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Girls on Top

"Age-appropriate" is a nice way of saying "dowdy."

How priceless is that facial expression? This is the face of a designer in the throes of her worst nightmare: synthetic fabrics and Cher references.

Still, even we had to admit that her solution was a good one.

And we always say with these types of challenges that the designer has to be willing to put her foot down when the demands are too far outside her comfort zone, so she gets a ton of points for that. She's one of the few in the history of the show who managed to assert herself and she may be the only one who managed to do it without being a jerk about it.

Still, we think this look was a bit over-praised by the judges.

Yes, she came up with a smart solution, but did she really transform the dress? Aside from the stitching and the belt, all she did was shorten the hem and change the straps.

And even those minor changes had problems. The hem was uneven and the line of the skirt was bordering on unflattering.

And the straps got a little wonky in the back.

Still, we have to admit it was a pretty good job, all things considered. The stitching really was a brilliant solution.

But let's face it: it was a solution to a problem partially of her own making. She needed to jazz up the dress somehow because without the stitching it would have been more obvious that she hardly changed the dress at all.

"Irina, how did you get this gorgeous color?"

"Thank you, Tim. I'm afraid I was born with it. Oh, I make sure to use a good bronzer and weekly trips to the tanning salon help, but it's all just good genes."

We'll still say it: thank God for bitchy girls who think their shit don't stink. Otherwise the show would be deadly dull.

But again, we think this dress was over praised. Yes, that color really is gorgeous, but that's about the only thing we like about this dress.

Oh, it's well-made, certainly. No problems there.

And while we personally don't like lace dresses, there's no denying that they're back on the runways lately.

But even though it fits well and is on trend, it still comes off as a somewhat dowdy dress.

It's those sleeves, kittens. We just can't get past them.

They make her boobs look like they're melting.

She's an attractive woman with a great figure and those sleeves tend to scream "coverup" to us. We think that's why the judges called it "age-appropriate." Sure, it would be a good option for an older woman who needed some fashion magic to camouflage her figure flaws, but as far as we can tell, this gal didn't have any figure flaws. Irina could have gone with a bolder cut than this and come out with something a little sexier. Instead she went from bride to mother of the bride.

Extended Judging:

And what the hell, Half Breed:

[Photos: Mike Yarish/
- Videos: - Screencaps:]

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Ooh, am I first? Exciting. I didn't really like Irina's dress because it made the client's boobage saggy, but if the bust had been different and the fabric was less shiny (i realize that wasn't Irina's fault), it would be quite pretty.

Why the hell does that video start with a burning totem pole?

What the hell was wrong with the Seventies?

Seventies Cher was so amazing.

How wonderful was Tim when he found Shirin trying to piece together the peacock dress? His advice to trash that look and start over felt almost fatherly to me. Looks like he likes and respects Shirin, enough to know that she had to assert herself with her model and go her own way.

I wish Shirin had done the stitching in a brighter colour - the dress would have been so much more transformed if she'd used red or orange or turquoise, or, even, heaven forfend, several colours. Why do these designers hate colour so much?

I think Irina was given a little bit of a pass because many of the faults of her dress were due to the shiny, stiff fabric. It would have looked so much better in a drapier lace with a matte fabric (having said which maybe Irina should have worked within the limits of her fabrics more).

Before we praise Shirin too heartily for sticking to her guns, let's not forget that she blew her entire wad on a hand full of feathers at Mood. She has Tim to thank for the rethink, not her own good instincts.

I think that Irina did get points for doing such a nice dye job, but that is one unflattering dress—one that already exists in the unfashionable formal section of the misses' department at Macy's. Middle of the road. I was shocked—SHOCKED!—that this was placed top three. I think the fabric transformation gave Christopher the pass as well.

I did really dig the stitching embellishment on Shirin's dress, but yeah, that wedding gown was barely transformed from its original shape/color. At least it no longer really read "wedding dress." Shirin should take notes on how Chloe Dao totally created a unique new dress from her clothes-off-your-back S2 challenge. Her original mini dress contained, maybe, 2 yards of fabric, at most.

Yeah, Cher was IT, in the 1970's.

No matter how many underage boys she dates... no matter how much awful plastic surgery she has... I'll never condemn her.

If Shirin had made the top of her dress look like Cher's "Half Breed" top, then it would have been more interesting. I thought both of these were very dull, but they started with dreck, so they get points for making them less drecky.

How could Shirin have not made a bandeau top with peacock feathers hanging off it? I would never have been able to resist.

Totally agree on the MOB dress. Blergh.

I loved the moment when Charlie asked for the dress to be even shorter for the runway and Shirin diplomatically said, "I'll cut it off for you later."

I also thought Irina was way overpraised. Apparently Heidi agrees that her shit doesn't stink :P

Do not like the sleeves. I would have gone with long tight lace sleeves and then taken out a ton of fullness in the skirt.


I was amazed that Michael didn't do a "Mother of the Bride" reference...

C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

"And what the hell, Half Breed:"

Love you guys!

Now, what the hell is Shirin going to do when faced with Bob FUCKING Mackie judging next challenge?

Oh Shirin, I hope you kept the feathers and LOVE sequins!

Good lord, that horse looks embarrassed to be in that video.

The dress wasn't much–it looked like something I would sew as I don't have any design skills–but I have to give Shirin a lot of credit for pulling that off at the last minute. I'm glad she put her foot down and I'm glad she found a solution.

Irina's dress just looked like a doily to me. Still, good color.

Irina screen caps are, in my humble opinion, in your top five screen caps of all time. Too. Fucking. Funny.

Lisa on 10/12/09 1at 1:44 AM said......"Yeah, Cher was IT, in the 1970's."

IMHO Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, Lauren Hutton and the Duchess of Windsor will alaways be "IT". They are in the "IT" Hall of Fame.


Shirin got on my. last. nerve. this episode. She could have bought 2 yards of fabric. Great day. and whine and whine and whine and whine. Would you like a little cheese with that wine?

This dress was not changed one bit. Yeah, she stitched some lines on it. Big whoop.

Yes, Charlie was kind of a pill, but she was very spunky. I can't believe she didn't just buy some fabric with a feather print on it and do her patchwork magic with that or something. And STFU already, you had more fabric than you liked.

Nothing like vintage Cher to brighten my Monday. Thanks love!

I have a feeling if anyone else had done Irina's dress, she would have gotten the MOB/Glenda-the-Good-Witch/she-looks-like-she-just-rolled-out-of-bed treatment.

Maybe not. It's not as if she's bad, but the judging feels imbalanced.

"Still, we think this look was a bit over-praised by the judges."

Yes, but considering the other shit that went down the runway, what choice did they have? That Charlie has a set of gams, though, doesn't she?

On the show, Irina's dress looked lovely. In the stills, not so much. I'm now wondering how she placed in the top three when CH didn't.

I still like Shirin's dress and I still think Irina's is ugly. But that Tim/Irina conversation? Priceless! It's a little sad though that Irina's as bitchy as this season gets.

the level of talent this season is insanely low...probably the lowest of all pr so far...

no santinos and no sirianos...that's for sure...very forgettable

i think the only stars will be the judges

I'm in my (whispering) mid-50s, probably older than Irina's model, and there's no way in hell I'd wear that fugly dress. I thought the "age appropriate" comments were insulting and condescending, at best. Color was good, I'll give her that. Shirin's was meh, agree that some color might have helped.

"Thank you, Tim. I'm afraid I was born with it. Oh, I make sure to use a good bronzer and weekly trips to the tanning salon help, but it's all just good genes."

roflmao fucking hilarious!

Meh and a big question mark. Did not understand why the judges praised these two looks so much.

I seem to remember how impressed we all were when Lindsey Lohan (!!) made the intelligent (!!) observation that you have to make something that your client will wear, not just something that you love. In that light, I think Shirin sort of failed. She may have "stayed true" to herself as a designer, but I don't think her client will wear this. More to the point, I don't think her client would hire her again.

Oh, yes, I completely agree about Irina's. (Though I don't find her all that bitchy or egotistical -- not compared to many people from previous seasons.)

I just couldn't believe the judges didn't notice the melting breasticles.

When I saw Irina's dress I thought, Yeah, MOB: Mother of the Bride. Anyway, luvya, guys, keep up the good work!

The seventies were wonderful, no matter what Alex! says. "Half Breed" is about the plight of the Native American, dude. Hence, the burning totem pole. "Cherokee Nation" was in the top 10 when I was a wee tyke.

But I didn't see Cher or M.O.B. in these two looks. I saw Karen Valentine in "Love, American Style" in Shirin's and Tanya Tucker singing "Delta Dawn" on Hee Haw in Irina's.

Thank you, boys - I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with Irina's dress despite a lot being right, but you nailed it: Those sleeves were un disastre - a first class ticket to Dowdyville, first stop MOB. Ah well, at least Irina herself thought it was perfection - and that's really what this competition is all about, right?

Cher rocks!!! Thanks for the video, guys. Irina is Heidi's favorite, she ain't going nowhere. Her dress? meh. I did not get the Shirin love on this one.

I really liked Shirin's stitching. It was inspired and totally made the dress. It might not have been the biggest transformation, but her outfit was one of the most attractive. Yeah Tim for leading her to a great result.

When I saw Irina's, I instantly thought MOB and am amazed the Duchess didn't go there too. Irina really is the special little snowflake at this point, and I still don't see why.

And, um, there's nothing Cherokee about a totem pole. But thanks for the Cher moment anyway.

Thanks for the video of Half Breed. I was hoping you'd do it!

now that i see the dress in the photos, hmmm looked better on the show. i was afraid she was going to win.

as for Cher. LOVE HER.

Oh, Suzq -- Delta Dawn & Love, American Style. Oh, my!

And Sus, you're so right about Chloe's "off your back" outfit. That and the leaf "print" dress were my favorites of everything she did.

Shirin had a good solution with the stitching but....BIG yawn. Boring and not close to what the client asked for (and yes, there is a happy medium that Shirin completely dismissed, or perhaps was not innovative enough to find). Whatevs. Don't understand how this was Top 3, screamed middle of the pack to me. Dr. Whitfield (as I ranted in my Congratulations, Gordana! post) created a much much nicer dress that I think was 2nd only to Gordana's - how it was overlooked is beyond me. Guess the judges were too busy being hypnotised by the rhythmic swing of Irina's big lace sleeves to notice ("you are getting SLEEVY"! You will make me Top 3!)

The only place Irina's client could wear her dress would be as MOB - and since she's a divorced, her ex-husband would be the one giving away the bride (daughter). Oy vey the brain hurts.

Both Irina and Althea have made several items that were undeservedly adored by the judges this season. I don't get the judging.

SUS: Glad you brought up chloe's dress. and Chloe was making a dress for Grace who was at least a foot taller than she was.

However Shirin being young/inexperienced she was likely derailed by the extreme and absurd demands of her client. She was trying to please her client which was part of the challenge but trying not to get kicked off. Let's face it the things Charlie was asking for were ridiculous and unrealistic given all the constraints. Ultimately she probably realized that.

There was also the fact that Shirin mentioned she could not do a good dye job on the fabric. So Shirin really was more limited by her options than everyone else. It's kind of understandable why she freaked out. It's commendable she pulled off what she did.


Irina's dress was straight up Mother of the Bride. That's all I was thinking.

And can I say how much I LOVE LOVE LOVED the Duchess's comment about how he "loves a girl who loves a Half-Breed moment"? I'm still in awe of that one.

I'm so glad that someone else thought Irina's dress was frumpy, frumpy, frumpy! What was with those wings?!! I thought that hers was the one that just looked like a wedding dress - a dyed wedding dress, sure, but still a wedding dress. Really ugly.

Shirin's was cute and she did really well with a difficult challenge - minimal fabric and a crazy client.

Shirin could have made six of those half breed outfits with the yardage she had. I'm pretty sure she didn't go there because there were no horses on the Macy's accessories wall. Which, when you think about it, is downright criminal.

Seriously, though, some of y'all are pretty harsh in your judgment of her. She had very limited resources and time, and she pulled off a cute dress, especially compared to some of the monstrosities that went down the runway. And, as TLo noted, she stood up for her point of view without being a jerk about it. When you compare her attitude to, say, Irina's, she came off looking pretty good, even with the mini-meltdown.

As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?

I liked Shirin's dress - I thought the stitching was very cute, and I liked the touch of blue in the sash. It's a cute little summery dress now. Nothing spectacularly mind-blowing, but cute and wearable, and not Oktoberfest.

Irinia's shitheap looked like old curtains made into a mother-of-the-bride dress to me. Maybe the lighting was bad, but I thought that color was ook. It looks like those awful "suntan" color cheap pantyhose, but sparkly. That dress just was just a matronly hot mess, and I canNOT for the life of me get why the judges wet their pants over it. Isn't the Duchess the queen of the MOB critique?
and Irina's smugness is extraordinarily irritating, as is Shirin's squee-ness.

I'm starting to think part of Logan's hotness is simply the fact that he rarely speaks to reveal a smug, shrill, or clueless personality.

(also - hi alex! you were missed here)

Thank you for a wonderful Monday midday laugh! I literally laughed out loud when you said that the boobs were melting- good god, they sure were! Irina could have done a lot more with that dress, but she didn't have time/taste to edit it.

Whereas Shirin made, imho, a POS. The dress didn't vary too much from the original, the back wings were very, very wonky and the wave pattern didn't really do anything other than become a design idea.

The thing I hated most was the neckline. The topstitching detail was emphasized with that infamous 1/2" backstitching- ick! She should have knotted the threads like when you're making a dart. Backstitching really looks tacky.

Irina irks me, but I can't hate on the dress. I actually liked it, but was happy as peaches that she didn't win.

Princess Jasmine did a pretty damn good job for such litlle fabric, and also convincing her client to trust her judgment and letting her do something flattering with it.

Can't hate on her for that. Because the judges are going to be gunning for her in a few more episodes.

I must admit though, Jerrell still sets the gold standard for handling clients.

As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?

I think this would be a great opportunity for a new PR challenge: Design dresses/outfits for women "of a certain age" (I'd go with over 50) that are age-appropriate without being matronly.

Right now, the only stuff I see that isn't downright frumpy (I'm looking at you, Coldwater Creek) is what Chico's has to offer, and it's pretty much all sportswear. There also needs to be some acknowledgment that older women come in a variety of shapes and sizes; We don't all go Lane Bryant with age—although some of us do—but we all want to look hip without coming off as "mutton dressed as lamb." And I daresay most of us eschew plastic surgery and are happy to wear our age with dignity and style.

I personally am a size 4 in my late 50s, and my 84-year-old mother is even tinier and very modern. Where are the non-Granny clothes for us?

Irina's dress:
Total and utter MOB in a middle-of-the-road-not-heading-to-Fashion wedding.

Everyone in the known universe knew that, *except* The Duchess, who is usually screaming, "MOB!" at 50 percent of the dresses that come down the runway.

So what the fuck, Michael? LA air fogging up your brain?

I'd really enjoy seeing Irina and Nicolas unsheath the claws and have a go at each other. That would add some major drama to this ho-hum season.

TLo, the Half-Breed video! You guys are too much!

Two things. First, what was so different about the fabric Shirin was working with that she couldn't die it? Wasn't Gordana's dress made from the acetate lining?

And second, didn't Bob Mackie do Cher's costumes on her show? Very timely visual in light of next weeks show! I can't wait!!! Definitely more than just make a pretty dress!


Frogponder said, "As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?"

Yes, there is. Take a good look at what Irina made, and then buy the exact opposite.

MoHub wrote
>>I think this would be a great opportunity for a new PR challenge: Design dresses/outfits for women "of a certain age" (I'd go with over 50) that are age-appropriate without being matronly.<<

Excellent idea. And really, so Lifetime appropriate. Not sure what their demographic is but I'm betting Mother of the Bride ages are crowding the other age groups out.

I don't even care about the dresses now. Cher looked freaking amazing. I do miss the irony-free 70's. My favorite part of the clip is when she takes a break in her beyond obvious lip-syncing to pull a hair out of her eye.

Anyways, I was glad Shirin turned it out. She did a good job especially considering all the factors against her. And, as you said she deserves credit for gracefully surviving this challenge. Remember when Christian almost got Auf'd for having that obnoxious kid in the Prom challenge?

"Shirin mentioned she could not do a good dye job on the fabric" -- it's not a matter of a good dye job -- polyester simply won't hold dye so she truly was stuck with white...while i agree the dress wasn't all that different from what she started out with, i loved the stitching - and that's not easy to pull off. it was beautifully even. yes, there were a few stitched-over spots where it was thicker than the rest, but it could have been a disaster. did it belong in the top 3? probably not, but it really was a cute dress.

irina's on the other hand was really unattractive. i was trying to figure out why i didn't like it, and tlo nailed it -- those sleeves (actually the whole bodice) was very MOB and unflattering on a woman with a very nice figure. i just don't get the judges' irina love....

Well I think it was Irina that was over praised by the judges. The original gown ( total Princess Diana) doesn't look all that shiny to me. Irina must have used the lining too. The color of the lace overlay is good but the short kimono sleeve isn't flattering.It does still have a bridal air about it Mother of or 2nd weddingish.

Shirin didn't do so much transforming, but she did do a good job of re-grouping after a total freak out. I think she deseved her 3rd place rank.

Oh, and TLo, forgot to say THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting "Half Breed." You had me at the superimposed flames in front of the totem pole. Beyond fabulous.

Shirin's dress was cute and wearable, but ultimately boring.

Irina's dress made me laugh. I was like, is she serious? She talks all that smack and then sends THAT thing down the runway?

As I said in a previous post, I thought Irina's dress was one of the five worst. I'll grant that it was well made (and the color is pretty) but it was dowdy and ugly and on that basis should at best have been in the middle. I liked Shirin's dress but as others have noted, aside from the stitching it was basically the same dress as the one with which she started and on that basis one wonders how she made it into the top - except for the lousy designs others put forward.

I liked Shirin's more than Irina's, but yeah, both were overpriased.

Irina's really was very dowdy. The judges should know age appropriate =/= dowdy. Definitely not top three material. I'm also always irked by Irina's uneven nostrils - either an unfortunate gift of genetics, or more likely, result of a so-so nose job. Her nostrils are a wacky as Teri Hatcher's, and I cannot not look at them when she's on the screen.

Shirin could have had a much better output had she bought fabric instead of the peacock feathers that ended up mostly unused anyway. Had she not had the meltdown, but decided on a more middle-groundish idea from the get go, it could have been fabulous. (Though I don't blame her that she didn't get the perfect idea from the start, and she really did have difficult parameters to work with). She was lucky that Tim Gunn brought the fabulosity on her behalf - I really liked their interaction. I do like Shirin a lot anyway, so no complaints from me.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw the BS in this judging!

I disagree, Irina's dress didn't look like mother of the bride. It looked like a shortened '60's caftan made up in a fancy fabric totally inappropriate to the style.

Sixty four thumbs down.

Shirin at least did something completely original. I loved her stitching -- woo hoo, what a nifty design! She actually centered the swirls nicely and somehow managed to keep the lines perfectly parallel. And to think that she freehanded it! That takes a good eye, excellent skill, and a good sense of design. Too bad the basic shape of the gown wasn't much to work with, because this effect would have been totally smashing on a different type of fabric and a slightly different silhouette. Considering that there was just about zero leeway to remake the dress, I cut her lots of slack.

Sixty four thumbs up.

70s man. Lordy lord.

I thought Shirin's little dress was cute enough, but when the client was yammering on about Cher and Shirin was gazing hopelessly at that little strip of satin, I was shouting "HOT PANTS!" at the TV. A little M. Knight style kootchie set would have made her little girl tranny sing.

This whole season has been all about the overpraise. I don't know about other people but I am finding myself underwhelmed week after week.

Irina - Totally mother of the bride, and I was shocked that the Duchess didn't call her on that. Boobs melting - ROTFLMAO!

Shirin - Great screencap of her. Agree with you on the wonky hem and straps, but still loved it.


I kept trying to figure out who Irina reminded me of, and I think I've got it. She strikes me as a clone of Daniela on TFS: young, pretty, and talented but full of herself and disdainful of others. In addition, she seems to share the same judge-lust Daniela inspired.

The most recent offering reminded me very much of Daniela's figure-flaw-hiding Ethel Mertz outfit.

I am just so damn happy you posted the Half-Breed video, I hardly know what to do with myself. Besides sing...

"HALF-BREED, that's all I ever heard..."


BTW - I'd like to request "Dark Lady" for your next post. :)

I think Shirin def deserved her place in the top because she respectfully stood up to her client, designed a flattering dress with very little to work with, and the stitching was a very creative solution.

I had a wonderful non-MOB moment while shopping for something to wear to a wedding (I wasn't the MOB, just another relative). I tried on 10 of Irina-type dresses, getting more depressed with each one. Blessedly, a salesgirl (probably in her dewy 20s) came up to me, sweetly said, "I think you're looking at clothes too old for you" (I was about 52 at the time). She steered me to something much younger looking. Bought it, then went to Starbucks and brought her back a treat, not only the ego boost, but a reality check that 50+ doesn't mean cheap lace and frumpy styling.

Didn't I see Irina's dress on Pam's mom at The Office wedding last week?

Irina's model was wearing a knock-off of Princess Di's wedding gown - hysterical.

What was with that slip under Irina's dress? The hem was too high at the front (or it was pulled up with the sash at the waist?) and the back of the slip showed between the flappy sleeves. Tacky tacky!

I was happy to see Gordana win because I feel she's been unfairly criticized in the past but I was surprised she was given a pass for using the only lining.

OK, what drugs did they give that horse? Also, it may have been my screen, but the horse's face looked pixillated for about half of the video, like it's identity was being protected.

Cher is awesome!!!!

TLo is awesome!!!


As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?

I guess not.
I liked the damn dress, my husband thought she looked grat in it.
I'm of a "certain age" and refuse to wear sleeveless, tight and cut up to there dresses.
Luckily I've also stopped caring what younger women (or anyone else) thinks about the clothes I wear so bring on the MOB dresses, cardigans and capris.

"First, what was so different about the fabric Shirin was working with that she couldn't die it? " - i'm pretty sure shirin said her fabric was polyester -- different from acetate. acetate is a very cheap imitation of silk (and it looks cheap...), but it will take dye pretty well. polyester just doesn't -- at all - i've tried it.

an yes, bob mackie did all of cher's costumes for years. all of the outrageous oscar costumes plus her show were bob mackie. he also did marie osmond (go figure). and the carol burnett show....

The only thing I like about Irina's dress was the color. Other than that it was very mother of the bride looking. Shirin's was a middle of the pack look.

@frogponder and Julie the Vintage Goddess:

I don't get the hangup older woman have about their arms. My mom has this same hangup and was fraught while looking for an appropriate gown with sleeves for my brother's wedding (which was a formal event). In the end, she wore a strapless navy dress which looked GREAT on her, and didn't bring attention to her arms or whatever she was worried about. Arms get softer and a little bigger with age, I understand, but it seems to me sleeves not only make one look older and heavier, they draw attention to the arms, whereas instead attention was drawn, in the strapless dress, to the collarbones and her face. I dunno.

Irina's dress: TLo read my mind with the melting boob comment! I thought to myself, "they won't overlook that horrible titreatment on TLo."

Shirin: I still don't know why she wasted her wad on all those feathers instead of just grabbing some fabric for even a little shrug jacket or something, perhaps trimmed with what she cut off the hem. I dunno. Wish the stitching had been a bit brighter or more contrasty or something - watching on Lifetime's website, I couldn't even see the detail! So I was looking forward to the screenshots.
Am surprised there was no screenshot of Charlie's face when she was asking for the cut hemline - she was making so many silly faces there!

Yeah, Shirin's was over-praised. But considering the rest of the group, I'm ok with her in the top 3 just from a "pulled-it-out-of-her-ass-at-the-last-minute" standpoint. And I kinda like her.

I absolutely HATED Irritatina's dress and I was stunned it wasn't in the bottom. It didn't make me think M.O.B., it's perfect for the Mother of the Groom -- wherein your only tasks are to wear beige and show up.

The stiff kimono sleeves were the worst element, but the shiny-over-shiny, beige-on-beige is EXACTLY like a dress I've worn before...
In 1987, in a community theater production of "Little Me." It was a bridesmaid dress from the JCPenney Outlet. I believe it was also 100% acetate. And even though I was young & poor at the time, I still knew it was a cheap piece of crap.

"Age-appropriate" is a nice way of saying "dowdy."

Oh yes, thank you guys! The point of this challenge was to create a dress to celebrate a new chapter in the client's life, right? What woman of any age would want to do so while wearing a Mother of The Bride dress?

And thanks for that Half-Breed clip. Awesome.

I must admit that the Irina dress looked to me as though the table runner had run off on its own.

David Dust Can you hear me singing a duet with you? 'Cause that song is going FULL VOLUME in my office.

Ah... it's good to be the boss!

Shirin using thread was a great idea, but that's the only positive thing that can be said about that dress. The model was worried about looking "like a linebacker" and she did,because of how the useless sash was placed.

Irina's was mediocre in the giant world of fashion, though one of the better ones this episode.

Whether it's the designers themselves or the nature of the challenges, the result is the same: there has not been one truly beautiful or truly interesting piece this year. In fact, there are more creative and fashion-forward pieces in a single episode of past seasons than in this whole season put together. (Example off the top of my head: Korto, Judy Noodles, and Jerrel in the car parts challenge.)

And what's more is the judges actually praising these mediocrities, like they did this week!

I know we've said it a million times, but this season is horrible.

Irina has a karmic comeuppance coming at her and I can't wait. LOVE Cher, thank you for putting that video up!

Kudos to Shirin. I don't know what the hell I would've done to transform that dress. I really like that she's able to steer clients away from being too crazy with their request without being a jerk about it. And under reality TV conditions, too. That's skill right there.

And flawless skin tone or not, I'd like to see Irina get knocked down a peg or two--those sleeves really ruined the look.

I'm sorry, pretty color or not Irina's was ugly and Shirin's looked like something that I could pick up at any JC Penny or somewhere similar. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing

I love Shirin but I thought she had the loser edit... even after I saw the dress! I was so sad, saying "she's going home! No!" I can't believe they liked the dress more than Carol Hannah's (and I'm not even a CH fan!). I think she just got really lucky that there was pure crap on the runway that night in the bottom 3... it looked like the same dress but with stitching! I could have done that transformation... it looked like it took an hour. =( And the hem in back was terrible. I was so surprised when the blonde said it was well finished. But I'm glad she was safe because she's my pick for final 3!

GIVE THEM A 2 DAY CHALLENGE for the love . . . .

I have turned into a broken record.
But, honestly, longer challenges would give these poor devils some time to actually use some skill and judgement.

oh, and I LOVE that Cher song! I had never heard it before (I grew up sheltered) and it really resonated... I have a ton of "half-breed" friends and that's how they feel as well. It sucks that not a whole lot has changed in the attitudes toward mixed race people in the last 30 years. Hopefully Obama changes that a bit! =)

Completely agree about Shirin's dress, the client seemed bitchy at first but luckily she realized her vision was going to be a hot tranny mess.

The color of Irina's was nice but not on the client, who had such a similar skin tone. And it would have looked better either on someone much older (mother of the bride) or younger with shorter sleeves and a fuller, shorter flirty skirt. Meh.

10/12/09 11:49 AM

I was amazed that Michael didn't do a "Mother of the Bride" reference...

Absolutely. Perhaps the dress looked better in person. "melting boobs" indeed. It was just unnecessarily matronly - NOT what I'd want to epitomize some post-divorce renewal.

I was hoping for a screen shot of Sir Tim's reaction when Irina said (about dyeing the fabric) "100% acetate!" But, on reflection, you could only have marginally improved on the entertainment value of his sympathetic cringe.

Cher. Alex! said "What the hell was wrong with the Seventies?" It was the post-Mad Men advertising culture meeting the baby boomers' urge to change the world/expand their horizons as all those baby boomers suddenly were growing up, becoming consumers and needing to make a living. Not to mention Vietnam, Richard Nixon, and eventually stagflation in the mix as well.

All in all, a respectable decade compared to the 80's . . .

"As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?"

You know what? People who would sneer at you for wearing something MOB are probably going to sneer at you no matter what you wear. My future MIL wore a gorgeous strapless gown with matching shrug for her middle child's wedding... it was very MOB but because the color and silhouette looked so great on her nobody mentioned any MOB moments... just how great she looked! So, my advice: wear whatever you like and all the sneerers be damned!

It was this episode that made me a fan of Irina. I really haven't been pulling for anyone yet except Epperson.

Okay, did anyone WANT to see a Cher/Half-Breed costume on that runway?

It sure would've been fun.

Though I did like Shirin's detailing and out of a bunch of crap (two excepted), it was one of the better ones.

Irina - lest said the better. I thought the color was ugly, as well. Even the model wasn't happy.

Oh Cher. *love*

Ugh. Irina's is totally Susan Boyle. HATED it.


It took a lot o' nerve (and confidence and hand-eye coordination) for Shirin to sew that black thread on a finished dress. There must be some out-takes of her messing up and having to rip out a few lines.

Shirin's dress was very cute. She did a great job with her limited supplies. I liked how she kept her POV even when the model demanded something outrageous. Her dress being sellable at any women's clothing store is a GOOD thing.

Irina's dress is fine. The color is fine. The sleeves could have been better. Otherwise nicer than the middle of the road safeouts- except perhaps Carol Hannah's. Perhaps. Irina's dress is something that would flatter me better and that I would feel more comfortable in.

For the lace dress, I immediately thought "mother of the bride". Not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's the look you're going for. It would be a very pretty mother wedding dress, actually.

How sad that these were the second and third place dresses. This season is a complete waste.

I think Shirin DID transform the dress, and she did it by ONLY cutting it short, changing the straps, and stitching the pattern. Little changes made a big difference, yet you could still see the dress that it was... which is what they harped at others for NOT doing.

And the bust of Shirin's dress fit perfectly. You don't see that very often on the PR runway.

What's wrong with a burning totem pole?

I agree with you about these two. They were both nice but over-praised. I don't think Shirin transformed that dress but I'll give her a pass because the result was good. And I was definitely getting a mother of the bride vibe from Irina's dress. Pretty but middle of the pack.

Thank you so much for posting Half-Breed. I had no idea what they were talking about through the whole episode, and the reality is even better than what I had imagined.


I was absolutely certain that lace monstrosity would end up in the bottom three. A MOB from the 80's, fussy and overwrought. A frump frock. Not a touch of sex or elegance.

I could feel women all over the world cringe at the first sight of that dress and think, "That's OK for MOM, but I'd never wear it." Women of 70 would think that. Maybe Irina just didn't know what to do with a mature, but still lovely, client.

Yes, she dyed the fabric a tolerable color (though a bad choice for her client) and a starting point of 100% acetate was unfortunate, but there was so much ... poof and shine and styleless "pretty" thrown at it. The sleeves were just the worst part of a whole lot of bad decisions. Can't blame the draping or cut on the fabric, that's all Irina's call.

The lace over shiny concept could easily have produced a more form-fitting, elegant sheath, classic, with one single touch of romance, say a neckline lace drape.

My test: would you want to run into your ex wearing it? Not a chance. He'd mistake you for his own mother. I would wear Epperson's long before I'd ever wear Irina's. Epperson's was a statement, even if a loud messy one. This was no more than a polite cough.

Shirin managed to produce a look with what she had. Middle of the pack for any other challenge. Tim deserved major kudos for keeping her from an auf. She should have thanked him from the runway.

Except for Gordana's well-deserved win, I totally hated this episode, even though it was one of the better challenge ideas. Sad.

10/12/09 1:04 PM I kept trying to figure out who Irina reminded me of, and I think I've got it. She strikes me as a clone of Daniela on TFS: young, pretty, and talented but full of herself and disdainful of others. In addition, she seems to share the same judge-lust Daniela inspired.

The most recent offering reminded me very much of Daniela's figure-flaw-hiding Ethel Mertz outfit.

Oh honey, please don't open that can of worms.

Grozirina is irritating, but Daniella was a fucking bitch.

Is no one else amazed that the wavy lines Shirin stitched look perfectly parallel?

Is that a hard thing to do? It seems like it would be!

Shirin is going to heva a hell of a time this week (foreshadowing for TLOUNGE?).
"Dowdy" is the mature way of saying "Frumpity frump...FRRR to the UMP".

I swear I saw Shirin with some fabric when Tim was checking up on her... I think she bought feathers, a bit of a fabric, and some trim, none of which she ended up really using on the garment.. D:

I would give it all up to look like Half Breed era Cher. Don't lie, we all would!

Oh how I love the un-PC days of the 70's....Plains tribal headdress, flaming Inuit totem pole and Cher's half-Cherokee in a white shiny bikini....gotta love it!!

I agree on next request - "Dark Lady"!!!

This challenge was such a HUGE disappointment. I think all of these designers are technically good but none of them show the real innovation we've seen in the past. Seriously...none of these people would think to create some of the really imaginative garments we've seen in past seasons of PR. Not one of these designers take risks. They kicked those people off already.

Anyway, back to these two. Why the hell didn't Whineypants Shirin take apart the dress to really see what she had to work with and buy more FABRIC to create a new look? Hell, buy peacock printed or peacock inspired fabric if she was hung up on peacocks. Something. She just can't think on her feet. The stitching was okay for a save but she did nothing to the dress itself except hem it and put more strips on the existing strap and empire seam. She could have worked with Charlie by taking her crazy ideas and proposing alternatives. She justs sits there with her jaw open.

My favorite line of the ep (besides the Duchess' loving a "half-breed moment") was Charlie saying to Shirin something about how she was wondering what Shirin had been doing all day. Since her dress looked like the same original piece of crap.

Irina's....I didn't see this ep right away and my 68-year old mother called me and said she liked the winner but there was this horrible MOB monstrosity that came in second. Yes, Momma knows best. The only thing I liked was the color. Yuck. Why did she do melting breasts and flapping chicken sleeves? A fitted sleeve or cap sleeve would have been nice in lace. This woman wasn't old at all and she looked 10 years older in this dress. UGH. Especially in Hollyweird, land of Botox.

Dr. Whitfield's should have been no. 2 and you could have tossed a coin over these two for the number 3 spot because PP's was from HELL.

PR, give these designers more than one day challenges. This is getting old and responsible for the dreck we've been seeing so much of!!!

Is no one else amazed that the wavy lines Shirin stitched look perfectly parallel?

Is that a hard thing to do? It seems like it would be!

No. The original line would be the hardest thing to get exactly right. The rest of the lines were exactly the width of the presser foot of the machine. You follow the original line along the left edge of the foot while the machine stiches the next line. But I would bet she pulled out the original like a couple of times to get it right.

What the whaty what? No choreography in the Cher video?

I agree with both assessments.

Eh, Zippy, even with the presser foot and/or lines on the machine, it can be tricky to do that so tidily. Well, it is for ME, anyway. I am now facing the potentiality that I'm not as awesome as I previously thought....

TED: no horses on the Macy's accessories wall

That really made me laugh! Thanks

And thanks for the Cher clip - Wow!
I'dve paid good money to see Shirin send Charlie down the runway in a beaded befringed bikini with huge feathered headdress, tho.

"From bride to Mother-of-the-Bride"...that's exactly what I said!

Those sleeves were ridiculous. a little cap sleeve would have done wonders.

Why couldn't PP get the Cher client??!! He totally would have done it, it would have been a hoot and he probably would have been auf'ed for it.

Just have to say that I loved Charlie. In fact all the women who took part in this episode were such good sports.

Can I just say that "mother of the bride" is one of those horribly insulting things that people say about frumpy dresses - and it makes me wonder, why don't they have a Mother of the Bride challenge?

Frogponder said, "As the mother of three 20-somethings I am terrified at the prospect of their weddings. Is there anything any woman, of a certain age, can wear without being sneered at as a MOB?"

Diane von Furstenberg wears her own designs. I'd go with that.

All this talk about Charlie reminds me of another vestige of Alex!'s favorite decade (and mine...)

Anyone else notice that when Heidi said to Irina that she had first pick, Irina laughed like "This is so stupid - I can't believe I have to pick one of you lowly peons and participate in this challange!"

Girl is full of herself.

All the other deisigners were very respectful when they chose.

Know this is redundant but want to throw in my vote for this being a very underwhelming season. Often, as the designs head down the runway, I debate which is the best, feeling like 2 or 3 of them could easily win...this challenge felt like the lesser of many evils....that MOB dress looked scratchy, limp, tired, like it had that cheap nasty smell of doll clothes - ugh!

oh dear - did any of y'all notice the uga-ugah tribal chant in the halfbreed background? Mortifying.

Re: Irina's Dress.

Make the hem a bit longer and add some rhinestones to the sleeves, and you've a dress that my 68-year-old filipino mom and her friends all have in their closet.

Oh, thank you for this post, gentlemen. I hated Irina's dress. I thought I must be the only one, after the judges' praise.

It was fug, and made a middle-aged woman look even older, which, honestly, is far worse than making a model look older, Mrs. Samuel.

Thank you! I thought Irina's dress was so mother-of-the-bride, in a very bad way.

Irina's model looked devasted and Shirin's model also did not get what she wanted. Do the judges not care about a client's happiness?

I kind of agree with the judges - I thought Irina was pretty - but I while I did not like the sleeves I did like the fact that there were sleeves. I really am sick of nothing having sleeves.

Pants and sleeves apparently the hardest things to make?

This season is so annoying because it's no longer about the designers talent. The producers are totally missing the point of the show. Heidi loves Irina, so she can do no wrong. Heidi was pissed that Epperson missed the point of the challenge, which made Heidi mad so he's auf'd.

I think I am most sickened by how this season has lingered on Heidi's opinion. She is the only one providing continuity. That's a real issue.

I just hope they don't piss me off so bad that I stop watching the show alltogether.....

How about a challange based on designing something inspired by Cher.

Thanks for the video!
By the way, Elizabeth, in the 70's that was considered choreography.

Loved the comment about the filipino grandma dress.

I've read some more of the comments and really don't understand the strong negative opinions about Irina's. As one of the judges said as the "model" walked the runway - the styling, the dress, etc looked classy and sophisticated. I get the feeling there is a fair amounb of projection going on.

I had also previously posted that Shirin was going to have to eat her words about not wanting to create something flashy or Cher-like when they showed th epreview with Bob Mackie. I hope they show her expression when she finds out.

I don't understand why Tim (or anyone here) likes that colour on Irina's dress. I actually like low-saturation and subtle colours and I still think that one looks drab. It probably doesn't help that it's on that dress; on something a bit less "oh noes I has fat arms" (you know, like something I might buy) and a bit more "check me out, I still look good", maybe I would like it better.

I like the stitching on Shirin's dress a lot; it's a very interesting pattern. I'm not going to say she made the most original dress ever or anything but I don't have any problem understanding why she was in the top.

yeah teitio I did notice that. It has, in fact, inspired my Halloween costume. I am going to dress as a squaw and tape that chant and play it when I answer the door to trixertreaters. I do hope I offend someone.

seems like there was so much emphasis on the "lovely color" that they judges couldn't see how ugly and unflattering those sleeve are.

Makes you wonder what's behind their eyeballs...


While Shirin didn't make drastic changes in her client's gown, the ones that she did make created a new and attractive design, and I give her props for pulling it off after her panic attack.

I am still surprised at the love the judges showed Irina's design. It screamed MOB, and those batwing sleeves weren't doing her client any favors. Irina does seem to be high up in the judges' eyes.

Once again, we got a "Make a pretty dress" challenge. Meh.
Hopefully Bob Mackie and Xtina Aguilera shook the designers up.

Both MEH!

Let's talk about the Cher video instead - that was totally brilliant putting it in the post!! Do we get a homage to Cher in Bob Mackie next week?

I thought this dress looked like a bridesmaid's gown from the early 80s. All it needed was a huge bow above the rear.

I was not a fan of Irina's dress at all. Very frumpy. I wouldn't even say mother of the bride, because, well, there's no way my mom would wear that. Pretty color though.

I actually find it very easy to sew parallel lines, especially if they are close to each other. You just have to pay attention to the position of the presser foot on the machine. Also, there's a super easy cheat to help you: you put masking tape along the sewing machine from the needle down and over the front to help you guide the fabric in perfectly to stay parallel. Easy peasy! When I take my sewing machine in for repairs, the shop guys always point to my masking tape guides and say, "Oh, you REALLY sew."

It's not really as impressive a skill as people think. I quilt -- all the hordes of middle-aged quilters can sew parallel lines like nobody's business.

THANK YOU. Irina's dress had a gorgeous color, but THAT'S IT. The top was terribly unflattering. I am sick and tired of her being praised to high hell. The only time I've been impressed by her work was the newspaper challenge -- and even then I honestly thought the construction of the back was so poor that she might not win. She's one of the better competitors, but lately, she's doesn't always deserve it. Once again, Carol Hannah gets screwed out of a win (or a place in the top 3) by Irina.

Irina is very talented,she's making it difficult to root for her, so so full of herself. As so many said, total bad mother of the bride dress, would have been better with a shorter sleeve and different neckline.
I really thought Shirin's idea of sewing the design was pretty genius. Not too sure whate else she could have done with the dress and she had limited material and the client was crazytown. She was determined not to go home over this, showed alot of innovation I thought, most would have gotten canned and turned out a god awful feather covered nightmare.

I'm soo glad you guys said the same thing I said about Irina a few episodes back, she acts like her shit doesn't stink, like she's the best thing since sliced bread. I'll give her the newspaper challenge, but this bronzy lace number does not make her look good. The color doesn't even look good with her skin. And those sleeves are like dumbo's ears.


Irina gets the nod from Heidi because like is attracted to like.

Bitchy pretty girl APPROVES OF bitchy pretty girl.

Why is everyone so surprised by this?

Heidi has always had her pets, and it's always been obvious. it's just getting obnoxious this season.

As far as this season's crop of questionable taste designers, they've always been there. Although not as saturated as this season!

Bradley didn't even know who Cher was! The horror! Stephen couldn't vision anything apart from a bridal gown, Lupe? Really, Lupe? I could go on.

Irina's dress was terrrible. Those sleeves scream "I've given up on life."

I do not know why so many people are complaining about Irina's creation. It is a lovely dress. It turned out a beautiful color. She transformed the original wedding gown into a lovely frock that can be worn by many women. It is appropriate to the lady's age. It has sleeves- which add wearability for a lot of women. It is well executed and very tasteful. Please do not let Irina's personality- which I find much more palatable than Kenley's, since Irina seems more competitive than truly caustic- influence whom you are voting for.

Shirin also changed the back of the dress. It had straps across it in the original wedding gown. I think it was stupid to stick one of the designers with what was basically a no-change-possible wedding dress. Irina's made me puke. So what if she got it to be champagne colored? It was wasnt' a Dye Acetate challenge. The dress looks like some of the gowns that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower wore in the mid-1950s.

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