Project Accessory is gaining momentum toward the finale, as designers are getting picked off one by one. Still standing are Nina, Christina, Diego, Brian, Rich and Adrian. Each designer’s strengths (and nuances) have been demonstrated at least once in the last five episodes so by now, we’re pretty clear on each one’s neurosis. For example, Rich needs anger management when he gets stressed, Brian has a bit of an ego but needs serious help editing and Christina and Nina are furtively eyeing each other as competition. Episode 6 opens with the designers meeting with designer and PA judge, Kenneth Cole. He seems suspiciously happy and all smiles when speaking to the designers, which always means something bad is about to happen. Rich has mused earlier on hoping for a menswear challenge, something he thinks he would excel in (despite his own personal style choices, ahem).
Cole tells the remaining designers that black is the cornerstone of his brand but that it’s becoming more of a challenge every season to keep it fresh. He shows them his mood board from Holiday 2011 with the theme of Triple Black and informs them that he has selected six looks personally from the holiday collection and assigned a look to each of them. The designers will need to accessorize each look picked for them with a clutch and another accessory of their choice. The winner’s accessories will be sold in Kenneth Cole stores, with the profits going to AIDS research. The pieces, Cole explains, need to be their own point of view but stay within the boundaries of the brand. Then, always the one to leave a lasting impression, Cole finishes his challenge assignment by saying, “don’t screw it up.” This is why why love him.
The designers have until 1 am and $150 dollars to create their pieces. Nina decides to work on a statement necklace to go with her feathered mini skirt and plunging top. Rich gets an fittingly edgy leather jacket with a maxi dress and immediately decides to do a complementary necklace and earrings. Brian claims he’s going more editorial in this challenge and gets to work on an avant-garde clutch to go with his belted knit dress. Adrian, whose also had problems editing himself in the past, gets a non-too-subtle look covered in fur. “Good luck!” is what the judges seem to be saying to him. Diego’s look is a simple black gown with a bow embellishment and he decides to create a copper and gold leather clutch, which he later adds he thinks will be better than the average Kenneth Cole bag. Ah, the Chicago pride.
Christina is not too verbal in this episode and we suspect it’s so she can plan her surprise attack for the runway, emboldened by the “sellable” theme of the pieces. She does say her concept is creating clean lines, which is in step with the Kenneth Cole aesthetic. We’re biting our nails for Adrian at this point who is visibly trying to restrain himself in the design of his clutch. While Nina tackles her double-sided leather and chunky hardware, Diego says the finishing on the bag is, “the first thing women notice” so he spends a lot of his time perfecting that (um, however you do that). He also spends a lot of his time in this episode doling out tips to other designers on their clutches. Some of the designers appreciate this, others not so much. Brian is bent over his workspace making a “unicorn” horn handle for his clutch out of resin. Although slightly out of box, he seems to be one of the only designers taking their own point of view into the construction. Unfortunately, his point of view starts to annoy the other designers when the resin starts clouding the air of the communal workspace!
Eva comes in to check up on the designers. She loves Brian’s clutch, encourages Diego to do more, tells Rich to use more metal and pushes Adrian to not be so minimal. In the sparse drama that perhaps comes from mostly male contestants (come on, it’s true!), Rich notes Diego can’t work with metal as he descends down his own stress spiral. Adrian’s clutch is nothing short of bland and it seems like he’s gone too far in the opposite direction, just in time for the runway to begin.
Alexa Chung is the guest judge for this week and both Ariel Foxman and Kenneth have put on their usual scary faces to watch the runway, making her and host Molly Sims look like sweet-faced dolls. Rich’s jewelry looks amaze them on the runway, though Cole tells him he wishes his clutch looked more “usable.” Ariel, of course, poo poo’s the black on black tones for Rich’s pieces. Poor Adrian’s pieces looked like a hot mess on the runway and the judges were not going to let him off easy. Cole told him the closer he looked at the clutch, the less he liked it. Ouch. Alexa was nicer in saying it wasn’t her “taste.” Molly called him dated with his snake embellishment because she used one in her line two years ago (so that makes her an authority?). For Christina, Cole applauded the craftsmanship of her bag. Everyone else seemed to like the clutch alright, though nobody mentioned her earrings. For all of Diego’s confidence, Ariel was not happy with his clutch. Cole also dealt a blow by saying it could have been any brand’s bag. Alexa noted the hefty chunk of hardware for Diego’s earrings, calling them “uncomfortable”. (seems it’s time for Diego to take a big slice of the humble pie!) Nina’s pieces were all received well, though Ariel made one jab by saying her back detail was too much. But it was Brian, for weathering all his resin grievances and dirty looks, who blew away the judges. Alexa gushed, Cole nodded and Ariel almost broke a smile. Despite it’s lack of the Kenneth Cole aesthetic, they all seemed to agree it was innovative and unique. In a good way.
So, at the end of the day, Brian walked away with his second consecutive win and Adrian was sent packing, never really having had the chance to dazzle us with his millinery skills. Oh well … NEXT!
You can pre-order Brian’s winning pieces at Kenneth Cole! Brian Burkhardt Unicorn Clutch, $300, and Brian Burkhardt Bolero, $125
“Yay for Kenneth!” –Molly, on Kenneth Cole’s charitable contributions
“I’m happy but….I’m avoiding the sewing.” –Nina to Diego on her clutch
“Little tip of Diego knowledge. Diego, bag man.” –Nina to Diego
“This is probably how the American Flag got made.” –Adrian on the slow sewing machines
“It’s starting to get competitive.” –Brian
“The closer we look at your accessories, the less we like them.” –Molly to Adrian
“I’m really horny for your unicorn bag!” –Alexa Chung to Brian
Until next week! Be sure to check out our other favorite site dedicated to all things Project Runway…Blogging Project Runway!