Thursday, February 9, 2012

PR All-Stars: Fashion Face-off

Hello, lovelies! Just spent a lovely evening drinking wine with my best girls, and now am BUI for sure (blogging under the influence!).  Probably the best way to deal with TV recaps, actually.  Well, at least we can be reasonably confident that no one will fall off the stage tonight, barring any model mishaps!

This week's challenge begins with Angela onstage, looking like she's gone on a mad shopping spree.  She's festooned with eight tote bags, and each designer must choose one. Of course they all vie for the most fashionable version--there's an orange leather bag, a green-and-white striped one, and one that's all faux fur--but in the end, it doesn't matter. Inside the bags are luggage tags with a season written on them, and the designers are to design a look for someone planning a weekend getaway in the season they've been assigned. Angela does the math for us--4 seasons, 8 designers--to explain that the two people on each season will be facing off against one another.

Off to Mood! Jerell (winter) is doing a coat. Rami (autumn) says his woman is going wine tasting in a cardigan. Michael's sketch (winter) looks like a ninja crossed with Lara Croft. Mila (autumn) is doing a cape and a skinny jean. Rami says he's not scared. Mondo and Kenley are both summer, and Mondo in confessional is eye-rolling over Kenley's tendency to do the same thing every time. He finds it arrogant. I find Mondo a little arrogant, to be honest. Be more delightful, Mondo! Austin and Kara, by process of elimination, are spring--but we haven't seen their stuff yet.  We do, however, see Austin's giant, blinged-out pincushion wristlet. In case you were looking for one.  Rancor! Jealousy! Jerell sees that Michael is also doing a jacket (because, duh, it's winter) and feels that Michael has ripped off his own jacket's shape. There is some good natured ribbing with a bit of bite to it, but it doesn't come to much more than that.

Joanna arrives to see how the designers are doing. Kara's woman is a mother of two going to Palm Beach for a holiday, and she will be wearing a high-waisted culotte and what looks like a loose cardigan. (Why, what do you wear on your holidays to Palm Beach? I'd be lost without my high-waisted culotte.) Austin is also doing high-waisted pants, with a shell that has "origami" detailing. He and Kara don't accuse each other of copying the high-waisted pant.

When Joanna comes to Mondo, he tells her that his woman is inspired by his personal story--it's Mama Mondo's 60th birthday today (happy birthday, Mama Mondo!), so he's imagined what he (as model-girl) would wear to Mama's party. He has shorts in a black & white houndstooth and a chiffony fabric in black and white polka dots for the top. Joanna remarks on the fact that polka dots are sort of Kenley's signature vibe, and Mondo acknowledges that while "she is the polka dot queen, I am the polka dot princess." Fair enough.  Kenley's design seems to be a romper--her fabric is pale blue with white polka dots. Cute-ish, but rather off-the-rack looking.

Mila is thrilled when Joanna approaches and notes that "these are Mila pants--I would know your pants anywhere." I'm not clear on what makes them Mila pants, except that they're gray. Rami has a royal blue wrap sweater, which he plans to put over a sort of olive-chartreuse jersey. Mila snarks about his color combo, and I'd be inclined to agree, but Joanna seems unfazed so I'm going to assume it works for Fashion.

Michael can't even find his sketch to show Joanna, although he has most of the coat on his mannequin already. It's in a heavy gray-and-black stripe, and looks cape-y. (That's a technical term.) Joanna looks over at Jerell, who is listening to this critique and sending his best passive-aggressive looks Joanna's way. She indulges him by asking about the ish, and he explains that he's bothered by the similarities in their looks. (At the moment, I think Jerell's looks better, for what it's worth.) Joanna sees an opportunity for Mentoring with a capital M and gathers everyone for a "team chat," like they do at Marie Claire "when tension arises."

Kenley is the first to say that she tried on Jerell's coat five minutes before Michael started working on his, and Rami says that they saw Jerell's first--but seems reluctant to really point the finger. Joanna points out that it's a competition, and maybe it's not a problem if you think you can do better by using someone else's idea.  Somehow, despite the fact that nothing is resolved, everyone leaves reasonably happy.

Crunch time! Mila is concerned because she's never made a cape before. Seriously? The cape is the hard part? You just made skinny jeans. Isn't a cape just a blanket, basically? (Talk like that will incur the wrath of the fashion gods.) Austin has made a terrible choice in this week's confessional outfit--he's wearing a shiny scarf (Hermes or the like) like a badly-tied ascot, so it looks like a fancy bib.

Cut to the break room, where the designers are being fed spaghetti this evening. Mondo and Michael are dining and discussing CoatGate when Jerell comes in.  Everyone gets hush hush until Mondo says, "Kind of feels like dinner at my folks' house." Michael, not catching his snap, says, "Spaghetti?" Mondo says, "Um, no..." and Jerell fills in, "Awkward?" Yes. And getting more so--Jerell starts out saying he doesn't want things to be awkward, but then pushes Michael to admit he stole the idea. Michael insists he came to it just by playing around with the fabric, and starts showing him with a napkin how he was folding stuff.  Jerell snaps, "Well, clearly I know how it's made--I did it first!" Heh. There's some more scuffling before Michael storms off in a huff.

It's runway day, and the designers are scrambling. Mila's trimming her cape, Rami's shopping the accessory wall, Jerell's moved on from bitching about the coat to sneering about Michael's styling choices. Michael is shocked, but tells him, "Really,bitch? You wanna play like that, we can play like that."

OK, I'm taking a stand and saying for all the world to hear that I find the Truvia stevia commercials annoying. You heard it here first.

Runway! I wonder if they'll send the models down the runway together. (I'm not sure this runway is wide enough for that.) Our guest judge is Cynthia Rowley, whom I think we've seen in previous seasons. And whaddaya know, both models do come out together--but then one stands and waits while the other walks. We start with spring, and Austin's model goes first. She looks like a catalog model from Spiegel. Khaki pleated pants, pink cardigan, very Connecticut mom. Kara's is more appealing to me, and slouchier--wide leg wide pants, fuchsia top, gray swingy cardigan.

Kenley goes first for summer, and her model's romper looks a little tight in the rise, if you ask me. Top has a Peter Pan collar and little tie bow, so she's covered on top and nearly bare on the bottom. Mondo's is more interesting, with his mix of prints, but I don't really get the cut of the top. It's loose and broad, like a smock.

Rami is first for fall, and he's showing that bright blue sweater coat (with suede detailing) over the yellow-green turtleneck, with a skinny pant that has bright blue piping. Blue top feels kind of bulky and is gathered weirdly in the middle. Mila's actually looks good--the slim grey pant, a red shirt, and then a camel & black cape/poncho thing that moves well.

Finally, it's CoatGate! Jerell's model goes first, and the coat looks good. Grey herringbone with stripey trim. She's got a knit hat, a miniskirt and tights, and a dark turtleneck.  She looks good, if not amazing or unique. Worlds better than last week, that's for sure. However, we're getting about a gazillion talking heads from Jerell insisting that his coat is obviously better, so I assume the editors are setting up the "surprise twist" when he goes home. Michael's coat and dress are the same fuzzy, stripey material, and his dress is belted at the waist.

Judging! They start with spring and summer, sending fall and winter backstage to wait. Cynthia likes how Austin's outfit is "so dorky it's almost cool," but Isaac feels that it's a little staid despite the skillful tailoring. Angela says it reminds her of "small town going to church" and Austin shudders. Basically, it's frumpy.  Did Kara do better? Angela says it looks comfy and wearable, but Cynthia doesn't see anything original. Kara tries to insist that she didn't need to reinvent clothing for a challenge that was all about a weekend getaway, but Isaac's not having it. He seems to feel the oufit is only appropriate for running to the bodega, but Georgina likes it.  In the end, Kara wins, but it was close.

Cynthia likes Kenley's simple, chic romper, as does Isaac. Georgina calls her out on her sloppy seaming, warning her that when using a dramatic print, you need to line up your polka dots. But in general, they all like her.  Cynthia kind of hates Mondo's look--finds it too mixed up because the model's styled all '50s, but her top is '80s and the back is sloppy. Suffice it to say that Kenley won this round, and Mondo is practically in tears. Don't you judges know you're dissing his Mom?

Oh, jeez. They go back, and now everyone has to console a weeping Mondo, who's destroyed by the judges' reactions. He wanted the outfit to be a gift to his mother, and they trashed it. Dude, pull it together--you're not going home for this. Kenley tries to cheer him up by pointing out the mean things they said about Austin. Austin stares at his fingernails and seems to be very carefully Not Reacting.

On to fall--they start with Rami, and while they love the back of the coat (and seem to prefer it open and unbelted), they don't like his jersey. Isaac seems blinded by the color combo, while Cynthia takes exception to some of his seaming, pointing out that the strange angles make his model's boobs look lopsided. On to Mila--Georgina liked the pop of red and felt that it looked like Mila. The other judges agree, and found it stylish and classic. Mila wins.

Of course, we save Jerell and Michael for last (though it's convenient that they got winter). Georgina serves as the producers' mouthpiece and instantly asks what's up with the similar looks. Jerell starts out acting as though he's going to rise above, but does it so snidely that he comes off looking bitchy. Ill-played, Jerell. Michael denies any intentional copying, and then there's an abrupt edit that makes it sound as if no one really cared to pursue it further. Georgina loves Jerell's incorporation of bohemian patterns with a cleaner look. Isaac hates the buttons on the cardigan, but that's it. Cynthia loves it, too. Isaac loves Michael's coat, but calls him out for styling the model in tight leggings with a giant patent platform heel--says it's "nasty" and wishes Michael had put her in a boot. Cynthia thinks it's a great ensemble, but reads older than Jerell's girl. Basically, they all liked both outfits, but Jerell is the winner of this pairing, which should shut him up for now.

High score deliberation is about what you'd expect--feels like they'll give it to Kenley. I do think we caught a glimpse of Angela's distaste for Kara, though...she says that Kara "snuck her way into that high score just because Austin went a little nutso this time." Guess Angela's Team Pornstache!  On the low scores, Cynthia hated every bit of Mondo's outfit, but Georgina says it's a good look. Rami disappointed people. Michael may be a better executer than designer. In the end, they have "reluctantly" made their decision.

And the winner is...Jerell! Mila and Kara were excused as safe, so Kenley is the runner up. Now that he's won, Jerell magnanimously wishes Michael luck as he leaves. (Of course, then he's snotty in another talking head, so whatever.) Michael and Mondo are deemed safe without much it's down to Austin and Rami? Noooooo! I think they are both in the top of this group, and there's no reason Kara should still be here over both of these men. Shenanigans! Shenanigans! And the loser is...Rami.  While I agree that this outfit was worse on the day, I think these judges have discounted Rami repeatedly this season. I think he's definitely going home too soon. Sneef.

Rami accepts his defeat with equanimity, and Austin seems like he feels a bit bad for surviving at Rami's expense. They'll live to sew another day. And next week...Godspell! Lordy. (Literally.)

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