My prediction was correct! Tim used his Tim Gunn Save to keep Edmond in the competition, so all four of the top designers had the opportunity to show at New York Fashion Week.
The challenge: 7 weeks to create a 10 piece collection with $9,000. Not too hard, right?
Apparently, wrong. Most of the designers had some major struggles pulling their pieces together, which seems a little inexcusable by season 14 of the show. Have they never seen Project Runway before, and do they not understand what the judges might expect of them?!? Silly.
When the designers got back to New York, Tim threw an extra 24-hr challenge at them to create a new, additional piece for their collection. This new look and 2 of their other looks were to be shown as a mini-collection to the judges for their feedback.
Ashley Nell Tipton
It was a given that Ashley was going to create a plus-size collection, and I was thrilled that the show provided Ashley with plus-sized models to use (I thought they might have expected her to find her own, so it was a nice gesture.) Ashley's collection went back to her Mexican roots and was inspired by Mexico City in the 1950s. I was a little surprised that her pieces were pastel and floral given that this showed at fall fashion week, but it was still really beautiful. Her floral headpieces are some of the most gorgeous things I've seen in the show's history, and while the judges weren't as excited about them, I hope she uses them on all her models.
I definitely understood the judges' criticism on her first look. The top needs a more purposeful bra underlay or it needs to be fully lined; showing a basic nude bra is a no-go. The skirt (in which she hand-stitched the pattern...holy cow) had some puckering issues, but the design is cute. With a little refinement, it will be fine.
The second look was her 24-hr challenge look, and I'm LOVING IT. I would wear this in a second. She was smart to take Tim's advice and incorporate more jewel tones, and leaving it sheer makes it fashion-show ready. The fit was incredible, and I think it proves that Ashley's best work comes in a time crunch.
The third look had some major fit problems, but I see where she was going with it. If the top was more refined (and perhaps if the skirt was shortened?) it would be in good shape.
Candice's collection was inspired by the Met's "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit, which may have been her biggest problem. I have been creatively inspired by art exhibits before, too, but Asian-inspired collections are extremely common in the fashion world and the judges were not having it. She was compared to Alexander McQueen and Juo Pei and it was declared her collection was completely unoriginal. Ouch.
Candice's first look was there to show the judges that she incorporated color into her collection (THANK THE LORD, all-black collections are a snore,) but I'd agree with the judges that it wasn't the most successful. The jacket is beautiful and the corset has potential, but to match the lining of the jacket to the pants is a bit tacky and the styling was too literal.
The second look was Candice's 24-hr challenge look, and like Ashley, I think it was her best. The hat was made beforehand and the judges hated it (they said it was too costume and too McQueen,) but I thought the dress was great. The lines were beautiful, the applique detail on the side was perfect, and it was a good mix of tough and feminine. If she leaves the gloves and the hat at home she'd be fine.
The last look was probably Candice's best separates look. The pants were impeccably made and the kimono jacket in the lace was gorgeous. The judges took issue with the literal headpiece and I thought the corset top was a little redundant after showing the first look, but overall with a little editing it's salvageable.
Edmond was on the struggle bus the entire episode, which really surprised me. My theory is that he does his best work under the guidance of someone giving him direction, and when he was on his own he lost his way. He said his collection was supposed to be sexy and glamourous in a light, airy way, but that wasn't the product he cranked out. A lot of it was extremely stuffy, and the only thing tying his looks together was the color scheme and WAY too many ruffles. It's the Kini syndrome: he made beautiful, classic, sexy looks through the whole competition and went home and became fussy and frilly.
If that weren't unfortunate enough, he didn't even have all of his pieces made before getting back to New York. He has a lot of work to do and I don't know if he can pull it off.
The first look Edmond showed the judges was his 24-hr challenge look, and it was his best. He could have shortened the skirt a bit and (for my personal preference ) lost some of the sleeve ruffle, but it was still successful and keeping with Edmond's personal style.
The second look was decent in theory and had good movement, but it felt a little tacked together for my taste. The bottom looks like it wasn't thought through and he just had to put ruffles on it, so he tacked some organza ribbon on the bottom for no reason. It definitely didn't look like Edmond made it.
Edmond's last look was a total disaster. I mean, it's 2015, not 1915. It's STUFFY and looks uncomfortable and no one in their right mind would ever wear it. So disappointing.
Kelly was very confident in her collection, but I think she's in trouble. She was inspired by 1970s Studio 54, and chose to merge that style with modern street wear. That idea wasn't bad in and of itself, but 70s inspiration can go tacky-disco super fast, and when Kelly was left to her own devices without the guidance of Tim, Tacky Town is where she went.
Her first look was her 24-hr challenge look. She ended up using the same fabrics that she used throughout her collection, which I think defeated the purpose of the challenge. Her chance to add something new and push the envelope was missed, and I hate the results. This looks like a cheap tank dress you could pick up at Forever 21. No good.
Kelly's second look was probably the most successful of the three, but that's not saying very much. I enjoy the top, but she had some bottoms in the same wood-grain pattern and I think she would have been better served matching them together. The shiny, ill-fitting shorts with the brown fanny pack just didn't work together. I'm glad she incorporated the fanny packs in her collection, but this particular one was a poor styling choice.
Kelly's last look was my least favorite. It's fine to work in sequins, but this COLOR of sequins was so tasteless, and to put teal sequins with brown pleather and safety pin printed pants is a little ridiculous.
Overall, all the designers have a lot of work to do in a few days before fashion week. Ashley needs to fix her construction and refine all her pieces. Candice needs to completely re-style her collection and probably needs to add some pieces. Edmond needs to make an entire collection and sexify his aesthetic. Kelly needs help mixing and matching her pieces and could benefit with a more luxe fabric addition.
I have a feeling the season finale is going to be a train wreck. CANNOT WAIT!
All photos from www.mylifetime.com