I just arrived in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico to host a fabulous Macy's event ("Don't Cry for Me, San Juan!") and had visions of last week's Resort Wear Challenge and how maybe they should have brought the designers here but somehow I don't think a trip to Puerto Rico would be in the show's budget! Upon arriving at my hotel, I got "good and ready," turned on the flat-screen TV and began watching this week's new "Project Runway" episode to see:
A. What Challenge these kids would not understand;
B. If Gretchen would continue her critiquing; and
C. If maybe, just maybe, Mondo figured out how to take his tacky Vegas Resort Roller Disco Girl (from last week) to a higher level … I would soon find out.
The Queen of Effortless Chic
Still Shag-a-delic Heidi Klum greets the designers by telling them that they are to meet up with Tim, where they will be "stepping back in time." At a "Capsule Studio" in Manhattan, Tim Gunn with a wall of fabulous Jacqueline Kennedy photographs projected behind him tells the remaining designers that for their next Challenge, they will create a look that defines THEIR point of view on American Sportswear and use fashion icon Jackie O as their muse. For me, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis represents Timeless International Chic; part American Sportswear and part European Couture. For my NIKOLAKI line, I design mainly cocktail and evening gowns; so of course, I would know EXACTLY what to do if I were ever "challenged" to use the late first lady as my inspiration to do sportswear. Every designer should know. Let's see what these designers thought …
Who's Jackie O?
Immediately, Christopher was excited for this Challenge, since, according to him, Classic American Sportswear is what he does. To be honest, even at Episode 8, I really didn't know what Christopher's forte was, so I was happy he told me. My favorite of last week, Andy, was at first not too happy with the Challenge, because it contradicted his un-American and more Asian aesthetic, but then said he would create a more "risk-taking" Jackie Kennedy look. Uh-oh, I thought. With all that, I was just glad that these kids even KNEW who Jackie O was! I am always shocked when I reference an Icon like Jackie Kennedy in one of my classes and I am looked back at with blank stares!
Annie Oakley Skirts, and Gretchen's "Critique Corner" Is BACK!
Back in the workroom, the designers are busy homing in on what their take on American Sportswear is. Tim checks in. "The Other Michael" is doing a cartridge-pleated skirt that reminds Monsieur Gunn of "Annie Get Your Gun." (Bernadette Peters would be proud!) P.S: This is NOT the Challenge to be doing something that reminds Tim of that. He loves Mondo's exaggerated herringbone fabric and compliments Andy's draped pants. I have no idea why. To me, even at a quick glance, those baggy pants do not say American Sportswear or Jackie Kennedy. Not cute. And that crotch looks a mess. More on that soon … But for now, Miss Gretchen who's been quiet (on the Gretchen annoying scale) these last few challenges returns in full "Tim Gunn Jr." mode, giving her infamous "Gretchen Two Cents" whether she's asked or not. I said it once and I'll say it again: Why do these designers even ask her for advice??!!
It's Runway Day … No, It's Not!
The following day, the designers think it's Runway Day, but I-Want-a-Mint-Julep Seersucker-Suited Tim Gunn walks in to tell them of a twist: They are to create an additional outerwear piece that should coordinate nicely with the rest of their already-made look.
After more Mood shopping and some time to create, Seersucker Tim is back to review. He revisits Michael Drummond, and that not-so-modern skirt hasn't changed. Michael C. has made like EIGHTEEN dresses and jackets and basically just wants "Daddy Tim" to tell him which one he likes the best. Tim advises Mondo to give his dolman-sleeve jacket some shape, and finally (thank God!), he notices that nasty crotch on Andy's pants and reminds him that "Jackie Kennedy would NOT have cameltoe!" Attagirl!
A Fun, Whimsical 2010 Jackie Kennedy
Finally, IT IS Runway Day, and actress and newly minted Fashionista and Red-Carpet Girl du Jour January Jones is on hand for the judging. January loves Christopher's one-shoulder dress, minus his "dirty dishrag" of a shrug. Ivy does an elegant pant ensemble that is very polished and screams "Jackie O shopping for expensive art." But the best was Mondo's: It was whimsical, sleek and sharp. He perfectly matched American Sportswear, Jackie Kennedy and his definite "kooky" Mondo point of view. He wins, and it is well deserved. It is the antithesis of his "Roller Disco Vegas" girl.
Drummond Triple Threat: An Old Lady, a Cheerleader AND a Figure Skater
The "Would-Jackie-Kennedy-Really-Wear-That" bottom 3 designers were Valerie, Michael Drummond and "Cameltoe" Andy. The judges were uninspired by Valerie's jacket-over-a-jacket boring ensemble, and they really did not like Michael Drummond's as well. It wasn't "American Sportswear"; it was "Poor and Sad Sportswear." One-liner Master Michael Kors said it was "an old lady on top and a cheerleader, figure skater on the bottom." He really should have listened to Tim Gunn and thrown that skirt under the table and started anew or borrowed one of Michael C.'s 55 dresses and coats he made!
Bad Crotch vs. Bad Skirt
However, the worst outfit for me was Andy's Cameltoe Pants ensemble. Nina Garcia was correct when she deemed it a "train wreck." Amen. How on earth did he think that outfit said "American Sportswear" or Jackie Kennedy? He should have done an elegant version of his "Asian-inspired" aesthetic. Maybe a modern obi wrap over a fitted blouson jacket and matching pencil skirt. Come on, Andy! Somehow he still made it through and inexplicably was still really pleased with his Nasty Crotch, poorly draped and poorly styled ensemble for Jackie FUGLY. So, it was poor Michael Drummond and his Annie Oakley skirt that was sent back to the farm. It was your time to go.