Episode 3 Recap: Black Swan Down

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Black Swans from Bryce and Fallene (left) and Rodarte

Heidi comes out to announce this week’s challenge appropriately enough, in stilts, and tells the designers she wants them to design “a look that is eye-catching, imaginative, and truly, larger than life.” They are to work in teams of two, drawn randomly from the velvet button bag, which immediately prompts confessionals of each designer talking about how she is a rebel without a cause, doesn’t work well with others, and hates her partner. The only team that doesn’t seem to share in mutual loathing is Anya and Olivier, who seem genuinely happy to work together, if only because both have been praised for landing in the top thus far. So if they’re what Tim calls the “dream team,” Fallene and Bryce, both bottom of the barrel designers last week, is a union that makes Fallene want to “shit [her] pants.” The rest of the teams are: Bert and Viktor, Anthony Ryan and Laura, Joshua and Julie, Danielle and Cecilia, and Kimberly and Becky.

In the workroom Tim informs the designers that they are to “think about Paris couture.” With that word of advice, he sends them off to Mood with $500 and informs them they only have a day’s time to complete the challenge. Bert and Viktor get off to a raucously terrible start. While we were a fan of Bert in the beginning, his image took a slight PR hit with his attitude last week, and this week, his seeming unwillingness to work with Viktor (who seems like a reasonable enough guy) loses him some major sympathy points. Viktor, to be fair, probably shouldn’t have said, his “heart dropped” when Heidi asked him why he “looked funny,” but Bert’s condescension, thinking Viktor ought to do some more book reading, is grating on us. These two got along about as well as Hell and a bucket of ice.

Heidi hosts the first challenge to have a “live” runway show (aren’t all the runway shows live?) open to the public and press in Bryant Park. She steps out in super high stilettos as though to stress the point that stilts are just really high heels! On to the show:

The Good

There was one standout: Anthony Ryan and Laura’s red charmeuse dress flowed and fluttered in all the right ways. The color popped and the sweetheart neckline paired with feathered shoulders was absolutely charming. It seemed like Anthony Ryan would finally get to be the bride, but instead he stepped aside and allowed Laura to take the challenge win and immunity from elimination for next week. We get that he’s probably seeing the “big picture” here and stepping aside from a challenge win might turn into a bigger win later. But we probably would have just cut a bitch for a win. Eh, different strokes.

Heidi’s continuing to look good this season. We liked her Givenchy-esque cardigan when she announced the challenge. And who knew she could work stilts so well?

The Bad

There wasn’t a whole lot we liked in this episode. We had high hopes that the stilts would allow the designers to construct really imaginative, extravagant designs, but most designers went the way of constructing (very nicely tailored) very long pants. While there was a major time constraint on the designers (hey Lifetime! We actually like it when you give designers more time to work so they don’t have to send sh** down the runway), some of the partnerships were too noxious to be workable. Overall, we felt most of the designs – even those in the top – had obvious flaws. Danielle and Cecilia’s flowy chiffon top and pants were nice, but the hair, as they realized themselves, made the model look like an evil, alien overlord. Kimberly and Becky’s pants and military jacket were also fine, but the collar was obviously wrong, and also going in the overlord direction. As Joshua pointed out, all of the top 3 looks were ready-to-wear. While the bottom 3 looks weren’t any better, we were hoping for more fantasy and wonder in these designs rather than something a very tall woman could wear on the street.

The Ugly

The episode turned mostly into a swan song for poor Fallene who was feeling on edge after last week. She didn’t know what cutting “on grain” meant. Bryce didn’t seem to handle it particularly well, sniping behind her back that that is the difference between an esteemed graduate of fashion school and a self-taught designer. She has something of an emotional breakdown needing Tim and Bryce to comfort her at every turn. Bryce takes too long to realize that Fallene is in over her head, and makes a sad looking spaghetti strap tank top that apparently looks like one Kim Kardashian wears to bed. We’re just sad Heidi didn’t send both of them home.

Next week: The designers design for Nina Garcia. Bring on the pain.

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