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Category: "episode 11"


Season 12, Episode 11: Printastic

Posted By laurareineke 4:44am GMT

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:

Top Three
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.

Bottom Three
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.


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 11

Posted By laurareineke 4:09am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Bradon "Awesome jacket."
BOTTOM Kate "Little House on the Prairie threw up."

TOP Bradon "Wearable, fun, cool print."
BOTTOM Helen "Confused by entire design."

TOP Justin "Love the print. Looks like an X-ray in a fun way."
BOTTOM Alexandria "Print, silouette and construction are weak."

TOP Kate "Love the play on transparency."
BOTTOM Alexander "Didn't like the silhouette."


Editorialize This

Posted By laurareineke 4:11am GMT

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 Manhattan—the camera doesn't do justice to the building's beautiful geometric lobby/commissary space; it's really beautiful—where 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 her—smart 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 perspective—I share it, and I know many of you do, too—but 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.


Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!

Posted By laurareineke 4:37am GMT

Babies! They are the best, but also the worst. They're cute, but they can't hold a conversation; they wobble around adorably, but also spill stuff on themselves. But one thing's for sure: when you're watching them from the other side of a TV screen, they make for great entertainment.

The designers were herded into Babies"R"Us this week, where Heidi and Tim introduced the challenge: create a look for Heidi's new kidswear line, Truly Scrumptious. Christopher, Elena and Melissa designed for the girls while Fabio, Dmitry, and Sonjia created looks for the boys.

I am admittedly not much of a kid person, but seeing all those wide-eyed babies in their strollers melted my cold heart. Tiny feet! Chubby cheeks! Even the designers who seemed apprehensive at the initial challenge, like Elena and Dmitry, warmed up quickly to their teensy adorable clients.

Dmitry noted that "Heidi has like 105 kids." Sounds legit! (She has four.) But it highlighted an interesting point: Heidi designed a line for children based on her own real-life experiences raising and dressing her brood. The remaining "Runway" designers don't have a single child between them. We all know how Heidi loves to throw wrenches in the designers' plans, so it was no surprise that she decided to send a bunch of fake babies to the workroom to help bridge the designers' knowledge gap.

This sounded fine in theory, but immediately backfired when the fake kids wouldn't. Stop. Crying. The looks of total panic and exhasperation on the designers' faces were probably my favorite part of the episode. There are few things funnier than watching a group of already tired people hilariously grapple with sudden faux parenthood. Dmitry swinging his baby around nonchalantly; Fabio coo-ing like his was a real boy; Elena rolling her eyes and naming her kid "a**hole"; the whole group carting the kids off to Mood in slings...it was all great.

And Christopher gets my pick for best oneliner of the season so far: "Now I know why Judy went off the deep end with Liza." A+ work, Christopher.

Tim Gunn swooped in to babysit on Day 2, leaving the designers with a quiet workroom to finish their looks for the babies and the moms. Further proof (as if we needed it!) that Tim is a saint. I hope he and the babies enjoyed the imaginary afternoon play date I envisioned for them.

The runway show came off well for everyone involved, I think. The cute factor of the baby models certainly helped, but all the looks were solid, and I really enjoyed Hilary Duff's contributions to the judging panel (Though half the time I was yelling at the TV in denial, "Lizzie McGuire doesn't have kids!"). Even the last-minute twist of having the designers create a look for the toddlers' moms didn't trip anyone up. And I don't think I can recall Nina and Michael looking as relaxed and happy as they did watching the kids storm the runway. Babies are magical that way.

This was one of the first weeks that I actually agreed with the outcome! Sonjia's casual suit (Worn by the RIDICULOUSLY adorable and smiley Jude) deservedly won the day on the boys' side, and Christopher's understated occasion dress was easily the best girls' look.

On the not-so-great end, Melissa's flawed sheath dress was saved, barely, by an adorable vest. Elena's multi-colored look was inoffensive — I would totally dress my hypothetical future daughter in something like that for a romp around the park — but definitely the weakest of the lot, and way too busy to fit in with the rest of Heidi's line. I thought her elimination was fair.

But I also have to give Elena major props for really pushing herself out of her comfort zone over the course of the season. I don't think the Elena of the Times Square runway show could have - or would have - designed the look we saw last night, and that willingness to evolve is one of those marks of a good designer that we don't usually get the chance to celebrate on "Runway."


Piperlime Goes Behind the Scenes for Episode 11

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:01am GMT

Piperlime has a behind-the-scenes video with last night's challenge winner. Watch it now, and learn more about the Accessories Wall: http://www.piperlimeblog.com


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!