That’s right, on Under the Gunn this week it was all about coming together — the mentors & their working together, the designers coming together from various mentor teams, & hopefully, the mentors & the judges not being on different pages! It sounds all harmonious right? Well almost, all but 1 pairing that is. So what challenge caused all of this coming together?!?
This week was all about Francesca’s, owners of the season’s accessories’ wall. And all I can say is it’s about time! As a huge fan of this retail boutique I was very excited the store was serving as this week’s inspiration. Two designers were set together and from that they were to create 3 looks, a mini collection. The collection needed to embrace the Francesca’s customer, be on trend, unique, and special. The Francesca’s customer is a fun and confident woman, who knows trends and is not afraid to dress boldly; I guess that’s me, right, haha!
The pairings were as follows:
So this meant that the mentors would all be working together as well, Anya with both Nick & Mondo, as well as just Nick & Mondo. The designers & mentors had a tough road ahead since this was a 1-day challenge. And with that, the pairs were off to Mood with a $450 budget, still without their mentors if I’m not mistaken!
The FIDM workroom certainly had it’s fair share of drama this week, mainly with Asha & Natalia in their pairing, which I will discuss later. It seemed as if Nick could have sparred some with Mondo during their critique with the ladies, but Nick decided to keep quiet. But speaking of boy drama, we did get a little something something between Sam, Shan, & Oscar — CALM DOWN GUYS, HAHA!
The judges panel was full this week, with all 3 main ladies in tow — Zanna, Jen, & Rachel. Tim was also there and joining as well was guest judge Sei Jin Alt, Chief Merchandising Officer for Francesca’s. So where to begin this week, hmmmmmm, let’s start with guys’ duo who were I guess 2nd or safe, but still deserving of some high praise — Sam & Blake!
Sam & Blake were one pair who worked great together and it’s the great teamwork that is half the battle in any team challenge. I was so happy for Blake since he was in the bottom last week — way to bounce back! I am of course always proud of Sam and was as always impressed by the work done here. When you pick a bold print, you never know how so many judges will receive it. Sadly with so many this week, all it takes is one lower score and you are out of the top. But the guys should feel proud & accomplished for a job well done.
I love the easy, breezy vibe of this collection. I certainly think it embodies the Francesca’s woman. The silhouettes are fun and flirty. SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for some amazing hair looks — messy ponytail & side braided ponytail, but also to Francesca’s for some bold accessories — statement heels, blue clutch, turquoise bracelet, stunning drop earrings, & a statement making red necklace.
Let’s move on now to the winning pair this week — Shan & Oscar. This was another JOB WELL DONE! It was great that with this 1st look, the modern jumper/overalls, that the guys thought of the functionality concept they just did last week as the straps were adjustable/movable. I wasn’t as in love with the blazer as the judges were, but it was definitely done in a stunning & bright bold turquoise color, which was a great choice. But what stole the show for me was of course Oscar’s multi-printed haltered maxidress. And even more brownie points — the maxi had pockets!! I can’t tell you how much I love when a dress has pockets!! But I too just love maxidresses; they are effortless, comfortable, versatile, and so chic. And Francesca’s always has some great ones to choose from and I have no doubt that Oscar’s maxi will perform well in sales.
The judges were clearly not going to make an easy decision when it came to the winning designer this week. I was so touched & moved when Oscar told the judges Shan should win, I mean how selfless is that. Oscar knows the feeling of having a few of those 5k wins in the bank and it was just so nice what he said about wanting Shan to have that moment, for his family. Shan too had a nice gesture in saying they should split it, which was also very admirable. This clearly showed great teamwork on both parts and great respect the 2 had for each other as well.
SHOUT-OUTS to Benefit Cosmetics for some wonderful beauty looks, great bold red/tangerine lips; also to Blowpro for some flowing wavy locks!
Now onto the losing team this week, with one designer going home — Asha/Natalia. I will say I’m a much bigger Natalia fan than Asha fan so you may have to excuse my rant, but I have to say a few things here! Doomsday was of course the initial thought with this pairing and that is fine. But if a designer can truly and authentically act professional and just make it work, it doesn’t have to spell Doomsday! Of the 3 pairings, both Asha & Natalia have certainly had some bottom moments and construction issues. But in the last group challenge, everyone thought Nick’s group was doomed and they won, with Natalia’s help I might add. I don’t think Oscar carried her & Stephanie, who is FYI, now eliminated. Also, it appeared as if nobody wanted to be paired with Natalia at the start of the episode and with Asha drawing what she considered a short straw, I’m sure she felt down & out. But get over it!! We even saw later in the episode how other designers, ahem Sam & Shan, started backtracking on some negative views of Natalia. I think had Asha given this a real chance, not a “faking of the funk” as she called it, things might have not been so disastrous. And even if it was still the inevitable end, it could have been one on a higher note. Asha might say she got a bad edit here, but I’m just not seeing how she did anything here to make this work. And if that was a bad edit, boy did they have a lot to choose from.
I’m not sure if Natalia’s slight swan song was the reason she ultimately went home; I mean she really fell on her sword. She said Asha should stay. That she didn’t want Asha blaming her departure on this pair challenge, more specifically on Natalia. And I would say with a 100% certainty, had Asha gone home this week, she would have blamed Natalia. I’m not sure if she thought the public would feel sorry for her, but I don’t think she is receiving much pity, at least not from me!
I hate Natalia going, but I do think Asha should have gone instead or as well. Asha pretty much called the shots with this pair. The collection lacked cohesion & that was because there was no evidence of any true collaborations, either before or during the Mood shopping trip. In fact, all I heard was Natalia repeatedly asking questions and Asha saying “No!” It seems to me if you are going to take the more dominant stance in a group challenge, you should be held just as accountable for your actions. Asha claimed to have done most of the work and if that were true that is just one more reason she should have gone. I think the work was more evenly spread, just my humble opinion!
Both ladies had some construction issues and specifically Natalia was called out for the bustier on the 1st look, her printed dress. But if you look at the design, the concept alone, I think Natalia should have stayed on those grounds. If you had a problem with Natalia’s print, remember, Asha picked most of the fabrics. And while Natalia’s dress had the issues up-front, I still think her dress, which had a stunning back, and the teal shorts she made for the 2nd look are more commercial and Francesca’s friendly then Asha’s dashiki. Asha created the 3rd look, the crop top and asymmetrical skirt. While very commercial, I don’t think either embrace the Francesca’s woman. And the clear loser here for Francesca’s was this dashiki; you would never see something like this in the boutique.
Rant over, sorry for the length, but I was just not happy this week, with the outcome or Asha’s attitude.
SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for the wavy golden brown locks & Francesca’s for the amazing belts & nude-strapped heels.
Next week looks as if the designers are working with the average woman, so not models, should be interesting!!