The Eleventh Hour

The eleventh hour, literally and figuratively. Time is running out. This week it is the HP Challenge, and the seven remaining contestants get to create their own patterns and prints. I love this challenge—it has so much inspiration and designing a print has become a signature for my line. I have for the past few seasons been designing my own prints. Inspired by ghosts, pictures of the galaxy and this season from an inspirational trip to India that my sister and I took last summer.

But first the waters must be muddied. The designers pick young entrepreneurs to meet and be inspired by before they come up with their personal prints. Out of the bunch I am most familiar with Kiva, but they all seem equally inspiring.

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Alexander is feeling burnt out, as the last few days have been rough. It is that time of the show when you do start to drag. You wake up exhausted and people are turning on each other. (Also, those personal asides are done at about 2 am.) It’s stressful and if you’re still in the game and have not had straight trips to the bottom each week, you do start to think about Fashion Week. Of course in the last few seasons, the majority of contestants get to show at Fashion Week. I feel this is unfortunate, in my season, it was what you fought for. I had never really seen the show before. (I was a college student, with no cable TV, or I was in the UK.) All I knew was the Top Three were the only ones that got to go. Every challenge was a “push” time. Nonetheless, the designers are formulating their ideas on the design.

I really look forward to what these designers put together. Kate, inspired by her young app-making entrepreneur, is using binary code to form her pattern. Interesting idea, I’m fascinated to see how that will work. Justin incorporates sign language for “I love you” in his print after his beauty queen inspiration. Alexandria’s print is based on whitewashed bricks. Bradon’s BMX rider has inspired a muted print with a dash of blue.Helen, who had an artist tag a big picture of Helen, is questioning herself…again. Her print of stars is interesting, but not seeing the correlation to her inspiration.

Dom’s inspiration was the aforementioned Kiva owner—she sees a world connected. The winner! Wait did I get ahead of myself? Spoiler alert? No, it is just easy to see that her print and her design is in a different league from the others.

Bradon is trying to put together some kind of look using his print as a skirt. Tim is befuddled. Kate, well, Tim looks concerned. Kate seems a little oblivious to her own designs flaws and just trudges ahead. This late in the game,but that’s normal. Once in the “PR” pressure cooker, you tend to just modify, rather than wholesale change. You also tend to believe in your own sense of design. She wanted to return to making a dress after making so many separates.

Justin, he made my favorite print—muted, spacial with layers. He unfortunately has paired it to a gown. Crash… I felt he had the print to challenge Dom, but not with this design. A cute dress and he would be in the top.

Helen, after a totally meaningless inspiration, is hopelessly lost. Instead of her usual workroom stroll, commenting and giving critiques to the other designers, she’s asking for ideas. I just do not understand this business of waiting around until Tim comes in to tell you what to do. Not that hasn’t happened before. Every season Tim has his favorites and has righted many a listing ship. Of course you could say he has sunk a few as well…

Alexandria has an A line skirt, a blouse, and possibly a vest. What she doesn’t have is a clear and concise plan. Alexander, oh, boy. Inspired by chocolate, it has a huge cross on the front. It looks like a hot cross bun badly baked. He. Is. In. Trouble.

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As Tim leaves he tells the designers to quit over thinking the exercise and simplify. Wise advice. Bradon, now sees his path and the print will be a bomber jacket, mated with a black dress. Helen is making a crop top and long skirt. Whaaaaaatt? (Think Chris Griffin from “Family Guy.”) Didn’t Miranda get aufed for just such an offense a wee bit ago? Kate’s outfit is ill-fitting, but possibly because so many garments in the workroom are as well. She is not panicking.

On the runway Bradon is first up with a bomber jacket and a LBD. The dress is cool—easy made from a tube material, no sewing seams even needed—and the jacket is well done but overall was not a super creative look. Justin, who I think has talent has a nice print, a beautifully seamed top but a poorly executed bottom. Ugh. Kate’s look has some interest, but is overdone. And where’s the print? Alexander’s look is bad, poorly done. He’s a goner.

Again this is an easy win for Dom. She followed the assignment and made a modern dress. I fail to see any challengers. Alexandria’s look is edgy, but it does not look complete to me. The skirt is great, but the top seams a bit of a mess. Helen, to me, this is bad. Her print looks average and while the dress is beautifully seamed, the overall design is not inspiring. Better made than Miranda’s previously condemned outfits, it has as much interest. I can’t help think that Helen is still a pretender in this competition even with her wins.

Alexandria is deemed safe. So does that mean Dom wins and everyone else is in the bottom? Because I saw no real contenders for the top on this exercise. But, no Dom, Bradon and Helen are in the top!? The bottom are Justin, Alexander and Kate.

Dom is the winner! Alexander is out. I have to agree. His was really bad. Then it was down to Justin and Kate. Justin is deemed safe and Kate is out? The past few episodes someone has brought up a double elimination. Did a PA let it slip that there was to be a double out coming in a future show? It sure seemed that it was expected. And it was a shock. Kate seemed to be a favorite, but it does seem the past few years that they have built a designer up, only to unexpectedly auf them. I think we’ll see Kate on a future “PR All Stars.”

Did you agree Dom’s was an easy win? And what about Kate’s fall?

Althea Harper


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