Bravotv.com: For the elimination, they had to create gown looks with crystals — what did you think of the looks?
For the most part, the evening looks were terrific. I don’t think they necessarily used the crystals as effectively as they could have. It was like a Pandora’s box with thousand of dollars worth of crystals, and for the most part they were used in very small trim and accents. I think Anna actually used them very effectively, even though it was subtle inside of the big bow.
Bravotv.com: Probably the biggest controversy was over Johnny’s dress — did you all know right away that it reminded you of Maggie's?
I couldn’t put my finger on it immediately as Maggie’s, but Alber Elbaz at LANVIN had been getting great press and coverage of his collection, which has been widely copied/interpreted with those non-traditional colored leopard patterns … and once Glenda brought it up, it clicked in very quickly to all of us. We asked for some pictures on the Web and it was all there. Having seen the episode run, it seemed pretty clear during the work room phase that Johnny had acknowledged and referenced the dress, which he denied during the elimination deliberation.
Bravotv.com: Isaac was worried about Daniella’s use of the color grey — what’s your take on it? It has certainly been everywhere over the past few seasons.
He seemed concerned when he visited the studio – and it did look drearier at that point. In the final execution however, Daniella pulled it off, and the “clouds” parted, and it was far from dreary. Grey can be terrifically chic on the right woman. I picture it on a “woman of a certain age”,, perhaps with blonde short hair, or platinum hair. It can be very elegant, and indeed it was!
Bravotv.com: How important was the use of the actual crystals to you?
Given the chance to use such an amazing variety and amount of gorgeous Swarovski crystals, I was a little surprised that they were used as minimally as they were. It is clearly time consuming to apply these, and since they were all very focused on doing their version of a drop dead red-carpet dress, I think they probably just didn’t have enough time to play with all those crystals. It was a great opportunity however, and I personally would have liked to see a few more used throughout this challenge.
Bravotv.com: With Johnny’s blunder, one could argue that Allen Schwartz has made a career out of copying other designers. Do you think there’s a place for that?
I cannot possibly endorse the business ABS has created as an instant knock-off company. I think how he has capitalized on instant copies and the amount of media coverage he gets for it is pretty pathetic. Our industry has always been built of designers “paying homage” or “re-inventing” certain designers creations. In fact, how completely and totally original can every garment be, but when one is clearly nailed as a "knockoff’ company, that can never be a good thing. I wish there were no place for that in our industry. I was, however, sorry to see Johnny go, as I do think he has spunk, and talent, and when he finally got his attitude in check, and decided he really wanted to compete and win … but he screwed up.
I also want to comment on James-Paul’s dress: I really wish he had stayed true to his usual conceptual vision, and just executed one of his ideas in that gorgeous soft velve, iit would have been a fabulous, glamorous gown, but he got caught up in the fitted tailored bodice, which is not “him” and so he added the flounce and pouf around the hem and it didn’t work. It was trying to be something that it wasn’t….