Wow. What an emotional episode. I whole-heartedly agree with the judges on this one- Mondo took an extremely difficult piece of himself that most people would consider very dark and dismal and he made an exuberant, joyful print with that as his inspiration. I couldn't be more impressed. Not only that, he ONCE AGAIN remained true to himself as a designer while clearly following the parameters of the challenge. He seems to excel not only at mixing prints, but at gracefully handling whatever the challenge entails.
I don't feel these photos are doing the pants justice- they look a little stiff, but trust me- on the runway they had beautiful movement and were really unexpected and chic. They are beyond high-waisted, but I almost thought of the outfit as more of a jumpsuit and then it worked a little more for me. Even from the beginning, I have loved Mondo's work- his Marie Claire challenge design was my favorite and in the last few episodes, he has really shown a unique point of view as well as an incredible talent. I will be very disappointed if he doesn't make it to fashion week.
Mostly, the prints the designers created seemed very dull to me. There wasn't a very strong use of color and I found that disappointing. When the judges talked about how Andy's print made them sad, I agreed. I felt that even the ones who used color did so in boring, lifeless ways. Like Valerie:
Aside from the fact that this is strikingly similar to her napkin dress from the party store challenge, this dress has no excitement to it. The color combination is dull. The silhouette is unimaginative. The styling is non-existent. The most exciting part of the look is the shoes and they're beige! I like Valerie's personality, but she has consistently been in the bottom and I've often felt like she was a bit of a fish out of water. She seemed in over her head and not quite up to the level of the other designers in terms of innovation and point of view. She is clearly a talented seamstress, but that does not a designer make.
Since the show is winding down to just a few remaining contestants, let's take a look at the other designs of the episode:
Rachel Roy, the guest judged referred to this look as "the gogo dancer." How unfortunate! I disagree with her- this look is not nearly sexy enough to ever pass for a gogo dancer. Yes, she's wearing knee-high boots and hot pants, but the shirt looks like a Kohls or Sears "career misses" top. And the print is a boring grey. I think if he had stuck with his original print, but did it in a variety of vibrant colors, he may have been a little more inspired. I don't buy the whole, "I'm of my game because I saw my family." In real life, there are all sorts of distractions that can knock you off your game. You have to work hard to make sure that doesn't happen. Maybe since he wasn't eliminated, but he was in the bottom 2, he'll find himself scared back into his "game."
I am increasingly impressed with April. After her tragic "diaper" outfit from the hat challenge, she seems to have found her groove. I do wish she could find a way to remain true to her esthetic while also using just a hint of color every now and then. Would it really kill her to use something besides black? Honestly! Did her "family tree" print really need to be black and white? As someone who probably doesn't wear enough black, I may be a tad biased. Overall, I thought this look was stunning and like Nina Garcia said, it's fashion, not just clothes. As the competition has continued, I've become more of an April fan and I'd be happy to see her fashion week collection.
Boooo-ring! One of the few uses of color and he chooses completely boring and muted shades of blue. Paired with blue pants? Like the judges said, this is not fashion. One of my favorite things is when a designer makes something simple, but unexpected and fashionable. To me, this is pretty, but it's nothing we haven't seen before. Also, he put an exposed zipper in the back of the pant and while I've been a huge fan of that trend for a while, I do wish the designers this season would come up with something a little more inventive. By now, that trend has made its way to even the lowest price point, so that means it's on the way out. How about something new, please?
Oh, Gretchen. For once you managed to survive the episode without appearing to be a completely controlling and overbearing shrew. Kudos to you for that. Also, I'm happy for you that you got to see your mom. But this design is (once again) pretty dull. The best part about it is your print, but I agree with the judges that it needed work. I'm certain she'll be in the top three who go to fashion week, but at this point, I could care less about seeing her final collection. I'm over Gretchen. It's disappointing, because her first design took my breath away.
I just watched an episode of "The Tudors" last night and this dress sort of reminds me of the type of details used on Jonathan Rhys Myers costumes as Henry VIII. The masculine, geometric detailing feels ver "Tudor" to me. Anyone else? No? Also, I hate the shoe choice- just like Heidi said, it's too matchy-matchy. And once again, we have a print that's dark and dull. I think Michael's days on the show are numbered. I do think he's a decent designer, but not strong enough to make me want to see more.
Who is your favorite remaining designer? Who would you like to see in the top 3? Leave a comment!