Eccentric and surreal were the perfect words for this episode, especially with Eduardo, the dress master, leaving us before the finale! When Nami lost, everyone thought "Bye-bye darling" to Calvin….even Calvin!
However, the infamous Andre Leon Talley once told me "It pays to have a good idea," and the styling of Calvin's looks were based around a good, clever idea (that Edmundo Castillo feather mule on Rachel's head pushed him over the edge for a modern Schiaparelli-meets-Marie Antoinette moment).
I think it's funny that both houses decided to create graphic black or white collections when they had the liberty to go wild and mad for this challenge. I'm glad and impressed that they show restraint which is some how an eccentric statement to make in itself.
Fashion Show #1: Pee Wee's Playhouse
Nami, feeling extremely confident, wanted to have the models holding cards with each designer's name (not the House) etched on it for an old couture showroom feel. Nami was already thinking individually, not as a house for this challenge (the color story was all that united them), so I had to think of something to hold the vision together. Using the black-and-white motif as inspiration I thought of a funhouse…specifically PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE!!
To make this graphic and bold statement, I had walls built to hide the enormous LED screen. I added duct tape for more effect, plus a lot of hand painting by the art team for a perfect whimsical finish. The rear projection screen transitioned from Vertigo to carnival lights to various moments of striping models to highlight each designer's exit.
I shortened the catwalk by half to create a half-runway/half-floorshow presentation. If you'll notice, it creates an excellent bull's eye meets exclamation point!
The music was mainly whip sounds and cymbals, with an occasional drumbeat for drama. The set helped the collection feel more cohesive and eccentric than it actually was (Dominique's humpback Geisha dress did make Edourdo's diagonal Hepburn-ruffle dress look slightly conventional).
Personally I would love to see a woman wearing Calvin's cocktail dress and vintage gloves, especially at The Four's Seasons in Milan, or Edourdo's ruffle blouse (minus the pants and belt) at The Carlyle in New York. Even Dominique pigcoat, with some work, could be brought to Simon Doonan to sell in the windows of Barneys.
Fashion Show #2: Grandma’s Attic
When I met with Emerald, Jeffrey was playing along with Cesar's concept of a tie-dye, Woodstock-inspired runway show. I suppose since he convinced Cesar not to ruin the white/ivory dresses with color, that he could not fight him on the idea for the presentation (and he chose his battle wisely).
Though Woodstock is a fun, wild concept (and great place to visit), it didn't work for looks Cesar and Jeffrey had created. So I gently guided the two away from hippies, and led them to Grandma's attic.
I made up a story of a young girl playing in her Grandma's attic, and finding the most outrageous accessories to play with. As the young girl is playing with her newfound treasures, her grandmother's ghost appears, wearing the clothes she had actually worn these amazing accessories with. Emerald loved it, and off I went to build their show.
The stage was filled with objects one might find in an eccentric grandma's attic and the runway itself was distressed to best highlight the pure white ghostly clothes. I had the rear projection screen removed to create an extra-long runway with the models/ghosts walking out of the darkness surrounded by spooky, yet ethereal light.
Congratulations Jeffrey for not only having the winning look (Malena worked it!), but for convincing Cesar not to ruin your pure concepts with dye or paint!
Both houses did a great job this week, but next week will have its challenges, with Calvin and Dominique working together. Meanwhile Cesar and Jeffrey collaborate beautifully (they even hold hands during my consults with them).
PS: I find it even more intriguing, and rather eccentric, that Calvin, Cesar, and Jeffrey all come from a family of 11-12 brothers and sisters each.