This recap is brought to you by the looks of elation from the remaining five designers when they're told that they'll finally be responsible for producing looks ON THEIR OWN. So long, teams. It was nice knowing you.
Tim takes the designers to the headquarters of Hearst publishing in midtown Manhattanthe camera doesn't do justice to the building's beautiful geometric lobby/commissary space; it's really beautifulwhere they meet up with this week's client, Nina Garcia. She explains their task: Create a fashion-forward editorial look to be worn by Jordana Brewster in a fashion story in the May 2013 issue of Marie Claire.
And, being Nina, she is quick to list what she doesn't want. No red carpet looks. No gowns. No t-shirts, no pants. "Do not disappoint me! Do not embarrass me!" Also, "the look needs to be bold in the color, in the shape, in the print, in the silhouette, in something, because that's what editors will want to photograph." Nina is nothing if not consistent in her preference for clean, eye-catching editorial looks, so any designer worth his or her salt should know exactly what marks to hit to do well in this challenge.
After a flurry of fabric purchasing at Mood, the designers meet back at the workroom, where the button bag pairs them off with eliminated designers who will act as helpful seamstresses. "Helpful" is the goal here, but let's be real: This is a pool of uneven talent. Stanley snags Tu (who was more or less a glorified seamstress for Kate earlier in the season), Michelle giddily chooses to work with Amanda, Daniel claims Samantha and Layana picks Kate, leaving poor Patricia with Richard just one challenge after their hot mess of a partnership got Richard auf'd.
The workroom is comprised of exactly the shenanigans you'd expect. Patricia struggles with her design and with explaining herself to Richard. Stanley is understandably but obnoxiously bossy in his interactions with Tu. Michelle and Amanda work together well...but no one stops Michelle as she barrels forward with her design of a crop top and olive green pants. Nina's cry of, "No t-shirts, no pants!" echoes it my head right about now.
Stanley - Essentially built for Nina's approval, Stanley thought of everything with this design. It's flattering for Jordana (he even styled his model to look like hersmart move); it's made of three pieces that the photographer and stylist could swap in or out; it looks clean and appropriate for a Marie Claire reader's taste and age. He gets the win.
Layana - The color is eerily reminiscent of Kate's ill-fated duct tape prom gown, but this look screams Layana. The judges respond to her use of leather and hardware in the architectural "armor" top. She's safe.
Daniel - My favorite moment of the episode comes when Daniel's look walks the runway and the camera cuts to Layana, who sort of mumbles "Ohhh..." and looks away akwardly. That's how I feel about this look. It's so very Daniel, with its structured shoulders and bright color, but his is a shtick that I'm tiring of quickly. It's an eye-catching look, sure, but very Easter-y, and it's nothing we haven't seen from him before.
Patricia - If this design had been sent out at this point in the competition in any other season by any other designer, I think the judges would have eviscerated it. Zac and Jordana think that it looks unfinished, Nina doesn't like the shape, Heidi calls it "borderline Pocahontas". I just think it looks juvenile and a little cheap. I understand the judges' fondness for Patricia and for her unique perspectiveI share it, and I know many of you do, toobut c'mon.
Michelle - I love this look. The color and cut of the pants, the use of sheer fabric, the asymmetrical top; it all really works for me. But the judges are rightfully horrified by how wrong it is for the challenge parameters. Nina said VERY SPECIFICALLY that she didn't want a top and pants. I find it hard to believe that Michelle didn't hear that VERY SPECIFIC directive, but I also don't think she's egotistical enough to balatantly violate Nina's rules and then feign ignorance about it. Regardless, the judges find the look too plain for an editorial and throw her on the bottom.
The looks of utter shock exchanged between Daniel, Stanley and Layana after Patricia is declared safe sum up the ridiculousness of the judging. Thankfully, Michelle is barely spared elimination by a twist that we have to wait until next week to hear more about. Do you think she should have gone home? Should Patricia? What do you think is in store for Michelle next week? Which look do you think would have fit best in the pages of Marie Claire? Let me know in the comments.