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Season 12, Episode 2: Dripping With Diamonds
We're greeted this week by an armored truck full of burly men with guns, who escort a series of black suitcases into Parsons. Minutes later, the models take to the runway dripping in jewels ($30 million worth, according to Heidi) of all shapes and shades: necklaces, earrings, and bracelets adorned with diamonds, yellow diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and more.
The challenge: Create a look that's glamorous enough to walk the runway alongside jewelry of this caliber. The designers are chosen by the button bag to pick which jewelry they'll base their look around. "I'm not inspired by money," says Timothy, who has perhaps forgotten that he's participating in a competition with a prize package worth half a million dollars. "We have to pick the prettiest diamond, and I think that's very superficial." Again, that's big talk for a dude who's trying to make a career out of fashion design.
The designers will have one day to complete their looks. "My bowels just drop," Alexander announces. Okay!
During critiques, Tim tip-toes around the fact that Kahindo's silk charmeuse fabric is sort of hideous, and he tries to hint to Helen that she might not have time to properly complete her ambitious design. He asks Timothy, "Where's the design? Right now, this is one big hot mess." As the runway show will later prove, Tim's concerns are on point.
This is a weird episode for Sandro, who seems to be all over the place emotionally. He has a great moment at Mood when he nonchalantly asks Alexander ("Red Hair") why he's planning to go so couture with his garment. (Alexander: "Because it's a million-dollar necklace. What am I gonna use, plastic?" Sandro: "That's a good point, actually.") Sandro and Ken argue loudly in the workroom, but there's no real point to it other than a clash of ego. (It's so loud and so pointless that Justin disables his hearing aid to escape it.) Sandro makes a fuss later on when he can't figure out how to use the fabric steamer; he physically pulls a crew member out from behind the scenes to demand assistance, then pouts when the crew member leaves him to fend for himself. Even later, Sandro sweetly comes to Helen's defense on the runway, and in a moment of zen advises Timothy to focus less on explaining his gown and more on accepting the judges' feedback. I thought I had this guy pegged last week, but now I'm not so sure.
Runway time. Heidi, Zac, Nina, and Tim are joined by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Eric Daman (Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries) for a runway show that's halted midway through to allow for a weepfest from a distraught Helen. Fun stuff.
Kate - A Marie Antoinette-inspired pale grey asymmetrical gown with a see-through boned bodice. Heidi says she knew it was Kate's work right away, and Kate also gets praise for her fabric choice and her model's styling. Zac: "This is the strongest work that I've seen you do." A solid win for her.
Dom - A casual, flowy, green-and-white-print gown. The judges love that it's youthful and that it complements the emerald necklace, but Zac and Nina both call out Dom's choice to style the model with a printed bandana. Eric says he "could see it on the red carpet in Cannes as well as on a beautiful young Southern debutante." Safe.
Sandro - A knee-length fishtail dress with an exposed midriff and black lace detailing that frankly looks like something a stereotypically Russian James Bond villain might've worn, but it somehow manages to land in the top. Eric thinks the lace is overdone, but Heidi admires the bust; Zac and Tim both voice concerns over Sandro's taste level, but Nina seems to dig it. Safe.
Timothy - A blue velvet gown with white accents and a racerback detail on the front, this one befuddles the judges, who don't understand why Timothy chose to make a high-necked gown for a challenge based around a necklace.
Helen - This brown and beige gown suffers from poor construction, ratty-looking shredded detail at the hips, and sad bust cups. Nina thinks it's a case of a decent design gone wrong. While Heidi and Zac appear more critical, they all agree to keep Helen around for another week.
Kahindo - A sleeveless sheath dress made out of a fabric Zac compares to sand art. Nina thinks it's boring, Heidi thinks it looks too "off-the-rack," and Eric doesn't think it works with the jewelry at all. Kahindo says her intentional was to keep things simple. "Too simple?" Nina asks. Yep, too simple. Kahindo is out.
Which design do you think best matched the expensive jewelry that inspired it? Do you think Kate deserved the win? Was Kahindo's simple design really worse than Helen's poor construction? What was your favorite moment this week? Let me know in the comments.