The challenge entailed the designers choosing a pair of shoes within a limited section of the shoe cabinet and then to be inspired to create a look based off and to be suited to be worn with the shoes of their choice. The twist being that they had to compete in a fashion design trivia quiz in order to secure their turn to choose a shoe.
I found it somewhat shocking the lack of design knowledge that some of the designers have (again, not one to judge, just expressing an opinion about people who are already in the industry)! One of the easiest questions about the iconic creator of the equally iconic LBD was not answered by the remaining two designers......... sorry Coco Chanel.
The Top 3
The battle of the little black dresses consisted of designs from (left clockwise): Alexandria van Bromssen, Helen Castillo, and Ken Laurence. Bromssen chose a particularly difficult shoe to work with, despite being the first to choose she decided to go with thigh high gladiators. She pulled of an easygoing, casual look which still had an editorial edge through her clever styling. Laurence had a "make it work" moment after being told by Tim Gunn that his original sketch was matronly and old fashioned. He pulled together a relevant, powerful look, which played with textures (which I loved).
Finally is the look of Castillo. Tim Gunn stopped her from over- embellishing and thank god she took his advice. He said that the likes of Kate Middleton could wear her look - I see where he's coming from, but for me it would be Kate's edgier, equally classy
The Bottom 3
The bottom three consisted of (clockwise from left): Bradon McDonald, Jeremy Brandrick, and Miranda Levy. *Side-note the fourth look is by Alexander Pope and was not in the bottom three but will be referred to in commentary*
All three of the looks in the bottom three had a common denominator, being out-dated. McDonald was criticised for making his model look like she stepped out of the 50s and whilst the texture he created was interesting I feel as if he could have used it in a more innovative way. Moreover, Brandrick created an outdated look that alluded to Julia Robert's Pretty Woman; which to be honest was always a risk with knee-high boots embellished with a gold chain, however this reference could have easily been avoided by playing on the rock and roll vibe of the shoes.
Finally there is Levy's outdated mish-mash of the 50s and 60s. I should explain what I take to mean "outdated". To me, there is nothing wrong with taking references from the past. It is always a clear way of finding inspiration, and why not. I, myself, have rambled on about how fashion was so inspired in the past and how we haven't had anything new. But taking inspiration from the past is different from creating something that could be worn in the past. By all means, take inspiration where you like, but modernise it, make it current.
For me, everything was wrong with Levy's outfit. The proportion, the construction and even the choice of tartan itself. Designer labelled the use of plaid by both Levy and Pope the tartan war, and in my opinion, Pope won by a long shot. Even down to the choice of plaid itself. As Nina Garcia said, there is something so christmas-sy about Levy's outfit and whilst it is quirky I agree with Zac Posen when he says that it isn't quirky enough.
Levy was eliminated this challenge.
All images can be found here