Better to Fail Spectacularly

NYC Wife Alex McCord gives her critique of this week's Fashion Show looks.

Oh yeah, it’s 7:30am on Sunday – Mama is up and mainlining espresso while the boys fight over who gets the red or the black cushions to make their forts. How appropriate to catch up on Fashion Show blogging!! As a confessed show addict, I loved this mini challenge. When we redid our house we built two new shoe compartments in the closets and still don’t have enough room – when Footwear News came to shoot it they laughed at us madly trying to display every single pair.

I wish that the shoe designer would have made it clearer that she’d be judging the teams based on which collection would fit best into Olsenhaus, but maybe I was just slow on the uptake. While Johnny’s pair was sleek and closely aligned with what we saw of the brand, I preferred Team Daniella’s work. Even though there seemed once again to be an issue with Andrew co-opting ideas, I actually liked Andrew’s fringe better than Reco’s. At any rate it was interesting to see everyone pushed out of their comfort zone and it was a good setup for the elimination challenge.

It was great to see the designers relieved of the team pressure; it was obvious they hated it. I can see why the show was set up that way – ease people into the process, float some of the weaker competitors because one can be a weak competitor while still being a good designer, force people to deal with each other because that’s part of heading a staff…it was time to let everyone sink or swim on their own. Off to Bergdorf’s to choose shoes!

Angel’s pattern of second-guessing herself bugs me because I can’t stand indecisiveness – I would rather make a hard decision and live with it or adapt it. However, I do really like things she cooks up, and this episode her dress was hands down my favorite. When Isaac assigned her the shoes I chuckled – they seemed light years away from her aesthetic (mine too, for that matter.) The end result was a summery little “Maggie Norris gone wild,” which I absolutely loved and wished I’d had in my bag last weekend. Reco’s dress was stark and sexy and I’d wear it with my hair pulled back and the hat on, but he also bugged me this episode. We get it that you’re confident. Sometimes that is warranted and sometimes it isn’t. Does he finish first and stalk all the other designers with big wide eyes, like a certain blonde I know?? Oops, wrong show. Keith’s dress was the first piece I thought was truly inspired by the shoes rather than made to go with the shoes, and I loved the pink and black petal skirt. Beautiful.

Haven completely redeemed herself for me this week – if I’d been at the show they’d have had to bag check me for that jumpsuit. Interesting as I’d never choose the shoes on their own but with the outfit the look really worked. What was Merlin thinking?!? There was just too much going on with that dress even though I love orange – wish he’d gone denim. Maybe if he kept the detail down the front but made the bodice tight vs. flowy it would have been more pulled together. On the fence about Anna’s look – the top was intriguing but thought the pants and shoes were kind of boring. Come on Brooklyn, step it up! James-Paul is always interesting but I was less wowed by this look than some of his other pieces, though if it came my way I’d probably wear it.

Johnny’s look was really well executed and pulled together, even if I wouldn’t personally go for a ruffle right there, and Daniella’s look was hot. That material has to either fit perfectly or be stuffed perfectly, which can sometimes be difficult, but the outfit came together without being too matchy and it rocked.

Miss Lidia. I loved the idea. It could have been rock and roll mixed with Chanel, but it was too ambitious for a 14-hour project and you bit off more than you could chew. Guess what? That’s absolutely OK and you know it. Better to fail spectacularly and show the judges what’s in your head than play it safe, which is what got Andrew eliminated. Andrew’s dress was saleable, no question. That’s not going to win a competition. It was nicely done, and nice is not a word you want to hear in reference to a runway show.

That’s it for this week and I can’t wait to see what comes next – can someone please design a fierce one-piece outfit that can be thrown on in the dark and worn out to ride big wheels? American Apparel tube dresses only take you so far!

Red Red Whine

We celebrate our Ultimate Collection winner, and bemoan a missed opportunity with Mary J. Blige.

Let's start with the most important issue we need to address in this here blog: The oddly satisfying symmetry of our finale guest judge.

And I'm not talking about you Glenda Bailey (though I love me some Glenda Bailey, call me gurl). I mean Mary J. "Real Love" Blige.

If you've been watching this season (and reading this here blog), you recall that in the Femme Fatale challenge Tamara Jones channeled her inner-MJB.

How did no one ask her about what she thought about this outfit?


And Tamara was even there helping Calvin! It was just so convenient!

Did Tamara at least get a complimentary gift basket of Carol's Daughter products for her trouble? I'm muy curiouso of what MJB would have thought of the garb, of herself as femme fatale, and most importantly if she would have put it on immediately and "911" with Wyclef Jean while wearing it. Alas, like sand through our fingers, those moments passed us by.

Ok, now we can focus on the task at hand, recapping and relishing in this final episode of the Season 2 of The Fashion Show Ultimate Collection (sorry I'm inspired by Eric Ripert's always identified vlogs and wanted to make sure you knew what you were reading).

I had the opportunity to chat with our final three for The Dish this week and was just taken with how really impressed I am with this bunch. Firstly because they are a precious little triad:


(Not pictured Jeffrey's amazing cupid printed pants and leopard scarf. You didn't think he was dressed that calmly did you?)

Secondly because these three each have vastly different perspectives. From unisex space-invader, to geisha/homeless Manhattan youth, to all-black-everything, the runway was graced with three super special shows.

Let's discus. . . .

When in doubt always wear red, says Bill Blass and GB, but me I'm not so sure. I haven't worn red since kindergarten (I adored that Laura Ashley jacket) or a small scarf here and there I'm not much for crimson waves.

But leave it to Jeffrey to change my mind. His collection was flawless. Wings of an angel good. For a man that wears moo-moos, he creates incredible clothes. I don't care that Iman thought some of those furry neckpieces were a little too straight jacket-ish. Send me to Shutter Island and let's call it a day (particularly since it's been 6 degrees in NYC this week). And his dress dedicated to his mother was officially the sort of thing that brings tears to my eyes. God bless the woman that made our Little Richard Robot Jeffrey. He's going big big places that one.

As for Calvin, he did prove that behind all that gumption is a little bit of true grit. I adored his fabric selections, and even though Iman was iffy on the suit, I thought it was a touch of excitement amongst a collection that was beautiful, but not so daring for me. Now that hell has here go came, don't we all think that maybe Calvin wasn't so bad after all? Or is it just that my heart is growing Grinch style for nostalgia's sake?

But I want to take a moment to talk about Dominique. Our brave little toaster might not have won. And her outfits might have been designed for only the most slevete amongst us, I adored them all. From the fabric-pooping skirt, to the jackets (she's always with the jackets). I feel this gal can go far. Tie your little geisha sash and go forth my dear! I don't think this is the last we'll have seen of her.

And that's it! We're out. It's been amazing season, thanks for watching with us, and we'll see you all over the galaxy!