International Fashion Incident (My "PR All Stars" Recap)
New Yorkers have mixed feelings about the UN. While the idea of all countries coming together to solve the world’s problems sounds good, it usually just ends up being big countries ganging up on small ones, and rich countries ganging up on poor ones, all while causing horrible traffic jams on the east side of Manhattan. This week’s episode was a perfect metaphor for the UN itself. It sounded great in theory, but the final result just didn’t live up to the promise.
This week the designers were asked to create an outfit based on the colors of the flag and culture of a particular country. It seemed like such a great challenge; designers often look to traditional costumes and cultural reference for inspiration, but the result were less than stellar and in some cases we are fortunate they didn’t ignite an international incident.
In most episodes the designer’s garments are divided into three categories, the top three, the safe in the middle, and the bottom three. In the episode it was more like the good (not great), the neutral, the bad and the horrible.
Mondo’s fitted black dress was clearly the best of the bunch, but it was nothing to write home about. The green and yellow chevron flag reference on the back was well crafted, but not really integral to the overall design of the dress. They weren’t fond of the dreadlocks in his model’s hair, but I actually liked them. I wouldn’t have seen a reference to Jamaica at all without them. Regardless of the mediocrity, his entry is far better than any of the others and he takes home his second win in a row.
Second from the top was Kenley with her Chilean inspired theme park waitress inspired uniform. The dress looked more Appalachian than South American. The polka dots, or hearts that read as polka dots, and the princess seam bodice and ruffles just screamed Lil Abner. Surprisingly, Catherine Malandrino liked the dress. “I reely lak zeez drez.” Really? For decades the French have been known for being the purveyors of good fashion taste. Their reign is officially over. How can she like this dress? Enough with the princess seams, Kenley. There was nothing modern or classic about the shape, the print (good god, hearts on a grown woman?) or the idea. The citizens of Chile should be appalled and take this up at the next session of the UN.
It hardly seems possible, but it was downhill from there. Michael Costello made a Greek draped pageant dress that featured a blue bow from the front and butt crack from the back. Austin, of his own free will, chose the multi colored flag of the Seychelles then decided he didn’t like the colors and struggled to work with them. The resulting dress was a drapey, flowy number we’ve seen before. It looked unfinished and uninspiring. Jerell chose India so he had a legitimate reason to over embellish this week, but he took the sari concept way too literally and sent a sparkling mess down the runway as ugly as the Palestinian /Israeli conflict..
Mila took a risk with a nonconventional silhouette and crashed. Her country was New Guinea, but her dress had no soulful Indonesian influence. Isaac said it looked like communism, and he had a point. The red and black color scheme and the hard lined shape did look way more cold war Russian than island. Mila is hardly a one trick pony—she has great sewing skills and endless variations on her theme, the problem is that her theme is so set in stone that it doesn’t work in every challenge, and this one tripped her up.
At this point in the game I have to say that if Mondo doesn’t take it all, I’ll be surprised.
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