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South survives ‘train wreck’ outfit

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    Andy South presented an update of cargo pants, left, while Ivy Higa created an architectual outfit with a sheer cover-up in last week's challenge of American sportswear inspired by Jackie O.

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

Episode 8’s challenge was straightforward, to come up with a classic American sportswear look as inspired by style icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The danger with someone whose style is as recognizable as Jackie O’s is to capture the essence of her style without repeating history.

Higa appeared to be off to a rough start, adding more work for herself by creating an architectural and geometric pattern of triangles and squares in her top and pant, in classic black and white. No doubt she realized she had to push herself hard in this challenge. She’s been in the bottom three times, and if she stumbled this time, she would likely be out.

South worked on a more embellished version of a harem pant, bulky and layered, causing other designers to murmur among themselves how Jackie O would never wear that. On top of that, it was pulling in the crotch.

The day of the fashion show, Tim announced another part of the challenge, the addition of an outerwear piece. Designers hate the extra challenge, but it left me feeling more relieved for Higa because — a little unusual for a designer from Hawaii — outerwear is one of her fortes.

She chose to use a sheer, gray silk organza to create a jacket that would coincide with her geometric theme. It’s not an easy fabric to work with, as she indicated, and the seaming had to be perfect because of the fabric’s transparency.

That she can finesse working with such unforgiving fabric should have impressed the judges.

Sure enough, her design was one of the judges’ favorites, although she didn’t win. Top honors went to Mondo Guerra, who created a colorful ensemble with a horizontal striped T-shirt, a tweed sheath skirt with an oversized houndstooth pattern in purple and black, and a cropped Chanel-like jacket. The silhouette was Jackie, and the mix of colors and patterns brought it into the 21st century.

Meanwhile, South found himself on the bottom for his own work for the first time (the other time was for a group challenge in which he was in no danger of going home), and his work was deemed "a train wreck" by the judges. Michael Kors called his pant a cross between what M.C. Hammer and granny on the "Beverly Hillbillies" might wear. Ouch.

I feel the judges want to see more from him, so he was saved. Unfortunately, Michael Drummond, who has been one of the more creative designers this season, was sent home. And then there were eight …


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