Darlings, it was the so-called “avant-garde” challenge! Where the designers are all let out of their cages and taken to a designer park, where they are free to run wild, chase frisbees, pee in bushes, and sniff other designers’ butts!
But NO HUMPING. BAD DESIGNER! BAD!
And flying in straight from RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s Billy B, who’s sort of the nasty, dirty-talking, backroom version of Tim Gunn!
Also: a castle!
And a statue!
And product placement!
And a fierce-ass bitch judge who, unlike practically every other celebrity judge, actually had semi-intelligent things to say!
To be perfectly honest, there was a moment there where she actually made Kors look like something of an ass, because he was clearly struggling to come up with the best one-liner (the old lady voice was embarassing) while she calmly assessed the work in front of her. She was kind of shut out of the conversation when they all started talking about the designers’ past work, though.
We see there was quite a bit of grumbling over this judging session, but that’s the problem with an avant garde challenge. It’s like porn; you know it when you see it, but that makes it particularly hard to assess the quality of it. After all, the Adult Video Awards aren’t exactly the Oscars, now are they?
And a two-day deadline with only one fitting session automatically limits what a designer can do. Yes, it’s silly that so many designers go for gowns (but not entirely unexpected when they frame the challenge in fairy tale terms) and yes, it’s tiresome that they all tend to define avant garde as “big-ass collar,” but we’re feeling a bit generous this morning so we’re going to defend them. With so many limits placed on them, it’s not surprising that they all tend to default to playing around with proportions, which is why you see big shoulders, or enhanced hips, or dramatic collars. It’s all they have time for. At the end of the day, the very best any of them can shoot for is “edgy,” rather than “avant garde.” We wish they’d drop the whole “avant garde” conceit and just call it the creativity challenge. Tell the designers they can do whatever they want, but it has to be wildly creative.
Although we had to laugh as they struggled to compliment their little pet, Christopher. “Did you paint one nail red?!? Visionary! Genius!” Or when they struggled to come up with criticisms like, “When we told you to design something for an enchanted queen, WE DIDN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD MAKE A COSTUME.” Oh, right. They meant one of those “real world” enchanted queens, obviously.
So congratulations to Dmitry! It’s not remotely avant-garde, but it’s a beautiful look.
The judges bitched about that collar, but we thought it raised the look up a bit. If he didn’t have it, we guarantee the judges all would have wrinkled their noses and said “I don’t get it. It’s just a suit.” Besides, when you’re given a brief as stupid as “Wise Mystic,” you pretty much have to add something like that collar. And major kudos to him for NOT going the gown route. Then again, he’s not really a gown kind of guy, is he?
In any other instance, we might have said that there were too many elements for one look; the seaming, the collar, the pointy sleeves, the two-tone edging, the pointy bits, the asymmetrical skirt, and the enhanced shoulders. But it’s a dramatic and severe look and it all works great for us. He really managed to integrate all those elements and still make something that looks wearable. Not that wearable should have been a consideration, but it’s a testament to his skills that he can accomplish it in a challenge like this.
And it’s a sad Auf Wiedersehen to Sonjia. Ironically, her design probably came the closest to approaching avant garde.
But it wound up being half-assed, at best. The top half was an interesting idea, poorly executed. The shape and placement of those panels simply aren’t very pretty and the illusion netting was made far too obvious. To our eyes, she should have used a colored sheer instead and continued the drapey, peek-a-boo aspects into the skirt, which wound up being far too conventional for this challenge.
Since she had three wins under her belt, the producers clearly decided to fuck with her by stealing her fabric to see what would happen and she just didn’t bounce back and give them the triumphant moment they probably hoped for. It’s a shitty thing to single out a designer like that and the whole “My fabric is missing!” schtick is played the fuck out. It’s reality television, so fucking with the contestants is to be expected, but they need to find a way to fuck with all of them equally and they need to find something a little less tired and less obvious than stealing their fabric.
[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for myLifetime.com - Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]