Poor designtestants. They're always completely exhausted and out of gas when they hit this final challenge, and who can blame them? As a result, we usually end up with bizarrely uninspired clothing. The final challenge was to take inspiration from something in New York, and design a garment based on that inspiration. Although they didn't name a specific winner, Michael was definitely the judges' favorite for his. . . umm. . . gown here, based on The Statue of Liberty. Again, I have nothing against Michael, and he's certainly fed the spittoon of drama this season, but this gown is so unoriginal and there doesn't seem to be much design to it. Actually, it reminds me of a dress that Ginger used to wear on Gilligan's Island. It moved beautifully onstage, even if the slit was bordering on obscene. I just don't see it as all that praiseworthy.
The thing is, and I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, I think the producers know exactly who they want in the finals from about the third episode. We knew Mondo had a spot, because he's brilliantly creative and is consistently able to translate that creativity into gorgeous, well made clothing. We knew that Gretchen had a spot, because she started out strong so the judges love her, and she makes for great wacky reality television. Her design this week was a complete miss, inspired by bricks in New York, but it didn't really matter. Her spot was safe. That leaves us with Andy, Michael and April. They loved Michael's Ginger gown, Andy did a good job this week, so we lost April. Like Mondo, April has a very specific point of view--this dark, layered look with asymmetry and cutouts--that the judges have loved up until now. Their love ran out, though, and April went home. Very sad. But she's 21, and I'm sure she has a great career in front of her.
Once again, once again, once again--the final three are in fact the final four, and there will be some sort of design off this week to eliminate one more designer. I'm sure some of the designtestants will do a better job than others when left to their own devices. Sometimes, the most successful designers in terms of the challenges absolutely choke when designing on their own. Remember Michael Knight from Season Three?
My money and hope are still on Mondo for the win. Why? Because I love him and what he creates a little bit more with every episode. I can't wait to see Tim visit his home.