PR: Tops and Bottoms

Posted on August 31, 2012

Really, these dresses aren’t worth the time it’s going to take to discuss them. In fact, during last night’s judging session, we all bemoaned how much nothing was coming out of those flapping mouths on the judging panel. Whole lotta words spilled over boring garments. And what makes this all particularly hilarious is that they were all apparently so blown away by this string of standard dresses that they put FOUR people in the top, only TWO in the bottom, and sent NO ONE home. Puh-leeze, Product-Placement Runway.

Let’s do this quick n’ dirty style.


Fabio Costa

It’s fine. Take away the hem and the necklace, though, and you’ve got nothing. Admittedly, the straps in the back are nice.


Melissa Fleis

Gotta give it up for the girl; she didn’t make a standard dress. That neckline is interesting but the hem is awful and the fit overall is problematic


Elena Slivnyak

This is horribly overworked and it’s rendered in the wrong kind of fabric for it, but design-wise, this is the only dress that has any real interest to it. We think they wound up scoring her high not because there was ever a chance of her winning it, but because she’s the only one who actually designed something.


Gunnar Deatherage

A pretty dress that can be found in every single department store in America.


Alicia Hardesty

A truly awful dress. We give her some credit for once again trying to work outside her comfort zone and for offering something with a little interest, but this looks like the uniform of a depressed waitress on Star Trek.


[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for – Stills:]

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  • myangelic1

    Was I the only one laughing and SMDH when they criticized Alicia’s dress for having a neckline that was too high and then awarded the win to a CREWNECK t-shirt? 

    • TheOriginalLulu

      True. That was BS.

    • Lilithcat

      I don’t know what they were on about regarding that neckline.  ALL the dresses that were in the top had higher necklines.  (I suppose Melissa’s doesn’t count because it was technically strapless and there was side boob.)

      I also wish the judges, especially Heidi, would realize, once and for all, that women don’t necessarily want their boobs hanging out and that it is possible to look sexy without showing the world everything you’ve got.

      • Call me Bee

        Agreed.  But…consider the source. 

      • Maybe it was because they felt that since the hemline with the dropped waist seemed long (Kors said matronly) that if it had been more plunging there would have been more contrast and sex appeal? Maybe if she had carved a little more out of the shoulders it would have given the same effect and there would have been no risk of too much cleavage. 

      • In all fairness even good designers can fail on that detail- Laura Bennett kept falling back on plunging necklines that threatened to show everything.

    • myangelic1

      Also, Gunnar’s dress:  Why, yes, judges, you have seen it before.  In the screencaps, it reminds me an awful lot of Laura Bennett’s black and white dress (minus the feather-fringe hem) from S3. 

      • Celandine1

        YES! I went searching last night for pics because I thought Laura Bennett did that dress in season 3 and did it better. 

    • e m

      the difference was, that alicias was a v neck….a too high v is the death sentence to any dress.

      • myangelic1

        I see your point but it’s not *that* high.  I agree Alicia’s dress was rightly scored near/at the bottom but as a critique, zeroing in on the v is just silly.  Especially because, if they had loved the design otherwise, it would be easy enough to tweak that.   

  • “Depressed waitress on Star Trek” – haha, totally right. But then it would be shorter 😉

    • Jangle57

      And be much more form fitting!

      • Jacqueline Wessel

        with black sheer tights and black go-go boots!

      • Susan Crawford

        With room for an extra breast and an opening for a lizard tail – Faaaaabulous!

        • sojourneryouth

          You just gave so many sci-fi nerdlets serious woodies. I’m feeling that special tingle myself.

    • Vlasta Bubinka

      I flove depressed waitress on Star Trek. I actually thought it could be the dresses for the precision line for Girl, Interrupted on Ice.

      • Haaaah!  Although I don’t think it’s possible to ice skate while devouring a foil-wrapped chicken.  

        Man, there’s so much boring here I can’t believe they didn’t send everyone home.

  • ChiliP

    Is it bad that without you specifying which is which, I would have no idea which dresses were in the top vs. bottom? Lots of mediocrity on display here.

  • imperfectlaura

    In a word, forgettable.

  • I really would have liked Alicia’s if it had been constructed in something with more movement and ease. It was just so stiff.

    • pookiesmom

      Yeah, the fabric is so stiff! It reminds me of steering wheel-cover fabric when it could’ve actually maybe sorta worked as a breezy little thing.

      • Or In a jersey knit, to lend it softness.

        • Yes! I was also thinking jersey knit. Considering I don’t sew (but do wear clothes), it seems painfully obvious. I’ve said this more times than I can count, but I do not understand why PR’s designers are incapable of choosing the right fabric.

          I very much like the idea of Alicia’s dress. I love a drop waist, and don’t know what Kors was going on about when he said it made the dress look matronly. When I see a drop waist, I think flapper, which suggests fun and youthful to me. I even kind of like the polo collar, and I hate polo shirts.

          • Yes. Easy. breezy, and quietly sexy in its loose and mobile fit.

      • formerlyAnon

         With a little color contrast in the pleating.

        • Any color at all! Christopher’s washed out pink seemed like a revelation by contrast.

    • Weirdly, I liked it on screen, walking and standing on the runway, but in stills it looks, as you say, stiff. I thought my problem was with the neckline, but I see now it should be rendered in a different fabric, much as Melissa felt hers should have been (and if you’re going to make a tight dress, brocade is not your best choice, so she was right on that one.)

      • Melissa’s would be saved by a looser fit, and a shallower dip to the assymetric hem. Fitted=good, skin tight=Jimmy Dean Sausage

        • Yes, looser would help. Also, not even sure if the assymetric hem was necessary, what with the square action up top. I know that in her case, that’s her thing, but I still wonder if that dress even needed it.

          • Glammie

            I actually thought the longer part of the hem looked great from the back, but it got way too high in the front–the height on the thigh just didn’t look good.  Interesting dress though–the high strapless neckline had some edge to it.

        • VanessaDK

          Again, as with the work challenge, Melissa went for drama and created an interesting dress (that wasn’t ordinary enough to sell).

    • Kayceed

      Alicia’s really caught my eye. I liked the dropped waist and the inverted pleat – I think if she had lost the collar and done a deep, rather narrow v-neck – with maybe a bit of trim from the inverted pleat material? – it would have been very very nice.

      • It was getting pretty close to a 1920’s look. 

        • Jacquez Preposterice

          It reminds me of nothing so much as a 1920s tennis dress.  That’s not a criticism; I love that look.  I think this was not the fabric for it, though.

    • Susan Crawford

      Yes, exactly. A silk would have been great, or a gorgeous crepe de chine. That’s how Coco would have rolled!

    • Spicytomato1

      I hear you. I didn’t see the show but from what I see here I like where she tried to go with this. It has a mod flapper vibe to me. Can I assume she was the one who was sent home?

      • JMB_edits

        No one was sent home. Everyone was “too good” (cough, cough, — making up for runaway designers)

        • Spicytomato1

          Yes, thank you, I scrolled up and re-read TLo’s post so I figured that out. 

          “Too good.” That’s priceless.

      • Exactly- I was seeing flapper. I wonder if these young designers ever do any real study of historic styles.

        •  I assume one has to somewhat to get through a design program.  Hell, I did a final or midterm for an art history class on fashion once.  (It was one of only 2 things I could come up with that wouldn’t bore me — the other was propaganda)

          •  I think some of the self taught designers don’t have a clear idea of history, so they keep reinventing the wheel. Then again, what can you do that hasn’t been done before at some time?

          •  I find that even odder, honestly.  If you care enough about fashion and clothing to teach yourself how to do it and well enough to make it a career path, wouldn’t you care enough to study up on it?  Especially since the internet makes it so easily to research anything? 

    • Neverbuynewclothes

      Reminds me of an old-fashioned tennis dress.  Sportswear done for evening can be very interesting, and the silhouette would have been a neat addition to the collection since it flatters a different figure type.   

      •  You saw that too, huh?  My daughter had several that shape when she was a toddler.

      • YoungSally

        Agreed — the fabric was like a stiff trash bag — but LOVED the silhouette — Maybe if she had used more fabric in the kick pleats….although I was really not a fan of the one in the back…..I would go to L&T (where I got my first credit card in 1982) for a dress like that…..

    • LesYeuxHiboux

       It’s become apparent that she really does have a strong aesthetic, but I think rendering the shapes she likes in slinkier fabric would do wonders for her designs. Playing with the androgyny of the lines through sensual textures.

  • NDC_IPCentral

    Admirably concise, gentlemen.  A snooze-fest for the most part.  I appreciated Melissa’s color choice, but that long uneven hem was quite unfortunate.  She was scrambling.

    The fabrics that Lord & Taylor imposed/foisted upon the designers were dreadful.  As a result, I guess I have to give the designers the slightest of passes for having cruddy tools (fabric only, what was the prob with the sewing machine again?  Don’t these people who want to be design professionals know how to use professional equipment in their trade?) with which to work.

    • annieanne

      That was some truly butt-ugly fabric. And for all the judges constant commenting about being on-trend, I didn’t see anything modern or fresh looking about any of it.

    • Kayceed

      I thought Melissa’s fabric was beautiful. A chocolatey-bronzey fabric is so flattering on many skin tones, very elegant for evening and much less expected than gun-metal or black. Loved it.

      • Beautiful color, but it looked thick and stiff, like curtain or upholstery goods

    • I wonder if the designers knew before they sketched that the fabric would be provided and what it would be. Makes a HUGE difference. Remember Mondo said that he never designed before seeing the fabric; the fabric dictated the design.

    •  To be fair, they maybe don’t have one of those specific machines and each machine has it’s own little quirks.  And that’s true even if you have two of the same model.

  • BrooklynBomber

    It didn’t work well, but I liked the idea of Alycia’s. Everything on PR has devolved to standard silhouettes and obvious (hourglass and baby doll) ideas of sexy. So I appreciated seeing the rare different silhouette — and I happen to like dropped waists. The collar was a mistake, though, and the fabric is terrible. But it looks like many of the fabrics were pretty bad. Elena’s and Melissa’s fabric look equally awful.

    • annieanne

      I agree. It’s about time dropped waists made a comeback. They can be a very attractive silhouette if done right.

      •  Me too.  I think you have to have the right body for them, but because they’re not used much right now, they give a very unique vibe. 

    • i liked the *idea* as well, but not the execution. I’ve been seeing dropped waists in the mags, not thrilled that they might be coming back but her design seemed both retro and fresh.

    • Judy_S

       It just occurred to me too that Alicia was referencing Chanel, not meaning the iconic jacket or Lagerfeld, but much earlier styles (really 1920s). On this show, that’s rather sophisticated.

  • pookiesmom

    I didn’t watch this episode. Which (aside from Alicia’s) was in the bottom?

    • Lilithcat


      • pookiesmom

        I see, thank you!!

    • Gunnar. He was horrified, so sure was he of a win.

      • pookiesmom

        Thanks! I think it says something about this challenge that I couldn’t intuit the top from the bottom based on the pictures.

        •  I was sure Christopher would be in the bottom two, and he won. There was no logic present in this judging session.

  • granddelusion

    Elena: Butt-ugly.

    • CozyCat

      I agree that it needed work (a good fitting), but I thought it worked as an “edgier” cocktail dress.

      And it generated the best exchange of the evening:

      Kors:  “No woman over 45 would wear that dress.”
      The two women over 45:  “Noooo.  I can see the RIGHT woman wearing it….”

      • In the right fabrics and with the construction issues worked out Elena’s idea could make a kick-ass dress…but not for L&T

  • Dmitry wuz robbed. The end.

    No, really, he was. 

    Meanwhile –
    Gunnar: Dress pretty. Honestly, I was shocked he wasn’t in the Top 3. But I understood why he was in the Bottom, too. That shit gotta hurt.
    Fabio: BLAH.
    Alicia: EEK!!!
    Elena: BULLLSHIIITTT. No reason for that atrocity to be in the Top (3) 4. None! The producers wanted to see if she would break down in a pool of her tears with the announcement that her dress was one of the highest scores. And they got exactly what they wanted. Bullshit. 

    Leading me to once again say, Dmitry wuz robbed. Again.

    • SewingSiren

      As to Dmitry, you don’t think his dress was too similar to the dress Korto designed that was already in the collection?
      I don’t mean that he copied it. But the fabric , the color , the silhouette, and multiple seams, . I think if he had used gold, red or green he would have had a chance, but the metallic pewter just made it too similar.

      • Kayceed

        I had the same impression.

      • Hmmm…I can see what you’re saying. I took a look at both dresses and you’re right. It has the same feel as Kortu’s. If he had went with a different color, it would have brought the whole design to life (Isn’t that always the case for Dmitry this season? It’s like his using black, dark navy, dark gray, etc. holds back his design. Which is a shame because the dude is good). But even if, it still deserved to be in the Top over, say, Fabio and Eleana. That’s for sure.

      •  I really liked the way he did the seaming, though, and I think it would be very flattering in a wide size range.  (Though since the collection only goes to a 14, I suppose that doesn’t matter)

  • granddelusion

    And that zipper on Fabio’s dress is horrendous; kudos to kors for pointing that out. However, kors is a hypocrite, so kudos take-back.

    • rh33

       The exposed zipper is over exposed. NO MORE!!! Every dress ends up with a stiff lumpy curve. Bury this trend now!

  • Zippypie

    Dull, boring, uninspired.  How Melissa’s was in the top 4 evades me.  Horribly fit, waaaaay too tight and that seam right across the bustline is ridiculous.

    Elena’s was “designed” but it was a HORRIBLE design rendered in a horrible fabric.  Who the hell wants to wear a harness unless you’re sky diving or up for a little S&M?

    All in all, completely pedestrian.

    • Oh yeah, Melissa’s was weird, but I have to say that when Kors said “it want to put a bell on that hem” I was highly amused, and normally his snark brand turns me a little off.

    • Well, howabout Gwen Stefani in the next entry? I thought Elena’s was kind of cute in a NYC gallery girl way.

      • Zippypie

        Gwen Stefani looks ridiculous in that getup on the cover of ELLE.  She’s beautiful and has presence.  That’s the only thing that sells it.  Elena’s would have been passable in a softer fabric but it’s still so overworked and tortured.  And the skirt is horrible.

    •  I’d wear it.  Well, okay, I’d wear it if I wasn’t very well-endowed, and if it was in a different fabric. 

  • OhSayNow

    I know it has been said again and again, but I can’t help it, I HATE those exposed zippers. I also wonder if things would have been a bit less standard if they had an additional day.

  • SapphoPoet

    I didn’t watch the show yet, but out of all these pictures, I like Fabio’s the best. It has a certain simplicity to it and looks like a complete thought. 
    Melissa: I like it from the back, but the front is harsh and there’s too much sideboob for an L &T customer. Bad fit. 
    Elena’s looks like an overdesigned mess. I really dislike the back–just too much.Gunnar: mehAlicia: I like the idea of it, although it seems a bit limp. 

    • Spicytomato1

      Yeah, the back on Elena’s reminds me of ladies at the gym who wear a workout/jog bra that has a racer back and a tank with a different cut and their backs are a complicated mess. (I’m guilty as charged by the way. Fine for the gym but not so much for a dress, though.)

  • When Gunnar was left on stage I SWORE the producers had finally lost their damn mind and given him the win. I was happy to see that they agreed that the fabric was doing all the work. Insane in the Ukraine’s was laughable on screen last night. Looks less like a trash bag here but I still hate it. How it ranked higher than Dimitri’s is beyond me. 

    • CarolinLA

      They wouldn’t have done that.  He was in the bottom.

  • I didn’t really think Gunnar deserved to be in the bottom. I thought it was a much better look then what put him in the top last week. I thought that the layering of the sequins over the lace was really cool. Especially how he used matte sequins to give it a little depth and texture without going overboard. And i thought the contradiction of the orderly/organized pattern of the lace and the random flow of sequins was pretty cool. Its a dress i could spend all night staring at and the texture makes me want to reach out and grab it. His was my favorite and I don’t normally love what he does.

    • CarolinLA

      It was just way too much compared to all the other designs in the collection.  The first nine are fairly simple but elegant and Gunnar’s would’ve stood out like a sore thumb.  

      • It was a nice dress and well made, but as Kors said: “I think that dress is already IN Lord & Taylor”.  Gunnar can make nice clothes but he’s not very original.

    • Glammie

      I thought Gunnar’s was the worst of the night–I actually did the the black lace scoop-necked short sleeve over black tank look 20 years ago–it’s really not a fresh look.  I have an early Prada that does a better job with the same silhouette. 

      Gunnar’s came off as very busy on the fabric front and nothing-new on the silhouette.  Gunnar’s eye just isn’t that sophisticated.

  • I liked Melissa’s dress, but really can’t see very many women wearing that. It was so tight. Elena’s was horrible, but since you guys say they may have given it high marks for being something designed, I guess I can sort of see how it made top 4. I liked the idea behind Alicia’s dress, I like the look of drop waist dresses. Too bad she didn’t go for more of the flapper look, and ditch the sportiness angle. 

    • Yeah, I was saying in the last thread that if she had perhaps just put a straight neckline with spaghetti straps, it would satisfy her need for spareness and be much more of a cocktail dress.

  • Lilithcat

    A pretty dress that can be found in every single department store in America.

    I don’t agree that it’s a pretty dress.  It’s dull, overworked and heavy-looking.

  • call_me_schmeg

    one more exposed zipper and i’m gonna….

  • Out of the 4 “top” dresses, Elena’s was, just like you said, the most designed one.
    She totally should have won, again – the best out of those 4 dresses. But let’s be real, Dmitry had the winning dress.
    Fabio’s was just boring, boring and oh wait, yes – boring.
    Melissa took a risk and the dress turned out to be at least a showstopper, if not something.

    In what world was Christopher’s dress the best one?! It was nothing new and innovative, the old (already seen 2 times before) technique & the back of the shirt was horrifying. Was this the worst decision they made on this episode, besides Dmitry being safe?
    The answer is NO. Someone had to go and I jumped out of my seat and clapped like a psycho when Ms. Klum told Alicia that she is safe. I hated Gunnar from the very beginning and I was just waiting for the episode where he gets the Aufweidersehen. Now I have more praying to do, hoping he will be gone in a week or two.

    This had to be one of the most boring episodes that produces equally boring garments. And again this episode and the “oh everyone did the best dresses they could make” is another proof that Lifetime ruined Project Runway. F**K the producers of the show!

    • Glammie

      Well, it wasn’t boring on the crying-meltdown front–maybe they weren’t allowed to sleep?  But in terms of dresses produced–yeah, the limited fabric choices drabbed down everything.

      Not sure why Christopher thinks his strips of semi-shredded fabric is new—I have a couple of skirts from Anthrophologie that use that technique and they’re both 5-6 years old.  It looked fresh when Jay McCarroll was sewing skirts out of strips.  Christopher’s is just a slight variation of that.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        I have to keep reminding myself that Christopher and Gunnar are young and my impression is that neither of them really knows much about the history of fashion, including relatively recent fashion.

        • Glammie

          I think there’s a general issue with knowledge and sophistication with this crew.  Vin can pleat roses like crazy, but that’s been around a long time–and he’s one of the better designers.  I wonder to what extent last year’s blatant producer manipulation in favor of Anja has affected who tries out.  We know it affects who gets cast.  But would someone like Rami, who was up-and-coming when he did the show or Cris March who had a nice business in costumes going, try out now?

          I actually think Alicia has some interesting ideas, but her construction skills are so iffy that I don’t see her hanging on much longer.  I’m sort of rooting for the Olsen clone.  She’s local and has some ideas, but while there’s no blatant embarrassment like Anja-no-sew being eased into the win, it’s annoying that two really boring designs by Christopher have won.  

          I really miss the Bravo version of PR.  Sigh.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            Word. I miss the Bravo PR, too.  Bunim-Murray and Heidi seemingly thought they’d struck gold with Anya last season, but, without rehashing that mess of a season, I wonder, like you, if that win had an impact on some designers who were considering trying out for PR. As you said, would we see someone of Rami or Chris March’s caliber auditioning for PR after season 9?
            Melissa is growing on me, and I like Fabio and Comrade Snape. Christopher, I’m not sure of-I’m expecting the judges to turn around and jump on him if he uses his favorite technique again.

  • JaneDC

    Thought the judges got a little too excited about the harness on Elena’s dress. They must have said the word fifteen times.

  • mjude

    when you see them all close up, yikes

    • Snailstsichr

       I’m thinking the details could have been attended to if they had had more time. Clipping threads and the like go by the wayside when you don’t have enough time.

  • StellaZafella

    Elena’s dress, to me, would be “fun” in contrasting colors (anything BUT black) for the harness and a softer fabric overall…maybe not for cocktails, but certainly for the sporty-girl-at-work…you might even get away with sandals.
    I knew Gunner wouldn’t go…somehow, I knew nobody was going when the judges didn’t hate anything outright…I noticed the critiques were delivered in a quieter tone of voice overall…like they didn’t want to say anything that might be upsetting.

    “There were no real train wrecks” is damning with such faint praise…

    • Kayceed

      Is the harness in a different fabric? Hard to tell, but I agree – a higher contrast in either color or texture would make the design pop a bit more. And with more time, I’m sure the fit would be better.

  • l_c_ann

    Without TLo we wouldn’t be able to tell most of these apart at forty paces.

  • Yay! I don’t have to watch PR this week! Or, wait, maybe I will, since I’m currently suffering thru a horrible case of insomnia. *yaaaaaaawn* 

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      Oh, well this episode will cure you of that, don’t worry!

  • formerlyAnon

    Agree with all your judgements except re Alicia’s. As shown, it IS depressing, too much black and the fabric’s too heavy, but I think in different fabrics (both color and weight) it would have been in my top three or four. I liked the shape of the dress and she could have made much of contrasting color in the pleating.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    Fabio- I liked the dress and thought it had some nice seaming in the bodice. I’m not a fan of huge exposed zippers, but I think it works and the back is great. He should have done this in a beautiful color.
    Melissa- I can just see the girl leaning over and that neckline flopping forward, presenting her tatas on a big shiny platter. I agree with the judges that she went too far with the asymmetrical hem.
    Elena- I hate the Hefty Bag material, but the design of the bodice is kind of cool. Should have chosen a better material and eliminated those front pleats. The harness part could have been rendered in a contrasting color from the body of the dress; I think it would have looked better.
    Gunnar- I hate it when I agree with the judges, but it’s true. Who hasn’t seen this dress a hundred times?
    Alicia- The dress looks shitty because that material is all wrong. The inverted pleats on the skirt aren’t my favorite, but they could have looked okay in the right material. I like the top half of the dress. The girl has some ideas. She’s lucky they had to make up for two designers running for the hills, otherwise this would have been her Auf. 

    • ampg

      I think Fabio’s was the best match to the collection, honestly.  Like the others, it was a fairly simple dress that would appeal to lots of women, with a few design elements that made it noticeable (and worth the extra $100).  I liked Gunnar’s a lot (especially since his execution is usually horrific, and this was very well realized), but I agree that there was nothing to differentiate it from standard department store fare.

      •  I found Fabio’s to be the most boring thing on the runway.  And to put him in the top for an asymmetrical hem?  Seriously? 

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          I thought that Fabio’s dress had a higher score partly for the back, and also for the way he styled his model.  I liked his dress, but agree that it isn’t a new silhouette.

          •  Everything about it was nice, but it didn’t seem very unique to me.  Even the back wasn’t anything that impressive.  And it’s not that I didn’t like the dress, I did — it was really versatile and cute.  I just didn’t see how Gunnar could be in the bottom for a dress they liked but had seen before, and yet Fabio was in the top.

  • Ing

    It was honestly hilarious how inconsistent the reviews were this time around. I know that’s a running theme, but this time it really seemed extra ridiculous. Gunnar’s was too stiff, but Elena’s was awesome? The skirt of Elena’s dress was so stiff it could probably stand on its own. And they’d seen Gunnar’s dress a hundred times, but Fabio’s was sooo chic. I agree that Gunnar’s dress is definitely nothing new, but Fabio’s dress was just a black dress. It was pretty, but still… it was just a black dress with a zipper down the back.

    Also. Dmitry continues to be robbed. 

  • annieanne

    Looking at Elena’s in close-up, its too bad she didn’t swallow her “chiffony” prejudice and go for a softer fabric. A lightweight silk would have both played against the hard edge of the harness design and flowed much better in the skirt. That would have been a significantly better dress; as it is she’s got a stiff toilet roll topper with some strapping.

    • CozyCat

      Elena was a pain last night, but she was the only one shown going thru a real “design process.”  She was the only one who pushed out of her comfort zone but still managed to produce something that was recognizably “her.”   And she has succeed in doing that each week. 

      At this point, I have to think hard to remember what Alicia and Melissa’s orignal style was–they’ve “adapted” too much to the challenges. 

      Ven and Dmitry, on the other hand, produce the same thing every week (not saying it’s bad, but it’s not, as NIna would say, “surprising.”)  And Christopher keeps using the same technique.

      So as difficult as Elena may be, I think she’s kept around for a lot more than the drama she brings.

  • Do people actually buy polyester dresses for $200 or $300?

    • Frank_821

      surprisingly enough there are good grades of polyester-which the hell out of me

    • Call me Bee

      Actually–there aresome  really good polys out there.  I’ve picked up garments swearing they were silk and they turn out to be poly (which is kind of a score when you have to wash the thing…) 
      Yeah–there are still bad polys, too, but you’d think L&T would use high-grade stuff. 

      •  Virtually everything I make is a good poly blend — yes, there are some that will not breathe and look like plastic and just all around unfortunate.  But there are tremendous benefits when you’re talking about garments that are actually going to be worn: you can wash them, they don’t wrinkle…

  • LadyCelia

    I used a lot of these fabrics in science fiction costuming.  In the late 80’s.  This is just sad.

    •  Oo, what sci fi?

      • LadyCelia

        Mostly Romulan inspired and later Babylon 5 inspired stuff.

        • What were you doing it for?  Like theater or cons or just fun?  (I’m a huge sci-fi junkie and I love clothes, too, so the intersection is fascinating to me — and there’s no way I could I do costuming like that.  I’m just not that creative)

          • LadyCelia

            Just convention-wear.  The kind of costuming that predated what is now called cosplay.  Lots of fun.

          •  Very cool — I’m quite familiar with cosplay.  We’re Star Wars people in my house.

  • Did anyone notice how Melissa’s model had to lean back to keep her, well, bodice from flopping forward? That brocade was not just staying up on it’s own.

    • ampg

      Yes, I was wondering if we would see a wardrobe malfunction on the runway.  There’s no way that dress could make it through the first hour of a cocktail party.

      • 3boysful

         But if you wanted to flash the girls sometime, think how easy it would be in that dress.  No fabric bunched under your chin; just a quick flap down.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          I can see that flashing getting its very own headline on the Huffington Post’s celeb page….

    • CarolinLA

      I really felt for those models last night, especially Melissa’s.  They have to stand there forever and it’s a nightmare when it’s that tight.

  • SewingSiren

    1. Fabio’s is a fine dress I could see it in L and T’s , but I think it is too similar to the one Melissa did for the first challenge.

    2. Melissa, this is the dress I would have picked for the win. I like the shape of it and the color.I agree that it’s a little too tight on the model , but considering the problems of the other dresses (including the winner) not a big deal. The collection needed a gold or a bronze color, so many of the designers picked that metallic pewter color they ended up looking the same.

    3. Elena, the dress is too small for the model. I think she did right not to do a sheath like so many others, I don’t have a problem with the stiffness but I agree the overall design is too complicated.

    4. Gunnar, it’s rather pedestrian. If he had used a fabulous color like Red, Green, or Gold I think it would have been much better.

    5. Alicia, I like the idea of an updated flapper, but the fabric is too stiff for the design. And too many different fabrics. A flowy fabric would have improved it by far. I would have picked this for the auf.

    So there were 4 tops and 2 bottoms? Odd.

  • annieanne

    She thought about colour contrast with that horrible bright blue. I think Tim talked her out of it.

  • Susan Crawford

    I liked Fabio’s dress, but hated the styling – that matronly giant-bead necklace did nothing for it. And here was a dress that got swallowed up because it was in black! The hem detail was stunning, but until Kors pointed it out and they zoomed in, who could even see it? I know, Fabio, yu’re a hipster, downtown kinda guy, but man, if this dress had been in a gorgeous, saturated color: ka-POW! (And I can’t with the exposed zipper. Just. Can’t.)

    I’ve already posted that I like the concept behind Melissa’s dress, but the fit was really poor.

    Cnsidering Elena’s ongoing nervous breakdown over this challenge, she ended up with an OK dress. Again, nothing particularly original (despite the “harness love” – I actually have seen this a LOT, judges!) and I really hated that oil-slick-looking fabric.

    Clinique-Deux? Meh.

    Alicia: OK, the girl tried. The end result was sort of a mess, but I got what she was attempting to do. It just didn’t work, and my feeling is that she truly IS not ready to push out of her fall-back look. And at her age and stage of her design career, this is NOT good. I sensed that she just lost energy completely and lost perspective from her original drop-waist, Chanel-esque idea. And again: that fabric was horrible! 

  • is this really what project runway has come to? these looks are just depressingly boring. they seem lifeless.

  • GotComments

    I am so over the visible zipper as a design element. OK they don’t have time to do a proper zipper, but it is so last decade and ugly to boot.

  • Jennifer Coleman

    Along with the exposed zipper (actually, it’s not a bad design feature, but since we see, like 4 versions on each episode, it’s nauseating in the PR context) the side-muller, or Flock of Seagulls hem for you 80s Kittens, needs to be banned, if just to remove some played-out crutches.

  • annieanne

    I’m amazed Bonnie What’s-her-face didn’t insist on an extra day. After all, its the window of her store that’s going to be featuring this dreck.  I don’t imagine the other nine designers produced their dresses in a day.

    •  According to Nick’s blog the designers didn’t produce their designs at all, the 9 designers submitted sketches and the company that provided the fabrics for the challenge was responsible for actually producing the garments. One wonders how closely they followed the sketches. I also imagine the company will produce the winning design and may make minor changes

      • CarolinLA

        And that process must’ve taken quite a while to get the designs exactly to their liking.  And so they give these people ONE DAY to not only do a sketch but produce it as well.  Why would L&T allow that knowing that it would limit the creativity?

  • ampg

    I thought Elena’s was pretty great, especially considering it was the hardware store challenge.  How many designers could make something so interesting out of a vinyl tarp?  She totally deserved to be in the top.

    Wait, what was that?  Top of a DEPARTMENT STORE challenge?

  • Call me Bee

    Down and dirty indeed. 
    I really liked Melissa’s dress, considering she made it all over at the last minute.  It was an interesting design and it wasn’t black.  Just as you said, I’d cut that fishtail off and even out the hem for sure. 
    Fabio’s was deceptively simple.  Simple desgin, but done with a chiffon overlay and a neat little detail at the hem (which, again, should have just been an even hem.)  I like the back detail, save for the huge honkin’ zipper. 
    (Those big back zuppers have to go now.  They’re even showing up on dresses here in the Middle-west–a sure sign that their time has come and gone.) 
    Agreed about Elena’s dress.  She had to learn to just shut up and sew.  As someone once said, if she’s gonna cry, she can go ahead and cry, but has to cut and cry.  😉 
    Anyway–her dress was interesting, but had it been a little  simpler, it may have been better constructed, and might have actually won.  As it was, it was a good design, but just a mess.    It needed a bit of editing and some major ironing/steaming. 
    I can see where Alicia was going with her look, but, again, badly constructed.  So in her case, and Elana’s, good (or at least fair) designs saved bad construction. 

    Gunnar’s?  I mentioned in the lounge, it’s a carbon copy of Laura’s S3 black and white lace dress, poorly done.  A perfectly serviceable black cocktail dress.  Nothing special. 

  • Gunnar’s dress was a sad Laura Bennet knockoff.

    • CarolinLA

      Oh come on – that’s an insult to Laura. 

      • CozyCat

        Laura would have hand beaded the whole thing, critiqued the other designers, had another baby, and still have had time for a nap in the time these designers had….

  • Frank_821

    First I was surprised they still only had 1 day to do this challenge.

    Visually I liked Melissa’s the most but it would be the hardest to produce and market

    I feel kind of sad for Alicia: Part of me feels if she had been allowed to make an evening attire with pants, she could have rocked something really sporty. Or even a formal trench

    She had a good idea that would have been distinct but compliment the collection. but really when i saw the dress I hated fabric choice. Honestly someone like her, who is about structure and tailoring, really is at a greater disadvantage with the time constraints

    •  Did I miss something? Alicia could have made anything she liked. The only instruction was that the design had to fit in with the other garments. Alicia should have exercised her options, like Christopher did; although how Christopher won is beyond me. Why not Dimitry?

  • VRuss

    Elena’s dress was truly hideous, and Melissa’s showed lots of side boob. It was pretty bad as well, in my own opinion. Alicia should have gone home. Everything she has put on the runway for the past several episodes has been truly awful.

    I would have loved to see Dimitry in there, his dress was nice, and although as much as I hate Ven now for his attitude problems, his dress is something I would wear in an instant! Same with Gunnar’s, even if it can be found in every single department store, I would wear it gladly.

  • BrooklynBomber

    A True Story
    by Brooklyn Bomber

    I recently brought home a dress I really like, except it has an exposed zipper in a contrasting color. I decided to ignore that because otherwise the dress is good. I tried the dress on at home to show Mr. Bomber, and he really liked it. When I turned away to walk back to the closet, he suddenly let out a gasp of such horrified alarm that I thought I must have torn the dress or sat in a pool of red wine. I turned and asked, “What’s wrong?!?”  He pointed around to the back and said, “WHAT IS THAT!???!!” 

    Mr. B. isn’t exactly up on the latest trends. He sometimes half-watches PR with me, but has no idea that exposed zippers have been a trend for awhile now – long enough, in fact, that they should be gone already. I may keep the dress anyway; after all, I don’t have to see the zipper.

    • Kayceed

      That. Is. Hilarious. And so apt – zippers should not be exposed (sounds rather naughty, actually.)

    • Could you take it to a seamstress and have the offending zipper replaced with a hidden zipper?

      • BrooklynBomber

        Hmmm… that’s a thought. Thanks!

    • Love this story. 

    • l_c_ann

      I was going to suggest changing out the hidden zipper for a hand stitched closed placket  zipper (if you’ve no sewing machine, because without one an invisible zipper is hard to do.)

      • BrooklynBomber

        Oh, geez, I suppose I could do it by hand. Tailors around here would probably charge a fortune. I suppose I could dye the whole dress but that never really looks good, does it?

        •  Also the zipper and dress would probably not take the dye the same, so the colors would be off.

    • CozyCat

      There was a trend a few years where the seams on sweaters were done wrong side out–that is, so the the two halves are brought together and overstiched was on the outside rather than the inside.  (I don’t sew, so I don’t know the right technical term.)  I hated it, because I was sure that someone would think I had my clothes on inside out.

      It seems to me that the exposed zipper trend has the same problem. 

      • Lisa_Cop

        I have one of those sweaters, a cashmere turtleneck

  • Trisha26

    Am I the only one who thought of Falling Skies every time the judges said the word “harness” in connection with Elena’s dress? Creepy!  Melissa’s dress really bothered me – what woman wants a stiff fabric panel barely hiding their boobs? Gunnar’s dress may have been nothing new but it was cute and well-made – unlike most of the others.

    •  LOL.  I didn’t think of it at all, but I certainly will now! 

  • paulmkane2001

    Alicia’s dress was the only interesting one, but the judges were right that she should have made it a bit sportier.

  • Elena’s dress is quite the overworked garbage bag.

    I’d buy Gunnar’s dress…oh, wait, I think I already own Gunnar’s dress. Except it has longer sleeves, and I think I paid about $35 at H&M.

  • As many times as Alicia kept saying “Chanel” over and over I kept screaming at the TV: then Drop the waist lower, Lose the popped collar and DON’T use plastic fabric! Also make a sweater! If ever there was a time to suddenly discover jersey ….

  • I’m convinced there’s a video offscreen of kidnappers with the judges’ children holding signs – “Say the dress is pretty Mommy!”. How else do you explain the L&T lady choking out how she liked Elena’s dress? Seriously.

    Something I’ve wanted to say all along – I adore that cute and sweet head make up guy. I know nothing about him, but always look forward to seeing him every week.

    Nina looked fabulous.

  • quiltrx

    Was Mood having a “Fugly Shiny Black Fabric 80% Off” sale or something?  It’s like a Kimberley fabric flashback.  Just weird, and black all around, groan.

    • The fabrics were provided by Lord & Taylor. Which, let’s face it, is hardly as upscale as Neiman’s or Sack’s. I bet Barney’s wouldn’t even return Proj Run’s calls.

      • Lisa_Cop

        The accessories provided by L&T this season are the cheapest looking ever. Much worse than seasons where Macy’s or Piperlime provided them.

  • Kayceed

    May we broach the subject of undergarments? Does the L&T customer wear a bra? Because only Alicia’s design accomodates the wearing of a standard one. Fabio – no; Melissa – no; Elena – no; Gunnar – no; Christopher – no. This is rather annoying to me, as I will do what needs to be done for special events e.g. longline strapless – but I don’t want to do it for a simple cocktail dress.

  • dress_up_doll

    I love a dropped waist. Don’t mind an exposed zipper. And love black. But, the submissions for last night’s challenge were mostly bad. Bad and uninspired.

  • I don’t think anyone else has mentioned it, so maybe it’s me, but doesn’t Elena’s dress take an uber-thin model (look at her gazelle-like limbs) and make her look thick in the middle? I don’t mind a harness detail (but I also don’t mind some S&M, yeah, TMI) but this one is so off to me. I also don’t like the back, add a little bulk and it could be a parachute back there. I see that at least there was some design to it and it pisses me off that these 24 hour challenges eliminate, for me, what the entire point of PR was, awesome, fun, creative fashion design.

    • Lisa_Cop

      I think Elena is stuck with a terrible model. You can see in the stills that she is much shorter than Alicia’s model. She has bad posture and a sour, unhappy look on her face.

  • Amy

    I had no idea Lord & Taylor would bring the apocalypse. All the crying and the drama was making me nervous!

    Elena…your dress was perfectly marketable. I’ve seen a million versions of it in cheaper/louder fabric at Urban Outfitter.
    Alicia…I give you credit for the drop waist which was cute. You had my backing until I saw the final outcome.

  • joything

    I think Alicia’s dress had a kind of jock-chic to it.  Granted, execution was puketastic, but if it had been in colors instead of black …

    • 3boysful

       You’re right, there was potential there.  Bad fabric/color choices.

  • mom2ab

    What a load of ugly badly made crap.  I think the most unwearable was Melissa’s – what human female could possibly wear that when even the flat chested model was spilling out of the sides?  Elena’s was ugly and made her model’s butt look huge- another look no woman would choose.  And Alicia, poor sad Alicia, just needs to go home and make manly clothes for manly girls (not that there is anything wrong with that) it seems like her craptastic pink Forever 21 dress from last week totally broke her spirit.  And Gunnar- well whatever.


    I just don’t get the Fabio love…his dress was SO ordinary!  The fabric looked heavy and dull.  There really was no “cocktail dress” vibe to it.  I will say it was well executed though.  But L&T lady said retail for 200-300 bucks…not a chance for that boring a dress.

    I did like Melissa’s…definitely some difficulties there with wearability and comfort.  A few tweaks and I could see that it would be an eye catching party dress.

    I can’t even come up with words for how horrid I think Elena’s shiny garbage bag dress is!  Poor teeny model looks huge!

    I think Alicia may have had a grain of a good idea.  Too many tweaks needed to save that one though.

    Agree 100% on Gunnars dress.  Standard party dress available EVERYWHERE!

    Once again, judges are hitting the crack pipe this season!

  • Judy_S

    Good point about Elena’s dress. I thought it had potential but the fabric fought against that. I did kind of like Alicia’s. The execution was not so great, but that could be said of others, including the winna. 
    Melissa’s–I thought it was a fine runway dress, and from the back the weird hem even looks kind of cool in the photo. But I can’t imagine anyone volunteering to wear it to an event in which, say, a humid atmosphere or spilled drink could wilt the bib.

  • I said last night that I think Elena’s bondage look would have been better on a sheath. The full skirt looked very stiff, fussy and overwrought.

    I thought I would like Fabio’s the best… it was certainly a look that many women/sizes could wear. Loved the Hepburnish-back but hated the exposed zipper which seemed to be badly sewn. The front needed *something* to up the drama. I think he had chosen a different, better necklace originally. 

    I liked Ven’s as well and Dimitry’s, both simple, classic looks.

    • You know, I hate to defend Ven, but I’m with you on that.  Once Dmitry, Sanjia and Ven were sent to safety, I thought, “Okay – Dmitry’s dress is better than Ven’s, and even Ven’s is better than any of the dresses still standing out there.”  And as for Miss Sanjia – my girl was lucky as hell last night!

  • I was SHOCKED that Elena’s dress was in the top.  I thought it was hideous. It looked like a heavyweight garbage bag cinched around the waist. Alicia’s dress was meh…then Kors said something about it looking like a sports uniform and then it suddenly transformed into a black, sparkly tennis outfit. I could not unsee it.

    • MilaXX

       I thought it was overworked as well. Seeing it in print even more so.

  • Fabio: minimalistic, a bit too much so, I like the back straps, the exposed zipper not so much (strange– because I’m a sucker for zippers, but this zipper’s kind of raw, as if it’s slapped on, as if it’s not fully integrated). The asymmetrical & sheer hemline works.

    Melissa: major side cleavage, too much wrinkling, the asymmetrical hem in her case appears sloppy, the only design interest is generated by that strapless top portion with its boat neckline (I like that she stuck to the brocade and utilized the fabric’s intrinsic properties to engineer that stand-up top, but other than that, it’s not a great dress.)

    Elena: I’ve liked a few things she’s done (i.e. I thought she should have won the 1st challenge), but the harness and baby-doll combination strikes me as disconcerting.

    Gun: Not bad, it’s the first garment he’s made to which I’ve responded. I don’t love the lace or the sequins (or paillettes), but it’s the first garment of his that’s well-executed and well-fitted. It works. It’s just not exciting.

    Alicia: It’s a losing entry. That collar is limp. I think, for the most part, she’s adept at coinciding her aesthetic to the dictates of the challenge, but this slouchy/deconstructed/graceless sensibility does not work every time.

  • kaycem

    i swear i was going to throw the remote at the tv if alicia compared her design to chanel just one more time.  bitch, no.

    •  Chanel? I missed that. Clearly, she’s delusional.

  • guest2visits

    I liked Gunnar’s alot. The model was very cute in it; and I instantly thought this dress would be nice short or to the knee.
    It’s just a pleasing design, it looks form fitting but comfortable. And the lace treatment didn’t look old. I guess it’s a classic
    for a reason.  Maybe not a winning design but not the bottom either. 

    • Yeah, I mean, as far as lace dresses go, it was rather pretty.  Certainly not enough to send him home over!  Once Alicia was safe, I was still so upset over Dmitry not winning that I actually fell for the “Gunnar goes home” routine.  I got all drama’d out, “WHAT IS HAPPENING TONIGHT!!!  KHAAAAANNNNN!!!”  😉

  • That first dress is ridiculously bad/boring/nothing. I agree with your assessment of Elena’s. When I saw it on TV, I did think it was interesting, but now looking at it in pictures, it really is totally overworked. On a real human being that front would just look…..weird….

  • mhleta

    I felt like it was opposite day the way they were falling all over these dresses. Fabio’s dress was the biggest snooze for me. When you go to a cocktail party or a nice restaurant 90% of the time you’re only seeing people from the shoulders up. Given that, there was not one thing to feast on here. I love Melissa, but that top was really precarious. Even as the model was standing there, it was starting to flop forward. One whisper of a breeze and that girl iss standing with her tata’s out. Alicia should have been sent packing. She’s not turned out one thing of interest. Last night’s show made me want to punch a kitten. I may have to go on blood pressure medication, not because the fashions are so FIERCE and STIMULATING, but because these judges are taunting me with their willful dipshittedness. 

  • MoHub

    What impressed me the most was the number of properly installed zippers, proving that that skill is not yet dead.

    • MilaXX

       Agreed for all the drama they bring this group has more talent than PR has cast in years. Sadly that’s more of a condemnation of what PR has become than praise for the designers. However when you go through a season of non sewers being praised, you lower your expectations.

      • Maybe in recent years, but I don’t think this group would have made the cut in the early days of PR.

  • Stubenville

    Where did Elana get Hefty bags from? Did someone steal all her fabric? Oh that’s not Hefty bags?

    • blondie65

      I know!!! That’s the first thing I thought of…where’s Stella Barbarella with her ‘leatha’ when you need her?

    • Very funny! 🙂

  • marilyn

    Fabio-Zipper is tacky and brings the dress down.  Melissa:  Side-boobage problem.  Elena:  Too many elements.  Unsuitable (p)leather fabric for that style of dress.  Dirndl skirt + blackish (p)leather=mess.  Gunnar:  MOB dress that is way too short.  Very shiny.  Alicia:  Should have gone home.  A homely mess.

    • meowing

      +1 re: Melissa’s side-boobage, plus a crumb-catcher top that was crooked, to boot.

  • VanessaDK

    Fabios dress was apparently wonderful because it was so nondescript that it could be worn — to work, for evening, as swimwear etc. !

  • DeborahJozayt

    I’m just glad Venn wasn’t in the top 3. I really am. I haven’t seen the show yet, but it makes me feel good to know he’s not being given unrealistic high praise for his work. He let himself down from his pedestal all on his own.

  • MilaXX

    I can’t believe Gunnar got all butt hurt over the fact that they found hi dress boring. Honey I can go out today and buy that dress for $29.99, get over yourself.

    • Lilithcat

      Gunnar thinks way too highly of himself.

      • Rand Ortega

         Translation: That boy’s delusional.

      • MilaXX

        a true legend in his own mind

      • CozyCat

        He’s one of those people who should realize that he can make a decent living “designing” for some mid range clothing line (INC; Charter Club; etc.).

        Which brings up one of my pet peeves:  how TJ Maxx, etc advertise that they carry “designer brands.”  Because technically it’s true–everything is “designed” by somebody…. 

        •  Is it weird that that kind of designing career would be my first choice if I ever wanted to make it a real career?  I just have zero interest in making a $3000 jacket — I don’t think I could ever charge over a grand for any article of clothing and not feel guilty about it.

          •  Shannon, I would have had no guilt in charging $3000 for a jacket. I always wanted to be a designer. The only think I lack is talent. I fancy myself a designer in the Ralph Lauren mode: classics only slightly redefined. Oh, but it’s not to be! Weep! Moan! Sob!

          •  Yeah, that’s kind of what I do — very much more Ralph Lauren than McQueen.  Right now I consider it basically a hobby, but I’m starting to really consider expanding it into a “real” business. Instead of just making enough to cover the power and wear on my machine from working on stuff for friends, I’m thinking about expanding. 

  • mskgb

    Do you think the producers allowed Gunnar to send Kooan and Andrea muffin baskets?

  • VicksieDo

    These were some very boring dresses, that’s for sure.  The best part of the episode was seeing Ven in the middle, dismissed as the hack he is.  Dmitri’s was nice, and the pewter qualified as a color in this group of dresses.  I hate hate hate that black sparkly fabric most of them chose, it looks so cheap.  Gunnar’s was definitely a Laura Bennett rip off, but well done still.  I think we’ve all seen all of these before…sigh.

  • Bozhi

    Bert made the comment on his blog that Fabio should have used an invisible zipper on the side.  I think Bert is right, that would have made a difference.

    • I noticed the back of Dmitry’s dress had an invisible zipper, too.

  • ThisIsShe

    Why did they choose only black?  It all looks so sad.

  • Rand Ortega

    TLo, that’s mean to Star Trek. A least William Ware Theiss’ designs had scads of sex appeal & 60’s daring (especially since Gene Roddenberry was a sex addict & serial philanderer). This was a shroud at a waitresses funeral. The badly dropped waist, the total lack of cleavage/sexiness– DREAD. FULL! Alicia should light a candle & thank Frokemon & art lady (sorry can’t remember her name) for dropping out or it would have been her ass.
    Elena’s dress looked like a scoliosis harness w/ a skirt. Did you see the look on the model? “I am kicking the shit out that booker when I get back to the agency!”
    Melissa’s was the only dress that I really thought was interesting & well designed. Way better than Christopher’s. It’s only sin was it was too tight.

  • Fabio’s was a bit of a bore and really, can’t we put away the exposed zippers for a while designers?  I liked Elena’s on the show but seeing it in pictures, something is a bit off.  Still, in a matte fabric and a better fit, it’s a cool dress.  The fit of Melissa’s was not good but you could see the idea behind it.  Poor Gunnar/Clinique Deux’s dress was fine but forgettable.  Alicia, who I want to do something incredible just isn’t bringing it. Her dress was the most modern, or rather, her idea for it if not for that poor execution. (Still I could see some super tall, tough power lesbian rocking it…were it made better!) Honestly, I don’t understand how they go on and on about how some of these challenges are so important (such as this one) but then give then 1 day to pull it off.  I know the show is on a tight budget but would it kill them to give them two days on a dress that’s actually going in somewhere?

  • poggi

    I did not know that Lord and Taylor customers like immoveable fabrics, side boob, harnesses, black dresses that are too much for work and too boring for a party, and of course gowns that resemble t-shirts. 

  • Rebecca J.

    Melissa’s neckline was ridiculous.  It looks like a paper doll dress.

    • Plus, not only was the dress too tight, but what do you do for support with that upright-bib front?  The rest of the dress didn’t cover the jubilees – if that sucker flopped down, there you are for all the world to see!

  • I felt like one of the big problems with the challenge was the fabrics they had to choose from. They seemed really heavy and shiny for the most part and I felt like a lot of these designs would have been a whole different thing with different fabrics to choose from. I couldn’t believe Fabio’s was in the top. It was a nice enough dress, but the outfit was 100% about the necklace. I thought both Sonje’s and Dmitry’s dresses were as good as, if not better than anything in the top. Sonje’s in particular was really on trend for fall styles and would have been a great seller, I think. I thought for sure she was going to win again, especially with her little meltdown story. 

  • Tracy_Flick

    Christopher won because he looked at the collection and realized it didn’t need another cocktail dress. Other than that, he offered nothing. That dress is boring and unflattering. The color of the top looks good on exactly 3 women in existence.

    Elena’s dress looks like a garbage bag. Melissa’s is sort of awesome, but basically unwearable by your average woman. I’m shocked that Sanjia wasn’t in the bottom.

  • Charles Purdy

    I honestly thought “Insane in the Ukraine” (thanks for that, T&L) had the worst look last night. True, the design was interesting, but the dress looked like it was molded out of foam — way too big for the model and sort of “caving in” in weird places. All in all, boring dresses. But the challenge was boring: design a department-store dress.

  • MoHub

    You just knew they eventually had to come up with a way to deal with the “Two are gone; one returns” imbalance so they wouldn’t be short an episode. Gotta wonder what the producers would have done if something truly horrendous had walked the runway for which there was no excuse for an “in” call.

    •  Several “truly horrendous” dresses did walk the runway: Elena? Alicia?

      • MoHub

        But the judges were still able to find redeeming factors. I was wondering what they’d have done if something walked the runway for which there were absolutely no excuses. For instance, if Raul or Lantie was still there.

        •  My guess is that they didn’t necessarily plan for this challenge to keep everyone — they just planned to keep everyone at some point, when the work most warranted it. 

  • Susan Collier

    Doggy dog.
    Elena’s was pretty disastrous. The skirt felt so slapped-on over the unusual top (which I didn’t like but at least acknowledge that she was trying something new). Fabric was all wrong.
    Alicia’s also appeared to be a Frankendress with the sleeveless polo shirt top and the dropwaist colorguard skirt. All wrong.
    Gunnar’s looked like a typical department store cocktail dress with tar poured over it. Just throw some more notions on that, Gunnar!
    Fabio’s was one of the best last night, but I hate that exposed zipper. Not exciting, but perfect for Lord and Taylor.

    • Haaaa!  “Frankendress” – that’s perfect!

  • As much as I like her, Alicia should have gone home for this one.

    And exposed zippers make my eyes bleed. 

    •  I agree re the exposed zippers. If Fabio had used a set-in zipper, I think his dress might have passed muster.

  • CarolinLA

    Watching all those girls sob and wondering, like TLo on Twitter, if their cycles had all matched up (entirely possible), that I almost started MY period.  

  • CarolinLA

    Dull, boring, uninspired – for me, that represents Lord & Taylor.  To me, they’re just a slightly upscale Macy’s.

    • Lisa_Cop


  • CarolinLA

    Are all these nine designers who are left going to show at Fashion Week?

  • CarolinLA

    I don’t know why we expected anything exciting to come down the runway.  It hasn’t happened with any consistency all season.  All we’ve seen is basic, basic, and basic.

    • Tatiana Luján

      If the designers only have one day for the challenge, that’s what we get.

  • dougs9797

    How many more rose motifs are they going to make us endure from Vin? I agree….the whole bunch  was a big yawn last night.

    • CarolinLA

      And Sonjia with the fucking peplum?  I just looked back at her runway designs and she’s only used it once before (the candy challenge).  However, she needs to learn that peplum adds no interest.  It is not considered a design element.  

      • bringbackbeatles

        It absolutely is a design element. It either adds or subtracts from the overall design. The problem is that her dress has been done many times and there were no other design elements besides the peplum and that whole dress was poorly done. She got all bogged down in worry and crying as if this is the end of the world that she put almost no focus on the design. I have liked her designs before last week and I think she could make it to Bryant Park, but if she doesn’t put on her design hat and focus only on that, she is going to fall apart.

        • CarolinLA

          I stand corrected.  I guess it’s just boring and sad.  What happened to the girl who knocked our socks off with that candy dress?  Did she shoot her wad on that one challenge?  Because it really looks that way.

  • CarolinLA

    What does it mean exactly when something is “designed”?  I know that’s a quite complicated subject but I welcome all answers.

    • bringbackbeatles

      I’m definitely no expert, but, to me it means that thought was put into it, that the outfit doesn’t need accessories solely to make it work (accessories are important and certainly can enhance an outfit when done right, but this a design competition, and the primary interest needs to be on the outfit), and that isn’t something that’s been seen a billion times before. Almost everything has been done at some point already. There are very few completely new ideas, but you have to avoid stuff that has been done to death.

      • Amy Ennis

        I also think it is designed when the fabric isn’t doing all the work. Too often, I think something is pretty then I realize it is the fabric that is pretty, not necessarily the design. 

        • bringbackbeatles

          I definitely agree with that. There are tons of former PR contestants that have gone that route.

    •  Well, it’s subjective.  I think for most, though, it means that it involved real thought.  The best barometers for it, for me are: a) considering how much it’s worth — ask yourself how much you would pay for it, if money was no problem (like you won the lottery).  Is it special enough to command a designer price?  AND 2) if you saw it on someone, would you wonder who designed it or just where you could buy it?

    • Originality is part of it too: it looks like the designer had an inspiration, rather than just copying something they’ve seen.

  • bitterk

    Elena, as she proudly boasts, does not design for L&T clientele.  And she is right, no way would that dress make it pass a L&T buyer.  I have a soft spot for Gunnar’s lace getup because I wore the exact same dress word to my high school prom.  The year was 1984.  

  • A) Why did all of the fabric remind me of children’s oil cloth but darker? 
    B) I approve heartily of Alicia’s attitude, even if I hate her clothes.  She whines only minimally — it’s more of a “this sucks” than “I’M DYING OF HEARTBREAK AT THE TRAGIC INEVITABILITY OF BEING ASKED TO DO SOMETHING THAT IS NOT MY EXACT PREFERENCE AND MY CRUSHING DISAPPOINTMENT THAT THIS SEASON WOULD BE LIKE EVERY OTHER WHEN I EXPECTED THEM TO JUST AWARD ME THE WIN ON THE FIRST SIGHT OF MY GENIUS.” that so many PR contestants wail on about every week. 
    C) I disagree that Elena was the only one to design something — I think Melissa’s was designed as well.  In fact, I liked both of them, more for the ideas than the finished product.  I also think there’s no way to really make either design look good without custom fitting.

  • Went to NYC last weekend.  Saw Fabio in Mood.  He is extremely handsome in real life.  TV doesn’t show it.  Mood has really cheap, horrible fabrics.  Was a huge disappointment.  PR has probably chosen Mood for budget reasons.  I will never go back.  The limited fabric choices at Mood made me have more respect for the designers.
    But not for the judges.  They are inconsistent.

    • CarolinLA

      Do you know why he was there?  I’m gonna guess that he makes it past next week’s challenge so he gets to go to Fashion Week.

      • I don’t know why he was there.  He said they had finished filming.  I told him I hope he wins and he said, “Me, too.”. I couldn’t detect anything from his reply.  It was probably a stock reply that they give to everyone so as not to give away anything.

    • His smile is really nice on TV. Seems genuine. And I liked that his criticism of Ven was based on respect, and how Ven had lost it.

  • I would watch a series about the depressed serving staff on a Federation Starship, I’m not gonna lie to you. 

    • fashionzombie

      I dunno. I watched STNG “Lower Decks,” and I can’t say I’d watch it again.

  • CarolinLA

    Why L&T allowed PR to give the designers ONE FUCKING DAY for this challenge is mystifying.  They should’ve allowed the designers time in the store to get the vibe, then time with the fabrics, and then create a sketch.  Then the sketch should’ve been presented to Bobby Brooks for discussion and then give them TWO FUCKING DAYS to produce the damn thing.  Given that their brand was on the line, both PR and L&T, they should’ve afforded the designers time to breathe and re-energize their creativity.  The results would’ve been infinitely better.

  • mike__tv

    “but this looks like the uniform of a depressed waitress on Star Trek” LOL!

  • Gunnar should have gone home. Not one good word was said about his dress, except from Heidi who is just strange. Maybe they saw his sad trembling lip as he stood there alone, ready to cry, and Heidi could not tell him Auf.

  • Wow, Alicia’s dress actually looks worse now that I see it with out the disco lighting and noise- how is that possible? Dress #2 looks like a hefty bag challenge… top 4??  and Gunnars was very auf’able.

    The people who dropped out- has any one heard from them? Are they laughing now? running their own lines? Or hiding from B/M?

  • CarolinLA

    I just realized that all these garments are joyless.  I kept trying to put my finger on it and that’s it.  There is no whimsy.  If you look at the other nine designs, the collection is full of winks and nods.  Look at Jay’s and Nick’s and Mondo’s and Chris March’s.  And the whole slew exhibits an innate confidence.  That’s what is missing with these people.

    • You are exactly right!  

  • bringbackbeatles

    I have a few things to comment on:

    Fabio’s dress is the dress that has been done to death and has very little design to it. The front would be completely unnoticeable without the right jewelry and shoes. The only real design element is the asymetrical hem. The back has some interest to it, but could have done without the exposed zipper. I would have guessed him safe or on the bottom.

    Elena’s dress definitely had design to it, but the top isn’t anything for the girls and the skirts really droopy at waist on the front vs. the back. Probably had a lot to do with fabric. At least it’s not boring.

    Michelle’s dress was one of my favorites conceptually. I like the idea of fabric and love the top. I like the idea of the asymmetrical hem, but she went overboard with it. Also, though I like the fabric, it’s not fitted perfectly and that probably was possible between the stiffness of the fabric, the one day time limit, and the act that she tried to start over. I disagree that Elena’s was the only on designed because Michelle’s obviously was too.

    Gunnar’s dress I actually did like, but I know I am in the minority here. What I can’t agree with at all is the fact that judges and even T.Lo, a little bit (I love you guys, though!), said that his dress was done to death, but some how Fabio’s dress is amazing and interesting, even though they acknowledge that you have to have the accessories with it. Done or not, I think Gunnar’s dress had way more interest and design to it, then Fabio’s.

    Alicia’s dress was so frickin’ ugly. There was just wrong choice after wrong choice. If somebody had to go home, then she would have been my pick. I think the fabrics were her worst choice and I didn’t like that box pleated skirt or the neckline either, though. I do like a lot of her other past work, though, particularly the tailored outfits, and definitely not Mila’s godawful gown.

    Sorry that’s so long. Just not feeling that well today and lying here with my ipad doing this takes my mind off of it a little.

  • VivianAdvanced

    I checked out the Lifetime site so I could zoom in on the designs and examine them in more depth. The fabrics they chose from the Lord & Taylor batch looked really sleazy. It’s so hard to see the details of black clothes on TV (I don’t have HD). Some of these looked like they were made out of asphalt. A couple of these dresses might have been more successful had they been in other colors rather than black. Alicia’s, Sonjia’s and Elena’s come to mind. Elena’s kept reminding me of a horseshoe crab’s armor and looked about as comfortable. In defense of some of the designers whose dresses seemed repetitive, I think they wanted to provide their signature stamps to their look so people would immediately associate them with the dress. I’ll even forgive Ven for using his rose gimmick. That said, I don’t know why Dimitry didn’t win this challenge. His resembled his usual fare and was the most well made out of the bunch. Of the judges’ head-scratching favorites, Melissa’s appealed to me the most, although you’d have to use some tape or glue to prevent that front flap from collapsing at an inopportune time.

  • Ugh I agree with everything here. Especially Fabio’s dress. I mean COME ON. It is a “little black dress”. That’s it. When the judges say you can “dress it up or down” I got so annoyed. Of course you can! It’s a basic black dress! Every girl who has a “little black dress” (myself included) knows you can dress it up or down. this dress wouldn’t stand out at all. 

  • ccm800

    Gripe gripe gripe LOL Im actually enjoying this season more than I have in what feels like eons.

  • hape_dex

    When they criticized Gunnar for having made a dress that looks like it already is in Lord & Taylor all I could think was “Isn’t that a good thing?”, it’s a department store challenge, that’s what they do, they sell variations of the same pretty dresses.
    And let’s be honest, none of the other nine dresses in the collection looked like they reinvented anything, I’ve seen all of them before. They were slightly more interesting and better made, but the designers didn’t have just thirty minutes to sketch with a camera crew breathing down their necks and they didn’t have to sew them in a day.
    What about Fabio? He made a simple black dress that I have seen just as often as Gunnar’s and he’s in the top? It makes no sense.

    I’m not even sure what the designers were supposed to do, they design something that looks like a standard department store dress and they get criticized for it, they design something less department storey and it’s a hard sell.

  • Jesus. Most of these are horrible. The only one I kind of liked (Gunnar’s), I could buy anywhere.

  • Alicia needed to go home, that dress was horrid and it’s embarrassing that she’s still around.

  • Amy Ennis

    When I saw Gunnar’s, I immediately thought it was the winner. It went with the collection, looked very easy to reproduce and had a minimal amount of interest. It was department store ready. I totally do not get these challenges and their judging. My favorite, of course, was Dmitry. Elena’s was horrid. 

  • Clacey

    Elena’s dress is just ghastly. I don’t understand why the judges liked it. I don’t see “young, fun, French” or any of the other adjectives they threw at it. I see bulky, stiff, sloppy, and fug. Christopher summed it up best: “I don’t get it, I don’t want to get it, I don’t like her.” Alicia’s was also a disaster but at least I can see what she was going for. The execution was poor and the proportions were off, but I can see a sporty attempt at Chanel ca. 1925. Melissa’s dress would look totally out of place with the other 9 in the L&T PR collection. To say nothing of the fact that if you’re not built like a runway model, you’re going to look ridiculous in it.

    • Joe O’Donnell

       But really, wasn’t it all worthwhile just to hear Nina say “it’s nice that you can see the harness?” Something I would never have expected to hear coming out of her mouth.

      • AthenaJ

        Oh God, the harness! Sorry Nina, harnesses belong on horses (ok and maybe people who are into S&M…)

    • AthenaJ

      I cracked up laughing at Christopher’s grumbled ‘I don’t like her’ comment. He made a snoozeworthy dress this week, but at least the guy is amusing.

  • HobbitGirl

    Is there really a demand for dresses with armpit boob? I don’t understand that trend at all.

  • “Really, these dresses aren’t worth the time it’s going to take to discuss them.” Amen to that.

    Oh, for the days of Austin’s corn husk dress, the gutter water dress, the dress inspired by the empire state building, that yellow plaid gown by Jeffrey (which I loved, although some didn’t). This group of designers never inspires wonder and awe. There have been some inspired designs, but I used to tune into PR breathlessly wondering what the designers would be able to come up with. So far, this group has been underwhelming (at least to me).

    • Those dresses came when they got more than 1 day for each challenge

      • Tatiana Luján


  • I am beginning to think I don’t understand fit.  So many of the garments these folk turn out “fit” where they touch, which too often doesn’t seem to be where they ought to touch.  Yet the judges say little or, more often, feck all.

  • PhillipWilde

    My first thought when I saw Alicia’s dress was Lieutenant Uhura at a flapper party.  I really thought she was going home for this one.

  • Helene Holter

    Wow, I was coming here looking forward to reading someone else agree with me on what a amazingly, blindingly cracktastic decision it was putting Elena’s dress in the top. Just … look at it. I screamed and screamed.

  • DCSheehan

    Didn’t like Melissa’s high neckline when she trotted it out in the magazine challenge, but it’s awful here. Who wants a damn stiff piece of fabric right in their mouth? That serpentine tail on her dress is a joke.

    Most annoying was that no one costed these dresses. Wasn’t that half the challenge here? Make a saleable dress, but make it for X$. Surely this was a challenge that deserved two days, so we could see them work to keep it on budget. I cannot see how Elena’s could be made cheaply. Will we ever see a two day challenge again on this show? Is the budget so squeezed they can’t afford an extra day here and there?

  • EverybodysStarling

    Maybe I’m just in a good mood, but I quite liked this episode. Yes, there was crying, but it was no forced drama. It was some of the designers struggeling with the challenge and with themselves. I thought we saw A LOT of workroom time with the designers actually designing throughout the process – wether it was working or not. 

    And my poor Snape needs some love from the judges. He had the winning look – again. 

  • Jarethee

    I really liked Dmitry and Melissa’s and think they were both robbed. I started screaming when Christopher got the win and Elena was a high score. Musta been some crack in the judging room. 

  • michelle shields

    I liked Fabio’s dress. Liked not loved.  The others were so god awful they don’t deserve any type of criticism from me.

  • I can’t believe no one said, hey! there are an awful amount of dark colorless desses in the collection. I will pick a bright color, but no one gave in. So we eneded up with a bunch of little black dresses. The winning dress wasn’t very creative or pretty, just blah!

  • kathryn_dc

    I got a chuckle when Alicia hit upon her magic word that seemed to protect her all episode: “Chanel.”

  • Fabio created a dress with an interesting back detail that still allows a cross-back bra to work. He gets extras points for that!

  • SuzyQuzey

    Alicia’s dress looked like something Judy Jetson would wear to commit suicide in.

  • Melissa seems to be an extremely boring designer. For some reason, she’s been overhyped (might have something to do with the superficial). The blue dress that won her a challenge was a nonentity, and now she’s rehashing the bare bones of that particular idea to please the judges. I went over to the PR polls and was shocked to see her at the top: this was BEFORE she’d won anything or done anything or said anything. 

  • elikit

    I think Alicia’s dress was something an upper class goth would wear to play tennis.