When fabric choices are taken out of the designers' hands, things don't go well
Always let your conscience fabric be your guide.
That’s essentially what Alyssa Milano tells the all stars when she meets them at Mood for their seventh challenge. She points out that fabric has been a “real talking point this season” (isn’t it always?), so they’re going to take the fabric choice out of the equation this week Last week’s winner, Ken, then hands out the envelopes that state what fabric they’ll be using.
Ken: silk charmeuse.
Layana: lightweight cotton
Dom: jersey knits
Kini: brocade (oof)
Alexander: upholstery (double oof)
So with $200 and only 30 minutes, the designers select their specific textiles in order to design high-end evening resort wear. And if you are thinking, “How will they make high-end evening resort wear in denim, brocade, or UPHOLSTERY?” you are not alone. The designers are pretty thrown by the challenge, but they all end up finding fabrics they’re satisfied with and head back to the workroom.
And, surprise! Alyssa is there to tell them about the All Star twist. Now that they’ve all found fabrics with which they can “make it work,” they have to give them away. Starting with Ken, he gets to pick someone else’s fabric, and they all “bait and switch” until everyone has a different textile.
So Ken, who is “mad as hell,” takes Asha’s neoprene.
Asha steals Dom’s jersey knit.
Dom steals Valerie’s linen.
Valerie steals Layana’s lightweight cotton.
Layana takes Ken’s silk charmeuse.
Emily takes Alexander’s upholstery (why, why, why?).
And Alexander grabs Emily’s denim.
Which means that besties Sam and Kini swap their lace and brocade. As Sam says about the whole switcheroo, “It’s like getting coal under your Christmas tree.”
So with new textiles, the designers begin to sketch. The vibe in the workroom is…not great. They’re all in bad moods about the fabrics they’ve ended up with. Emily probably suffers the worst.
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Alexander had purchased a small amount of a red upholstery fabric and a lot of a sheer polka-dotted upholstery fabric. Emily absolutely hates the polka-dot print, so with the small amount of red, she decides to make a dress. When Zanna comes to do critiques, she’s not a fan. She thinks the fabric is heavy (I imagine that’ll happen with upholstery fabric), and Emily needs to work on making it a lighter, more “resort” resort-wear look. So once their mentor leaves, Emily starts over. She works on a crop top and shorts with the sheer fabric as a skirt over top. I’m having flashbacks to the time she made those sheer shorts, but Emily’s feeling it.
After model fittings, Sam begins struggling with his jumpsuit look. The brocade just isn’t working for him. Kini attributes the problems to Sam always making jumpsuits. “Do something else,” he says. What’s that phrase about the pot calling the kettle black? So, anyway, Sam stares at his fabric for a long time and finally decides to make a gown.
NEXT: “Are you ready to go to the Schwarzkopf hair studio?”
The next day, once models make it through hair and makeup, the nine designers head down to the runway. Alyssa is there to introduce them to the guest judge: Smash actress Megan Hilty.
Kini, Alexander, and Asha are safe. And after Isaac compliments all the designers on a colorful, fun runway, the high and low contestants get critiques.
Ken says that Asha’s neoprene scared him at first, but he wanted to make it elegant, so he turned it into this gown. Georgina feels the drape-on top is too heavy, but Isaac says that’s crazy: He loves the look and the color. Alyssa likes how he made the sporty fabric so elegant, and Megan would “die to wear it.”
Much like most of her designs, Valerie wanted to create a look that was fresh, modern, effortless, and relaxed — which is a problem for Alyssa. She says it’s too simple and not “evening” enough. Georgina says it’s a “sweet” jumpsuit; Isaac says Valerie overdid it with the pockets, the necklace, the headband…basically the overall styling.
The jumpsuit Layana created had a bit more drama than Valerie’s. The judges’ biggest problem with this one is the hem. Isaac says the model should have worn flats, and Georgina agrees. Megan loves the back, but she thinks the front of the top isn’t cut to proportion properly.
Dom created her own textile with her colored linen (courtesy of Valerie) — which completely shocks Georgina. Once Dom gets them to believe she is that creative, they tell her what they love: the black and white belt and how the top dips in the back. Megan says the look took her breath away as it walked down the runway.
I was sure Emily’s look was in the bottom, but apparently it’s in the top. The judges have a lot of critical things to say (it shows too much skin, the shorts should have been high-waisted, etc.), but when the six designers go back to the waiting room, Emily says she’s in the top. The only proof I have of that is Georgina saying the look has “attitude.”
The judges are also pretty split on Sam’s brocade gown. Alyssa says it looks homemade, and not in a great way. But Megan says she loves it, although she could do without the slit up the front. Georgina also likes the “attitude” of Sam’s dress. (Should I be concerned nothing in my wardrobe has attitude? This seems to be important to Georgina.) And Isaac says it’s great how Sam was able to make the heavy brocade fabric look light.
Winner: Dom, finally
Project Runway friends, I’m honestly baffled by this one. I thought Valerie was a lock for the season’s top three. Not only that, but her look was hands-down better than Emily’s. Am I crazy? Or do you guys agree with me? I’d love to hear your thoughts — leave them below, or find me on Twitter @realdalener.