Rock On

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


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

Rock On

Kristin describes 'The Fashion Show's' first challenge and breaks down each group's look.

The First Day
OK so finally all the anticipation is over with! I met all the contestants (or the competition!) and dah dah dah dah: THE HOSTS! I totally went head over five inch heels when none other than the fabulous Isaac Mizrahi walked out the door! I mean from Unzipped to his line for Target, I heart Isaac! And then, his sidekick, the beautiful Ms. Kelly Rowland, appeared at his side. And yes, she is even more beautiful in person! Aw, and they make a hella cute couple! OK so confession time … I’ve never really met anyone famous. I’ve met local celebs (like Mayor Daly of Chicago … wait, are mayors celebrities?) So that was super cool that my first two famous peeps are these guys. As for the rest of the crowd … everyone seems “nice.” It’s still too early to figure out everyone, but let me tell you … there sure are some characters in the bunch! Thank goodness I’m the blonde (except for Haven but she’s a little more sandy brown I’d say). After the great meet and greet we were quickly put to our first mini challenge — making a LBD from a black t-shirt. Oh yeah, we only had an hour to do it. I didn’t win the challenge but I was definitely a front runner. Side note: anyone who left pins in their garment should have been disqualified! Total B.S. My thoughts behind my dress: while Laura from Harper's Bazaar said my dress was too girly looking, I went for sweet and sellable. I would have liked it to be a tad more fitted but c'est la vie. So I got picked for Keith’s team for the challenge and after meeting our team went shopping and overall compromised on our designs. We’ll see what happens tomorrow! Rock on, Kristin

The First Elimination
New York City is cold. But so is Chicago and thank goodness I have a cute coat and my cowgirl boots to keep me warm. I’m pumped to get down to work! I’m just very nervous about my skirt concept. I may be the youngest in this game but I know this: unless my design is executed correctly, it won’t work. We should be making this skirt from jersey that has way more stretch than the chosen stretch wool. Ugh. But my plan is to just mind my own business and get my work done. There’s a little communication in the group, but I really feel like we’re not meshing together. Plus, I’m super annoyed that Keith isn’t taking a very dominating role as our leader. He should be steering us to victory, not monitoring everyone’s feelings.

Towards the end of the day, I feel fine about my look. But looking around I’m getting panicky for my fellow teammates. I love the direction Anna is taking, but what in the world is up with the boys in this group? Andrew’s top is turning out beautifully, but I’m sorry … Jonny and Keith, what are you thinking? I can tell that Johnny needs some help, but I have my own garments to worry about finishing. Sorry dude.

Isaac and Kelly don’t look impressed either. My great mood I was in this morning has landed in a pile of scraps under my sewing machine.

So the day of our first fashion show has arrived. I’m a little nervous because there’s a weird vibe in the workroom. My group is trying to be positive but it’s feeling a tad fake to me because deep down I know that my idea wasn’t made the right way. So of course it’s going to come off discombobulated to the judges!  But I’m trying to make the best of it. I think my girl looks like a doll!

It’s strange to watch the fashion show on a monitor though because we literally just put the finishing touches on our garments and BAM! it’s on a runway! I really think the competition is up in the air. I have no idea how the judges will react to any of it, but I know exactly how I’m reacting!Let’s analyze the must-have piece, because after all, that’s what this challenge was about.

Group 1 – Harem Pants.
Harem pants?  I don’t know anyone who owns them and wears them, let alone considers them a must have. My apologies, but thumbs down.

Group 2 – The Bolero Jacket
Smart, but way too safe. Besides, I’m pretty sure everyone already has a bolero in their closet.  I have like six!

Group 3 – The Tube Dress
Brilliant idea! A must-have piece should embody a few things: it should be classic, not too trendy, and it should be able to be worn in 12 outfits without ever looking the same. In theory, this is the strongest must-have piece.

So how in the world did my brilliant idea land me in the bottom two? The obvious reason is execution. (Like I said!) According to Isaac, it seems as if I don’t know who I am as a designer, and he was weirded out by my styling choice of black tights and white shoes. (I told you I had no idea what they would think!) In my defense, I wear and design that kinda quirky thing all the time. Besides, I’m 23 man! I’m still figuring out who I am as designer. And as far as the audience thinking my look was trashy … I don’t care. Anyone who knows me and my work would never use that word.

So I guess I haven’t won over any new fans, but I know I didn’t do the worst in this group.  Elimination is completely nerve-rracking though, so I’m trying to keep my cool. And phew! The judges save me! Good choice guys.

It’s been a long day and there’s only one thing left to do: pick out my outfit for tomorrow. I’m thinking black tights and white shoes....

Rock On,


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!