Episode 6 Recap: What a Teletubby Would Wear to a Party
September 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
Heidi continues to roll out the cute outfits; this time she tells our designers that they will be “going back to school” while wearing a cute lbd – little black dress – with lace sleeves paired with a geometric necklace. The designers fret that they will have to dress art teachers or children or artsy children. What a relief it must have been, then, when they learned that they must simply “collaborate” with a young artist from the Harlem School of the Arts on a painting that would serve as inspiration for an avant-garde look.
While we were kind of expecting (read: hoping) for a mass of toddlers with finger paints, but the artists ranged from 11 to 17, and all seemed talented and precocious. Laura finds a therapist in her 11-year-old counterpart and creates a Georgia O’Keefe type work. Olivier continues to channel Eeyore as he tells his teenage artist that he likes “depressing music.” Bert likes his teenage collaborator because “He’s a very quiet young man so we got along great, actually.” We’re just glad that Bert didn’t try to pick a fight with someone who is 40 years his junior.
The paintings themselves provide enough fodder for any avant-garde look. Many are abstract, but as Josh C. points out, “I think its important to take the emotions and feelings from the work and not being too literal.” That being said, with a feral wolf painting as his reference point, he goes off and buys faux fur and pleather at Mood. How does a Little Red Riding Hood turned Big Bad Wolf fair on the runway?
In the workroom, Tim says, “Avant-garde means to lead.” This challenge revealed that the designers are, for better or worse, ready-to-wear designers. Despite having two days – three if you count those precious two hours spent styling the model – to complete an avant-garde look, none of the designers really take us anywhere we haven’t already been before. (Remember Season 4 when Christian Siriano and Chris March created the giant ruffle dress and Victorya Hong and Jillian Lewis made that punk/equestrian-inspired coat?) Even though many of the looks were labor-intensive, conceptually they lacked imagination.
Take the winner’s – Anthony Ryan – piece: a long sheer dress with opaque “brush strokes” in shades of navy, black, yellow, and gray stuck on. Guest judge Kenneth Cole commented that the pieces “looked like it could be stuck on and could be unstuck very easily.” During the crit, Cole also thought the dress looked “a little bit homemade.” The hem was unfinished and the silhouette was conventional; the rising neckline actually reminded me of his birdseed dress, where incidentally, he also glued a lot of stuff onto a dress. Otherwise, the piece looks like Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art as a dress, which is cool, but not avant-garde.
Anya produced the strongest piece in terms of a coherent vision. Her mastery of color continues to astound, and I liked the feathers and deep v-necklines on the front and the back. The voluminous skirt was a little awkwardly constructed, but at least it was something else to look at.
The failure of imagination takes us back to the stilt episode where we had similarly high hopes for some awesome designs. Instead, designers produced what was at best, ready-to-wear for models with reaaaally long legs. So while some things were bad – Viktor’s puffy sky blue dress, Becky’s continuing love affair with puke green – this time in little shapes glued on the shoulder – their saving grace was, ironically, their wearability.
Josh C. was doomed from the get-go. He only spent approximately half of his allotted $300 budget at Mood, meaning he got a lot of cheap fabric – faux fur and pleather – to work with. Josh seems like a super sweet guy, and the way he connected with his teenage artist made us realize how new and fresh and alive making clothes still is for him. But like a budding designer, he grasps at predictable and stale tropes. Josh interprets what Michael Kors called a “powerful, dimensional, interesting” painting and turns it into a tacky dominatrix outfit. Senior editor at Marie Claire, Zanna Roberts Rassi calls the look “trashy.” Heidi’s first thought was, “I’m going to be a hooker for Halloween.” Josh tries to put up a fight for his outfit this time, arguing that taste is ultimately subjective. True, but Rassi points out, “There’s definitely a consensus here that it’s not beautiful.” In the end, Josh goes home – again.
Bert’s piece looked like an even more horrendous version of the Dior Couture circus show this past season. He made insanely high-waisted jodhpurs with lots of shapes stuck on. Michael says the outfit looks like “something a Teletubby would wear to a party.” Kenneth Cole says it reminds him of infant clothing where you can attach their mittens to their clothes.
Rounding out the bottom 3 was Olivier. We hope this episode isn’t the beginning of the end for Olivier, who has been on a downward slope since his win on the Pet Store episode. At the beginning of this week’s episode, he says he feels “confused more than ever” and his outfit reflected his mood: sad, grey, worn. We hope he brings back that gorgeous minimalism we fell in love with early on, but as of now, he’s getting hard to root for.
Next week: More teamwork! More conflict with Bert!