This was kind of a doozy of a week, and a pretty fun challenge, for some. The idea this week was to create a high fashion look inspired by a bird: a raven, a cockatoo, a parrot and an owl. The designers were put in teams of two, and I saw meltdowns and explosions coming but were then told they would be designing head-to-head, with one of them being in the top, and the other going Bottom Three..
Anya and Laura were each given the Raven and pitted against each other. Bert and Josh Crawford got the Parrot, while Viktor and Kimberly were awarded the Cockatoo.
I guess the owl became lunch?
I digress. The designers were also told that the winner would receive $20,000 and a Marie Claire-L'Oreal advertorial: this weeks product placement. They were also told, about halfway through creating their high fashion bird-looks that they would also need to create a second look, with a second trip to Mood.
And then, after that panic, and working on two looks at the same time, with all the drama and blood, literally, that entails, they were subsequently told that just one of their looks--and it was the designers choice--would walk the runway.
Talk about flip-flop-upside-down-backwards.
Let's see how they did....
He's not into the challenge because of the dimestore, carnivale colors of the Parrot. I think Bert goes to literal; he doesn't seem to hear the word "inspired" so he thinks the dress needs parrot colors.
And, while he is so not into the challenge, he is quite fond of making bird noises and making quite a mess of his work station. He is also quite pleased that, after a half season or more of being the whipping boy, and the last to be chosen for the teams, that the other designers have come to like him.
He's the PRs Sally Field, you know, but I don't see an award in his future.
And Tim doesn't see high-fashion in either of Bert's looks, and Bert explains to Tim what high-fashion means; that it doesn't mean over-the-top and loud, that it can mean simple. But, Bert, honey, I think it also means that the dress must be good.
Bert scraps his sad Look Two, for his not so sad Look One.
I like the way it opens to reveal the bright colors beneath the gray, but it could have, should have, been longer for more drama, The shiny silver bustier looks super hero, and the big wide belt looks like Studio 54--and we had that challenge already. Plus, the hair style on his model looks dirty and dated. Just more proof that Bert is stuck designing in the last century
He admits on the runway that he doesn't like his look, and most everyone seems to agree. Kors thought it looked like a pageant dress with a Wonder Woman top, though he loved the tailoring; Bert can sew, but needs to bring his designs into the 2000s. Francisco hated the shape and said there was nothing new about it, while Nina called the dress disappointing and the silhouette generic. Heidi, like me, loves the flashes of color when it walked, but thought it was executed wrong.
So, just as he becomes the Friend of the Designers, Bert gets his Auf'ing papers.
Sad to see him go, because I started out liking him,, then hating him, then being indifferent and then liking him again. I just wished he'd step out of the 70s and join us in the present day, because he could be great.
Of course he begins by telling us that this is his challenge because he bring a "high fashion eye" to the workroom, which means a high-fashion eye dripping with too much mascara and with some sequins added on. He also tells us that he needs the money more than anyone else because New york is expensive and he can't pay his bills.
yeah, he's the only one with that problem.
At Mood he picks all the brightest, nearly neon, fabrics he can get for $300 and then proceeds to fly over the top. In fact, we learn that he picks fabrics by closing his eyes and touching them--or in the case of one white fabric--by licking it. This makes his over-designed, over-accessorized aesthetic make sense. He isn't actually looking at them with his eyes open.
His first look is overworked, tissue paper inspired, and reminds me of First Grade and the ghosts we made out of Kleenex, only he has them by the hundreds, and in lime green. And that's scary. His second look is completely different; it's a draped orange sheet, very simple, very un-Josh Crawford. In fact, it's so-not-Josh, Bert calls it a Bert ripoff, which I might have agreed with had I not seen Berts' designs.
Josh cancels the bottom half of the first look, and asks Anya to use some of her fabric, but she declines, and so he sets his crosshairs on her. She can't sew. She doesn't play fair,. She sews her model into the dress. She won't make it. She's won too many times....what? She won again!!??!!
Josh tries to add some crafty-ass Martha Stewart leafy cut-out circle skirt to his first look, which Tim Gunn looks at and asks, "Qu'est-ce que cést?" Josh asks what "Guess kesay" means, and I fall out of my chair, as Tim politely translates, "What is it?"
What it is, is desperation, because Josh needs that 20K so he can finish his education. Not i sewing or design, but in languages.
Lucky for Josh, they get to choose which design walks, so he scraps Look One 2.0, and goes for the simplicity of Look Two. And it's a nice dress, very simple, very not Josh, except for the cocktail napkin dead bird corsage that he just had to throw on it in a fit of Blind Design. Kors loved the cut and the chain detail in the back, but hated the drunken corsage. He reminds Josh, again, to Stop Overdoing Things, and Josh best listen. Nina loved the modern minimalism of the deign--which is so not Josh--while Francisco loved that it wasn't a literal interpretation, but brought the exuberance of the parrot tot he runway.
Josh really does need to listen from now on. One more week of too much detail and it's a No to The Tents.
He opts to got literal on the cockatoo, with a blowy, blowsy white gown with handcrafted--I know this because he reminded us again and again--organza feathers.
As he watches Kimberly work, and struggle, he knows he can beat her in the head-to-head because he's a great designer; and, well, he's Viktor. He calls out Kimberly Three Hour Third Look as a rip-off of his off shouldered design. Note to Viktor: like last week, with Josh Crawford's inverted pleat, that you think he stole from you, the one-shouldered dress was not invented by you. So these folks are stealing or copying. they're using age old designs...like from Bert's era.
Tim loves the feathering, but thinks it needs some color; he decides the second look is too bridal. I think Tim missed the mark, unless, by more feathering, he meant on the entire dress and not just one side.
I didn't like the sheer long dress with the short skirt beneath and the feathers seemed to make the dress tilt. It was blowy and blowsy, but crooked and odd. Francisco loved the addition of color, and called the feathering romantic, but Kors found it too literal, though he liked the color and the movement. Nina called it unbalanced because of the feathering, but Heidi liked it, though she liked Kim's betters.
All in all, with the way he's been this season, being one of the few to actually work and finish a dress each and every week, I see a cool Viktor show at the tents.
She's already done a feathered bird dress in the avant garde challenge so she's worried about how to proceed. Inspired by, Kimberly, not make me a dress that looks exactly like a bird. She may be going down, and yet she may rise. Like a phoenix. See? Inspired. That's how it's done.
Kimberly gets the Time Management Edit, and the I've Never Used These Fabrics Edit, and the I Don't Design Like This Edit, as well as the Kill The Cockroach Edit, and the Breakdown Edit, with a little The Sewing Needle Went Through My Finger Edit. It's all played out to look like she's going home, especially with the I Stained My Fabric Edit and the I Burned My Dress And Now I Have Three Hours To Make A Third Look Edit.
I sense it's all in the editing.
She is directionless and sad, and even causes Tim Gunn to offer a hug. That's our Tim, and that's why we love him.
At the model fittings, before it gets burned, Kim's First Look looks slutty and cheap, like Vegas Showgirl Whore; her Second look kind of says I strapped a tray to my waist so I can serve drinks. Her Third Look becomes the look that hits the catwalk.
And it looks chic and sleek, though, up close, you see some evidence of a Three Hour Dress. I liked the pearl accent and the way it moved, especially considering she made the dress out of a polyester she used as a lining in her other looks. Heidi loved it, even with the construction issues, more than Viktor's, while Nina liked the seductiveness of it, even if it looked a little pageant dress. Kors loved the cut and hated the pearls, while Francisco thought the look was too mature, aka old lady, but then said he liked the fabric and the pearls and the leather waistband.
Kimberly stepped up, and cried and bled and burned and stained, and made it over Viktor. Keep it up and she'll be in the tents.
Since she always does gowns, Laura opts to step outside the birdcage ad go with a jacket and pant combo, in black, with some purplish ruffles around the lapel. And she knows she can beat Anya because she's been sewing since she was eight and has all sorts of design knowledge and schooling, and Anya is a four-month-old. Big talk leads to big fall, Laura, in case you didn't know.
Tim likes the idea of her first look, the pant and jacket, but thinks she needs to ditch her second look--which means, literally, find a ditch and throw it in there. And, with the news that just one look walks, Laura does exactly that.
It's not very nice. It looks like something Ann Wilson wore in a Heart video back in the day. The lapels are too big and too literal, and the pants are way too tight. This one is going down. Nina is impressed that Laura stepped out of her comfort zone, but hates the tight pants and the literal feathery ruffled lapels. Heidi has seen it before--perhaps in a Heart video?--and calls it too tight and too literal raven, while Kors liked that it was edgier than normal, but hated the obvious plumage. Francisco loved the cut of the jacket, but hated the styling.
Laura goes Bottom Two and scrapes by....by a feather...but I think, unless there's some major ball droppage--and I don't mean that literally--she'll be gone next week.
Anya, who is the beauty queen of wild prints, opts to go solid color, raven-black, although she picks a black drapery fabric that has some design to it, almost like a print, which she will use as the outer piece of her dress. Viktor calls it sexy-see-thru, and it is.
Tim calls her out on the first look because the armholes are two different sizes; further evidence of Anya's lack of skills, and something which causes Josh Crawford to do his happy gay bitch boy dance, I think. Tim does like her second look because it looks like nothing she's ever done before; it's all structured and hard edged. One problem is, Anya doesn't have a zipper or button, so how does the model get into it? Oh, cut a seam and then stitch her in. Hmmmmmmmm.
But I like it because it does look nothing like anything she's done before. It's got structure and edge and looks very modern. Heidi called it fashion-forward-cool-edgy and not at all gimmicky; it looks like a raven without going too literal. Kors found it inspiring, not literal, and very flattering, and Nina thinks it's the best thing Anya's done all season and loves the modern drama. Guest judge, Francisco Costa, who's far hotter without the ragged beard--and by 'beard' I literally mean the hair on his face--loves the cut and the Urban Goth-ness of it all.
The fact that there was no way to put on, or take off, the dress without scissors and needle and thread, doesn't come up, and Anya gets the win, and the 20K and the advertorial, and the wrath of Josh.
Win.Win. And I think she goes to the tents. Win.Win.Win.