Lab Rats

Real Housewife of NYC Alex McCord bring down this week's competition.

Ahhh, the walk of shame.  Hasn’t everyone done that at least once? It’s one of those required rites of the passage of youth. The Harper’s Bazaar Mini Challenge was fun, and some teams got luckier than others with the found objects.

I’m sure by this point in the process all the designers recognized the setup of the Mini Challenge leading into the elimination, and most would have guessed that the teams would stay in place for the main challenge. This was a straight-up lab rats personality test – while Merlin and Johnny don’t get along, they were able to rise above their differences and work together. Daniella and Reco had a harder time, and that made it interesting. Out of the Mini Challenge I agreed with Johnny and Merlin as the winners, though liked Lidia and James-Paul’s as the runner-up. It was obvious that Daniella and Reco were overthinking their choices.

Collaboration can be easy or a complete pain in the you-know-what. It was really interesting to me to see the psychology at work with each team – all were a little different. Haven and Anna really flowed together, and you could tell they were having fun and really didn’t think too much about the actual partnership but just focused on making a great outfit. Merlin and Johnny had an obvious “let’s make this work for us so we can win,” agreement going on. I loved it that Merlin stepped into the patternmaker role – they both knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and each set aside their frustrations to concentrate on the goal. That paid off really, really well. I think Lidia and James-Paul collaborated the least – they were like two ships in the night, or to put it into a mother-of-young-children paradigm – parallel play.  That really came back to haunt them. Daniella and Reco were the partnership of barely controlled anger.  I kept wondering whether a sewing machine was going to get turned over, but realized this isn’t the Houswives of NJ!

Let’s turn to the outfits themselves. Daniella and Reco. All that anger showed itself in the execution. Although it’s hard to tell through the TV, it did look there was some nice detail going on. They are both talented designers. However I wanted to die when I saw those pants. Sorry guys, wouldn’t wear that one. Lidia and James-Paul both thought the other could take care of themselves, and really didn’t seem to touch base much throughout the eight hours. That was deadly – in the end the dress and the coat didn’t go together.  The coat was cool, and the idea behind the dress was good but it just didn’t work. At this point all the contestants were strong, but someone had to go and this time it was Lidia. 

Moving on to the top two designs – I thought both looks were amazing. My personal preference was Johnny and Merlin’s look, but I’d wear them both. The explosion of color, texture and the translation of the mood board were spectacular in both theirs and Haven and Anna’s. As someone (Isaac?) said, you want a design to have both the look of the house and the ideas of the designer, and in both cases home runs were hit. I do think that Johnny’s use of felt, while not an issue for me, was a big point against team J & M. The surprise aspect of Haven and Anna’s look with the bright top under the jacket was so much fun. Given the way the economy has been depressing people, big old splashes of color are in order. Wonder if that’s also why we’re seeing so many carnival and circus-themed charity events this season?

Well, folks, I’m stepping away from the laptop and into Manhattan as my designer consignment client, Second Time Around, opens today on Mott Street!!  Have a great weekend ….

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