PR: The Tyranny of “Day to Evening”

Posted on August 22, 2011

The problem with “day to evening” challenges is that they’re not about design; they’re about styling. You crack open any fashion magazine and you’ll find a how-to on going from TPS reports to martinis in the same skirt – and it’s always about wearing a simple outfit to work which you’re then supposed to tart up with accessories at 5 o’clock in the ladies room. “Design a ‘day to evening’ look” is an almost nonsensical directive. The entries almost always come down on one or the other side of divide. The winning outfit this week managed to straddle the line, but that was partially because it was an outfit only a fashion editor could get away with wearing to work.

We would say the following entries were roughly equal in terms of execution and style, but one wound up on top and the other wound up on the bottom. Why? Because one was clearly an evening look and one was clearly an office look.

Little Hissing Viktor needs to stop sitting like a lady and stop hissing at the camera over perceived instances of “cheating” which aren’t cheating to anyone who’s ever watched the show.

But credit where it’s due: the little bitch whipped up a chic look.

The thing is, we’re not nearly in love with this as the judges were. It’s fine, but the LBD is an awfully safe choice; so safe that it borders on cliche.

Not to mention it’s easily as referential of Roland Mouret (who Nina has been known to favor) as Anthony’s looks have been of Gucci and McQueen. Anthony gets wrist-slapped for that but as far as we can see, no one complained that Viktor made a dress that Nina has surely seen before.

And the styling could not have been any less inspired. A black dress with black pumps and a sleek pony tail. That’s not a look for a fashion editor, it’s a look for a hostess at a restaurant.

And finally, on our list of complaints…

Was this really as well-made as all the judges kept claiming? It looked awfully home-sewn to us. You can see every seam from 20 feet away.

Certainly not a bad entry, but we question whether it deserved the amount of praise it received.


As a reality show contestant, we’d say Danielle’s a bit of a bust. Too serious and too quiet. Where’s the drama, girl? You think you’re going to stay in the game on sewing alone?

The funny thing is, we think this look is far better than Viktor’s, yet it wound up on the bottom.

Even funnier: it deserved to be on the bottom, despite the parts we like.

Viktor made a dress that was all evening, making it a bit too formal for the office. Danielle’s design was all office, with nothing that demonstrated a transition into evening.

The judges unsheathed their claws for this look, but we didn’t agree. The problem – aside from the too-casual aspect – was that this isn’t a day look for fashion editor in her 40s; it’s a day look for an editorial assistant in her 20s. It doesn’t speak to Nina’s position or even her personal style.

As a designer, Danielle should understand that what looks good on her pale-skinned, ginger-haired model isn’t necessarily going to look good on Nina. This color would be horrible against Nina’s skin.

And yes, that collar is sad.

But we liked the silhouette and the color. The pants were pretty nice too. What puzzles us is her apparent refusal to style the look for anything but daytime. Where’s the jewelry and bag to indicate this is evening-appropriate? Sure, it’s NOT really evening-appropriate, but she could have dressed it up to make it look so.

Everything about this look says “I’m booking the conference room and sending someone out to get your coffee, Ms. Garcia.”

Clear message for future contestants: come down on the side of “evening” if you want to win a “day to evening” challenge.

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/ – Screencaps:]

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