This was an extremely sensitive episode with the Civil Union challenge, featuring real-life, soon-to-be-married, gay/lesbian couples as models and clients. I mean, with Cesar exposing Jeffrey as virgin (is he as unisex as his clothes?!); Dominique wrapped up longingly in David's empty bed (she is 21 years old); everyone fearing Calvin (well, that's not new); and Iman unexpectedly showing her compassion Cindy, leading to an emotional breakdown (IMAN CARES!), this week was filled with twisted Hallmark moments.
Since designers worked as couples (I can't believe Edouardo and Cesar ended up together), I luckily did not have to create three separate runway shows (though it would have been exciting to do so).
Instead, I had to conceive one stellar set and staging to incorporate all three couples' visions (which was actually more challenging than doing three separate shows). With this in mind, and the sensitive nature of the challenge itself, I thought I would simply use nature as the inspiration and create an indoor garden party.
Fashion Show #1 The Love Float
It was important to me that the atmosphere for this challenge was as dreamy and idyllic as any fairytale wedding, so I had the entire set built with real fresh flowers, green hedges, and trees while the LD screens showed imagery for each couple: beaches and sunsets (for Dominique/Jeffrey's couple); wheat and poppy fields (Cesar/Edourdo's couple); and stained glass and enchanting forest (Calvin/Cindy's couple).
Though I, along with the small army of florist and the detailed oriented art team, worked over night and through the next day to create the scene, it was well worth it. The soundstage smelled like a garden wedding and the happy couples (both designers and model clients) felt special.
The runway itself was transformed into a symbolic "band of gold" for the couples to stroll down. Plus, I placed glorious candelabras at each corner of the runway to make the scene a little more romantic. Some of the designers actually cried while watching this runway show on the monitor backstage.
One person in the art department tried to fight me on the customized floral "LOVE" hanging at the model entrance because they thought it was too "cheesy." And maybe it was. However, to me, after all is said and done it's all about LOVE in the end.