Project Runway: Revenge of the bridesmaid

September 2nd, 2010

Lifetime photo
Ivy Higa fits her model during Episode 6 of “Project Runway,” which called for transforming bridesmaids dresses into wearable fashion.

Tracking the progress of Hawaii’s Ivy Higa and Andy South:

For the designers on “Project Runway,” there could be few bigger nightmares than the prospect of a group challenge, like last week’s ordeal. Nevertheless, producers served up the difficult task of turning the disastrous bridesmaid dress into something fashionable in the episode insisting, “You Can Totally Wear That Again.”

It’s easier to start something from scratch than to be inspired by bad fabric and colors without context or relevance. On top of that, the dresses came with their owners, in other words, another of the designers’ nightmares—real bodies with inconvenient, unappealing bulk and bulges. Of course the clothes-buying public is 99.9 percent real bodies, but when it comes to articulating their vision, it’s natural to prefer ideal bodies that call for no compromise.

On a side note, it can be done and you might want to check out Marisa Lynch’s blog, New Dress a Day for possibilities. She set a goal for herself to transform 365 unattractive frocks in 365 days, for $365. Coincidentally, many of the ugly dresses she works with have turned out to be old muumuus!

Andy works with his model.

Ivy ended up choosing an ivory gown with a bateau neckline, and Andy chose a cocktail-length blue dress with a goofy ruffled bow bodice. Designers were give $50 to buy up to two yards of supplemental fabric.

I was a little worried about Andy’s choice because he didn’t have much fabric to work with, and I was nervous for Ivy because in the first challenge, which involved reworking another designer’s garment, she was criticized for making pants out of pants, which caused judges to doubt whether she understood the challenge.

In the end, she turned her dress into a tuxedo pant with a draped top. Andy transformed his mini dress into shorts and a sexy bondage-style camisole.

Ivy meets the public during a designer showcase event that allowed people to vote for their favorite design with the drop of a button. Ivy’s thoughts about the competition are on the Lifetime site.

But of course there was a twist to the challenge and they were set up in a designer showcase in which they would show their designs on their real-people models and the public would be able to cast their vote for their favorite design by dropping a button into a fishbowl set up beside the particular designer.

While there, Ivy heard that her teammate from last week’s show, Michael Costello, had been telling people that she was the bitch of the show, upsetting her.

Mondo Guerra won the peoples’ choice challenge, which was nice for him because the dress he had chosen was truly hideou. It looked OK from the front, but when his model turned and walked away, only then did everyone see it had silver panels on the back, which differed from the pink in front. Ghastly! You just don’t know what brides are thinking when they choose these dresses!

The next day the designers went back to the drawing board to change aspects of their garments that the public didn’t like. Andy made the additional change of shaving his head to create a Mohawk ‘do.

Andy’s finished look. His video blog about this competition is at the Lifetime site here.

The guest judge was Cynthia Rowley and it was a breeze of a finale for Hawaii rooters who could rest easy when both Ivy and Andy were in the middle of the pack and, therefore, safe from elimination.

To the designers’ surprise, Michael was named the winner, and Peach Carr and Michael Drummond ended up at the bottom. I thought Valerie Mayen should have been there in Michael D.’s place, so I was worried for him. I think he may have a good shot at the finals. Unfortunately, his name had been the last pulled at the start of the challenge, so he had no choice of dress or model. In these competitions, that unfailingly means being stuck with the worst dress and/or the biggest girl in the room.

In the end, Peach went home for her mangled dress.

Andy’s new’ do.

Now, we’re heading into the final stretch, but with 10 designers left, and the New York Fashion Week “Project Runway” fashion show a week away, there may be up to nine designers showing their collections to throw people off the trail of the final three. Usually, the fashion press tries to deduce the finalists from the materials used in Fashion Week runway show. Obviously, the finalists get a bigger budget than the others, and they should be able to discern a sense of aesthetic, technical skill and cohesiveness.

I talked to both Andy and Ivy last week and their cell phones have already been confiscated, going into these secretive final weeks.

Next week, the challenge is to create a resort look, a genre both Andy and Ivy should both know well.

Ivy’s runway look.

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3 Responses to “Project Runway: Revenge of the bridesmaid”

  1. foliefolie:

    I think Andy is great. Not impressed at all with Ivy. She may have construction, sewing skills but her creativity and design esthetic doesn’t always impress me.

    How she is bitching about Michael C is sad. Wins = Michael C – 2, Ivy – 0. I guess she thinks only she and Gretchen know anything about design and that the judges are all stupid. Michael C may not have the sewing skills like Ivy and his designs have been hit and miss. Ivy has the sewing skills but her designs have also been hit and miss in my opinion and she hasn’t won any of the challenges. So her being so snarky is unbecoming………especially an Asian from Hawaii. She does not make Hawaii proud.

    Andy used to be neutral and now even he is jumping on the “bash Michael C” bandwagon. That’s sad too.

  2. onawing:

    This season is proving to be very disappointing. The overblown egos as well as “school yard type bullying” is taking away from what the designers should be focusing on. There is talent there, but not as much as in previous seasons and if there is, they better show their stuff soon. I am always proud of local folks from Hawaii represented in events abroad, however, Ivy so far has only shown boring, watered down, ill fitting garments. She plays it too safe and so far shows no vision. There must be more to what then what she has shown us because she has her own line of clothing now. Ivy needs to also show more Aloha in her behavior!
    I feel so embarrased when she is “capping” on another designer and shows a blown up sense of over-confidence and jealousy of another who won. She needs to step up and show her (good) stuff before being outraged at anothers win. Andy won a challenge and is truly very talented.

  3. Nadine Kam:

    You can check out her off-camera, woman-friendly designs at

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