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Ryan on the Runway: PR 18, finale pt 1

This episode opened with one of the best parts of each season, the home visits. It’s such a hoot seeing the designers in their natural habitats.

Of course Nancy lives in Philadelphia! I loved that she was so organized, and what a scream that she had a life-size cut-out of Christian in her workroom (though really I think it was more than life-size - - you know that Christian is teeny tiny, he sleeps in a thimble). Christian was impressed that she had so much work done and encouraged her to edit, think about fit, think about her finishes.

Nancy showed him the view from her workroom window - - she had a direct shot of the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She said she wanted to run up the steps with Christian. He said he’d had a cheese steak, so he was up for it. And he made it up the steps before her!

Do you hear that whistling in the background? Yes, that’s the tea kettle, the water is boiling, I’m about to spill the T. I have never seen the movie *Rocky.* I saw the Broadway musical, and loved it, but no, I’ve never seen the movie. I should, right?

Next up: Sergio in New York City. We met his hunky cutie partner, Kade. His collection was about global warming and the melting of the glaciers. He showed Christian his fabrics, told him it was a challenge to use up-cycled textiles, and Christian asked how else he was being sustainable in his work. Sergio said he was using a technique to grow his own leather using kombucha, and he invited Christian to their cat’s bathroom to see how it’s done.

Say what?

Sergio pulled aside the shower curtain to reveal a goopy, slimy, curry-colored gelatinous mass in the bottom of the tub. Christian was on the verge of barfing, he said it was giving off a very strong odor. I’m a big fan of classic cheesy horror movies, so I found myself visualizing this Kombucha Leather Monster stepping up out of the tub in the middle of the night, sludging down the hall to Sergio’s and Kade’s bedroom (of course the cat would see it and let out a feisty “Meow!”), and you can imagine the rest.

I was not impressed with his garments. The light blue fabric looked bargain bin, the white fringe was a bad idea, it was not promising. Christian’s visit ended with him attending Sergio’s soccer practice. That wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be.

Next: Victoria in Los Angeles. She used traditional Moldovian decorations and was also inspired by the Egyptian pharaoh Khéops. She took on the name Khéops as a brand name and stamped it, stitched it, blazoned it all over hell. It looked very Upper West Side Boutique Ending up at Loehmann’s.

Christian felt that the pieces showed a strong sense of Victoria’s aesthetic, but they looked like they came from different collections. Victoria said that Karlie had encouraged her to think about other women she could design for, so she was trying to do different things. Still gotta make it cohesive, darling!

We met her husband Dan (darling) and her little boy Christian (super cute, but clearly not wild about this whole TV show situation). Victoria made an appeal directly to the camera that she be chosen as the winner so her former-professional-soccer-player husband could stop working as a truck driver and spend more time with his family, where he belongs. Judges, were you watching this?

And last but not least, Geoffrey back in New York City. Oh my, he’d recently had a skateboard injury, tore his meniscus, was put in an immobilizer, was then using a cane. Bless his heart, he turned his frown upside down and said that the cane was getting him a seat on the subway! He said the injury prevented him from fabric shopping. Is Mood not ADA? And even if he wasn’t able to go to Mood (or any other fabric store), he should have spent his time making muslin demos of every single piece in his collection, so when he had the actual fabric he could just whip it together. Of course things would change a lot, based on his handling of the final fabric, but he would be a lot more advanced for having done all of the prep work. I’m just saying what *I* would have done…

Plus he shut down his business to be on PR so he had to take a high-profile gig to pay the rent (something about Disney’s *Little Mermaid,* I didn’t quite follow), and he split up with his partner. Poor thing has a lot on this plate.

Home visits over and we went straight to Christian’s New York Fashion Week runway show. We got a little glimpse of each of the designers arriving in their NYFW finery, talking about the dream of showing at New York Fashion Week. That was a nice wrinkle on the finale storytelling process, I liked that a lot, I hope they do that again.

I can’t go on, I have to document what the designers were wearing:

Nancy: white fluffy faux fur jacket, beige slacks, and oversized coat in a colorful abstract print in black, lavender, and hot Chinese red. Divine.

Sergio: white cotton wing-tip shirt, grey metallic-print sport coat, blue jeans. The sport coat was ill-fitting, it accentuated his pudginess. Maybe not the best choice for the NYFW set.

Victoria: do I refer to the blonde sections in her hair as “frosted”? Killer heels, fabulous earrings, sleek black dress. Very sharp.

Geoffrey: full on gay clone, all black, leather jacket, pectoral cleavage, the kit and the caboodle. The leather cap sealed the deal.

I’m sure you noticed that the designers were in standing room up in the balcony, rather than in chairs on the main level. Sends a statement, don’t you think?

The designers arrived at their new workroom, unpacked their stuff, and showed their work to each other. A visit from Karlie and a new dramatic curve ball! The designers were given 48 hours to choose three looks from their collections to show to the judges, who would choose to advance all four, or only three, or only two! NOW WE’RE TALKING.

The designers had a surprisingly contained conflict over model choosing. Again, I’m taking over and improving on the process. They should have said, from the get-go, each designer chooses one model who is not negotiable. If two designers chose the same model, flip a coin. After that, it would be Negotiation Central. Done and dusted!

Christian met with each designer to go over what they had done.

Geoffrey: It was the first time Christian had seen any of his stuff. He was a little concerned that he hadn’t tried it on anyone, he was a little shocked that he hadn’t found a single person in New York who could come over to his place and try something on, and some of the pieces (I’m thinking of the dresses with no closure between the boobs) were dicey in terms of concept and construction. The highlight of Geoffrey’s show-and-tell was the ginormous black sequined coat. Christian was wild for it, he tried it on and it was easily twice as big as him.

Victoria: Christian advised her to focus less on the styling and more on the actual garments. He encouraged her to go with the more streamlined sportswear pieces. The hand-crocheted bags and baseball caps, those were not going to wow the judges.

Sergio: Christian felt like the period references in his pieces could verge on costume, so he advised him to rock in up with the styling and veer away from the silver high heels. His stuff actually looked much stronger than it did in the home visit.

Nancy: He was a little concerned about her having a model in a wheelchair in the presentation for the judges, but her feeling was that it meant a lot to her and she thought that showing that it would give her a bigger chance of being in the finale. I agree with her! And I didn’t even understand what she had done with the scraps and the handbag. Something about a cover for a wine bladder? Huh? She’s cookilicious, I love her.

The designers were all over the map in terms of what pieces they were going to show. Geoffrey’s nerves were on edge in the makeup room, he had difficulty explaining what he wanted with the jewels affixed to the cheekbones. Again, I’m taking over: maybe he should have done a sketch? That would have taken about two minutes.

On to the runway. Guest judge: President of the CFDA, Steven Kolb. Love that man, he is the bomb.

I’m sure they said this earlier in the month, but they really had five months to make ten looks? That’s a LOT of time. Come on.

I’ll start with my thoughts followed by the judges’.


Impressive technique but didn’t look young or fresh. The final cocktail dress was stunning, but the other two looks were not where it’s at. And did you notice there was no kombucha leather?

Steven felt like the message wasn’t connected to the clothes. Elaine felt like he put a spotlight on a different issue each week and the clothes were secondary. Nina didn’t know many women who would wear those looks. Brandon told him he needed to edit, that Sergio was trying to show off all the things he can do in one garment.


I love that she opened with model in the wheelchair. The skirt-to-cape thing was marvelous. The tailored suit was sharp, and the final gown was off the hook. And her two causes, zero waste and inclusivity, were apparent in the work itself and didn’t need to be explained by an accompanying brochure or Power Point presentation.

Elaine thought the styling could be more modern. Nina loved that the pantsuit was so fitted and encouraged Nancy (if she made it to NYFW) to think about the order of her looks. Nancy shared that Brandon inspired the bag - - it was a wine tote. He thought it was cute but didn’t really work as fashion. He asked the model in the gown to remove the “tamale wrapper” around the neck, and it really did look 300% better.


Ugh, the colors of the first look were so bland and the embroidery looked super mom-made. The center pantsuit and coat were fabulous. The final jumpsuit was very strong, but I thought it would look better without the jacket.

Nina was worried about color and fit. She loved that she showed separates, which appeal to editors and retailers. Elaine thought the jumpsuit looked cheap and ill-fitting. They all loved the hats. Elaine didn’t like the bags, and Brandon didn’t feel that she had earned the right to put her brand name on her clothes.


Wow, he really pulled the rabbit out of the hat with the first look - - good choice to get rid of “the dick dress” and make a brand new skirt, it was a stunner. The center dress was fascinating, with the open bodice. And the final menswear look was fab.

Brandon felt like he didn’t handle the metal mesh in the best way. He felt like the looks were all great from the waist up but not from the waist down. Nina felt like it needed to be more luxe (especially when the fabric was so expensive), and Elaine felt like the dress was shapeless. Steven felt like the looks were all unsexy.

Of course we had a cliffhanger and they won’t tell us until next week if anyone was eliminated, who was, or how many. I am on tenterhooks!

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