Cast Blog: #THEFASHIONSHOW

Final Thoughts

Rising to the Challenge

Mommy Dearest

Red Red Whine

The Creative Process

Hail the Virgin Queen

Doing It Big

Ultimate Dressmaker Collection

Let's Twist Again

Captain Planet

The Kids Are All Right

Accessories in the Attic

Beige is Boring

The Hungry Ruffle

More Is More

Blushing Brides

The Love Float

Finding Your Key Light

Panda-monium

The End of the Affair

Two Sides of NY

Jersey Shore Moment

The Island of Lost Handbags

In A Nutshell

Attention Upper East Siders

The Greatest Show in the World!

Banana Drama

Life Finds A Way

Shrinking Violets

Plaid in Space

Message in a Bottle

Sad for Plaid

Color Coordinated

Suffocate with Love

In Noir and White

Welcome to the Fun Haus

Lethal Women

It's a Camp-tastrophe

Disappointing Duplicity

Inside Out Man

I'm Still In Love

Final Thoughts

Fern Mallis reveals her favorite moment of the season, and things you didn't see!

Bravotv.com: First, how was it reuniting with all of the eliminated designers?
It was fun, and it was also a bit tense at moments. Many of the contestants had lots to vent about. But all in all it was very rewarding to see them all together and get a sense of who we will definitely see and hear more from, and to hear how the show has changed and impacted their lives, and it was clear that they all won something.

Bravotv.com: Why did the judges choose who they did to win?
Daniella pretty consistently had a strong design aesthetic, and her final collection was very thought out, beautifully made, it was young and refreshing, and totally her own.  She even did the music and lyrics,  and sang it too … but that wasn’t part of the decision. She is talented, and we felt she deserved to be acknowledged.  It was tough. However,I also think James-Paul is a real gem, and he did a very intelligent and interesting collection … maybe a bit too esoteric for most viewers.

Bravotv.com: Were you surprised by who America chose?
Not at all. I think we all walked out of the final fashion show and said, “Anna will win.” Her clothes communicated to many people, were colorful and pretty … and also quite good. From our professional comments, it didn’t hold “together” as a collection, but the viewers weren’t voting with the same criteria we were. We were not disappointed though. We felt any one of the three finalists would have been a great choice — that’s why we whittle it down to them.

Bravotv.com: What advice would you give to the winner?
Anna should take her time … slow and steady wins the race. She should invest that money smartly, talk to Glenda and everyone else who can spend some time with her, and I think she needs to think long and hard about starting her own line. If that’s the direction she goes, wants to go, she should sit with some smart industry people about a business plan, investors and learn all the aspects that need to be understood before she “opens” her business. There’s a whole universe to succeeding beyond just designing pretty clothes.Bravotv.com: Anything else coming up for you you want us to know about?
My next “gig” is Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Bryant Park, and I expect I will see many of The Fashion Show participants coming to check out the shows in the tents ... maybe they’ll all be at Isaac’s show!!! Then after NY, I’ll be in Mumbai for Lakme Fashion Week, where I’ll probably acquire more of the “Indian” clothes and accessories I’ve been wearing throughout the season.

Bravotv.com: What was your favorite moment from the whole season?
There were quite a few but for sure, one of the most memorable was when Glenda called out Johnny for his “Lanvin knockoff” … and what you didn’t see on the air was a moment when Glenda announced to Johnny that during the break she had actually called up Alber Elbaz, the designer for Lanvin, and told him about the dress, and what we were looking at.  saac, Kelly and I all dropped our jaws a bit and said, ”Wow … way to go …”

And in closing, I want to say that it was a real privilege to be on The Fashion Show. I loved working with Isaac and Kelly and all the guest judges, (and the entire hard working Bravo and 3 Ball Production team). I thought everyone who we started the season with has real talent  and potential if they work hard and listen and learn. They all won — just by beating out everyone else who wanted to be on the show, and they all got a chance to have their say, and be seen by America and the industry that watches the show. I loved seeing them evolve and grow, and I truly hope they will have successful and rewarding careers in our industry.

Mommy Dearest

Stefan explains his process for creating the final fashion shows, including an inspiration that almost didn't happen.

So at the end of it all, two designers from The House of Emerald Syx are left standing, with dueling red "tribute" gowns, for the win! With the chaos, twist, and turns thrown at these designers, the message from Calvin, Dominique, and our winner Jeffrey was peace, calm, and self-reflective.

Fashion Show #1: Enchanted Forest

My consult with Calvin was very touching because he spoke very deeply and passionately about his dying lover of ten years. While showing me his collection and mood boards (which only had one beautiful picture of a misty forest), he told me that his finale gown would be a tribute to his partner and to the Gay Men's Health Crisis, hence the color red.

Speaking calmly, he said he wanted his fashion show to reflect his journey through this competition from being an angry person to someone more agreeable (though most would beg to differ). I truthfully never saw Calvin as angry…he's just direct and brutally honest (which can feel borderline abusive at times) in his want for things to be as amazing as possible (though that yellow dress from the first day was questionable). At this moment, Calvin became very childlike to me so I thought to make his show into a fairytale of sorts set in the woods.

Using his personal journey and single misty forest image, I created a montage of woods imagery that started with a dark, foggy, moody, leafless forest and end with a lush, sundrenched, green jungle of life that became the perfect backdrop for his red gown (the back of which was gorgeous). I had the models walk through a path of Kara Walker-inspired trees and low looming fog to the sounds of pianos and music box tunes. For a humbling feel, I had the runway covered completely in burlap, which the art team hand sewed together with thick black yarn…it was well worth it! The details of the runway were beautiful and matched the dreamy elegance of Calvin’s final collection.

He and I agreed that the staging should not be as antagonizing as the zombie, barefoot show from the challenge before, though Calvin may have wanted to do something slightly more aggressive if given another chance. I'm glad we stuck with this tone because I believed it charmed the judges and almost got Calvin the win. Fashion Show #2: City Slicker

Dominique, the last surviving member of Nami, was also self-reflective during my consult with her. But unlike Calvin, her journey ends in chaos. She wanted her show to be all about her a naive, innocent arriving in NYC and entering this competition with beautiful jazz-style music in her head (well, iPod) and leaving with static, noise, and confliction (could David have had anything to do with this?).

I was impressed with Dominique’s ambitious ways during the whole competition and her willingness to try new things, like making her own plaid and deconstructing those umbrellas to create a chic sheath dress. One of the pieces Dominique made that she edited out of her final collection was a tangled wired bustier and ankle cuffs that were a cool, modern touch to her slouchy chic (which I love) silhouette.

Dominique show was the most fun to build because I focused on NYC and the fast-paced vibe here. I opened her show with city sounds set to jazz, which then exploded into techno rhythms. The models were lined up in a power stance behind the LED screen as footage of the subway whizzed by (Glenda Bailey loved this). I then had imagery similar to the of old-fashioned TV static sliced into the all the footage, with the final shot of the TV (and noise) being shut off as the model exited. Her runway was a city sidewalk with grates built in (the choreography was vital here, so the models heels would not get stuck in the grates…kind of like real city life). At the model entrance I designed a wire-filled structure that was inspired by her wire bustier (which never saw the light of day). My favorite moment in her staging was the night surveillance images I sourced with the guy shadowing the model on the catwalk…so eerie, so New York!

Fashion Show #3: Mommy Dearest

Jeffrey's fashion show was the toughest of them all because his journey was inspired by his late Mother’s presence, and I had to be respectful of that. He showed me mood boards of doves and red stains the resembled blood. Then he told me the story of his now famous red gown that was designed with his Mom in mind. After my first consult with Jeffrey, I left with thoughts of heaven in my mind…would it be about angels on clouds and golden gates?

But Bravo exec (and mega sounding board) Lara Spotts, made me examine closely what heaven would truly represent to our Jeffrey. So for my second consult with him (I always had two consult with the designers before the big show), I questioned Jeffrey about his show again (he loves a chic power woman) and what heaven represented to him. While he was talking I noticed a whole other board that he never shared with me with imagery of Buddhist monks and temples. I grabbed the board, and told Jeffrey that his show would be inspired by Buddhism...freedom from suffering, Nirvana. He agreed and went back to sewing (his collection was so far behind to the point that I was worried for him).

I fine tuned Jeffrey’s presentation up to the last minute as to capture the perfect mood for his collection, because I did not see the clothes till the models were dressed. Everything looked stunning on the girls! Once I saw the hair and makeup (Mally did a stellar job) complete I thought his show needed air, so I simplified everything and had the models trot through a grey ash filled catwalk (which captured a smoky, saintly atmosphere) as if they were entering a temple. The ash would also give a more deconstructed look to his pure clothes especially on the clothes with longer hemlines (some still with raw edges). Plus Jeffrey patiently handed painted all the models shoes with white paint (as if he did not already have enough to do) so the chalky ash looked great and modern (very Rick Owens meets Donna Karan).

I had the art team paint the symbol for the word PEACE on the runway and we built a candle filled alter at the bottom of the catwalk for an OM SHANTI feel. As I had the model posed on the stage for a final tableau, I asked our lighting guy to shine one perfectly bright beam of light on the group of girls for a heavenly glow.

And it all worked! Guest powerhouse judge Mary J. Blige could not stay in her seat… she loved it so much. And Jeffrey won!