PR: Hey, take a look in the mirror, Chubs.

Posted on August 24, 2012

YAY! The so-called “Real Woman” challenge! The one episode every season that has 75% of the viewing audience throwing vases, drinks, throwpillows, children, or whatever else they can get their hands on in the throes of their rage, at their TV screens! The one hour (plus!) of pop culture entertainment every year that does the absolute most damage to the reputation of the fashion industry at large to people who don’t normally follow fashion!

We thought the whole thing about having friends along for the ride made it more complicated than it needed to be, but it actually paid off, because as we saw, it gave the clients someone to complain to and someone who’d stand up for them. It added a nice twist to the proceedings.

Although we couldn’t shake the persistent idea buzzing in our heads through the whole episode that it’s long past time for Clinton and Stacey to make a guest appearance on this show, don’t you think?

Anyway. Let’s do this.


We found his robotic affect to be annoying, pretentious, and unappealing before last night, but he really took it to new heights. We wound up debating last night whether anyone on this show had ever treated a real-world client so shabbily and settled on season 3’s epic throwdown between Jeffrey, Angela, and her mom. We always thought that one represented the nadir of client relations on the show, but neither Angela nor her mother came across as passive players in that conflict, so we’re gonna have to award the new world record to Ven.

But we’ll say this – and don’t take this as a defense of Ven’s actions. It was awfully shady that the clients were assigned, we were told by Tim, “randomly,” without ever seeing this process on camera. Pulling their names out of a bag is random and that’s how the show’s almost always done it. Something smelled funny from the get-go. Think about it: if you wanted to create drama, which designer prior to last night would you have predicted to be the least empathetic of all of them? Ven, of course. There are plenty of shrieking marmosets in that workroom, but he’s the one with the coldest personality; the one least likely to have any sympathy for anyone.

And he’s also the most coldly competitive out of the group. He constantly assesses his performance relative to everyone else’s in the room. He’s the classic “I’m not here to make friends” reality competitor. He knew as well as we did that the person who wins the “real woman” challenge almost always has the thinnest, or one of the thinnest clients. And the person who gets eliminated in that challenge almost always has the largest, or one of the largest clients. If you check Ven’s twitter-twats, your blood pressure will most likely go way up, but on his repeated assertion that this was a setup, we’re inclined to agree.

But that doesn’t remotely excuse any of his actions. Sure, Ven. It was a setup; the thinking behind it being “Let’s see what happens to Ven when we make things really difficult for him.” Welcome to the world of reality television. After that, EVERYTHING’S ON YOU, BUDDY. You could have turned it into a triumphant, redemptive thing. You could have admitted that you had fears about your chances in this challenge, but that your client deserved your respect and the very best work you could produce for her. You could have learned something by asking your client about her feelings and history with fashion. YOU COULD HAVE AT FUCKING LEAST ACKNOWLEDGED THAT YOU ARE NOT EXACTLY SVELTE YOURSELF, YOU UNSELF-AWARE JACKASS.

We’ll say this, though: every one of the other designers came off really well in this respect and almost every one seemed disgusted by Ven’s actions.

One other thing: all the dismay from the judges that Ven would ever use the term “real woman” to describe his client was pure bullshit, since they’ve been using that very term FOR YEARS on this show.

Oh, and one final thing: that faux second-elimination thing was horseshit. It was never going to happen. They know what they have with that one.

Let’s move on. We feel dirty.


Fabio Costa

So congrats to Dumpster Hipster! We agree with this win and we like what it says about the judges (this week).

Because while this isn’t necessarily editorial or something a model might wear, it was, as they noted, a perfect look for an artist. It took into account her personality, her life, and her preferences (ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION, VEN?) and addresses them all while looking unique.

But the belt is awful and we had to convince ourselves that the booties worked. The judges urged Fabio to inject more of himself into his designs and even if we think the accessorizing is off, we can’t deny it’s very Fabio and also very much this girl’s style.

And her hair looked great.

It helped that, of all the designer-client pairings, this pair could not have been more sympatico. You can bet they each have friends that remind them of the other one.

“Randomly.” Yeah, right.

But it needs to be said that Fabio is actually quite sweet, rarely has anything bad to say about anyone unless they step out of line (and his denouncement of Ven was perfect), and really wants to be a better designer and to make his way to the end of this competition. He deserved this win for a  lot of reasons.


Nathan Paul

And it’s Auf Wiedersehen to poor Nathan.

We thought Nathan was such a sweetheart, even more so after he admitted that he and his mom used to do classical music performances together and he used to make her outfits for them. How can you not love that?

Then again, how could you not hate this?

There’s really nothing here to defend. It’s awful, top to bottom.

And sure, you could argue that his client was satisfied, but we would take that with a grain of salt. These people didn’t come in for makeovers for no reason, after all. The judges always want the designers in these challenges to do three things: satisfy the client, remain true to their aesthetic, and produce something that is, as Nina would say, “aesthetically pleasing.”

We don’t think there’s any question he failed on two out of three fronts.

We have no doubt that many, many people think Ven should have gone home for his Lane Bryant catalogue pieces, but we’re sorry to say, Ven has proven himself as one of the better designers several times over and Nathan hasn’t managed to impress the judges once. They always say they don’t vote that way, but time and time again, the judges always take past performance into consideration when they’ve got a close decision. We’re sorry to see Nathan go and sorrier to see Ven stay.



[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for – Stills:]

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