House of DVF has set itself up as America’s Next Top Brand Ambassador. Which candidate was not absolutely fabulous in this week’s challenges?We rejoin House of DVF for the first day of the internship program proper. After the candidates debrief with Stefani about last week’s UN event, they receive their assignment for the week: create an inspiration board around the theme of Cote D’Azur.1 After running around the city doing research and taking photos for their homework assignment, the in-house work features the candidates putting together a lookbook concept for Diane Von Furstenberg’s upcoming collection. The candidates are divided into two groups, with the winning team getting to participate in the photo shoot for the book. After the inspiration boards are presented to Diane, Abigail, Tiffani, and Codi are called into Diane’s office for a meeting with the boss. HOWEVER, Diane thinks for another moment and asks Lenore to come in instead of Tiffani. Codi’s lack of confidence and clear direction forces Diane to give her a gift bag.
Here’s how our cast ranked this week in terms of Fabulousness:
- Diane:2 We don’t get a ton of DVF screen time this week, at least compared to last week’s premiere. She evaluated the group lookbook presentations and mentored the winning team through the photo shoot. During the inspiration board presentations, she was blunt but fair in her critiques, highlighting above all else the importance of story and confidence.
- Stefani:3 Stefani is the sort of mentor I would love to have. I’m guessing the contestants think she’s a hard-ass, but 1) she’s expecting the bare minimum of business decorum4, and 2) she is nowhere near The Devil Wears Prada in demeanor, so things are not that bad. I don’t think Stefani is a hard-ass, and that was shown in her interactions with Abigail. Abigail and Kier had a falling out during the group challenge. Stefani gave the women an opportunity to resolve the problem themselves, and when that didn’t work she consulted Abigail to find out what was going on. That’s good management right there.
- Kier: Every reality contest needs a villain, and the more delusional and self-absorbed s/he can be the better. Some awesome Kier moments from this episode:
- Sending a thank you note to Stefani following the UN event. Spelled her name “Stephanie.”
- “You have no competition if you are your authentic self.” I think even Dr. Phil would scoff at that gobbledegook.
- Inviting Abigail to sit by her at the pool after the falling out, then accusing Abigail of “want[ing] me to ask you to sit over here” when Abigail didn’t apologize.
- Submitting an inspiration board composed entirely of selfies and professional shots of herself.
- Jinna: Jinna tried to be a peacekeeper in her group when Abigail and Kier started going at it after they lost the lookbook challenge. The next day, we learn that she loves brunch and LOVES mimosas. Unfortunately for her, she gets the call about her inspiration board being due in an hour after her third mimosa. Oops. I’ll be curious to see what she’s like as the pressure of the competition builds.
- Brittany: Brittany was mostly a supporting character this week and didn’t get a ton of screen time. However, she seems to have a solid understanding of corporate norms and has a good read on the other participants, which should serve her well in the competition.
- Amanda: Amanda’s only real screen time this week was at the beginning of the episode when Stefani praised her work at the UN event. Kier assumed Stefani meant her, since Kier had straight hair similar to Amanda’s last week. That…wow.
- Tiffani: Tiffani was this week’s object lesson for Diane. First, Tiffani decided to approach her inspiration board by having her boyfriend come over and spray paint it and throwing some dirt on the canvas. Having waited until the last minute, she had nothing to attach to the board when the presentation came due. Her initial pitch was full of apologies and what really happened, with Diane’s artistic director telling Tiffani to “fake it until you make it.” Diane gave Tiffani a second chance to pitch, and she improvised something about the board being an overhead view of the waters of the sea crashing onto the shore. Lesson: be confident, even if what you are selling is held together with duct tape and twine.
- Abigail: Abigail had a rough week this week, delivering a less than impressive inspiration board and not doing well in the group challenge. Abigail’s inspiration for the competition is that her success will allow her to help her brother who has just started college and needs financial and familial support. Diane may not be explicitly aware of the situation, but Stefani is in the know, so that may help Abigail stick around. This is important because she gives GREAT soundbites.
- Lenore: Lenore should be worried. Her work has not demonstrated her desire to be a stylist, a dream Diane may not be able to help the candidate realize. Not only did Diane bring her in instead of Tiffani in a public way, she received an extended lecture from the boss about how what you like to do does not necessarily translate to what you should be doing. In other words: learn how to style yourself better or stop marketing yourself as a stylist if you want this job, Lenore.
- Codi: This competition was not for her, unfortunately. The world of fashion can be harsh and unfair—see Project Runway and ANTM—but Codi seemed to be instantly over her head. The saddest moment of the episode was when she Skyped her family back in Utah for a pep talk. Even Codi’s mom was like “you can’t be crying all the time,” which is not something that can be fixed overnight. The good news: Codi’s photography on her inspiration board received praise and I think that is a viable direction for her to pursue. However, the next time someone asks what you can contribute to a fashion company, be specific and say you can be a photographer not “an artist.”
Next week on House of DVF: the seven remaining candidates work a press event.