This week's episode was to create a look for a woman who had been nominated for a makeover by a friend. These clients also get a hair and makeup makeover for the runway as part of the deal. This meant we got an extended ad for L'Oreal hair products in the middle of the episode when they were all getting ready.
The episode starts with Dmitry wishing for a win, and Sonjia wishing for a male contestant to get eliminated so there would be equal numbers of men & women left. One of these wishes comes true!
I wonder where they find the people for these types of challenges. Who in their right mind would want an outfit from a fledging designer, created in a single day, and you have to be on TV for the whole thing? It's like they think it's going to be some amazing pampering thing, where the designer caters to their every wish, and creates an amazing outfit that makes them feel like a princess. Well, I guess maybe it works out for some of them, but if you've ever seen any of these "real world" challenges you'd be well aware that you can end up being very unhappy if you get the wrong designer.
In this episode, the wrong designer was Ven. And wow was he W-R-O-N-G with a capital W. In previous challenges, he has seemed perhaps arrogant, but at least calm and professional. This challenge brought out the worst in him. He was paired with a woman who is size 14, and spent the entire episode moaning and flailing in the most disgusting manner about how disappointed he was, how it was so unfair, a nightmare, he can't design what he wants, she has no style or fashion, blah blah blah on and on until all I heard coming out of his mouth were mosquito noises. Most of this was just in interviews and to the other designers, but to her face he made insensitive remarks like how he chose black because it was slimming, the belt he chose was just too small so he's waiting for them to bring another one, etc. All the other designers are appalled, the client is in tears, and the friend who nominated her feels terrible. Ven is unmoved. Even Tim's attempt to give him a pep talk to pull his head out from where the sun doesn't shine falls on deaf ears. To the very end Ven maintains he has done nothing wrong, said nothing wrong, nothing is his fault and he has no idea why she's upset. And that he should be safe from elimination no matter what because, in his opinion, he had a harder challenge than anyone else. In other words, the Brobdingnagians have him on speed dial as a handyman, because he's a GIANT TOOL.
On the flip side, Gunnar is also transformed by this challenge - into someone charming, friendly, happy, and successful. He is excited about the challenge from the start gets along great with his client, who is also, like Ven's, a "real woman" and not a runway model size. It's very interesting to see how the same challenge brings out the worst in Ven and the best in Gunnar.
I actually thought all the designs were acceptable this week. I didn't hate any of them, but I thought very few of them had anything special either - most seemed like stuff you'd have no problem buying in a store already.
Alicia gets by far the least amount of screen time - we get just a little snippet where her client says she "wants men to want [her], and women to want to be [her]." We get a few comments from Alicia, Tim, and other designers mentioning she is going out of her comfort zone by making a pink dress. It ends up looking like a sun dress, perhaps a bit too short, and wins her a spot in the safe group.
Melissa makes a black dress (no surprise there) that ends up getting eclipsed by the accompanying scarf, with which the client literally wrestles with the whole way up and down the runway. I wasn't clear on whether the scarf was something she made, or pre-made accessory. Her client clearly loves the dress, but Melissa ends up merely safe.
Chris spends most of his time on a little jacket, but the client takes it off on the runway right away so all the focus is on the gray draped dress. It emphasizes her tiny waist and she looks great. Both of them are really happy with it, but Chris also is safe.
Elena's client asks for lots of color, so she makes a pale peachy shirt with a fluttery hem in front and a black skirt. Hmm. I suppose, technically, those are "colors." Elena is safe.
Sonjia makes a blue draped dress with a knot in the front, very similar to her previous designs. However, it's too short and the proportions are off. She lands in the bottom.
Nathan is paired with an up-and-coming R&B singer who wants something sexy and midriff-baring, but still sophisticated, that she can wear on stage. Like Alicia, Nathan is out of his comfort zone but gives it his best try. He makes a blue prom-like dress with black mesh sleeves. The client really likes it, but the judges do not. This results in some terribly uncomfortable moments when the judges tear it down with the client standing right there, culminating with Heidi saying she looks like a "hoochie mama." (She then has to translate that into British English for guest judge Alice Temperly - "a tart!")
Ven makes a blue shirt and a black skirt with an exposed zipper down the front. I don't think it's really all too terrible or unflattering, objectively speaking, but the client clearly dislikes it and feels uncomfortable, so it's a failure. Ven's objectively terrible behavior does come to light for the judges. He is also in the bottom.
Happily, Gunnar's felicitous collaboration has good results, and he makes a black dress with a lovely ruffled skirt. His client is overjoyed, and he gets into the top.
Dmitry makes a blue dress with geometric seaming that fits his client very well. I think it's a tad too short, but he ends up in the top and the judges like it.
Fabio's client doesn't like to look feminine or show cleavage. He rises to this challenge by creating a dress with a very modest silhouette, but with edgy colorblocking. It's also sleeveless, which the she loves since she "can show off [her] guns." The only issue I have is that the front of the skirt seems stiff. Regardless, it's clearly the best design.
Fabio wins! No qualms there. The elimination comes down to Nathan versus Ven. Mr. Nice Guy versus Raging Piehole. Just based on the garments, I didn't have a strong opinion about who should go. But obviously on the criteria of who I would want to be out, it would be Ven. Alas, it is Nathan. Tim seems even more genuinely sad than usual when ushering him out.
Next week, Ven shows no sign of going back to being more appealing, as he is on tape saying "men are usually stronger designers than women." Nothing follows up aggravating thoughtlessness like insulting generalizations!