We open on Victorya making breakfast. Sweet P is getting ready and V keeps asking her little questions like, "Would you like some toast, Kit?" to which P would mournfully respond, "My name's not Kit". I don't think this was an "all blonds look alike" thing on Victorya's part, but rather the editors' way of letting us know how much all the designers miss my little Kit Kat.
Off we go on a field trip with The Gunn, to a pier on the East River. "We're going to be designing cement galoshes", opines Teddybear Chris. The Gunn giggled. No. Rather, the designers were taken to a Port Authority garage and told that inside were the raw materials for their next challenge. The doors open to reveal 500 pairs of Levi 501 jeans in a range of colors and washes, some jean jackets, plus bolts of white cotton. The designers have 3 minutes to grab whatever they can and then have one day to create "an iconic denim look, of the designer's choice" that will display the essence and truth of the Levi's brand. OK, I kinda made that up a little bit. I'm just a little over the use of the word "iconic".
Notable moments during the grab-fest: Sweet P lost a shoe and got a dirty foot; also dropped some of her jeans and got them dirty. Victorya was a bitch. Every time she saw a pair of jeans on the ground she was all "Those are mine. I think those are mine". She later admits to being competitive. Really? I had not noticed.
Back at the workroom the first thing I'm thinking is "what will Rami do?" You cannot drape denim and, as we've seen thus far, that's pretty much his signature move. He then gave us a little treatise on how growing up in the political-cultural milieu that is Jerusalem he a) took to drawing to escape the pressures and 2) doesn't think like an American. Whatever. Having decided last week that he's an arrogant poohead, I don't really care. Broker peace in the Middle East, Rami, and then we'll talk.
Ricky starts where Ricky always starts, with a corset. Now let's be clear. I officially hate him now. He shouldn't still be in this competition given his consistent failures, when more talented designers have been auf'ed for one mistake. So he could pretty much have made the most fabulous thing in the lineup and I would have been prone to hate it because I'm completely subjective like that. And all I could think as he's making his corset is, "Dude, enough of the freaking lingerie already". That's would be highly amusing later in the evening.
There was a little tit-for-tat between Chris and Christian (who you'll recall worked so beautifully together last week), when Sweet P. asked for advice on how to clean her denim, an exchange which ended with Teddybear saying, "It's so cute to see youth". Remember how I said Christian seemed chastened by not always being in the top, etc. etc. etc.? Well, that would appear to be a trick of editing because last night we were treated to a good minute or so of Christian just going on and on and on and the other designers grumbling, rolling eyes and generally being fed to the teeth with his arrogance. (A word used frequently by the other designers). "Give him a bottle and send him to bed," said Chris.
It makes me sad. There's such a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. I was hoping Christian was learning that but alas. Still, I no longer want to slap him all the time, even though the people who are living and working with him 24/7 clearly do. As is their right.
Jillian decided to make a coat. She made a coat last week. A fabulous coat. But let's face it, denim does not lend itself to loose construction. It is too bulky. Women don't like to look bulky. You know that. Jillian gets snaps for pulling apart a mess o' jeans and reconstructing them but the enterprise looked doubtful. She makes awesome dresses. She should have done that. She approached the project in that tentative way she has, fussing over details in a manner that was destined to leave her, once again, sewing until the last minute. I worry. Meanwhile, she notices that Victorya too has decided to do a coat and it annoys her. Annoys her a lot.
While all the other designers are ripping and shredding and reinventing, Victorya takes an existing jacket and starts adding stuff to it. Watching her in these last weeks, I've always been a little doubtful about her ability to truly innovate. This was a classic example.
Christian too is doing a jacket but he is being fierce about it. Having seen a "trucker jacket" in the Levi Look Book, he starts on a denim ensemble that is totally made from scratch. Including, my friends, a pair of jeans. Yes! He made jeans out of jeans. He used sleeves from a jacket to make the below the knee part of the jean. It looked awesome.
Sweet P decides to make a wedding dress. Bold.
We learn that Chris talks to himself, and to his garment, while he sews. Kinda crazy, kinda cute.
Meanwhile, there is some obvious tension whenever Ricky is nearby. Christian riffs on the fact that he really doesn't deserve to be there, that his looks are always in the bottom, that he's a one-note designer, etc. etc. etc. Couldn't have agreed with him more. And Chris noted that it's hard when your favorite people are leaving, with a scathing look in Ricky's direction.
Ricky responds in the confessional, noting that he knows the other designers don't think he deserves to be there. He says he doesn't think they realize how much experience he has and then proceeds to list his CV, which is chock full of impressive names. But everything he did, for every designer he named, was lingerie. Just saying.
The Gunn Review:
Ricky: "Stunning, deliberate". Really, Tim? Does he have pictures of you, too? Say it ain't so.
Chris: The Gunn took exception to a detail on Chris' dress, something that had the effect of a little gutter running down one side. It wasn't heinous but The Gunn didn't like it. Chris did and got a "carry on".
Jillian: "You have a way to go". No duh.
Rami: "This has the potential for blowing them away". Again, I'm thinking The Gunn didn't get enough sleep the night before.
Victorya's coat is deemed "patchworky". Ain't that just the kiss of death?
The best exchange was with Sweet P. "It's a wedding dress!" she chirps brightly. "Um hmmm," says Tim, hand on chin. "Is it scaring you?" asks the P. "Um hmmm," says Tim. He then tells her that it looks like a "happy hands at home granny circle" dress. Where does he get this stuff? The P, however, is not arrogant. She notes that she totally trusts Tim's opinion (smart girl) so when he gives her the words-to-live-by instruction to "resolve the skirt", she listens and begins to turn the wedding dress into a day dress.
Jillian is melting down. She's complaining about having no time and Chris wisely admonishes her "If you don't understand the situation by now you're refusing to learn". She keeps cutting her fingers on the sewing machine and breaks down. Rami and P sweetly try to buck her up.
At the runway we learn that there is no longer any immunity for challenges going forward. Guest judge is Caroline Calvin, Senior VP for Design with Levis.
As the runway began, I admit to a great deal of "meh" on my part. Denim, as I've noted, doesn't flow. Runways are all about the movement. The looks are, necessarily, fairly tailored and stiff. This is one time when the pictures are probably going to do more justice to the designs.
The judges thought Christian's look was "innovative" and that he did a "brilliant" job of tailoring. Remember, he remade these garments from jeans. If we're going for "iconic", I think you've got yourself a winner right here:
Chris' "little blue dress", however, was called "dated, not finished" and Heidi said it looked "home sewn". Ouch.
Dated, perhaps. But the Teddybear
still gets snaps from me for moving so far away from his costume design roots in the last 3 challenges. (The avant garde
thing doesn't count because it was supposed to be costume-y).
Ricky described his look as a "cocktail" dress. The judges Loved. It. Well, of course they did. Hi, photos with farm animals. Kors said it looked like Amy Winehouse. That's supposed to be a compliment? In his delirium, he went on to say something completely bizarre about how he'd been waiting and waiting to see evidence of Ricky's lingerie background "and now we have it". Hi. Did you not notice the collection of slips he's been making all season? I swear, these people are not watching the same show I am.
Ricky, of course, just cried and cried and cried and the judges were all sweetly inquiring "what's that about" and he talked of the roller coaster of the competition. Hey, Ricky, you've been riding the crazy train all season.
Heidi told Jillian that she'd loved her coat from last week but "today I'm not so much in love". Nina felt it was overly complicated and Kors said it made her model look "not fabulous".
I really liked the sleeves on this but it is, fundamentally, a big denim mess. Emphasis on "big".
Sweet P's dress, on the other hand, was "super chic" and possessed of "slimming voodoo". That's a good thing. And just looky what happens when you listen to The Gunn:
P managed to completely avoid Woodstock and deliver a very cute dress, which the judges felt could be dressed up or down and generally succeeded on every level.
especially when she mentioned that she'd pretty much used an existing jacket and "added to it". The judges felt she wasn't even remotely inspired by the challenge.
Behold! The power of illicit photographs! Ricky was -finally- named the winner for his homage to street walking and Victorya was auf'ed for her "dull and uninspired" trench coat. I was not happy with Ricky's win but I will not miss the Victorya.