'The Fashion Show' goes back to high school cliques for their inspiration, because lord knows we all want to look 15 again, right? No, me neither.
The Mini Challenge has the designers creating a look to help a New York politico reach voters on the campaign trail. When they expect to see Hilary Clinton, I wonder if they've ever watched the Bravo Network. In reality, the politician is a 17 year old girl running for student body president and they must each pick a book bag at random that contains items depicting a specific clique. Taking those inspiration pieces, they get an hour to decorate a t-shirt. Who's hogging the puffy paints? Daniella ends up winning yet another competition, gaining immunity for the evening.
The Elimination Challenge is to take their clique and design a look for the girl, now in her early 20's. When Johnny tries to contemplate what the jock girl turns into, he shrugs and says "I dunno, someone who works in Home Depot"? Somewhere, there is a girl's softball team that is planning his demise. The designers are given the shortest amount of time thus far on this challenge – less than 24 hours. Which amounts to many of them getting just a few hours of sleep. Still, that is no excuse for Haven dressing like an extra from "Falcon Crest", is it?
It is clear on Isaac's walk through who is struggling and not just by Isaac's incredulous looks or the designers' tearful eyes. When Angel admits that her main inspiration for her B-Girl clique look is Salt-N-Pepa, I peg her as the person we'll be saying good bye to. In the face of Johnny's fringe backed bicycle shorts, this says a lot. But what the montage really highlights is that Isaac instills doubt in the designers, where Tim Gunn provides valuable insight and guidance. Since Isaac is a judge, it's understandable that he tries not to get too involved, but I do miss that mentor element.
The runway show comes off better than anyone expected. Johnny's jockette is embarrassingly off the mark, of course. But Anna's sleek goth and Haven's fashionable skater immediately make up for it with smart fabric choices and details that capture the essence of the inspiration. I love the idea of Reco's grown up "Juliette", matching the ephemeral empire dress with a perfectly fitted heavy plaid mini-vest. But the dress takes the mini too far into trashy for me.
James Paul's isn't very preppy, but is very fashion forward, so he's forgiven. Merlin's is surprisingly apropos for a "Mean Girl", marrying just enough edge to it's frilly-flirtiness. Lidia's nerd too literal, with the smock and high collar. Meanwhile, Daniella's tree-hugger has pants that should be burned immediately, but from the waist up? I would but it all in heartbeat. And then there's Angel. It's bad. Very, very bad. From the wool, fitted slacks, with one leg shorter than the other, to the puffy, shiny, teal vest, it's a horrible costume mockery of hip hop fashion.
Haven and Merlin end up with the top slots for the night, which seems to shock the hell out of Haven. Which speaks volumes about her self-confidence. Merlin takes the win and he can't resist checking out the looks on Reco and Daniella's faces, which he categorizes as a true polaroid moment. The bottom two are Johnny and Angel, which shocks no one. What does end up shocking is the fight the erupts while the judges deliberate.
Johnny is that not altogether rare breed that when faced with fact that 90% of the audience didn't like his work will sniff and haughtily respond "I'm designing for the other 10%". Now I am all for artistic integrity, but fashion is a business and if you want to be successful at it you have to understand it and challenge yourself to excel at it everyday. Thus, I interpret Johnny's claim to not care what others think of his designs as fear of trying to live up to that challenge and failing. So he's half assing it instead, while bragging about all the investors he has waiting for him "back home".
I think Reco agrees with me, because he mutters "I got folks playing in my profession and I am tired of it", before walking away. Keen to incite drama and take the spotlight off his own abundant failure, Johnny tells Haven that Reco was mad that she was in the top two because he thinks he should have been there himself. Which is not even close to what Reco said. Haven, being the insecure person she is, jumps all over Reco when he returns, with Daniella egging her on. In my opinion, Reco comes out looking the best, if only for speaking his mind honestly and showing that he has so much desire and drive for the industry that he is insulted by Johnny's 'who cares' attitude.
And it's an attitude we will endure another week, as Angel is sent home. Was that a fair elimination? What did you think of the fight? Were the designers purposefully deprived of sleep to illicit the tears and anger we saw tonight?