We're now in the limbo between FW and choosing the final winner of PR season II, sort of like the iceskaters at the Olympics waiting in their box for their scores. Yes, there's the Reunion, which should be a blast, and purging for the designers. It seems from the previews that Nick in particular dredges up a lot of angst from his subconscious. Old wounds die hard. And there's Tim's series of "at homes" with the designers. That's always both charming and illuminating, like everything else that Tim touches. It'll be especially fascinating to hear what he has to say to them about their concepts, and whether they incorporated his advice (which has usually proven to be very perceptive and even prophetic) or not. Then it's on to Fashion Week (no matter that we on the Blog have [vicariously, it's true] already been there), and then final critiques, "grades" and awarding the golden crown to the Victor. It's hard to imagine that for two million viewers tuning in they'll be experiencing FW for THE VERY FIRST TIME!!!!! We've been spoiled, which is perhaps not the blessing that it seems at first glance. It makes the rest of the season mildly anticlimatic.
My Scores (for FW): Daniel and Chloe, even odds; Santino, the dark horse (a role that he seems to play quite naturally). As I've already stated elsewhere, I feel that he should have gone bigger, more outrageous, more in-your-face, more Santino. He can never beat Daniel at his game, which is exactly what, it seems, he has tried to do. (Kara's startlingly fine and inventive collection, my personal favourite --for its risk, vision, stretching the limits, fun, distinctive personality and POV--is unfortunately out of the running. But hopefully some magic happened for her at FW, and she made some valuable connections within the industry.)
If I had any power at all over the final decision (Lots of Luck!!! lol), I'd make it a three-way, or at least a two-way, tie. But that won't happen. You can bank on that. I'm afraid that the Banana Republic judge will tip the balance toward timid, bland and impeccable, their industry signature.( Does anyone here know whether the runnersup win ANYTHING, other than the national exposure which is, of course, priceless??)
We can now do an overview, albeit slightly preliminary, of PR season II, especially the high and low points. Here are mine: please chime in with yours.
HIGHS AND LOWS, FOR THE DESIGNERS;
High: BR team challenge/with Chloe
Low: lingerie team challenge/with Santino+Nick
Comment: More than any other designer he seemed ready to leave when he was aufed. He left with characteristic good grace, even humour--not the usual teary exit with undertones of either exaggerated gratitude or "I was robbed"
High: Inspiration challenge. Runnerup: BR team challenge/with Daniel.
Low: Clothes Off Your Back challenge+accompanying runway meltdown
Comment: Should have won Inspiration. Meltdown totally understandable, if totally "inexcusable". It certainly individualized and humanized Andrae, if it rendered him somewhat eccentric. (By the way, I LOVE eccentric!!!) Andrae's Inspiration design was for me the most beguiling, magical, delicious and sensuous garment of the season.
High: Barbie challenge.
Low: the Zuleema raid on his model, the exquisite Tarah.
Comment: Nick was a favourite of many, especially after Daniel F's elimination. He may simply have peaked too early, or not wanted the win passionately enough. He also seemed to start missing LA (friends, partner, favourite haunts) desperately about midway through.
High: Fashion Week collection. Runnerup: Garden Party challenge
Low: TIE: BR challenge, Zuleema in s/m mode; the makeover challenge (Santino)
High: NHilton, need you ask?!!!!
Low: Kara's makeover, need you ask?!!!!
Comment: things are always so clear with Santino. He doesn't evoke a shred of ambivalance in either his friends or his enemies.
High: BR team challenge/with Emmett; Runnerup: Makeover challenge (Nick--at least it allowed Nick to exit in High Style)
Low: lingerie team challenge/with Daniel F. The Freakout that caused Daniel's early , and probably undeserved, departure
Comment: Some here have speculated that her comment to Daniel, it's better to be a great human being than a great designer, carried a nasty. negative vibe. I don't buy that for a minute. I felt genuine compassion, affection and support in her remark.
High: Inspiration challenge. He really pushed the envelope in this one.
Low: Chloe's makeover. Was it deliberate, was he subtly/subliminally thumbing his nose at the judges because of his immunity??
Comment: his spectacular, eyecatching design for the Inspiration challenge was pure Objet d'Art, minimally wearable, if that, except on the runway.
SEASON HIGHS AND LOWS, FOR THE VIEWER (this one at any rate):
BR challenge. All of the designs were wonderful, probably better then BR deserved. AND Daniel/Andrae's winning design was not, in my opinion, the best. True, it had very clean lines and was, for once, very wearable.
Runnerup: Daniel Franco taking the hit for his lingerie collection, refusing to blame anyone else. Compare this to Santino's now famous/infamous, if unheard, tirade/defense of his collection, too characteristically blaming everyone else in the universe, except, of course, himself. (In hindsight, however, the collection does seem to have staying power. Who can remember anything about Daniel's, except for the bustier?
Santino's is edgier, and as only he is capable of accomplishing, marries kitch to high concept in an astonishing fusion. Wow!!!)
Hands down, the Makeover Episode. There was all-around bad chemistry and lethal vibes floating through that on!!. Chloe alone seemed to stay out of it, AND WON. I call this episode "Andrae's Wake". His presence was critically missed, especially by Santino. All of the designer's work this episode, Chloe excepted, was "off the mark".
Runnerup (by at least five or ten heads, but still grueling emotionally): Andrae's meltdown. Being almost pathologically empathetic by nature (simultaneously a blessing and a curse), I responded deeply to the inner panic, grief, trauma and chaos that he so clearly was experiencing.That one was a REAL rollar-coaster ride.
That's it. NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO SHARE YOUR PRIVATE MOMENTS OF ECSTASY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL MELTDOWN/GLOOM AND DOOM.
Don here, signing off.