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Category: "joshua mckinley"

20
THU

I Actually Agree With Joshua This Time

Posted By CaitlinB 8:39pm GMT

Home visits. The time when Tim Gunn can play detective and do some spying on our behalf to see how the finalists are doing with their collections. Gone are the days when Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll had a leisurely four months to stroll around his native Pennsylvania and ponder the meaning of life before starting his collection. This crew has a matter of weeks to figure out sketches, fabrics, styling, hair, makeup … well, you get it.

First up, Brooklyn … er, Maryland! (Or maybe she meant Brookland?) Kimberly is hard at work on some looks that I'm not completely sold on, but you can see she knows exactly who her girl is (as usual) and where she's going directionally. I'm distracted by the minty beverages her family is sharing with Tim at the dinner table, but glad to see she seems confident and hungry for Fashion Week.

Tim goes on his first international home visit to Anya's hometown via boat, yet lets me down by not wearing mandals with his suit like he did in Season 6 out in L.A. Speaking of being let down, Anya has either completely dropped the ball or really loves to procrastinate when she shows Tim a whole lot of nothing. No sketches, no garments. Just a bunch of fabric bolts and some muslin. Basically, she showed him Island Mood.

If you've ever seen Tim Gunn concerned or worried, which happens often on "Runway," I don't think we've ever seen him this concerned. At least in a scenario like Seth Aaron in Season 7, Tim was worried by 30-something garments that existed. Tim is worried by figments and hopes and dreams of what will walk down a runway in New York's Lincoln Center. This is DEFCON 1-level "This concerns me" territory.

Back on the mainland, Tim swings by Viktor's workspace to see quite the opposite: a lot of progress. Not only does Viktor have his most of his collection completed, he created his own fabrics from photographs he took with a deeply personal story behind them. And we see the beginnings of what looks like an amazing white leather jacket. (And we know how I feel about Viktor jackets!)

Final stop, is Joshua's home base in Queens. We learn that Josh was not kidding about his track star past in the New Balance challenge when we are blessed by several slow-motion stills of a longer-haired version of himself leaping in the air with wild abandon. Tim is back to his worrying ways when he looks as though he wants to light one of Joshua's fabric choices aflame to protect the masses. As more and more garments in the collection start failing the litmus test, Joshua realizes that he has some big changes to make in a hurry and needs to play to his strengths. Oh, and edit!

As the designers finally arrive to a swank penthouse as they settle in for Fashion Week, Tim announces that the designers must narrow down their collections to three looks that will convince the judges to send three (yes, three) designers through. (We knew there must have been a catch somewhere!)

Viktor, Anya, Joshua and Kimberly are eyeing each other's pieces around the room and one thing is clear: Anya is in trouble. Whatever "trouble" is expressed as a number, times 68, times infinity, TROUBLE. Her details are unfinished and the garments look as though they were a Summer Reading assignment done at 1:30am the night before the first day of school. Meanwhile, Viktor is playfully stroking the luxe pearls sewn onto his this-looks-like-you-need-a-black-AMEX-card-for-that leather jacket. The man is on his game, and on it big time.

Kimberly is trying to sort out which looks she should showcase for her mini-collection for the judges, and Joshua is smartly deciding to hold back his neon moments for a later time. Here goes nothing!

Anya is trying to put on a brave face as her fellow designers are clearly showing her up in the execution department as the clothes come down the runway. Heidi has been pulled into the tractor beam of Viktor's white leather jacket and may have to hope that he really does accept the the titanium black AMEX in her wallet because she doesn't want to give it back. Nina, however, remains laser-focused and questions the leather ode-to-zippers hula skirt on his other model. Michael is once again giving Viktor a hard time for his accessory choices (a pair of sunglasses? Really, MK?), but it's clear that Viktor is going through to the finale.

Joshua has smartly shown his more subdued moments from his collection and demonstrated that he has an eye for tailoring that he wasn't credited for enough during the challenges and is also put through.

Kimberly's big-butt bubble skirt and styling choices has put her into the danger zone, but it's clear that Anya's lack of sewing skills is screaming so loudly next to her, our final three are apparent. Or are they?

Surprise! All four go through!

Yes, yes. I know.

And for once, I actually agree with something Joshua said.

14
FRI

When "Good" Is Enough

Posted By CaitlinB 5:01am GMT

I’m the type of person who rises to the occasion when the finish line is in sight: finish strong or go home. With Fashion Week one challenge (and three looks) away, the designers FINALLY have the payoff for little sleep, close quarters and crazy challenges on the horizon, so why do I feel like everyone phoned this challenge in with just good work and not great work?

Anya, Laura Kathleen, Kimberly, Joshua and Viktor create three looks inspired by Governors Island, varying from sculpture to architecture, with the help of some blasts from the past: auf’d designers.

Becky would be my choice, based on her sewing skills alone, no matter how well I worked with someone in the gigbillionty team challenges of the past. The key to this challenge, and really the door to Fashion Week, was finding the best sewer/seamstress/patternmaker to help execute three cohesive looks to show the judges “I belong here.”

Kimberly’s three looks had something going for them in a big way: They were her point of view. You know a Kimberly look when you see it, and that has never been a question this whole season. She knows herself and she knows the woman she’s dressing. Whether or not that woman would be wearing all three of these looks, I don’t know, but it was enough to get her through. I was surprised she struggled so much with the jacket, considering she chose Becky to assist her.

Anya’s sculpture-inspired looks actually looked better on TV than in photo form. Being able to see them in motion on a body was the most appealing thing about them. They’re not flashy clothing; they’re thinking clothing. A smart woman who wants to look effortless, yet put some serious thought into her wardrobe, wears those clothes. As Michael mentioned, it’s good to see her varying from her vacation/resortwear and into another direction by this point. However, the velvet ropes to Fashion Week were lifted here in part thanks to Bert’s construction skills. He mitigated the snafus that plagued her in the previous challenge by helping her execute the looks she was envisioning. And, truly, their aesthetics are not dissimilar. They both love clean, simple silhouettes that have a big impact. But, Anya can out-style him any day, which is why she is as strong a competitor as she is.

Viktor made three totally fine looks, and as the judges mentioned, they would be on every shopper’s receipt if sold to the masses. But was this the “wow” moment we all know he’s capable of? No. He has proven to be so consistent this season and obviously knows his way around a sewing machine. We were missing the magic from the recipe, and that’s what he’s so good at. I hope to see that come back in his final collection — and some of those leather jackets and tailored moments he’s known for ... if only for my own selfish, closet-filling reasons.

Joshua’s white cocktail dress was the only look I appreciated from his mini-collection. And, really, when the finish line is that close, why send a look you’re admittedly not happy with down the runway? That “Peggy Sue Got Married” baton twirling dress had no business walking down the runway with the white cocktail stunner. Those two ladies would never sit at the same lunch table. His third look was way too Statue of Liberty for me, and the fabric choice was all wrong. But Joshua will ultimately get through because the man knows how to put on a show.

Laura Kathleen’s three looks had the opposite effect of Anya’s for me — they looked better in photos. Maybe I was sucked in by all of the mesmerizing circles, but it certainly made a loud statement. I think if she had more time to play out how she would create these pieces, we’d have a different final four.

Are you surprised by the designers who made it through?


06
THU

The Twistiest Challenge Yet

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Team Nuts and Bolts do not get along in the HP fabric challengeI was about to write an entire entry on how this challenge was one of those "Here is your inspiration! Now go out and be inspired by it!" scenarios until I realized that this whole series is truly about how one can best find inspiration in sometimes uninspiring situations and conquer it.

Are we as humans usually inspired by dirty gutter water? Discarded newspapers? The U.S. Postal Service? Probably not. But they've managed to help create some fantastic sources of inspired fashion throughout this show's history. I feel like breaking out my inner Wes Bentley in "American Beauty" and declare that there is beauty in ugly things as we all watch plastic grocery store bags dance in the suburban wind, but as far as inspirations go, exotic birds are not so bad. (But apparently owls are. Sorry, guy!) Especially with a $20,000 {cough – $12,000 after taxes} cash incentive!

Once the designers are paired in teams and ready to tackle their respective ravens, Amazon parrots and cockatoo, Tim throws in a twist: The team members are actually working AGAINST each other, not WITH each other.

As Joshua licks his way through fabric at Mood (did anyone ELSE notice that?), the designers run through the aisles repeating the inner monologue, "Do not be literal. Do not be literal ..." while stuffing faux feathers into a shopping bag. Here we go ...

Viktor is creating a look that half reminds me of his own Avant-garde Challenge look and half of Laura Kathleen's color palette (but muted) for the same challenge. I am impressed by his ability to manipulate the organza into a feather-like texture, whereas Laura glued an entire bird's worth of feathers onto the collar of her suited raven look.

Anya, also Team (That's So) Raven, has a beautiful piece of fabric over her dress form that looks like a promising new direction for her this week. Viktor agrees with me by describing it as "hellosexy.com," which, by the way, you should not visit in an office setting. Trust me. He is, however, not intimidated by his Team Cockatoo counterpart, and thinks he has this challenge in the bag.

Joshua McKinley bird challenge orange dressTim appears in the workroom, but clearly it's too early for his workroom visit, so something must be up. Twist #2: You need to create a second look! And your model needs to do a quick change into it! And you still have two days!

As if the designers didn't have enough trouble becoming inspired by a bird the first time, the second time is proving to be even more difficult. Bert, who must have had a weird run-in with a parakeet in his youth, is particularly bothered by this prospect ... until he sees Joshua's first look: the scariest green mess I have ever seen. In my life. Thankfully, Joshua recognizes it too, and switches his focus to Look 2. With a new direction, he asks Anya if he can borrow some additional fabric to completely redo Look 1.

I guess there's two sides to this point of the episode: the first being, yes, as Anya explains it, this is too late in the competition to be pulling favors, and the second, conversely, being that THE PERSON SAYING THAT BORROWED FABRIC LAST WEEK.

Anya may have an abundance of fabric on her side, but she's struggling with construction. She has no idea how to get her model into her second look, and her first look has, as Tim pointed out, two vastly different-sized armholes. Laura, who has now clipped on some great bangs, is betting on her years of training to help come out on top over Anya's sewing snafus.

Kimberly, who after sewing through her finger (Twist #3) and struggling throughout most of the episode, has a much-needed "Come to Jesus" chat with Tim, who revives her spirit and, with a hug, sets her on a new promising path ... until she burns a hole through Look 1 (Twist #4) and has to completely scrap it and create an entirely new dress in three hours (Twist #5). Someone get this girl a beverage!

Tim is back on runway day to brief everyone with a "special announcement": Only one of the two looks will walk the runway (Twist #6). Laura is rejoicing. Anya, Bert and Joshua are struggling with which look to send down.

Anya Ayoung Chee's raven dress reminicent of Viktor's Nina Garcia challenge dress I am screaming "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHOOSE ORANGE" as if Joshua can actually hear me, but I'm more intrigued by the fact that Anya has her model stuck inside of the fashion version of a Chinese Finger Trap.

As the designs finally come down the runway, I'm so distracted by recalling Laura Kathleen's avant-garde look again that I dismiss anything Viktor's look has going for it. Kimberly's three-hour gown has something appealing about it, but the slit is too high (reminding me of Olivier's avant-garde look) and I'm still on the fence about seeing under-cleavage reminiscent of Christina Aguilera's 2002 VMA outfit. But it's still got something really appealing about it.

Also in the "something appealing about it" (stress on the something) category was Bert's. He was right about the length being shy an inch or two, and I wasn't crazy about the makeup or the belt detail, but I didn't hate it. Joshua just happened to come up with a great look that couldn't be topped. He truly does best in this competition when he has the time to edit.

Speaking of "can't be topped," for this raven showdown and what seems to be the entire season, there's Anya's look. Although, and Laura Bennett is in sync with me on this point, that dress is a modified version of Viktor's Nina Garcia Challenge look. The end. I'm surprised he (and Nina) never commented on it. The shoulder treatment on Anya's also leaves something to be desired. They almost looked like they were made out of felt and pinned on there. But overall the look was so strong, and not so literal, that it gave her the win. Again. (That gives her three.)

Backstage, Joshua reminds us again that Anya's model needed to be cut out of the dress at the end of the runway day. Now, I know the designers use tricks to save on time, like not lining a garment ('cause who cares?), but whether cutting a model out of a garment she was sewn into is really a sign of a lack of construction know-how about where to put a closure or a zipper, or is just because these aren't clothes being worn by actual consumers, I'm not quite sure.

As for Bert leaving us now, it's kind of sad, 'cause I was just starting to like him again (Twist #7). Either way, drinks on Anya!

09
FRI

Tick, Tick ... Boom!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Another team challenge, another opportunity for drama.

But first, a cartwheel break by the legendary Betsey Johnson.


We need a collection! We need a show! And I hope one of you knows how to use video editing software for lib-dubbing mediocre pop songs and uploading them to Tumblr.

Joshua McKinley gets bossy in the HP fabric challengeWhile Team Chaos (who should really lend their name to Team Nuts and Bolts, cause that's what they were — CHAOTIC) were giggling and slow-motion braiding each other's hair, Joshua was dominating a team that was clearly labeled as LEADER-FREE CHALLENGE and desperately trying to recall the members of The Village People* for inspiration.

Like a kid waiting for the right opportunity to jump into a double-dutch tournament, Joshua seizes the opportunity to cause some waves by hastily accusing Bert of having the foulest mouth of all time. (Where's that British gum lady when you need her?)

Based on Joshua's dramatic Norma Desmond–style overreaction, I thought I missed a much more dramatic moment, and paused to think to myself, "Wait. Did Joshua just think Bert didn't say CLOCK and said something ... ELSE?" And then I began to laugh with every subsequent reference, because it was just so double-entendre ridiculous.

Once I realized this was really over the words "friggin'" (Really?) and the F-bomb proper (I'm sure nuns say that nowadays), I stopped laughing and wondered why Joshua blew up as much as he did.

Forfeit? You're going to forfeit (Can one actually even do that?) a challenge because someone ... swore? Designer/Detective Laura Bennett has done some recon work and discovered that Joshua actually curses twice in this episode. I will not stand for it!

At this point, this workroom is desperately needing some color to liven up the awkwardness in the room. Yet each team only goes for black and white. The ABSENCE of color, and white. Did I miss something? Look back at Seasons 7 and 8 (I'll wait!) and check out the winning prints by Emilio Sosa and Mondo Guerra: vibrant color. Or, hey, look at any of the prints the designers created in those seasons, and it's a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor ROYGBIV bonanza compared to these patterns.

Joshua M's design for the HP fabric challengeTeam Chaos' Rorschach test idea certainly lends itself to, well, black ink, but I would have loved to see some prints that didn't look like they came from the neighborhood library's Xerox machine.

While Team Chaos is still thriving and jiving, Team Nuts and Bolts is falling apart. It took Father Timothy Gunn's prayer circle to intervene and bring some true cohesion. Yes, Joshua eventually apologized to Bert, and it was probably best that it happened in front of everyone so that there were witnesses to back it up, but the fact that he called it a "PSA" cheapened it. I'm sure if he had access to a publicist, there would have been a press release and an "I'm Sorry" after-party, but we move on ...

Let's talk about the collections:

Team Chaos really wrapped their heads around the whole experience Betsey was preaching about in the workroom. Aside from the messy hair and makeup choices, they knew exactly who their girl was, where she was going, what she was wearing and why she was wearing it. It was clear that theirs was the winning collection. Best of all, they all used the HP print.

Team Nuts and Bolts used as much of their print as they could legally get away with, and the rest worked with whatever excuse they could muster as being clock-like, gear-esque or generally inspired by the inner workings of Big Ben. Thankfully, the judges recognized this right away and called out the offending players:

Laura Kathleen's belt felt like a way to use the print just for the sake of using it (she quasi-admits as much), and Kimberly was smart enough to just plain avoid it.

Joshua's jacket looked great from the front, but I question the functionality and practicality of the garment. To reveal the second print, he had the cogs open the way they did on the front of the jacket to mirror it. It looked as though the model was peeling away like a fashionable banana, since, you know, no one's closed a jacket in the back since Celine Dion's backwards-jacket Oscar look.

The length of Bert's dress was just too long and took away from what actually worked on his garment. It would have been worlds better if it fell closer to the knee. But Michael and guest judge Rachel Roy hit the nail on the head: This collection's problem was that it was FAR too literal. "Don't give me bad energy. I don't want to wear something that says 'CANCELED.'" AMEN.

And poor Becky was down for the count no matter how many times she redid that skirt.

The one thing they did do right was clip those blunt bangs to those models' foreheads. But at least it's not The Village People.



* The policeman, the construction worker, the sailor, the biker ... (I watched "Wayne's World II" more than once.)

26
FRI

Goodbyes, Hello Agains and Bertzillas

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Well, let's just start off with the awkward elephant in the room: Cecilia's departure. She's not the first designer to choose to walk away from "Runway," but she's certainly the first to do it this soon.

Only the designers who have competed on this show over the years can truly know the pressure, stress and insanity the contestants face day in and day out, but after going through rounds of casting and years of trying to get your work recognized, why take yourself out of the competition at THIS point? I guess only Cecilia can answer that question.

Olivier falling New Balance challengeMoving on to Olivier, quote, falling like a bitch (didn't know that was an "ism" across the pond, by the way) and the choosing of teams for the Heidi New Balance challenge …

Newly discovered track star Joshua strategically picks Anya for his first teammate, followed by Becky for her strong sewing skills.

Bryce smartly chooses last week's winner, Kimberly, and rounds out the team with loves-a-chiffon-moment Danielle. Anthony Ryan chooses former stilt-walker-challenge teammate Laura Kathleen, and is stuck with Bertzilla (LOVED that Heidi beat him in five-inch Louboutins!), who complains that he's picked last, yet gets along with no one at this point.

Viktor chooses a brought-back-to-life-from-near-death-fall Olivier, and is allowed to choose a third team member from the previously dismissed designers. His choice? Josh C. (Now I have to use Josh initials again! Thanks, guy.)

From the get-go, it's clear which teams are really teams of two with an oh-sorry-you're-working-with-us-too bonus mate, and who have true party-of-three cohesion. Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen initially shut Bert's ideas down in a dismissive way that perhaps is unfair, but given his winning personality lately, can we really blame them? Likewise, Joshua M. and Anya are clearly fashion BFFs, and Becky is the third wheel in this arrangement.

"Reunited and it feels so good!"

Joshua C. returns

Josh Squared bromance is back, y'all!

But even this momentary moment of workroom happiness can't stop the sass factory that's about to take over the next hour of our lives.

In the workroom, Anthony Ryan often asks Bert what he thinks, but doesn't quite assert his authority as team captain to rein Bert in. Maybe it was his body temperature slowly rising over 98.6, but he could have had much more dominance in what needed to be done as a complete collection. Instead his work suffered, and his team fell apart in the process.

Viktor Motorcycle jacketBoth Joshua M. and Anya ask Becky to help sew their garments, and I use the word "ask" here purposely. They ASKED her. What Joshua eventually said to her with the whole "Your clothes are dowdy!" rant was certainly offensive to Becky, or anybody for that matter, but at no point did she ever open her mouth and say, "No! I will not be your seamstress wench! You figure out how to sew jersey, magician!" She should have put her foot down when Josh put his foot in.

Speaking of sewing, let's talk about the epic fails of needlework Betsy Ross is somewhere rolling in her grave about. The last-minute stripe on the front of Anya's maxi dress was tacked on with a stitch every foot or twelve. You could stick your hand through it to give your teammate a high-five when the judges completely missed the for-decorative-purposes-only exposed zipper on the razorback that was simply laid on top of the garment. The overall effect was nice, but the execution on these notions was seriously sloppy.

Bertzilla strikes again on the runway as he openly mocks and laughs at his own teammates during judging. Yes, Anthony Ryan's look was probably one of the bigger tragedies ever seen on the catwalk, but at what point was it OK to kick the guy when he's down ... and feverish? Bert's look, although better than the giant basketball-shorts romper next to him, was a pair of socks and a Staten Island Ferry ride away from a 1988 "Working Girl" moment.

On the flip side, Viktor's motorcycle jacket (pictured right) makes us all want to go out and buy one, and Joshua M. picks up the surprising second win.

In what's sure to be one of the more controversial judging decisions since Gretchengate of 2010, Danielle is sent home and Anthony Ryan is spared. Did you think her elimination was fair, or did Anthony Ryan's body of work save him?