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Episode 13 Recap: Finale Part 1

By CaitlinBergmann Wed., Oct. 26, 2011 ,12:52 pm EDT

This is the last of the last. We are down to the final four, and this is the moment where they realize THIS IS REAL. I so excited for all the remaining designers. All are very talented and deserving of being the champion. But as we know, there can only be one. BUT they're not at the end of the road just yet. Only THREE designers are going to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Lets see who's got the goods.

As customary with all finalists of seasons past, Tim Gunn made his consult rounds, around the country (and across seas) to dish some encouraging and constructive criticism. I always love seeing this, because Tim's sincerity and genuine nature always shine! It's enjoyable to see his interaction with the finale designers' friends and family, as well as the endearing tutelage he shares with each of the finalists.

This season/episode was no different. The first stop: Maryland, to see Kimberly's collection. I was so happy to see the episode open with her visit. Her garments excite me. Her voice as a designer needs to be heard, not because it's extremely different, but because it's a voice that HASN'T been heard on "PR." And from the commentary from Tim, he agrees.

Kimberly's collection is inspired by the Brooklyn Girl; who she was and who she is now. Her inspiration was intriguing to me because her options and directions are limitless! Although the "Brooklyn Girl" is and can be an actual person, Kimberly has to capture the SPIRIT of who she was and is. From the look of the few pieces, I think she was going in the right direction. I love her color palette. The cobalt, fuchsia and dashes of ivory are youthful but sophisticated. I wasn't so moved by the few patterns I saw. There's something about them that didn't speak to the silhouettes they were used for. Tim seemed to be pleased with her direction. He even commented that her pieces "looked" like her. Let's hope that the rest of the collection is equally amazing.

Mr. Gunn's next stop was beautiful Trinidad to check in on Anya! I'm sure this was a welcome departure from being on U.S. soil. Just seeing where Anya calls home, figuratively and literally, is instantly inspiring. The colors, the landscape, the energy, ALL make the perfect amalgamation for a fantastic collection. Unfortunately, there wasn't a collection to look at. I mean, NOTHING … NOT. A. STITCH. Lol. Of course, Tim's distress was written all over his face. We WERE able to see her inspiration and fabric. She was inspired by Trinidad's sister island, Tobago. There were fantastic photos of the sea, the coast and all the beautiful tropics of the island. But again, there were no garments to reflect it. Anya did have her fabrics for the visit. She managed to maintain her easy, flowy and print-heavy aesthetic there. I wish I could expound more about her visit with Tim. Anya has been known to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so let's see what happens.

Next, Tim is back in New York! His first stop is to see Viktor. Viktor's collection, "Urban Coast," is inspired by his trip to Mexico, which he visited for the anniversary of his brother's death. Initially, I expected the collection to be dark and broody, but once he began to show the photographs of his trip, it felt energetic and spirited! Viktor literally infused that same energy and spirit into his collection by creating printed fabric using those very photographs. I am super impressed. One thing I can say about Viktor (despite his "PR" competitor conspiracy theories, lol) is HE IS A DESIGNER, in every sense of the word. That became more evident as he began to unveil the collection. The pieces were inspired. There were a lot of wearable, approachable pieces, but he didn't sacrifice design. Tim felt there could be a few issues with styling, but I must say, I LIKE where Viktor is going with it! Can't wait to see the collection in its entirety!

The last of Tim's finale visits was to good ole Josh. To be honest, Josh's collection is the one I'm the most compelled to see. I am GUARANTEED that it won't bore me (or Nina ;-)! It didn't take long to see that Josh went full speed ahead! I mean, the whole Crayola box! Lol. I didn't really see any clear inspiration but the wildly chromatic fabric that Tim passionately told him to scrap. In addition, I didn't quite get a sense of the shapes and silhouettes. I am actually really pulling for Josh. I get his aesthetic. GRANTED, there is a little honing that needs to be done, but you can't say the dude doesn't have a voice! Let's just hope it's loud enough (or in Josh's case, not too loud) to keep him in the running for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

So finally the gang is back in the workroom. And wouldn't you know it, ONE MORE FINAL CHALLENGE! The final four has to pick three pieces that represent their collection to present to the judges. This can be tricky. They all need to show the best looks that show forward, inspired design, but also make sure they tell the story and the direction of the collection.

SIDEBAR: Being in this situation before (in the final four), I can sooo relate to that moment when you all reunite for the first time and have to "unveil" your collection. It's one moment of silent competition. It was so funny seeing everyone's side eye peeking at each other's collection. Lol. Classic!

As Tim worked the room to see everyone's three pieces, he had concerns with all the designers' selections except for Viktor. I agreed with all his commentary. Viktor's picks are SOLID. Total cohesion and direction. Everyone else's seemed a little frantic. This is such a hard task to undertake. But at the end, it's about taking a risk and PRAYING it pays off.

The final runway show before the FINAL RUNWAY SHOW has arrived. I am amped! The little prelude of glimpses here and there was cool, but I'm ready for the story to unfold.

First to present was Viktor. His three looks were rock-solid! My favorite was the mirrored tank, pant, and tuxedo-jacket look. MY ONLY gripe with the collection is it felt a little familiar. The prints were a little McQueen-esque, and the white leather moto jacket with the pearl beading … I'm pretty sure I've seen Lady Gaga in a similar moment. The references are DEFINITELY not a carbon copy, but again, they just felt a little familiar.

Anya then presented her looks. I have to say, I wasn't really moved by her choices. They just didn't look designer. I also wasn't a fan of the color palette. With the combination of the two, it looked a little effortless … and not in the "chic and easy" way.

Kimberly presented next. I'm kind of on the fence about her three looks. They weren't bad, but they were mind-blowing. The palette is really amazing to me. Maybe a little more black should have been added to tie in the RADTASTIC black gown! The issues for me were the pieces she used. I felt Kimberly should have mixed and layered more of the pieces to create more cohesion.

Josh was the last to present. I WAS SHOCKED. Josh pulled it together and presented some KILLER looks. That blazer, SICK! The LBD, amazing! The jumper, loved it! BUT, I think the back of the jumper should have been a different silhouette and matte in color. Also, the LBD should have been on a different model. Didn't really like the fit in the midsection.

SIDEBAR: Everyone's styling needed work. Lol. Except for maybe Josh.

Well, there is no need to draw this out and be wordy. Lol. I KNEW that they all were going to make it to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Each of them REALLY deserves to show. All of the final four are very strong and have a definite point of view. Next week is it! CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THEIR ENTIRE COLLECTIONS!

NOTABLE QUOTABLES

"I think it is MAJOR HOMELY." "SAD. It makes me want to weep." - Tim Gunn (DAMN, Lol)

"Love it from the front, hate it from the back."
"The notion that any women is gonna have her ass exposed in Olivia Newton-John's leggings …" - Michael Kors

"I am so impressed. You are a very good designer." - Nina Garcia to Josh M. (MAJOR MOMENT)

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