Greetings, darlings! It is time for the viewing public to see the top four designers’ collections and cast their votes for the winner of TFS. Oh, but wait…only three of them will be eligible and the judges will finally get to use ultimate veto power and boot out the designer they don’t want to see win. Who will it be? Let’s get this recap started and find out!
Loads of garment bags.
Two days before the final fashion show, the designers return to their workspace in New York City. Daniella rolls a garment rack down the street, and Anna carries her garment bags over her arms while pulling a suitcase. What? Couldn’t the production spring for a car service? Daniella says she’s in it to win it, despite being so young. Anna says she’s prepared like a girl scout and has been a “dark horse” in this competition. Yeah, doing really well and never being in the bottom qualifies her as a dark horse. Anna and Daniella gab a bit all take a quick look at each other’s collections.
Reco rolls in with a giant box and hugs the ladies. Finally, James-Paul shows up, laden down with his large garment bags. They both share some of their collections with the group and then in saunters MizRo to ask them about their collections. Anna says her designs were inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” James-Paul found inspiration in the notion of indigenous people wearing modern clothing, while Reco researched Aztec Indians. Daniella studied up on medieval and Japanese armor to get to a “second skin” theme. Isaac promises the biggest names in fashion to be at the final show and then drops the bomb on them that only three of them will be in the competition to win the whole enchilada. Each designer looks like they are about to lose their lunches.
The models roll in for fitting. James-Paul pulls out jaw bones and other bits to place in the models’ hair. Daniella worried her clothes would be too tight for the models, but they are a bit loose. She again extols the virtues of a “proportionate” model, which I take to mean as one really skinny gal. Anna has a smooth time of fitting her models, but Reco runs into trouble with his wedding gown. It is too tight on every model, so he has to let it out. The other designers take off, and Reco stays behind to work. And work he does, not packing it in until 3 a.m.
The final product.
Morning dawns on the day of the show, and the designers are nervous, tired, and dressed up all fancy-like. Thank goodness Johnny is finally out and everyone looks nice, not like 4 nicely dressed folks and a dumpster diver. Last minute dressing takes place as the audience takes their seats. From what it looks like, at least half of the “biggest names in fashion” Isaac promised are Real Housewives of one variety or another. Reco starts panicking because his wedding dress zipper breaks and it is crunch time. Daniella demands the makeup people fix her models because instead of looking robotic, they look like cat people. Due to the complexity of James-Paul’s clothes, he needs help getting the models dressed. If professional hangers couldn’t figure out how to wear the clothes, how can anyone else? Reco finally gets his wedding dress sewn on the model, and it’s time for the show.
Daniella shows her collection first, introducing it by saying each look is inspired by a woman in her family. She also did the music for her runway—yes, a real runway, not the Triangle of Doom—and made all the accessories. I’m not going to describe each look, since the spoiler pictures have been out for a couple of weeks on the Bravo site, but overall she has a lot of highly constructed clothes in black, pale creams, metallics, and leather. She describes it as ready-to-wear luxury and very “in” now. As I’ve said before on this site, they all kind of look like something out of a 1987 Duran Duran video shoot, but clearly I’m not “in” now.
Next up is Reco; he thanks his family for showing up and presents his looks of a high priestess of the Aztec empire. His collection involves a lot of greens, sparkly black crystal detail, leather, and super-slip pants and pencil skirts. Hey, there’s Laura Bennett in the audience! Damn it, why couldn’t they have gotten her as a guest judge? I’d like to see her and Isaac get into it. Reco describes his Aztec influence but also says he tried to steer clear of being literal. His three stand-out pieces are one mini-dress that creeps up the backside of the model, a stunning red gown, and the wedding dress that nearly causes the model to trip. He ends up carrying the wedding dress wearing model in the last stretch of the runway on the final walk-through. And I’m not even going to go into that feather dress. We all know it looks a bit like a toilet scrubber.
Third up is Anna and I have to tell you kind folks that if finally dawned on me who she reminds me of—Sarah Chalke. Anyone? Maybe it’s just me then. She again explains her painting inspiration, thanks her family and friends and the show starts. True to form, she uses a lot of prints and color and recycles things she did on the show, such as the tiered pleating and the bow with the crystals on the inside. Here set of garments is more about individual pieces than a cohesive collection, and that may come back to bite her in the butt later on, but everything looks very well constructed and her evening gown does not make the model fall (though it has that damn “cup” design again and I’m kind of tired of seeing it).
Finally, James-Paul shows his collection. Like everyone before him, he thanks his family and friends for showing up and his show starts. It’s a lot of dark colors, leathers, and what he deems as futuristic looking. Most everything would be great for some high-concept futuristic post-apocalyptic movie about couture. I’m just not sure I’d want to see that movie. To be fair, however, his construction is awesome. As Betsy Johnson says, it really isn’t something that isn’t all that uplifting but the workmanship was beautiful.
The final three.
After the show, the designers face the judges—Isaac, Kelly, Fern, and Glenda Bailey from Harper’s. Isaac congratulates them for both creating a collection and blowing the judges’ minds. Kelly reminds the designers that one will be eliminated and America will only be deciding “between” three of them. Between? Seriously, cue-card writer, go back to 3rd grade grammar, please.
The designers’ “signature” looks come out, as chosen by the designers themselves. Isaac says that the designer that the judges like the best will get $10,000, despite the outcome of the vote. Anna’s look got positive reviews from the audience, who said that they’d buy a lot of her looks. Glenda thinks the looks were lady-like, and Fern noticed the recalls (recycles?) to Anna’s details from earlier in the season. Anna says that she referenced the earlier details but tried to be innovative. She also says she tried to use navy in her looks to make it cohesive. The judges thought it was disjointed, and she tears up explaining that she wants to make things that people love and fashion means so much to her. Glenda thinks she wrote a lot of stories, but lost the main plot along the way.
Isaac says Daniella’s inspiration of armor was remote, but then came together at the end and loved how shoulders became the focus. Fern loved that focus, and Glenda says Daniella showed maturity and had pieces everyone would want to buy. Kelly liked that some of the pieces could be worn with something else. Glenda is distracted by the old lady fit of the leather pants on the signature look. Isaac notices that Daniella’s models were the thinnest and all the leather looks were baggy—he concludes it’s some kind of irony about the “second skin” look she mentioned earlier and admonishes her to monitor her obsession with thinness, so as not to limit her customer base. She says she’s now aware of her issue.
Isaac loves Reco’s first coat, and the black pencil skirt leather suit as well as the red dress. But Fern isn’t so sure; she thinks his workmanship fell off and lacked detail. He says he learned to do research from the show and got a big unfocused whilst in research mode. Fern hated the feathered dress, and thinks no one would want to wear it. Apparently, she didn’t meet Teresa from the RHONJ, who’d totally wear it, according to her comments. But then, she’s a table-flipper and her opinion probably doesn’t count. Kelly likes that he took a risk, but Glenda isn’t so sure about the bridal dress, thinking it was not elegant enough. Reco says that the type of pieces he did are what he wants to be known for.
James-Paul again, as always, shows his three-dimensional clothing and the way it can change. Fern thinks that his clothes are what she’d wear, but honest to god, I can’t see Fern wearing anything in James-Paul’s collection without looking, as Michael Kors would say, dowdy. Isaac respects that James-Paul’s production from the start of the show until the finish as cohesive. Glenda thinks that he should simplify, given that some of his clothes need an instruction card to figure out how to wear.
In deliberations, the judges think the clothes, over all, will suit a lot of women. Anna’s clothes will appeal to a lot of women, but the collection wasn’t all that cohesive. James-Paul’s collection was cohesive, of the moment, but not all that reflective of real life. Reco gets how to make a woman feel sexy, but lacks in research in fabrics and other designers’ clothes. They found Daniella’s clothes as new and fashion-forward, but needed a more feminine touch and Fern is just tired of leather bustiers.
While waiting, the designers reminisce about their moments of tears, but then it is time to learn who will be booted. The judges announce that the remaining three are Daniella, James-Paul, and Anna. Reco is kicked to the curb and I’m not buying this decision. He thanks everyone for the opportunity and says he learned a lot from everyone. He confesses that he needed the money, and thinks the decision is bull-crap, as do I.
Next week we finally, finally finish this show up, get caught up with some of the prior contestants, and I go into hibernation until Project Runway wakes me up with the gentle nudging of Tim Gunn’s call of “Designers, gather ‘round”.