Designing For a Cause (My "All Stars" Episode 10 Recap)
This week’s challenge promised to combine commerce and fashion by having the designers work with a coster to inform them of the actual cost of producing a design. The process wasn’t well explained, but it seemed to me that a retail cost was assigned based on a sketch, and then a fabric budget was given to fit. It seems backwards to me that a retail price is set first, then the design developed, but I guess there are many ways to skin a cat—or design it’s clothing.
Each designer had a different budget, which was odd, and the only other directives were that the garment should be timeless, irresistible, and feminine. Sort of a fashion holy grail. Such a holy grail, in fact, that proceeds from its sale are going to prevent the garment district from going condo. Wow.
Not only are the designers weighed down by the task of having to raise millions to buy off the evil real estate developers, they are reminded that this is the last elimination challenge before the finals. Of the four left, only three get to compete for the prize. Needless to say, the remaining designers find themselves in a stressful position this week.
The déjà vu was just a bit too vivid for a couple of the designers. Both Austin and Michael Costello were so close to making it in their original seasons, but were painfully eliminated just short of the finals. Austin noted that this was when he was let go the last time and expressed his nervousness, but pushed on. He seemed focused on his design from the beginning. A coat was a smart choice; it gave him the opportunity to send a little extra volume and drama down the runway, but in a really sellable garment. Coats are also an easier fit than most dresses, so it was a smart choice commercially. We have seen better coats on Project Runway, so it wasn’t the garment district grail, but it was successful enough to get Austin safely to the finals.
Michael Costello’s dress was more questionable. I was freaking out when the judges were fawning over it. Hello. We have seen this before. In this season, in other seasons, by other designers. Its just happens to be executed in a lime green print this time. Luckily in their deliberations, the judges came to their senses, and Michael was in the bottom. Granted, Joanna Cole’s obsession with bra wearability is annoying (I have even started looking through Marie Claire magazine just to look for dresses that can’t be worn with a bra so I can yell, Ah Ha! Busted!) This challenge did have a real world marketability component, so her bra obsession may be warranted—but just this once.
Mondo was obviously feeling the pressure too; he was plagued with self-doubt. His downward spiral started with the importance of his sketch. It is important to be able to convey an idea to someone, either to help you make it or to convince them to buy it, but the drawing doesn’t have to be sketchy, it can be a line drawing, the kind used in the garment industry to show how a garment should be constructed. He did one of these drawings for the coster, and it worked just fine. She understood exactly what he was proposing. I didn’t like his dress. I found the fabric to be flimsy looking and the neckline and the sleeve shape to be unflattering, but what do I know. Apparently the eighties are back because his little patched dress took the win. Mondo, deservedly, makes it to the finals.
Kenley. I’m not sure what else to say. She was the only designer to remain completely confident in this challenge. So confident, in fact that she was unable to take advice from successful industry insiders, and that really came back to bite her in the ass. Speaking of ass, her peacock feather print dress was just ugly. The sleeves were stupid, the shape was the same old princess seam, darted, and dated disaster that she has shown us all season. I’m not sure how she got this far in the competition (may I remind you that Rami was competing in this season for gods sake) I’m just glad it ended here. I can’t take anymore of her dated dresses, her retro hairdos, or her polka dots.
Bring on the finals.