Lifetime: Well, I'm pleased to say that Lifetime fixed the issue with the photos, so you can now see photos of the individual garments without rating them--and they've one-upped Bravo by giving you four pictures of each dress--well, three of the dress and one of the fabrics. Still sad that "Tim's Take" is still basically video of his critiques in the workroom, and that two of the other blogs are video-based. I read faster than I can watch a video. But the improvement of the picture situation gets my thumbs up.
The Challenge: A pregnancy challenge is a GREAT idea. I know from sisterly experience that maternity shopping is in itself a challenge, and that it is expensive. They have lots more cute clothes than they used to, but it is a lot of money to spend on a nine-month outfit.
And therein lies the problem. I just can't care that Rebecca Romijn has "trouble" finding chic maternity clothes. I know this was probably supposed to make me say, "Hey, she has troubles just like me!" but she doesn't. She can afford to have things custom made, and she can afford the cute things that are actually in the shops/websites...oh, and she's a model. I can't sympathize with her and I certainly can't pity her. I'm sure lots of people will disagree with me and that's fine, but I thought she made the actual idea of the challenge less fantastic for me.
I think this could have been a great opportunity to do a new take on the "everyday woman" challenge by giving regular pregnant ladies really chic outfits, to show that ANY pregnant lady can have lovely things and feel elegant.
This week, my two favorites and my two least favorites coincided with the judges. Not having been pregnant, I can't vouch for whether my feelings are right, but here's my rundown (and I actually took notes this week and watched the runway show twice):
Althea: I'm going to defend this outfit--The dress was glamorous and I'd wear it. The judges were right to call Althea out on the too-tiny top, which was impractical, BUT, I have also seen pregnant famous ladies wearing very low cut tops at Red Carpet events, and after all, we were dressing Romijn, not the everyday woman. Some small adjustments would have made that top just right. The dress would also need to be a little shorter, as someone pointed out in comments at Lifetime, because it was dangerously long, but if it was hemmed a bit differently, this dress would be suitable for a fancy do, which I respect. It could also be worn with low-heeled shoes (a lot of designers seemed to neglect this their styling--hello, swollen ankles and baby weight? I admit, RR was wearing high heels.).
Carol Hannah: CH is kind of in love with herself, no? I liked the little jacket with this dress, but I didn't care for the back of the dress, and I thought the swoop on the front was a little too accentuating. The placement of it bothered me, I guess. I can't really see RR wearing this outfit, which was my ultimate issue.
Christopher: Leggings? Really? Boring. I can get those anywhere. The top was a pretty color, and I liked the pleating, but the bubble silhouette is overdone and a bit of a copout, I thought. I didn't dislike the top, but doing a top with plain leggings troubled me.
Epperson: Go with me here: This was an interesting direction. I thought the volume of the jacket was too much--it was a little too much like a crumpled-paper project in the midsection. Personally, I would not wear a jumpsuit like this, but I could see where he was going for Rebecca Romijn, who might. I would have liked to see her in it actually, because that's how different it was from anything I'd envisioned myself. Ultimately, I think it was a little too strange, but I like the creativity of this outfit. I am a little bothered that we've heard practically nothing of Epperson at all. What does this mean?
Gordana: I was a little bored by this outfit, as I was with Christopher's. Again--leggings. Why? That's what you choose to show off your design skills? The little cardi was a nice color, but not out of the ordinary, and the top, while pretty, was also not that unusual. Thus, while the design overall was attractive, there was nothing special or striking about it to my eye.
Irina: I quite liked Irina's garment. Problems: The flowers at the front were not quite the right color, I think. The front of the dress (as someone pointed out in the Lifetime comments) should have been a bit longer...either that or the model's babybump was way out of whack. There were a couple of construction issues indicated by the photos that I didn't see on the runway. That being said, cute colors and cute design, just some sewing issues. I would totally wear this dress, though, and I think it was my third favorite look, designwise. It looked fresh and young, and I think that's how I might like to look if I were pregnant in the summer.
Johnny: I liked the side seam on Johnny's garment. The piping was a good idea in the design he chose. Overall, the design wasn't very eyecatching for me. I never did figure out the back...was the back loose in some way? Like a cape? I can't tell from the photos, either. Something got lost in translation.
Logan: Boring. Boring boring boring. This really looks like something you could buy in a store. In some ways, that could be good, because it's a realistic and wearable garment. However, with the challenge being a design for a celebrity and to wow the judges...I didn't see it. It's a safe, middle-of-the road garment. Nothing more. And LEGGINGS AGAIN.
Louise: Louise conflicts me. I wasn't super wowed by her garment, though I like that she was able to bring her aesthetic into the challenge, and still create something the celeb judge would like. I also love that she hand-dyed her lace. Sure, it's not that hard, but my positive feelings about designers slowing down and thinking about their fabrics is previously documented. And it was really beautifully dyed. I'm wondering if all her garments are going to have shoulder flowers, and hoping she's not going to get stuck. All that being said, I think her garment ranked round about number 4 for me.
Malvin: Oh, Malvin. Okay. On the mannequin, before we got all the black involved, I thought I saw some interesting and soft draping of a lush fabric, and I thought maybe we had a fall garment with potential. Then we got to the runway and I had to play the WTF? card. What I thought I saw was obviously not the intention. Let's go backward. I beautiful lush wrap from that ivory fabric paired with a fawn or gray draped shirt maybe, or a sleek dress? I can sort of see something in my mind. But those pants were awful, and the look didn't come together, and the execution was not appealing. However...
Mitchell: Mitchell, in my mind, is out this week. I don't know what else he'll do, and maybe he will come back in a big way, but I will always think he maybe shouldn't be there. His look was neither well executed nor well designed. Yes, the top and cardi were wearable (in fact, I quite liked the flow of the cardi), but let's face it: We're looking at really horrific shorts and a top two garments you could get at Target or somewhere similar. The whole thing looked sloppy and unkempt. Honestly, as soon as I saw it I thought it was something B. Spears might wear and get made fun of for, because it would make her look flighty. The idea was to provide clothes a pregnant lady couldn't buy that would flatter her. Malvin was at least trying to produce something creative. This was the bigger fashion crime for me.
Nicolas: This look, while not terrible or really boring, made me think these adjectives: untidy, overworked, vampy. The skirt was too short and too tight, and the severe color choices were not tempered by anything, as were Althea's. Ultimately, I didn't care for this as a maternity dress, and I'm not sure I'd like it as a regular dress, either. It wants a bit of softness somewhere.
Qristyl: Qristyl went a little earth mothery this week, and I respect her color choice for the top. The bottom--is that brown or black? I couldn't tell. I think it was too dark, either way, and it was kind of startling, and also made flaws with the bottom of the top part stand out. I'm all for flowy-drapey-wrappy, but the bottom of the dress bothered me.
Ra'Mon: I always love it when something said in the workroom is repeated verbatim by the judges. Everyone thought bowling bag with this dress. Colors? Super. Fit? Awful. Construction? Um. What happened, Ra'Mon? He was trying a chancey design, and it didn't work. I really wanted him to do well with these fabrics, and I didn't want him to be in the bottom three, but I look at the other designs and can't really find anything worse, aside from M & M. Thus, he kind of has to get that position by default. Hopefully that will be a wakeup and he'll get back on track next week. I think he has more experimenting to do.
Shirin: I love the colors of the dress and lining, and thought the flyaway coat was very chic. Admittedly, I wasn't sold on this design at first, and thought it mid-range, but the second time around in the runway show, I completely revised my estimation. It was a smart response to the challenge, and worked both for the judge and for any woman. I do hope she does some different skirt cuts, though, because the dress shape and draping of the top is FAR too similar to what she did the first week. I liked it better for this challenge, so I wasn't sorry she won, and the coat was a new element, but let's keep track of her, shall we? I will go right off her if I see this dress again.
Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to Andrae Gonzalo's blog, which I find carefully considered and tastefully written this week. His last segment explains why Ra'Mon and Malvin failed at the essential maternity portion of this challenge.