Last night’s episode was all about who’s got class and who don’t. The 11 remaining contestants had to create both high and low-end versions of the same design.
Chief arbiter of chic vs. street (or haute vs. ho) is snooty Saks Executive Vice President, Terron Schaefer. Unlike the more compassionate Caprice (Macy’s rep) and nurturing Nicole (H&M rep), Terron can’t be bothered to cushion his blows, like the one that crushed poor Edmond, whose failed attempt at fancy dress prompted Terron to snipe, “…that dress was something Russell Crowe would have worn in Gladiator.” The awful truth is, I agreed with Terron; Edmond’s metallic gown, featuring a chain-link sleeve, was militantly tacky.
Terron also took dead aim at Ross, the testy Texan who cited Dior as inspiration for his high-end frou-frou frock. One man’s Dior is another’s Sandra Dee; for Terron, the polka-dotted tulle-teeming dress “…looked like something Olivia Newton-John would have worn in Grease.” Funny, because only moments before, I thought the same thing of halting host Elle Macpherson’s skin-tight leather pants and heels combo.
Terron even checked mentors Nicole Richie and Jessica Simpson for their defense of Lisa’s sunny day coat. When both Jessica and Nicole defiantly stated (and later tweeted) that they would happily wear yellow, Terron claimed surprise, which, in his wry delivery, sounded more like disgust. Siding with Terron, mentor John Varvatos dismissed the coat as something befitting Paddington Bear. I’m a big fan of Paddinton’s work but, I had to agree.
Fortunately for Terron, two contestants were up to snuff. The first of whom was Luciana, who, in the previous three episodes, was always relegated to the quickie montage. However, last night featured Luciana in a protracted battle with William, her nettlesome pattern maker. But thanks to Terron, Luciana emerged victorious, with a $60,000 offer for her brocade bibbed cocktail dress.
In what would appear to be an odd pairing of conservative rigor to outré abandon, Terron reserved his highest praise for Kara’s Alexander McQueen-esque deconstructed tuxedo jackets, for which he paid $70,000, bestowing on Kara the title of “fashion leader.” (This surely peeved the show’s producers.) Terron’s patronage has certainly enriched Kara, whose total haul is now $230,000.
Although she designs resort wear, that doesn’t necessarily make Nikki high-end. To underscore her point Nikki stressed, “I’ve never used lace. I don’t even wear lacy underwear.” Okay. Such class distinctions became meaningless once Nikki debuted her Halston inspired maxi dress with plunging front. The dress even incited a bidding war between Saks and H&M, with the latter winning the glam garment for $70,000. (Score one for the proletariat!) To Nikki’s great fortune, the dress, retailing for $39.95, sold out within hours.
Sarah, whose Cassandra-like predictions of doom only foretell success, notched her 4th straight sale to H&M, where all three of her designs have sold-out.
Conversely, Ronnie, formerly of Abercrombie and Fitch, has failed to sell a single stitch in all four episodes. Saved by the mentors, but sternly tasked to “bring it” next week, Ronnie escaped elimination.
In the end, Lisa’s cheerful coat brought her despair, as Terron the terrible sent her packing.