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