Last week, jnt13 did the recapping while I was in Florida visiting my father. Thank you for covering me, jnt13. As he told you, the challenge was Weird Materials 2.0. In this case, there was also egregious product placement, as the weird materials in question were car parts, courtesy of Saturn. (Yes, Bravo, we all know you have a deal with Saturn. No need to hit us over the head with it.) Leanne won, and Keith, after telling the judges not be mean to him, was sent home.
The following morning, Stella makes coffee while some of her fellow designers talk about the challenges. Suede misses Keith, who was his roommate, and tells us that the remaining male designers are all now sharing a room.
At the runway, Heidi brings out Keith’s and Leanne’s models and offers Leanne the usual choice: her own model or somebody else’s. Leanne makes the usual decision and keeps Caroline, so Alyssa is sent home. Why Bravo even bothers showing this part is beyond me, as the designers all pick their favorites very early on. I suppose somebody could stir up trouble by taking different models, but so far the designers have chosen to keep their models. To go by Kenley’s distress when her model had to leave, the designers get used to making clothes for a given model.
Heidi teases the designers by telling them they will be working for a special guest – and Tim Gunn walks in. He informs the designers that they will be designing for a “fashion legend,” and that they will be going to meet with the legend in question. Leanne expresses relief they won’t be designing for Tim. During the field trip, the designers speculate about the identity of the “fashion legend.” Blayne hopes it’s Mary Kate Olsen. (The hell?! I’d guess that “fashion legend” would refer to a big-name designer, not a former child actress!) Stella recognizes the area as the meat-packing district, which is now home to several designers. Tim takes the designers into one of the buildings and introduces them to their client, Diane von Furstenberg.
Diane issues this week’s challenge: Create a look for her fall collection. She also wants the look to be inspired by the movie Foreign Affair, which is about a female spy and world traveler played by Marlene Dietrich. The movie is set during the 1940’s and the character travels from Berlin to Shanghai and eventually ends up in New York. Diane also offers a special reward: The winning designer’s outfit will be sold exclusively to American Express members, and the proceeds will go to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. (More product placement here. As if to hammer the point home, Bravo runs the American Express ad starring Diane at least twice during this episode.)
The designers have 15 minutes in Diane’s sample room, which leads to the usual scrambling. The excited Kenley helps herself to a bright print and some orange material. Stella has trouble getting what she wants due to her lack of height, but the taller Kenley helps her reach it. Suede is relieved that Diane isn’t watching them, as there was fabric flying all over the room. Terri helps herself to some black mohair.
At Parson’s, Leanne tells us how happy she is to have immunity, and how she would like to win it again. More helpfully, Tim tells the designers that Diane has given them all a “look book,” so they can familiarize themselves with her usual style and hopefully make clothes that fit it. Tim also tells the designers they have ten hours.
Joe checks out one of the “look books” and notices that Diane uses a lot of layers. He therefore wants to do more than one piece, but time will be a problem. Jerrell tells Kenley that he’s making a jacket, shirt, and skirt. Kenley plans to make just one dress, as she would rather send down one well-made piece than a bunch of poorly made pieces. Blayne tells us that he wants to win. He and Terri are both making clothes for an undercover spy.
Joe thinks Terri is a “one-trick pony” because she keeps making pants. I’m starting to think that Terri could be this season’s Rami, who had made it all the way to the finals with a parade of exquisitely-made draped dresses. The phrase “exquisitely-made” is key, as people like Rami and Terri only last if what they make is very well-made. Given a choice between somebody like Terri or Rami and somebody who turns out badly-made, but original clothing, the judges tend to toss the latter. The judges do want designers who break the rules, but said designers have to know the rules first.
Jerrell tells us that he knows the story of Foreign Affair – and repeats it for us. Korto is making an evening dress. Stella is making a cape, a vest, and a pair of pants; she wants Diane to see her design aesthetic. Joe is making a backless top with an Oriental influence. Leanne and Suede tell us that they think it would be fun to be a spy, and Suede admits he would make a poor spy because his blue hair would make it hard for him to stay undercover. Kenley is making a print dress.
Tim comes for his usual visit. He doesn’t like Suede’s outfit and warns him about “fullness” in the skirt. Nor does he like the shape of the vest He loves the color of Leanne’s dress, which is a deep rich blue, but he warns her that the jacket needs work as it currently looks sloppy. Tim thinks Joe’s project is “ambitious,” and wonders if he will have everything finished in time.
Tim likes Korto’s selection of materials, but he warns her that the “pops of color” on the straps of her dress look like a bra peeking out. He thinks the yellow will work better under the skirt. He advises Stella to be “cohesive” and aware of time, but he likes Kenely’s dress and its “silhouette.” Kenley is delighted to hear Tim’s praise and hopes it means she stands a shot of winning. She tells us that she has never worked with a big-name designer like Diane von Furstenberg and craves the opportunity to do so. Working for Wal-Mart just isn’t as inspiring. Stella is worried about her vest, but thinks everything else is fine.
The following morning, the designers get back to work. Tim sends in the models, but Terri and several others have not finished their garments. Suede fears his dress will prove to be unflattering. There is the usual montage of the models getting dressed and made up. Joe feels very good about his outfit, calling it “polished.” He jokes it’s so polished that it may get lost among the junk the other designers will be sending down the runway. Leanne tells us that he’s way too confident and she can’t understand how he’s manged to stay in the competition.
Fern Mallis and Diane von Furstenberg are this week’s guest judges. (There are two guest judges, as Nina is away this week.) Fern is with IMG Fashion, and Terri tells us that she runs the fashion shows at Bryant Park, so she’s a big deal in the fashion world.
Joe’s model goes first, and she’s wearing a hooded shawl, plus a skirt and a pink backless top. (For an undercover spy in the 1940’s? I can only picture a 1940’s spy showing that much skin if she were posing as a nightclub performer or the like. Otherwise, no.) Leanne sends down a deep blue, sleeveless gown with a shrunken beige jacket. Terri’s model is wearing a black mohair coat, a ruffled shirt with a fireworks pattern, and gray pants.
Blayne’s model is wearing a black jacket with black pantaloons that have white spots. Jerrell’s outfit includes a brown coat with a matching hat and a blue belt.
Korto sends down a black and white print dress with yellow touches. She also includes a black bolero. Suede’s model is wearing a green and white print dress with a herringbone vest. They don’t really go together that well. Personally, I can’t imagine wearing a vest with a dress in the first place.
Stella’s model is wearing a black cape, brown tweed vest and matching pants. The cape is way too short. Anybody who uses a cape for outerwear is going to pick one that’s knee-length or longer. The vest and pants are simply kind of blah, and nothing about the outfit says “1940’s.” Kenley’s model is wearing a colorful sleeveless print dress with black lace trim. There’s also a black belt. It’s simple, but Kenley was very obviously worried about time constraints.
Heidi then calls Jerrell, Blayne, and Terri. She congratulates them and tells them they have qualified to move onto the next round. The remaining designers have the highest and lowest scores between them.
Korto tells the judges that she was inspired by the “traveler” idea. Diane likes the yellow, while Fern likes the print and the way that Korto had incorporated the Shanghai influence in the kimono-like wrap. The judges all like the jacket.
Joe was inspired by the “Shanghai” portion of the film and thus made an Asian-influenced shirt. The judges dislike the fact that it’s backless. Fern doesn’t like how the layers crisscross, and Michael comments that the outfit would end up in a “What was she thinking?” article. (Ouch!)
Kenley had also been inspired by Shanghai. Heidi says that the dress is pretty and well-made, but that Diane typically uses more layers. Diane herself likes it, however.
Stella had wanted to make something that a 1940’s traveler would wear. Diane likes the mix of materials, but says the cape is more like a stage magician’s than anything from the 1940’s. Michael doesn’t like the tailoring of the pants, and he doesn’t see any edge in the outfit, which is what the rocker Stella is supposed to be all about.
Leanne calls her look relaxed and “a perfect disguise.” Dianne likes the contrast of the feminine dress and the masculine jacket. Fern likes the ruffles down the back, and both Diane and Michael say the outfit is well-designed.
Suede had found the ideas of hiding and camouflage inspiring, so he’d picked a pattern that reminded him of camoflauge. The judges don’t like the herringbone jacket combined with the patterned dress. Diane also says the model has no hips and that the dress isn’t flattering. Michael and Heidi both dislike the slit in the back.
After dismissing the designers, the judges discuss the ones they liked and didn’t like. Dianne likes Kenley’s dress, as does Michael, who likes how she used the Asian influence, but Fern thinks Kenley could have made something else to go with it. The judges also like Leanne’s outfit. Korto impressed the judges with her fabric choices and overall design.
The judges don’t think Suede’s dress is interesting, and the vest really doesn’t go with it. Nor do the judges like Joe’s outfit. Diane thinks the top was poorly made and Michael says that Joe didn’t seem to think how his outfit would look from every angle. Diane thinks Stella had a good idea, but her execution was poor. The judges describe Stella’s look as “more Transylvania than Shanghai.”
Finally, the judges make their decision. Korto is in, and Leanne is the winner. Kenley is in and is told, “Good work.” Suede is in, leaving Joe and Stella in the bottom two. Joe is told that he had too much going on and that his back was a “disaster.” Stella had made three pieces and none of them looked good. Stella is out, which isn’t a surprise as this is her third time in the bottom.
The previews for next week indicate there will be “special guests.” The designers annoy each other and Micheal describes one look as “pooping fabric.”