By CJ Bomb
Good evening fellow sartorialists! Whether you are here for the fashion or not, welcome. I’m texting Les to see if she is onboard as we have had not one, but TWO snow days in Atlanta AND she is at a makeup basketball game. The entire city basically shut down which my NYC and CT friends find hysterical. We call it an emergency. They call it a Wednesday. Anyhoo, you are stuck with little ole me tonight.
Alyssa thinks the designers need a night out so they get all dressed up and are doing to….DANIEL??? Wow. This season might not be so low rent after all. Did Daniel Boulud lose a bet? I love this restaurant. It is one of my happy places. I once handed a vegetable peeler to Chef Daniel while working at Martha Stewart in the nineties, so in my mind we have totally cooked and collaborated together. The man is a genius and very, very nice. These people better appreciate it or I am going to be annoyed.
Alyssa walks in and I’m annoyed. What the fuck is this woman wearing? The designers have seated themselves at tables of two and she announces that they will be paired together for a challenge based on their seating arrangements. Some designers look more happy about this than others. They have to design an “elegant pairing” based on a wine and dish served tonight. Wait? They only get one dish? Well that sucks. The winners get to come back and have a full meal. Which is pretty much equal winning a big cash prize because Daniel isn’t cheap… AND it’s double elimination. AND they only have one day.
Merline and Candice get white asparagus with a balsamic glaze and a Gruner Veltliner (LOVE me some Gruner). Anthony can’t understand the chef but is appreciative of the Niman Ranch lamb chop he gets to share with Kimberly. Amanda and Josh get a black sea bass and Chardonnay. My favorite team, Melissa and Ari get a beautiful plate of citrus cured hamachi and a chablis. I’m booking a flight to NYC right now. Helen wonders if she can make appreciative yummy noises as she eats her minted pea soup and Edmond assures her she’s fine. Char looks like she has swallowed a lemon sitting next to Stanley. She’s eating lobster and caviar and drinking a dry rose. She should have major happy face. If you are going to go to the gallows what a lovely last meal to have. Ken is inspired by his guinea hen and Fabio by the pinot noir. I am so down with this challenge. Food AND fashion? Throw in Art and Yoga and some ballet and you would pretty much encompass all my loves. They sketch at the tables. The wine is making Ari happy so she is going with a cocktail dress. Melissa is doing a dress over an elegant pant. Candice is inspired by the wine dripped down her glass. Merline wants to do something light, but with a heavier base.
At Mood Ken and Fabio are picking fabric and Ken reveals a long dress with exaggerated hips inspired by the clean lines of the food. Fabio is ALSO designing a dress over pants and is picking a color based on the subtlety of the Pinot Noir. Anthony is ALSO doing a gown and Kimberly a jumpsuit. This seems to be a trend. Melissa is pushing herself using colors not in her wheelhouse and is trying to be a team player. Uh-oh. FORESHADOWING.
In the workroom Ari is helping Melissa with construction as Anthony points out the stress of working in teams in a double elimination. Your partner’s work could be awesome, but if yours sucks you are both going home. It’s sweet of Anthony to think of it this way as I’m sure most other designers are worried about their partner’s work doing the sucking. Candice has no idea where Merline is going and she’s terrified. Rightfully so. She is resigned that they will be in the bottom as Merline still has no idea what she’s going to do and it’s already 4pm.
Anne comes in and talks about how great fashion is built on collaboration. She tells Anthony and Kimberly that the fashion forward element of any gown comes from the “shape, proportion and the cut” and that they need to sit down and make sure their tops are working together. They assure her that they will. She is worried about the placement of the beaded fabric in Ari’s garment (over certain private areas) and while she loves Melissa’s fabric choice doesn’t want her look to go Florida pantsuit. They promise her this will not be the case for either look. She’s happy with Char and Stanley’s boring looks and calls them a “nice pairing”. Snore. She thinks Helen’s sketch is beautiful but since there is nothing on the form…. Amanda tells her that she and Josh picked black and white because they were the safest color options. This does not go over well with Anne. She tells Fabio and Ken that they need to amp it up a bit, but she likes where they are going. Stanley points out that Merline is not a sewer and she layers and places things. Anne tells Merline and Candice not to feel they are safe because they are using the same fabric because if one of the outfits is weak, they are both going home. FORESHADOWING. She leaves all of them with the message to push each other creatively.
At the model fitting Fabio is so happy with his jumpsuit he doesn’t even want to put the overlay on top. Ken decides to add a bustle to his dress for added runway drama. Huh. So exaggerated hips AND ass? What woman doesn’t want that? Actually Alyssa probably will love it. Anthony describes Helen and Edmond’s as a tampon and blood right before they come together. I wish I could unhear this. Ari is worried about fit issues. Melissa has scrapped her entire first look. Uh-oh. Anthony is splatter painting. It’s very eighties and NOT homage eighties….actual eighties.
Day of Runway
This is the calmest I’ve ever seen Ken. Xanax? Anthony’s dress has stretched and he’s freaked out that he has no other option except to sew in a dart. Ari is on standby for Melissa. Hair and makeup product placement commences. Stanley’s dress turned out cooler than I thought it would even though it’s simple. Merline is still sewing. Badly.
Let me be clear. I love Whoopi Goldberg, but much like Alyssa Milano, why the fuck is she here? Did SHE lose a bet? She’s into shoes, but still…Alyssa looks like she was trying to elongate her frame with those pants and crop top, but there are fit issues. (crotch fit issues).
Edmonds red dress is DEFINITELY not giving me pea soup… it’s ok. I don’t like Helen’s diaphanous gown from the front but I love it from the side. Looks more like a Valentine’s Day collaboration. Joshua and Amanda’s models look like they have just plugged into the Matrix. Melissa’s dress is modern housewife circa 1955 and Ari has designed a pageant gown circa 1985. Or a Love Boat evening dress. I can’t decide. Ken’s shape is AWESOME. That isn’t a bustle sweetie. And thank GOD. The split seam of the hem of Fabio’s pants is giving me life. This is how to do deceptively simple. Lots of design. Whoopi’s face pretty much sums it up as Merline’s cut out catastrophe heads down the runway. If you are going to do something like this you had better have the tailoring skills to back it up. Merline does not possess those skills. Candice’s look is giving me morning after Studio 54. Like the top. She thinks they will be in the bottom because they don’t pair. Yep….that’s the reason you are going to be in the bottom, Candice. Char and Stanley send down their pretty dresses and I momentarily doze off. Not Project Pretty Dress I Have Seen Before (sorry TT). Whoopi sees Anthony’s dress and says “Jackson Pollack”. I’m actually surprised it came out better than I expected. The shape is lovely. You have to be 6 feet tall and emaciated to wear it, but fortunately his model has those attributes. (Alyssa you cannot pull this off, please don’t even think about it). Kimberly’s looks like a blueberry samurai.
My top two: Kimberly and Anthony, and Fabio and Ken with Fabio and Ken to win. My bottom two: Candice and Merline and Ari and Melissa with Ari and (sniff) Melissa to go.
Alyssa thinks Kimberly’s look is almost tribal. Georgina says it’s on the border of frumpy. Isaac says it looks one size too large. Whoopi says she could wear it no matter how her shape changes. Isaac then says she killed it this week. Huh? Georgina says Anthony’s use of color on a simple silhouette is lovely but then she sees the shape of the back which is dramatic. Whoopi tells him dresses like this never work on the red carpet because you get bumped into a lot and while you may look great in the beginning, the dress is crushed by the end. Isaac hopes he gets that he’s onto something great and Anthony assures him that this week he does.
Isaac is not getting asparagus from Candice and Merline’s looks. He’s getting mushrooms. Georgina is mad at Merline as she loves the concept of her look but the construction is terrible. She says it’s “bothersome to look at” which is British for “that shit hurts my eyes.” Whoopi likes Candice’s pants and digs Merline’s look because it reminds her of her Star Trek days. Alyssa points out that Candice’s pant hem is unacceptable.
Georgina says Ari and Melissa’s girls don’t go together and there is no design in Melissa’s dress. Whoopi tells Melissa that her dress is something she would do, throw and a dress and wrap a belt around it and hope for the best. Not a compliment. Alyssa points out the weird pleating. Georgina slut-shames Ari’s dress. (oh the irony). Isaac and Whoopi love the back and point out of the front had been plain it would have been “a divine dress”. They are totally right.
Isaac thinks that this is the best “pairing”. Whoopi loves them because different size women could pull either of these looks off. She saw her granddaughters in both of them. (Whoopi is actually earning more respect from me as a judge) Georgina loves the draping of both and her only critique is the slit in the back of Ken’s dress. Isaac loves the fit of Fabio’s and the architecture of Ken’s. Alyssa loves it and is amazed how well they took the challenge and ran with it.
Ken and Fabio for the win! Well-deserved. Fabio is getting a little cocky though. A win finally after three weeks? Melissa and Ari and going home. I’m very sad as Melissa is one of my all-time favorites had to leave based on a look that doesn’t even LOOK like ANYTHING she does. Seriously, if you need an investment cool leather jacket (we all do) and Rick Owens isn’t in your budget: http://melissafleis.com. LOVE her. Now I’m going to watch my other reality show, Top Chef….cause I’m hungry. Xoxoxo, CJB.