Its true! The designers and I had only 24 quick hours to build EVERYTHING for the Femme Fatale challenge and everyone was on edge (even the production crew). Cesar had the weight of the world on his shoulders with his "disco vampire" concept for House of Emerald and Nami had Calvin (enough said). And though Tamara went home, it was Calvin who had the dramatic exit during elimination with a tearful (and seemingly very sincere) goodbye to his only true friend on the show. He suggested leaving instead of her because he thought Tamara would benefit more from the competition due to her limited opportunities in fashion (and since he already a successful business and more comforts in life). Some of the judges thought he was faking it, but I thought his emotions were real and raw.
The most fascinating move of the night actually came from guest judge Dita Von Teese. During the breaks, she would kick off her stilettos and would continue standing on her tip toes like a Barbie doll. It was the very keen Iman, who pointed this out to Isaac and I while we were chatting during a break.
Fashion Show #1: Disco Vampires
With Cesar in the house and limited time, Emerald was a lot more together in spirit and vision in many ways—particularly with concept and mood. I think after losing two challenges in a row with such shocking and brutal critiques from the judges, they had no other choice but to try a new approach. The house wanted a disco vampire (disco is more Vamp than Vampire unless you are George Hamilton in Love At First Bite) with hanging disco balls and gelled spinning lights.
But once I saw the direction of the collection during my consult with the house, I knew all those disco trickery elements would make this collection even worse. Sorry to say but the clothes were not moving in the right direction, most importantly and noticeably were Cesar’s cape/gown confection and Tamara’s pleather/stretch pants (Isaac is right about the fabrics this house tends to select…its always off). And the rest of house focused on cocktail dresses (loved Cindy’s dress and Jeffrey’s high-waisted skirt but disco, they were not).
Instead of a discotheque, I suggested that we go deep into the mind of a vampire preparing to seduce her prey by and use elements the were more Hitchcock than Studio 54. I felt a strobe light effect would add both a nightlife and femme fatale mood to give drama and atmosphere to a collection that was borderline overwrought (Golnessa was so nervous backstage her hands were trembling so badly someone else had to cut her fabric). I added Mylar mirrored panels (long and lean, as opposed to round and wide like a disco ball) and a high gloss runway to the set in front of the LED and rear projection screens to reflect more of the strobe and lightning bolt imagery to the stage. The look of the show was dark and mysterious (I remember a brilliant late ‘90s Olivier Theyskens show in Paris were the whole staging was lit to look like a thunderstorm). The music I suggested was a classical, high drama violins and cello mix for a more Hitchockian –Pyscho feel. However, after looking at this collection again, I should have played Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” for a disco seduction vibe.