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Ripping the Collections: Althea - Part 1

Step up to the plate, Althea!

Upon our secondthirdfourthfifthsixth viewing of this collection, we really started warming up to it. She was smart to do sportswear because it allows you a wider range of items to play with, but the overall effect of the collection just wasn't "wow" enough to get her the win. Still, there was a lot of good stuff here. We hated the styling for the most part and we think she suffered quite a bit for having an aesthetic so close to Irina's. That's not her fault and that certainly doesn't mean she was copying her, but it just didn't help her that there was another collection in the finale that looked quite a bit like hers except with more "wow" added.

Let's start the show.

Love the sweater; hate everything else. That pleather (EDIT: it's leather) is cheap-looking no matter what you do with it but the fact that it's so poorly fitted in the bust (no shock there) didn't help the look.

Frankly, she should never have shown such a plain look at all, but if she was hell bent on it, she shouldn't have put it so early in the show when people are looking to be impressed. This looks like a dance leotard.

LOVE this look, which was her last-minute 13th look. It's chic and cool and modern. Had she walked twelve other looks down the runway at this level, she could have easily won it. Very wearable and fashionable at the same time. She does jackets very well.

Also love the distressed sweaters. It's not a look she pioneered but she does it well. We also love the jacket and pants, but not in this fabric. Too shiny.

Love this look too, but it's a little too early in the show to be flirting with repetitiveness. Great jacket. We're not completely sold on the silhouette of the pants, but she definitely loves that saddlebag effect that only 21-year-old models can pull off. Could have used some color here though.

That sweater is TO DIE. It's the entire look, really. That and the boots.

Love this sweater too. Unfortunately, the pants come close to ruining the look. That high waist might have worked if it weren't for the cheap-looking pleather leather. And the fit is off.

We get what she was going for with that sweater, but we're not really loving it. Again, the cheap-looking lower half isn't helping the upper half.

[Photos: - Video: YouTube/myLifetime]

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Individually, I like a lot of these looks, especially the sweater parts. Together, they seem a little underwhelming.

I don't know. To me, this collection looked like the runway version of Althea's personal style: slouchy, sloppy, and just not that interesting.

The jackets are nice, it's true. But I can't really get over how much I hate the ripped sweaters and the styling.

Looks dated. Very Flashdance. I can't understand why Nina thinks it's so modern.

Yay -- let the ripping begin!

I was surprisingly impressed by her collection; that is, overall it was much better than I expected, though there were several pieces I did not like.

My fave of this bunch is the white outfit.

Do NOT like the 13th look. Don't care if the Duke of Orange says a million women would like to own those pants. I would not.

Still, good job, Althea.

Pleather... why?

Curious about the pleather - was it a vegan choice or a cost choice? Other contestants have definitely shown leather (if not, their pleather was much higher quality). If it was a vegan/vegetarian choice, it's a shame she didn't find a higher quality pleather or a different fabric - some kind of a coated cotton? that still could have provided the hard look without the Contempo Casuals feel.

The jacket on the 13th look actually looks less pleatherish than all of the other items. And agreed, 12 other outfits like the 13th would have been a winner.

Love most of these looks!

Argh. The false eyelashes on some of the models are killing me.

I liked the ripped knit tanks and the over-sized sweaters, but little else overall. The styling and presentation was just so bland. I'm reminded of Kors' quote about Logan. These are clothes not fashion.

Love the top half of the 13th look and the black sweater. I hate the pleather and baggy pleated pants, but that's just me.

Spanky, I wondered that, too. Why not just use the real stuff?

I don't love this collection and don't love the sloppy sweaters.

This was a mixed bag. I love, love, LOVE the dark sweater as well as the little jacket with the 13th look.

What I can't get with is what seems to be her pants aesthetic: Whether it's hammer pant variation or the tight, ill fitting pant, to me that it what most often throws the look off. And that first sweater just looks sloppily done.

Even though there are some good or interesting elements, it seems indecisive - like she was anticipating and not trusting her own voice.

The collection she did at this past September's Fashion Week was head & shoulders above this one. So either she has grown immensely since the season ended, or just being set free from whatever pressures & restrictions the show put on her let her fly, and she put together an excellent collection. There were aspects of this collection referenced in the September one, but it was just more joyous and cohesive. And, most importantly, it looked directed and commercial. I think she'll do well with it.


Jo said....
"To me, this collection looked like the runway version of Althea's personal style: slouchy, sloppy, and just not that interesting."

Thank you, Jo. This is what I've been saying all season. And forgive my bitchiness toward Althea, but she was the one designer who week after week, crafted extremely cheap-looking clothes remarkably similar to her own personal style of dress.

I'm not a copycat theorist, but the similarities between her collection and the kinds of looks produced by Irina is astounding. To a degree, I can understand the two women bonding and working so closely together in the physical sense, but Althea's collection just screams, "inspired by Irina!" On the positive side, she does a mean distressed treatment on sweaters. As many PR6 judges were quoted this season as saying, "I would, like, totally wear that!"

- edina -

I disagree with your assessment, TLo. I think this looks really cheap and tatty. That last sweater is horrific. And the pleather... there are simply no words.

Some cute things, but these are just basic clothes. Big yawn.

And WHAT was MK smoking? I don't know ONE woman lusting after silk harem pants!!

Who the hell wants to wear such long sleeves on their sweaters? They would drive me absolutely bonkers!! As a knitter, I'd be unraveling the yarn to make another!!

Modern is not the word I would use to describe the collection but hip certainly is. MK was right on when he said that he saw a lot of the street in her collection. I think it has a very youthful, very grungy vibe. The pleather is HORRENDOUS! HORRENDOUS! GAWD AWFUL!
Still, somehow, it works for me because it showcases the sweaters.
I really rhink Althea has a style that she can develop andmake it mor, for lack of a better word, luxe.
Clearly she had not a clue as to how to put on a runway show, and the styling. I kind of get it, trying to make the models look like a low budge 50's/60's scifi movie but it just didn't translate well at all. It just looks low budget without any of the kitsch.

Her 13th look was by far the best look. Loved it. The sweaters were great.

I don't understand the use of pleather.

She needed just a little more contrast or something in this collection to make it a bit more interesting.

not my style, but good job Althea. She suffered by not having a WOW look, but good work.

Upon second look it really is a very strong collection. She is much more on trend with a more modern esthetic than the other girls. I think she'll do quite well.

Wish she had been able to pull off the win.

Sorry Althea, but I expected a lot more than: Sweater Knit-Monster, Jacket, Sweatpants, Cardigan, Sweatpants, Sweatpants, Sweatpants and Sweatpants.

I have to admit that the knits were dramatic... until the sleeves were so constricted that it seems you can't put your hand through it... Especially the black one! It was very structured, which I love, but the sleeve looked like a size too huge for the model. Moreover, the black-ness of it made any detail undeterable.

By the way, I hated how the first sweater moved down the runway. The flinging of the sleeves made it look cheap killer-ghosty-I-give-up-naming-it-esque.

I do agree that the Jackets and Cardigans were great but seriously, it's pretty mundane. Plus, seeing the same look rendered in what, 7 times!?! of different colours paired differently doesn't help AT ALL.

Gosh, I'm so harsh today.

1. I get long long sleeves - but these look accidental. Surprise the bust looks pucker-y
and in the second pic, it the model "dressing right"? fourth pic - the collar looks like it is already fraying.

2 Ever since I first saw this I have been trying to figure out what is going on the strap on the model's left side - is it torn?

3. aaarrggh - I HATE the baggy pants that get tight below the knee - MALVIN!!! ANd no closure and it looks wrong in combination.
(I don't get how anyone loves THIS?)

4. When looking at this earlier in the season I thought those pants would be Logan's. Another jacket with no closures? and the neck/placket is odd

5. Not awful - but in addition to yet ANOTHER jacket without a closure - these pants are too close to the baggy to below the knee and then tight look of her other diaper pants.
Insane crotch award #15?

6. FINALLY something I like.

7. A rise that long just in not flattering. The tank looks better thatn most of hers - but are you calling THAT a sweater?

8. Like the shape of the skirt, but agree the fabric looks a little cheap. meh - on the top.

Did I miss something - because I counted 8 not 13 - or did you not review them all?

Jo pretty much stole the words out of my mouth.

Also, I feel really sorry for model 6. The way her lips are, the lighting gives her a mustache effect. It bothers me to no end. It's not HER fault, but shouldn't a makeup artist be able to see that and fix something like that?

Thank youse.

I think Althea's collection was more similar to Carol Hannah's than Irina's.

1.This sweater is cutein design, but it looks "pilly" to me, like it is a much worn and loved comfy garment.
Me no likey pleather either.

2. This girls had 6 months to work on these collections, right?

3. The 13th look has the most work in it. That is kind of weird. It's still so ordinary looking to me. What am I missing?

4. Looks like stretch satin, which I don't love.
I do wear stockings with ladders in them, but I don't buy them that way.

5.Same as #3, but black. This model has the smallest waist ever. I love her.

6. This one is the strongest. I love the sweater.

7. Same as #4 without a jacket.

8. Disllike the black straps on the flash dance sweater. They look like add ons. Unfortunately they show up alot in the 2nd 1/2 of the show.

I've warmed up to Althea's collection since initially looking at it weeks ago, but I still don't think it was that great.

My main problem is that it just looks like higher-end retail stuff. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but Althea doesn't exactly have a signature aesthetic beyond slightly cheap and poorly made casual clothes.

It's kind of like Irina and Jillian used knits in wearable ways, but still came across as actual designers with a point of view design identity. Althea, not so much.

I hate to say it because there was an awful lot of work put into this, but this collection came across as a'ight. I did like the tan dress Tanisha wore at the end and she worked it with her fiercest walk to date.

loved her pants/sweater/jacket outfits, and hadn't really realized until seeing them here that she placed them all three in a row... not a wise choice, eh?

that and seeing these stills really shows off the knitwear to its best advantage. that big blue number really is impressive.

Oh yeah - Her dresses/skirts which were so tight at the bottom that the models could not walk in them.

That is not JUST construction - that is poor design.

"edinamonsoon said: And forgive my bitchiness toward Althea, but she was the one designer who week after week, crafted extremely cheap-looking clothes remarkably similar to her own personal style of dress."

That's true, but there is a very big market for that. Especially in this current financial climate, the young H&M look (& price point) is selling. People are looking for cheap. She's not reinventing the wheel but she's tapping into a market & demographic that she's a part of. It's not a runway wow-er, but runway wows don't necessarily lead to profitability. Her work is more mass market.

So who knows, she might end up ahead of the game.


Not only a dull collection, but I didn't think her models did a very good job of walking her vibe.

Of what we see, I like the two hammerpants looks the best. No way in hell I would (or could) wear them, but the overall look is very nice.

Other than that - MEH.

I hated this styling when Althea herself wore it in one episode, and I hate it just as much on the runway. If her entire collection was a good as her best pieces, it could have been really nice. It wasn't though, so it ended up looking pretty mediocre.

To me, Althea has execution issues that plague almost all of her looks. Things look puckery or sloppily closed. It's hard to think that things with not perfect construction would be walking the runway.


I hate the distressed sweaters. They just look like homeless crackhead wear. I do really love the first sweater and the off the shoulder black and white one. But all the pleather is tacky and not well executed.

I like the makeup but the headbands are lame. So excited we are starting the collection ripping portion of the season! Thanks TLO for all your hard work.

Having viewed the photos in February, and then several times after this, I was surprised by how okay I thought the show was when viewed on my television screen. (I flip-flopped responses to this and Carol Hannah's collection.) Nothing spectacular, and not win-worthy, but better than I previously thought. Having said this, I still don't get the relation between this collection and Althea's inspiration. Fifties Sci-Fi?! Huh?!

I'm not a huge fan of Althea's, although i do enjoy her sweaters. I think the thing that bothers me the most are those awful headbands she keeps on trying to make work! the models look like they're stepping off treadmills in the late 80s i can't even focus on the rest of the look.

I've warmed up to the collection as well, but I was put off so much by the very first look she showed. Those sweater sleeves with the bells on the bottom look like tentacles, and I kept picturing them sucking my face off.

Did anyone else detect a polterwang in the white satin pant outfit?

Overall, kind of meh. I liked the sweaters, but not much else. The tank tops all season and in her final collection were cop-outs.

The Great American Mall clothes.

The navy sweater is a dream. But the rest is so ridiulously boring! BORING!

Ok,admittedly I am half delirious from the flu, but I just cannot see what you guys see in this collection. It looks cheap and very Forever 21 to me. Granted, I have aged out of these looks a long time ago, but even my 15 year old daughter disliked everything but the little black jacket on the 13th look. Hate the ripped stuff, I find the overlong arms on the sweaters ridiculously uncomfortable and her pants would be very unflattering on most women.

I haven't seen the latest things that she designed, so perhaps her aesthetic and tailoring skills have matured. She certainly seems like a nice young woman and there is talent there, I just don't think it was well represented in this collection. And, if I remember correctly, some of the worst is yet to come.

I really like Althea's aesthetic but no doubt, she was inspired by Irina. She even styled her models' hair like Irina's:

So the "black" sweater I like is actually navy? Which do I get checked first, my eyes, my TV or my laptop?

I don't understand why all her jackets and sweaters have no closures. No buttons, no zippers...I get the feeling that she's not very good at attaching zippers and buttons, so she avoids using them whenever she can. This might explain the wonky fit on all of her pants.

There's nothing here that's really memorable or fresh to me. I could not be more underwhelmed.

About those sleves... I've spent my whole life (on my short frame), rolling up or being embarrased by my always to long sleeves. Only michael phelps has arms that would make those sweaters look good. it's a treand i'll be glad to see come and go as fast as parachute pants, their back too? just shoot me then.

No - the distressed sweater looks, at first glance, like she spilled something on the front of her shirt. Not cute. Aside from the knit sweaters and two jackets, the entire collection was YAWN. But Althea has been one big yawn the whole time. God, none of these girls would have made it past the half-way mark in any other season.

I don't understand the appeal of sweaters with sleeves that extend 3-5" below an extended hand.

Are floppy left over sleeves really attractive to the body? Do they make you look taller, thinner, more put together?

Is this an innovation of technology or textile engineering that helps us better cope with modern life?

Or is this some new twist on the "I'm so wealthy, I don't have to worry about tattering the sleeves of my expensive, hand-knit sweater?"

I don't really mind the headbands. If you saw her clothes on the street on a chill/windy day they would make perfect sense. I knoe it's a runway show, but I like them alot better than some of they fug we've seen on alot of heads.
When you guys are particularly, bored, go back and post the top ten stupidest head pieces.

Just FYI -- look #2 has a teensy bit more detail on the official PR site, if you use the Rate the Runway feature and get that magnifying glass up on the bust. There's a top underneath the dress. Still meh, and not good enough for an early look (or Bryant Park at all), but there's a bit more to it than we're seeing from this photo.

Have to agree with the other posters -- not sure what you're seeing in this collection. Clothes, not fashion! With the sole exception of the oversized blue sweater, I see pretty much nothing innovative at all -- just some pretty slapdash stuff, plain with no statement at all, unless you think of a jacket sans closures as an innovation.

The music PR picked to set her runway show to makes me ears cry.

oops - Part 1 .. Mea culpa

Lulu said...

I don't understand why all her jackets and sweaters have no closures. No buttons, no zippers...I get the feeling that she's not very good at attaching zippers and buttons, so she avoids using them whenever she can. This might explain the wonky fit on all of her pants.

I don't really know how that could be. Sewing on a normal zipper is exactly the same as sewing any other seam, just with a different foot, and buttons are pre-Sewing 101. Anybody who can sew can certainly sew these two things with no problem. Don't be naive and mistake a certain design choice as simply "not being able to sew buttons." (Um...srsly? LOL)

Anon 1:55pm
When you guys are particularly, bored, go back and post the top ten stupidest head pieces.

My bet is that Jerrell might have half of them and Vincent would be in top 2 of the worst.

When I first saw the 3rd look, I thought "oh that poor model spilled some water on herself right before walking the runway" -- I'm not sure that I think this "distressing" is any better. Why would I wear my grandma's old worn sweaters down the runway? Or wear something with sleeves that are way too long? She looks like a knitting project gone awry.

GAH!!!!!!! I didn't realize during the runway show that every model is sporting those hideous headbands.

I am surprised at how much I like those floppy oversize sweaters. NIce details, doesn't matter to me whether she knitted or pieced the sections. Several other looks are cute, especially if they had been in a higher end fabric. Couldn't possibly wear a single thing she makes though.

What I wonder is *Where did the 9K go?*


Why Althea copying Irina, because that's what Irina said?
If you look at Althea's college collection, PR work, PR final collection, and her spring collection you see a common thread.
Some one please tell me how Irina's previous work, PR work, and spring collection have any connection to with her PR final collection.
Looks more like Irina channeling Althea to me.

Looking closer I now see the details better and am more impressed than when it aired on TV. There are some really really good pieces in there. It's too bad she couldn't have kicked it up a notch to pull off the win.

Ooh, I've so been looking forward to your "Ripping the Collections" posts!

I dunno, though, you guys, I'm not crazy about this collection. I love the big sweaters (but not that last Flashdance-looking one), but a lot of this collection looked cheap and sloppy to me. I dunno, maybe if she could've gotten (or afforded?) a higher-quality pleather and ditched the headbands I would've liked it better.

The 13th look is by far my favorite. Mostly, I hate the pleather. I would love the sweaters if it weren't for the monster sleeves - I like having full function of my hands, thank you.

But here's a question that relates both to Althea's and Irina's collections. Not a snark but an honest question for anyone who knows more about fashion than I do.

Were uber-long sleeves trendy last year (or earlier this year)? While I love the look of the big sweaters, I can't wrap my mind around the sleeves that hang down longer than the models' fingertips.

Not loving those oversize sweaters with the sleeves that ate Dayton, Ohio.

It's just meh

When I first saw this collection I HATED the silhouette of the harem pants, and short jacket with emphasis around a high waist. I don't know - it's kinda growing on me. Tell you who'd really go for it, though - Michelle Obama. Well, the under-boob-high-waisted aspect of it anyway. ; )

I think Althea's most dramatic looks were the dark sweater on the dark skinned model (which I thought looked amazing) and the look that Tanisha wore - the long goldy tan dress.

This whole collection is something that judging by the Heidi Criteria (I would wear that or I wouldn't wear that) is something I really could see a lot of women I know wearing.

It's surprising that considering how little time Althea had to do the 13th look (and how little was shown of its creation), it is so well constructed. Definitely my favourite look.

Those khaki silk harem pants are fabulous.

Anonymous said...
I really like Althea's aesthetic but no doubt, she was inspired by Irina. She even styled her models' hair like Irina's:

Apparently, Irina never considered a low slung pony with a head band UNTIL she met Althea - and plotted to wear if on the show AFTER Althea suggested it (unseen) in order to set Althea up. :o)

I can't comprehend what kind of crack the judges were smoking...this all looks like hobo chic to me.

I believe the advantage of a super-long sweater is to hide a sixth digit, and that's about it.

Looking at these up close, it's apparent to me why I have such a negative reaction to Althea's clothes. She always seems to stumble around the boobs and the waist---precisely the two areas I'm most interested in "working" in clothes I wear. It's kind of strange to have a designer who seems to have no grasp of how to flatter a woman in these areas, as most high fashion looks seem to perform miracles.

The only thing that gets me excited is the flashdance sweater outfit at the end. I think because the boobs and the waist are non-factors there.

Where is the shot of the fitted tan-gold gown with the skinny belt? That was my favorite piece. Sleek & stylish.

I'm pretty sure the blue sweater is closed with a concealled zipper.

Are the contestants allowed to use real leather? It's my understanding that they cannot use real fur, so it would seem inconsistent to permit leather.

I can't stand those long sleeves on the sweater. Irina did it, too. I think they look like you bought the sweater several sizes too large.

Girl definitely had a point of view, but, from a runway standpoint, it didn't have enough pizazz.

Still can't get excited about this collection! Tim and the judges always talk about proportion and how important it is in fashion and then seem to go gaga over these sweaters with impossibly long sleeves that in my estimation make the garment look awkward. But, in the words of the "Shiny-pants-loving" guest judge, I guess that is why I "am not a designer... thank god!"

Seeing it in some detail now, I don't like Big Blue. I like the idea of a great big ol' sweater very much, but the actual shape -- rather fitted, with seams under the bust, and a neckline that plunges oddly downward and sideways -- is off. What really works, and not even as well as it does in the beige sweater, is the multi-layered collar/epauletish shoulders.

Idea, yes. Execution, not quite.

HATE it. Just hate it.

I can't get over the headbands and I hate the sweaters.

Before I've even read it:

THANK YOU! YES! Thank you, TLo!

I have been looking forward to this alllllll season. (Just thought I'd express that.)

Asparagus lust

Pretty much agree with TLo thru-out. I would have to see the next collection of hers referred to in this blog to see for myself if she has the goods. Very underwhelmed. Bad pleather. Boring looks, very like her work this season. She can do it, I just see nothing that says real talent. It looks like her closet.

The'60's "greaser" styling was distracting. Come on!

She herself is slim and tall, when she came out - in a colorful dress, proving she does know what color IS - she looked like a heavy-ish amazon with kooky ripped black tights after the models.

I would not rate her or her collection highly. Tlo is being generous.

It is a miracle she ended up the top 2.

The more I look at this collection, the more I REALLY REALLY dig it. It reminds me of Priscilla Presley when she was young, and had a human face.

Jo said, "slouchy, sloppy, and just not that interesting."

Add "cheesey" and "cheap" and I agree 100%.

Cheap and sloppy. Those overlong sleeves don't play with proportion in an interesting way, they just look uncomfortable and messy. The work on the knitwear is pretty sloppy too (sez this knitter). Cannot abide the harem pants, and cannot dream of what Kors was thinking when he said everyone wants a pair like that and they suit everyone. Did like the little jacket with them, though. The models couldn't walk in her skirts, and all in all, the collection shows that Althea may have a good sense of street style, but has no idea how to actually make a fitted garment or work with flattering proportion.

Also hated the styling -- the headbands and made-up eyes just looked way overdone for street looks like this.

Nothing I loved or detested. I guess when a collection elicits absolutely no opinion, that's not a good thing!

Agree on most points but that first "distressed sweater" looked liked she spilled her tea.

The last sweater? Is not only cheap and ugly, but it's not even finished off. The top edge? You can tell, in the closeup photos, that she never bound off the stitches; they're still loose, on a piece of yarn or something. She probably didn't know how to bind off loosely enough to produce the effect she wanted (of which there are many), but good grief, how hard is it to go to a knitting shop and take a couple of lessons so her knits don't look so fugly and cheap and poorly made?

I think I'm also resentful, of course, that I couldn't wear a thing she's made. Even when I was young. Those saddlebag pants will only fit a very narrow segment of the population, and even then I don't think they look good. Especially when they're as ill-fitting as these are.

This collection is seriously blah for me.

To me, these looks range from boring to unflattering to plain ugly, and there is not one thing in there I would want to own. I think this is the worst Runway finalist show after the epic Mychael Knight disaster.

I think that she'll become a great sportswear designer. Let's be honest, here. There is a HUGE market for Althea's aesthetic. I would buy the 13th look in a heartbeat. This collection shows exactly where she is: a young designer with good instincts for urban chic, but without the experience and point of reference to fully translate it. I'm excited to see where she'll go from here.

Jackets: LOVE.

Headbands and pleather: HATE.

Meana deserved the win.

Makeup-wise, I don't know if there wasn't time to make up the last madel of this group, but she is actually the only model whose makeup looks like ti goes with the collection. I thought her collection was lighter than the makeup (and those inappropriate eyelashes) and would have benefitted from better makeup and a more bouncy hair-styling. The heavy eyes and the thick hairband were bad choices.

You know, the only thing I really liked about her collection were the sweaters and normally I'm not overly fond of sweaters but I want to buy all of those sweaters.

Althea's clothing line, style, and materials look absolutely perfect for Target stores. _El

What drove me mad was that she claimed to be inspired by science fiction, but the looks often smacked of being inspired by the 1980s; it was retro-inspired, not forward-thinking. She should have made up another inspiration rather than trying to spin that one, as it gave her collection a pall of FAIL that it maybe didn't entirely deserve.

I'd probably like this collection more if it weren't so poorly made, and the materials didn't look so cheap. Throughout the competition, she put out items that looked like something I'd find at the mall, and not in a good way. She needs to work on her technical skills and maybe spend a year in Milan, or Paris, or New York, or somewhere like that, to absorb a bit of taste and class (and, maybe, have someone teach her how to design something that doesn't make breasts of all sizes look sad).

GOOD LORD, too much pleather. But the judges were right; lots of people (at least in Sweden) are wearing pleather right now. So I guess she "knows what's going on in tha street".

I'm afraid I've taken an immovable dislike to Althea and her stuff: it all looks like late-eighties Mall Rat clothing to me, and stuff I normally like very well- the big sweaters are my thing- I don't like because they're Althea's.

But her approach to the body just bugs me- the high waisted profile, the scantieness of her jackets, and the retirement home gymwear fit of the pants. All in all, it looks to me like a Chrissie Hynde wanna-be middle-schooler's idea of a sportswear collection.

ASK said...

2 Ever since I first saw this I have been trying to figure out what is going on the strap on the model's left side - is it torn?

I was trying to figure that out too. I thought it might be a cracked egg kind of neckline(which might be a point of interest).
But on closer inspection (I think) The dress has symetrical straps and a very low neckline. A strapless filler piece, with a similar neckline, is worn under the dress.

11/23/09 2:54 PM Are the contestants allowed to use real leather? It's my understanding that they cannot use real fur, so it would seem inconsistent to permit leather.

Joe Ferris had plenty of the real stuff in his decoy collection last season.

Laura47 or any of the hand knitters,
Could you please explain what is going on at the bottom of the placket where it meets the ribbed edge on the first oversized sweater. It really bugs me, the way that deformed looking placket is just overlaps the rib and then just stops. Surely that isn't intentional...

That last big sweater, the one TLo says is 'TO DIE'?

Okay. I like it. I like the neckline and the cut. I can even handle the big collar (normally i do not like these) and the big shoulder things. But...the too-long sleeves here look like the model is wearing her dad's old sweater. And the too-long sleeves make the other large/oversize elements look like mistakes. Why not more fitted sleeves (make them finger length, maybe, or belled like in sweater 1)? as is, this sweater's greatness gets lost in what looks like it's effed-up proportions.

I thought the first 6 looks were her strongest and then Althea's collection lost energy. Agree about the pleather and the styling though. Not good choices.

I hadn't focused before on how the clothes constrained the models. I just thought most of them weren't good walkers, but it may be due at least in part to the clothes. Even Tanisha’s fierce walk seemed tamed by all the fabric in that train. And I agree with the judges, TLo, and many of the commenters that Althea didn't really understand about having to put on a show. Irina was the only one who did.

This was the collection inspired by SciFi?

Can't prove it by me.

Maybe by Planet of the Apes?

Better she would have watched a year of StarGate Atlantis.

Although PR showed Althea's hair and makeup consultation happening after Irina's consultation, in Althea's after-show interview on Entertainment Weekly's website, she says her consultation actually occurred first. Methinks maybe PR was trying to create additional 'copying' controversy.

Jo said....
"To me, this collection looked like the runway version of Althea's personal style: slouchy, sloppy, and just not that interesting."

Thank you, Jo. This is what I've been saying all season. And forgive my bitchiness toward Althea, but she was the one designer who week after week, crafted extremely cheap-looking clothes remarkably similar to her own personal style of dress.
I agree with both of you. I'm surprised Nina didn't mention the taste level. It all looks very cheap, and the pleather...I don't much about that material but I'm sure there exists pleather that doesn't look so tacky. Some of the little jackets I like but those pants for the most part are not flattering unless you are a size 0 runway model. Those silver/white pants look very Logan-esque.

My feeling in general is if doesn't look good on the model, there's not a chance in hell it's going to look good on the regular size 8-10-12 girl on the street.

Six months and $9000 and this is it?

Althea's pieces look so unfinished and poorly tailored. Irinas garments appeared to be impeccable. I remember Laura's pieces were beautifully finished, as were Kara Saun's and Christophers, and Jeffrey's and . . . well. She's lucky she was a competitor this season because her ideas and execution were not exceptional in any way.

Perhaps with time and experience Althea will get there. But this collection and its presentation were lackluster.


It made me chuckle when she said that her collection was all about the fit/tailoring....


love the jackets and the distressed sweaters. I think they would look great with a lot of basics.

Nicely done Althea.


I did not like then pleather at all throughout her collection. It was so cheap and poorly executed.
I wasn't crazy about the first look, again i didn't like the pleather but I also hated those sleeves. Without those ridiculously unattractive sleeves I would have liked the sweater alot more.
Look number two was basic and boring as it could get. And what was up with the strap on our right (the models left)? The strap didn't connect correctly to the dresS!
Look number three was gorgeous, so fashionable, young, hip, chic. I would wear it in a heartbeat. I completely agree that had this whole collection been at that level, she would have nabbed the win.
I hated look number four. Cheap fabrication, poorly executed, it was a mess. I hated the cuff of the pants, it didn't do anything positive for the pants. The sweater was nice but not nice enough to make up for the mess that was the rest of the look.
Look number five was a bit repetitive and to be perfectly honest, not even interesting enough to really merit talking about. I hated the shoes with that look, it cut the model off when paired with pants at that length and makes her look shorter.
Look number six was great, the color, the size, the structure of the sweater was fantastic. The bottom half of her was nothing. As much as the sweater was the look, she couldn't think of anything other than leggings and boots?
Look number seven was borderline fug. Well, to be specific the pants were.
Such crappy fabric and such crappy sewing. The top was interesting, but it adds to the all around messy feeling that her collection so badly suffers from.
Look number eight i hated. Hated hated hated. She looked like a prostituted. It was cheap hooker goes out to buy cigarettes in december.
I dont know who would want to wear that (besides a cheap hooker going out to buy cigarettes in December).
also the styling was ugly. The shoes were cute on their own, but didnt work with the clothes. The headbands just looked cheap.
that was my major problem with her collection, whether because of fabric choice or her poor execution, many of the clothes looked cheap. it also lacked a strong point of view and a strong idea of fashion, as opposed to just clothes.
Which was unfortunate, because she was one of my favorites during the season.

The minute I saw the 4th look I instantly thought "Jeffrey Sebellia meets DKNY."

I like most of the stuff in the collection more than her work during the show. That's not saying much since I don't think I liked anything she made during the regular competition. I do wish I could knit sweaters like that (minus the hand-eating sleeves) but I like most of Irina's better I think. I guess I'll have to wait until her collection is "ripped".

Many of the judges, and Tim commended her on her tailoring.
I also see her sci-fi influence quite easily.

Ooof! I think you boys are trying too hard. This is a sloppy, unappealing collection with no star power in the designs.

The Flashdance ripped clothing is so 80's. Been there, done that.

If the 13th look pants had been pants and not jodpurs, maybe, but the 80's pleather jacket is foul.

The huge dark sweater is just plain ugly. That would swallow most women up in one large wooly bite.

The first sweater is okay but looks sloppy.

I just can't get on board with Althea's style. Messy. Unflattering. Unfinished. I just can't deal.

I was pleasantly surprised by some of these, since I did not think much of her work in the challenges. The first cropped jacket isn't bad, etc. However, I just can't help but think that every look here has been done before, and done so much better.

Also, I would like to offer another perspective on "no one will buy those, they aren't flattering on 99% of women". I am almost 40 and going to grad school, so I get an eyeful every day of trendy clothes that look horrific on their wearers. Skinny jeans, Uggs and short skirt, etc.

If it's trendy, very young women will buy and wear it whether it makes them look terrible or not. I could certainly see Althea employed by someone who takes advantage of this phenomena, like H&M.

I call it the Old Navy Collection.

Luvya, but you two are just biased against pleather. As with metallics and giant bows, they're clearly just not your thing.

This is one woman who is dying for one of those sweaters. (Okay, maybe it's just the chill talking, but...I don't think so.)

I love the blue sweater, but the first sweater? are you kidding? what's the color - dish water? it looks poorly made, ratty and depressed. If I saw my friend wearing that, I would rip it off her and shove it in the garbage. But the blue one...different story. Loved it.

I don't like anything from part 1. They models look like they pulled something out of their closet and realized that they gained 20 lbs since wearing it last. Hence all the jackets that don't quite meet & the pants with the center front half-way open.

Echoing the chorus, if it makes size 0's look fat, what will it make size 8 & up look like?

OT, is model #2 Veronica? She's beautiful.

Sewing Siren said

'Laura47 or any of the hand
Could you please explain what is going on at the bottom of the placket where it meets the ribbed edge on the first oversized sweater. It really bugs me, the way that deformed looking placket is just overlaps the rib and then just stops. Surely that isn't intentional...'

I'm not a knitting design expert, but this is what I think it going on here.

Althea took/created a basic cardigan pattern with a curved/tulip hemline. Normally if you have a straight hem you knit the hem with the main body of the design just by changing the stitch (you can either knit top down or top up).

In this case though she has either knitted a rectangle for the hem and stitched it to the bottom of the cardigan or picked up stitches and then then continued knitting the hem. However if she'd done the latter it would be usual to pick up stitches along the placket and even around the collar to make a smooth transition, so I don't think she's done that.

My guess is that she's done the following... knitted a basic sloppy joe cardigan shape (not particularly difficult - cables are piss easy and the bottom and sleeves would have required a bit of basic shaping) knitting out for length and volume. Then she's knitted big rectangles for the hem and just stitched it on, then knitted a long strip for the placket and just stitched that on and seamed it to the hem (very clumsily).

At least one of the big collars also looks like it's a stitched on rectangle (she may have picked stiches around the neckline to add the collar, but I don't think so). The extra flap along the back also looks like a stitched on rectangle. The tie belt and volume means that she can get away with minimal shaping and fit.

Her black sweater is cleverer, but again it appears to be a fairly basic sloppy joe v-neck with extra volume and length and some rectangles of knitted fabric draped and stitched to create the collar and back flap.

The reason both Althea and Irina produce similar knitwear is that neither, unlike Gordana and Jillian, have the knitting skills necessary to produce a small fitted sweater with all the technique and shaping that requires.

I actually went back and read my impressions of each of the collections from february.

I did not have kind words for this collection. Having seen Althea's aesthetic throughout the season, I get this collection more, but I just don't like her aesthetic.

The dark sweater with the big collar is fabulous and one of the strongest pieces of all three collections.

The girl certainly has talent, but I wouldn't rank her as one of my favorite designers. However, I wish Althea the best of luck and hope she has a very successful career.

Thanks Paola! very informative.
It does make me re-think my position re the sweaters (I said I liked them no matter how they were constructed). If the workmanship is as sloppy as it seems, it would really bother me.


I do appreciate Althea's "style". But, as already mentioned, a lot of pieces look rather sloppy (and not in a good artistic way either).

Anonymous said...

Look number two was basic and boring as it could get. And what was up with the strap on our right (the models left)? The strap didn't connect correctly to the dresS!

Not to be an evangelist for the Rate the Runway feature on the official PR website, but I checked out that look on the PR website and the dress is stretched over a strapless shirt/top. The photo up here shows less detail through the dark colors than the Rate the Runway version of the photo, and that combined with the way the model is walking makes it look like the straps were sloppily executed.

The look is still meh, but it's not completely incompetent.

It's not necessarily that the workmanship is sloppy - stitching knitted pieces together is a very valid and necessary part of knitwear design - it's just that both Althea and Irina have approached knitwear in the same way as constructing a fabric garment and achieved a lot of the shaping by draping and seaming pieces of knitted 'fabric'.

However they can only get away with doing that because of the volumes involved. You couldn't do that with a teeny fitted sweater unless you made the knitted fabric very fine and delicate (which is possible).

The beauty of knitting is that you create the shapes of the pieces as you go along through increasing and decreasing - so that sweaters before they're seamed look like pieces of fabric after they're cut out. Or else you can knit the majority of a sweater in the round using seamless techniques. Waist shaping is achieved by decreasing, bust darts are achieved by short rows, extra bits like collars and hems and cuffs and plackets are added by picking up stitches and knitting or knitted as part of the body of the garment by changing stitches.

That's how most knitwear designers, including Gordana and Jillian, achieve fit and an interesting contruction but it doesn't seem to me that A and I have used very many of these techniques (if Irina seriously needed a refresher on decreasing before tackling her pieces then she knows next to nothing about knitted garment construction, it really is the next thing you learn after knit and purl).

Actually I've just re-read Irina's interview. The fact that knitwear was apparently strong part of her graduation portfolio and she sold swatches (??? why on earth would anyone buy knitted swatches) does not compute with someone who needs a refresher in how to decrease...

The two big sweaters are cool, even though they look, quality-wise, like something in the "nice" section of K-Mart. I would still throw them over jeans to go to work on Saturday.
The rest of her stuff is pure crap.

The distressed sweaters were nice but no thrill, and as I don't love the big sweaters - though not sure if it's how she presents them or just the hugeness of them - and the 13th look was my favorite but it fell short of true love, since few of us will look that cute in pants cut like that - I am not at all put out that she was an honorable also-ran. Overall, I don't think her work translates well for shorter women.

But it's nice to know that with a few months and $9000.00, she can make finished-looking and perfectly nice clothes, with a touch of spark here and there. And I'm sure these looks have their audience of enthusiasts.

This collection is problematic.

The first time I saw it I really didn't like anything except the oversized (blue) knit sweater and the distressed leather look. Then the collection began to grow on me. Then it stopped growing on me, and I really dislike it all quite a bit now - including the two looks I liked the first time around.

It's not very appealing, the construction is lackluster, the fit is off, and the color is off. About the only good thing I can say for this collection is that it was exactly on trend for the time. However, Irina's collection was on-trend as well, and she did it far, far better than this. Close, but no cigar. She never should've even made the finals. (I'm not just saying that as a fan of Gordana - I would have taken Christopher over this dreck.)

This comment has been removed by the author.

Lilithcat on 11/23/09 at 2:54 PM....Are the contestants allowed to use real leather? It's my understanding that they cannot use real fur, so it would seem inconsistent to permit leather.

suzq on 11/23/09 at 5:07 PM commented...Joe Ferris had plenty of the real stuff in his decoy collection last season.

So did Jeffery!!! If you do leather it must be leather or it looks cheap on TV and in photos. I have a very expensive pleather jacket that I love. Had a picture taken in it at a party and it looked cheap in the photo.


It's funny, I kinda see why she was put through to the finals now. She DOES have something, that creative spark or whatever you want to call it but, she should not have made the finals. It's more of the same problems she had all season long. Things don't fit and she IS limited by something. I can't put my finger on it but SOMETHING keeps her from being fully expressed. I like this collection (the best, maybe) but in order to appreciate this collection you have to imagine things being slightly better than they actually are.
Anon 11/24/09 8:07 said it best
"close but not cigar".

Loved the 4th look. The shinny fabric does not bother me if worn in the evening. Would love to have this "suit" in a different fabric for day wear.


The ONLY pieces I liked out of this whole kaboodle are the big sweaters. I want them both. As a tall gal with long arms, I am sick of wearing sweaters with sleeves that reach barely to my wrists.
The rest? Poorly thought out and executed. I think I could tailor this well at age 14. AUF!!

Nina said it was modern? This looks like shit my friends and I wore to the mall in 1985 (except ours really was pleather.) Also, the blacks and greys are BORING. If you guys weren't ponying up to rip, I would have remained ignorant of the whole ending of the show.

I'm also asking "Pleather? Why?" OK, I don't know how much real leather costs, so maybe it would have sucked up too much of her budget. But damn, the pleather just looks like crap.

A closer look at this shows that some of it is quite good, and now I get why MK said she was hooked into street wear. But, man, the bad stuff is awful. I can't warm up to torn clothes, even if she calls them distressed.

I think the too-long sleeves is her idea of exaggerating for the runway. They make me laugh, because they're pretty silly, but I also kind of like them, although I wouldn't want them in real life. As for the sweaters themselves, I'm a fan of big sweaters (a throwback to my 80s big fun days), and I think the blue one is gorgeous. Not loving the Flashdance sweater. With both sides being off the shoulder, and the pattern, it's just not "aesthetically pleasing".

I like Althea's designing style, but, judging from this, she has a way to go yet.

And I, for one, love the headbands.

Anonymous @ 11/23/09 2:25 PM said:

Why Althea copying Irina, because that's what Irina said?
If you look at Althea's college collection, PR work, PR final collection, and her spring collection you see a common thread.
Some one please tell me how Irina's previous work, PR work, and spring collection have any connection to with her PR final collection.
Looks more like Irina channeling Althea to me.

I was thinking the same thing. I'm not convinced there was any copying going on (and maybe a better word is "inspiration"), because they do seem to have a similar aesthetic. But if there was, it's just as possible that Irina was inspired by Althea's work as the other way around.

the third look looks like vomit stains on the tank top. i like the pants, even if they dont fit well, i think if they did they would be REALLY cute. the sweater with the long sleaves is adorable.other than that.. ho hum

I didn't watch it, but I don't think it's coincidental that the best finished garment is the one she was paired with Logan.

Logan (except being wedding dress challenge) was always talented in that respect.

The collection had some really good pieces and she's particularly good with siluhettes. She nails that loose trouser-tiny jacket combo. To me the main problems with this collection is that there was one too many nothing-said looks, and the styling, which didn't do anything good for the clothes.
I am sure Althea never intended to copy Irina, but she would have been very stressed out not to notice that she styled her modes "to look like" Irina had looked the whole season, as exactly as Irina's had stiled her last challenge look. Sort of Freudian slip I suppossed.

The look with Logan was also my favorite.

I love love love the jacket in the 13th look. Everything else was a little too blah. I mean, it's Bryant Park.

That last look was pretty much the uniform for cafe prostitutes in Central Europe in 80's. They'd sit there, leaving burgundy lipstick rings on their tiny white espresso cups, chain smoking Gitane Lights, waiting for rich bankers on an extended lunch breaks. They all wore that leather miniskirt with a slouchy sexy little sweater.

I think some of her designs especially her sweaters, jackets, and pants, will be received really well in East or Southeast Asia.

Great knitwear. The first look is very strong.

Cheap ....excellent summation of Althea's work. You guys are too kind!

The 6th sweater reminds me of Jay's marvelous blue sweater with the oversized necklace. which might be why it's one of my favorite pieces from this collection.

As the new owner of one of the pieces I can confirm that it is real leather and exceptional quality. It has a glossier patent-like finish but is very soft. Not pleather at all.

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