Season 15, Episode 13 Recap: Cohesion, Cohesion, Cohesion, Cohesion

And just like that, the final four are sent home to start building their collections. Had you predicted these four finalists? I got three out of four this season–not bad. I do wonder what made the producers decided to have four finalists instead of the usual three? I kept thinking there would be an interim elimination or face-off like there was between me and Jay, but it would seem they will all compete for the crown, unless there is a twist in “Finale, Part 2.” It’s so curious to watch the process from this side, after having been though it. Trust me, it’s a very different experience when you are competing and in the hot seat.

I remember the day I left “Project Runway” Land to go home like it was yesterday, seared into my memory, a prelude to the PTSD I experienced upon my release! The entire “Project Runway” experience for me was very organic. I was approached to audition, and was at a point in my career at which I could do so. I like to call it a “why not?” moment. I was very casual about it and took the approach of “whatever happens” and that I would do the best I could. I was terrified! But with each challenge in which I was either safe, received a high score, or won, I started realizing I could actually get to the finale…and then I started really wanting it. I felt so relieved and grateful that I had made it to the final four and was able to (at last!) create a mini-collection in my own studio, and FINALLY with some sort of creative process! What a relief to not have to make a look in one day! I was incredibly proud of my collection, and showing it on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It was mostly afterwards that I thought, “I couldn’t imagine NOT making it,” to that point! And then, of course, there’s that moment I had to walk away from my collection in the tent, never to lay my hands on it again. If you’ve read my blogs from previous seasons, you know about how devastating that part of the process was.

This season, each of the designers had a serious problem with creating cohesive collections. I can’t help but wonder if they will even have the chance to rectify the issues–it could be simpler for some than for others. Once you’ve spent your allowance, you may or may not (usually NOT) have an opportunity to purchase more materials, so it is recommended to pack up any and all extra supplies and materials along with the collection, to ship to the workroom. So there may not be much opportunity to make new garments and/or tie everything together if you need to drastically rework things or scrap a look. I’ve said this before, and I know it sounds crazy, but…it is MORE difficult to create a successful, cohesive 10-look collection than it is to create a successful, cohesive 30-look collection. We’ll see next week if the producers and/or Tim take pity and give the designers some Mood $.

I was very surprised at and disappointed in LAURENCE’s collection. I know she wanted an element of surprise, so she made a point to eliminate any use of black in her collection, after using it half the season. However, being that the premise of her collection was somewhat “autobiographical,” and she wanted to tell a “darkness into light” story, I feel she could have made a much stronger statement had there been more extremes, including the use of black. The olive (the “new black”, or her “dark”) wasn’t powerful enough. But the white pieces were, most markedly the pearl-embellished silk top. The floral jacket, while beautifully tailored and fit, was a real head scratcher. Overall, I really missed the “cool factor” and edge that I associated with Laurence’s POV as a designer all season. There were some good pieces but like all collections, it lacked cohesion.

So RIK is still reminding me of Seth Aaron a bit, especially with the black and white unitard ensemble. However in my opinion, his collection was the MOST schizophrenic. He stated the 60s as his inspiration, but that is such a broad statement, especially since the early and late 60s were so very different. Then he was incorporating this embroidery which was lovingly executed by his Latin aunts, and my understanding was that was a reference to his heritage. I felt those two seemingly significant elements did not relate well together. Also, he was on a black/white/red graphic tangent but then suddenly there is a strange paisley-printed denim, which could not be more left-field from the “mod” direction. It will certainly be interesting to see how Rik problem solves to tie the collection together. I feel he may not be able to unless he has more material or gets to go shopping!

I was not at all surprised by ERIN’s work–in true art school form, she has been working tirelessly at creating a gazillion different handmade techniques. She presented another level of “non-cohesion,” however, with too many textiles. From the Jeremy Scott-esque pop banana + hand print, to the laser-cut glitter paillette-embellished neoprene, to the romantic fairy-tale animals hand painted on silk, and more, Erin proves she has endless creativity but lacks a more seasoned designer’s ability to edit. The outcome of her three-look preview was to drop that dress that her friend had hand-painted, because it was certainly the oddball boho look in what appears to be a very pop-driven collection. I can’t say I see too any women wearing her looks, but they do have a strong runway/editorial presence and I appreciate her artsy POV.

I get what ROBERI is trying to express when it comes to his customer. I respect that he wants to make clothing that is real and wearable. He also, however, wanted to each look in the collection to be “different pieces” representing “”different moments” in “different places,” which just basically is an outline for an INCOHESIVE collection! While I did not think his collection was as incongruous as others, it was not without issues. I can’t understand the obsession with tinkerbell skirts (a dirndl shape in rather garish iridescent fabric). I can almost live with the color blocked dress/bodice and pink skirt, but didn’t get the purple one at all. That look makes me ask, “Who is wearing that and where is she going?” I do like the more urban styling with sneakers, but there are simply way too many messages here and in the end I don’t understand who his girl is when I see the looks (his objective just isn’t translating).

Okay are we sick of the word “cohesive” yet?

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