Thursday, February 28, 2008

Episode 13: Designer duel

So here we are, after 13-weeks we have arrived – almost — at the final episode. Last night father hen, Tim Gunn, makes home visits, and we learn who, between Rami and Chris, wins the last spot in the final three. Of course, we already know that Christian and Jillian clinched awhile back. And let’s not mince words, Rami takes it. Chris is out.

But lets start with home visits. It’s a good thing that Christian is about 5’2” because he lives in one of those Hobbit-sized apartments in NYC. Each night he lays a skinny mattress down on his closet floor which, by day, doubles as his workroom. It is incredible that this kid has developed such sophisticated work in this pint-sized space. Tim warns him that some of his looks are costumey – “a lot of look,” -- and he takes note.

Next up, it’s Jillian’s glam NYC pad with miles of view, and her sophisticated set-up. “All of the great American designers are from Long Island…Michael Kors, Donna Karan and…Jillian Lewis,” says our girl. Inspired by her challenge at the Metropolitan Museum, Jillian looks to 15th Century armor and works to combine femininity and strength. Tim likes it. It’s “really compelling,” though he feels it has a “cloudy day palette.” And, Long Island, guess where Tim goes next? To Jillian’s house in Selden where her whole brood is hanging including her hunky boyfriend/business partner. Her mom reveals to Tim that she saw a clairvoyant before she was married who told her she would have three children and one was going to be famous. Yes, indeedy.

Onto Los Angeles, where Rami has a real showroom. We learn that the guy was a closet designer until 12, that his mom, a beauty, was Miss Jordan, and that he’s inspired by Joan of Arc. His collection, he says, celebrates the female form. Tim thinks some of it is a little heavy duty (he comes close to using the f-word).

And there’s Chris, who calls his collection sleek and dark and daring, “95% fashion, 5% costume.” Some of it causes Tim’s “gag reflex to kick in,” because Chris uses a lot of human hair...as in for real. It’s scary. But Chris is into the idea of beauty with a quirk though to us it's more like beauty with a scalp. Now don’t get us wrong, we think Chris is fab, and some of his work on the runway was really terrific – but the hair…yikes.

On judgment day, Jillian assists Rami, and Christian help Chris prepare. And the judges seem pretty impressed with both collections – Rami, for his commercial viability and the line’s organic qualities, and Chris for his usage of unusual materials (uh, yeah) and creativity. And in this challenge, well the judges were pretty kind though Michael Kors called one of Chris’ looks, “a velvet condom.” He exits like a gentleman – “I really didn’t expect all the love the universe would send my way. Would I do it all again? Yes.” And then the maniacal laugh.

Jillian will weigh in with us later today, and next week, Newsday is going to the Tresseme finale party where we’ll hang with all the players and bring every juicy detail back to you. – Anne Bratskeir

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