Two Sides of NY
Stefan loved how the houses presented completely different views of a NYC getaway.
As if using found items and having to create extra looks were not enough, this week had a house mate switch-a-roo (David leaves Dominique and Jeffrey reunites with Calvin) plus only 24 hours to sort it all out! But we are fashion people, and we are up for the task! Both houses surprised me this week, because they each used NEW YORK for their inspiration for resort or "get away" dress when they had every beautiful island in the world to choose from. But don't get me wrong I LOVE THIS ISLAND, even Long Island, home of the Hamptons.
For this week's shows, I believe I put my tremendous new art team, headed by a tireless dynamo named Elspeth Benoit (Elle for those in the know) through their paces. Not only did I want them to build a freestanding tunnel meets security x-ray booth for Nami, but I wanted a full wood planked catwalk with real sand and tall grass growing from it. They rose to the occasion.
FASHION SHOW #1: RAINY DAYS
Nami, now 50 percent Emerald with Calvin and Jeffrey back together again, wanted their collection to be about a fast and fabulous New York City week end filled with nights out at The Boom Boom Room and Sex in the City style lunches by day. Strangely for resort and vacation dressing Calvin was envisioning a rainy day, which funnily enough supported Dominique's concept of a trench and sheath dress combo made out of old umbrellas (sounds like he was trying to be a team player). The house also spoke of black, gold, and grey as a color palette for the collection paired with big, bold zippers to tie everything together.
After my consult with Nami, I turned the tables a bit. I came up with a fictional "WHY BE BORED AT THE RAINY BEACH WHEN YOU CAN PARTY IN THE SIZZLING CITY?!" story of a poor little rich girl who was trapped in the Hamptons on a rainy chilling weekend and planned her escape, via Islip airport and landing at JFK, on her private jet for a weekend of city fun with her friends. For the back screens, I pieced together a montage of that journey starting with a down pour of rain which led our muse to the nearest airport. After she passes through security and body scanning, the journey takes us from her take off to landing; then driving on the L.I.E. through the Midtown Tunnel, were she ends up in NYC for disco dancing and champagne cocktails. The journey ends with her driving over the Manhattan Bridge with NYC in the distant background fading from memory(perhaps with a guy that she met at the club). The runway was a combination of an airport tarmac and city street (the catwalk was actually the dingy brown carpet I rejected from the Housewives episode painted black with yellow divide lines), and the lighting was designed to mimic search lights meets nightclub lights. My favorite piece was the black wood and plexiglass tunnel meets xray machine, which could have been amazing if we actually built it the whole length of the catwalk.
This show was incredibly dark in tone and in spirit, especially for Calvin who ended up yet again for the 6th time in 6 weeks to defend his clothes to the wall of judges... plus not being appreciated by either house must be troubling. I mean Jeffrey was the newest member of he house, and he quickly inserted himself in the Nami energy and way of creating.
FASHION SHOW #2
Emerald (mainly Cesar) wanted the Hamptons and the world of Ralph Lauren as inspiration for the collection and show. This was to be all about Americana and a fantasy ideal with crisp, easy breezy over tones. Because Cindy, being a West Coaster, had never been to the Hamptons (nor really heard of them) she was trusting in Cesar's vision of what that life entailed.
The mood I wanted to create here was an adventurous lady of leisure, who travels the world (a nod to David's Safari look) but resides in South Hampton (a nod to Cesar’s three creations). The set would be a view of the ocean behind giant windows and a foyer with white blowing chiffon curtains (it's my fantasy to have a three side house on the beach of Costa Rica with draping white curtains), that leads to the a private beach from her private boardwalk. All the props, including the bike and luggage, which the team member received from Lost and Found, were painted stalk white along with the lifeguard chair that could fit a family of four (All the white paint I wanted ruined my new Paul Smith black summer suit. A true fashion tragedy!).
Though the set and scenery was Hamptons inspired, the clothes were not. Could you imagine any of those looks coming from Ralph Lauren? Though Cesar's sheet pants and bustier were well conceived (I would love to see a woman rocking that look minus the sweater), they felt more St. Tropez or Lamu than WASPY Hamptons.
I loved the contrast of the two shows and how each house interpretation of resort and getaway dressing for NY was so different. I only wish they would have had as much fun and sense of adventure with building the clothes as I did building the runway presentations with 24 hours notice. With "nutty" David gone, I don’t know if Dominique will be having as much fun but I'm sure she will gain some much needed focus. Look what happened with him simply being on another team for this challenge. Congratulations, Dominique, for your win this week!