Tearing It Up, Ripping It Off and Working It Out

Though there are less faces in the competition, the battle is about to become a war.
The last four designers left standing. Photo: Screen capture by Madison Brady.

Somehow, we made it to the finale. Through the tough challenges and the crazy drama behind the scenes, four designers are left standing. The lucky contestants are: Michael Costello, Andy South, Gretchen Jones and Mondo Guerra.

Though there are less faces in the competition, the battle is about to become a war. Each designer is given nine thousand dollars (cha-CHING) and six weeks to create a ten piece collection. This collection will be manufactured out of the designers’ homes instead of Parsons, which is a great relief.

But, there’s a catch.

Only three designers are going to NY Fashion Week. Which means, you can work your butt off on this collection, but it might not matter. If you’re unlucky, you might get a pat on the back on your way out the door.

Now, the episode fast forwards to about a month later. Mr. Make-it-Work Tim Gunn is on the road checking up on the designers.

First stop is the gorgeous state of Hawaii where Andy South lives. Interestingly enough, Andy hadn’t even started his collection yet. My eyes gaped as he explained how his fabric just arrived, but he had a Buddha theme in mind.

It’s not that Andy wasn’t busy. The guy made several cute accessories for his collection. It still confuses me how fabric could take practically a month to get from Point A to Point B. It’s called FedEx, people.

Next stop on the Tim Gunn Train is Palm Springs, Calif., where Michael Costello is busy with his collection. Michael is off to a booming start with 18 pieces already finished. When I saw these pieces, I had “OMG” written all over my face. All the looks were over the top and over designed. It basically reminded me of cake with a lot of icing. My eyes can’t look in seven different places, Michael.

Tim heads off to Denver to see Mondo Guerra, who is cooking up a great collection. I find his inspiration to be predictable, yet very intriguing. He tells Tim that the old Mexican festivals motivated his looks. In light of all the other inspirations the designers are bringing to the table, Mondo’s is the only one I have interest in. At least it is one I have not seen before.

Moving right along to Portland, Ore., Tim checks up with Miss Gretchen “Woe is Me” Jones. It’s very simple to sum up her life as this one word: pathetic. No boyfriend, no money and practically homeless. Please. If I wanted a sob story, I would have watched Grey’s Anatomy.

Speaking of sad, let’s talk about her collection. I personally believe that Gretchen causes more drama than her clothes do. I was snoring while she explained half of them. My ninth grade history class was more enticing than her ambiguous styling choices. In short, her clothes need an edge.

After Tim’s road trip, the designers return to New York to show off their collections.

Or so they thought.

Tim tells the designers that only two designs from each collection can be presented. Sounds easy enough, but you haven’t heard the last of it.

Make one more design.

Of course, a big smile stretched across my face. I love the twists because that’s always when the gloves come off.

The designers begin work on their additional piece, with a spot in fashion week hanging in the balance.

Tim checks in on the designers and seems to be impressed by everyone except Michael Costello. The issue in his corner is that he can’t pick two looks to show the judges. Go figure. You really don’t have to be Tim Gunn to know that Michael isn’t in a good place, let alone safe.

It is now runway day and I find myself bored. At least Mondo saved the show with his unique taste. The judges said he was about two prints from being a joke. I disagree. The only joke on the runway was Gretchen’s collection.

Gretchen’s inspiration had to have been Woodstock: Summer of 1969. Basically, it was frumpy, crusty, boring and what my mom might have worn when she was my age.

Mondo and Gretchen both have a spot in fashion week.

I agree with Mondo being in fashion week, but I seriously think Gretchen needs to go home. I know she’s poor and broken down, but she can share her Cheerios with her cats or something. Somebody take this girl out of fashion week before she humiliates herself.

That left Andy and Michael fighting for a spot. Andy’s collection didn’t look like he designed it. Before heading for home, he was into powerful images of women warriors. Now, he picked a different aesthetic. I know the judges adored the green dress he designed, but it barely resonated with me. Maybe it was the enticing hemline that could make many men drop to their knees? I don’t know. Then there was the bikini outfit. If my grandmother was watching this show, she would have sprayed holy water all over the television. Andy really needs to learn that what he sees on the streets in the middle of the night, isn’t fashion.

Michael Costello wasn’t a favorite with the judges. The copper gown he made was very stunning and could have been featured anywhere. The other two looks I found to be very ho-hum. His subtle color palette totally missed the mark.

Michael C. went home, just barely missing fashion week.

Michael Costello breaks down after the runway show. Photo: Screen capture by Madison Brady.

But this isn’t over until the fat lady sings. Or in this case, the fat designer cries.

There’s always a crier, but never one like this. Michael C. stood on the runway blubbering for what seemed like an eternity. The awkwardness in that room must have been so thick you couldn’t cut it with a chainsaw.

Michael mustered up enough strength to strut back to the Designer’s Lounge and punch the wall. He cries and says how his parents now have every excuse to call him a failure.

Alrighty then. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Next week is the big fashion week so hold on to your hats because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

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