Project Runway, Ep. 1 — Stunned, Shocked, & Speechless!!


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aka Dazed & Confused! Of course, as a blogger, we know I’m not speechless, but I’m certainly all of the other alliterative “S” adjectives I mentioned above, along with a few others in fact! Despite the shock value, it was still a great Project Runway premiere night. I enjoyed watching the full 2 and a 1/2 hours. I hadn’t watched the “meet the designer” videos on Lifetime’s website so I really enjoyed the intro episode prior to the Season 13 premiere. It was great seeing that so many designers had really persevered to get where they are today and to make it on PR, whether it was from repeat auditions or a “rags to stitches” tale. And just as I mentioned in my own introductory PR post, it was hard to tell who would leave during this 1st episode. I had some hunches, but this was just one of the many shockers I was in store for during this premiere!

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So of the 18 new designers, sadly, 3 were quickly eliminated. Each designer presented a few pieces to the firing squad, aka “the judges”, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, & Zac Posen. I’m assuming the designers presented their audition pieces, basically showcasing who they are as a designer. So my first shock of the night came from who went home right off the bat!


You could definitely tell there were some early judges’ faves. But personally, I was very surprised that both Emmanuel & Tim were cut. Maybe one, but both?? Heck, when I wrote my intro post, two of the six images I used were from them. I wouldn’t say I pegged them as potential winners, but something about their previous work did catch my eye! I wasn’t quite as shocked by Nzinga’s elimination, but I still applaud a designer who has a clear POV; it just wasn’t the judges’ POV.

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But we are still very early on in the PR process and that is how the PR cookie crumbles — each week, one designer must go. We just started this season off a bit differently, with 4 gone by the 1st episode’s end. But as we bidded adieu to three designers, one was “welcomed” to the fold. America casted their votes for the Runway Redemption candidates, Ken Laurence (Season 12), Alexander Pope (Season 12), and Amanda Valentine (Season 11). I’m generally not a fan of mixing new cast members with old ones, and this is for any competitive reality show. But I always considered Season 11 a bit unfair; it was very different than every other season. And I think if the designers weren’t forced to work in groups the entire season and further, were not eliminated based on those groupings, the season might have turned out differently. So just as I rooted for Katelyn Pankoke to come back last season, my choice this year was Amanda Valentine, and it was for the same reason. So I was very happy Amanda was the one chosen! With 16 designers ready to go, it was time for them to get their 1st challenge!

The designers were to create one piece this week that would give the judges a glimpse of what their Spring 2015 collection might look like. There was of course a huge twist though, “a trunk of doom!” Each designer was given a trunk with 5 fabric options, not likely their 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd choices! The designers didn’t have the same fabrics so they were left to just create or get to bartering! I think the other designers didn’t want to give the vet much help though, so it seemed as if Amanda wasn’t able to play the trade-game. And as per PR usual, the challenge only allowed for one day so the designers were off to quickly work! Tim was also back to his norm PR mentor status, giving a great mix of helpful advice.

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Back in the workroom we were already seeing a few gossip sessions going on, mainly Mitchell & Korina — highly doubt they will be the only ones though! Mitchell redeemed himself somewhat, very nice of him to help out Sandhya when he finished his look. There were very interesting moments during the model fittings this week — many designers not ready and making some determinations as to what could be hanging out a little (side-boob, etc.)! The most stress and time management issues came from Angela & Sandhya this week, but no worries, no naked models went down the runway! Sooner rather than later it was time for the runway show. Heidi announced the Tim Gunn save would be back this season and that the prize package this year was over $300K. The judges were joined this week by Emmy award winning “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen. With so many designers presenting this week, it had to be tough naming a top and bottom 3. It was no surprise that this was where even more shockers came to fruition.


There were certainly a lot of safe looks this week. Many will have to step it up — I will hold off on names for now! But two looks I thought stood out and I was surprised weren’t given any top contention, were Korina’s tomato red look & Sean’s chic knee-length dress, pure minimalism at its best. I guess that is what happens though when you have 4 different judges scoring 16 designers!

pr13-rr-ep1-sk-f     PR1301-Korina-Emmerich-1-900x1350

The bottom 3 wasn’t so surprising, but because of its unpredictability with so many designers, I was going to be shocked no matter who went home. Angela’s 2-piece look certainly had some mistakes, but I saw some other mistakes go down the runway too. There was a lot going on in this look, and with how much airtime she got this week, you could definitely see her bottom 3 placement coming! But I wouldn’t peg her as a repeat offender quite yet. I think she can bounce back!


Mitchell was another bottom 3 placement I wasn’t so surprised by. Tim wasn’t a fan of this look either. I think he mixed his fabric choices well, but the look was very basic, definitely not a show-stopper. It also seemed very “junior” and for this show, that is not what the judges are looking for.


The big surprise of the bottom 3 was not Jefferson’s placement, but that he went home. I was not a fan of his prior work because I’m not a fan of drop crotch pants. The main issue with this look was exactly what Nina said — proportions, mainly, the shorts were toooooooo short! I don’t think he should have gone home though. But Heidi seemed to not dislike Mitchell’s look quite as much as the others so I’m guessing Heidi had the final say-so on this one!


While the bottom was not so jaw-dropping, the top 3 was a completely different story. I, like pretty much every other designer, thought Sandhya was for sure in the bottom. I didn’t think she would go home, but to find out she was in the top, needless to say I was stunned. However, later finding out she was the night’s winner, I kind of went from shocked to disappointed. In certain PR seasons, the judges hang onto a fave (Patricia Michaels, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Alexandria von Bromssen). America is not always on the same page! I’m hoping Sandhya is not that token fave this season that will get by with work such as this just because the judges have drank some crazy Kool-aid and are in a love-fest! The judges said Angela’s look had far too much going on, well what the heck do they think this is — frayed edges, capped sleeves, dyes, prints, etc. Based off of Sandhya’s prior work, I also don’t think anything in her collection would look like this. And also, with this floral curtain-like print, the dye, the color chosen, it just looks like a stained old piece of drapery. I am still completely baffled by this decision, but that’s PR for you!


I think based on the task at hand and with who the judges picked for the top 3, Char should have won. This looked like a piece Char would actually have in her collection and it also read “Spring!”


But Amanda too had a very chic and well put together look. If this is the new Amanda aesthetic, I can’t wait to see more. I’m not sure if it screamed “Spring”, but I could see it being in Amanda’s wheelhouse. And I disagree with Julie on the use of the pattern. A basic top and pants would have been a yawner! But the print made the pants pop and I was also impressed by the great fit they had.


And finally, just like my UTG posts, I will name a stand-out for Aldo accessories, Mary-Kay beauty looks, and Philip B. hair looks!

pr13-rr-ep1-fzg-f     For my stand-out Aldo accessories look, I pick  fäde zu grau — statement jewelry pieces (bracelet & necklace), but not over-the-top or overshadowing the look, & simple, elegant black heels. I also think he did a great job of intermixing his printed fabrics for the skirt portion of his dress.

pr13-rr-ep1-hl-f    For my standout Philip B. hair & Mary Kay make-up look, it’s one in the same — Hernan Lander — chic ponytail & clean, fresh beauty look/

Project Runway Season 13 — Intro, Let’s Go!!



Yes!! I’m so excited that Project Runway, Season 13, is back on Lifetime, kicking off later today. I always look forward to blogging about PR and the amazing interactions I have with fellow PR fans. But before the 1st episode tonight, I thought I would put together a little introductory post. First up, let’s discuss the “Runway Redemption”!

PR decided to bring back the “Runway Redemption” twist from last season, which gives a previous designer the chance to get back in the workroom. One change for this year is that with the return of a previous designer, it will make for a total of 19 total designers competing. But in reality there is 1 final audition for this group of designers and 3 will not make the final cut. Last year’s recipient, Katelyn Pankoke, and her chance for runway redemption, was a bit more full-proof. But this year, with 3 designers being cut so quickly, will a full runway redemption happen??


My prediction is yes, since the 3 who are competing for the runway redemption are already familiar with the PR process. The 3 designers who competed for America’s votes were Ken Laurence (Season 12), Alexander Pope (Season 12), and Amanda Valentine (Season 11). Kate also took part in Season 11, you know, the one with all of the forced team competitions. That season to me always seemed a bit unfair. I still contend it would have ended differently had the designers not been eliminated based on the bottom group. There were always a couple of designers in the higher scoring group who were only saved because they were in the top group. Because of that, I rooted for Kate to have a real shot at the title and so with that, I also rooted for Amanda. But it’s anyone’s guess and I imagine whomever America chose will be a force to be reckoned with during Season 13!

Another major PR twist is also returning — the Tim Gunn Save! Justin LeBlanc received the save last season so I wonder who, if anyone, might be awarded the save this year. Also in store this season is the ever-famous and popular accessories wall and this year’s sponsor is ALDO. No Michael Kors again, but everyone else is back as per norm — Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen, & Tim. In addition, there will be some huge guest judges joining “Project Runway” this season — Emmy award winning “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen, Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss from “Mad Men,” Shay Mitchell from hit series “Pretty Little Liars,” Olympic gold medalist downhill skier Lindsey Vonn, entertainer Dita Von Teese, fashion designer Christian Siriano, British television personality and renowned photographer Amanda de Cadenet, and YouTube celebrity Bethany Mota.

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I thought about going thru each designer’s past work, picking a few faves, who might go home first, etc. But really, 18 designers are just way too many to go thru. And then 3 are going home in the 1st episode!! It’s just way too hard to predict at this point, but I did put together some initial thoughts for each designer. In addition, I’ve selected a few fave pieces of previous work from a few of the designers, so here goes —

  • Alexander Knox — I see Alexander likes to play with volume and is a little more on the avant garde side. Will timing be his downfall? Can he create RTW?
  • Angela Sum — Angela clearly has done bridal & already had some runway experience. This should be a huge advantage for her in this process.
  • Carrie Sleutskaya — A designer who creates both womenswear & menswear — huge plus!
  • Char Glover — A little lacking in past work examples compared to other designers so will this impact her longevity in the competition??
  • Emily Payne — Designs with comfort & wearability, but can she design at a higher level of fashion??
  • Emmanuel Tobias — Looks for men, looks for women — I’m seeing someone who can definitely put on a show! Early fave, maybe so!

pr13-as-pastwork2                                      (Angela Sum)

(Emmanuel Tobias)                                           pr13-et-pastwork8

  • fäde zu grau — A streetwear/urban designer, very different, I wonder how he will fare in the competition.
  • Hernan Lander — He has presented during NYFW/MBFW. I’ve even been invited to his shows, but was not able to attend to see his work firsthand. But I expect he can go far in this competition. He’s already had celebs wear his pieces too — Rumer Willis??
  • Jefferson Musanda — I see he can create his designs, but he might have to step it up for PR — peplum & drop crotch pants won’t be enough for the win. So can Jefferson push it to the max?!?
  • Korina Emmerich — We know Nina loves a good jacket and/or coat — will these 2 be Fashion Besties!
  • Kini Zamora — He seems to have a great range so it should translate nicely on PR.
  • Kristine Guico — She’s not afraid of bold prints or daring silhouettes, but will the judges be fans?


(Korina Emmerich)                                      pr13-ke-pastwork1

  • Mitchell Perry — Another designer with a wide range, but will his POV come across clearly to the judges?
  • Nzinga Knight — On the other hand, a designer with a clear POV, but will the judges love it?
  • Samantha Plasencia — Editorial, made for print, also some looks for men, another who should be ready and raring to go for this grueling PR process.
  • Sandhya Garg — A woman who can design for women, but another one I could see who may need to step it up for this design competition, push the boundaries more.
  • Sean Kelly — 1st designer of this bunch who designs for men, but I didn’t see any pieces for women, yikes!
  • Tim Navarro — A lot of versatile designers in this bunch, including Tim, who design for both men & women, handles on separates — should make for an interesting season!

pr13-sp-pastwork3                           (Samantha Plasencia)

(Tim Navarro)                                                       pr13-tn-pastwork5

And of course, we can’t forget PR’s major prize package —

  • $100,000 from Red Robin to launch their business and the opportunity to design a fashion accessory for all the Red Robin servers — NOT SURE ON THIS PRIZE STILL, NO CAPSULE COLLECTION OR DIRECT WAY TO GET A DESIGNER’S 1ST PIECES TO CONSUMERS & FANS??
  • a complete sewing and crafting studio from Brother International Corporation
  • a premiere entertainment center, courtesy of Samsung
  • a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine
  • a car from Lexus
  • from Mary Kay, an entire year’s worth of beauty products for their fashion shows and professional makeup artist services for their debut show
  • a shoe and accessory collection from ALDO to help enhance their upcoming runway shows
  • Best Western International will also provide the winner travel and hotel accommodations to fashion capitals and inspiring locations around the world — IS THERE A BEST WESTERN THEN IN MILAN, PARIS, GUESS SO!
  • The winning model will also appear in the winner’s fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine.


It’s That Time — The UTG Season Finale!!


Ahhh! Can you believe it — the Under the Gunn finale is coming to an end. The 3 mentors are all still standing and 4 designers are fighting for their chance to be the UTG Season 1 winner. Nick has Oscar, while Anya has Shan. But it’s Mondo who has the 50/50 shot to win with 2 designers — Sam & Asha. So how will this season’s winner be selected??

Each designer had to create a 5-look collection showcasing their point of view as a designer. The challenge was limited to just 3 short days and with a budget of $2500. Before heading off to Mood though, Brian Bolian, the Corporate Marketing Manager for Lexus stopped by to hand each mentor/designer team keys to a Lexus to drive to Mood for their shopping trip — SWEET! The UTG models were also in store for a bit of luxe treatment as they were off to the Benefit Cosmetics boutique for some spa brow treatment.


The sketch-time & Mood shopping trip revealed each designer’s initial thought process. Sam & Oscar were sort of taking a look back for inspiration. Sam re-discovered his shimmery gray fabric from his winning jumpsuit. Oscar thought to go back to some strong looks for him with capes & coats. Asha seemed to also know exactly what she wanted to do, but Shan was feeling a bit of a struggle right off the bat. However, once he got to Mood, as he was looking thru the fabrics, he seemed to find his way.

So after the shopping trip, the designers were back to the FIDM workroom to continue their 1st day of work, lots of busy busy bees! But there were more than just the 4 finalists quickly working away; they were joined by some helper bees — a few of the eliminated designers. It seemed as if maybe each finalist got to pick their helper because the pairs weren’t made based off of the mentor teams. Natalia did assist Oscar and Michelle helped Asha, but it was Anya’s designer Blake who came to Sam’s aide, while Nick’s designer Stephanie was at Shan’s side. I have to say, Shan & Stephanie was the most odd pairing, but if that is who he wanted, who am I to question it!

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Day 2 started off with a nice surprise — each of the finalists’ families came in for a little visit! But because this was only a 3-day challenge the designers were back to work and it was time to meet one-on-one with their mentor(s). Mondo & Tim wanted Asha to keep an eye out for her looks being too costume-y and to keep an editing eye. Anya & Tim similarly told Shan the same thing — edit, edit, edit! Mondo and Tim were split with their thoughts when speaking to Sam. Mondo thought it was a little too “Legend of Zelda.” But Tim quickly piped in and told Sam to defend his work, which he did. Tim also mentioned that he was a fan. And finally, Tim’s talk with Oscar was basically over his decision to showcase a couple of jacket looks that the judges had already seen — so proceed with caution!


The day of the runway was quickly approaching as day 3’s work consisted of model fittings & final touches. I’m sure all of the designers thought the day of the final runway came much too quickly! But they were soon off to the official locale for the runway show — the LA Theater. There were 2 guest judges in tow that joined Jen, Rachel, & Zanna — PR host & judge Heidi Klum & talented actor Neil Patrick Harris. I was late in watching the finale, but of course I had heard in advance who won. As I saw each collection come out I definitely thought the deliberations were tough on this one. I’m happy with the winner, but had Oscar not won I was very much ecstatic that Sam would have been next in line. But first, let’s take a look at the 4th place finalist — Shan. (The order of the photos is the order in which I like the looks! & This is for all of the designers!)

Shan’s collection was his interpretation of hard & soft — taking soft fabrics and giving them a hardened touch. I did have a few pieces in this collection which I loved. I saw some great work with his signature jackets. So I’m not sure if I agree with Jen in Shan needing to show his work with graphic prints. But I certainly saw what the other judges were mentioning in maybe a little bit of a lack of harmony or cohesion within the collection. I actually thought Shan should have placed 3rd, but the judges and I were clearly not on the same page on this one!


I loved this red jumpsuit and I hope I could pull it off, and would certainly try. The lace detailing in the back was stunning and I think the side cutouts into a back cutout were just right!


SHOUT-OUT to Benefit Cosmetics for the brown smoky & light pink coloring for the lips — ALL MODELS!

I think the judges mentioned there was too much going on in this collection and specifically mentioned these tights. But I am a tight girl all the way & certainly a fan of lace so LOVED these tights & want them like right now!


SHOUT – OUT to Blow Pro for the chic loose ponytail

In this look, I was just a fan of the leather jacket. Would I buy it? I’m not sure, but what I liked about it was how different it was since the lace detailing here was literally a part of the back of the jacket.


SHOUT – OUT to Blow Pro for the gorgeous messy/loose up-do


SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for all of the strapped heels & in addition here for the little black envelope clutch

Next up, coming in 3rd, was Asha with her collection for “Nefertiti in Harlem”. This was my 4th place finisher and I am still not sure she was deserving of a finale spot, but the judges seemed to be on board with this collection. It’s just not me and for a commercial appeal I’m just not sure these looks would work for many women. And you have to think commercially because none of these looks really are high fashion or couture. With the fabrics chosen I just don’t get a luxe feel. Most of the judges appreciated her creativity but Heidi thought there was a bit too much going on, while Neil was also not a fan. He said it was like a 1920 circus carne couture. I’m not sure what that is, but I thought it was interesting with many of the individual designer critiques how Jen/Zanna/Rachel would seem to be on one page, while Neil/Heidi were on another. So even with Shan, Neil seemed to echo a bit differently than the rest and he liked what he saw.

I remember Asha saying something during the episode about not caring who didn’t like her collection. I’m not sure how a a designer “your not caring” makes any sense?? If you have a client, they are going to want what they want. And if they don’t like it, you might not get paid or a repeat of business. And then just on a mass commercial side, you will need people to like your work. If not, they won’t buy it and then that limits your success as a designer. For me, this just all means Asha was clearly designing for a small handful of people and I think she should have broadened her horizons for this finale.


I did actually like this gold dress, but that was about it. I know Oscar made a few repeat looks, but I thought this look was similar to Asha’s quick fix challenge. And I actually think this was a lot better than that one so I wish she had thought of this before.

SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for the black sandal heels


SHOUT – OUT TO Francesca’s for the nude sandal heels



SHOUT-OUT to BlowPro for the curly side up-do


So as already mentioned, Sam came in 2nd. He was so close & I am very proud of his growth on UTG, but always remaining true to his aesthetic and voice. These looks, Sam’s final collection was what he calls “Hipster Nonsense” — showing his growth and beauty coming from the inside. I thought he did an astounding job — the looks were fresh, fun, chic, and very creative. They certainly fit Sam’s girl with an easy breezy vibe. I think Sam also designs with a certain woman in mind, but the difference with him versus Asha is that many other women could still make these looks work!

The judges all seemed to be fans! But again, the Jen/Rachel/Zanna trio seemed to have competing thoughts with that of Neil, who thought this was weirdly safe? If you have to pick a criticism here, fine, go with the one the judges gave — is this safe? Could Sam design on a more higher end level, more couture?? I think he could and I would love to see Sam’s interp for that, but for this challenge, remembering it was to show your point of view as a designer, Sam hit the nail on the head!


Love this neon printed asymmetrical maxi, definitely my fave! It has such an effortless vibe!


The judges thought this look was simple, but I say it’s basic — minimalism at its best. Sam is about bells & whistles with his designs so this is another homerun look for me!


SHOUT – OUTS TO Francesca’s for the open-toed black booties; & also Benefit Cosmetics for the clean & fresh beauty looks — nude lips, basic eye appliques



SHOUT – OUT to BlowPro for the many models sporting long luscious wavy locks!

And finally, we come to the winner — OSCAR!! CONGRATS!! It’s hard to not be impressed with this collection. I will agree with the judges in the concern for having seen 2 of the coats. But for me, it’s selfish reasoning in that I just want to see more of Oscar & as much as I can! But I think there was some variation to the coats and Oscar still was able to re-create perfection. And I also love that Oscar didn’t just send down a collection full of gowns because we know he can make them and we know he can make them well. It was nice to see his true versatility. Oscar’s collection is all about women, his love of women and the  need to protect them. Oscar can create & protect me with his designs any time is really all I have to say! His looks just have such wonderful elements — even the tiniest details are so stunning. His creations are high-end, high fashion, and very luxe.

But really the only criticism here was the repetition in the collection. The judges couldn’t think of much else and it really was Oscar & Sam who matched the challenge the best — showing off their POVs as designers. And I think in choosing between the 2, the judges just went with more of a wow factor in that of such high-end pieces coming down the runway versus those that would sell perhaps a bit easier on the commercial level. This is not the 1st time this has happened in PR history! But congrats again to both guys; they are both winners in my book!


SHOUT – OUT to Francesca’s for the black sandal heels, golden earrings

This flowing purple gown is AMAZING!! Using such a deep purple is bold and statement-making and I love it! Red carpet worthy for sure — Emmy’s, Grammy’s, etc.


SHOUT – OUTS to BlowPro for the models’ long wavy locks & Benefit Cosmetics for the beauty looks of a lighter brown smoky eye & nude lip




SHOUT – OUT TO Francesca’s  for the black platform strapped heels

Until PR starts again, tata!!



UTG Designers Take on Superheroes for their Inspirations


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!

SHOUT-OUTS to BlowPro for the luscious golden curls, Benefit Cosmetics for dramatic beauty look complete w/ bold red lip, & Francesca’s for the black platforms.



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!



UTG Designers Create “Fast Fashion Fixes”


This week on Under the Gunn, there was a lot going on within the challenge. Benefit Cosmetics, the beauty sponsor for the show, was an underlying inspiration. Benefit was founded on the grounds of solving the everyday woman’s quick beauty problems/issues. With that in mind, the designers were asked to solve a new client’s fashion need — quick/easy fashion solutions. And by client, it was your average everyday woman so really this was also a challenge designing for the everyday woman — what this show calls a real world or “real woman” challenge.



Shan was partnered with Brittany, a young mom who was ready for a figure flattering makeover so she could start dating again. Oscar was paired with Dani, a very petite young woman who wanted a look that was age appropriate and sophisticated. Blake got matched with Ruzena, who desired a look that would give her a more feminine feel. Sam’s client was Norah, a young professional who wanted a bit more edge and modernity with a day look so that she could easily transition it for the nighttime. And finally, Asha was put with Erin, a curvier woman who wanted a sexy party dress for her upcoming birthday, a look that would be special and also make her look more slim. With that, the designers were off to Mood with a $200 budget to begin this quick fix challenge in 1 day.



The designers were ready to begin their work at their FIDM home — their workroom. The mentors were also all ready to begin their initial meetings with their remaining designers. Sam’s talk with Mondo & Tim wasn’t a great start for the young talent and so he was left to begin again from scratch. Asha’s client seemed to want it all, the bells & whistles. And so Mondo & Tim were quick to remind her to keep an editing eye. Blake too was demonstrating some early struggles and not sure of a specific direction to take.

Obviously the major drama this week was surprisingly not amongst the designers, but a shocking issue that arose between designer & client. Shan’s initial look was an immaculately designed shimmery sequined top. It looked great and during his fitting with Brittany we saw how amazing it looked on her. It was later that night, with one hour left to work, that Anya came in with some troubling news. Apparently, Brittany was allergic to the coating of the sequins or some aspect of the top. She had broken out in hives. She hated doing this to Shan, but she was not going to be able to make this work. She truly needed another issue solved and Shan truly had to solve it very fast. I think somehow he could have been given a little extra time. This was a first in PR history so an additional hour or 2 I think would have been fair. But luckily for Shan, he didn’t need it!


What I appreciated so much from Shan was his true can-do attitude and spirit. This would have been nice to see perhaps from another designer last week who thought she was in the worst position ever. Shan embodied true professionalism this week and for that I’m happy for his dual wins this week. The judging panel was joined by Annie Ford Danielson, the Global Beauty Authority for Benefit Cosmetics. She took part in awarding Shan 1 of his 2 wins this week. Benefit has been randomly handing out $1000 for various “kudos” moments. And this week, for truly working with this quick-fix mentality and exemplifying the Benefit brand and doing so with fun/laughter, Shan was awarded this $1000 prize, very well-deserved.


Since were on the Shan train, let’s take a closer glance at his new look for Brittany. I’m happy Shan was in the top and I’m happy for his $1000 win from Benefit, but I’m still not convinced this was truly the winning look this week. But it definitely was worthy of being in the top. My issue with this hi-lo dress is there is really not much design to it; I don’t see Shan’s aestetic. What makes this dress great is the polka dot print. You will notice under Shan’s look I put in a couple images of Anya from this week. Do you notice anything similar?

Anya too is wearing a basic hi-lo dress with a great print. It’s also belted just like Shan’s is. I know Shan was running out of time this week so I give him the credit for making it work, but full credit for the win?? I’m just not quite as convinced. He also didn’t make this look until the morning of, was perhaps Anya and her garment the true inspiration for his quick creation?? SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s this week for the chic clear clutch & also to Benefit Cosmetics for the subtly dramatic beauty look — the winged smoky eye & nude lip.


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Although since my choice for the win was missing from consideration I am so happy Shan won over Asha. I just do not get how this look was in consideration for the win. I think it should have been between Oscar & Shan. I don’t see how Asha’s look is some “wow factor” birthday dress. I put a few images of myself under Asha’s look of my last 3 birthday dresses. If I were going to a designer to make me a birthday dress, I would want something more than a shimmered drab look. Yes there was some sparkle, but what is with this boring golden brown color. The color doesn’t pop, but neither do the criss-crossed straps or the ill-fit. Asha was quick to point out the judges loving Natalia’s poorly constructed looks, but here, I see some major fit & construction issues so jump right on that train then Asha & I guess enjoy the ride!

I don’t get why Asha didn’t work with leather or something more bold & sexy for this clearly larger than life woman. Erin had such a big personality and I don’t think this look was matching to that personality & spirit. SHOUT-OUTS to Blowpro for this lovely side-swept wavy do & for Francesca’s with the gold fringed bangle, golden metallic strapped heels & gold clutch.


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Clearly I was not on the same pages with the judges this week since Oscar was somehow only safe, oh wait, I think my differing view with the judges is almost every week now, haha! I am baffled every week at what Oscar can do in 1 day. I mean this green with envy gown is just stunning!! I would not be surprised to see this at some major red carpet event. And trust me, it would not be on the worst dressed list with accusations of being too dated! Dani, guest judge Annie, myself, and I’m sure a ton of other women would gladly line up to wear this look. When you are wearing a luxe gown, it is hard to not look a little older, but that is the point. You want the sophistication. You want the maturity. And that is exactly what Dani wanted in her look this week, something to make her look older since she is so petite.

And what is with this claim of the looking missing sexiness?? It’s asymmetrical, but the cleavage here is not hiding. And also, did we all see the thigh high split?? I don’t think they need to encourage Oscar to put in more sexiness. Let’s not forget a few weeks back, I added in the images below, but the dual split for his day to night look. I think Oscar should stick to what he is doing because some of these judges are cray cray this week! SHOUT-OUTS to BlowPro for this amazing up-do, Benefit Cosmetics for the dramatic smoky cat-eye & nude lip; & Francesca’s for the nude platforms & gold dangling earrings.


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Moving onto the un-fun part of my blogging duties — the discussion of the bottom 2, first being Sam. 😦 It’s hard seeing Sam in the bottom because I have him pegged for a finale spot and that better happen! There are only 5 designers left so someone has to be in the bottom. Since the judges were oddly head over heels for Asha this week, I think this somehow left Sam in the bottom. I don’t quite get all of the harshness for this look, but I will say it is not one of Sam’s stronger pieces. The judges seemed hung up on the day look being for some high-power profiled job, but all Norah said was she wanted a day look that could transition to night. I could easily see this look, paired with some flats and that it would work at a large # of jobs. And then when the sun goes down, slap on some heels and Norah could easily go out to dinner or drinks with a date or the girls. The judges also seemed hung up on that this look wouldn’t work at the bar, it wouldn’t stand out. I think the judges were missing the day to night concept, a look that would transition, not boldly work for just one aspect of the day. You are never going to find a look that perfectly works for some high profile boardroom and be the look of the night at one of NYC’s hotspots.

SHOUT-OUTS to Francesca’s for the bold turquoise clutch & BlowPro for the long & luscious wavy locks.


This leaves me sadly to report that Blake was the one who had to go this week, double 😦 :(. I’ve heard all of this talk about how everyone feels each mentor will somehow magically end up with 1 designer to go to the finale. If that is the case then it was inevitable between Shan/Blake with Anya & Sam/Asha with Mondo, that one of those 4 would be out this week. I personally would have picked differently, but the judges decided upon Blake. Blake has struggled a bit throughout the season and it was pointed out he had never won a challenge. But I thought he had some shining moments as well so I’m sure he will gladly take those and continue his successes from there.

The look for this week though, for Ruzena I did take notice of something with the neckline. I thought perhaps a different silhouette or shape, but when I think Jen said something about flipping the print around, adding the bolder color to the top of the look, I kind of thought that was some good advice. But what was great and really for everyone this week was that all the clients seemed happy; no one looked uncomfortable or disappointed. And at the end of the day, if Ruzena was happy that was the important thing. SHOUT-OUT to BlowPro for the side-swept wavy locks!


So with 4 left for next week, are we in for a shock in that maybe a mentor will be completely out of the running or will Sam or Asha be on the chopping block, can’t wait to find out!

UTG Team — Come Together, Right Now!


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?!?

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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:

  • Sam/Blake
  • Asha/Natalia
  • Oscar/Shan

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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!!


UTG — All About “The Showdowns”!!


Yes, this week, battles, duels, showdowns, all the same and they were all over the place this week on Under the Gunn — mentors, judges, & designers. So what brought on all of this drama? Well first, let’s take a look at the challenge. The designers received their directions this week at FIDM. The idea stemmed from a partnership with Glade this week and their latest fragrant product — Glade Plug-Ins Customizables, which allow fragrances to be switched up! The designers were asked this week to have their looks make a switch. Right on the runway the look had to transition from day to night — multifunctionality was key!


With that, the designers were off to Mood to start their 1-day challenge, with a $250 budget. I noticed the mentors did not go this week so I wonder why?? Everyone gets back to the workroom and quickly we saw Nick and Tim with another mentor job description discussion! Tim counseled Nick to pose questions versus answering and we saw this play out later on in the episode, quite well if you ask me. An issue of co-dependency was brought up this week with Nick & his designers, which I question a little bit. I can see the angle slightly with Natalia, but I think Oscar is clearly doing his own thing. But personally, I like Nick’s hands-on approach versus Anya’s vague commentary & plastered smiley face approach.


But pretty much from the get-go, we knew the direction this episode was heading in — all about Natalia! I will get into specifics in a bit, but in my opinion, this was just the wrong episode for all of this drama. I don’t pretend to know how production might be involved in all of this, but throwing someone under the bus and wishing for them to go home when they were in the top — WRONG TIMING! Why not do it last week when she was actually in the bottom?? It’s also weird with timing since the other 3 bottom looks were fully agreed upon by the judges as being “bottom looks”; I mean there were some issues the judges adamantly discussed with each look & really not many if any positives. This reminded me of an episode of ANTM — one cycle, a model had professed over and over again feelings of wanting to go home. She ended up on top that week, while others who were loving the experience were in the bottom. But, one of the safe models quickly brought this to Tyra’s attention. Needless to say, it didn’t go over well & was clearly an issue of poor timing. That is how I feel about this pointless drama this week. And I get Mondo being upset, but Anya, really?? Her questioning Natalia’s talent is just sooooooo amusing to me, but we won’t get into all of that again!


The judging panel was missing Zanna this week, but in her place was guest judge Macklemore. I guess he picked a good week with all of the drama! Even with a clear-ish top & bottom, there was some major drama after all of the deliberations. So basically, after everyone had left the runway, Mondo & Anya stayed behind to speak of their disappointment this week. They not only didn’t think Natalia should have been in the top, but they also thought she should go home. The judges were needless to say in shock, but clearly didn’t regret their decisions. They all seemed to be in agreement and I thought answered the 2 mentors very well for why they made the decisions they did this week. Again, I reiterate bad timing for this drama to play out and it still doesn’t make much sense to me. Also, I’m not sure if this happened when the episode aired, but when I watched later, a poll flashed on the screen and the public agreed, overwhelmingly, with the judges this week, 76%. So they too were clearly in disagreement with Anya & Mondo.


The only designer I still wish I could have seen more from this season was Brady. But everyone else, I agreed that it was their time to go. So even if this had all happened last week, I still don’t see how Stephanie should have stayed. And Nicholas, I mean I won’t get into all of that again, but it was his time to go as well. So let’s take a look at how everything stacked up this week, safe zone first!


I’m still not sure how Sam’s look was the solo safe look for the week; it was pretty awesome! And I will say this every week, but it was so SAM! Each week, I am so happy to see Sam’s work & to see that he is not changing who he is as a designer, but rather growing. The day look was perfectly casual & chic, and what a print! And then to change it up to this sexy, yet still cool look for the evening was just fantastic! Shout-out to Benefit Cosmetics for this fresh beauty looks, effortlessly gorgeous!



So now to the looks in the top & heck let’s just start with the winner — OSCAR!! I’m a fan. Every week I am in awe and if he is not in the finals I will be shocked, disappointed, sad, and just an array of other feelings. What he can do in a day just blows my mind! His day look, I mean it’s sexy for day, but you can’t deny that it’s well made & perfectly fits the woman he designers for. Then you flip some details for the night look & it shines like a night sky full of shimmering stars. Clearly, well deserved win! Shout-outs to Francesca’s for the statement making heels & stunning black clutch; Blowpro for the side-swept bangs updo; & Benefit Cosmetics for the ever so slight smoky eye, perfection!



So Natalia, yes the one who all the drama was about this week, actually came in 2nd place. You would have thought for all of the craziness her look would be in the bottom, but that just wasn’t the case and shouldn’t have been the case with this look. Yes, there was a bubbled issue with the front of the day look, but many other looks had construction issues this week too. Asha said this was “Forever 21”?? Ok, please take me to whatever Forever 21 has this. Yes, they specialize in bodycon dresses, but their dresses are very short and of very little quality; that is not the case with Natalia’s dress, in either way it’s worn. Was the dress over the top or full of bells & whistles?? No! But who said it has to be. It was minimalism, which can very easily be applauded. I loved the cowl-neck for the day look & I thought the night look was effortlessly easy-going and could work for dinner, dates, drinks or dancing! Shout-outs to Francesca’s for the perfect black heels; Benefit Cosmetics for the smoldering gray eye; & Blowpro for the up-do with casually falling pieces!



The final top 3 look was Shan, but again, I’d rather have seen Sam! But Shan’s look was okay, not overly exciting for me. I think it was Anya & Tim who suggested to Shan about not using black, but I am not a fan of the mix of black with this plaid. I just didn’t love either look fully. For day –I loved the silhouette & it had a great fit, but I didn’t care again for this plaid. Then for evening — I loved the side cutouts, but I didn’t care for the godet zippered effect. Either way, even if not in 3rd, his look should have been safe. Shout-outs for Francesca’s with the great strapped heals & gorgeous statement making jewelry (Love the necklace!); Benefit Cosmetics for the smoky eye & lightly pink lip; Blowpro for the messy, but still chic ponytail.



Switching things up, no pun intended, let’s look at the bottom looks. The one the judges quickly saved was Asha, although I thought it could have been a bit more deliberated. All episode, Asha was putting Natalia down and was very much into her own look; I think that was a delusion. This look was just not great — poor construction, poor fit, very boxy. The concept of the transition was okay, but it added even more boxiness to this look, which didn’t help matters any. I’d say Asha should worry about herself from now on out, because for me, she was my vote to go this week. I don’t see a clear vision from her as a designer and I think she needs to step it up! Shout-out to Francesca’s for the cool shades & orange side satchel;



So that leaves Blake & Michelle for the bottom 2 looks, which very much saddened me as I’m a fan of both! So with Blake’s day look I was happy we saw some pants because it’s not often we do on PR. The judges said something about the shape, but again, if I’m not mistaken, I think Anya said something about the fit of the pants — so was that 2 pieces of bad advice this week?? I loved this print BTW! Moving onto the evening look, yes, it was short, but other than that, what was the issue?? This is why Asha made more of a bottom look for me and not so much Blake! Shout-outs to Blowpro for the curly up-do; Benefit Cosmetics for the smoldering grey eye; & Francesca’s for the gold jewelry & black handbag.



Ughhhh, this sucks to write this week, but sadly we have to say bye to Michelle. I don’t agree with all of the Natalia drama, nor do I agree with this decision. I don’t get why the judges don’t see who Michelle is as a designer. I was very happy to hear her say she knew last week, that look, was outside of her wheelhouse. The day look was a very casual and easygoing look. The silhouette seemed to perfectly fit the LA lifestyle & woman. The transition for the evening look didn’t work quite as much for me and I know Michelle liked the color palette, but for some reason, I think a mix with a bolder color or print might have helped here. I’m all for nudes & browns, but maybe a little color diversity could have made the look pop a bit more. I think the judges used the word “boring”, which I don’t agree with, but maybe a different color story was the answer??


So I wonder if next week, will we be in for even more DRAMA!!?? A pairs challenge is forthcoming & this time, unlike the last group challenge, the designers are being mixed around, dum dum dum — SOUNDS INTRIGUING!!

UTG Designers & Their Beach Party!!



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!



UTG Designers Take on Steampunk & Avante-Garde


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This week’s challenge was all about creating an avant-garde look that was also a look of the “steampunk” genre. From my little understanding of steampunk, it seems to be about juxtapositions — the Victorian era meets the Industrial Revolution, Retro-Futurism, etc. After being given the challenge, the designers were left to sketch and be inspired while on their visit to Travel Town in LA’s fun-filled Griffith Park — the trains, the elements, inventions, & more! They were given 30 minutes to sketch and could also collect some useful articles to incorporate into their looks — washers, wires, old clocks, piping, gears, funnels, & more.

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The designers then received a little bit of good news to start of the challenge — a $300 budget for a 2-day challenge! But with any good news, the designers should also expect the stakes are going to be raised. Longer amounts of time also means higher expectations, more pressure, and we could see this as the episode progressed. The mentors also received some good news — they got a trial trip to Mood with their designers! I think they may get repeat trips, no major issues to report. Of course, since this was a 2-day challenge, the mentors didn’t even see their designers until Day 2 so was the Mood trip a trade-off?

There were a few sideline topics to report during this episode — Tim took note of how much better Nick was doing, little designer spats here & there, nothing out of the ordinary. And yes, we know this episode was about steampunk, but just like with some past heavy-focus to Nick, this week it was Anya’s turn! Anya had 2 designers in the bottom last week so she knew the spotlight would be on her team this week. We saw some early signs of hesitancy & uncertainty with Shan for this challenge, but it was Nicholas who faced the most difficulties.


Blake mentioned that kind & sweet Anya was gone this week and this was mostly true, although I’m not sure that was a bad thing! In previous weeks all I’ve seen Anya do is say vague and generic comments to her designers combined with a gigantic smile. I questioned her mentoring abilities and I’m still not fully convinced of them, but at least this week she gave some actual direction. Although I find it quite hysterical and ironic that she would question anyone’s sewing skills. (Yes, Anya outright asked Nicholas if he made the looks in his portfolio, DRAMA!!) She couldn’t have forgotten her season and lack of sewing abilities that quickly!


As much as I have my doubts with Anya, I too am not a fan of Nicholas. I never thought he should have stayed over Brady and that will always have me scratching my head as to why Anya made that choice. I also don’t think he deserved a chance to stay last week. He should have been eliminated because even with another chance, he didn’t utilize it to the fullest. I’m not saying he is a horrible person or designer, but I think his vision is not fully developed yet. It seems a bit lack-luster and just not a good fit for this type of show. He lacks the WOW factor. He also doesn’t seem to be as excited as other designers are about this opportunity. Thankfully when Anya was given another chance to choose, she made the right decision!


This week’s guest judge was Marchesa designer & PRAS judge Georgina Chapman. I’m not sure of the match to steampunk, but since she was so absent on PRAS, I guess it’s nice she made a visit to UTG! Now I have to be honest, I’m only aware of steampunk because of this episode and being able to connect past images I’ve seen with this episode, kind of like Shan. I can only judge based off what I liked and what I thought best met the challenge so you will have to forgive me if I’m lacking of any true steampunk knowledge! Let’s take a look at the “safe” zone this week!


I was so surprised that Michelle’s look was safe this week. I bet it was a close-call for her being a top contender. The show effect was certainly there, the avant-garde vibe with the structured collar, glass vase up-do, & flowing train. This blazer/jacket was also pretty sweet, especially the stained glass effect. I would love to know the negatives here so I say re-count or let’s implement a top 4 next week! Shout-out to Benefit Cosmetics for the hot pink smoky eye & Blow pro for the amazing glass encapsulated up-do.


With most of the weak links now eliminated this competition is only going to get tougher. There are a lot of talented designers left and Sam is certainly one of them. What I love most about Sam is that I always can see him, his aesthetic, no matter what the challenge is. Each week I’m so eager to see what he creates! Shout-out to Francesca’s for the combat-style boots & old-school pilot goggles if they provided them, but also BlowPro for this naturally messy ponytail, perfect for someone who just took flight!


Asha’s look was not quite there for me this week. I only saw avant-garde because it looked as if a bunch of elements were just thrown together — structured bodice, flowing train, & mix of prints. I also didn’t quite get the steampunk elements when I compared this look to the other top looks. I don’t think the plaid, while very Victorian era-like, mixed well with the lace. It definitely found its home in the right place, SAFE! But I’m sure Asha will push for more next week. Shout-out to BlowPro for the flowing & chic up-do with the purple netting & Benefit Cosmetics for the modest smoky eye & nude lip.


Let’s stick with bad news train and since I already discussed Nicholas we will continue with his bottom 3 look. It was hard to hide with my earlier commentary that Nicholas went home this week, but comparing it to the other looks this week, it certainly was no surprise! Just as Isabelle’s past look of thrown-about netting didn’t make a look avant-garde, neither does thrown-about tubes or wires. Just like most of his other looks, this shirt-dress was just not up to the challenge; it was boring, lackluster. It also didn’t seem as if it would really take 2 days to complete, especially if you look at all of the work done with the other looks. At least there was some drama and something special to this look & that was with the Shout-out for Benefit Cosmetics, the smoky eye & partially applied lip, BlowPro with the messy side bun.


I was not surprised Stephanie’s look was in the bottom. I know she came off a team win last week, but up until that point, she had mainly been in the bottom. I think if she doesn’t step it up next week, she is out! This look was a bit like Nicholas’, it was very safe, very boring. And that’s been her problem all along. She just needs to crank it up, not a bit, but a lot! Shout out to Benefit Cosmetics loving all of the smoky eyes this week!


So clearly I didn’t think Blake should have been a contender for the bottom 2 and I’m not even sure this was a bottom 3 look. I do agree with the judges though and I know Blake even admitted a lack of clear vision for this look. Blake has had some great moments during UTG so I hope he remembers that & stops doubting himself! Shout-out to Benefit Cosmetics for the half in half make-up look & to BlowPro for messy side bun up-do!


Ahhhh I was so rooting for Natalia this week and I’m so happy for her that she made top 3 and was a contender for the win. I fully thought this look encompassed both avant-garde & the steampunk vibe the best; she definitely had my vote! I was just so impressed by this mechanism gadget, the incorporation of an invention I think screams STEAMPUNK! A lot of looks also used lace this week and it just didn’t work, but for Natalia’s incorporation I think it did. Great job!! And also Shout-out to BlowPro, love this full-on look of gorgeous flowing curls!


So this week’s winning look came from Shan, who was certainly a surprise since last week he was in the bottom & he was showing some doubts early on. I wrote warrior down as I was watching & so I’m glad the judges picked up on that as well. The separates-look worked well for Shan and I’m not doubting its top-3 placement, but I think it was a bit lacking for the avant-garde vibe, although there were some great elements. The cut-outs on the sleeves and around the knee were definitely one such example. Shout-out to Francesca’s for matching brown booties, BlowPro for the messy curly up-do, & Benefit Cosmetics for the chic nude lip & cat eyeliner look.


And finally, rounding out the top 3 this week was Oscar. I thought this look worked perfectly for both avant-garde & steampunk. In fact, as soon as I saw it, I thought about Back to the Future, part 3, you know, when they went back to the western era, all of the trains, steam, clocks, and invention work going on. But this was clearly a modern take on all of that and yes, it rode the line of costume & avant-garde, but to me, that is the point. Avant-garde is subjective and I’m a fan! This look has it all — drama, flare, and heck, even a clock as the belt buckle, how cool! I also loved the colors of this golden embossed plum purple. Shout-out for some more great boots from Francesca’s & Benefit Cosmetics for the matching purple-infused beauty look.


UTG Teams’ Challenge: Well Who Expected That?!?


From the preview last week and ones shown throughout this past week, I’m sure everyone was thinking the same thing — Nick’s team was going to implode with some DRAMA! Surely this was the making of their looks being in the bottom. Well, half of that is true! Nick’s group, Oscar, Natalia, & Stephanie, certainly had some dramatic moments, but were not the bottom group. So how did this all unfold?

This week, once again, was the somewhat dreaded, but ever-entertaining team challenges, which PR is known for. Before beginning, we got to see a little more discussion between the designers and mentors about the whole Nick/Isabelle situation. I still don’t feel sorry at all for Isabelle and I don’t think Nick would do that to anyone else on his team. But it was nice that Nick still took some blame and apologized, very classy! Isabelle broke rules and for me, was disrespectful to the whole process so GOOD RIDDANCE!

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Everyone was then off to the immaculate Getty Villa, home to inspired costumes, architecture, art, structure, & much more! Special guest judge, Emmy nominated costume designer, and the costume designer for the recently released action film Pompeii, Wendy Partridge was alongside Tim Gunn to provide instructions for this week’s challenge. The surroundings and the movie were all to be utilized by the designers this week for inspirations. The teams were set based on mentors. Each team was to create a mini-collection of 3 cohesive looks. The designers were told to make wearable pieces, not costumes. The designers were then off to work.


Sketch-time showcased the beginning of a somewhat rough road ahead for Nick’s team. They were all over the place, while the 2 other teams were good to go! Nick thought his team needed “hands-on” Nick, ahhhhh! Things did not get better as the teams went shopping at Mood with their $500 budget. Nick’s team were all in major disagreements, while everyone else was working like they were BFFs!

The designers were all back in the workroom and Oscar/Natalia/Stephanie were still in argument-mode rather than full on work-mode. The mentors came in and before Nick & Tim could even get to the group, Tim could see things weren’t going well. The other groups were all still fine & dandy! I think Nick’s team could have benefited a bit more had he been less involved in the sketch time. It was clear a focus or vision was never agreed upon.


But when Tim & Nick arrived, this was the moment of change. With Tim’s guidance, Nick took a step back, leaving his team to figure out how to, that’s right, MAKE IT WORK! There was finally some calm communication and progress began to show. Nick was even caught off guard when he came by the next morning to see how well his team was doing. Now after watching all of the disastrous previews I then wondered which team was going to end up on the bottom.


The runway began and my questions soon were answered. I knew right off the bat that Anya’s team was in the bottom. The looks were just kind of boring, a little plain, but I did like Blake’s look; it was clearly the shining star! I was happy about that too since I knew he would be safe from elimination. His cloaked black look would have never been in the bottom on it’s own. I wasn’t sure the mini-collection was completely cohesive though.


Shout-outs: Love the Francesca’s heels & gold cuff; Very chic, fresh look from the Benefit Cosmetics Team

Nicholas having a boring & bottom look was no surprise, still wondering why Anya chose him over Brady! I was surprised by Shan’s creation though; it didn’t look anything like his style or aesthetic. I then wondered if somehow the judges would too save Nicholas over Shan, but I was certainly shocked to say the least when neither were eliminated. This makes me wonder if this show is going to be in as much love with Anya as PR was!! I think this was the wrong decision. Nicholas has been in the bottom countless times now and he’s not shown much improvement. Nor has he ever had a top look! Now I fear he will create something halfway decent next week and a less deserving designer will be sent home!



Shout-outs: Lovely braided up-do by Blowpro & love the poppin pink lips from Benefit Cosmetics

Change of pace….

Let’s take a look at the safe team this week, aka the middle team — Mondo’s group — Asha, Sam, & Michelle. I kind of knew this would happen also. I could definitely see the Roman & architectural inspirations in these pieces. I thought it was very innovative and creative that the team created their own textile, a dyed-print. I didn’t mind it, but I knew it something one was either going to love or hate. And with such a large judging panel all it would take is one judge to low-ball with the scores and they would then be out of the running to win. Asha’s look to me was the weak link on the team. I just didn’t think her look was luxe-looking at all. It seemed a bit tortured.


Shout-outs: Love the gold cuff from Francesca’s & another chic braided updo by the Blowpro team

Michelle hit another home-run for me this week. I love the haltered neckline & braided waistband. It was a very simplistically minimalistic look that was done beautifully; remember, it’s not always about bells & whistles! Sam also did a great job this week — Greek goddess coming from battle & kicking ass! The crop top & flowing printed skirt screamed SAM so I’m glad he is sticking to his aesthetic and showing growth.


Shout-outs:  Gorgeous gold tear-drop earrings from Francesca’s; love the strong & sophisticated structured ponytail from Blowpro;


Shout-outs: Blowpro s certainly working the braided looks this week, another GREAT JOB!

And now to the winning team and we are left with that being Nick’s team. I never saw this coming, well….. until about halfway thru the episode. The pieces were just all so wearable and I think this factored into their win. I know I would have no problem wearing each and every single look here. The collection was so cohesive and as a resort collection it could take you from the beach to lunch/shopping to a nice dinner. What a great job by Oscar. I am so happy for his win! He sure is wracking up those $5k prizes! This white caped look was just so chic & sophisticated.


Shout-outs: Amazing nude heels & dramatic earrings from Francesca’s; & of course, another lovely braided updo from Blowpro

The gals on Nick’s team of course stepped it up this week as well. Stephanie seems to be on a major comeback train and I’m eager to see how long she can keep it up! I love this shades of blue jumper, everything — the tye-dye effect, the buttoned-up neck, the sheer royal blue sleeves & back! And of course, Natalia did an awesome job this week as well. This was a great take on an evening dress, though not a full on gown! The free-flowing blue skirt was eye-catching and the sophisticated white bodice was just as beautiful, capped/structured sleeves & all!


Shout-outs:  Benefit Cosmetics did great with the make-up, love the blue eyeshadow! Blowpro with another beautiful braided updo; Francesca’s also working it this week, nude-strapped sandals & gold statement earrings


Shout-outs: Benefit Cosmetics with another stunning beauty look w/ statement-make blue eyeshadow; Francesca’s w/ more stunning gold jewelry — necklace & bracelets; & once more, w/ feeling, hahaha! Blowpro with another braided updo!