“Whether I send out a 13th look or a send out a naked model, this isn’t the end-all, be-all.” — Santino
40 hours until runway
The designers are frazzled.
None of them wants to create a 13th garment.
But each of them does want to win.
Daniel and Nick are working on a beautiful camel shift dress with a cowl back. Chloe and Diana are putting together a gold baby doll dress. And Santino and Andrae are designing a burgundy dress with a lacy top.
24 hours to runway show
“Whether I send out a 13th look or a send out a naked model, this isn’t the end-all, be-all,” Santino says just a day before he is set to show his collection.
The designers head back to the workroom to construct their 13th looks and put the finishing touches on their collections. Tim drops in with the Loreal makeup expert, Collier, just after Santino has finished doing another one of his dead-on Tim impersonations.
For some reason, (probably sponsorship) the three designers are immediately whisked to the Loreal makeup room to have their model’s faces made up the way they might be on the runway. Chloe wants her models light and pretty to offset the heavy fabrics and designs she did. Daniel wants a wind-blown, rosy-cheeked look. And Santino is looking for smoky dark eyes for his models. It did seem odd to pull them out of the workroom just to watch the makeup artist work, something Santino hinted at (with a chuckle): “I still have so much to do, Collier. One eye is fine. I get it.”
12 hours until runway
Tim comes in for visit. He takes one look at the ’40s inspired dress that Andrae and Santino have designed and declares it “gorgeous.” He moves to Daniel who describes his 13th garment, a mohair camel shift dress. “I knew it would be good for you,” Tim says. Daniel is thrilled about the dress and says it is the piece that his collection had been missing. Then Tim moves to Chloe whose gold baby-doll dress is still in pieces. Diana holds up a rough version and tries to describe to Tim what it might look like and adds that she is working on putting in pockets. “Why are you bothering with a pocket at this hour?” Tim asks, shocked.
Before he leaves, Tim draws names out of the bag to see what order they will present in at the fashion show. It turns out to be: Daniel, then Chloe, with Santino as the finale. Could it really be any other way?
The designers can work until 4 am. There is a 5:30 am call time in the morning.
8 hours until runway
The designers are hustling around the workroom. Running on adrenaline. Doing whatever they can to get their collections finished on time. You see them pressing, and sewing, and putting garments into bags as the last hours slip away.
“I’m very emotional, crazy right now. At this point I’m just trying to hold it together,” Chloe says.
4 hours until runway
“I think I’ve had 4 hours sleep in the past 3 days,” Daniel says as we watch him prepare to leave his hotel room and head with the other designers over to the tent where the fashion show will be held. When they arrive the designers are awed by the size of the space and are hit for the first time with the realization that they are really going to be showing their stuff at Fashion Week.
2 hours until runway
Backstage things are crazy. Tim is shocked to see that Daniel still has a group of people sewing up his garments. Chloe is disgusted with the way the hair and makeup looks on a couple of her models and insists that they be redone. “Lack of sleep is making me a diva!” she tells the camera.
30 minutes until runway
The two handbags that Daniel designed for his collection (remember the ones with the big “8″ wooden handles.) are missing and he is panicked about it. He tells Tim (who wasn’t a fan of the bags at all) about his dilemma. Tim sees it as a blessing in disguise. “You know, things happen for a reason,” Tim tells him.
5 minutes until runway
The purses are found. Will that prove to be a good thing?
It’s Runway Time
Each of the designer’s friends and family are among the 1000 people who came out to see the show. Heidi, Nina and Michael Kors are in the front row along with guest judge Debra Messing, the Grace of “Will & Grace.”
Daniel’s collection is first so he comes out on the runway to introduce it and dedicate it to his family.
He has some really lovely pieces and patterns. Lots of jackets and skirts and dresses. He was going for a cross between Asian and military style. You could see Daniel’s parents in the audience were overwhelmed and proud of their son.
Chloe was next to introduce her collection. She greeted her family and her boyfriend and said her collection was like an “immaculate conception.”
Her pieces were a mix of prom dresses and simple summer dresses in greens and pinks. Much of the material was heavy, satiny, with puffly sleeves like a high-fashion bridesmaids dress. Some of the light simple summer dresses were gorgeous.
Santino was last to introduce his collection and, of course, he was the real showman. He greeted his mother and you could tell he really had a lot of love her. He said he hadn’t seen her in about 4 years because he couldn’t’ afford the plane ticket home.
Santino surprised everyone by doing sleek, sophisticated 1940s inspired pieces that were soft and flowy. Very beautiful colors too. All much more subdued than anything he had shown all season.
The final judging
The 3 designers stand on the runway for the last time. And the models that have been with them all season are brought out.
Daniel is complimented on his range, but the judges didn’t think his pieces worked well as a collection. “You’re telling me there’s an Asian undertone? I didn’t get it,” Michael Kors said.
Santino found himself defending his collection for being too subdued. What a switch! Nina and Michael were concerned that the real Santino was lost and that the collection was safe. Isn’t this what they wanted him to do? Then Heidi commented that his dresses didn’t fit the models properly.
“I have problem with your tops,” Heidi told Santino. “When I was looking at all the girls come down, their boobs were never where they were supposed to be.”
Chloe was criticized a little bit for doing all eveningwear instead of mixing in sportswear or separates. Chloe defended herself by saying that this was her “fantasy collection.”
Debra Messing loved the gold baby doll dress.
Then each of the designers were asked what they had that the other designers didn’t.
Santino: “I know beautiful things. I create beautiful things and I feel like I have the confidence and I have the ability to say what I want to say regardless of whether it’s going to come off crazy or it’s going to come off as safe.”
Chloe: “I’m a real business person. If I win, this is going to be a real business, bottom line.”
Daniel: “The one thing that I have that Santino and Chloe don’t have is my point of view… I think it’s something that the American public wants to relate to.”
The judges deliberate and they find some flaw with each one. Chloe had no showmanship… Daniel is inexperienced… Santino has played it too safe…
Then they bring back in the designers.
Santino is the first to be told that he was OUT!
I was stunned.
Daniel and Chloe embrace as Heidi prepares to announce one of them as the winner.
It’s Chloe who takes the prize. She joins Jay as “the next great designer.”
But my money says it’s Santino who continues to make headlines.
For comments, questions, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.