They're All Winners

They're All Winners

... although Fern does have some words for Reco if he wants to be successful. What were you  looking for in this finale fashion show?
I wanted to see several fully realized collections … with a point of view that were beautiful, well-made and marketable, clothes that people would want to buy, own and  wear. I wanted to see a spark that says ”I’m here to stay … I have  something to add to the fashion industry.” I wanted to see a collection of clothes that would convince me that these designers would in fact be around in a few years, and they wouldn’t just become a name attending parties forever as a former contestant on a reality TV show. What did you  think of the four final collections (individually?)
I think they each  did an admirable job, some more so than others.

I’m also always  interested when they have a chance to speak in front of an audience and  explain themselves. Communicating and describing a concept and relaying  their passion is a big part of the world they are entering and it is important to communicate clearly, and this time they had to “set the stage” for what we  were to see.

I liked Anna’s collection a great deal,  as it is very saleable, colorful, wearable and feminine.  She referenced  Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights painting which was quite  ambitious and inspirational, but her clothes did not  have much of a connective thread through the collection.

I was pleased  however to see how Anna emerged as the season progressed. In the beginning she was quiet and unassuming, never seemed to be in the fray, and she just stayed  steady, and got better and better and became more of a person/designer we wanted to know and hear from. Through most of the season, the “girls” were much less interesting personalities than the “boys” … but in the end, I really  think the girls rose to the top and for the right  reasons; their talent took them there.

Daniella was  clearly the youngest and spunkiest of the girls … but she also has something to  say, which she always did — both verbally and creatively through her clothes. I was impressed by her introduction to her finale collection which “paid homage to all the strong women in her family”… it was a nice touch. Her collection truly held together as a “collection.” 

She hit on several strong fashion points and used her fabrics in an interesting way. She “treated” her  leathers, layered her looks, made the shoulders a focal point which held  throughout the collection. She is definitely going to be someone we will see again.Reco: while I  feel like he has become an audience favorite, both for his outspoken  opinionated points of view, along with some remarkable clothes throughout the  season, I was not overwhelmed with his finale collection. I thought for  sure he would blow the roof off Cipriani because we all know how badly he  wanted to win. But I felt he thought he had already won, and the clothes were almost secondary. I do think Reco is a talented designer and I did like several of his looks, especially when he makes tight-fitted,  constructed pieces … but he lost me with his Aztec references, and his collection just didn’t hold together or hold up to what I believe he is  capable of. He needs to quiet down a little and just work and let the clothes talk!

James-Paul did a very thoughtful and interesting collection. I am also very partial to  some of his designs, as I have been a big fan through the years of Eskandar, Yojhi, Comme de Garcon, Yeohlee, and EGG in London. I like his intellectual  take and perspective, and clothes that are loose, and cut in clever  ways. I would wear many of James-Paul’s looks ... starting with the very  first one on the show that won the first challenge.

Using  “indigenous” tribes as inspiration — in today’s inter-connected global world — I  thought was very clever. I also do like clothes that have a dual  purpose. They are however VERY difficult to explain and present on a  runway. His clothes need to be in a presentation format, where he explains them all, and shows the way the folds happen and how the wrap becomes  a hood or a papoose.

I think James-Paul has a great deal of talent and I know of several designers who would be very smart to hire him. What do you think  about Isaac’s comments to Daniella again about being sizist?
I don’t think  it’s such a big issue, but I’ve known many young designers who are of a certain size and they never make clothing they could  wear.

I also thought that  geez if they would just dress themselves they would have a huge market and audience for their work. I truly dislike designers' collections which stop at size 10 or stores that don’t buy them up to 14 or even 16. The  average size in America is 14, and that is not fat.  

There are many women who are not in the tweens and 20s, and who work and buy great clothes,  and do not need to shop in the “big girl” size department. So in  general, the industry is “sizist” … not Two other  designers did show that day (as decoys) — what did you think of their  collections?

I think they had  fun and said, “Hey, let’s go for it. We have nothing to lose” … and so they did. Merlin’s collection was a costume party, and he would do just fine  designing for the performing arts.

Johnny’s collection was too many things, and too sporty and casual, and just didn’t give me a message or a position that I could grab onto and remember.

I think he too has real talent, and will be someone I’d like to check in on in a few  seasons. He totally grew on me, especially when the light bulb went off and he  decided this was a competition worth staying in and even more worth winning. What do you think  is next for the eliminated designer?
I hope an ego  check is first on the list. Then I hope he really concentrates and focuses on his “specialty” and does that better and better before he tries to  be a little bit of everything for everyone. He’s just not quite ready to be a brand yet. I know all the publicity and press is seductive and it takes over, but he needs to decide if he wants to be a designer and be taken  seriously by the profession, or he just dismisses the “profession” and thinks  he doesn’t need any of us and he knows better. In which case what he needs next is a great deal of luck, and to win the  lottery. What would you  hope the public thinks about when voting for the winner of The Fashion Show?
I hope they do  not make it a Miss or Mr. “Congeniality” contest. It is much too easy to be swayed by the personalities and the back stories, and vote for the person you liked best, but this is a fashion design competition, and the clothes in the end have to be understandable, wearable, and be worthy of media attention, and buyers … and the fashion public. There is great awareness  provided to the winner, and a unique platform for their work to be seen and  promoted ... to say nothing of a great deal of money.  So I think ultimately, there are three choices here, and I truly believe they are all winners, so really you can’t make such a big mistake at this stage.

Good luck to all of them — they all deserve the spotlight they are in!!

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