I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with this episode… I was really excited for a “green” themed challenge (especially since I switched to organic/sustainable fabric this year), but the eco-friendly aspect seemed like an afterthought and they didn’t really talk about what kinds of fabric can be green and what the benefits of using them are or how you can help (like maybe suggest some green clothing lines?). And while I like the twist of making the models shop for fabrics (I like it as a viewer, would have hated it as a designer!), I think the designers should have been able to consult with the models first, because then that leaves more responsibility to the designers and they can’t use the excuse that they didn’t have a say in fabric and the models didn’t buy enough. And lastly, I was also pretty disappointed in the overall quality of designs on the runway. There were a few nice ones (Terri’s was my favorite and I also liked Kendal’s & Jennifer’s), but other than that there could have been a lot more in the bottom group than just 3. Almost everything was tight and short and those are not elements that are required in a cocktail dress.
With all that said, I feel like writing this recap was pretty difficult since I typically try to look at the positive and be nice, but this week’s might be a little harsh. Sorry!
Let’s get into it, shall we? (Thanks BPR for the photo montage! Click for larger image.):
Blayne: I’m not terribly into neon colors or 80’s style, but I actually liked Blayne’s dress this week. I’m glad that he used on of the bright colors and I liked the color blocking on the side (simple and in your face, but adds some interest). The overall shape was fairly simple, but the asymmetrical collar/sleeve added interest.
Daniel: First of all, I was really surprised that there were only a couple of models that picked black fabric. Obviously the LBD is a classic, so I thought more models would go in that direction (instead of the ugly gold or brown fabric that so many picked). Anyways, on to Daniel’s… The overall concept and shape of Daniel’s dress was cute, but some of the proportions and construction were off. My main concern is where the waistline of the dress is hitting. It needs to move up or down a little, because where it’s sitting makes the bodice look too large. I liked the cap straps though and the way the skirt was longer in the back was cute.
Emily: On the dress form, I liked how Emily’s design was turning out, but once it was on the model it didn’t look very good. I think this is a case of a good dress on the wrong girl. The braiding detail on the bodice was interesting and I liked how it carried into the open back. The overall shape was cute, but it looked WAY too small on her model; the skirt was too short and the bodice was either too small or didn’t sit right and pulled her down.
Jerell: I don’t know how to put this gently, but I really didn’t like Jerell’s dress at all. It looked cheap and all the embellishments he added looked tacky. Also, the fit on the top was really off (her chest looked like it sits in her armpits). I think this is another case of a designer not realizing when to step back and edit. The gray blue color isn’t awful, but I don’t like how it works with the contrast blue panel and all the other elements.
Jennifer: I really liked Jennifer’s dress and it would have been in my top 3 for the week. I liked that she took the chance and used jersey fabric and I loved the color blocking. While orange and gray might not be typical “cocktail” dress colors, I thought they looked chic and modern. I also really liked that when almost every other designer made something tight and short, Jennifer’s dress flowed really well and gave us some movement. I think the top could have been fit better and I’m not sure about the proportions of the straps, but overall I really liked her design.
Joe: Although I think Joe’s dress is a bit boring, I’ll give him credit for working with a difficult fabric well. Obviously the bottom 2 designers had the same fabric and their main problem was overworking it, so Joe was probably pretty smart to stick with a simple shape. I can’t say I’m a fan of the hole in the center, but I imagine some people might like it.
Keith: From the bodice up I thought Keith’s dress was nice, a bit simple, but made well and fitted well. I did not like the skirt at all… it looked like some cheap drapery and the gathers on the front were hitting at the worst place (they make her thighs look wider and make the skirt appear really short).
Kelli: I’m not really sure where Kelli was going with her design this week. The various details seemed disjointed and I thought it could have used a lot of editing in the back (although I did like the open back). The turquoise & green bodice looked a bit sloppy. I thought Kelli did such a good job last week that I was pretty disappointed in this design. I’m not sure how much of the jersey fabric (turquoise fabric was jersey right?) she had, but I would have loved to see something out of that instead of another dress out of the gold silk.
Kenley: Although I liked Terri’s a little bit better (more on that below), I think out of the judges top 3, Kenley’s dress was hands down the winner and I can’t believe Suede won over her dress. The overall fit was really good and she did a great job with the construction on such a difficult fabric. The collar is a dramatic, yet not too over-the-top for a cocktail dress. The textured belt also adds a nice touch and breaks up all the gold color.
Korto: Like many (I’m guessing), I was really disappointed with Korto’s design this week. After last week I had declared her my favorite and then jokingly said “that means she’ll go home next week.” I was relieved when that didn’t happen, but if it had, I couldn’t fight the judges’ decision much. Overall the dress looked sloppy and the concept of the inside out darts could have been cool, but didn’t work at all (I think they were too large, maybe if they had been more like pin tucks it would have worked better). And of course, the “hip fins” didn’t work at all and made his model look much wider than she really is.
Leanne: Like the judges said, I think Leanne suffered from having too many ideas and not editing at all. Her top with the loops of fabric and asymmetrical styling could have worked with a simpler skirt/bottom. I’m a fan of pockets in dresses (most of the time), but I thought these were in an awkward place and distracted from the top of the dress. Even with all the details and ideas, Leanne did a good job not overworking the fabric, so the construction looked much better than Wesley’s.
Stella: The judges definitely threw me with their choices this week… I would have lost money if you had bet me that Stella’s dress would be in the top 3. How does Nina’s comment to Wesley about “Shiny, tight & short” being cheap NOT apply to Stella’s dress as well (and a few others)? The lacing up the side also seems a bit tacky and the overall shape is nothing new or interesting. On the plus side it looks like Stella did a good job with the construction. I don’t think it should have been in the bottom, but I definitely don’t think it should have been in the top.
Suede (WINNER): Suede’s is another dress that I just don’t understand how it got in the top 3, let alone was the winner. I agree with the judges that he obviously put a lot of work and creativity into creating a “new” fabric out of the options he was given, but I can’t help thinking that if Natalie Portman wore this on the red carpet she would definitely end up on a worst dress list somewhere. I do like the dropped waist silhouette, but with the tulle skirt, it looks too much like a ballet or figure skating costume.
Terri: I cannot believe that Terri wasn’t in the top 3! Her dress is by far my favorite in this challenge and I think she should have won. The dress is elegant and sophisticated, but still had the young flirty collar detail and the contrasting belt. I think Terri’s and Kenley’s dresses are somewhat similar in shape/style, but Terri’s is more wearable both in the styling and fabrication. I’m still in shock that she wasn’t at least in the top 3 over Suede and Stella.
Wesley (OUT): Poor Wesley… I have to agree with the judges on this one. The dress was overworked & poor fitting. I’ll definitely give him the point that the brown satin was probably the worst fabric to work with, but sometimes you have to work with what you’re given and it seemed that he knew the fabric would work better in a more simple design. Sadly, I think this is one of those times on PR when a talented designer goes home too early because of a bad decision.