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Hell-en on Earth

By laurareineke Fri., Oct. 11, 2013 ,4:35 am EDT

Heidi had some lonely lips last week having not had the opportunity to give any of the designers a kiss goodbye, but you could tell she must have been in a charitable mood since she gave the designers an extra challenge last minute to recreate one of the past losing designs. It was a first on "Project Runway" and one of my favorite challenges thus far! You must agree, far too often we sit at home screaming and cursing at our TVs like crazy people at a loony bin about the garments we love and the ones that we cringe over as they come down the runway. I liked the idea of the designers having the opportunity to resurrect a losing garment into a winning garment. It was a great way to see how they could all manage to take an existing design's foundation and give it their own signature spin. I think it was important seeing how the integrity of each piece had to resonate to the judges but it was entirely up to the remaining five designers to really transform it into something new and beautiful.

This industry and profession orbit transformation and it was important to see which designers had the ability to have their voice be heard loud and clear. Dom and Braden secured two spots for New York Fashion Week while the remaining three still have the opportunity to create collections but upon returning to NYC will have to battle for one or more remaining spots. Helen said, "This has been the motivation to blow the judges out of the water, and prove to them, given a bit more time, I can secure a spot at Fashion Week!" While Justin never thought he "would make it this far because it is such a talented group of people" he is "very excited to continue." And Alexandria is numb, saying, "This doesnít feel real, none of it feels real." I'm glad she was talking about the competition and not Dolly Parton; we all know THOSE arenít real, however perhaps they are too good to be true, just like Alexandria's opportunity. She has a lot to be thankful for from Heidi who is always on her side, even when the other judges are not confident in her.

With $9,000 and six weeks, each of the designers has to put together a 10-look collection with one of their looks being created from unconventional materials! What a fabulous little twist this season, I love the idea of having to work in abstract materials and breathe life into them for a show. For each designer the sky is really the limit. We have heard all season: "If I only had a little more time, the sewing and tailoring would be better, the fabrics would be more thoughtful, and the design would be able to have more direction behind it." Well now is the time to shine bright like a diamond and donít hold back!

After a farewell from Heidi, we arrive in Philadelphia to see how Dom has been spending her past four weeks. Dom informs us that one of her favorite movies is "Blade Runner," which has inspired her collection from a "retro futurism" perspective. With her proof fabric having just arrived, Dom only has 3 looks in the process and I am simply blown away! That is not even a look a week! Tim advises her to put all of the fabrics into knit and she said that she didn't think of it herself since she is planning to work in angular lines colliding with curved lines. With her family by her side and her mother as a large fashion influence in her life, Dom learned at a very young age the developmental skills of working hard for what you want in life, while following her dream.

Meanwhile over in LA-LA land, Braden is trying not to think about the fact that he has already been chosen to show at New York Fashion Week because the idea is "Petrifying!" It takes years for wood to petrify, so a mere 4 weeks of designing should be the most exciting time in a young designer's life! With the first words out of Tim's mouth being "Wow, wow, wow," I would hope that was able to give Braden the encouragement to not live in this moment in fear, but rather flourish like the beauty of his inspiration. Working in glassy, snowy, cool metallic colors that clash with nature, ice, and sex that give off the idea of animalistic instincts, Braden is "relieved to have made it to this landmark moment of the competition." He also realizes that he needs to work as he's "never worked before, or it's not gonna happen!"

Speaking of working like you've never worked before...we head to San Mateo, California to enter Alexandria's "in the works" 30-piece collection which is described as edgy, strong, and modern. It's all about this "neo-nomadic punkî which is understated yet detail-oriented. Now you mean to tell me Alexandria, between making dolls at Camp Couture you have been able made a piece a day while getting sleep? Not that I donít believe you, however, it seems like you think raw, undone clothing appeals to everyone, and it doesn't. Far too many times this season you have used this technique and frankly if it were not for the support of Heidi, you would not be with us today. Not knowing how to finish garments properly and playing it off as though it's what you intended is a crutch that will get old in time for most people but is something I am completely OVER! Why not just come out and say you donít know what you are doing on a sewing machine and give Tiny Tim back his property?

Mentioning handicaps, we head over to Union City, new Jersey to get an update from Helen who at first "felt really discouraged by not being in the top three." However it gave her "more motivation to kill it with this collection!" With an inspiration of clairvoyance encompassing "knowing the unknown" Tim asks how something so abstract can be made concrete through clothing. The reply of course is quite vague but it surrounds taking the concept of vision somewhere? Even I am lost, as I can imagine you are! It's one thing to take a picture of your boyfriend's eyeball and incorporate it into a print, but what the hell does it stand for? It's a design direction that has some extreme hiccups, and something Helen really needs to work out before she stands on the runway and tries to sell herself and her collection to the judges. She of course is confident enough that "it 100% will WOW the judges because it's bold and has in-your-face aggressive colors."

From a vague design direction to one of the strongest, we land in Raleigh, North Carolina to see Justin, who has been the designer I have been patiently waiting to see. Being taught deafness is not a disability, rather an opportunity to thrive with the best of the best, Justin is ìhumble and thankful to be in the competition still" but is eager to win. The inspiration for the collection is in some ways a retrospective of his life, from being entirely deaf, to the transition of being able to hear, to the resolution of learning to live with it. It's a strong narrative and one that opens itself to an amazing collection if interpreted correctly. Having been inspired by sound waves Justin is using a fabulous 3D printing machine for his accessories as well as delivering us a fierce unconventional piece using test tubes! My only question is, did he already own the 3D printing machine or did he buy it with the $9000, because I can imagine that it is not a cheap product! Knowing he still has to fight for a spot Justin informs us that he is nervous to have to compete against Helen and Alexandria since they are both strong designers. With that said he knows he has "a very strong collection and a strong concept."

The workroom has a fragrance of anticipation and secretiveness as each designer's collection is revealed. Alexandria hopes the amount of work she has done might be "slightly intimidating to my competitors," and she has some choice words for Helen's "student collection" while Helen thinks nothing in Alexandria's collection is "new or chic" as well as in Braden's "old-lady" collection. Big words from a girl that used an eyeball as a print! Perhaps it's ironic that Helen was inspired by vision, because she need to open her eyes and look around the room and soak in the fact that weather she believes in someone else's work or not, there are some insanely fabulous things happening in the other designers' collections besides working off the idea of capes. Dom is glad Tim used his save on Justin because Justin is "a secret weapon because you don't expect the beautiful things that turn out from his work." Justin equally agrees that Dom's use of print "is utterly amazing!î What will the judges think?

I have to say Justin didn't have a thing to worry about going into this final runway show to secure a spot at New York Fashion Week, but I did know that it would come down to the bickering duo of Helen and Alexandria. I must agree that even with the flaws of finishing work, Alexandria was really strong with her styling and it of course helps that she has Heidi's love and unconditional support! Helen however looked as though she was about to take those cutting shears out of her neck and throw them at Heidi! With the most wins in the competition up until this point, Helen just wasn't able to wow the judges with her sampling of work. Perhaps they couldnít "see" it clearly? Every pun intended! What do you think and whose collections are you most excited to see?