In Knots

What do you mean the designers are real people?

I'm still in knots.

My stomach I mean ... from this week's episode, and it feels great! Wait -- these designers laugh? Wha ... they actually goof around and have fun!?! STOP IT -- THEY CRY!?! Oh, well we knew that one already, but still, we finally got to see the designers interacting with one another, and more importantly, having fun. Granted, it always helps when you pull out embarrassing old photos from past proms: Kit as a conformed brunette, Kevin all jersey'd up, and Christian sporting the most fabulous fierce sparkle unicorn princess vest I've ever seen!

Except for maybe this one:

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 ... maybe next episode.

Well, in case you can't tell, I'm happy to finally see these peeps have a little fun. Yes I know it's a lot of pressure and they're probably aware being that it's the fourth season, that fingers across the world are furiously typing/recapping/critiquing and criticizing every inch of every stitch that they send down the runway, but they must never forget to HAVE FUN!

OK -- enough of this nonsense, let's get into the designs shall we. raterunway_07_220x415.jpg

Victorious Victorya
I applaud the bold color choice, as well as the length, as I feel young girls nowadays are opting for shorter, more modern looking party dresses than the traditional floor length gowns of old. Though it looks like it could use a little magic steam for wrinkles (those young girls LOVE to pose with their hands on their hips don't they) I think it has great movement and a whimsy about it that is perfect for the occasion! I also thought she did a nice job giving a 17 year old what she wanted, while still keeping it modern, because it's a slippery slope when adding rainbow colored crystals to a neckline, but the balance is just right. Oh, and the shoes are perfection. raterunway_02_220x415.jpg

Chris
A risky choice of color as it can make most skin tones appear yellow and sickly, but not with this cutie -- it complements her beautifully! Though the silhouette is more of a stereotypical evening gown, it still feels appropriate for the occasion with enough cover-up and movement to allow for some wild dancing. The texture on the bust also visually balances the sleekness of the rest of the dress, giving her a little more fullness where necessary. However, exactly like the first purple gown he sent down the runway, I don't understand making it ankle length? I feel she really could look long and lean by simply adding three more inches to the hem. raterunway_09_220x415.jpg

Kevin
All of the elements were there to make a "cute, flirty dress," but unfortunately when combined together it simply didn't work. I think the main problem in the design was trying to make a halter top for this specific girl who already has ample cleavage and doesn't need to accent it even more -- it makes them look like funbags. I would've opened up the neckline and brought it to her shoulders, which would've visually balanced her out a bit more instead making her look so va va voom cocktail waitress in Vegas circa 1989. Oh, and the lack of hemming of the hem didn't bother me so much (in a photo at least) but the unevenness practically sent me over the edge. Having a hem that wobbles up and down and up and down just makes the garment look poorly constructed.However, I wish good luck to you Kevin on your next endeavor. You do some great casual wear pieces and I hope to hear from you soon! raterunway_03_220x415.jpg

Jillian
I think there are some very nice elements to this dress: the torso design and the color story, but I just hate the hem. For a girl that is so tall and lean, it makes her appear short and wide, and though her color choices and piecing on the bust look fantastic, I feel overall it comes off a bit nightgown-y. Nevertheless the movement is nice and should keep her dancing all night!

Christian
This design was actually my favorite out of all of them, though the execution is what sent it crashing to its death. The color is phenomenal, as is the overall design concept: the lace work, the pleating, and the fullness. It kept reminding me of a dress and I couldn't remember it until a few hours later, but I see elements of the McQueen dress SJP wore to the MET a few years back, that I believe Christian worked on:

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The layering of the exposed tulle, the asymmetry of the shoulders, the overlaying of the black lace. I so wanted him to pull this one out because I think it could've been a "wow" moment, but alas, the stars were not aligned, and we were left with an opinionated client in a heavy-handed dress. raterunway_01_220x415.jpg

Kit
This one I don't exactly get ... mainly the suspender-esqe straps w/buttons. That color blue is gorgeous, and though it's not my personal style, I think the color blocking on the bust is at least interesting and unexpected. I think my first reaction is (having been in this situation) that the client said "Oh, I forgot to tell you, but I need to wear a bra with this dress" so you unfortunately have to put a piece of fabric to hide the straps ... but she's 17, and young, and cute, and as far as I can tell she doesn't need her boobs to be strapped up in a harness for support -- a strapless bra would've worked just fine. raterunway_08_220x415.jpg

Ricky
Overall, I like this, but as The Kors said, the whole thing could've been turned up. The proportions are fantastic on her (as is her hair -- way to go Tresemme!), the fit is nice, and the texture gives it a little interest. I really have nothing else to say that wasn't already said on the runway ... turn it up. raterunway_04_220x415.jpg

Rami
This was one of the first real misses for me with Rami. With bringing such a youthful edge to the last candy challenge, I wish he would've done the same here. His client is adorable, but I again, agree with what was said on the runway -- it's not a bad design, but it was for this challenge. I do, however, applaud him for trying to get away from stereotypical prom looks, but unfortunately he didn't end up in the right place. raterunway_05_220x415.jpg

Sweet P
My favorite part of this dress is the color -- it is so chic, so sophisticated and so clean -- I love it. This design is obviously on the other side of the spectrum of Victorya's, but she completed the traditional look very well: it was sexy where V's was flirty; it was classic while V's was modern,;shiny vs. matte; long vs. short, etc, etc, etc .... It really came down to appropriateness. Great job, though, and congrats to finally making it to the top tier. Keep it up!

What's Next

Words of advice to Leanne, Korto, and Kenley.

Leanne put together something that was interesting and sophisticated and it definitely had a point of view. In a weird way she managed to have a focused collection that still had variety. She took an idea and she stretched it. The clothes were young as well as sophisticated at the same time.

What's next for her? Well, everyone thinks that they have to put on this big runway show and that's not necessarily always the case. I think her clothes are very much about seeing the workmanship, the detailing and all that, so I definitely think she's got the goods to do her own thing. I don't think she should feel obliged to do a big show right away. I think there's something to be said about things growing slowly and organically and that might be better for her. Then people can really see the clothes up close, because when you put the kind of workmanship into something that's understated, things can get lost. She could do a fun presentation, maybe, or a still life on mannequins. I don't think she necessarily has to rush out and put on a whole show. I think her clothes will be appreciated in both Europe and Japan so she should probably think about bringing it over her line to Paris where you're going to find more of the European buyers as well as the Asian buyers. Once again, I think her clothes will do really well in Asia. I think they have an understanding of sophisticated workmanship. You're not going to see her clothes in the local mall. They're not for that. She's got to keep it high-end and sophisticated and keep her focus, which I think she will.As for Korto's collection. I remember the beads well. There was one asymmetrical dress where the beads were built in and I loved that. Everything she wanted her collection to be - ethnic without being costume-y, playful with color - she managed to hit that with certain parts of the collection. But I think the necklaces, when they were just necklaces on their own, looked added.

With Kenley the reality is you have to have a confidence in what you do and you have to believe that you're right. A designer needs a big ego because you really are going around and telling people "You're wrong and I'm right." But I think that there are ways to do it gracefully. It's the kind of industry where you're always going to have good feedback, bad feedback, or sometimes no reaction, whether it's the woman in a store, the buyer, or the press. It's always a public thing, not a private thing. The important thing to remember is as much as it might burn you when someone criticizes you, the real reality is you don't have to take it totally verbatim. I think she takes things totally verbatim. And one can listen and say, "I got what you're saying but I'm ultimately going to do what I want to do, thanks for the input" and maybe you will learn something. You should learn something. When you think you know it all at 25 then your career's going to be really short. The whole point of fashion is that you never know it all. She's gotta learn how to keep her point-of-view and her confidence, but learn how to be a little more of a lady. Granted, being tough never hurt anyone in fashion.She's obviously got a point-of-view. She's got a great hand. The painting on those clothes was just gorgeous. In general, the quality and the craftsmanship of everything she sent out was beautiful. But I think when people are dress designers, which is really what she is, it doesn't make for the most compelling fashion show. It might make a very nice line. I think that in history there have been a lot of designers who are "dress houses," so to speak. They don't do a whole collection and they can have very successful businesses. It's hard to tell a varied story when you are so specifically dress-oriented and especially when your look is so particular. So I think she could put a line together and do very well with it. There's always going to be someone who likes something feminine and flirty and she's another one where I don't necessarily think the runway is always going to be her best friend. I think the greatest thing that has happened from the show in the last five seasons is that it's certainly made people aware that their clothes don't just appear in their closet. It's kind of like knowing the farmer who grows the crop. Suddenly you have an appreciation for the food that's on your table. I think that Runway has really opened people's eyes to know that this is an incredibly difficult endeavor and it takes real tenacity and talent.

I think that's the greatest part of the show for me. I'm a real fashion person so when something turns the corner and I think it's really spectacular that's the greatest moment for me. When Christian's show started and I saw the chicness of this 3-Musketeers silhouettes I thought "Wow." Same thing with Leanne. I look at the whole thing lined up and I think this is what we're here for. I'm happy when it looks great. My other highlight is sometimes just losing it laughing. Whether it's the wrestling challenge or... just losing it laughing in general! As much as I love it all and we are excited about it and spend so much time doing it, at the end of they day, they are just clothes. And sometimes it's good to just laugh about it all.