The challenge this week was to create an image for an unsigned band who, by popular vote, will be featured on a Rolling Stone cover. And the winner will have their work featured in Rolling Stone and in a Marie Claire advertorial. Big win, eh? Yeah, except for that whole menswear thing that sent most of the designers into a freefall.
The designers are broken up into two teams of four--Oh dear, teams? is this an omen?--and each member of the team will design for one of The Sheepdogs, a sort of 70s country-rock throwback, a la Creedence Clearwater Revival and early Eagles.
Team Harmony was Bert, Laura, Anya and Anthony Ryan, while Team Untitled was Josh Crawford, Viktor, Kimberly and Olivier, though they would be judged individually and not as teams--which I think is what spared us a Josh rant, a Bert bashing and any kind of meltdown.
Let's rip...in bullet-point style:
- After his team selects their clients, Bert is left with lead singer Ewan, and, for a split second, I thought there would be some Team Disharmony, but Bert liked Ewan, and already had a design plan.
- At Mood, Bert asks for a yard of fabric. No, make it three yards. No, make it a yard-and-a-half. Bert then thinks he'll run out of fabric and maybe send a half-nude Ewan down the runway. And would that really be a bad thing?
- He opts for a striped denim with a cream background, and then dyes it navy blue. It turns out purple--even after numerous attempts. Still, I like the stripe and the fact that Bert didn't do a bell-bottom or a flare.
- His shirt, or blouse, as he called it, was an altogether different story. Ewan and Tim felt it was too feminine, even for a blouse! Olivier, the Queen of Beige, thought it too flamboyant with the stripes and the purple. Why Olivier stopped to talk when he was so far behind remains a mystery. Bert scraps the shirt and then does a simple tie-dyed tunic that seems to suit the striped pant.
- I liked his look, though the pigtails scared me. Ewan liked it, though it was outside his comfort zone. Kors liked that Bert actually showed a rocker vibe, and that it wasn't a costume. Heidi liked the fabric choices, but not the pigtails. Nina loved the strong Viking pigtails, saying it gave Ewan a look and an identity. Guest judge Adam Lambert liked the tunic, but not the pant.
- Bert was safe and nice and got along with everyone. However, I don't see Bert making it to the tents because his womenswear--and let's face it, that's the show--is too much the same week after week. Step up, Bert!
- Laura wants to design for Leot, and desperately wants a red jean that Leot requested. but only finds blue at Mood, so she turns the denim inside-out and dyes it red. That's thinking. That's design. That's a lot of dyeing.
- Also at Mood, with their $300 budget, Laura rings up an amazing $450. Luckily Bert is feeling all Team Harmony, and has only spent $150, so he gives the rest of his cash to Laura. That was nice, but shouldn't that be against the rules since no one else was allowed to spend as much? The PR plays fast and loose with rules, me thinks.
- Leot liked the red dye, but wanted it darker, so Laura went back to the dye bin, and while she was there she dyed a jacket, a silk scarf, and a tank top. She also dyed a thousand tiny deaths.
- I thought the tank-top scooped too low, making it look kinda girly--something Leot expressed to her in the fitting, though he liked the darkness of his design, and the retro vibe. Heidi liked the stylish originality, and loved the pant. Lambert like the 1970s retro-ness. Kors thought Laura was dyeing too much, calling the tank top "Sweeney Todd" meets "I cut myself shaving." Nina was the hardest critique, calling the jacket feminine and the scarf something you would find at a mall.
- Still, Laura's wasn't the worst and she gets a save. Which will keep her around for another week, but she's falling too much in the middle to be asked to put on a show.
- He opted to design for Ryan, the bass player, because of Ryan's snakeskin boots, or maybe because of Ryan's oozing sensuality. Plus, easygoing Ryan seems to just want the designers to have a go at his design; he offers no real specifics.
- He's done menswear, albeit gay-mens-wear, but at least he knows a little something about fit and tailoring, or so he says. What he doesn't know from Adam-and-Steve is editing.
- Josh designed an exposed zipper which Tim said might draw the eye to the crotch, and Josh said--and I, said--"Right." And it worked. Rock'n'roll is sex, and men, and women, would be staring at that zippered crotch during the show.
- Still, Josh went too far. The brown back pockets on the pant were too big and too low; very unflattering. The brown cuff addition was too much. The vest had fringe hanging from the front, and had fringe sleeves, and weird orange dots. The shirt, however, was the saving grace. Josh needs to learn to step back and remove some things from his designs. It's too much.
- Ryan liked it, but then maybe Ryan liked Josh, I don't know. I do know he really wanted to remove his shirt while Josh was fitting him. Heidi, naturally, loved the eye-catching crotch and loved the shirt, but was not a fan of the fringe or the orange dottiness. Lambert, naturally, also loved the eye-catching crotch, but didn't like the ankle detail or the back pockets; it took away from the hot ass of a rocker. He did love the print shirt. Kors liked it, and, though he didn't say it, he also loved the eye-catching crotch. He loved the fringe, the excess fringe, as well. Nina called Josh out for his too many tricks.
- Josh gets saved, though I still think Josh is too gimmicky and too bedazzling and too much to win the show.
- She picked the drummer, Sam, who wanted some hippy Dashiki to wear, and since a Dashiki is like a caftan, only in shirt form, Anya figured she could do this, eevn though, as we heard repeatedly, "I've never done menswear." And, by that she means she's never sewn menswear.
- Anya struggled this time. Big time. Her lack of skills were very apparent when, while Sam was drumming, the seat of his pants split. Not good, really. But even Anya knew it was bad, and knew she'd land at the bottom, calling it ill-fitting and poorly designed. And she got no argument from me or the judges.
- I thought the pants looked okay, before the split, but the Dashiki looked cheap-y. And, with Anya being the Mixed Pattern Queen, I was surprised at how boring it all looked. Sam liked the freaky hippy vibe, but thinks the Dashiki missed the mark. Nina called it Pocahontas and too literal, and too costume-y. Heidi liked the pant before the split was revealed, but thought it also too Disney Native American. Kors said that for the first time her lack of skills was evident, and dubbed the look Reggae Jesus. Adam Lambert called it 8th grade production of "Hair" and since was in a roadshow version of "Hair" I trust his opinion.
- Still, Anya scraped by. This was her first time in the bottom, her first bad critique, and I hope it doesn't jinx her. i think Anya's would be a good show.
- He goes with Ryan, the bass player, but is worried about having Bert on his team after their last collaboration. He simmers down when he realizes they won't actually be working together, and is pleased that Bert has some knowledge of that 1970s retro-rocker-vibe, though he worries that Bert won't remember it.
- Anthony Ryan was given the Slightly Invisible Edit because he's become kind of middle-of-the-road. All we got from him was a few comments about Olivier's bad timing skills, and some Josh Crawford gossiping.
- He picked a white fabric for the pant because white screams rock'n'roll to the colorblind, I guess. But then he made up for it with a cool wood-grain patterned fabric for the shirt, and some fringe just on the back.
- I liked the look, and even liked the sleeveless shirt. It made Ryan all the hotter. But the pants looked odd, not rocker, and were definitely too big. Ryan also worried about the sleeves, or lack of sleeves, but found that he liked it that way. Heidi, naturally, wanted a tighter pant; she does love her crotch'n'ass, you know. Kors thought it was too polished and not edgy enough, even with the fringe. The Golden Girls go rock'n'roll, he added, though I didn't see that. I think Kors was stretching for a joke. And missed. Nina thought the shirt, er, blouse, er, shirt, was very girly. Lambert liked the shirt, but hated the big boy pants.
- Anthony Ryan gets a pass. But, like Laura, he's falling after a strong start. Other designers--Viktor, Anya, Kimberly--are moving ahead, so Anthony Ryan might be stuck riding the One-Nut Express home.
- "Oh crap." That's what she said at the mention of the word menswear, and what she uttered nearly every time she entered the workroom. That, my friends, was an Omen.
- Sam was her man, and after looking up Dashiki in the dictionary, she set out to do....Oh crap...menswear. And she continually reminded us that she knows nothing about the fit and tailoring and structure of menswear, and she doesn't do menswear and menswear is hard and WTF is a Dashiki and....Oh crap.
- Which is what Sam said when he saw the plaid fabric she chose for the Dashiki. Luckily for Kim, and Sam, Anya had some better fabric that she gave to Kim so the plaid was sent to the scrap heap. Anya nearly followed it there, worrying that, by giving Kim fabric, Sam, and the judges might like it better and she'd be Auf'd.
- And she had a right to be worried. Kim gives good pant, and a tight pant design. But her shirt looked, as Bert said, a little fast food worker, or, as I said, a little "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
- Sam liked the pant, but feels the shirt got lost, or, maybe should have gotten lost before the show. Kors called it Peter Brady at the Autumn Harvest, and just bad color choices. Nina dubbed the shirt Old Man PJs, left under a bed and riddled with dust bunnies--okay, I added that last bit. Lambert called it Scooby Doo--more like Scooby Don't. Heidi called it Forest Elf, and no rocker wants that.
- Kim fell into the Bottom Two but just inched out of being Auf'd. The bad critique really got to her, and she may struggle next week trying to prove herself again. I didn't hold out much hope for Kim at the beginning, but, except for this Dashiki Weeky, she's been consistent.
- Viktor has designed clothes for himself, and some of his male friends, so he's not altogether worried. And, he relaxes even more when told that there doesn't need to be any cohesion in the looks he and his team create, so they'll be no battles this time.
- He chooses Leot, or Hot Leot, as his client and Leot is dyeing--get it, dyeing?--for a red jean. But since Mood has no red denim, Viktor opts for blue. And he wants to go all western shirt and distressed jeans and leather motorcycle-cowboy jacket. Viktor is nothing if not ambitious. I sense a problem arising, however, when Viktor describes his design as "stunning". I tend not to think of rock'n'roll as stunning. Stunning is not Rock, it's Ross...as in Diana.
- Still, Viktor is the only one not constantly bemoaning the menswear aspect; he's like the Tortoise, in the Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and steady wins the race. He has a lot to do, and yet he gets it all done.
- His look seemed rocker to me, even with the pleather jacket, with the too-short sleeves. And Leot liked it, though the jacket bothered him a little because it was too Tough Guy. Kors called the jacket fabulous, like Mad max Meets Woodstock.
- Heidi called the jacket insane, which was good. Lambert liked that Viktor's design had movement, which was good onstage. Nina simply said it was impressive.
- And then Viktor got the win. If he keeps this up, this slow-and-steady, and creating good works, he'll be in the tents, and not in a seat. Like...........
- Our "Delicate flower", who covered his ears like a six-year-old girl when The Sheepdogs performed, but knows all about menswear and will ace this challenge.
- He was given Ewan, the lead singer, as his client, and, of course, Olivier freaked out because Ewan is a man, a real man, a big man, or, as Olivier said it in that faux-accent, a "massive" man. Ewan likes jeans and denim and sued and leather and dark colors, so, while running aimlessly through Mood, and wasting nearly all his time--causing normally unflappable Tim to order him to hurry up--Olivier finally settles on off-white pants and an upholstery fabric shirt. And, all the while, Olivier reminded either us, or himself, that this was a good challenge for him because he knows from menswear and will have no problems.
- Olivier cannot finish the pants and when he does, they don't fit; this from a menswear designer. He cannot finish the shirt, and the "pockets" look like "pocket pasties". And still he complains about the massive client and the fact that his mannequin isn't the same exact size as Ewan. Olivier wants to dress models, and models only, and yet doesn't seem to realize that the models aren't the client.
- Olivier's design was all kinds of bad. It screamed, to me, at least, a little too "Do you want sprinkles on that cone?" And Ewan, probably knowing what a Delicate Flower he worked with, applauded Olivier's simplicity. Heidi called it a boring Dad Jean. That's all. Lambert sad the cut was bad. The cut? Howsabout that girly fabric? Kors said it had no interest and no fit and no place on the runway--okay, that last bit was mine, too. Nina dubbed it feminine, which seemed to be the issue of the day.
- Olivier, Mister Time Management, Mister I Don't Do Real People, Mister Delicate Flower, Mister WTF Is That Accent, You're From Ohio, was Auf'd.
- Better late than....well, it was just late.