I always LOVE the unconventional challenge! The grocery store, the party supply store, the used car parts- it's always so interesting to see what the designers do! I often wonder what I would come up with in an unconventional challenge like that. I think I'd probably wander around overwhelmed, anxious and confused and at the end of the 30 minutes of shopping, I'd probably have something like a single roll of streamers in a hideous "Happy Birthday" print and a few packets of glitter. Tim Gunn would be so disappointed.
Fortunately, it wasn't me that was doing the shopping and designing! I think these challenges using unconventional materials really separate the designers into two camps- the ones who are able to make something that looks like it actually could have gone down a runway and the ones who implode because they can't wrap their heads around dealing with the strange materials. I appreciate the designers who create realistic-looking garments while also remaining true to their personal design esthetic. It shows true creativity and inspiration. Now for the runway looks:
Andy's design- Materials: ribbon
Yay for Andy! That's what I say! Also, yay for Gretchen not winning a third challenge in a row. Her head is getting too big for anything else to be in the room. But more on her design next. Andy did a spectacular job on this dress and managed to make it look sleek and fitted. So often when a designer starts weaving and layering on materials, it looks bulky and unflattering on the model. Andy really succeeded in making a wearable dress out of nothing more than ribbons. He deserved the win for sure.
Gretchen's design- Materials: mylar fringe, paper bags
Gretchen's whole, "I'm a force to be reckoned with" is just starting to get annoying. That whole conversation about "It will change the whole dynamic if I win a third challenge in a row" was just annoying. But the thing about big egos on this show is that they always get crushed at some point. I'm sure the producers are setting us up for a big one. We love seeing someone great go down almost as much as we love seeing the underdog triumph. (Case in point: Did you know that in Fenway Park, during a Red Sox game, when another team is beating the Yankees somewhere else in the country, they actually post the score on the big screen for the Sox fans to see. You've never heard a crowd roar so loud as when Sox fans hear the Yanks are losing. No joke. But I digress- back to fashion.) I'm not trying to downplay Gretchen's skill and talent- there's no doubt about it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what else she'll come up with. Even this week's design was impressive. She managed to make cheap mylar look expensive and the jacket made out of paper bags was admittedly quite brilliant. And as the judges pointed out, she's the only one who did separates. Maybe she IS a force to be reckoned with.
Valerie's design- Materials: napkins
I feel so bad for Valerie always being in the top three, but not getting the win. Her designs are truly beautiful. This is one of those designs that looks like a real dress. If you didn't know it was made with napkins, you'd just think it was chic and feminine and interesting. I'm rooting for Valerie to get a win soon. I think having Gretchen always in the top is a strong motivator. She's been so close every time that I'm sure she's going to give it her all to get a win soon. I'm looking forward to seeing it happen.
As with any unconventional challenge, there are always some serious runway disasters. Cassanova's was no exception. What do you think about his whole language barrier issue? Is it real? Does he really misunderstand ALL THE TIME? Or is it an act to help get his atrocious designs through to the next challenge? Take a look at his monstrosity:
Cassanova's design- Materials: plastic table cloth, stuffed animal fur
If Cassanova lasts through another challenge, I'd be shocked. He was in the bottom for the first challenge with that vulgar, hideous dress. Then he was in the middle last week, but his design was beyond matronly. This week he was called out on the bottom again, but scraped by. His days are numbered. For sure.
AJ's design- Materials: you name it, he used it
AJ (and Tim Gunn) remarked several times that this was a challenge right up his alley- that he does this sort of thing all the time. But the time constraint was his excuse for not living up to his reputation in this instance. At one point in the episode, Cassanova said, "We're making a dress, not a pinata!." Well, AJ made a pinata.
And then of course is Sarah. Poor Sarah. She's struggled and strained and Gretchen wouldn't stop giving her advice, but in the end, she just seemed to give up.
Sarah's design- Materials: decorate palm tree, tablecloth
Sarah's original pallate of ombre pinks and teal blues was stunning and Tim even said so. I wish she'd stayed with that color story and gone for it. At least it would have been more of a statement than this boring kindergarten project. (P.S. Can we talk about the model's face in this picture? Poor girl! She looks SO busted!) In the end, I wish Cassanova had gone home. I think that Sarah would have done some good work in the future if given the opportunity.
In my opinion, there were two other "stand out" designs that looked like real clothing to me and I can't resist showing them to you:
Just the fact that Michael's looks like a red carpet gown, but he made it using $100 worth of party supplies is simply mind-blowing. And Christopher's dress made of napkins actually looks like something I would buy in a store. Kudos to both of them! And to all the designers who survived the unconventional challenge!