In a world where Superhero movies are all the rage — Spiderman, Batman/Superman collabs, Avengers and the like — it should come as no surprise that Under the Gunn would also want to make use of this popular trend. So this week the designers met up with Tim Gunn at Meltdown Comics in L.A. to learn more about their Superhero challenge. Cort Lane, the VP of Animation & Development for Marvel Television, also joined Tim this week to help deliver the challenge instructions.
This week, the designers were asked to create a look inspired by a Marvel comic superhero. Big warning — the look was not to end up being a costume! Sam’s Superhero choice was what he called “a rebellious, wise-ass”, Hawkeye. Shan went for a female Superhero, Captain Marvel. Asha selected the 1st black Superhero, Falcon. And finally, Oscar went for Gamora. With that, the designers were off to Mood with a $250 budget to start this epic 2-day challenge.
You could tell the tensions were high this week. Most of the designers were contemplating taking risks that would hopefully payoff into big rewards — getting them into the finale. I say risks are important, but these risks should also be calculated, as in make sure you can execute your risk. For example, Oscar wanting to do a pant and not a gown, it makes sense and it’s something I know he can do. I was a bit more concerned though for Asha, who was going to drape pants, which she had never done and was going to work with chiffon, a fabric she had never worked with either. We will see later if these risks paid off?
Sam’s impact with this week’s challenge was a bit more deep than the traditional worry & concern over what to make. His superhero selection, really getting into the superhero backstory, brought out some unknown events for Sam’s own backstory. He discussed some tough moments of bullying with Mondo. He later shared some even tougher moments and it was then no surprise why he was so down this week. Mondo had a similar moment during his PR season so it was great for Sam to have him right by his side to help pull him out of this moment of despair. I applaud Sam for his courage and bravery this week in sharing his story.
Nick & Anya had the most to lose this week because if Oscar or Shan were eliminated, they would be as well. But I think they both mentors had a relative amount of confidence and trust in their designers. Mondo on the other hand I think knew his 2 designers were most at risk this week and he was right on top of them, doing what he could to ensure they both made it to the finale. And it seemed as if that strategy paid off, anti-climatically, since no designers were eliminated this week. That’s right, all 4 moved onto the finale, but what did the judges have to say about the work this week, including guest judge actress Jaimie Alexander, who was recently in the Superhero flick Thor.
First up, Oscar! Oscar has had so many shining moments this season, many wins and I’m not sure he was ever in the bottom?? I would have been utterly shocked if he were to have not made the finale. And with this super-dramatic look coming down the runway, I think the judges had no choice but to have him as part of the finale. They even said during deliberations it was clear, Oscar & Shan were in. This look had superhero written all over it. It was a bit more avant garde than the traditional everyday womenswear attire, but it was certainly wearable. I think Rachel Roy said something about not seeing this at her office, well Duh! Not every look created on this show is going to be a piece for work!
A couple of judges definitely caught a costume-vibe, but the others I think just got it! This look is high fashion and it’s what Oscar does and is. He is not creating looks that will get lost in a woman’s closet as she figures out what to wear to work each day. Oscar creates looks that make a woman feel special, that can give her a sense of adventure. I’m so happy Oscar is in the finale and it is well deserved!
Shan was the other designer that this week the judges were all ready to send to the finale. And I have to agree with his distressed, yet quite chic look for this week, this was another deserving finale spot. The Superhero inspiration with this piece wasn’t literal, but Shan took notice of the worn aspect of Captain Marvel, the “just coming from battle” vibe. He wanted his look to embody this and from that, I can see the inspiration. It was also great that he again made use of a multi-functional look and created a skirt where the tethered/fringed elements could easily be slipped off, very nice!
Shan’s look had a warrior aspect to it and it evoked strength, all of which the judges saw. I’m not sure they had any criticisms so Shan won’t have much to take with him for the finale, but I’m sure he will do just fine. SHOUT-OUT to BlowPro for the super-high chic ponytail.
The big debate on the final spot was between Asha & Sam. I don’t think Asha’s look was totally undeserving this week of any consideration; it wasn’t her worst of looks during this competition. But, it was missing a Wow factor moment for me. With an underlying Superhero inspiration, I know costume was not the goal, but I would expect some surprise factor. Mondo called this a quiet moment, but the last challenge is really not the time for quiet, it should be loud, screaming “I should be in the finale!!”
There was ease & elegance to the flowing look though so it was nice to see a fully constructed piece from Asha this week. SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s for the golden triangle earrings & Benefit Cosmetics for the elegant beauty look.
Sam was again part of the “final spot for the finale” debate. If sending all 4 meant Sam gets to go though, then I’m totally fine with all 4 going. The judges seemed split on who to send and I think the finale would have not been the same without Sam. I’m still not sure how much work this meant the judges did this season — clearly making no decisions this week and often letting a mentor make the final call — but again, I’m happy for Sam.
Sam’s look kind of had me puzzled this week, but not in a bad way. I was searching for this superhero inspiration; it definitely had me thinking. I think Sam drew from story of Hawkeye this week, not the Superhero himself, the costume and attributes. He spoke of rebellion and for me, this was definitely outside the Superhero box, but what was most important was that it was still Sam. Sam has a clear vision for his brand and there are so many women who are ready to wear his clothes. I’m glad we have gotten to see him blossom on Under the Gunn. I can’t wait to see what he creates for the finale!