Is there anyone who didn’t see the Tim Gunn Save™ coming at the beginning of this episode? With the extra emphasis on Edmond’s history of auditioning year after year for the production, stretching back to the Bravo days? Heidi is so unconvincing when she insists she was expecting a Final Three. Where has she been since Season 10? Also can we not pretend he would not show at Fashion Week with or without the Save? The only difference is that his collection will show on TV, while Merline and Swapnil’s are only on the internet.
I am amused to see Heidi and Tim direct Ashley on camera to make a plus sized collection (as if she wasn’t already planning on it.) I mean, I know that was the point in pushing her to the finale. But they didn’t have to state it so obviously. She’s also the first home visit, in San Diego, with tons of hand dyed fabrics, and floral headpieces. I’m a little taken aback when we meet Ashley’s mother and grandmother are very Spanish, to the point of putting Tim in an apron to hand make tortillas. This is a side of Ashley’s heritage and inspiration we never saw during the regular season, and gives a touch of insight to her that I was missing before. Candice is just up the coast in San Francisco. Her family is reality show ready, with a working class recovering addict mother, and a pair of elementary school aged kids she’s raising alone. Her collection (at least what we can see of it) is very dramatic–one of her dress cages is so wide it doesn’t fit in the studio. I have to admit, the wooden skirt is probably the thing she has that excites me most because it’s so different. Tim is worried she’s gone too far into full tilt, and uses words like “over design,” “trying too hard,” and “drag queen.”
Kelly is in Springfield (not the Simpsons’ Springfield, but the one in Massachusetts.) My first reaction to the rack of clothes is “how 70s.” She calls it “Studio 54 meets New Age Street Wear.” That’s one thing I love about Kelly. I can look at her clothes and immediately know where she’s coming from and who her girl is. Her father calls Tim “Mr. Gunn, sir.” Their last stop is the deli she’s been talking about all season, where they’ve actually named one of the sandwiches after Tim. He takes it to go. Edmond is last on the list, in Atlanta. He seems to think he needs to make a collection that’s very “elegant.” But it doesn’t seem to be in any way personality oriented. These are pieces that look like something you’d see hanging in any prom dress shop. Tim doesn’t seem to notice, in favor of reciting that Edmond auditioned 13 times. His family also is into the recitation of “13 times” as well as how proud they are of him.
Back in NYC, Tim announces they’ll have the usual “three looks for judge’s feedback” round as part of this first half of the finale, noting that this styling and direction check has benefited every designer whose ever gone through it. (I suppose we’re supposed to have forgotten Viktor.) But of course, there’s a twist. One of those pieces, they’ll be making right now. It’s been a few seasons since the show has done that–the last couple they’ve saved the $250 and the trip to Mood for post critique, and not added any outfits, as if they assumed the finalists were in bad enough shape that they didn’t need the distraction. Post Mood trip, he does a critique of what they’re planning to show.
- Kelly has a really good sample set, with a wood grain print piece, a fanny pack (she made a bunch of fanny packs) as well as one outfit I know shows as is, because it was the one I put in my sampler. The weakest piece is the one she’s working on now, which feels awkward. with the long panels and the zipper sides. Tim notes the awkwardness.
- Edmond calls his pieces “light and airy” when they are actually Victorian and heavy. His piece he’s making is a “wrap gown” which looks good on paper. Tm worries at him about time management, as if we haven’t seen Edmond speed demon sew all season.
- Candice’s got the big ass hat and the very heavy coat from the earlier walk through. Tim pushes her to add color instead of showing three black and leather pieces. Tim notes the new look doesn’t even look like it’s new.
- Ashley’s new look turns out to be the piece I ended up using for her in the sampler set. Tim is far more concerned about the pieces she’s pulled from her collection to show. He’s also against her putting a headdress on all the models.
Let’s see what the judges think.
Heidi is wearing gold sequins and a leather skirt and seems to have had too much coffee today. No guest judge for this collection preview, because no extraneous opinions are required. The Tim Gunn Save™ is dead, and there’s not even a mention of the AnthonyRyan Rule™, since this is about critiquing the designers not eliminating them.
Outfit 1: Much less awkward as a minidress.
Outfit 2: I don’t know about those fanny packs. I suppose living through them the first time soured me on it. I certainly don’t like it in brown.
Outfit 3: WAIT, where the awesome dress? Not that I don’t like the pants and Studio 54 top, but that was not what I was expecting. Much like I wasn’t expecting the back either What?
Heidi tells her it doesn’t look like she spent $9k, and both she and Zac insist she needs to go over the top in styling. Nina says nothing is luxurious looking. I think they wouldn’t be freaking if she’d shown the dress instead. Either way, their critiques are much more focused on presentation than actual issues with the outfits themselves.
Outfit 1: Hi bra! Nice to see you.
Outfit 2: She needs to work on the fit, the top is slouchy.
Outfit 3: Again, fit issues. The top is way too big, and the skirt is way unflattering. I hate the zips.
Nina demands to add print, and says they should not all be wearing crowns. The entire panel freak out about the fit and the detailing. To them this is a moment for the show to represent plus size for the first time in fourteen seasons. It has to fit right. But like Kelly, this is about arguing her into styling and fit fixes, more than it is anything else.
Outfit 1: I actually like the white and black tile decor on the otherwise plain mini dress.
Outfit 2: It’s an Edwardian pussy bow on a pool floatie of a dress.
Outfit 3: That’s just confused. It’s like Victorian school marm meets Beyoncé.
Zac sighs that it’s all trim and ruffle, and that the only one that works is the one he made yesterday, because it’s not overdone. Heidi says making all the pieces black and white does not equal cohesive. Nina is very disappointed in what she’s seeing, and yells at him that he’s not giving her the Edmond she wanted to see. Everyone says to cut the school marm dress as awful and wrong.It’s the first serious critique of a collection’s aesthetic and it makes one wonder if saving Edmond was the wrong move.
Outfit 1: Red and Floral Leather 21st century Geisha. Overdone.
Outfit 2: Church wear for the town dominatrix, or the evil woman in a bad Lifetime soap.
Outfit 3: Love the coat, but the rest is just there to support it. And the black on black on black makes it hard for the coat to stand out.
Zac sighs that this is all too much costume. He calls the hat “gothic Ascot.” Heidi points out that each piece in and of themselves is fabulous. But as a collection “it’s like someone who is not in fashion thinks a fashion show should go.” Ouch. Nina sighs that Alexander McQueen did this, and that Candice should not. All three push her to tone it down hard.
Next week–the designers take their notes and edit. You can see how at least one of these results turns out in our Project Runway New York Fashion Week Sampler. You can also get a taste for what the other three will show next week.