Photo: David Russell / Lifetime

Boring And Clyde

The design brief — modern, cool '30s attire for a couple — gets mangled by mediocre editing and hosting. Watch? Or skip?

Last week: Sebelia had naked pictures of everyone.

The Great Depression

Alyssa Milano walks out in yet another dumpy outfit, a silky v-neck tank over pants that give her mashed-potato middle. As Sebelia interviews that finishing in the bottom is doing a number on his self-esteem (note: his self-esteem, as usual, seems just fine), Milano gives the challenge: the designers will pair off to create an updated '30s look for a young, modern couple, inspired by the miniseries Bonnie & Clyde on Lifetime.

Palu, last week's winner, chooses Viktor, because Viktor is the favori-- er, "knows menswear." Seth Aaron picks Sebelia, because ditto. Irina chooses Mychael, and that leaves Elena and Korto. Elena theorizes that she got picked last because everyone's scared of her after her own season, but Korto's like, whatever, I won my own menswear challenge back in the day, we got this.

Elena complains some more about Viktor taking her idea last week. Irina wonders why she hasn't won yet. At Mood, everyone runs around.

Workroom Time Machine

Seth Aaron's purple is pretty intense, and Sebelia is concerned that they don't coordinate. Slapsticky music plays while people hammer grommets onto fabric and steam irons shriek, and Viktor observes that Palu knows how to make clothing but doesn't know "how to do it properly." Korto and Elena gossip about everyone else's overly literal fabrics. Hardly any sewing.

Zanna Lama Ding Dong

Zanna isn't that insightful — see: her chuckling that "every week [she's] still surprised to see" Sebelia, like, this is mentoring? Free Joanna Coles! — but she's better than usual, and Palu gets off a good line about Sebelia's coat looking more Dr. Evil than Japanese military: "Hello, Mr. Bond." Zanna also comments that Elena's feels "a bit Victorian," versus '30s, and thinks Mychael's could go a bit "spangly."

When she reminds Viktor that they want a cool, modern version of the era, Viktor spins it with a workshop-defense line about cutting the fringe on the back of his jacket in an Art Deco way, which is bullshit, but clever. Zanna, Britishly: "Maybe an edit…is in order."

Then she warns the room that the '30s can get dated, and urges them all to gut-check and question their partners' decisions — both good pieces of advice, for once. She still needs to comb her hair, though.

Sebelia's Model Is Pumping Iron

The model doesn't match the measurements Sebelia got, and not in the good direction (he's too muscular), so Sebelia stomps out of the workroom, then stomps back in all "sorry for yelling, I'm over it, next." Everyone is big-time gawking at him, but his reaction doesn't seem that intense, so I guess something got left in the editing bay.

I'm more interested in the muslin kite Irina is dropping on her model in lieu of an actual garment, but God forbid we spend time on something that's not a misdirect.

Runway Day

Sebelia works out his fit issues, while Palu sews his model into her dress, cringing that he's never had to do that before, and then an eternity is spent in the hair and makeup product-placement rooms while the designers shit-talk each other's work (Viktor's assessment of Mychael's "eighties," too short and too tight jacket is spot on, though).

As Sebelia grumps that Irina's jacket has nappy stuffed-animal fur in the collar, a series of garments we've basically never seen before goes onto the models. Do I not remember the old PR accurately? Was it always this disjointed and hard to follow?

Runway

It's down to eight designers; the runway shouldn't feel like a psychological test involving a strobe that forces me to pause to get even a basic look at anything. I had plenty of time with Milano's weird chartreuse romper with greige Vulcan jacket over it, as she takes a presidential term to announce that the winning designer will have a look debut in a Lifetime original movie event to be named later. "This is fantastic exposure for any designer," she says pointedly, and everyone tries to look thrilled instead of worried that the movie in question is of the Mother, May I Sleep With Danger school.

2013-11-21-pras-nope

Even with Georgina Chapman and her gazillion mandatory side-project mentions absent, it takes another ice age to introduce the guest judges: Austin Scarlett, Bar Refaeli, and Elie Tahari join Le Miz. Also, "alumni" is not a singular, madame.

Then the runway flashes by like a subliminal message. From what I can tell, Seth Aaron's has a cool neck detail but it's more Blade Runner than Bonnie & Clyde; I don't understand Sebelia's no-socks rolled-cuffs pants, or why the coat hints at a bread line in its construction; Irina's camel silk flowy skirt is great, but the jacket is from another era entirely; Mychael's looks like a cater-waiter aerobics class in space; Elena tacked café curtains onto a biker jacket; I would wear Korto's jacket in every color, because she incorporates cool sweater details and it doesn't look overworked; Palu's wraparound belt recalls a holster; and Viktor calls his own work forced.

Judging/Fluffing Of Obvious Favorites

If only so you can see the looks for longer than four seconds, and for the most part, many of them look much better up close, especially Seth Aaron's and Sebelia's — and Sebelia's gets particular praise, especially the pants, which Le Miz calls "suuuuuper-chic" though they just look sloppy to me. Milano raves that Sebelia's coat is "almost avant-garde." I…what?

Bar Refaeli repeatedly points to whether a given garment is enough of a nod to Bonnie and Clyde, and says Sebelia's isn't feminine enough. Irina's is praised sans the jacket (in my opinion, the styling with a Faye Dunaway beret is what gets it over, but that skirt really is killer). Milano doesn't care for how many places Palu's dress cuts the model off horizontally — this, despite wearing every garment she can find that does the same thing to her — while Le Miz tries to sound encouraging about Mychael's "vision" for that hideous Janet-Jackson-video-background-dancer jacket.

Elie Tahari has a few good insights, including that he doesn't think it's a good idea to mix novelty fabrics the way Mychael did; Austin doesn't add much, surprisingly. The editing's a bit jumbly, but increasingly this is the only segment worth watching, because you can see the clothes and get a better grasp on the design brief. Well, the parts of it that aren't craven attempts to tongue-bathe a sponsor, anyway.

Win/Auf

Irina is safe; Sebelia wins. Fine. After the horseshit no-auf last week and the red-herring model-measurement problems, you knew it was coming. Palu and Seth Aaron are also safe, so it's down to Mychael and Viktor, and Mychael's is legit worse and it wouldn't be Viktor regardless, so Milano salting the wound by telling Mychael his jacket "was less Bonnie & Clyde and more Desperately Seeking Susan" is just gratuitous.

Mychael is out. He's his customary warm, classy self on exit. Bummer.

Verdict

Some improvement in the challenge brief and comments, but the editing is terrible and too much time is spent on shilling. This season is cruising for a DVR breakup.

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