There weren’t any surprises, except that the reunion show followed immediately after the finale. I suspect producers felt no one would need time to process the winner, Seth Aaron, which was a no-brainer.
The runway show at Bryant Park did throw a little excitement into the mix. We made it through M.I.A. models, Michael Kors in Secret Service shades as well as cameos by actress Raven-Symone, “America’s Next Top Model” judge/photographer Nigel Barker and a list of other PR designers.
With Nina Garcia and guest Faith Hill helping to judge, the collections took center stage.
Inspiration: “Kick-ass” German-Russian military
The look: Beyond his glaringly white-washed jeans, Seth Aaron’s collection was a mix of crisp tailoring with a rock edge — I loved it. His red dress with leather cutouts was standout. The structured look of pieces including his pant suit felt more sophisticated than restrictive, especially when he paired pieces like the silk parachute blouse or the polka dot and tweed with striped legging. I also loved the yellow plaid coat and separately how he used that same plaid pattern with patent leather on the inseam for fitted pants. I didn’t go for the purple people-eater dress — too poofy in too many places.
Judges said: His exhilarating and powerful collection incorporated luxury without sacrificing his signature edge. And while they were surprised by the sophistication and polish he had grown to include, they warned that he can be a little heavy handed, and therefore borderline costumey (i.e. that purple dress).
Inspiration: “Color Me Bad” ode to his mom (even though some of us remember that name as 90sR&B group)
The look: Overall, very wearable. He made fabulous coats and suited pairings. This collection was signified by lots of blue and red. I thought his green coat with red lining and signature dress beneath were stunning as well as the short belted blue jacket and turtle neck. His pant suit with elongated sleeve trim was beautiful. And of course that final one-shoulder green gown with gold belt and thigh-high slits was a knockout. But pieces like the fitted blue sheath with back cutout and the heavy use of blue and red left me feeling a bit underwhelmed.
Judges said: As always Emilio displayed immaculate taste and craftsmanship. But his collection seemed to tone down the volume from the season. They were blown away by the coats and his use of his signature print as well as the glamourous evening gown. His was the most commercial of the finalists with flattering, easy-to-wear pieces — he definitely thought with a business sense. Overall, great work but no showmanship on the runway. This felt like a “line” not a “collection.”
The look: Not surprisingly, Mila produced a collection that was impeccably made. Not surprisingly, Mila produced a collection that was black and white and mod all over. To be fair, she did add pops of color like purple and she truly applied the judges critiques about styling and accessories to her advantage. Despite her overused signature color blocking, she’s fearless in mixing textiles to make very wearable clothing. I loved the leather leggings. I think the sequined mini skirt with patent details was very flirty and the white pants with patent stripes on the side paired with the coat was nice but expected. There was a pant set with a cowl neck top (I didn’t like it but the judges did). She also had a purple graphic dress that seemed to have a patent leather one-shoulder bra — on the outside. But I still like the leather T-neck sequined dress we saw last week. A breath of fresh air for her.
Judges said: They applauded her styling changes, which created a modernized mod. They too, loved her leggings — leather, black, white, plaid, striped, graphic. They thought standouts like the mixed media piece (the grayish and blackish dress) and her simple white T-shirt with stripes helped loosen her line up a bit. Overall, she succeeds when she relaxes the hyper-focus on geometry, but there were no real surprises to this collection.
BONUS: REUNION SHOW
Hosted by Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia, this get-together seemed like a therapy-required apology session. Here are some highlights.
“I feel like we’re girlfriends,” answering a question from Nina
“I can’t give her a kidney,” insisting to Tim that he has already apologized to Mila for his NY Post comments