Season 12, Episode 11: Printastic
Rob Le Bras-Brown, the Senior VP of HP Worldwide Marketing, accompanies Tim into the workroom at the top of the episode because it's the HP INTEL PRINT CHALLENGE! "I've been waiting to do [the HP Intel print challenge] since the beginning of this competition," Bradon says, and he's not the only one counting down to this moment. The print challenge has been a big deal since Mondo crushed it back in Season 8. This is for a couple reasons, I think. Making their own prints requires the designers to 1) use prints at all, which many avoid like the plague during the rest of the season; 2) think a little more adventurously about color; 3) get introspective about incorporating their personalities into their looks instead of just their aesthetic taste.
Le Bras-Brown fills them in on the twists and turns. The designers will be paired up with a group of next-generation thinkers and innovators who will serve as their muses. (Hear that? Not models, not clients: Muses.) The designers splinter off to meet their muses. The group includes Nigel Sylvester, a professional BMX rider (paired with Bradon); Ilana Greenberg, creative Director at graphic design mag GD USA (paired with Alexandria); Tiago Silva, executive pastry chef at Catch, a seafood restaurant in NYC (paired with Alexander); Maria Gonzalez, a 17-year-old who works with Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that teaches computer science skills to young women (paired with Kate); nonprofit co-founder and Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriweather (paired with Justin); Premal Sha, co-founder of crowd-funded lending network Kiva (paired with Dom); and Ryan Keeley, an abstract artist and photographer (paired with Helen).
Pretty standard workroom this week, save for Helen whining about how she's "not good at prints." The judges will be the judge of that! Along with guest judge, designer Peter Som. Runway time:
Dom - Taking inspiration from the Internet's role in connecting people, Dom made a high-necked, long-sleeve sheath dress out of a white, black, and hot pink print comprised of dashed lines. "Runway ready," Zac says, complimenting the butterfly-like patterns on the arms; Nina likes that it's sort of tribal and very modern; Heidi throws down a lot of good adjectives including "dynamic" and "fashion-forward." Peter Som thinks it's sophisticated and blessedly un-costumey. Dom wins! Deservedly so.
Helen - A crop top and fitted skirt made out of paneled ivory fabric and Helen's starry print. Heidi likes that the print is sort of patriotic but nitpicks the fit. Peter Som calls it "Star-Spangled Hipster," which, yes. Perfect summary. Everyone is pleased that Helen decided to cut the garment into two sections instead of leaving it as a one-piece dress.
Bradon - Turning his muse's career as a BMX biker into a kinetic blue, black, and white print, Bradon made a bomber jacket over a form-fitting black dress with a removable neckline. Nina says it's sporty chic, comparing it to jazz music, and Zac goes so far as to call it Bradon's best work this season.
Justin - Justin made a fitted bodice with a sweetheart neckline out of his X-ray-like print, then added a floor-length white skirt. Heidi's the first to call out the shoddy see-through construction where the skirt meets the bodice. Nina says she wishes it'd been a shorter dress: "From the waist up she looks fabulous and sexy. From the waist down it's just very drab." Peter Som loves the idea of the print but thinks something got lost in translation, and Zac echoes all these sentiments, saying that he would have preferred the print continue to the bottom instead of allowing the garment to look like a snake shedding its skin.
Alexander - "Even though I'm super gay I've never decorated a cake," Alexander says before introducing his cake-inspired open-backed brown dress with dolman sleeves and a white stripe accent (meant to play off the religious symbolism of his last name, Pope). Zac likes the cut of the dress but doesn't like how decidedly un-sexy the brown print is: "She looks like a cult leader. Of chocolate." Heidi thinks the white accent looks like masking tape and Nina takes issue with the seriousness and modesty of the garment. Alexander's out.
Kate - I quite like Kate and I've enjoyed her work this season, but this is objectively awful. I don't even know how to describe it. I guess it's a sleeveless collared belted dress made of sheer fabric gathered into pleated sections at the bottom, layered over her baby-blue print (which you can barely discern is a print). "Oh God," Nina sighs. She's overwhelmed by the pleats and confused by the belt. Peter Som nails it again: "She looks like she fell into a Kleenex box." Zac says it's sad.
Sometimes Heidi does a "One...OR MORE...people will be going home" fake-out, but unfortunately for Kate, this week's threat was 100% true. Kate gets auf'd for the second time. It's gotta sting to come back for a second round of "Runway" and make it so much closer to Fashion Week only to lose again, but aside from her tears Kate handles it well.
Onward we march toward the season's end. How do you feel about this week's double elimination? Were you as shocked as I was that Alexandria's look didn't land her in the bottom? Who are you most excited to see duke it out next week for the coveted Fashion Week spots? Let me know in the comments.