Robert says he likes Wendy because she treats him like a child. I like a man who can admit that. The mannequins are hot for him. We officially meet Robert Plotkin, who is twenty-eight and from New York City. He became interested in fashion because his mother owned a hair salon. I'm guessing there was a tanning bed there too, because dude is dark. His designs are...hard to explain. Form-fitting. A little Latin flavor. Robert explains that racecars are his inspiration. Women and racecars are alike because they are "both sleek, sexy, and extremely dangerous." He has repeated this phrase seven hundred times. It's his mantra. You can tell. It's working, though. I don't see it in the clothes, but...well, Robert's pretty cute, so let's all just live with it for a while.
In another apartment, a couple of guys enter (including the k.d. lang lookalike). We meet Kevin Johnn, who is forty-four, from New York City, and remarkably preserved for a forty-four-year-old man. He has been designing for twelve years. It is a family business, and his parents didn't want him to join it. "From you, okay? I learned it by watching you!" His designs are quite modern. It looks like he has a few Helmut Lang influences, with buckles and sexy fabrics. Not my cup of tea, but it looks pretty professional. He says with a really cute, boyish smile that he wants to be a "great American designer."
The guys discuss who is a smoker. Mario and Jay -- yes. Kevin and k.d. -- no. Jay announces, "Fashion designers smoke. Didn't you get the newsletter?" I'm a sucker for any "newsletter" jokes, so this makes me laugh. Especially since k.d. is wearing his sunglasses and I'm annoyed and enjoy seeing him reprimanded, however good-naturedly.
Now, we get to meet boy k.d.. Or rather, more boy k.d. His name is Daniel Franco and he is twenty-eight and from Los Angeles. I hate him on sight. He is ready to show the "world" what he can offer. He launched a collection in 1999 that was his first and only collection to date. His father then became ill and he has been taking care of him and his business, which is an L.A. wedding chapel. Okay, that makes him a little endearing. Now, his father is well and he is ready to jump back on the proverbial fashion horse. I hope his designs have evolved, because the '99 collection looks to have consisted mainly of embroidered suit jackets and matching skirts and business-to-dinner tops. On a small chalkboard in the apartment, he writes the bromide "Follow your bliss..." He says, pointing at the chalkboard, "Secret of life." Jesus, Daniel. You're making this hard. Jay walks away from this. The mannequins mock Daniel.