Welcome To The Jungle

The best collaboration starts with listening!

Heidi announces that for this challenge the twelve remaining designers will be designing for a high powered and glamorous professional woman. She tells them to meet me in the workroom where I will introduce them to their new client. The designers are wild with surprise and enthusiasm when Brooke Shields enters! She explains that they will be creating a day-to-evening outfit for her character on Lipstick Jungle, Wendy Healy. Wendy is an executive, a mother or two, and she's married to a musician. So, how does her wardrobe transition from the board room to a jazz club?

The designers have 30 minutes to sketch. Then, they will each pitch their concepts to Brooke who will choose six designers to serve as team leaders. The team leaders will select from the remaining six designers to form teams of two.

Each team has a budget of $150 and one day to complete the challenge. And each team must determine which team member's model will be used on the runway. Finally, Brooke will wear the winning look on this second season of Lipstick Jungle, and she will be our guest judge, of course!

Regarding the collaborative and synergistic dimensions within each team, there was rampant strife, consternation, and conflict. Designers, why is it so difficult to listen to each other, absorb content and meaning, and ... behave??


Keith wins! He chose Kenley as his teammate. Their conflict began at MOOD where Kenley acted as though she was the leader and bullied Keith to such an extent that I needed to step in and mediate. Her intractability coupled with her shrillness made her an exhausting opponent. Her cause célèbre was a floral print that she selected versus a floral print of Keith's. For me there was no contest: Keith's print was sophisticated and polished whereas Kenley's was Ma Kettle. I advised that they should purchase both of them, providing that their budget allowed, and debate this into resolution in the workroom. In the end, Keith won and, indeed, his design won. A high-waisted petal pencil skirt in diaphanous chocolate fabric served as a pedestal for the floral chiffon top. A wide black belt softened the transition between the two pieces. Owing to the high-end elegance of the look, I found it more difficult to see the day-to-evening transition, but the judges swooned and Brooke loved it. Congratulations, Keith! We'll see your design on Lipstick Jungle!


Kelli is out. She chose Daniel as her teammate.The lion's share of the fabric chosen was black. It was punctuated with leopard (Brooke had cautioned Kelli: "Watch the leopard!") and some odd blue fabric on the bustline that looked like a non sequitur. Daniel was assigned the construction of a black pencil skirt with ruching, but, owing to myriad mishaps, it took two-plus attempts to get it right. Kelli worked on a Kelli-esque bustier top that incorporated the leopard. The day-to-evening transition was offered through a shrunken jacket with a 360-degree peplum: It comes off at night. What was impossible to overcome was how cheap and tawdry the outfit looked, especially the bare midriff: Brooke's character would look like a hooker, not a power broker. Kelli, we will sincerely miss you!


Blayne is the team leader and chose Leanne. He conceived of a Bermuda shorts look, which by definition was going to be a day-to-evening challenge. From the onset, Brooke cited Blayne's shorts as being "risky," but she was interested in seeing if he could make them work. From my point of view, the success of this look was going to hinge on the textiles and palette. Therefore, the light gray fabric for the shorts and the baby-blue over-shirt were going to be obstacles. They were. This look couldn't transition beyond the casual tone set by the short or, god forefend, the bare midriff. Blayne, I'm merely happy that you're still with us!


Jerell is the team leader and is the last designer to select a teammate, so he is paired with the last designer standing, Stella. Jerell was in his prime, but Stella was thrown, once again, by the design context. Luckily, Jerell allowed her to stay within her comfort zone by giving her the assignment of the wide mustard leather ("lethuh") waistband with a smaller over-belt in zebra. This was over a full A-line skirt in a charcoal print and a dark taupe top with a sexy scooped neckline. Brooke loved the top and the skirt, but hated (her word) the waistband. Still, the look was sexy without being even remotely vulgar and it was tres chic.


Korto is the team leader and selected Joe. I didn't understand this look: a form-fitting strapless dress in taupe jersey under a voluminous and shapeless satin coat in pumpkin. What  I am a firm believer in counterpoint, but why take the trouble of having a well-fitting dress only to obfuscate it with the big roomy top? There was considerable passive/aggressive behavior on this team, though Korto trumped Joe when she declared, "Well if this look loses, then I'm not going home, because I have immunity."  Indeed. In the end, the coat was given some shape by belting it with a wide sash, and the look was safe, having passed through the judges' scrutiny. Whew!


Terri is the team leader and chose Suede. Oy! This was the clash of the titans! Terri assigned the top to Suede and gave herself the challenge(?) of the slim-fitting pant. That pant, in black, would serve as a mere pedestal to the top, which was the look's primary statement. Please don't misunderstand; I'm not trivializing the pant, because if the construction isn't perfect, then it could cause the look to go awry. But, it's still just a pant. The fashion statement was in the top, and Terri was going to ensure that Suede would execute her vision. This made it very difficult for Suede, because he was being micromanaged. The vibrant paisley gypsy top had a large cape, or berthe, neckline, a throwback to the 80's, but it looked modern and altogether appropriate. And it was true that the black pant was a fitting pedestal. The look had a sexy silhouette and great proportion and passed forward. Terri and Suede, when you reflect upon your behavior, was it really necessary?

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet