Three Impressive Designers...But There Can Only Be One Winner (My "All Stars" Finale Recap)
We’ve made it to the final show of the finals, and I’m thrilled with the choice of guest judges. These designers work so hard and they deserve critiques from people who are in the industry and know what they are talking about. Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus has twice done a great job as a guest judge, and Tommy Hilfiger has been in the business as long as anyone out there. Along with Isaac and Georgina, this is a team from which any designer would be honored to receive feedback. I also thought Joanna Coles was completely charming with the designers in this episode.
I’m exhausted for the designers. It’s hard to believe they pulled off six looks in the amount of time they were given. As it was pointed out, all of the previous finalists were able to create the bulk of their collections in the comfort of their own home, these guys had to do it in the midst of television production, and on a much tighter time line. In season three we had the shortest time of any season, three months for twelve looks, that came out to one week per look, these guys had to do two a day. They all did an amazing job. But there can only be one winner…
Austin’s collection was as glamorous as expected. I didn’t see the h undred s of years old Brooklyn vampire borrowing clothes from her Hasidic dandy friends, but I did see a feminine collection of special occasion outfits with masterful fabric manipulation. Tommy Hilfiger liked what he called the rock and roll pieces, and thought that they added a youthful aspect to evening wear, but I thought the pink top and leatherette skirt, and the cat-suit were practically throw always compared to the others. Even the pleated petal pushers were adorable; though I can’t imagine they would be flattering on too many body types. The red carpet dress felt a bit to over worked, but it made great runway drama. All in all, an impressive showing.
Mondo’s collection was up next. His opening outfit was a stunner, difficult to do with sportswear that isn’t as inherently dramatic as eveningwear. His use of polka dots throughout the collection was well done; these were not 50’s housewife Kenley polka dots, but a more modern scale and color. I found his details to be a bit cartoony, the buttons too large and the pocket flaps too defined, but they were consistent as expressed a clear and cohesive idea. As usual, his use of color and graphics were expert.
Last to show was Michael. As a collection his fabric selections were gorgeous. I thought they blended well and definitely told the safari story without being too literal. Thank you Michael for not throwing a single animal print in our faces! However, the silhouettes didn’t quite match up to the fabrics in interest. Because Michael chose to do what was essentially six dresses, I’m counting jumpsuits as dresses here, he didn’t have a lot of separates for the judges to fall in love with. Even Austin had more individual pieces in his collection than Michael. The judges thought his work looked too commercial, which is not a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing, it’s just not what the judges were looking for today.
Any one of these designers could have been the winner. There were strengths and weaknesses to all of their collections. I am in awe of what they were able to accomplish this season and I feel honored to have been able to follow along. I wish them all the greatest of success.