That’s right! This week on Under the Gunn, the designers started off at the beach! Of course you might think fun in the sun & let’s go surfin’ now, but……..naturally, the setting was just part of the challenge! This week, Tim Gunn, in his nifty flip flops/sandals, delved out the designer instructions for the ever-popular UNCONVENTIONAL challenge. The materials?? — All the decorations and beach items used to decorate for the beach party! The concept was to create a beach-inspired look perfect for the LA beach woman. It was a free-for-all with the run & grab for materials, so how did it all pan out???
The designers were off to the workroom to begin their 1-day challenge. It was quickly time for the mentors’ round-up and we saw some early frustrations! Mondo & Sam were experiencing some difficulties. Sam was stuck in a rut, pretty much, and Mondo was urging him to go a different route. Nick too had to step up with his designers and was really doing a great job in handing out words of wisdom. Oscar had 2 looks, which Nick advised were not working, and so Oscar had to work with a change of design direction as well.
The models soon thereafter came in for their fittings. It was quite a different vibe this week. Many designers were feeling out frustrations and as always, in a crunch for the time. But the mentors worked a bit differently; they left the designers to just work it all out. The morning of the runway quickly approached and a lot of craziness & doubts were still running rampant, leaving the viewers to wonder how the top & bottom would fall into place for the week!?!
The judging panel was oddly enough a repeat from last week as Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman joined celebrity stylist Jen Rade, Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rassi, well sans Zanna I guess, but also, designer Rachel Roy. Again nice to see Georgina since we missed her ever so much on PRAS!! So the materials this week were beach-y items. Tim was quick to remind the designers at the start to think outside the box, don’t be literal with the materials, and let their meanings transcend what they actually are. So what did this all mean for the finished products??? Let’s begin with the “safe zone”!!
The designers started out the episode with a re-hash of the Anya/Nicholas debacle from last week. The designers were upset about the surprise accusations, but the mentors seemed to be all on team Anya, even Tim! I guess all is well that ends well because Anya’s team was safe & sound this week. There were definitely a lot of great looks this week, but I have to say, Blake’s look of woven table liners and straw decorations should not be forgotten. The less colorful items seemed to be on top, I guess with a more streamlined focus to construction and with that, Blake’s belted look certainly fit that bill. I think this is a major Blake come-back so wishing him luck for next week! SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s for the gold dangling earrings & multi-colored bracelet & Benefit Cosmetics for the golden eyes & lips for a, haha, Golden beauty look!
Shan on the other hand I think should feel a bit lucky because with maybe 1 judge scoring differently, his beach umbrella & inflatable raft look could have been in the bottom. There was hardly any design concept here. It was also quite boring! Many of the top looks weren’t there because of a bold color or overly-dramatic sentiment, but were there because of innovative design-work & great construction, considering the materials used. But Shan’s look didn’t encompass any of this! SHOUT-OUT though to Blowpro for the lovely side-swept do of flowing beachy waves!
Continuing with the bad news, let’s look at the actual bottom looks!
I was not sure who was going home this week for the bottom. I know who I wanted, but 2 designers I enjoy watching were here in the bottom, one being Natalia. She again worked with a braiding technique for her raffia & beach umbrella look, and I could see where she was aiming, just disappointed with a lack of time as she was so rushed. This look kind of reminded me of her 1st look of the season, a bit under-developed, a little short, but it had potential. I still see that with Natalia and unlike someone such as Shan this week, I at least appreciated her concept for some design! SHOUT-OUT to Blowpro for some more luscious flowing beach waves!
With Natalia safe I was still on pins & needles, wondering if another designer fave of mine, Michelle, would be out this week?? Luckily….. No! However, the judges were still not in love with her brightly color-blocked look of inflatable rafts! With colors such as hot pink & bright sky blue, the look could go either way in a judge’s eye. Many past PR designers were known for looks of bright colors and off-the-wall prints, and were praised, ahem Mondo! Could it look a bit junior, a little too youthful, maybe, but I thought there were a few positives here. The fit was great and I appreciated some color in a sea of nudes & tans. I also liked the use of the colors in a color-blocked set-up, which is an ever-popular trend. I guess better luck next week to Michelle, but glad she is still here! SHOUT-OUT to Blowpro for a gorgeous straightened side-swept look!
With Natalia & Michelle safe, that left Stephanie rounding out the bottom & ultimately going home. I never root for someone to go home, but Stephanie has yet to have a standout moment yet. With that said, Michelle has so it made more sense in my eyes that it was Stephanie’s time. She had a great idea with the “melting of leis” and it was certainly a look that inspired fun with popping colors. The differences for me, with this look and that of Michelle’s, was some issues with construction, fit, a less modern silhouette, and Stephanie’s was far more junior. SHOUT-OUT to Francesca’s for the nude sandal heels.
It was great to see Oscar in the top again, especially after his rough start. His structured look of a beach mat and straw fans made my jaw drop; I was in awe!! I think that is the point with unconventional challenges, to make the mind wonder and I applaud Oscar for doing just that! The look was just so chic, clean lines, & superb construction considering he was using straw fans! SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for the retro beach look of golden waves; Francesca’s for the elegant golden hoop earrings; & Benefit Cosmetics for the bold & dramatic beauty look of a slight smoky eye & glistening nude lip.
It had to have been a tough call this week for the top, but Oscar didn’t make top 2; Asha was the fortunate runner-up this week. I definitely was impressed with this textile printed look of straw decorations, woven table liners, palm leaves, & leis. It’s always nice to see a designer branch out, be innovative and that is what Asha did with creating her own print/textile. SHOUT-OUTS TO Benefit Cosmetics for the slight smoky eye & pop of color on the lip; & Francesca’s for maybe the fun printed clutch, gold necklace, & gold cuff (not sure if any of this Asha created, but I’m sure one of the 3 items is from Francesca’s!)
But the big winner this week was the comeback kid, no more Mr. Safe, Sam! And I mean big as in he not only won for best look, the 5k, but also the random 1K Benefit Cosmetics gives out this season. This week, the prize was awarded for the look the judges thought was the most fun & free spirited, and that, along with the top look was Sam. This was again nice to see since he too had a rough beginning! But really the judges slacked a bit on adjudicating by letting Mondo pick the winner between his 2 designers. We’ve seen this as Anya has chosen twice now between who to send home. Big difference though in picking a winner versus who to eliminate — Mondo’s designer is still here and I can’t imagine this made Asha feel to great! But back to Sam for his well-deserved win….
His fit & flared look was created with the use of a bamboo beach mat, a beach chair, & a pineapple (check out the clutch!). This was definitely a fun look and perfect for any willing beach bunny! SHOUT-OUTS TO Blowpro for the side-swept loosely fit ponytail; & Francesca’s for the statement heels & cool shades!
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UNDER THE GUNN NEXT WEEK!!