Rami took me to his ample and beautifully organized studio in Los Angeles. For the collection, I was expecting a fever pitch assortment of Grecian-inspired draping, but instead I found a proliferation of tailored pieces. I kept my mouth shut, temporarily, while I learned about his intentions. Joan of Arc was Rami's inspiration; specifically, Joan of Arc as she appears in art. Rami had conducted impressive research into his subject and walked me through the myriad paintings and prints while pointing out the details of Joan of Arc's apparel. He sought to borrow design elements from these "ready for battle" looks and establish a tension between hard (armor or armor-like) and soft (fabric). I deduced that the tailoring represented the "hard."
The tailored pieces just didn't look like the Rami I knew from Project Runway or LA Fashion Week. His retort was expected: "The judges don't want to see too much draping from me." But is this new iteration of your work really YOU? I felt as though he had sacrificed his design core to favorably compete for the win. And if you win, Rami, then are you permanently committing to betraying, in a manner of speaking, who you are as a designer? Would you really want to win under those circumstances? So I left Rami after posing a lot of questions about his designs, his textiles, his color choices, and his intentions. Pausing at the door to his studio and looking back at his collection thus far, I said, "I can see Joan in your work, but it's Crawford, not d'Arc."