I am usually a diehard fan of the everyday/unusual materials challenges. While they are not terribly realistic, they are, naturally, challenging. We get to see who can put up and who needs to shut up (looking at you, Emilio). After all, the show investors are not going to want to give money to someone who can't get creative when the proverbial chips are down, or someone who will crash and burn when encountering an obstacle. These challenges are less about design skills and more about good business. That is why I hate it when the designers complain, "This isn't really my thing" when clearly it's not anybody's thing. You're being tested. Live with it. This year, it seems like fewer designers were up in arms about it, though, which pleased me.
Amy: I liked the pattern that Amy did with the sandpaper. Up close it wasn't as pleasing, but from a distance the fans were striking. I liked the fun spirit of Amy's work this week, in much the way I liked her response to the potato sack challenge. I also love that she just seems happy to be designing, no matter what the challenge.
Anthony: Oh, Michael Kors. What planet are you on that this looked like a prom dress? Anyway, the judges' response to this look reminded me of their response to Gordana's newspaper look--they didn't like that you couldn't tell at least a little that it was an unusual material, so it didn't have the wow they wanted. It was an attractive garment, and I liked the leaf detail, but it didn't look difficult, nor like an advancement of Anthony's style, and the accessory component was weak. Bonus: I think it was this garment for which Nina seemed to be searching for a word and then she said, "Boring." It's like she suddenly forgot her favorite word.
Ben: "I like that the dress doesn't touch her body." Seriously? What part of that is impressive? It doesn't look like it's levitating, it looks like it doesn't fit. I didn't respond positively to this look--it looked like it was crumpled foil, like an oven bag, only in copper. The silhouette was flat as well, much like the little girl dress from the last episode. It was just ... boring.
Emilio: Don't you love it when a designer straightup lies on the runway? His little story about wanting to make a bathing suit because everyone else was making a dress made me want to toss him then and there. And did my ears desceive me or did I actually hear Nina say she didn't think this was that bad? I'd love to hear how the editing team made that happen. This look was hideous, but in his defense I've seen swimsuits almost as bad in the Victoria's Secret swim catalog. Still, I would have chucked him. Tim has also brought it to my attention that there was no accessory with this look.
Jay: I hated his reaction after he won. His attitude rubs me the wrong way. Still, I liked his outfit (although, once again, he committed the PR sin of barely covering his model's bosom). Mad props for the pants with the patterning on them. I knew his materials, and I saw them going together, but I'm still not sure how he did it, and I respect that. He very clearly transformed his materials.
Jesse: You all know how I feel about bubble skirts. This was an extreme version, and naturally I disliked it. However, I still feel like the top of this garment included more design than Emilio's train wreck. It was something that made me want to look closer, and made me say, well, huh, whereas Emilio's made me want to look away and never speak of it again. Poor Jesse.
Jonathan: Johnathan was at least something of a contender this week, with that luxe russet color and a distinctive point of view. Elements of his design were a little messy, especially involving that slit, but it was at least fun and intriguing to look at.
Maya: Legend fans out there? How much did that string jacket remind you of the evil Lily's dress? Just me? OK. Anyway, I liked that, and I was cool with the accessory. The dress was kind of flat. It literally looked like it was made of normal fabric. The jacket was clearly the most interesting piece. On the subject of Maya's model: What is it about her that bothers me? I don't think they've been making this poor girl up to her best advantage. She kind of reminds me of old school Bowie.
Mila: Mila is Mila, right? This week, at least her look was young. A throwback, yes, but youthful. Props for using plastic and still having a garment that fits the model. Something about this made me want to tap dance in it, maybe with the rattling of the plastic pieces around me.
Seth Aaron: Kind of an updated version of Rosie, the Jetson's maid. Definitely a robot influence. The back was sort of sassy, but there were a LOT of sharp edges on this garment and I would be terrified of opening an artery. I didn't like this look on the runway and now am merely meh about it. Maybe if those top bits had "peeled" down further? Give some definition?
In all, this was a fun challenge to see the results for. It successfully rested my brain while I was grading essays, which seems to be taking me forever this round.