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Oh My Lord & Taylor!

By kim_messina Tue., Apr. 2, 2013 ,12:33 pm EDT

If you’re like me, we have all had a week to cool ourselves down from last week’s episode, where the only thing that kept us watching was to get a glimpse of the beautiful bodies of the Thunder from Down Under boys! I was sad to start this episode with the absence of Amanda, but I imagine she is already making waves somewhere, even if it is in the tub! I know Nashville is ready to embrace her talent and I look forward to seeing what she does.

I prayed we would have less whining this week so we could get back to creating some glamorous fashion and of course we start the show out with Richard and Layana not being able to share toys in the sandbox! I mean honestly dolls, didn’t you ever learn to kill you enemies with kindness!? It’s the first rule of the fashion world, heck of the world in general, don’t be fooled by the fancy parties and the double kisses photographed during fashion week. They all go back to the office and chatter with annoyance and aggravation about their competition and "frenemies!"

One aspect that has begun to emerge is that the judges are an integral part of pairing the designers for the following challenge! I absolutely love this seeing how they have no idea what happens in the workroom on the day to day basis and are merely matching the designers on what they think can be interesting collaborations. It makes for a fabulous new dimension to the show and one that makes us all antsy in our seats.

With this being the Lord & Taylor challenge, it’s specific, and within lies the challenge to create a look that embodies not only the Lord & Taylor style, but the trick is to design something they will crave. Like most department stores, the consumer is oversaturated with choices, so this is a tricky challenge to design for knowing you will really have to hone in on your design and mold it to be something that you could see this specific customer wanting to spend $250 on.

Side note: It’s easy to get caught up on making it within the budget, but the truth of the matter is, if the judges love it and they want it, they will (no pun intended) "Make it work!"

It’s the point of the season where we certainly see designers at a lack of ideas and Richard is taking the top prize for being drained creatively. Heck, I’d rather see "tacky," in the words of Layana, then boring and seen before! Talking about his color blocked maxi dress as if it’s never been done before? Umm hello, did we not see Prabal Gurung three seasons ago!? And "Miss I need a pacifier to suck on" Layana feeding us from her hard and soft birdbath…Groundbreaking, leather and chiffon! Puke! And by puke I’m talking about her fabric choice. I don’t know, perhaps it reminded her of her abuela's sofa!?

Meanwhile in the far corner we are having a "he said, she said" battle following Tim’s departure from Michelle and Daniel. I mean it made for an interesting moment, but I just had to giggle knowing that it’s all recorded by the court room stenographer, and can be replay to sort out this debacle. They are both strong designers in the competition and can be of asset to one another, leave all the drama up to Layana and Richard for today, because you’re drawing to much attention to yourselves.

Side note: It’s great to finally see some sort of friction, even if its childish, it’s making for a far better ending to a rather slow and tedious, "OMG, we are all going to be friends here," beginning! Don’t you agree?

I was disappointed to not see Zac Posen in his chair this week, not only because he’s so handsome, but I think he would have been such an integral point of view for the designers to here from regarding retail and the salability of a garment. He has built a huge fashion design house in less than 15 years, Impressive!

Remembering it’s the Lord & Taylor event I realized I wasn’t going to be "blown away" by the runway show. But it’s the most realistic challenge we might see all season, because when the cameras stop rolling and the microphones are off, this is what it’s all about loves…SELLING! It’s what makes a business and it’s what grows a business. Frankly without selling your clothes might as well be a plumber. These designers are here to do just that, design, get picked up by stores, and create seasonal collections.

It’s definitely a diverse runway show and it gave the judges a lot to discuss. It was by far one of the first challenges that truly became a subjective numbers game and what Bonnie and the judges find the most attractive and sellable for that moment. That’s the tricky thing with fashion, one day you might be on the plus and nail all the right trends, and the next season, you might be completely off. Regardless you have to own what you do and believe in it!

Talking about believing in what you do, I applaud Samantha like a 13 year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert for this week! She took a risk to design for a more junior Lord & Taylor consumer and it didn’t work, but she stood by her design with conviction. With Lord & Taylor in the works to revamp the customer base for the store, I wouldn’t have taken such a risk to try and reach a new demographic for them, in terms of design, let them take that risk first and see if it’s profitable or not. I would have amped up a design as Michelle did for their current customer, which it was a gorgeous shift and what ultimately landed her the win. Remember: design and deliver who and what you are as a designer and let them come to you, because it’s tricky to try and make people see your vision especially when what they are looking at and for are dollar signs.