Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Mila Hermanovski's Blog

Don't Glamp My Style

By kim_messina 08/23/2013 04:19AM GMT

Glamping. Glamorous camping. For fashionistas who wouldnʼt typically be caught dead in the woods. But letʼs call a spade a spade. The designers didnʼt really go glamping...they went on a retreat for the day, sponsored by Resource Natural Spring Water. How nice for them to be able to escape the city and get some inspiration from nature, but the indisious thing about this is that it is still a competition and there are always cameras and producers directing them and following them around. Can they really decompress, feel inspired and have fun? Itʼs not always how it looks. I know I would have pulled an Alexandria, and cherished the opportunity to go off and be "alone" for a few minutes, a rare thing while in the competition! Viewers probably donʼt realize that the only time a designer is truly able to have privacy or be alone is in the bathroom; you are either being filmed, chaperoned or with roommates.

Tim is too cute in a camo-print blazer: his nod to the outdoors. He instructs the designers they are to create a high-end, editorial look inspired by nature and/or their activities (you know, like inspirational!). Sometimes the challenges which are very open to interpretation are the most difficult to execute in a short amount of time. Typically it takes more than a few hours (or even a day) to develop and execute a truly inspired design, not only through the initial brainstorming/sketch process but also in the workroom, for the design often evolves and can even change drastically as it is being executed. There are many factors which can affect it: fabric selection/availability, the ability to construct and actualize the sketch and unexpected sewing issues are just a few. The designers have a suggested budget of $300 for this challenge.

In the workroom, there are quite a number of interesting techniques and POVs developing. I was curious as to why Justin bought glue guns at Mood; then in the workroom I see this beautiful "lace" he is creating with the glue, and thought it was brilliant, albeit a bit ironic as the glue is so very synthetic. Braden is using the sewing machine to create an embroidery of sorts, which appears almost like hand-scribbled colored pencils. Jeremy is hand-painting a love letter onto silk. Alexandria is making separates, and while she seems confident about her drop-crotch pants (which apparently no one else likes), this entire episode so far she seems sad and defeated after being in the bottom last time.

HELEN's nude gown, inspired by a dying moth, is safe. The bodice looks completely forgotten and bare, as if she ran out of time. It needed to be covered in the same treatment as the skirt (which, incidentally...can she do anything else? Iʼm getting tired of seeing this raw-edge thing that she does over and over). Even a different color top would have been more interesting.

BRADON's gown looks like a maternity dress. Itʼs not flattering at all to the model, and the colors are more Maypole than nature-inspired. I was really hoping he would have made it more about the treated fabric he made. If he wasnʼt such a judgesʼ darling, he may have been in the bottom for this; it just looks very student-y to me.

MIRANDA finally stepped out of her box a bit. While there is still nothing earth-shattering about her embellished gown, it fit well and had some interest to it, which is more than one can say about her designs up til now. Nevertheless it was safe and I wonder how much longer she will "just be getting by."

KEN was worried that his day dress was "too simple." Not only was it too simple, it was top-heavy and slightly conservative. For most women at any age, the decolleté and collarbone are some of their most favorable features; hardly any woman wants to cover them completely, or add bulk. It was a very odd choice to add all those layers of heavy wool at the chest. He could have paneled/blocked the different colorways of the print and it could have been a much more interesting and successful look. The styling was awful as well. And so Ken was in the bottom, which must have made Alexandria pleased, and Ken humbled (if thatʼs possible). As much as the dress was a blunder, I would not be shocked to know that the producers put him in the bottom instead of Braden, for example, just to continue the storyline of tension between him and Alexandria.

ALEXANDRIA WINS for her edgy sportswear look which all her peers seemed to snub (at least it was edited that way). The judges love separates, and often reward designers for taking a risk in this way, when all the others are making gowns. I have seen it so many times, and won a challenge myself for doing that. I personally was happy to see this, as I think her look is the most fashion forward and editorial. I would have rather seen a different material used in the jacket, though—maybe leather or a heavier denim—something stiffer in the front. The chambray/soft denim fell short and looked a bit cheap in my opinion. I wasnʼt crazy about the hair and makeup styling, but I suppose one canʼt argue it was editorial, which no doubt Nina appreciated.

ALEXANDER finally managed to turn down the volume enough from his usual overdone style to achieve a top-scoring design, his navy and black painted gown with black leather "pool." I am not crazy about the actual painted design, but the fit is perfect and I like the strength and simplicity of the cut, and I really love the black leather at the bottom and trimming the armhole and neckline.

JUSTIN is eliminated for his unfortunate mess of a gown. Oh Justin, what happened? The glue gun lace was a great idea but the use of it and overall design was awful. The lace near looked to me like grey pubic hair. There was nothing fresh or modern about the cut of the gown and the sheer panels. Justin brings everyone to tears backstage, including Tim, who is so verklempt that he uses the "Tim Gunn Save" to give Justin another chance. While I think Justin is a sweet guy and has some potential, I donʼt see him winning the whole competition. What happened to the "Project Runway" mantra, "One day youʼre in and the next day youʼre out"? His design was worthy of being eliminated; Iʼm not convinced it was worthy of being saved.

DOM is safe as well...not inspired to say much about this look except that I like the print. The neck treatment was unnecessary and excessive. But then if you take that away, youʼve just got a rather straightforward silk print dress.

KAREN's dress is nowhere near editorial enough. The brown leather strapping is so very Kors circa-2005. The first thing I thought when I saw the dress was "clearance rack at Ross." And the styling was godawful, from the country-western singer hair to the odd ankle boots she paired with it. The gown had way too much volume, again looking maternity.

KATE was trying to have a Vera Wang moment with all the tulle, and while I like the concept in theory, she did not execute it well as it made the model look like a pregnant hunchback—no bueno. I do like the contrast of cutout patent leather with airy tulle, but it needed more construction finessing.

JEREMY. wooed his husband and the judges with his love-letter-painted silk gown. Thank goodness he 86ed the primary colors! Can you imagine? I winced when he mentioned that in the workroom. While it is impressive that he handled that bias silk well in a short amount of time, and the gown was well executed, I still take issue with Jeremyʼs rather matronly style and styling.