I must confess: the bloom is off the rose for me with The Fashion Show. I tried, darlings, I tried, but this episode made me realize that romance is over. Of course I’ll stay with it until the bitter end and it can, like an ex-boyfriend, still try woo me back, but it’s going to take lots of nice dinners, flowers, and some expensive jewelry. What pushed me over the edge, you may wonder? Well I never, ever needed to know that Reco sleeps in the nude and wakes up with a boner. This isn’t Big Brother, Bravo. Step it up, especially after the excellent Top Chef Masters proved what a real Bravo reality show should be.
Tracy Flick drops by.
Luckily, everyone is dressed and appropriately composed when the designers gather for their mini challenge. Isaac is working over-time to make it sound dramatic; they’re going to design for someone in a political campaign. He name checks a couple of designers Michelle Obama has worn, and the contestants get all atwitter with thoughts of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin dancing in their heads. Dear lord, this show couldn’t attract those women? They’ve resorted to putting on a Real Housewife of New York as a featured audience member for crissake. So, who is this mystery client? None other than some girl named Giuliana who is running for student body president of her high school. She wants to win the hearts and minds of all the cliques, so the challenge is to design campaign t-shirts that each clique would wear. The designers have one hour to create the t-shirts and the winner will have immunity.
The designers run over to the wall where nine backpacks are hanging; each grabs a backpack, which contains inspiration pieces for each of the nine cliques represented. Johnny draws the jock; the bag happily contains a football and not an athletic support undergarment. Merlin’s bag contains a tiara, which he immediately dons; his clique is “mean girls” and he’s not that sure what it means to be a mean girl since his high school in the jungle was quite different than any NYC school. Reco gets the drama kids, Daniella the tree huggers, Haven the skaters, Anna the Goths, and James-Paul the preppies. They get to work on their shirts, and soon enough, Isaac, perhaps in an attempt to forge a catch phrase, exclaims, “Little kittens, you have one minute left!”
Mini challenge judge Laura Brown and Giuliana survey the work. The vast majority is duller than dirt. The one I like is Anna’s dark grey t-shirt, with cut-outs and black “goth” writing, but in my experience no goth would ever wear a campaign t-shirt for a school election. The saddest was Haven’s skater t-shirt that had a pathetic drawing of a skateboard. Somehow or another Daniella’s tree hugger t-shirt wins out, even though it was, as Johnny said, just a shirt with a bunch of fabric-cut-out leaves tacked on. Nevertheless, she gets immunity.
Short on time, short on talent.
Isaac, with a lot of wild gesticulation and in a tone of import, says the elimination challenge is to design a look for a now 20-something girl of the same clique they randomly chose. And, sakes alive, the fashion show is tomorrow! There’s hardly any time! They’ll have only 14 hours in total before the show and $140 to spend on the materials.
They get to work tout-suite on their outfits. Johnny’s designing some leggings and a tank top for his jock girl. He’s not quite sure what a jock girl would wear, other than a Home Depot apron. Anna’s goth girl is going to be in slim pants and a motorcycle style jacket. Haven’s skater is going to have a modified hoodie and slouchy jeans. Angel is still perplexed about the b-girl scene, so she asks Reco for some help. He’s apparently cool with her now and has had an alliance shift, she thinks. Personally, I think Reco is in an alliance with Reco, but what do I know—I don’t watch Survivor.
In the workroom, Merlin has a freak out about what exactly a “mean girl” is since he never saw the movie. James-Paul decides to keep the design simple, concluding he’ll be toast if it is too complicated. Angel knew a girl who dated a rapper, so she’s using her as an inspiration and going with tight pants and a puffy jacket. Johnny comments that it’s “retarded” that Angel doesn’t know what a b-girl is.
With two hours remaining on the day, the models come in for their fittings. Reco has some kind of “Romeo and Juliet” dress in the works, with lots of white fabric in layers. Daniella is at a loss as to how tree huggers would dress, other than having dirty hair and clothes; I’m right there with her on that. The day ends, and back to their abode they go.
At 4 a.m. the next day, the awake. Merlin goes in to wake up Angel, but no one is moving too fast because they only had about 2 hours of sleep. Off they go to work some more on their garments and contain their disgust at Johnny’s Fred Flintstone costume of a shirt. Seriously, if he willingly wears that piece of crap, he has no business on any kind of fashion show.
The designers work for a little while before MizRo comes in for a visit with the group. Merlin says that he’s having a hard time with inspiration, but thinks he’s captured an LA girl. Kelly isn’t so sure. Reco tells about his sleeveless, white, empire-waist dress, but MizRo isn’t so sure it’ll stay up. They then check in on Johnny; they comment on his Fred Flintstone/Tony The Tiger outfit he’s sporting and raise eyebrows at the “jock look” he’s creating. Haven chats a moment about her hoodie and baggy pants for the updated skater and Angel talks about her b-girl outfit. Kelly does some kind of weird dance to explain the b-girl attitude but beyond “total spaz,” it communicates nothing. When they consult each other, MizRo is concerned that Angel’s look is too 80s and the pants don’t look tight enough, Johnny doesn’t care about the competition, Reco’s look looks like a nightgown and Merlin is inches away from something fabulous but could screw it all up by sleeve length.
My lament: Why no proper runway show? I shouldn’t have to click “pause” this much.
After hair, makeup and Angel making last-minute alterations to her design (like every week), it’s time again for the fashion show. What hot messes will be seen today? Here’s what they send out to the Triangle of Doom: Anna’s goth look that consists of fitted, high-waist grey trousers and a structured jacket with slashed fabric on the back. Reco’s drama look is a tartan vest over a super-short in the front, way long in the back white strapless dress. James-Paul’s preppy apparently went on to work on The Enterprise, as that is what it looks like to me due to the belt across the model’s chest; the top is yellow over black and there’s some shorts/leggings thing going on for the bottom. Merlin’s mean girl look consists of tight pants, a pink and grey top with a ruffled collar, and a fairly interesting dark pink jacket. Haven’s skater chick has some loose-fitting knee-length jeans paired with a ¾ length sleeve jersey top with a half-turtleneck collar. Lidia’s 20-something nerd seems to work at as a hotel maid; she’s got a navy blue jumper of sorts over a white blouse. Johnny’s jock is sporting leggings that go to the top of the calf with fringe, weird running shorts over that, and some sort of tank top with white and grey color blocks on the front. Daniella’s tree-hugger take is some baggy pants and a brown jacket made in linen, and a scallop-edged wrap of sorts. Finally, Angel’s b-girl look is made up of tight black pants, a puffy blue jacket, and the yellow scarf and pink sunglasses that apparently came from the backpack earlier in the episode.
The judges—Isaac, Kelly, Fern and Charlotte Ronson—have some comments on the outfits. But, by audience vote, Haven and Merlin are in the top two. 83% of the audience would buy Merlin’s outfit. Kelly loves the collar on Merlin’s top and Isaac loves the pinks working together, saying it makes looks meaner. Fern says the pants are mean-fitting, whatever the hell that means. Kelly would totally wear Haven’s “killer” outfit. Haven explains that normally skaters wear hoodies and baggy pants, so she went more sophisticated. The judges think that both Merlin and Haven captured essence of their respective cliques, but the winner is Merlin. Merlin revels in the pissed-off looks from Reco and Daniella.
The news isn’t so good for Johnny and Angel, as they are the bottom two. Isaac though Johnny had a come-back from his appearances in the bottom and Angel was there last week. Kelly gets mad as she can express (I don’t think she’s botoxed, but she’s as good as being so) at Angel’s failure to understand b-girls. Fern and Isaac are equally exasperated; b-girls are everywhere in NYC, says Fern and Isaac pretends that MTV actually shows videos and says that she should know the style from hiphop videos. Then again, Johnny’s look was only a limited success with 10% of the audience, and he professes he designs for the eclectic client. Fern questions the fringe, wondering how it could be “jock” and Charlotte points out that to be a successful fashion designer, one has to actually sell something.
The judges go out to deliberate; they conclude that Johnny just missed the mark by a hair and has consistently bad fabric choices. However, Angel is not a fashion visionary and has no idea how bad her clothes are. They’re left with a dilemma: what’s worse—having no potential or only using 10% of one’s potential?
While the judges deliberate, there’s some discussion going on with the contestants. Johnny says he doesn’t care if he gets sent home because he’s got an investor on the hook. This sets Reco off; in a private interview, he’s perturbed that Johnny would take the place of someone looking for a shot at the big time while Johnny has an investor back home. There’s some pot-stirring that Reco stormed off because he was angry that Haven and Merlin were in the top two, and not him. So, when he comes back, Haven challenges him about any “problem” he has with her. It devolves into a stupid argument and ends with Reco telling Johnny to go home if he’s got so damn many clients. Reco is an egomaniac, but he has a point.
The judges then come back. Isaac tells Angel that if they’d thrown some random micro-trend at her and she didn’t have a clue, her claim of ignorance may have worked, but hiphop is so pervasive, she should have had a clue. He then tells Johnny that he’s not designing for 10% of an audience but using 10% of his potential. At the end of it all, Angel is out and Johnny is safe to impersonate a different cartoon character for another day. Angel takes her garment and leaves, noting that Daniella is a mean girl, Reco is real, and James-Paul was her best friend on the show. With that dangling one earring, all I want to tell her is, “Hush, hush. Keep it down now. Voices carry.”