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You don't dump the ringer! Come on, now.

By Gina Carbone


I wasn’t even planning to write about “The Fashion Show: The Ultimate Collection” anymore, but I just saw Eduardo de las Casas — aka the only real talent on the show — get cut so the producers can milk Calvin Tran’s drama for another two weeks.

The poster boy for reality TV contestants who stick around for dramatic effect.

Granted, Eduardo did too many ruffles, which is what he always does. He really did need to take a risk, but he did make pants, as Isaac Mizrahi suggested. And Dominique Pearl David made a freakin’ pig coat and a humpback dress! And Calvin threw something together in five minutes that made me snore.

I can take “risks” and make a cheap pig coat, too. It takes talent to make classy, standout designs. And there’s no denying that’s what Eduardo does. He has a signature style … that happens to include ruffles every week.

So what? I’d buy everything he makes. If I had more than $100 to my name.

Jeffrey Williams won the eccentric accessories challenge on Episode 8 and Isaac said the white dress he made to showcase the chandelier earrings was the best look they’ve seen all season.

I think Jeffrey is up there with Eduardo and Dominique. Cesar Gallindo is hit or miss and this week he was OK. No one was really “eccentric,” in my opinion, but the judges actually liked everyone’s looks.

Jeffrey and Dominique. I predict those two in the finale.

They didn’t want to send someone home, and considering they sent the best guy home, they should’ve stuck to their original plan.

In my opinion, it was obvious Calvin should’ve been eliminated … weeks ago. He’s the drama boy and they sold out Eduardo for it.

Sorry, Bravo, but I don’t even know if I can watch what happens next.

Catch up on my (only two) “Fashion Show” stories in this archive.

Real Housewives of Orange County vs. New Jersey goes to ... Eduardo!

It’s painfully obvious that Eduardo de las Casas is a ringer. He’s too good for “The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection.”

The “Real Housewives” make-under episode, “Reel to Genteel,” saw the Jersey girls easily beating out the Orange County ditzes, even though Calvin Tran got into fights with both Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo.

(Of course diva Calvin got table-flipping Teresa! And of course he out-diva-ed her!)

Here's Eduardo's winning look for Dina Manzo on Episode 5.

Here's Eduardo's winning dress from Episode 3.

Dominique Pearl David spent most of Episode 5 sobbing because she thought David Caldwell was going to go home. Which pretty much guaranteed their House of Nami was going to win over House of Emerald.

Emerald went with boring flesh tones and made the dresses too short, too tight, badly balanced or just amateurish in general. That horrible Tara curtains dress that Lauri Waring’s daughter Ashley got was appalling. So unflattering.

Having said that, David’s original dress for Caroline might’ve sent him home. He really did turn her into Peter Pan in that awful green … thing. Dominique was right to cry for her crush.

Who came to David’s rescue? Not David. Not Dominique. And not Calvin, that’s for sure. Quietly (over)talented Eduardo stepped in and gave David his chiffon, creating a dress that made the top two. The other top dress? Eduardo’s navy stunner for Dina Manzo.

So it came down to Eduardo vs. Eduardo and, inexplicably, the judges took Eduardo to task. They said his winning dress looked a lot like one of his other two winning dresses. They asked if he could do anything else and he said “Yes.”

Well … yeah! Did you see the other dress? He did that one too. Don’t insult the one talent you have!

Eduardo has won three of the five challenges so far. He almost (and should’ve) won the first challenge, but was just safe in the fourth episode. Still, he is far and away the best guy there. When Calvin and David were bickering, I just wanted to scream for Eduardo to step in and for everyone to just listen to the one guy who knows what he’s talking about.

I do like how Caroline's dress turned out (and how they did her hair!), but I don't think David deserves credit.

Here's Eduardo's winning dress from Episode 2.

It’s almost like the show is hiding him. They focused on the drama between indecisive Teresa and diva Calvin, the budding romance between Dominique and David and the hip vagina Golnessa Farmanara created for Gretchen Rossi in Emerald city. (Bye Golnessa!)

Is it inevitable that Eduardo will win? Is it too obvious he should? Will the show pull a Mondo Guerra/Gretchen Jones and surprise us, just to create drama? Or will the show pull an Ann Ward and give it to the person who was always going to win no matter what?

Real my recap of “The Fashion Show” premiere here.

Here's the sucky Syx opposite the judges on "The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection" premiere.

Calvin Tran: “Oh, here go hell come.”


“The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection” premiere just came and went in a flash of ugly yellow and chic white.

I’m impressed.

Despite Iman’s warning, there were no real fashion emergencies. No evacuation necessary.

Granted, the bar was low. “The Fashion Show” Season 1 could’ve been subtitled “All The People Eliminated First From Past Seasons of Project Runway.”

House of Nami's Iman designs won over the House of Sycks Arse.

This new incarnation has Iman as the new Heidi Klum — literally, in the first episode, as she makes herself the first client. (Oh those vain, vain supermodels!)

I don’t miss Kelly Rowland. I do, however, miss Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia, my two faves from “Project Runway.”

(I don’t care if she made a bad call on Season 8; I adore The Goddess Nina Garcia.)

I don’t care for Isaac Mizrahi, even when he’s drunk on “Watch What Happens Live,” like he was last week. He doesn’t have that certain something that makes me want to hear his opinion — unlike Tim and Nina and, to a certain extent, Michael Kors, but only to hear what zany “slutty slutty” thing he’ll say next.

I’m not into the whole Fashion House Wars concept. I think it just forces designers to settle for the lowest common denominator and creates unproductive cattiness. (Not that I don’t love cattiness.)

However, “The Fashion Show” does have some benefits over PR:

Cesar won the first challenge. Fair enough. I can see Iman in this.

Everyone gets a critique. The winning and the losing houses get individual reviews, which is important. That’s one of the frustrating things about PR — only the highest and lowest get reviews and “safe” designers can hover in limbo for weeks at a time.

It’s like finale week every week. I already love Stefan behind the scenes at the fashion shows. I have a feeling he’s going to be important.

Some of the designers are actually good. And the crazy people aren’t as bad as some of PR’s crazy people. As usual, they cast for “types” — the cutesy giggly girl, the token straight guy, the drama queens, the foreign guy with an attitude. But I was surprised by the level of potential from some of these folks.

This first week, the two houses — Emerald Syx (our first clue to their downfall) and House of Nami — had to create collections inspired by Iman.

Francine lost for this look, despite her perfectionist sewing techniques. She had potential to be the new Ivy Higa. Oh well.

It’s possible that there are some designers in Emerald Syx (Calvin was right, that name will sound even stupider when they go from six to five to four…) that have talent, but they are bound by the same bad ideas, agreed on by the majority. Like their color scheme. That yellow. They are bound into it, so even if you have a lot of talent you are tied to the anchor.

Having said that, the jumpsuit was okay. But House of Nami blew them out of the water, from the simple white to the sophistication of the designs. Syx was cheap. Nami was chic.

Francine Simmons, who immediately clashed with my favorite diva, Calvin Tran, was sent home first. It came down to the two of them; Isaac said they hated Francine’s design and hated Calvin’s attitude.

Which is worse? Please! Of course the bad design went home. Francine’s stuff isn’t really bad, it just seems middle-of-the-road commercial.

Besides, you had to know Francine would be going home first when her initial camera time consisted of trashing the other designers and saying, “Wow, I think I have a really good chance of winning this competition.” The editing of this show is really not that different from “Project Runway.”

This is the first look Eduardo showed, when the designers had to present something that showed their point of view. I liked him after this and I also liked his Iman dress. He's my fave at this point.

Right now only three or possibly four people are standing out to me:

1. Eduardo de las Casas — From the very first runway show, when they debuted their signature looks, Eduardo and his white feathers stood out to me. He’s right, his work is up here and some others are down there.

2. Mike Vensel — Mike and his hipster hat think they are better than everyone and everything. He’s seen more than 300 runway shows, people. He knows. He’s not impressed by celebs because he lives in L.A. He sees them every day, people. He knows. Attitude aside, I like his simple, classy style. I think he’ll go far.

3. Cesar Galindo — Silver fox Cesar won the Iman challenge with his tribal print. I liked it, as well as his initial signature piece. I think he’ll do well, but I need to see more to be sure. He works fast, we know that. He was finished way before everyone else and he still won.

On the maybe side:

Cindy Ayvar — I didn’t hate her draped purple pantsuit. She may have just gotten a raw deal with Emerald Syx. Time will tell.

Golnessa Farmanara — Another one who may just have gotten a raw deal. Bad idea on the shoulder ruffles. Next time.

Most of the designers are a blur at this point, except for some of their personalities. Dominique is driving me crazy with her giggle and her determination to remind us every two seconds that she’s 21. So what? Christian Siriano was 21 when he won “Project Runway.”

Here's Eduardo's Iman look. Pretty good. But does he work in any other colors?

Rolando has pretty hair and Isaac compared him to a girl. David is the token straight guy, although Dominique doesn’t seem to believe in straight male designers. Not sure any side should fight for him after he described his signature piece as coming from his “Return of the Greenpeace Yuppies” collection. Something about being born in space and reinterpreting the ’80s on Earth as having lived through it in space?

Anyway, House of Nami all the way! Let’s treat this like “Survivor” and just vote off “Sycks” until they go bye-bye.

RATE THE RUNWAY: The designs are up on, so rate them here.



Emerald Syx
Calvin Tran
Tamara Jones
Francine Simmons (Eliminated 1st)
Jeffrey Williams
Cindy Ayvar
Golnessa Farmanara

House of Nami
Cesar Galindo
Mike Vensel
Eduardo de las Casas
David Caldwell
Dominique Pearl David
Rolando “Ro” Tamez

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