Be inspired by your surroundings at a press party to design a cocktail look.
I had no idea why a lot of the designers struggled with this – cocktail dresses are kind of design school 101, and the room where their press party was held was filled to the brim with things to be inspired by, so I don’t know what the deal was. As always, some designers were extremely successful and others were massive failures.
My Top 3:
1. Laurence Basse
WINNER. WINNER. WINNER. This might honestly be one of the best dresses I’ve ever seen anyone make on this show. Ever. The leather work in the shoulders and the yoke of the neckline is impeccable, the open back is completely stunning, and SHE MADE IT LONG ENOUGH SO ANY WOMAN CAN WEAR IT. I want it. I need it. UMPH.
I have no freaking idea why Erin almost got sent home for this. It was one of the few looks that actually fit the challenge: it was unmistakably a cocktail dress, she took the inspiration of her surroundings literally and seriously, and she created a unique look that played with textures and textiles. Maybe she could have gone a little lighter on the feathers, but she was going for drama, and I’d rather she give us too much drama than not enough. I thought the copper color was gorgeous, and she made an effort to create something more structured, which should be applauded.
Roberi has, overall, been a really unappreciated designer in this competition. I thought this dress looked like a Rothko painting, and the idea of using a painterly knit for a cocktail dress is really unique. He probably could have accessorized it with a little more glitz to bring it into the cocktail arena, but overall I thought it was creative and beautiful.
1. Tasha Henderson
Tasha fell into the ever-present “streetwear-designers-can’t-go-outside-their-box” trap this week. She was so caught up with making a traditional cocktail dress that she made a really basic dress and threw a sparkle belt on it, and anytime you throw a sparkle belt on your look, you’re doomed. And no one said she had to make a dress! She could have gone Kelly Dempsey’s route and made a cool jumpsuit, she could have stuck to her roots and made a slouchy, sporty dress. But she didn’t, and as much as I love Tasha’s personality and wish she could have stayed in the competition for longer, she deserved to go home for this.
I know Dexter had immunity and couldn’t be sent home, but I wish they could have broken the rules and sent him home anyway. Tube dresses do not show the world that you can design clothes, and they’re a big no-no for Project Runway in the first place. Then he added freaking FRINGE to it. I love fringe. Fringe is fantastic. I even liked when Dexter used fringe in the black light challenge. But this cocktail fringe situation just looks like a bad haircut. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you can’t do fringe like Sean Kelly, don’t do fringe at all.
Mah-Jing’s inspiration was pretty weird (condensation on cocktail glasses? ummm...) and his lack of success in executing his inspiration led to him having to create a new look halfway through the design period. As much as I’d like to excuse his final look because he made it in a few hours, the taste level was startlingly bad. The fabric choice was horrendous, the sweetheart neckline was too exaggerated, the slit made it unwearable, the illusion top was rumpled weird, and the overall fit and construction was dreadful. I would say it looked like a $20 homecoming dress, but that would be an insult to $20 homecoming dresses.
Okay. Let's buckle up.