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Doing It Big

Stefan let us know how he exectued this week's high-stakes shows.

This weeks' shows were two of the most fun to produce, mostly because so much was on the line for the last four designers standing.

After Eduardo was sent home last week, the houses were more vulnerable than ever, but at the same time, they were in the zone headed toward victory. As one house played it safe in beautiful, serene way, and the other went more theatrical, it was a test for the judges to decide which vision deserved praise.

Some people think fashion is always trying to move things forward, when things are fine just as they are. However, when you are in a competition like The Fashion Show, fine is never good enough and Nami (lead by Calvin) proved this was true.

Fashion Show #1: Sea World

During my consult with Emerald, Jeffrey wanted to create a "Goddess of the Sea" who fell from Earth, inspired by the crown he won in the previous challenge from New York Vintage. (My mind went to Neptune's Bride.) When Cesar showed me the soft fabrics and tones they were planning to use for their fish women (not mermaid!), I questioned the stiff shiny moiré taffeta. It does look like water but the weight of the material was off. They both thought the stiffer fabrics (like Jeffrey's white Members Only jacket with tails) would offer an opposition to the softer chiffons (Jeffrey's drapey seafoam green caftan) for their fish people.

Excited by their vision and flowy nature of their fabrics, I told the designers of my fantasy of building a giant fish tank with fluorescent lights (a slight nod to Amsterdam's red-light district) for their show. This would allow the audience to view their creations the same way one would view fish in an aquarium. As for the runway, I had it made of mirrored Plexiglass to reflect the light for a wavy, watery feel. I also lit the glass of the "fish tank" to simulate water. The RP and LED reflected a calming underwater world in tones of greens and blues with schools of guppies and jellyfish swimming. The mood was peaceful.

It's funny how the designers used the house color tones of green and blues throughout the season: Emerald for Time Capsule, Eccentric, Elements, and Nami for the Housewives makeover.

When Jeffrey first saw the lighting effect and tank illuminated, he burst into cries of how beautiful and perfect he thought it was for their collection. Guest judge Gilles Mendel was heavily impressed by Jeffrey's creations (perhaps you should ask him about a job Jeffrey!). The most fish-meets-goddess dresses came from Cesar (his blue knee length dress with chains on Meghan and the finale dress on CJ were both beautifully designed for an under water gala) but someone had to leave us…his craftsmanship and intention will be missed. Fashion Show #2: Calvin's Creation

Calvin started his consult by stating his motto: "Go big, or go home," as Dominique nervously stood by. After they explained the color palette to me, Calvin stated he hoped for an emotionless presentation (which is funny because he and Dominique are two of the most emotional designers on the show). He describe the no makeup-makeup look and music (none), and how he wanted the models to walk like zombies barefoot down the runway. (I had him demonstrate this for me…it was a good moment!)

I LOVED IT! The challenge was on for me to make a show out of his concept, and I ran with it.

I told Nami, I would create a world of lost women wandering around a snowy mountaintop, or tundra, after being trapped in a blizzard. To create this, I had two giant scrims built to create a blizzard effect, and a dramatic model reveal (I told Nami that this was an ode to Isaac and his stellar Unzipped show). The runway was blanketed in snow for the models to creep through. The music was perfectly spooky with longing echoes and winds until a rhythmic drumbeat took over (sorry Calvin but some music was needed).

For Calvin's finale dress, I had two fans in place for the model Shang-li to walk into…the closer she walked toward the snow covered backdrop on the RP, the wilder the dress and hair blow. The mood was tense.

Not all the judges loved the drama Nami created especially, Glenda Bailey of Harper's Bazaar, who felt women need real clothes in their lives and not the tricks she witnessed in this runway (Calvin's pregnant look on Rachel truly gave her back pain). However, I thought it was, daring with some of the models looking like the girl from The Ring (Dominique's black tsunami gown and Calvin's camel coat moments especially).

But overall the fashion and staging set a tones that sparked the reaction of moving these two into the finale--and driving those cool Ford Edge cars (did you check my fashion destination spots?).

Too bad we did not get to see a winning look from Nami. It would have been interesting if the judges would have given it to Calvin's beige coat (which Iman appreciated, and would have finally given him a challenge win) or Dominique's camel shorts look (Glenda did like this shorts and blouse combo).

And how crazy is it that even though Emerald only won two challenges for the entire season, its crazy that two of its founding members are in the finale next week!

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