Reunion Special Thursday at 8/7c
Season 13, Episode 2: Unconventional Movie Nite
Wake up and smell the popcorn, designers! Tim and Heidi have arranged a screening at Manhattan's Village East Cinema and the designers are excited by the possibilities -- Red carpet looks? Celebrities? Something about 2D versus 3D? -- but Tim arrives to take them down a peg. I LOL at the designers' looks of collective dismay when Tim announces that this will be an unconventional challenge and I LOL even harder when he adds that the designers would be working in teams. Insult, meet injury.
Challenge: In teams of three, use the movie-experience materials in the theater (including props and concession items) to create three cohesive unconventional looks as part of a team.
Parameters: Designers have 15 minutes to gather materials and can only leave the theater with what they can physically carry. They have one day to complete the looks. One winner will be chosen from the winning team, and one loser from the losing team.
Right off the bat, the members of the Silver Team (Amanda, Korina and Kristine) seem to be on the same page. In a helpful bit of foreshadowing, Amanda tells them (spreaking from her own experience) that when it comes to unconventional challenges, the judges prefer a focus on materials that DON'T already look like fabric. Over on the Blue Team, trembling leaf Angela struggles to assert her point of view to Sean and Fade, but it comes across as inflexibility. Deep breaths, Angela! Please don't cry!
When Tim does his walk-around, the communication issues on the Red Team (Sandhya, Carrie, and Hernan) come to a head. Tim says their looks are too disparate AND too costumey to pass for a proper runway collection. The conflict here is one that comes up often in team challenges (which is what the producers want, which is why they do them -- especially early in the season before the designers know each other well): Sandhya, Hernan, and Carrie are all equally headstrong, equally convinced that their individual visions are correct, and equally unwilling to concede decision-making power to the other two. Sandhya feels that she's not being respected, but she also doesn't seem to have any concern at all for the fact that her immunity raises the stakes of the challenge for Carrie and Hernan. The group reassesses their work, makes some changes, and gains some confidence, but it's still not an ideal team setup.
Silver Team - Amanda, Korina, Kristine
Zipline, cording, straws, speaker wire, VHS tape, marquee letters, cellophane, duct tape
This team vibed really well together and it feels like everyone (the three of them, the judges, me) is sighing in relief about it. See? Team challenges can be fun! Heidi calls their collection "the most original" and praises their cohesion. It's a rave from Zac, who's really into their use of text and fonts and transparency. Nina is excited about the color (green is a rare one for the "Runway" runway, it's true) and the difference in the three silhouettes. Amanda walks away with her first win ever.
Blue Team - Angela, Fade, Sean
The judges take care to point out that the success of Fade's and Sean's looks was brought down considerably by the failure of Angela's. That's probably the worst thing for Angela to hear at this point, but also: Not wrong.
Purple Team - Char, Kini, Mitchell
Green Team - Emily, Samantha, Alexander
Red Team - Carrie, Hernan, Sandhya
Film strips, and that's...about it, really
The chief concern among the judges seems to be the near-uniformity of the dresses, which the team is quick to kinda-sorta blame on Tim's workroom advice to make things more cohesive. Sandhya's offering is ripped into by Nina for being sloppy but no one has compliments for the other two looks, either; Heidi thinks they belong in a music video instead of on a runway and Garance dislikes how literally the unconventional material was incorporated.
The whole critique devolves into a back-and-forth finger-pointing extravaganza, with Hernan calling out Angela as someone more deserving of elimination, Carrie calling out the winning team for work she felt was lower quality than her own, and no one calling out Sandhya, because she has immunity. Zac is frustrated by the team's laundry list of excuses (me too, Zac). The judges look everything over and decide that Carrie should be eliminated.
Carrie's mad about her elimination and I sort of am, too; it's always rough when a designer gets the boot so early in the competition just because someone with a worse garment but better luck has immunity. The team situation is never kind, either: Anyone else convinced Angela would've been out if her team had scored lower overall? But them's the breaks. Do you think Carrie should've been eliminated over Hernan? How do you feel about the top and bottom looks this week? How did this unconventional challenge stack up to previous efforts? Let me know what you think in the comments.