Let the games begin! Season 2 of E!'s House of DVF got off to a stylish start on Sunday, Sept. 13 (cleverly timed in the middle of New York Fashion Week). As is to be expected, the docuseries premiere focused mainly on design maven Diane von Furstenberg and her team finding the seven aspiring fashionistas who would compete for the coveted title of brand ambassador.
"I love the idea of giving young girls an opportunity of coming into the company, understanding all the different facets of the business, and learning," Diane explained. "I love to mentor young girls, and second of all it's wonderful to be able to find some talent who will have a real job in the company."
All in a New York-Minute
DVF's search began in fashion capital New York City, where her team quickly tracked down four promising candidates.
Topping their short list was Chantal Trujillo, a 25-year-old jewelry assistant at Vogue magazine who said she would leave her post at the iconic publication in a heartbeat for a chance to learn from DVF.
Next came Maytee Martinez, a saucy 23-year-old Cuban model who claimed to excel at negotiating and selling. "You give me a trash bag and I will sell you that trash bag," she said.
For the first time, the DVF team brought a guy into the mix. Jeremy is a stylist and designer who actually made a ring that Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o wore on a red carpet — no small feat.
And rounding out the first batch of hopefuls was Cat Wennekamp, a stylist who had worked on edgy campaigns for Levis as well as Bruno Mars music videos, and she didn’t waste any time telling DVF exactly what she thought of the brand. "Diane's brand is so classic, but the cool girls are not wearing DVF," Cat explained. "I think DVF needs me to help them branch into a new demographic." The consensus was that Cat was a bit arrogant, but the team liked her anyway.
Sick First Challenge
Since there were four candidates and only three spots open for this city, the DVF team decided a challenge would help them decide who to send home. Though it was described in a rather artistic way, the first challenged really boiled down to photographing some moments during DVF's fashion show that captured the spirit of the collection.
Chantal, who had apparently been battling an illness for the last few days, ended up vomiting about five minutes after hearing the task at hand, prompting Diane to say, "If Chantal can't handle it, this is not for her."
Cat was equally unimpressed with Chantal, though she admitted, "If Chantal's intention is to get attention, she's killing it."
Maytee and Cat seemed to team up during the challenge, supporting each other here and there, while Jeremy flew solo and Chantal tried to keep herself from puking again.
After the show was over, the candidates presented their photos to Diane for review. Despite her illness, Chantal passed with flying colors, as did Cat, who presented a photo of Diane walking the runway after the show had ended. (Jeremy claimed Cat was just "kissing butt," but Diane seemed to like the shot and, as Jeremy would soon learn, her opinion is the only one that really matters.)
Maytee slid through as well, but Jeremy's photos left Diane underwhelmed. "I don't want to punish you because you're a man, because as women we are so often punished because we are women," she began. "But I don't think you got the mood of the show and your pictures reflect it, so I don’t think you're going to stay."
Diane then flitted off to Los Angeles where she hosted a luncheon for female Oscar nominees at her home.
Los Angeles or Bust
While Diane rubbed elbows with movie stars, her team got to work interviewing Los Angeles-based candidates, and before long they had a handful of gorgeous girls with big personalities.
Leigh Fidler, 21, impressed by showing up in a DVF wrap dress (is that all it takes?). Though she did tend to ramble, it turned out that she had interned with Brad Goreski and Giorgio Armani while being a fulltime student, and the team took a liking to her.
Hanna Beth Merjos couldn't have been more different that Leigh. The 27-year-old model and fashion blogger showed her edgy side as she talked about starting the Sober Sexy clothing line, which, she noted, has been worn by everyone from Russell Brand to Demi Lovato. "Hanna Beth is a little trouble, I warn you," Diane said after watching Hanna's video. Still, they decided to give her a shot.
Next came Alli from the Valley, aka Alli Davis, who dressed and looked like a Barbie doll but had a certain energy everyone really loved. (The 28-year-old wore a choker to the interview, but the DVF team decided not to hold that against her.)
Single mom Breagan Williams and junior costume director Cree Nixon — who, in addition to being a master of style, also claimed to be psychic — rounded out the group. Last year's winner, Brittany Hampton was especially impressed with Breagan and was convinced Diane would be as well.
Styling Rachel Zoe
No pressure, ladies. For their elimination challenge, the girls had to pull a look for penultimate celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe to wear to an Oscar party — and they did, with varying levels of success.
When Rachel and Diane showed up to evaluate the girls' work, some were in better situations than others. Hanna Beth clearly nailed Rachel's personal style in a sequined maxi dress with a plunging v-neck, while Alli (from the valley!) had sweated through her silky number. Oops.
Leigh pulled a summery gold dress; Breagan, a printed jumpsuit; and Cree, a short green dress, which, it was pretty obvious, Rachel would never wear — so it wasn't surprising when Rachel told Cree exactly that. "I never show my knees," the stylist explained to Cree, who looked like this was news to her. (Seriously, though, have you ever seen Rachel Zoe's knees? Trust us. You haven't.)
After Rachel dished out her feedback (which amounted to loving Hanna Beth's look and hating Cree's), Diane gave her final verdicts. Hannah Beth was an obvious keeper and Diane opted to let Cree stay on despite her misstep because she shined in other areas. Though Diane told Leigh that she "doesn't always makes sense," the fashion mogul liked her enough to keep her around.
And so it was Breagan and Alli on the chopping block. Ultimately, Diane kept Alli, telling Breagan it "wouldn't be fair" to have her come to New York "without having any security at all" for her daughter at home.
"I didn't get to show her me," an obviously disappointed Breagan lamented as she headed out the door while the other three toasted their impending move to New York City.
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