrast to the coveted fashion week spots, for S/S 2018, the designers this week were tasked to create winter-themed looks. And with this runway, it was supposed to decide which 4 would be going to NYFW? As we later see, I guess not….

Tim & Heidi met the designers on the runway, snow drifting down, to lay out all of the challenge details.The look created needed to be a high fashion, winter look, one where any fashionista would be thrilled to wear it while out in the cold. Tim & Heidi cautioned the designers to not think of a simple snow suit!

This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $400 budget, meaning the judges wanted to see ambition.To best get in the winter mindset, the designers would sketch in the coldest spot in Manhattan, Minus 5 ice bar. The interior is made of carved ice, a very cool setting!

Mood trips have been pretty par for course over the season, but not this go round! Margarita was the only one who thought fur for a winter look! After planning around this, picking out some select pieces, and even purchasing everything, it was then explained she couldn’t use these pieces. PR is a cruelty free show, so that means NO FUR!! I am not sure if this is spelled out in the massive rule list the designers must follow, but at the very least, it could have been stated as a reminder for this challenge! Tim, with the other designers’ blessing, did permit Margarita 5 more minutes to shop. I understood her initial frustration, given a plan around what she selected. But the constant whining over this, almost the entire first day, eventually started to wear thin.

Tim-time was on Day 2, and while he re-directed a new focus for some, he urged continued efforts for the rest. But the end of Day 2, Margarita was still in struggle-mode! This week’s guest judge was actress Katie Holmes. And what a sight the runway was, all Winter Wonderland’d out!

All designers were on the spot this week, and for the most part it was a judges’ love-fest. Although for some, there was some positives laid out, but mixed with some critique. I think at best, the judges could have picked a solid 3 for fashion week. And if they were set on having 4 show, then as in season’s past, they could have had 2 compete for that final spot, showcasing 3 looks from their collection. However, the judges didn’t allow anyone to receive a pass. This means all 5 designers left will create collections. And when they return to NY, they will most likely select 3 looks that best encapsulates their entire collection. And from that, the judges will decide on a final 4, but who knows, maybe even a final 3??

Personally, I am not a fan of Brandon, but the judges have sang his praises all season, including this week. Every designer also stated if they could go to fashion week, they would want Brandon to join. As much as I am happy he didn’t get a free pass, I think given all of this unwavering support, he could have been set to go. I have not seen growth from Brandon throughout the course of this season. His looks all remind me of each other. What might create an issue for Brandon in the next challenge, is that his 3 looks selected, might all look too similar. And maybe this was thought of internally by the judges.

I guess if no designer was getting a bypass for NYFW, then it makes no sense to only allow for one or two. But another designer who should have gotten this was Ayana. She has been on fire as of late. And while this week, the judges didn’t love every aspect of her look, she still did a great job. She was one of the only designers who I think really strove for full ambition, meaning worthwhile for 2 days of work and a $400 budget. Additionally, most of the other designers also said alongside themselves going to NYFW, she too should join.

Besides Brandon, the only other designer all 4 judges loved was Kentaro. This look really did make simplicity standout. The neutral color palette was a bit grappling for me. I don’t see it working in harsh winters, and this color palette, I just think it would get dirty so easily! But the judges were sold. However, in comparison to someone such as Brandon, who has repeatedly been on top, Kentaro has been in the bottom as of late. I would understand the judges doubting a guaranteed NYFW pass for him.

Margarita was another designer that the judges for the most part loved. I don’t think it was at the same level of Brandon or Kentaro, but approval nonetheless of her fur dress. The judges really liked the coat, but I thought it was okay. In retrospect now, I don’t see that this look felt overall, super luxe. I felt the coat lacked an expensive quality. No other designer picked Margarita when asked about who should join them at fashion week. I am guessing this did not instill much confidence in the judges permitting her the direct shot to show. She too has been on the bottom a lot lately, even being eliminated, but saved with the Tim Gunn save. So with a loved look this week, it did give her the chance to still create for NYFW.

And last, but not least, we have Kenya. She was last to be told she too would get a chance to create and show for NYFW. The sentiment I got from the judges this week was that her looks, even looked at individually, were just okay, but nothing knocked their socks off. Her coat, I find this would be hard to wear a great deal, and I didn’t really gravitate towards the look. Kenya has had no true highs over the course of the season. In fact, as stated at the onset of the week, she is the only one left who hasn’t won a challenge. I completely understand this. The judges have never seemed to gush over her the way they have for others. But I guess given she hasn’t fared too poorly either, this meant she too should get the chance for a mini-preview next week.

So almost a waste of an episode, given no actual decisions were made, but the question still remains, who will show at NYFW!?!

Project Runway Warriors

At the start of this week, the designers woke up to Everlast boxing gloves, stating the fight was truly beginning! I also picked up from the women, a little guy versus gals mentality! The designers were off to meet Tim at a boxing ring gym. Shocker — Tim was in sweats!! Alongside Tim was Evy DeAngelus, the Executive Director of Sales Development for Avon. We had the JC Penney challenge, the one for Lexus, so now, it was time for the Avon one!

Avon is all about improving the lives of women, and with that, Avon is steadfast in its commitment to the breast cancer crusade — help today, hope for tomorrow! Also in the ring with everyone were breast cancer survivors, sharing their inspirational stories. Each designer was tasked to create a high fashion, editorial look, with a warrior woman inspiration. This was all up to each individual designer for interpretation. Firstly though, the designers engaged in a boxing boot camp to get into spirits!

Each designer was given a $250 Mood budget for this 2-day challenge. On day 1, Kenya was struggling to get going, while Brandon & Kentaro were sort of working in the same aesthetic vein. But Kenya’s early struggles were nothing compared to Kentaro’s final craziness in trying to complete his look! Guest judge this week was actress Rachel Brosnahan.

The judges were gung-ho about the designs they loved, but for me, being so close to fashion week, I was underwhelmed with this runway! I was certainly left wanting more. I guess I wasn’t head over heels for any one look. Not all of the looks were bad, but they did not stand out as memorable looks!

I still do not get the judges’ unwavering affection for Brandon. He has not shown any growth with his creations. And to me, they all do look the same! He won this week, so I guess the judges’ love-fest is not dying down anytime soon. I did see a street warrior vibe in his look. It was well-made, but nothing new from previous weeks.

Ayana is still a fave of mine, but this look was not my fave from her. I am glad the judges liked it, making her safe for another week. It seemed very heavy on fabric in my book, but a great effort nonetheless.

Kenya rounded out the top looks. I guess of this top 3, if I had to pick a winner, it would have been her. I did love her color choice. And I really liked the concept with the petals. But I wish there were more. Other than that, itwas a simple dress. For a warrior look, it fell a bit flat. But on another positive note, I was also pleased that Kenya didn’t try to hide her model’s figure.

This left Margarita & Kentaro in the bottom. As I stated last week, the cuts are not going to be easier. Seeing either designer go for me was going to be sad. I will state now, Tim did finally use his Tim Gunn save, and I guess best to do it now, before time ran out. I am guess though that this next episode will be a double elimination.

Kentaro was not the planned eliminated designer. With his bottom placement the week before, I think Kentaro should have been out this week. There was nothing to his creation for the week. It was a lot of basic items, placed over basic items. It did give off an Asian warrior vibe, but overall, a let down. I am hopeful had he been eliminated over Margarita, the save still would have come into play.

AVON SHOUTOUT — LOVE THE HAIR & MAKEUP HERE!!

Margarita’s dress, under the armor she created, was very beautiful. But the final pairing of the pieces didn’t make this look a warrior great. It was very literal of an interpretation.

So with next week, I wonder if 2 designers will go home, right before fashion week!

Project Runway, Proceed w/ Caution!

The episode began with the designers discussing the shock of the previous week, 2 designers going home. But all noted, this meant the competition was getting SERIOUS! The designers were off to meet Tim, at an outdoor overlook, for the challenge details. Joining Tim was Brian Bolain, General Manager for Product & Consumer Marketing of Lexus, aka, this was the Lexus challenge!

Brian was discussing the Lexus safety features. This was a play on the week’s challenge, but against how safe Lexus vehicles are. This week, the designers were asked to not play it safe. The 3 Lexus vehicles were filled with many items related to safety, and with that, this week was also an unconventional materials challenge. Each designer would use the various safety items to create a WOW look, to think outside of the safety zone and to not conform to the rules.

There would be no Mood trip this week and it would be a 1-day challenge. With that, the designers had 3 minutes to gather their materials. In getting back to the workroom, Kenya was a focal point. Did she get enough materials? I am not sure of the timeline on her repeatedly asking other designers for scraps, but it seemed often and perhaps a bit early on the day! Tim time was par for course, a couple impressed, but for most, he pressed or urged to see more.

This week’s guest judge was Mr. Robot actress, Carly Chaikin. She was actually at this year’s finale, so it was nice to see her be invested past her point of judging for this particular week.

Heidi pointed out that this was an excellent runway, where there was not much the judges didn’t like. Although Nina & Zac didn’t seem quite on board with that sentiment. The judges seemed to like 4, but not 2. However I thought there was a clearer distinction with a top and bottom 3. So basically I agreed with the judges on the bottom 2, but I would have put Kenya there as well. But I 100% agree that Ayana deserved the win for the week, long overdue if you ask me!

This look was stunning, amazing, so much drama, and definitely not over the top as one jealous designer put it. I am so glad the judges loved it as well!

Next as a fave for me would be Margarita. Zac was right in that Margarita’s aesthetic is probably the least hard to pick out in this bunch, but nonetheless she has created some kick ass looks as of late. And speaking of kick ass, her look here was just that! It was graphic, bold colors, so much imagination. I am glad Nina picked up on the heroic quality as well!

Surprisingly, Brandon was in my top 3 as well. I can’t say I love his looks each week. And I can undoubtedly say, his overall aesthetic is not for me. But the judges seem head over heels with Brandon, so I can’t imagine him being cut before fashion week.

And Kenya also received praise for her look. She was not winning the challenge, but I didn’t see the need to expound accolades for this look. She did peplum, again. And it was a basic, black bandage dress, snooze! It wasn’t even finished properly as her zipper had broken on the runway. I am catching some leniency here, just not sure why.

Everyone left has talent, so until the final group of fashion week is announced, whoever goes, it’s not going to be an easy cut. Sadly, Kentaro & Michael were the clear bottom. I like Kentaro’s body of work better, so for that, I am happy he stayed. But this look could have easily sent him home. Hopefully next week he is way more careful! There was not enough transformation. And I do not get why he went with the Pocohantas vibe? With all of the cultural misappropriation chatter in the fashion realm, one should proceed in that area with extreme caution.

And very unfortunately, this meant Michael went home for his look. He certainly stood by it, still to the very end. It was a sexy look, but perhaps a little too sexy?? However, this look was far too minimal. There wasn’t enough here. Compared to the other looks, it did pale in comparison, which is the same fate bestowed upon Amy just the week before. Neither look was bad, but certainly not up to par with the rest of the bunch!

Until next week….

PR Goes Avant Garde

Avant Garde challenges are usually the most exciting on Project Runway, but this episode was EXTRA in that regard as the drama on the twins continued to unfold. End result, both twins are now gone. Claire was found to have a measuring tape in her room, where she measured garments, which is explicitly against the rules. I get the sense of drama around how this all happened, but as a huge PR fan, I was disappointed in seeing the unfolding. This information should have come to light sooner. For some of the designers to know, yet none of the producers, odd? And if this happened in a first instance 2 weeks before, why wait until now??

Ultimately, I am glad it is over with. And to the point Margarita was leading the bandwagon on, discussing designer copycat issues, this was quite annoying. Every designer in PR history, I can pinpoint other designer references. This is not unheard of, and it is very common in fashion. And you do not get to lay claim to techniques or basic garments in fashion! As someone who went to law school, and did a lot of studies within the fashion/IP realm, this is one of the main reasons it is hard for designers to have protection. But there is a huge difference between references/inspirations, and straight up replicas or copycat looks!

On now to some actual design, with this week’s challenge details. The designers met Tim on the runway, where lots of kids were playing! The designers thought this would be designing childrenswear, but alas, no! The kids were playing with Shopkins Shoppies characters. Joining Tim on the runway was Kotomi Nanjo, the US Marketing Director for Shopkins. Shopkins are stylized dolls, who are fun, colorful, and cute, but always with a little quirk. Each child had a different doll, each with it’s own story. The designers would each be assigned to a character, and in learning from the child about the doll, it would serve as the inspiration for an avant garde look.

The winning look would be re-created for a Shoppie character, and the winning designer would receive $5000. As the designers were meeting with the children, it was so cute to see that some of the kids had drew up some thoughts for a new look! This would be a 1-day challenge, with a $300 Mood budget. This week’s guest judge was model/actress Kate Upton.

The judges noted only 2 bottom looks this week, 4 top looks and the rest being safe. This was pretty much a clear distinction. The 2 bottom looks were just not up to par here. Kenya (Jessie Cake) & Kentaro were both safe, but I think Kentaro, with the Rainbow Cake doll, did a way better job than Brandon, for Cocolette. I am not sure how he landed in the top, yet again! I think the judges should have focused on 3 top looks versus 4. I can’t imagine that in this case, Brandon would have made the cut!

The winning look was from Michael, but I really wish it had been Ayana or Margarita. I think given the sponsor of the week, Shopkins, Ayana’s look just really fit the bill more, creating for Bubbleisha. It was fun, so imaginative, loved the dub of “surrealist bo-beep.” And just to point out something here I referenced earlier, talking about seeing references in a designer’s look from other designers, with Ayana’s look. I am not taking away from her design talent at all. But in her look, I saw a bit of Betsey Johnson, or that of Moschino. Did she copy, no! But the references are there! But again, love love love this look!

This is not to say that Margarita or Michael did not do well, because they did. I just saw more Shopkins vibes in Ayana’s look. But in terms of being avant garde, both Margarita & Michael did splendidly. Margarita, for Pineapple Lily, this look was just so pretty. The different textures, amazing. And such a beauty with the sculptured flow that the bottom portion of this garment gave off.

Michael, creating for Popette, he too did a stand-out job with sculpture. This was different and very sci-fi. I didn’t love the bell-bottoms, but I guess given this doll was about disco, the trend fit.

Sadly, compared to the rest of the looks, Batani & Amy did not measure up. Batani would have gone home the week before had Claire not been eliminated, and that would have made 0 sense to me. But 2 not so great looks, 2 weeks in a row, unfortunately, Batani was eliminated with her look for Sara Sushi. This look really did feel as if random bits of fabric were thrown together.

The surprising part of the night was the double elimination. I think it would have been hard to choose between these 2 looks, on which deserved to go home over the other. But it was clear, both did not compare at all to the other stellar avant garde looks of the night. Amy designed for Sara Sushi, and this was just so safe. Amy has had some highs, at least in my book, earlier on in the season. But when she hasn’t done top notch work, I have always found her work to be super safe. You will not win PR if you don’t push yourself!

Until next week….

PR & the PRINTS!

So where we left things the week before, Claire & Shawn were the bottom group, one in jeopardy of going home. But the judges could not make a decision, so as in seasons’ past, they had the twins compete in a 1-hour design-off. Only 15 minutes had passed, and while Claire had plenty done, Shawn could not get going. Thru lots of tears all around, Shawn decided to concede, and told Tim, as well as the judges of her decision. Knowing now what happened the very next week, this all seemed to be a waste!

On now to this week’s challenge though, the designers met Tim in the workroom for the details. Along with Tim was Teressa Busson, Brand Building Leader, for Dixie cups. The designers were tasked to create a custom print, to be featured in their look. The winning designers look would be re-created on a Dixie cup, to be available for purchase. The winning designer would also receive a $25k cash prize.

But there was more to this challenge! The designers would be creating “on the go” looks for friends and/or family members of the Project Runway crew. Assignments were as follows —

  • Sara Rea, Exec. Producer for PR, her friend Cecilia, with Claire
  • Gus Dominguez, Lighting Producer, I believe his sister, Analyssa, with Brandon
  • Ashleigh Hocking, Talent Producer, her mom Sabrina, with Batani
  • Sapna Shah, Field Producer, her mom Kekina, with Kentaro
  • Kristen Adams, Production Designer, her mom, Michele, with Kenya
  • Clive Salmon, Assistant Accountant, his friend Gina, with Amy
  • Chandler Dewitt, Challenge Producer, her mom Stacey, with Margarita
  • Oscar Cordova, Audio Department, his wife Cynthia, with Ayana
  • Romano Barnett, Assistant Camera Operator, his wife Halona, with Michael

This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $150 Mood budget for other additional materials. Two accusations were made during the course of this episode, one on ripping off designs, and two, regarding the use of a measuring tape in the apartments, not in the workroom. I will focus on the latter in my next recap, except to say that for now, Margarita, as an adult, or a professional, should not have been so easily distracted with what Claire had going on. Keep your eye on the prize, DUH!! I would much rather a designer own her mistakes. However, this is the 2nd time Margarita has pointed the blame elsewhere. I don’t agree with that!

On day 2 of the challenge, the fabrics/textiles arrived. Some were disappointed in the final result. Later, the clients arrived, with Tim, for check-ins. Margarita was still focused on Claire, but Tim said nothing to support her claim. The morning of the runway was crazed, as per usual. Margarita was quick to show her disappointment in herself to the judges, which is probably not the best course of action, given the runway had not happened yet! But she also had immunity, so take a chill pill! But this would be the last immunity of the season.

Guest judges this week were host of a new show, Making a Model, Yolanda Hadid, and model Sophia Stallone.

The safe designers this week were Brandon, Ayana, and Amy. Amy was far too safe, but for a 2nd week in a row, I was not sipping on my normal hatorade for Brandon! However, Ayana, should have been in the top! She was robbed! I pictured Brandon’s look above given at the end of all the drama here, Dixie did choose his print as the win for the week!

I actually think Kentaro should have nabbed the win for the week. Perhaps Dixie was not totally on board with his print though, especially as we later see, the end result was Brandon winning the Dixie prize. But Kentaro’s look, albeit very bright, it was so pretty! It had the signature Kentaro wave, such great movement. Nina was right to point out his growth. I wondered if another reason he didn’t win because Heidi was not a fan? This was an older lady, so I am not sure why Heidi felt she should be showing off so much of her body. Plus, she wanted this look for a wedding, also not the most appropriate venue to go the super sexy route.

The judges, at least at this time, chose Claire as the winner. Her look was cute, chic, much more than I ever expected  from her, given that this was the first week she was sans twin. Even the judges admitted its simplicity, so not sure why it nabbed the win over Kentaro, but ultimately, there was no victory here.

Kenya rounded out the judges’ top 3, which was quite perplexing to me! Too much peplum. The color combo did not work. And the print was too youthful, given the client at hand. I actually thought the critique here was super divided, so not sure how she landed in the top over Ayana, but glad to see there was not a total lovefest here, despite the full on lovefest between Kenya and her model!

I did not agree with Michael being in the bottom. I saw it as risky, but forward thinking. And it was something different, especially given the separates pairing. The only thing I took from the judges’ comments was that too much was going on. I disagreed. But what was more saddening to see was that this was when Michael decided to cause a scene, which seemed more acting out of jealousy, given his bottom placement, then true concern for the competition.

He was in the bottom 2, as Margarita was also in the bottom, and because of her immunity, she would not be going home. So really, there would be no point in placing her in the bottom 2 spot. I actually think if she did not have immunity, she would have gone home. Batani didn’t use much of her print, but her look was at least wearable. Margaritas’ was not. But again, as with Michael, I was not a fan of her actions this week. She kept saying she didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus, yet she was making vague accusations?? Ummmm, okay!

Batani was sadly the one at the bottom, as we saw in the next episode. She really should have knocked this challenge out of the park. She is all about prints!! Her dress was safe, but very wearble. However it was a maxi dress, nothing overly unique. To not use a print in a “featured” fashion on a print challenge makes 0 sense.

The show ended with Michael walking off the runway as Claire was announced as the winner of the challenge. So, what happens next!?!

PR — Budgets, Wabi, Tsunamis Oh My!

I feel as if Project Runway, season 16, is going to be one super dramatic season! And starting off on that note, episode 2 brings us the first team challenge, which almost always brings some drama! The designers woke to safety gear — vests/helmets — and were off to meet Tim at the Royal Waste Services, a recycling & waste facility.

Joining Tim to lay out the challenge details was Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire. For this challenge, there would be 3 teams. Each team would be creating a 5-piece mini collection. Each look would be made out of recyclable materials. So yes, not only was this a team challenge, but also unconventional materials. Each team would be recycling, reusing and restyling to create a high fashion transformation! The winning look from the winning team would be featured in Marie Claire for a piece on sustainability.

Team 1, aka “Wabi Sabi” — Kudzanai, Kentaro, Margarita, Michael, Deyonte — focus on structure, texture, and origami techniques

Team 2, aka “Ballin’ on a Budget” — Aaron, Batani, Brandon, Kenya, Ayana

Team 3, aka “Tsunami” — Sentell, Samantha, Amy, Claire, Shawn — translucency, seaglass focus

Tim reminded the designers that cohesion would be required. And this would be a 1-day challenge. Guest judges for the week were Anne Fulenwider and actress Maggie Q.

My ranking of the teams was different than the judges. I actually did not care for Ballin’ on a Budget. So for me, a toss up on them versus Tsunami for safety. But given the editing of the show, I think we all knew Tsunami was landing in the bottom! Since Wabi Sabi didn’t receive any accolade on the show, I will devote my attention to them here as they were my winning team! And Deyonte, Kentaro, or Margarita would have had the final win for me!

Loved Margarita’s silhouette here and the bottom portion was nicely detailed.

SHOUTOUTS FOR THE TEAM — JC Penney, love the red heels & Avon for gorgeous beauty look and I love the chic ponytail!

Simply stunning & beautiful work by Kentaro — love this guy!!

Love the volume and something different by way of silhouette than the repetition seen by some of the other designers. Another great job by Deyonte. He was clearly not resting on his laurels and relying on immunity!

Kudzanai’s look — nice show piece for the runway!

Probably my least fave of the collection, but the bodice detail embellishments were nice — Brandon

Team Wabi Sabi had a cohesive collection, but each designer still had their own POV. The judges, however, loved Ballin’ on a Budget. I thought the pieces read more arts and craft than recyclable fashion. The group said this was meant to be fashion on a budget, but all I saw was the budget part. I agreed with the judges naming Ayana as the winner of the group though.

Ayana’s look

I was too happy to see that Batani did better than last week!

But it was Tsunami who landed in the bottom. There was very little transformation. Example, trash bag dresses still looked like trash bags. I liked the color palette though. And there were some positives here. Amy’s look did not fit in as much with the rest of the collection, but I loved her look.

Amy impressed me week 1 and so did this look.

Also, shout-out for the group here. Loved all the choices, JC Penney’s heels, braided ponytail, gorgeous makeup from Avon.

Samantha too did a standout job here. The bodice of this dress was super sexy and the belt detail was a great touch. It was not enough to save the team though. I was confused on the bottom 2, except for knowing that there was no way PR was letting go of one of the twins this early. And seeing Shawn with Sentell in the bottom, I knew Sentell would be going.

The reason I stated confusion on the bottom 2 was because even though Shawn did not fair well under pressure this week, it was Claire’s look (above) that was one of the worst. I did love her look so much though last week, so glad she was not at risk in the bottom 2.

I guess Shawn was not feeling the vibe of the collection, but had she focused a bit more on this, it could have been much better!

But sadly, Sentell’s uninspired garbage bag dress was the loser of the week. Sentell did stand up for himself by stating what he did for Shawn’s look. But truth be told, each designer is responsible for their own individual design and final look. But another truth, even another hour on this was not going to to save it. I then remembered his look from last week and it was too unimpressive. I am just not sure Sentell was quite ready for the challenge of Project Runway!

 

Until next week…..

PR’s Super Sweet Sixteen!!

Excited that once again, it is Project Runway time! We were able to see many previews for this upcoming season — looks to be a dramatic, 16th season! The designers met each other during their welcome session, sipping on some Grey Goose “Espresso” martinis. Tim & Heidi soon joined, entering in super big style, specifically in a super gigantic RV. Heidi reminded the designers to expect the unexpected, and with that, we were in store for our first surprise!

This season, the models being used range from size 2 to size 22. The models also will get some airtime thru the use of a confessional mirror. Each week, the models rotate. Tim & Heidi wasted no time getting right into the first challenge. Each designer had to create a red carpet look, demonstrating their point of view as a designer. This was a 1-day challenge, with a $300 budget at Mood.

Huge sponsors for this season — PILOT, with the use of Friction erasable pens for sketching; Brother sewing & embroidery studio; JC Penney accessory wall; Avon for makeup & hair. Prizes for this season include the chance to collaborate with JC Penney to create a limited edition capsule collection; $40k prize pack thru Brother Sewing, including 2 industrial machines; a 2018 Lexus; all expense paid trip to Japan; a spread in Marie Claire; $100k, and more!

The Tim Gunn save is in play this season. And rounding out this week’s judging panel of Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen was actress Olivia Munn. The judges raved about the 1st runway. I thought there were some highlights, but I saw that many had an upwards trajectory for improvement ahead. Additionally, I don’t think some hit the mark on creating for the red carpet. But all in all, still an excellent runway!

I’m still wavering on my final top 3, but it would have been very different than the judges. But ultimately, I was 100% in agreement with the winner of the week, Deyonte. I could see his bold aesthetic coming thru in this look. Would this look be loved by everyone? No! But I could guarantee seeing it on red carpets now and it would make many best dressed lists.

Deyonte said Cannes, but I could see more. The flower placement perfection comment was spot on. This would be a look for a strong, confident woman.

Avon SHOUT-OUT — not for the hair, little matronly, but the makeup was beautiful!

 

Here are my other faves of the week, giving them a little shout-out!

So I actually know Shawn & Claire’s label and had no clue they would be on this season! I was not impressed this week with Shawn, but Claire’s look was gorgeous! Little more of a departure from the work I am used to from this design team, but if this is her solo voice, I LOVE IT! AVON SHOUTOUT — all around for beauty here, perfection!

I was surprised Amy impressed me this much on Week 1. I know she is known for quality and I saw that in this look. But I wondered what would set her apart from other minimalist designers? The ability to transform this look sold me! With more money and time, perhaps the top bra could have been a bit more elegant or sophisticated, but overall, job well done! AVON SHOUTOUT — love the bun, gorgeous makeup as well

A stand alone photo for Kentaro’s look doesn’t do it justice, but the movement here, the fascination attained as it walked the runway, deserves accolade! His previous work with drama and feminine beauty was a clear read in this first piece.

I was wondering what Ayana would, working with her cultural influences with each given challenge. I was impressed. A woman who wanted to don a head covering could really be a stand-out on the red carpet in this look. But additionally, even if this look was sans head covering, it would be super gorgeous. The floral embellishments were captivating.

Moving on to the judges’ faves. I was not surprised Kenya was in the top. I was surprised to see her more shock value aesthetic tamed in this challenge. Overall she did well, but it was not my fave. There was an elegance to this, but I had 2 reasons for keeping this out of my top, both of which the judges mentioned oddly enough! The bodice was a little wonky. And then something with the fabric choice perhaps, wasn’t making this dress look super high quality. But job well done for the 1st challenge!

Brandon struggled this week, so color me shocked that he was in the top. This was more on the bottom of my list! I think you could see it in his face he was confused on making the top as well. I wasn’t sure what red carpet I would see this on and really, this just lacked sophistication for me. Since he is safe, landing in the top, maybe this will give him confidence to forge ahead and impress me in future weeks.

The bottom 3 made more sense than the top. It seems as if Shawn & Claire will get much airtime this season, so I knew she wouldn’t be going home week 1. But this was disappointing to see from Shawn given her experience. She is all about being bold and modern, so I am hoping for more from her in weeks to come. The shorts were such a throwaway here, not making this fit for any red carpet. One of the judges said “club-by” and that was a good label for this.

Leaving ChaCha and Batani in the bottom 2, I was happy Batani was safe. I was so impressed with her previous work as well, so seeing this trainwreck was very disappointing. Even despite the mistakes seen/made, why was this her goal for the week. The color, the use of lace, doesn’t really seem like her forte or aesthetic. The back was worse than the front. And why did she lie about the hidden mistake/tear/hole!

This sadly left ChaCha out first, which anyone leaving first is always sad! He had such a great spirit. And with a wacky, interesting aesthetic, I would have enjoyed seeing a little more. Not sure he would have had the ability to stay for the long-haul, but seeing the fun exuberance wouldn’t have been bad for another week or two! But this look was not that exciting, very much a hot mess!

Until next week……

Proj. Runway & Swimwear

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This week, the Project Runway designers took on swimwear. With Tim being all decked out in a special ensemble, he & Heidi joined the designers on the runway to further show off more details on the challenge!

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Each designer would create their own fabric to use in designing a stylish swimsuit & cover-up that would fit in with/be inspired by Heidi’s line, Heidi Klum Swimwear. The winning design would be sold as a part of the line.

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To create the print, the designers would work with technical & digital experts. The designers would then head to Mood, with a budget of $100 for supplemental fabric, all for this 1-day challenge.

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The episode began with a little hate-or-ade being spewed on Erin. Natural jealousies of course since she has won 2 challenges. Moving onto a little workroom drama, we first saw Cornelius having some difficulties with this swimwear challenge. Of course, as the episode progressed, we saw other designers were too facing trouble.

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Heidi soon popped in, alongside Tim, for some critiques. Naturally, she had some pretty choice opinions. I was certainly ready to get the runway started! This week’s guest judge was model & author Lucky Blue Smith. So who rose to the occasion this week, and which designers sank?

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Before the judges top & bottom 3, here are a few personal shoutouts of my own —

pr15-ep4-nj-final  Nathalia J — I thought the swimsuit was pretty cute, interesting print, Also, SHOUTOUT to both Mary Kay & Sally Beauty here, love the entire beauty look!!

pr15-ep4-co-final  Cornelius — SHOUTOUT again for both Mary Kay & Sally Beauty, another stunning glam, beauty look!

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Dexter — SHOUTOUTS — All areas, JustFab, killer heels, Mary Kay, love that pop of red on the lip, & Sally Beauty, curl-icious!

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On now to the judges top 3, getting right to the winner, since I was certainly in agreement with both the top 3 and the winner, let’s discuss Rik. The swimsuit, the cover-up, all super chic, and in black & white, LOVE! Also, SHOUTOUT to Mary Kay for this beautiful makeup look, very natural & fresh.

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The judges almost gave the top spot to Alex, however my close 2nd would have been Roberi. I loved this print, it exuded such fun in the spirit and with all the colors.

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And then of course, as mentioned above, Alex was also in the top 3. I do think Alex did a great job. The cover-up here seemed more than just a cover-up, so I appreciate the effort he put into that piece. The overall look was very Grecian, and the trim of royal blue was the perfect pop of color!

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Moving on now to the bottom 3, sadly, I don’t think Sarah should have been the one to go this week. I say sadly, because of this bottom 3, my choice would have unfortunately been Tasha. I just don’t think she did much here. Sarah’s print was a little more inventive and unique. I figured Jenni would be in the bottom because she dismissed Heidi’s suggestions, but this bikini was barely wearable. I do like Tasha, so I’m hoping she will bounce back!

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Jenni, again, in the bottom, basically not listening to Heidi. I thought the coverup was interesting, and given the off coloring of Jenni’s print, I think she did her best to make it work.

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SHOUTOUT — Mary Kay, lovely beauty look

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So that means Sarah was out and I do think that was unfortunate. She did a pretty decent job the week before, and I don’t think of the entire bunch, her swimsuit was the worst. The cover-up was not great, but let’s get real, a lot of other cover-ups were throwaways as well. And this print, it was very vintage, definitely something I can see as a print being used today.

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SHOUTOUTS — Mary Kay for the makeup look & Sally Beauty for the luscious curls!

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PR — The Finale

So yes, finally getting around to blogging about the final eps of Project Runway and definitely just happy to get it over with at this point. I got behind on the episodes, but ultimately, I wasn’t feeling these final few shows of the season, all in all, quite disappointing. And the way everything ended up with the final 4, it certainly wasn’t making me jump to my computer to blog away. But as an avid PR fan, blog away, I must, and I did want to applaud one designer I was happy with this season — Kelly. She was my winner for the season. More on that later, but first, a bit on the episode before the finale (yep, definitely not dedicating 2 separate posts for this finale!).

pr14-ep13-episode15So of course as the almost finale began, it was clear Edmond would be saved, despite the edit attempts of it all being drawn out. Tim Gunn save used. The designers were headed home with 9k to create a 10 look collection. The Tim visit of course came sooner rather than later and the designers were quite eager.

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Tim advised Ashley to keep her hand natural when designing and not to go too matronly. For Candice, he made sure to warn her about over-designing, to keep an editing eye. Kelly found a fan in Tim, but he asked that she make sure her looks had a luxe feel, not to go the cheap route. And finally, with Edmond, he was left with a lot of work to do as not much had been accomplished.

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The designers were back to NY, Kelly feeling as if she was done, while Edmond still had 3 looks to complete and he was not even unpacking! Tim came by shortly after everyone had settled into the workroom. He told the designers they would present 3 looks to the judges for feedback. However, one of those looks had to be brand spankin’ new, created just in that 1 day. The designers were then headed to Mood with a budget of $250, which could be used in any way to enhance their collection. At Mood, we saw some zipper wars and Edmond somehow racking up a whopping $395, way over budget!! It was then again Tim-time.

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Tim instructed Kelly to think of proportion and Ashley received this same critique. With Edmond, it was all about what to present to the judges. And with Candice, there was worry over cohesion. So at this point I would cut to the judges’ critique on the 3-look presentation, but I will save that for my final discussion on each collection. So instead, I will skip to the next segment right before the final collections were presented at Fashion Week. After the judges’ critiques, the designers had 2 days to get to work and many had lots of work to do, well…..according to the judges.

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The final episode of the season began with Tim allowing the designers to hit up Mood once more. Tim himself would do the shopping. Ashley & Kelly only took part, with no objection from Candice or Edmond. Tim later went over the judges’ notes with each designer. Brian Bolain of Lexus popped in to let the designers know they could make use of 2 Lexus coops to arrive in style for their shows. Lots of last minute craziness was of course occurring in this episode. But as per usual, everything seemed to go off without a hitch. And the guest judge on the presentations of the final 4 was country music superstar Carrie Underwood.

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So without further delay, let’s get to the most important part of the finale of PR — the fashion week presentations. Ashley won, but I am going to begin with my choice for the winner, Kelly!

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After the judges’ initial critiques I was afraid Kelly would drastically change up her collection as Candice did and that would have been such a shame. Kelly is a really cool designer and this is a very hip collection. I am not sure I can rock all of Kelly’s looks, but they do make me kind of want to try. Kelly is all about experimentation and she very much makes me want to experiment with my own fashion choices.

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Kelly was the designer who stayed most true to herself. She has such a clear vision. She has a type of girl and this girl will go and buy these pieces. She has a unique spirit and you can see that in her work. Her styling was also very spot on, just such great work on the accessories, the hair (Sally Beauty), and the makeup (Mary Kay) — it was all spectacular.

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When it came down to the judges thoughts, early on, Nina was quick to quip that she couldn’t tell what garment was made in only a day, because what she saw, it was hard to tell. She also said that this didn’t feel like a collection that was 9k worth. How the judges could think this, but somehow feel as if their winner Ashley’s collection looked like 9k, mind boggling! Like seriously! I think the tip to amp up the styling was a good thought, but overall, Kelly was lacking in judges’ support and the producers when it would come to naming her as the winner. There were other plans in mind!

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But overall I applaud Kelly for staying true to herself all season. She was a dark horse and coming in 2nd was a huge accomplishment for her. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this talented lady in the future!

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I wish Candice had channeled some Kelly vibes when it came to her final presentation. I will still keep an eye out for Candice in the future, but her major downfall in this finale was listening to the judges in their initial critique. Her collection could have used some downplay, but taking out most, if not all of the drama, spice, and intrigue was a major mistake. She had some highlights still, but her moment felt much more blah without the full on Candice I’m sure we all wanted to see.

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If the winner was always going to be Ashley, even if Candice had gone full on in her presentation, it wouldn’t have gotten her the win, but it would have made her way more memorable. Having seen what was there before, it just really made me want more. I really just wanted to see that big ole’ dress she made, hoop skirt and all walk the runway!

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And I think the last minute changes led to some of what the judges later critiqued on, which was fit issues. I’m not sure what the judges were going on about with cohesion. I totally still saw Candice in what she presented. And had she done it the way she initially intended, I think the cohesive elements would have in fact been stronger.

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I’m sure she will present again and I’m sure she will not let anyone hold her back this time! But another great bit of work here from the Mary Kay team, Sally Beauty squad, and Just Fab accessories!

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Edmond, sadly, was the throwaway of the final 4. He started out so strong this season, but started to lag in the final few challenges. Tim Gunn had a save to use and thus he was saved. But based on this collection, it was not needed. The judges’ critiques early on were about ampin’ up the sexy vibe they had come to know from Edmond. But that was my biggest issue I had with his final pieces — where and who was Edmond??

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I’m not sure based off these final pieces if I could pick an Edmond original out in the future. This collection left me wondering who he is as a designer. There were some pretty dresses here, but nothing inventive or too creative. In fact, the one piece I adored the most from Edmond, below, is the one I see as the least like him of the bunch.

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More gorgeous work from Mary Kay, Sally Beauty and the Just Fab accessories!

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This work reminded me of Edmond’s Just Fab challenge win — the sexy red dress. It was a gorgeous dress, so sexy, so wearable, but a bit of a snooze-fest in the way of being unique. Nothing really here knocked me out of my socks or was that intriguing. I wasn’t taking too many 2nd glances. I’m sure a lot of women would want to wear some of these dresses, but likely wouldn’t know who they were wearing. It wouldn’t me memorable enough for them to want repeat looks by the designer.

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This leaves us with discussing the winner of Project Runway this season, Ashley. I have loved so many of Ashley’s looks this season. But as the season dwindled down, I became less and less of a fan. There always seemed to be so much drama and so many tears. I was kind of over it after a bit. And then came her final presentation — a first ever for PR, a plus size collection. I applaud the effort and I was happy she went for it, but to me, she came up sub-par.

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I know I am not the only one to think this or to even say it, but Ashley won this season solely so PR could get the headline — “First plus-size designer wins PR.” It was all about the press and the headline because it surely wasn’t about these pieces. It was an okay collection, but there were so many fit issues and so many flaws. There were very few standouts. I was also unimpressed by the repetition — lots of crop tops and skirts — yawnnnnnn!

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And the only way I think 9k was utilized on this collection was because of the headpieces. They were gorgeous and looked more thought out than some of pieces. But yes, we sure had to hear enough about them. I think Ashley missed out by not using any prints, but many of these pieces didn’t feel luxe to me. And I again point out the flaws — all of the shorts were so ill-fitting.

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The color palette didn’t lend a hand in that department either, so many baby pinks and light teals, left the collection lacking in a rich, special quality. The exception is this look below, which was oddly enough the one she banged out in a day. The deep color was beautiful and the overall quality was heightened.

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One other standout was the floral motif skirt below and it was a bit of a showpiece, but one of very few that looked like work was put into it and even some of that 9k.

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I digress again, it seemed as if the end was predetermined — that a larger vision was in the midst. It’s happened before where the winner was a bit questionable and I’m sure it will happen again in the future. But for an overall disappointing season, I didn’t expect much here.

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A final rant/note then on reunion episode, which of course was filled with some laughs, drama, and intriguing aspects. But of course the focus was back to the most drama-filled episode this season, we all know it, the “Mean Girls” episode. And yes, I use quotation marks because I questioned the episode back then and still question the big deal over it now. I loved that it was pointed out that the girls were all being judged, yet none of the guys got called out for not picking Ashley. I don’t care if they had a plan to not do so. If she was such a great designer, one whom everyone should have wanted to work with, how only the female cast should take the blame is beyond ridiculous. She didn’t lend much to the creative process and her look was pretty much crap that week. It was one of the worst ones, so she should have taken some heat on this. She had already gotten one free ride from the Hallmark challenge, so to see her put out another bad look on the runway was clearly an issue in my opinion. It seemed to me as if all of a sudden, just this episode, those few girls were dubbed as mean girls, no mention of this before and really there was no evidence of anything shown in the episode where these girls were badmouthing Ashley or treating her so poorly. If the drama was there, the producers would have shown more. It was such a stretch. And then poof, it was all soon forgotten. No more mean girls the rest of the season, yet somehow, in the reunion episode, it was all brought up again.

Very much ready at this point for All-stars, next season, anything to get true competitive juices flowing again!

PRAS Designers Get Personal this Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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