Hello, darlings. It’s that time of the week to check in on what’s going on with the remaining seven designers. This show is ticking down pretty quickly, so let’s get to what happened this week.
For the mini-challenge, Isaac admonishes the designers that, history, darling, is really important to know. He name checks seven designers who the contestants should be familiar with: Halston, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Madame Grès, Pucci, Gianni Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Madame Grès, and while I know Halston was a big-time designer, but I always thought he sold out when he let his name be used for clothes sold at JC Penny. For the mini-challenge, the contestants will be quizzed about these seven fashion icons. Anna is fairly confident and will be embarrassed if she, as a fashion teacher, loses. As it turns out, she gets the first question right, Merlin guesses YSL for the second, then everyone else answers incorrectly. It’d down to Anna and Merlin; she gets her second question right and Merlin guesses YSL again, this time incorrectly. Anna wins the mini-challenge and a “serious advantage” for the elimination challenge.
Paying homage or copying—you decide.
The designers meet up with MizRo again on the Triangle of Doom. There, before them, hang seven borrowed dresses from a fashion museum, each one an iconic piece from the seven designer of the mini-challenge. Anna’s advantage is that she gets to assign each famous designer to the contestant designers. They will have to create a look that pays tribute to the original designer’s vision. Anna takes Chanel for herself, sets Haven up with YSL, Daniella with Dior, and Johnny gets Versace. She sticks Merlin with Madame Grès, of whom he has no knowledge, James-Paul with Pucci, and Reco gets Halston. Merlin, James-Paul, and Reco feel set up to fail by Anna, but at least with James-Paul’s educational background, he is fine with Pucci and helps Reco and Merlin try to get a handle on Halston’s and Madame Grès’ styles.
Off they go to shop for fabrics on their $230 budget. James-Paul finds some Pucci-like prints while Johnny buys black materials for his flamboyant Versace look. Reco plans on doing a corset on his “Halston” dress, and Anna knows he’s off base but doesn’t say anything. Merlin & Reco & James-Paul confab on the set up some more on the shopping trip. Merlin is convinced the three guys threaten Anna and the other ladies, so she’s trying to bring them down.
Day one draws to a close with Merlin praying to the ghost of Madame Grès for inspiration; she came to him in a dream and told him not to bleep it up, bitch! Day two of the challenge and it’s sewing, sewing, sewing. Daniella decides to do pants, though Haven cautions that isn’t very Dior. Six hours remain on the day, and the models arrive for fitting. Haven is having second thoughts about both the top and the fit of her YSL-inspired pants. Reco’s model takes one look at the giant sleeved dress with a corset and thinks he’s doing a medieval costume. Reco is not pleased.
MizRo stops by for a short visit. Isaac is a bit put off by Johnny’s use of pleather and Reco’s corset. Haven confesses to freaking out and second-guessing herself, so they quickly leave her alone. MizRo likes the black and white fabric Anna is using but Isaac doubts the purple jacket is very Chanel. Outside in the hall, MizRo doesn’t have much to say but Reco and Merlin both get catty about Anna’s old-lady jacket—it’s so old-lady, old ladies wouldn’t wear it, not even Reco’s grandmother going to church.
The designers are down to their last thirty minutes before the show. The models arrive for hair and makeup, and there are the usual last-minute preparations. James-Paul thinks Haven’s YSL suit is off and Johnny doesn’t think the audience will get Daniella’s take on Dior. In the prep area right before the show, Haven discovers the back zipper and waistband don’t meet, so she untucks the shirt under the vest and lets it hang out the back to cover the goof.
With the usual bum’s rush out onto the runway by the annoying stage manager guy, the fashions make their formal debut. Haven shows a dark brown vest and pants combination with a short-sleeved pink top under the vest. The pants fit poorly, especially at the hips. Daniella has a slim-fit black pant topped with a Dior-form jacket, with the fanned out collar, but it’s in blue, rather than the typical black and white of Dior. Anna made a V-neck sleeveless drop-waist dress in a black and white print. The low skirt has a pleating detail and achieves her Flapper-inspiration. The purple jacket is short sleeved and boxy. Reco’s long red dress does indeed have an intricate corset in the middle but is flowing all over otherwise. It does indeed look like something out of a medieval witch’s wardrobe. Johnny’s Versace-inspired look is really literal and seems like a knock-off to me and Isaac, given his comments. It’s a black skirt with pleather at the hem, a black bustier in pleather, and long see-through black sleeves. James-Paul shows a black skirt topped by a Pucci-print draped long sleeve top. It’s cute and wearable. Finally, Merlin went for a big, draped, flowing green dress that had some kind of other-green almost corset like top under it.
Pass the tissues.
Joining Isaac, Kelly, and Fern on the panel is Peter Som, a bona fide designer, unlike some of the prior guest judges. The audience voted Daniella’s, Anna’s, and Johnny’s looks in the top three. Johnny’s look “captured” Versace (well, someone’s “capture” is another’s “copy”). MizRo is impressed that Johnny seems to be learning and they are proud of him. The audience thought Anna’s dress was very well-made, but Peter and Kelly have issues with the jacket not being Chanel. When questioned, she pretty much admitted she strategically paired the contestant designers with the famous ones. Daniella’s design is called a great interpretation of Dior. She explains that she went with pants rather than a skirt to make the outfit more youthful. Fern’s only complaint is that there should have been more color in the jacket. This prompts Isaac to admonish all the designers to embrace more color, though there was plenty of color on the runway, with Reco’s bright red dress and James-Paul’s pink Pucci print. The judges pretty much chuck Anna out of the running on account of that jacket, so the decision comes down to Daniella and Johnny for the top spot. Despite Isaac commenting that it looked like a Versace knock-off earlier, Johnny wins.
The bottom two designers are then called out—Haven and Reco. Ninety percent of the audience would not buy Reco’s design. He tries to explain that he likes to do intricate work and wanted to bring in the waist with the corset. Peter thinks it looks like something to wear to a Renaissance fair, not Studio 54. Reco doesn’t know what he’d do to fix it since he knows absolutely nothing about Halston, and, with tears in his eyes, suggests maybe changing the color. The judges’ faces fall, as the red was the only thing Halston about the dress. They just don’t understand how Reco could not be familiar with Halston, and frankly neither do I on account of the JC Penny line. Reco starts crying even more, pleading that he wants to be there and has been trying so hard for seven years.
The judges then turn their attention to Haven’s alleged YSL look. For someone so inspired by the 80s, she got it wrong—the audience says the fit was weird and it looked poorly made. She admits she wishes it were better and she’d change the fit of the pants. Isaac questions her choice of the brown wool fabric when there are so many angles of YSL she could have taken. Haven keeps talking about how YSL used menswear to make something feminine, but the outfit she’s wearing is more on point than the one she designed for the competition.
The judges step out to discuss who will be out; meanwhile, Haven and Reco have a cry, Reco more so. During the deliberation, Fern says Reco failed and Isaac agrees he was further off the mark than Haven. However, Haven didn’t get it right and she knows YSL, plus it was poorly constructed. Peter ponders whether it’s worse to know the source designer and screw it up, or not know fashion history but construct the garment well.
The judges reach their decision, and Kelly again, and quite stupidly says, “Reco, [long pause] Haven, [long pause] one of you is going home tonight.” Issac tells Reco the only thing Halston-like in his dress was the color and Haven that her outfit didn’t reflect YSL even though she knows YSL. Isaac says the decision was very close, but Haven is out. She hugs Reco, who is crying more than she is. He remains on the Triangle sobbing, as Haven hugs everyone else goodbye. Pretty much the whole room, even Kelly is in tears. Haven then departs, saying she would have liked to stay longer but she learned a lot and is glad to have met Isaac.