Let’s not beat around the bush … Sam is gone, and along with him most of the drama, so we can just dive into the challenge and what happened in the finale!
The Top Three — Ken, Dom and Kini — meet Alyssa on the 102nd floor of the new One World Trade Center — with those amazing views of La Grosse Pomme — and get down to the basics of the final challenge.
The designtestants will create an eight-piece collection — including a menswear piece — inspired by their time in New York City this season. They have four scant days and $3000 to get this thing done.
Let’s rip …
She’s inspired by her first visit to New York and the sensory overload she felt as she arrived; she’s going for chaos, and people and lights and sound, and will handpaint her own prints and then mix those with some striped fabrics from Mood.
Zanna is worried about the silhouettes — the word ‘blob’ was bandied about … not a good word for fashion — but she loves Dom’s painted textiles.
WHAT I SAID
I love that print on the first look; it reminds me of a wet street with the lights of New York reflected in a puddle. I don’t even mind the shape … blob that it may be. The second look is better on the body and very urban edgy, while I was not a fan of the black skirt on Number Three — though I liked the draping of the top. The all-black Number 4 didn’t do anything for me until I saw it up-close; it seemed kinda shapeless until you could see the shape.
The menswear look was a miss; I loathed that painted fabric; it looked First Grad Butcher Paper Art Project to me; and the pegged pant seemed like a cheat. I loved the kimono jacket, though I wish she’d gone bigger and more exaggerated with it.
Oy. That high-low side skirt thing again; Dom, it didn’t work the first time why give it to us again? Lastly, the gown; bad print and an odd construction; the model seemed to have trouble walking and yet the skirt was so big.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
The Beautiful Georgina Chapman™ called it amazing and energetic, and she loved the impressionist print far better than the bad plaid. She loved the all-black look, but also agreed with me that the last skirt was off, but disagreed with me … she was no fan of the kimono. She did say that Dom has a very clear message with her designs.
Isaac says she nailed it; he loved Dom’s chaos inspiration of New York and loved the black skirt on Look #2 the best — he said he could wear it every day. He also wasn’t a fan of the skirt on the last look, but he loved the top.
Guest judge, actress Debra Messing loved the elegant, effortlessness of the first look but gave the last look a “Meh.” And she didn’t care for the kimono, either, but loved the jumpsuit beneath it.
Fellow guest judge, Marie Claire Editor-In-Chief Anne Fulenwider, loved the first look, hated the kimono look, calling the jacket clumsy … though she hated using the word clumsy. But she applauded the risks Dom took.
Alyssa loved the man’s shirt — seriously? — and even loved the wackadoo skirt of the last look, but she didn’t like the handpainted textiles as much as the others.
He first starts off thinking about the Harlem Renaissance but then shifts gears to a more blasé idea of being inspired by the architecture of the city. He chooses a black and white color palette with some vibrant, taxicab yellow thrown in for good measure.
Soon, though, he nixes the yellow and I worry the collection will be boring; even Zanna urges him to bring the yellow back and he relents.
WHAT I SAID
The clothes are pretty and well-made, but man I wanted some color and some pizazz; Ken has his own unique style, with an edge, and he should bring that to his designs.
I loved Look #1, very elegant, and loved the coat on Look #2, though I loathe a Capri pant, especially a skintight Capri pant. Looks #3 and #5 seemed like nothing at all—just basic black dresses—but I did love the menswear look a lot. Look 3% had a weird crop top that made the model’s boobs look like a shelf. As for #7, I don’t like culottes, but I liked this look because of the shock of yellow. Lastly, the gown; a simple gown, but the neckline and back made it special, though I wished it was longer.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Isaac loves the idea of Look #2 and the wide-legged pants on Look #1; he calls Ken’s collection “the most commercial, most cohesive, and in a way, the most chic.”
The Beautiful Georgina Chapman™ agrees about the oversized “trouser” — I’m’a have to start saying trouser instead of pant — and loves that there was a dash of yellow in a black and white collection. She was not a fan of the too-simple black dresses.
Debra Messing loves Look #2 and also agrees about the yellow — take note, Ken, color is good.
Anne Fulenwider, however, does not like the pant on Look #2 or the top on Look #1 — she calls them schizophrenic. She dubbed the collars ‘Cruella de Vil’ and wishes there had been a ‘Wow’ moment.
Alyssa disagrees; she likes the strong look of the cropped pant on Look #2 and she admires Ken for taking some risks, but then she said the collection looked like the cast photo from a TV show.
He was moved by the gridlines of the city as seen from One World Trade Center and so he picked plaids in a rainbow of colors because he’s Kini. And he’s doing Kini … some fabulous, some wacky, some over-the-top.
Zanna warns him to pull back on the gimmicks — mostly, though on the menswear because she seemed fine with the over abundance of ruffles.
WHAT I SAID
Kini’s was “The Show.” I’ll give him that. The first look was uptown girl headed downtown in a cool jacket, while Look #2 was basic dress with a side flounce which I didn’t get. I loved the menswear, especially the pants which I would pair with the shirt Ken made for his male model; I did not, however, like the cheat of the pegged leg — and I say cheat because I wonder if the pants were even hemmed or just rolled up.
Look #4 seemed a little ‘school girl secretarial pool,’ while the bubble dress was interesting but kind of a blob. Kini brought out the same back ruffle — although less exuberant — that he used in the Fairytale Challenge but made up for that with the blue plaid dress with the big bow at the neck; by far my favorite because it was cute with an edge.
Then Kini ended the show with a fabulously over-the-top coat and simple dress. I did love the use of color, though I wished they hadn’t all seemed like the same plaid in different hues and I wish there’d been less ruffles.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID
Alyssa says the collection made her smile, and pointed out the amazing construction. She liked the blue dress and called the last jacket ‘ballsy.’
Isaac called the collection "refreshing" and liked the more evening gown looks; in fact, he wished Kini had done the back ruffle dress — Look #6 — as a gown. He does have issues with hems—some could have been shorter while others needed to be longer.
Debra Messing thought Kini’s menswear look was the best of all three designers.
Anne Fulenwider sees an '80s aesthetic in Kini—Madonna, 'Desperately Seeking Susan.’ She is no fan of the blue bubble dress calling it ‘prom,’ but agrees with Debra that the menswear look is great.
The Beautiful Georgina Chapman™ loved the collection because it was fun, and loved the pink back ruffle and the white shirt with the pointed shoulders of the schoolgirl piece. She does think Kini would pick a side — crazy or sedate — because when he tries to do both he misses the mark a little.
Just what I thought.
Ken was strong and sleek and simple, but needed a punch to be more than safe … in Third Place.
Kini needed to bring it all on every single look and roll with it to be anything other than Second Place.
Dom nailed it. She was Dom all season long, and ended with just being herself. Her clothes were fun and edgy—though that painted plaid was a misfire—and she really has an eye for how to design with mixed fabrics.
As I said, No Sam, no drama; except when the mannequin “fell” onto Dom’s freshly painted leather. But nothing came of that so, yeah, no drama.
And no drama with the helpers who came back because, again, No Sam. Alexander, Asha and Layana just helped, though Layana made a bad choice in seam allowances forcing ken to try and patchwork a pair of pants together.
All in all, though, I loved the finale; the three designers were designers and not just seamstresses. Each had a clear POV and each made some stumbles, but there was art thanks to Dom, commercial appeal, thanks to Ken, and crazy fabulousness thanks to Kini.
Anne Fulenwider was kind of bitchy, and not in a Nina-Garcia-I-Fear-You-But-I-Love-You kind of way. I thought she came off mean and not very helpful.
I adored Isaac; I wanna be friends with Isaac and just sit and listen to him call things “mad.”
And I wanna sit with the Beautiful Georgina Chapman™ and just listen to the words she uses; I mean it, I’m’a start saying trouser from now on.
What did YOU think?