Ok so maybe Under the Gunn, aka “UTG” is not like The Voice, no singing, but there was a similar aspect or two when it came down to the team selections. But most certainly, UTG started off in true PR form with the meet & greets and then out comes Tim. He of course doesn’t just say “Hello”, but rather brings out the mentors and really gets right down to business.
When the mentors — Nick Verreos, Mondo Guerra, & Anya Ayoung-Chee — come out, we find out that eliminations are not just for the designers, but the mentors too. If a mentor’s team of designers are all eliminated, so to is the mentor. Only 1 designer and 1 mentor will win Under the Gunn. But this week was all about forming the mentor’s team and the 1st challenge.
So really a mentor’s group is just that, it’s not like a season of team challenges. The designers were reminded this is an individual competition. The 1st challenge was basically a “show us who you are” challenge. The designers were given a Mood tote bag with 6 different fabrics — gold/shiny fabric, black/white polka dot, black/red flannel, horse print pattern, black knit & a bright blue knit. The look had to show who they were as a designer and only these fabrics could be used, as many different ones or little of each. This challenge was also about seeing how the designers coped with this level of pressure as they only had 6 hours!!
There were 15 designers though waiting for instruction, but only half competed this week. We will see the other half next week. But each mentor’s group will only have 4 members so that means 3 are eliminated right after the 1st challenge. So the 1st 8 designers were off to their new workroom at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, aka FIDM. We got to see the lovely Francesca’s accessories wall. But after a few oooo’s & ahhhhh’s, it was time to get to work!
NOT THE WALL, BUT RIGHT FROM A FRANCESCA’S STORE
The designers were all having mini-freakouts and the mentors were also starting their work. They began to look thru the designer portfolios and discussions of who was already catching their eye! We started seeing what each mentor wanted — Nick wants versatility; Mondo wants a risk-taker; Anya wants to see clear aesthetics/visions. While Tim came to check in on the mentors, it was actually the mentors who came to check on the designers’ progress.
So from the mentors workroom visit, here is what we saw — they all still want Brady!; they want Oscar to find an element of surprise. They were worried about Melissa only using the polka dot fabric. We kept hearing Anya ask the most ridiculous question ever, about if the designers, first being Michelle, were nervous! We get to Camila and a point was made about 3 designers using the black and gold fabrics. This seemed kind of pointless, there were only 6 fabrics for each designer to choose; there was bound to be a little commonality. They questioned how much Blake could show with just an LBD. Shan sort of came to the forefront as a potential front-runner since he created a bomber jacket. And finally, Natalia, who was a great big ball of energy, was definitely showing the most nerves this week.
So it was nearing the time for the final runway moment. Natalia decided to change up to a braiding technique during pretty much the final hour. But other designers too threw in some last minute additions — Oscar with a hat and Brady with name stitching on his crop top tee. Now though, it’s the moment that counts and who impressed on the runway.
My favorite look was Blakes’. Yes, it was just an LBD, but it was done beautifully. There were some great details as well from the straps to the back, and it really just had such a great fit. I was then in a toss-up between Michelle and Shan. Michelle’s look was also very chic and had a great fit. But I wasn’t sure if I loved all of the cut-outs with use of the gold fabric, but it definitely had a great futuristic vibe. Shan’s LBD dress was also great and really rivaled Blakes’, but you have to give some credit for him also making a jacket! For me though, as much as I loved that ability, I didn’t like this particular one with the crazy mix of fabrics, but then again, he was working with what he was given.
Next is Brady and while I would probably never wear that look as it came down the runway, I would wear some of the pieces separately. He also created a lot — the tee, skirt, and jacket. I can just see who is girl is and it’s not me, but I don’t hate that girl! Oscar was next for me and there were a few aspects I might have changed, but I liked the potential I saw. He did use a few too many accessories, but he is all about glam and chicness and I like that!
The bottom for me was Natalia, Melissa, & Camila. With Camila, I do agree with the mentors and she just created something she knew how to do with the slashed detailing and it really wasn’t that spectacular. I also didn’t care for the length or the flapper bottom. Natalia’s dress, I mean yes, it was way to short! But I think if it was longer, it wouldn’t have been such a bad dress. I liked her mix of the blue & black fabrics and I think the braiding technique somewhat worked. So Melissa’s problem was just using the black/white polka dot fabric. It really wasn’t special and you can find those pieces almost anywhere. If she even made the top out of the blue fabric or used some other fabric it might have worked.
It’s always sad with elimination time and Melissa was the 1st and only to go this week. The decision made sense in light of her limited vision this week. There was also a concern for Natalia as she was the last one standing, but then, in a surprise move, Mondo invited her to be on his team and Nick did as well. It was definitely a surprise moment since she too had a not so great look this week, but I think it was right for her to stay. The potential is there and I think Nick will be a great mentor for her, especially in light of her time management issues.
So this is where “The Voice” comparison comes in. No the mentors were not choosing blindly, but they did get to voice who they wanted on their team. But if more than 1 mentor wanted a designer, it was then the designer who chose. This is where some concern came in for Nick this week. I think some designers made the wrong choice by not going with Nick, but he did end up with 2 slots filled, Natalia & Oscar. And I think he will work great with both. He also will have 2 slots for next week and that leaves him a lot more choices versus Anya, who quickly filled up 3 of her 4 slots this week!
I think it was a bad move to fill up 3 slots because 7 designers are still to come next week; it’s just a big risk. Anya did score a great pick though with Brady and I think they will make a good team. Shan also joined her team and while I was sad for Nick, since I know he wanted him so badly, I am intrigued to see how Anya’s design abilities will help Shan develop his?? And then finally, Blake picked Anya, and again, I’m not sure if this was the best match, but I’m interested to see how Anya will mentor her designers!
Finally, let’s look at Mondo’s picks and I think he started off well with his 2 picks. I still was surprised he was going for a 3rd to fill with Natalia, but Mondo is not looking to shabby. I think his best pick was Michelle and I think they will be a good pair. I’m still not sold on Camila, but I want to see what else she able to create/design and maybe Mondo can get that out of her.
So 2 must go for the next episode and I wonder how that will all come about, CAN’T WAIT!!