Making the Cut: Fight For Your Life
April 4, 2020 6:40 PM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Considering the cliffhanger and the way they left episode three (Collaboration) I'm setting up this post to cover episodes three and four.

Episode Three Summary from IMDB: Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn give the 10 remaining designers their toughest assignment yet - a collaboration. In teams of two, the designers must blend their individual aesthetics into a 3-look collection for a runway show on the banks of the River Seine. One designer struggles to overcome a teammate's costly mistake, while another pair's creative conflict threatens to sink their partnership.

Winning look
(sold out)

Episode Four Summary from IMDB: The competition heats up after the designers receive a special assignment from Tim: create one-look in just seven hours, using only leftover fabric and supplies. The designers are pushed to their limits and fight for their spot in the competition, taking creative risks that stretch their brand aesthetic.
Winning look (sold out)
posted by sardonyx (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The whole keep focus on your brand while collaborating thing was annoying, for a lot of reasons, but mainly because of the way they handed the losing team. The guy who stood up and took the fall for the patterns and fabrics deserved better from his partner, who didn't stand up for him at all. The way the challenge was presented (and the way winners were handled) should have meant that both competitors went home. That whole give us a speech to convince us to stay wasn't appropriate in this circumstance.

Heidi and Tim really need to stop acting. Neither can do it well, and Tim's hand-on-chin thinking poses are really becoming too much. I seriously doubt anybody believes that Tim came up with a spontaneous challenge to bring out the fire in the competitors. Please.

That winning black and white striped look was certainly not the strongest in the competition, and I don't think it deserved to be the winning look.

Even though I know I sound like my mother, Esther's rat's nest of hair hanging down one side is driving me crazy. I'm itching for somebody to take a pair of scissors and lop it off. Her short thick curly side is so lovely, I wish she'd wear all of it like that.
posted by sardonyx at 7:17 PM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd hoped the first two episodes weren't going to be the blueprint for the rest of the season, but I was wrong. This show is just terrible. We see so little of the design process and how the clothing is made, and far too much of Tim and Heidi acting out stupid vignettes. I'm finding it hard to be invested in any of the designers because the focus of the show is on branding rather than design.
posted by essexjan at 10:33 AM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I appreciate that the person who went home in episode 3 refused to engage in the tired reality show theater of the final judging scenes. I've taken to skipping over the dumb vignettes--i'm here for Esther's designs.
posted by sugarbomb at 4:33 PM on April 6, 2020

As bad as the show is, I can see myself continuing to watch it, as very few of the shows I follow are releasing new episodes right now.

The question is: do we continue to discuss it and post about it here. I'm perfectly happy to let Glinn continue to post this (I felt a bit like a usurper posting this the other day).
posted by sardonyx at 4:46 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I hate to say it, in some ways, the show is dead bang on. A brand these days isn't about the clothes or the designer (they can be swapped in and out if one dies or leaves). It's about the name and the message and the promotion. As this show keeps telling us, it's not about finding the next great designer, it's about finding a brand they figure has potential to grow. So if these contestants (in the time they're given when Heidi and Tim aren't mugging for the camera) can promote themselves as an image or an idea or a personality, then they'll be successful--at least in terms of winning the show.

All that said, I hate this "brand" concept. I want to see skilled designers making beautiful clothes. I want to hear discussions of fabric and pattern making and construction techniques. I'd be especially interested in some lessons about translating bespoke and hand-tailored garments into mass-produced clothes. That however, isn't this show.
posted by sardonyx at 8:20 AM on April 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am going to keep watching despite the flaws. I agree the focus on "Brand" is not helping. Also, anyone should feel free to put up the posts!

I regret thinking it but I don't feel like Tim is helping very much. I haven't heard him give any good and specific critique since this thing started (esp compared to Siriano recently). Still love Tim tho. Don't really love the side projects in the wild with Heidi. Caricatures? Dancing? Fencing? I really like both of these people but I must agree these little bits are not so good.

I sort of feel like the "worst" of the designers (whether because they can't handle the time constraints or just don't have enough experience/skills) are now gone. So, I am hoping the quality of all the work will be higher going forward.

I recall A TON of crying in the weird and long preview for episodes 3 and 4, and I don't think we saw most of that crying. So I expect lots of crying ahead.

As a side note, though I don't know/haven't followed the careers of either of these people - I have a slightly increased appreciation for Nicole Richie, and my opinion of Naomi Campbell as not a nice person (remember when she threw a phone at her assistant?) has not changed. ymmv

Other show recommendations - on YouTube you can find the most recent seasons of the Great Pottery Showdown and Portrait Artist of the Year. (both recently ended season 4, I think)
posted by Glinn at 11:33 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Top Chef is also back, Glinn.
posted by essexjan at 1:49 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

My people!

Every episode of this goose egg of a series reminds me how much better Next In Fashion really was in pretty much every way. Charming and sincere hosts. Skilled designers with distinct points of view. A clearer focus on each designer's overall vision and how a strong perspective can challenge and lead within the fashion landscape for years to come. The camaraderie and respect formed between the designers.

This goose egg of series has it wrong from the very beginning in that it has no idea what it's supposed to be. I don't blame the designers one bit for lacking zest and drive, because I'm not really sure what it is that I'm watching. They're there to create clothing, but it's not a sewing competition. They're there to show their unique quality of work, but only by doing ridiculous challenges with impossible time limits. They're there to "build a brand", but all they do every week is make a couple of looks in categories that may or may not even relate to their core focus and customer.

If they were sincere about building a brand, this would be a very different show. It might even look something like a cross between ANTM and The Apprentice, with each week's tasks focusing on the skills you need to make a place for yourself in a competitive market: Building a cohesive and targeted social media presence, getting a magazine to feature one of your looks, finding investors, finding a celebrity muse, building an ad campaign, merchandising, selecting a portfolio for product placement, setting up a pop-up store, securing partnerships. But none of those things allow a PR-style runway show at the end of every episode, so.

Never has a show made me dislike the host and format more and more with every episode. I'm actively sick of Heidi and the flames, flames I feel during those idiotic tourist vignettes. Heidi was so mean to that caricature artist after they gave him nothing to go on. (Speaking of, why did they even start an international group in New York if they were going to head straight to Paris?)

It's patronizing to tell respectable, established designers that they're learning and growing and blossoming (ick) based on ridiculous challenges. It's even more patronizing to make them grovel for their place with so little to work with. That smug Heidi-as-Queen-Bee question ("Have you changed your mind?") asked of every judge when both the designer and the viewer have no idea what each judge's hangups might even be, is shallow and capricious and just gross.

It's pure waste to bring on designers with strong points of view and then simply ignore their insights on craftsmanship, construction, fabric choice, and their past successes and failures in trying to build up their businesses. Because these people do have insights, some of them, and they'd be fascinating to hear about.

I was disappointed to learn that Heidi and Tim handpicked this set of designers. Several were clearly not prepared to launch a global brand, and it was a waste of time including them when what they really needed was time and experience. Did they honestly think Martha was seasoned enough so early on?

Really, if they wanted to keep the challenge/fashion show framework, they should drop the pretense and structure the show more honestly: "We are building an Amazon shop that will extend your reach as designers globally. Each week, you will create a high-concept look that represents and demonstrates your brand, paired with a marketable, accessible look suitable for mass production. The second look's our fabric choices, styling, and construction details should be appropriate for high-margin, mass-market production and their ease of translation will factor into each week's decision. We will travel to scenic locations and create challenges to inspire you each week. In the end, we will choose a designer to receive a million dollars based on their successes on this show."

I would think that lots of designers would find appeal in this particular path and fight for it accordingly.
posted by mochapickle at 8:37 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

If I had the money, mochapickle, I'd give it to you to executive produce both of those shows: Amazon Sweatshop and Brand Marketing and Development 101.
posted by sardonyx at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh my gosh I hate that thing where they have to try to convince the judges they should stay, and Heidi.... yeah. Ugh.

As for Heidi and Tim picking this group, they were probably shown work that took weeks or months to complete and they had no way of knowing (and perhaps did not even consider) how they would do under punishing time constraints. And they may have purposely chosen some very green designers (with ideas they liked) just to spice up the group or something.

I am still interested to see what will happen next week. I also agree with mochapickle.
posted by Glinn at 10:00 AM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

This show. What everyone else said, the vignettes are not cute or funny, Heidi is shrill, no one is interested in Tim's guidance, asking designers to justify their continued stay is humiliating as well as castigating them for "not caring enough" or whatever bs fault it was that the producers Tim "thought up".

It seems that the production spent more time working on the sets and location than they did the actual show process. The much vaulted "it's not Project Seamstress" quote doesn't really apply because they do have to know how to drape/pattern make, cut and sew when the time with the seamstresses is so limited. The blonde woman voted off 2nd, she did inform the producers that she could barely sew and mostly described what she wanted to create to her worker/s in person. So clearly she was picked as early elimination chum. Now Esther has also said she does not sew but her extremely well fitted garments means she at least knows how to communicate in writing. Sabato said the same and he's doing variations of a long sheath hanging from the shoulder. So far he's been very successful because of his fabric choice and a few dramatic details.

I was sad to see Troy go but in the EXTREMELY BRIEF flashback to his output thus far, I see that there were only two designs out of four that I thought were good. His design-off garment was so terribly bad. Even in the limited amount of time they were given, he made a midi-length caftan, about the quickest thing one can sew. Tailoring is his forte but that jacket was just awful and as was pointed out, you can't wear a sleeved jacket over a caftan.

But as always, the basic flaw remains. Next great designer ≠ mass market Amazon.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:33 AM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

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