Consider the worst of morning madness: You must throw together an outfit and get ready in a few minutes. It’s the rare woman who meets that challenge and looks polished.
The equivalent for a fashion designer is to create an outfit within 24 hours. That’s the concept behind Lifetime’s ’24 Hour Catwalk,’ premiering Tuesday, Jan. 10. It’s a difficult task, complicated by additional challenges. Aspiring designers face judges, including designer Cynthia Rowley, publicist James LaForce and fashion writer Derek Blasberg. Alexa Chung hosts.
The designers have sample makers who can get the sewing done in record time, but this is a major undertaking, as hopefuls create their own three-piece collections and meet challenges.
Tony Peniche‘s black and gray dress is “an after-dusk garment,” Rowley says. She can envision a woman wearing it to a gallery opening. “It’s definitely expressive and free-form and has sort of a relaxed, disheveled kind of coolness.” She would keep accessories to a minimum, adding only “a booty shoe, something a little bit sexy, a little bit tough, kind of strong.”
Contestants had to use a Hawaiian shirt, and Michael Plosky met the challenge by lining the skirt and adding the swirly applique and belt. “I just don’t even understand this,” Rowley says of this outfit. “One of my pet peeves is decorating clothes. It’s like a flower decoration. I don’t know – ugh! That black skirt is weird; it’s business on the outside, party inside. It’s a mullet skirt.”
Julianna Bass‘ tropical-print poufy shorts and black top gets Rowley’s approval, but not an unqualified endorsement. “I like this relatively,” she says. “Let’s not go overboard. I can live with it because it is in the spirit of the original piece, and yet it’s been completely reinvented. It is cute. I can see Prada doing something like this, a cute bloomer short. I am generally loath – when you cannot think of anything – to put a black something with it. It would have been cool to mix a different print.”
It’s easy to dismiss Aleksandra Svetlichnaya‘s outfit. A metallic skirt with a huge chain belt and a yellow plaid halter with shoulder decorations that look like electrified anemones is best dismissed. Yet when Rowley separates the pieces, she sees potential. “If you are a club kid, you could totally pull it off, and it would be crazy and cool,” she says. As for the epaulets and hardware, Rowley says, “if you removed those it would be better, and you have a nice black leather belt. That little skirt, I actually think it is kind of cool. I guess I would wear it with a white, men’s kind of shirt and a black leather belt, and black tough girl (booties).”