Last night The Fashion Show's second season debuted on Bravo, and the makeover has done the show well. As soon as the designers arrive they are randomly split into two teams of fashion houses who must work together to create a collection, yet against each other to win the challenge. Last night's challenge was to design a dress for Iman, who is emerging as the best thing to happen to reality television since André Leon Talley joined America's Next Top Model. Where Mizrahi deliberates how to put his thoughts into words so he's not so mean, Iman, and fellow judge Laura Brown from Harper's Bazaar for that matter, absolutely do not. It becomes instantly clear in judging that if anyone dares to show a piece of garbage that looks like it came from the mall, Iman and Laura are likely to say, "Your dress is a piece of garbage that looks like it came from the mall. Women don't want to walk around in clothes like yours that make their asses look bigger."
As soon as the designers are dismissed to get to work, they must name their houses. One team comes up with "Nami," which is Iman's name spelled backward, and much less offensive than the other team's "Emerald Syx." Emerald Syx refers to not their favorite porn star, but the six people in the group who landed on the green (or emerald, if you want to try to be fancy about it) team when they arrived. The misspelled "Syx" naturally only makes them sound cheap, which was actually exactly how their clothes looked on the runway.
One of the great things about The Fashion Show is that the teams have to work with a runway producer to stage an actual fashion show, with a set and choreography and everything else real designers have to worry about. Emerald Syx's presentation fit perfectly with their name, which, if not a porn star, might refer to an automobile body-painting contest in which chicks in pleather bikinis unveil the top entrants by ripping white sheets off of them. This is how Emerald Syx presented their shoddy runway looks: by ripping a sheet off of each model positioned at the end of the runway in an elaborate and unnecessary yoga-esque pose. In the end Emerald Syx loses to the house of Nami, and loses one of its team members. See all the looks from last night's episode with the judges' critiques in the slideshow.
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Cesar, House of Nami - WINNER
Cesar, the older, wiser, highly likable designer, created this dress with only one seam. Isaac says that at first he recoiled at the one-shoulder style, because he's tired of one-shoulder dresses, but explains he likes this because it would show off Iman's incredible figure. But the best part of Cesar's win was when they unveiled it to the room on the model. Rather than call her by her name, Iman shouts, "Model!" and out she comes.
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Eduardo, House of Nami
Eduardo won best emerging designer at Miami Fashion Week, he tells us in the beginning of the show. His dress was among the best this week and a favorite of Isaac and Iman, who notes the volume made the length work. The sorts of brides who change from their wedding gowns to something short for the reception would probably like to boogie in this with an appletini post-ceremony.
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David, House of Nami
Mizrahi praises the length of this look, as will we. The styling pulls it together nicely and the model doesn't look like a slut.
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Mike, House of Nami
While some designers enter the competition SO excited to be a part of a runway show, which they never get to do, straight Mike acts like he's been here, done this. He comes on talking about how he's seen "over 300" fashion shows, including Prada, and others in places like Brazil, and has sat front-row at them. But he may as well shut up, because that means nothing to most of America or the judges he has to impress on this show. He fancies himself conceptual, probably the next Rick Owens, but turns out a ridiculous dress that looks okay from the front but has a thick black rope running up the back, sticking out in a giant loop. He toys with sewing the rope around the neckline, which he thinks looks like a "sadomasochistic noose," which he sees as a good thing. "I think it starts to look fierce or violent, you know what I mean?" he tells his teammates, who look like they already need a Xanax. Mike is safe probably because he was lucky enough to land on the team that didn't have Calvin, and made the good judgment to show a cohesively white palate. All the white kept them from looking like a mess like the other team.
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Dominique, House of Nami
Isaac likes this because it has a "rugby" feel to it, which he thinks was a nice surprise. This was a safe look for Dominique, who may have realized she couldn't possibly lose with something so simple among all the other crap being produced around her.
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Ro, House of Nami
This looks like a slip with a tail. While it was more than enough not to lose it was also not nearly enough to win.
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Jeffrey, House of Emerald Syx
Jeffrey, the unisex designer, is upset with his model for not taking her jacket off when she does her walk. However, that was the least of his problems: The judges don't think the pieces work together. Without the jacket, the dress looked like something a woman with a personal website called www.emeraldsyxxx.com would wear.
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Cindy, House of Emerald Syx
This looks fine — if you're into jumpsuits — from the front. But once the model turns around, you can see how Cindy threaded a long turd of neon fabric around the open back. Iman says she would wear the front of this look, but not the back. Half the way there, Cindy is safe.
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Tamara, House of Emerald Syx
Tamara's model couldn't walk in this dress because it was too tight. "I SUFFERED for that model," Iman tells her. "You’ve added to her ass, and I just don’t think that does anybody any favors," Laura says. The ruching on the boobs bothers us — they look like two lemons, one fresh and one rotten.
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Golnessa, House of Emerald Syx
This looks like something you would have found in one of those odd boutiques in Nolita that can only stay open for ten months before closing. But Golnessa is safe.
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(Crazy) Calvin, House of Emerald Syx
Calvin sewed rhinestones on his dress without discussing it with his team because he thought the seam looked bad. Rather than redo the seam, he decides to cover it up with something even more hideous and cheap-looking. He has an argument with Iman, who seems to hate him already, over the color, which he calls gold. She tells him, rightly, that it's yellow, as Bravo, somewhat patronizingly, captions half of everything he says in his accented English. "The thing that is the most bothersome about the dress is the diamante," Isaac says. "That makes it look very inexpensive — " "You mean CHEAP!" Iman interjects, not a hint of a smile on her face. "It is a fashion emergency and it needs an evacuation." Oh Iman, you've arrived!
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Francine, House of Emerald Syx - LOSER
Francine has a lot of drama with her dress because sewing the ruffles on the top is quite time-consuming. Her teammate Crazy Calvin offers to help her in the interest of his team not losing because she didn't finish, even though he hates her. However, he does such a bad job that Francine has to do his work over again — yet it was all for naught! "The first thing I thought was Strawberry, the store," Laura says, a look of slight horror on her face. "It’s really young, it’s really, you know, cheap." Isaac agrees, calling it "passé" However, we actually didn't find it as offensive as Calvin's dress, but the producers probably wanted to keep him on because he's so insane and bound to cause entertaining drama. Everyone knows they don't let the craziest person go until at least a few episodes in, after he's made everyone get into a fight.