Oh, the angst (and a quick game of pool) following last week’s critique!
Fabio and Christopher “knew all along” they’d all be going to Fashion Week.
Fabio’s going luxe, Dmitry’s going sexy young thang, Melissa’s adding color, Christopher’s pouting: “I didn’t see myself as a colorful person this season, I was confused as to what they thought they would see from me; I’ve been doing this for five weeks and to get it shot down now, I don’t know….I’ve been the front-runner all along, I’ve won four challenges, they make me feel like they’re doing me a favor by moving me forward,” he interviews as he sends a pool ball into orbit. Can you say “entitled”? Did he seriously think all he had to do was show up and collect his prize?
In the workroom, Tim comes in and does a gather round, and starts singing: “It’s a new dawn, a new day…” And from my living room I finish it for him: “and I’m feeeee-eeeeee-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-lin’… gooooooood.” They have two days, $300 and a half hour at Mood. “Don’t be thinking about a new collection; how do you take what you already have and enhance it.” At Mood (where a glum-looking Swatch lies listlessly on the floor), Fabio gets an expensive looking fabric that drapes the way he likes. Dmitry gets black silk. Melissa gets blood orange leather (“Blood orange? She’s so pretentious. It’s f#&@in’ red,” sniffs Christopher Pout-face. Has he been this bitchy all season, and I just didn’t notice?). And Christopher wanders aimlessly. I’m confused: is this a winner-edit or a loser-edit?
They work for a couple of days. On walkthrough, Tim’s startled at Dmitry’s mention of silver leaf in his models’ hair (it was the hair stylist’s suggestion) – will the audience see the hair and not the clothes? Christopher continues his bitchstreak by hoping he uses it all. I get the sense these interviews were filmed after Christopher found out he lost. Tim’s concerned about Christopher: he’s making too many new looks, his new fabric looks cheap. Melissa notices Christopher looks exhausted. He does, to the point where I think he’s been made up to look that bad. She also notices he’s feisty: “Like extra-crispy.” Yeah, he’s that, too. Then she brags about making the most complicated piece she could with three hours to go. Maybe, but she’s made that dress at least three times now so she should be able to crank it out pretty quick. Tim loves Fabio’s new fabric: “You’ve had an epiphany… I have goosebumps.” Even Christopher notices: “I think he took the judges’ critique and ran with it. We’ve never seen this side of Fabio before.” Any side of Fabio is fine with me.
At the 15-minute warning, Christopher protests he has two more looks to make. “You were done this morning,” says Tim. “No, I wasn’t,” says Christopher, looking seriously cowed. That’s some meek whipped-dog look. Has he been taking acting lessons? Because he’s shown us the Many Moods of Christopher in the past half hour.
Jennifer Hudson is the guest judge. That’s nice. She’s pretty superfluous, and won’t be mentioned here again. It’s nice to see Kooan in the audience. Hi, Kooan! My heart belongs to Fabio now, but you can share if you like.
It’s about deconstruction and reconstruction. I get it, the x-rays of broken bones with restorative hardware.
His first look, a brown top and black skirt, gets me thinking he’s turned this around; I like it very much. Looks like he used his fabric-strips technique, as well as the bleached leather. Interesting angles.
His second look – ostrich(?) jacket with a Melissa collar over a slim black dress – is really nice, too, collar and backdrop dress aside. It’s a great jacket, with an interesting diagonal closure.
Then we go bump-thud: it’s those horrible too-short-shorts with the see-thru sweater; it’s covered by a very interesting jacket that looks like clipped-together leather, but the shorts and sweater make it so awful the jacket visually turns into poodle-fluff (aka lambswool). What is his obsession with those shorts? Swapping out the vest he used last week for the far better jacket didn’t elevate the look, it devalued the jacket. It’s an astonishing come-down from those first two looks.
Then we have the leather shorts and print top, which I liked last week and still do. But he’s ruined the turn-around the first two looks created.
Another new look, a purplish-blue trench, follows. The front has some interest at the waist, but it’s a pretty standard look. The seams in the back don’t look pressed; I’m not sure if that’s poor finishing or the fabric’s fault, but whatever it is, it isn’t good.
The leather vest and bustier over high-waisted brown pants comes next. Above the waist, it’s great. The pants seem too tight to me, but maybe that’s because the website picture caught a serious case of camel toe, and I can’t unsee it. Overall it’s not a bad look, assuming the fit problem is my imagination.
Next comes a print blouse over black pants. The pants are pants; background. The top is nice – great use of the light and dark of the print – but not enough to put with background and call it a day.
His blue jacket over pink-and-grey splotchy pants doesn’t work for me, but that could be just my preference. The pants look to me like they’re taken from Heidi’s babywear, and the blouse and jacket just look old-lady to me. I’m not sure what the technique is for the jacket – press pleats, his fabric stripping, or something else – and it’s a very pretty effect, but I don’t like the overall shape. And I’m not sure what this and the blue trench have to do with the leather and x-rays.
His one-shoulder x-ray dress is striking; the print is put to great use. It’s a simple design, sure, but figuring out how to position the fabric is the key, and he did that very well.
His final look is the stunning gown that shades from beige to brown to black. It’s lovely.
I say: he’s got serious potential, but the collection was uneven. 70%.
The judges say: Huh? Michael loved the opening looks, the print and leather, but the romantic gown didn’t fit. Heidi gives him props for some amazing pieces like the shiny (of course) leather jacket and the one-shouldered dress. Nina says he has the most wonderful ability to take fabric and make it look light, but she wishes he’d made something unforgettable. Uh oh, that sounds like see ya later.
She looks gorgeous, by the way. Her collection is about a new exploration of death to life, fitting for spring. I didn’t really get that, but I’ll take her word for it.
Next, a grey vest over a slinky long black dress. It’s striking, too, in a completely different way. The vest has some cool texture and detail; it’s either lined or reversible (I assume the model would’ve reversed it if it was reversible). Pretty simple. But a nice look.
The high-necked black tunic over slit skirt looks so much like the black dress she showed last week, I’m going to have to wait to see if there’s a second black dress. I hate the purple tape around the waist as a belt. Overall, ok.
The swimsuit looks so awful on the model it’s hard to realize it’s actually got some interesting construction going on.
And now it’s time for her so-what look: the generously-roomy pants from last week paired with a white tank and black vest. It’s perfectly fine for a casual look; the fabrics on top look interesting, even if the bottom does look like a kid’s snowpants, complete with all that room for a diaper. But I’m not sure this is what Fashion Week is for.
Then again, is Fashion Week about a black tank dress? Ok, the white insert in the back is unexpected, but still…
Things get a little back on track with the one-sleeved white leather cocktail dress. I like the combination of the sleeve on one side and the cutout on the other side of the waist.
She’s got another interesting jacket over a red vest, white shorts, and a black cutaway. From the chest up, it’s winter, whereas south of that, it’s warm and sunny. I guess that’s appropriate. But I love the jacket, and I love the layering.
Then we have a big mistake. It isn’t the white tank dress itself; I like the cut, even if I’m not crazy about the leather in the back (I think it looks like masking tape again). The problem is that the model can’t walk in it. This is the “Binders full of women” look: it’s a hobble-dress. Melissa knew it at fitting, and she chose to do other things rather than fix the dress, so her model took baby steps all the way down that very long runway and back. Bad move.
It’s followed by a stunner of a blood orange leather dress with the piled-higher collar. It’s gorgeous. I think blood orange is a good term for it, since sometimes it looks red and sometimes it looks orange.
I say: Repetitious, and some pieces that are kind of silly, but the two jackets, plus the blood orange dress, might just do it for her. 75%.
The judges say: oooooh. Michael says she understands how a girl wants to look; he loves the gesso leather; but why oh why did she send out an unwalkable dress? Heidi loves the hair and makeup; Nina loves the red dress, it’s sexy without being slutty.
All about organic architecture and geometry. Query: what would inorganic architecture be?
His first look is the white dress from last week. I wish I could like this more; it’s obviously got some cool stuff going on, but I still just don’t think it looks good on the model, and that’s mostly because of the fit; yet I think the fit has to be loose to get that “floating” effect. Maybe it should be a more obviously floating style? This looks like a sheath that’s two sizes too big.
His white jacket using the same technique is a lot more successful. It’s nice he found a place to use that triangular sleeve he brought to the last challenge. And I love that he paired it with the skirt that got lost under that hideous jacket last week. Great look.
Then we crash and burn. It’s the sheer black top over geometric pants. Good lord, it’s out of LulaMae’s Happy House or something. And what did he do to that poor model to make her look so ugly?
His fringed diamond dress isn’t as pretty as it sounds. It’s well-made, there’s some obvious craftsmanship at work (as opposed to, say, a tank dress) but damn, it’s tacky. It’s made for doing the Charleston, though.
But wait, there’s more! His fringed-sleeve diamond jacket over a sheer top and blouson pants boggles the mind. Last week they told him this jacket with the sheer top and the bra was too much, so in a stunning leap of logic he took away the bra. And the pants, forget what I said about Melissa’s pants having room for a diaper, these could hold their own zip code. But it’s the jacket that is truly, amazingly, hideous. And, again, the model. What did he do to these girls? They’re models, they can’t be that ugly, can they?
In a complete switch, we have a black one-shoulder tank over a pale yellow skirt. Ah, sweet relief for my overexposed retinas. Pretty. Simple. And here’s where everyone starts sneering, “Too simple.” Hey, diamond patterns plus leather fringe, I can use some simple right now. Not sure what one has to do with the other, but I’m grateful.
A pretty one-shouldered black pleated cocktail dress follows. It’s nice. A little too folded. A little too party-ruffly, if that makes sense. I’m not sure what it has to do with organic architecture. And I think the long sleeve makes it too heavy. But it’s not bad.
Time for more yellow: a dress with studded cap sleeves. I can’t tell what the sleeves are, actually. Beads? Spikes? Chain mail? Those things you clean your grill with when Brillo isn’t enough? I hate them. But other than the sleeves, the dress is pretty, if you can tear your eyes away from the spikes.
The silver gown is pretty. I’m not big on metallics, but it’s fine.
And for his finale, he sends out a ballroom dance gown. Sparkles! Slit! Organza fringe! This would’ve won the stage-costume-for-Christina Aguilera no question.
I say: Dmitry has made some great looks over the course of the season, and it’s sad (and puzzling) that this is how he wants to be remembered. 50%.
The judges say: Wow! Really? Yes, really. Heidi thinks the fringed jacket looks young now (I want to see her wear it), she likes the dress, and falls all over herself saying nice words Michael says it’s all impeccably made (which it is), fits beautifully (ok, most of it is), and looks expensive (bullshit). He does say the final gown is treading into costume territory. Treading? Nina proclaims fringe editorial; she’s very impressed. WTF?
Cosmic tribalism as a deep reflection on his heritage.
First out: shorts and a sheer top over a sports bra, all under the asymmetrical vest from last week. I like the shorts; he found the perfect striped fabric to go with his pastels. It’s better than anything he showed last week. I’m still not a fan of the sheer-over-bra thing, but this bra looks more like clothing than underwear, thanks to the substantial coverage and print. I don’t know what to call it; it’s about the shape of a sports bra, so that’ll do. I’d call the whole look good.
The blue tunic and white pants that follow, not so much. I can’t really tell what’s needlepoint necklace and what’s tunic, and I hate the needlepoint. I think there’s some nice draping going on, but I can’t really see it that well, and the overall effect is still, fat lady muu-muu.
The sleeveless jacket over the sports bra with white skirt isn’t too bad. I like the bottom of the jacket. I don’t like the notches; I still say the effect is that she’s popped her buttons, which obviously isn’t the case. But overall, yeah, not bad.
The blue-to-white dress is another muu-muu to me. The back has a lovely drape, though.
The white draped dress is far more successful for me. In fact, I actually like it. This makes me happy.
His loose white pants with sheer top over sports bra is kind of nice from the front and back, but not so much the side. I like the “X” effect at the waist; I even like the fit of the pants, though I’m not usually a big fan of loose pants. And I like the top. Yeah, I like it. I really like it!
But then there’s the grey tunic over white pants. The pants are the same jeans-fit, background. The top is, well, I’m undecided. It’s relaxed. It’s got some pretty drapes. Is it fashion? How would I know.
But then I know. He finally dresses a model the way he dresses, in a pink jacket over a pink print vest over a pink print sports bra over white pants with a grey skirt tied over them. This is what Fabio does; it’s like what Jay McCarrol did, mixing pieces perfectly. Any individual piece might be meh on its own or with something else, but all together it works great. Love it.
And maybe we’re on a roll – because aside from the needlepoint necklace, this sleeveless white dress is ok. I like the straight horizontal on one side and the diagonal on the other. Yeah, ok.
Then we close with pajamas. You know, this is the same mix-n-match thing, except the satiny tie just screams “bathrobe.” But it’s so close. The jacket is really quite nice, if I can avoid the tie. And the rolled pants and long tunic are quite nice, especially for pajamas. Would people really wear this outside? I don’t get it. But it’s beautiful.
I say: I adore Fabio. No kiddin’, right? I love how he himself dresses. But I haven’t really understood most of the stuff he’s sent out this season, or for this show. It’s hard to admit that. But go check out what TLo had to say about Fabio’s collection: that it worked much better in person than in pictures or on tv, and there was a palpable uptick in audience excitement when these pieces came out. I believe that. I want to believe. 60%.
The judges say: Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh… Heidi loves it, all this ethereal fluid stuff after all the dark looks. She’d wear the long coat (over a shiny short tight dress, maybe). Nina sees he listened and upped the sophistication level. Seriously? Michael credits him with taking Jordan almond pastels and working them, the draping is effortless and makes a fashion statement that could be interpreted into real life. I don’t know what that means. But that’s appropriate, considering it’s Fabio we’re talking about.
Down to brass thimbles…
The judges ask why they should win, and everyone says “because I want to launch my career and I’m ready and I know who I am and I have a distinct point of view and I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me.”
The judges send them backstage so they can dish in private: Christopher’s collection was inconsistent and not really a collection; he should’ve made pretty clothes like he did all season. Melissa did the same thing she’s been doing all season so there was no sense of surprise. Do you get the sense that no matter what some people do, they’re out of luck? Fabio had no misfires, and knows what people want before they know it themselves, but can he do that all the time? Dmitry is a perfectionist with polish but also commercial appeal and a definite signature.
It’s between Dmitry and Fabio. Wow, was I wrong. Until the judges started talking, I was pretty sure Melissa won.
Dmitry wins. As perplexed as I am, I can’t really complain. He’s made great stuff all season, should’ve won at least two more than he did, he’s got serious chops, and he’s a nice guy. I can overlook that eyesore of a final collection.
Oh, Fabio, I’m sorry. I’ve loved seeing you on my tv every week, and I’ll miss you.
What ever happened to reunion shows? Now they were fun.
But no, next week we get to start another All-Stars season, because the last one went so well (huh?). I hear they’ve replaced the model host, but Joanna Coles and Isaac Mizrahi will be back. I doubt I’ll have time to do a preview, so here’s the list:
Emilio (my top pick)
Let’s see who’s changed, for better or worse.