Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Or if you’re not in the US, happy Thursday!
Last week, Simone got the boot first because of her poorly constructed and somewhat dowdy dress, while crazy Elisa of the millions-of-yards-long train was spared. Rami, the winner of the first challenge, did not agree at all with the elimination and is sad that Simone is gone. Elisa says she’s still excited to be in the competition and is going to incorporate what the judges told her in her own process of creation. She talks a lot like that; she’s reminding me more and more of the bizarre love child of Vincent and Santino.
And I couldn’t help but wonder, does the fashion make the icon or the icon make the fashion?
Before the next challenge is announced, the designers sit in their chairs along side the runway as Heidi talks to them about their models. She says that the designers will now get to choose their models from the fifteen girls, with Rami going first because he won the last challenge. He decides to stay with Ashley from the prior challenge. Heidi then draws designers’ names on big buttons from the famous velvet bag. Chris stays with Marcia; Kit keeps Marie; Carmen retains Anna; Christian stays with Lisa; Marion keeps Cheron; and Victorya keeps Jacqueline. But when it’s Ricky’s turn, he decides to go with Lea, Elisa’s model in the first challenge. This forces Elisa to pick Aviva, who modeled for Jack previously. Steven stays with Sam; Kevin switches to Amanda; Jack nabs Christina; Jillian takes Lauren; and Sweet P keeps Katie. Wendi, Ricky’s model from the first challenge, is the first model let go.
After the model selection, Heidi informs the designers that their next challenge will involve creating an outfit for a pop culture and fashion icon. She sends them off to the workroom with the promise of more details from Tim. The designers wait anxiously for Tim to arrive and speculate who the fashion icon may be. Maybe it’ll be Britney! Maybe Madonna! Maybe Snow White! Yes, those are the actual guesses: someone who can’t remember to fully dress, someone who generally lives out of the country, and a fictional character who pretty much only wore one outfit, ever.
Tim enters the workroom and instructs everyone to gather ‘round so he can introduce the fashion icon special judge. The doors to the workroom open to reveal Sarah Jessica Parker (hereinafter referred to as “SJP”)! The room erupts with sounds of joy and worship. This is totally SJP’s crowd. Carmen is flipping out and Chris starts crying. In a private interview, he confesses he moved to New York City because of Sex & the City. That’s a bit drastic, but I did once go to the Manolo store to check out the shoes. Unfortunately, there was no pervy little shoe fetishist who wanted to give me a free pair, so I kept on moving. Some things only happen on the teevee.
SJP says her challenge to the designers is to create a two-piece look for her fashion line, Bitten. She wants something for the fall/winter collection and it ought to look like high-end American sportswear but be at an affordable price. The outfit should retail for $40, which translates to a budget of $15. Tim gives the designers thirty minutes to sketch and come up with ideas to pitch to SJP. She will then pick the top seven and the designers will work in teams. The designers also each have a binder full of the current looks for the fall/winter Bitten line so they’ll have some idea of the line. Jack realizes that the designs they come up with will have to appeal to a wide audience and Christian is interested in working on a creative jacket. Ricky, in the private interview, begins crying again because he wants to prove himself after doing so poorly in the first challenge. Ricky, I want to cry every time I see you wearing that horrible plastic mesh base ball cap. For the love of Tim Gunn, please put that hat in the trash!
Sara Jessica Parker proves her acting chops.
Soon enough the thirty minutes are up and each designer has a chance to pitch his or her idea to SJP, who always appears to listen intently and always has something nice to say. She handles the process far and away much better than Sasha Cohen or that Miss America girl did in seasons past, but then again, SJP is far more polished than those chicks could ever hope to be. Jack is up first, and SJP says he did a great job. Chris comes in and is so nervous his voice is shaking. Sweet P pitches a skirt because there aren’t many in Bitten’s book. Elisa comes in with a big story about a polymorphic dress that can twist into all manner of looks; SJP looks a bit confused—as does everyone watching the show—but is intrigued. Kevin talks about buttons and then fails to notice SJP’s extended hand for a handshake up on exit. Christian pitches a detailed jacket while Kit pitches a dress with leggings. Ricky has come up with a dress with a wide belt that he says should be flattering to most women. Jillian also pitches a complicated jacket while Victorya suggests a shirtdress with a vest. Marion’s idea involves a pull-over knit cape dress that is fitted, not “like Batman”. Steven wants to do simple, basic pieces, like a fitted long black skirt. Rami suggests a belted shirt dress and Carmen has ideas involving tunics.
After the pitches, SJP picks Elisa for her ambitious plans, Kit for her youthful design, Victorya for her simple yet stately design, Marion for his sophisticated look, Ricky for the sexy and grown-up look, Christian for the very sexy design, and Rami for his design that demonstrated thoughtfulness about various sizes and shapes of women. SJP then says that the winner “may” be sold in her line in the fall, which means she’s free to trash the idea if the winning design is crap.
SJP departs and the designers pick teams. Marion, whose name is picked first out of the velvet bag, chooses Steven. Ricky picks Jack, Victorya picks Kevin, Kit picks Chris, Rami picks Jillian, Christian picks Carmen, which leaves Elisa and Sweet P to pair up. Sweet P, I’m sure, wonders what she did that her karma is this bad.
The designers head off to Mood with their paltry $15 to purchase whatever scraps they can for that little amount of money. Sweet P’s anxiousness comes out early and often when she admonishes Elisa that she will have to finish her edges so the garment looks done. Soon enough, time is up and the designers go back to Parsons. Chris is worried that they won’t have enough time to make the outfits, Kevin and Victorya seem to be in sync, and Marion is anxious to prove himself. Steve worries that Marion’s design, while intriguing, is overly intricate for the time they have to construct the garment.
Elisa and Sweet P work on their outfit; Elisa has Sweet P hold the fabric up and Elisa marks it…by licking the fabric. Apparently this new-fangled invention of tailor’s chalk is too advanced for her. Sweet P asks why Elisa spit on the fabric and Elisa says she likes to imbue it with her energy and essence. Sweet P says in her interview that she’s from Planet Earth and Elisa is from some other happy planet. Meanwhile, everyone within Bravo’s broadcast range who ever wore something created by Elisa—including the marionettes—rushed to bleach and the washing machine.
Time passes and the designers work hard to get their outfits done. Kit opines that SJP’s presence in the challenge added a level of seriousness. Ricky is again crying his eyes out in a private interview all-the-while wearing that gawd-awful plastic mesh baseball hat. I don’t even know what he says because I’m concentrating on making the hat explode. Sadly, I fail.
Tim arrives to check on the designers. He talks to Marion and Steven and notes that there is a lot of work to do on the not-yet-sewn skirt. Steven is aware that he’s got a mountain of work ahead of him. Tim then reviews Christian and Carmen’s work. They’ve made a complicated jacket that just screams early 80’s. Tim cautions that Christian should not be too retro, but Christian is convinced it is perfect. Tim thinks Victoria and Kevin’s creation is very cute and sophisticated. Finally Tim visits with Sweet P and Elisa. Tim finds Elisa hand-stitching up a storm, which he finds crazy. Sweet P has been trying to tell her that it’s crazy and is glad to be backed up by Tim. He cautions that no one can sustain the level of hand-sewing Elisa apparently wants to do. Tim finally departs and there are only thirty-five minutes left to go. Steven and Marion are about to have a conniption, as there is no time left and tons of sewing to do. Some of it will have to wait until the next day.
Saying “make it work” a lot may just make it work.
On the morning of the runway show, Kit wonders how long Elisa can make it in the competition without using a sewing machine. I doubt very long, but then I’ve been in a feud with my sewing machine after it broke upon the first use, so I understand why she doesn’t want to use one. In the workroom, Christian and Carmen are done early with their outfit while the others work furiously to finish their outfits. Sweet P is hell-bent on making Elisa’s hand-sewing work and steams intently with the iron while saying that she just has to make it work, over and over again.
Tim comes in to announce that there is going to be one hour for hair and makeup, and the models get sent down for the usual montage of prettying-up. Jack and Ricky are happy with their model and their dress; they’ve added, as the second piece, a hand-woven leather belt that gives an edge to the pretty dress. Chris and Kit think that their tunic sweater gives off a French vibe so they put a beret on their model, who loves the look and the outfit. Marion and Steven try to fix their look on the model up until the very last second. Marion has, apparently, over-estimated the model’s waist and bust by several inches and is trying to tailor the outfit. Steven is sure they are going to go out in a ball of flames. For all of Sweet P’s work at making their outfit work, the look has come together and she and Elisa are sure they’ll be at the top. Victorya is confident in her outfit and Christian finds no bigger fan of his work than himself. The kid needs a serious ego-check.
$40 now, $15 in the sale bin.
Before the runway show starts, Heidi arrives on the catwalk to address the designers and introduce the judges. She’s wearing a bedazzled top that falls somewhere between Laura’s masterpiece from her Bryant Park show and Emmett’s ice skating outfit. She again reminds the designers that SJP “may” sell the winning look with her fall/winter Bitten line, making no promises. The judges are, of course, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and SJP. It’s time for the show!
First up is Marie in Kit and Chris’ outfit, consisting of brown knee-length leggings and a long black tunic sweater. The sweater has short sleeves, a scoop neck, and pockets. The sweater is something most anyone could wear, but leggings are just over. Next, Katie wears Elisa and Sweet P’s turquoise dress topped with a short grey cape. The dress is short and somewhat fitted and has billowing sleeves. It’s an interesting dress, especially given that Elisa intended—and I suppose did—construct it with only one seam. Lauren then comes out wearing Rami and Jillian’s combination of brown leggings and a brown shirtdress. The shirt dress is a nice, clean look but not terribly inventive and just this side of dull and leggings are legging.
Cheron is next, wearing Marion and Seven’s creation. It is a long cape sweater that is fitted somewhat to the body, with a fringy bottom. The complicated grey skirt is overwhelmed by the sweater/cape top and is barely visible. Jacqueline then shows Victorya and Kevin’s black dress with a tiny dark print fabric vest. The dress is somewhat fitted through the top but fills out, almost trapeze-like. The vest is tiny, with a racer back, and is made of a black fabric with what looked to be a red pin-stripe. Lisa walks next, showing Christian and Carmen’s combination of a tight-fitting turtleneck dress in a bright blue color topped with a fitted jacket. The dress looks like something they would have sold at Units and makes the model’s hips and gut look huge—which they’re not—and the jacket looks a bit Michael Jackson-esque. Finally, Lea walks out wearing Ricky and Jack’s flirty ruby dress accented by the woven leather belt drawing in the waist.
Heidi then calls Sweet P and Elisa, Victorya and Kevin, Marion and Steven, and Christian and Carmen’s names. The rest are dismissed while these four pairs are warned that one will win and at least one will go home.
You take the good, you take the bad...
With only four outfits on the runway, spanning the fugly spectrum, it is pretty clear who is favored and who is not. Victorya and Kevin’s outfit is discussed first. SJP says she liked the simplicity of the sketch and they did a good job of making the final outcome visually interesting. The look will fit well into the fall/winter Bitten line and they really listened to what she was going for. Personally, it looks a bit Vera Wang-for-Kohl’s to me, but the vest is cute.
The judges turn to Marion and Steven’s outfit next. Somehow the sweater poncho dress cape thingamajig seems to have grown since we last saw it, only moments ago. When the judges ask for the belt to be removed, it looks like the poor model just cut a hole in the middle of an old afghan. SJP says that in the sketch, the outfit looked sophisticated but something stopped short in the execution. Michael thinks the mess looks like a Pocahontas costume, while Heidi doesn’t get it at all and thinks it looks like a dirty rag from an old attic. Marion tries to explain that the knit fabric was the main source of his problem, an explanation I’d accept, given it was obviously cheap fabric.
Elisa and Sweet P face the judges next. SJP loves the look, calling it sexy yet appropriate. She then asks the duo how working as a team went. Sweet P is somewhat diplomatic while pointing out the weirdness that is Elisa. She says that Elisa uses crazy words, such as polymorphic, and crazy methods, such as spit marking. Well, this spit marking thing gets a giant reaction from the judges. They’re all grossed out and Heidi is prompted to ask Elisa what planet she is from. Being a good sport—probably in large part to the outfit being loved—Elisa says she may be from another planet but she’s coming to this one bearing gifts.
Finally the judges get to the Christian and Carmen collaboration. Michael says the jacket was ambitious but Nina jumps in to point out that it is exceedingly retro 80s and will not fit a wide range of body types. Christian disagrees and wonders why it is not well-liked, given that it looks exactly like the sketch did. SJP says the look is far more severe in person, shorter, tighter, and with the color. Heidi asks Carmen who should go out of the duo but Carmen doesn’t want to answer and gets chokes up. Christian steps up and says it’s his design so he should be the one to go. Carmen quietly and tearfully agrees. Heidi then lobs the same question at Steven and Marion. Marion takes responsibility and Steven is caught between admitting they both should go home and saying that Marion should. He tries his best to play it up the middle.
The judges send the contestants away to deliberate. They clearly love Sweet P and Elisa’s cape, saying it can be worn by anyone from 15 to 50. They also think Victorya and Kevin’s dress is versatile and beautiful. Marion and Steven’s outfit is called everything from “Cousin Itt” to dirty basement rags, but almost in unison, the panel decides it is “sad.” And we all know what that means. Of course, Michael Kors can’t let the opportunity pass by to make fun of the 80s ensemble Christian and Carmen made, saying that all it needed were big button earrings and it could be on The Facts of Life. Kors, you should have gone with Square Pegs.
With a winner and a loser chosen, the designers return to the runway. SJP congratulates Victorya as the winner, saying the dress was lovely and the vest has charm. She then announces that the outfit will be sold in her Bitten line. Victorya and Kevin, along with Elisa and Sweet P are all still in and leave the runway. Heidi then dismisses Steven and Carmen, leaving it down to the designers of the two least favorite outfits. Marion is called out for being off in his choice of fabric and poor construction and Christian is admonished for being too 1980’s and not being accessible to the every day woman. With that, Christian is in and Marion is sent home. Marion is sad to go, saying he wasn’t on the show long enough to show what he can do but it was a life-changing experience. He should go home secure in the knowledge that his goofy hats are far and away less annoying than Ricky’s.