Saturday, January 25, 2014

UNDER THE GUNN.....Nick's Take: Episode 2 The Mentor Face Off

Mentors...Tim Gunn and "Under The Gunn" Mentors (left to right) Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Nick Verreos--"Under The Gunn" Lifetime Network

Hello Everyone! Hope you enjoyed Episode 2 of  Lifetime's "Under The Gunn"! It's been very interesting--to say the least--watching the episodes--and going through the whole "rejection" process. All. Over. Again. Before I get to my "Nick's Take" on the episode, let's recap the premise of the episode. Last week, we, the mentors, had to chose designers for our "teams" out of the first group of eight designers. This week, it was time to do it all over again--from the remaining seven.

 Run for Your Fabric Lives: Designers run to grab their fabrics--"Under The Gunn" Episode  2, FIDM Grand Hope Park, Downtown L.A.

The designers' challenge was to grab as much fabric from Mood Fabrics bins that were placed outside of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising/FIDM campus in the middle of Grand Hope Park in Downtown L.A. Then, they headed back to the workroom to crate a look that "best represented who they were as a designer".

 Mentor Selfie: Mondo Guerra, Nick Verreos and Anya Ayoung-Chee

Chartreuse Mentor:  Nick Verreos--"Under The Gunn" Lifetime Network

We then visited the designers in the "Under The Gunn" workroom at FIDM to see what they were up to...

  Mentors Survey The Workroom: Nick Verreos, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Mondo Guerra visiting designers Isabelle Donola(top pic) and Stephanie Ohnmacht (bottom pic)--"Under The Gunn" Lifetime Network

Then it was Runway time:

Mentor Judging: (left to right) Tim Gunn, Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Nick Verreos--"Under The Gunn" Lifetime Network

Here is my "Nick's Take" on the Episode, and primarily why I chose who I chose and some other "inside dish". First I want to discuss the designers that either I didn't chose (or didn't chose me)...

Asha Daniels: I really liked her unusual folding, draping, twisting that she did for this look but...I just thought it was 2 minutes from looking a little Hoochie-licious. The mini was too mini and the midriff being exposed (I know that's a BIG trend but...). I passed and felt she would thrive with Mondo. I also had a strong inkling that she would pick Mondo anyway (call it a "Woman's Intuition"--me, being the woman LOL!).

Sam Donovan: I LOVED Sam and his design--as well as  his young "cool kid" aesthetic. I really felt that (from looking at the two designers I already had) that he would be a nice addition to my "Nick Team". This look above was so great; modern, chic-sportif; cool girl luxe. Sam reminded me of an up-and-coming designer that all of a sudden has Anna Wintour's "stamp of approval". I had a gut feeling that he would reject me (if Mondo and/or Anya also chose him) based on my experience from the last judging process. But I thought "I'll take a chance and still pick him". Not surprisingly, he didn't pick me. However, it was nice to watch the episode and see that he actually A) knew who I was; and B) had some kind words regarding me, my designs and construction skills. Thank you Sam. 

Nicholas Komor: I really liked Nicholas' portfolio pics. They featured his menswear designs, tailoring and super-cool aesthetic. He also had photos of actual notched collar/lapel patterns which tugged at my Pattern Making Instructor heart. I was both intrigued and confused at the look he made above. It. Was. A T-Shirt/Tunic. And that's it. But, I thought "could he be the next Raf Simons?", and at the same time I wanted him on my team as the "intellectual, elegantly-simple styled" designer in my group. Well, as you know now, he didn't pick me. Oh well. Next...

Isabelle Donola: First of all, I have to say that I had NO IDEA of what was going on with Isabelle in the workroom and how she was having trouble finishing her design and giving model measurement excuses. This, we were NOT privy to. I just thought she was a little bit "kooky" (from visiting her in the FIDM workroom). I LOVED her design above and all the unusual folding and how she mixed the various grains of the fabric in her pattern pieces. I thought of the two designers I had (Oscar and Natalia) and how I wanted a more "avant-garde"/directional designer on my team and Isabelle could be it. This is why I chose her and was happy no one else wanted her.

Amy Sim: I really liked Amy's dress design. When it came to the remaining three designers, this was a very tough choice. When we--the mentors--visited her in the workroom, we advised her to "step it up". I just don't think she did enough. The dress was beautiful and fine, I just thought it was way too safe. I have already seen this dress at (name a department store). I wanted to see a little bit of an "edge". Maybe she was doomed by that fabrication she chose; it looked "After-Five Missy". I really felt bad about not picking Amy because of the fact that she obviously had amazing construction ability and had lovely design skills.

Rey Ortiz: I remember Rey from the "Project Runway/Under The Gunn" Castings in L.A. where I was honored to have been a judge. He was good; he spoke of his love of patterns and his pattern teacher back in Puerto Rico (that got me!). This design above left me a bit confused (as well as the other mentors). I LOVED the pants; they were perfect. And I get the boxy jacket, that's very NOW. But, I think what did Rey in was the fabrication; the teal-colored boucle brought it into "older lady" zone. And then, he added the gold buttons, the sleeve cuff tabs, the gold chain necklace, the sunglasses...It was (as I said) too mucheey.

Stephanie Ohnmacht: The reason I chose Stephanie had a lot to do with this dress: it was super cute! The fact that she used fabric that is normally known for tailoring and jackets, but yet still made a dress was fantastic. I also loved the perfectly fitted bodice and pleated fuller was so now! Her bias-binding was also well done. In addition...when I decided to choose her, I thought of the designers I already had--Oscar, Natalia and now Isabelle: I wanted a quiet, elegant, and feminine yet directional "voice" on my team. Therefore, Stephanie fit the bill. I was happy that she said "Yes!" to me. Knowing her history with Mondo, I also had a feeling that Mondo wasn't about to pick her, and that may be his loss. I liked her designs.

**Finally I wanted to make a comment about the selection process. Much has been said about Producer manipulation and I will have to admit that in blogging about Project Runway in seasons past, I have alluded to my suspicions as well. But, I would like to state, here and now, that in no way were my choices decided, influenced or manipulated by the Producers or Network. I based my decision strictly on the designer's portfolios and the runway garments they made for the challenge. I can honestly say, it was an incredibly difficult decision and I would have been happy to have any of the Top 15 designers on my team! Each and every one of them did amazing work in light of the very stressful 6 hour challenge.**

Here's a link to the the ENTIRE Episode--in case you missed it--and tune in next week for Episode 3, when the Top 12 Designer Face-off in their  head to head first challenge!