At this point in the season, the final challenge has ended. The weeks have gone by, the designers have created their collections, they have consulted with Tim, and they have returned to New York. There is only one stop left on their journey: a preview with the judges so they can revise and adjust their collections in the final few days before Fashion Week.
To no surprise, I was quite impressed with Erin's collection. It was not quite up to par with the designs she made throughout the season, but still impressive. Most of the looks featured plexiglass ornamentation that she cut and hand-sewed, which gave her designs extra sparkle.
Her first preview look was a darling neoprene dress. It suited her style completely, and I loved that she paired it with the blue strappy flats.
Her second look needed a little help. The print of the dress was a collaborative design that she created with a friend, and I understand why she loved it and wanted to keep it, but the flowy maxi style simply didn't work in the context of the whole collection. I think if she breaks it up and creates a top to go with a different bottom, or a skirt to go with a solid top, she'll be in better shape.
(I do love the clutch. Michael Kors thought it was stupid, but give me a quirky hand-painted clutch and I'm a happy girl.)
Erin's third look needed some styling help. The judges didn't like her top, but I appreciated the weaving technique in the arms and I think she should keep it. The skirt with the top, however, doesn't quite work. If she shortened the skirt into a mini and added the blue shoes from the first look, it might work better.
Overall, I think Erin's styling needs adjusted. If she swaps out a few tops and bottoms, I think she'll be in good shape.
Laurence's collection was not remotely what I expected from her. She had very few leather pieces, and her color palette was far softer than anything she's made throughout the season. I understand her desire to take a departure from her usual aesthetic, but she might have strayed too far away from her strengths.
Her first look was fresh and young, but as Michael Kors pointed out, a little too much like lederhosen.
I liked the jacket in the second look (though I should mention that my mother hates it with a burning passion because she thinks it looks like her grandmother's couch) but the ill-fitting mint green pants are horrifying, and the jacket without a top underneath is too much of an early 2000s throwback.
I desperately want Laurence to swap out the shorts from her third look to coordinate with jacket in the second look. Overall, her third look was my favorite, and the pearl detail on the shirt was divine. That said, you really can only see the detail up close, and I'm not sure it will have effective runway impact.
I think Laurence is in the same position as Erin in terms of switching up her separates, but her color choices might have blown her chance at winning already.
I have very mixed feelings about Roberi's collection. He described his collection as being "personal" and inspired by "confusion," but he was never really able to explain what that meant or how he was translating that into his designs. He was certainly in a better place after his visit from Tim, but I'm not sure how his collection as a whole is going to work out.
His first look was pretty, and I liked the unexpected matte-quilted top with the iridescent skirt. The judges didn't like his styling with the sneakers, but I think it works and keeps the look unexpected and sporty.
I like the idea of mixing the utilitarian vest with a fancier top/skirt, but the second look wasn't my favorite. I appreciate the quilted top and the vest, but the skirt fabric reminds me of a cheap Barbie outfit, and the proportions are definitely off.
Roberi's third look was by far the most wearable and definitely my favorite, but of course, it was the judge's least favorite so it's probably going to be scrapped. I still want it, though. It's so Anthropologie. I can't. GIVE IT TO ME, ROBERI.
I think Nina is right about Roberi: his strengths lie in unique, effortless, lovely clothes, and his fabric choice was a little too try-hard. If he, like Erin, swaps out some of his tops and bottoms and perhaps adds a few new pieces, I'll be pleased. I'm a little worried for him because he seems very stuck in his current vision, but hopefully with a little more guidance from him he'll be okay.
I liked Rik's collection a lot more on the rack than I did walking down the runway. He had three distinct points to his collection: black and white pieces, colorful leather pieces, and printed denim pieces. On the rack, he mixed and matched them expertly, but showing them without context to the judges made his collection look wildly incohesive.
The first look, plain and simple, reminded me of a Stormtrooper body suit from Black Milk. I like the print design, I liked the idea of it, but it was just a LOT. The glasses were cool, but in this look it just added to the futuristic vibe, which isn't exactly what he was going for. This is definitely a look that will require some editing.
The leather dress was my favorite, though I wish it were a touch longer for wearability (on me, it would be a top, not a dress.) The judges took issue with the size of the purse, but I thought it was cute and could easily be swapped into a different look if necessary.
I don't think the judges gave Rik remotely enough credit for creating this print. I totally agree that his model could use a little more skin, but beyond that, I liked this look a lot and I appreciate his creativity. He has quite a few pieces with the same print, and I'm excited to see the rest come together in his collection.
The judges were pretty critical of Rik, but I think he'll be fine. If he shows some more skin and makes some alterations, he'll be in great shape.
I think it's fair to say that Laurence is out of the running. Erin has been my longtime favorite, but Roberi also has a special place in my heart and Rik's collection is a major contender. The next few days will be critical to determine who comes out on top!!
All photos from www.mylifetime.com
This was the LAST EPISODE to determine which four designers will show at New York Fashion Week. Surprisingly, it was yet another unconventional challenge, but with a twist:
Create a high-fashion look using unconventional materials from small-town shops in Austin, Texas. As a last-minute addition, create a companion piece using fabric from Mood.
My Favorites (in order from top to bottom):
1. Erin Robertson
Erin took a HUGE risk with her unconventional materials by making a flower treatment with melted guitar picks and DRIED MEALWORMS. Yes, you read that correctly. Mealworms. On a dress. But Erin being Erin, she spray painted them gold and they turned into magic. The shape of the skirt balanced out the top and the open back gave the look a breath of fresh air.
Erin's companion look had the same fun energy as the first, and I could absolutely see them both in a resort collection together. The frayed chiffon edges were super cute, and the overall look was sweet and flirty.
2. Roberi Parra
Roberi's unconventional look doesn't come across well in photographs, but up close it is genius. He knotted each thread of this piece until his hands literally bled, and I would have loved to see how this look would have progressed even further had he had more time to work on it. The skill level is incredible, and his talent clearly shone through.
While Roberi's companion look didn't resemble his unconventional look at all in terms of fabrication, the shapes and the curves were what kept it cohesive, and I adored his pattern mixing. If he does anything like this in his finale collection, I'll be very happy.
3. Laurence Basse
Laurence, of course, was drawn to leather bridles and horse harnesses, but she managed to make them feminine and soft by mixing them with paper and bird seed. It definitely was a departure from her usual tough leather jackets and refreshing to see.
I enjoyed Laurence's conventional look a lot more than the judges. Perhaps it's because I have a special place in my heart for mustard yellow clothing, but I just think it was a really pretty dress with interesting detail. If she had the time to improve the construction, it would have been a really wonderful piece.
4. Rik Villa
Rik's unconventional look was very chic and beautifully made. I didn't fully understand how this look reflected inspiration from Austin, but in general as an unconventional look, it was stylish and impressive.
Rik's companion look was significantly less exciting. The cut was simplistic, and the distressing of the tweed, while a signature of Rik's, looked sloppy in this context and didn't match the sleek nature of the unconventional dress. All in all, though, his design aesthetic is clear and he definitely deserved to go to fashion week.
5. Cornelius Ortiz
Cornelius' look wasn't bad, but at this point in the competition it simply wasn't good enough to make the cut. The paper cut-outs looked like a craft project and weren't fully integrated into his design.
His companion piece was actually quite pretty and something that I definitely would wear, but it doesn't meet the qualifications of the challenge. It isn't elevated enough to be high fashion, and it doesn't coordinate well enough with his unconventional look.
At the end of the day, sending Cornelius home was a good choice. He's only really made one good outfit this entire season, and in comparison to the other four designers, he didn't deserve to go to fashion week.
I CANNOT WAIT to see what the final four designers make for their final collections!
All photos from www.mylifetime.com
This might be one of the few challenges in which I 100% agreed with the judges picks for top and bottom, in the same order. It's almost like they listened to me and finally got it right! ;)
Create an avant-garde look with unconventional materials as a fusion challenge inspired by Lexus.
My Top 3:
1. Erin Robertson
Erin's ability to use random materials to create beautiful, feminine things is so incredible, and her floral treatment was no exception. The "paper doll" inspiration was really creative and unique, and it takes a very talented designer to send a topless model down the runway who still looks completely modest. And can we talk about the model's styling? The whole effect was so feminine and dreamy, and she succeeded in creating an avant-garde fantasy. I cannot. I am obsessed. ERIN IS BACK!!!!!
2. Rik Villa
While this wasn't the most avant-garde design in the world, Rik's use of unconventional materials might go down as one of the best in Project Runway history. The way he sculpted the tile sheets on the shoulder and the back was extraordinary, his beading treatment was remarkable, and overall, the wear-ability and structure of his garment was incredible.
3. Roberi Parra
Roberi was inspired by the Lexus for this challenge, and I definitely think Lexus could use this in their advertising. His use of the unconventional materials was very successful, the look was futuristic and avant-garde, and his styling was spot-on.
My Bottom 3:
1. Mah-Jing Wong
Mah-Jing was on the right track with his copper details, but unlike Erin, who took metal pieces and made them into a cohesive, avant-garde piece, Mah-Jing's just looked stuck on to a basic denim dress, and their weight led to fit and construction problems. It wasn't a terrible idea, but it just wasn't good enough at this point in the competition.
2. Cornelius Ortiz
This definitely wasn't the best use of unconventional materials, nor was it all that avant-garde, but it wasn't the worst. I think I was more disappointed with this because after Cornelius' phenomenal dress last week, everything else that isn't as phenomenal looks a thousand times crappier. Plus there's the fact that due to my many years as a babysitter, it reminded me a little too much of the vacuum from Teletubbies. A dark, disturbing Noo Noo.
3. Laurence Basse
If this was a normal unconventional materials challenge this would be fine, but as an avant-garde challenge it missed the mark. It looks exactly like everything else Laurence has ever made, and the proportions are really off. Not the worst of the bunch, but not her best work.
So let's give a shout out to QUEEN ERIN being back on the top!!
And can we give her some mad props for wearing a top that matches her avant-garde design? Killing it.
All photos from www.mylifetime.com