Episode Seven ~ Hair Salons.
I’ve had several days to process this episode, but I’m still not sure I can type this post without either sobbing or throwing my laptop out of the window.
A little background …..
The three remaining budding Interior Designers were sent to Whitstable, where three small hair salons were in need of a makeover. Cassie (loves Victoriana, did the hideous Victorian bloomers thing in the chocolate hotel a few episodes back, doesn't get on with Frank) was given an old fashioned barber’s shop – the owner’s brief was for a ‘retro’ feel. Ju (loves florals, recovered from what can only be described as a drug-induced mis-matched pattern hell in Episode 1 to become the judge’s favourite over the past few weeks) was given a ladies salon where the owner wanted something ‘industrial’. Frank (who has turned from catty into pussycat in recent weeks but who still loves a good bitch about the other designers - particularly Cassie) was allocated a salon with a challenging brief: ‘seaside sweet shop meets Willy Wonka’.
Cassie's project: Len's Barbers
Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin – who has veered from ‘it’s all about the client, you must follow the brief’ to ‘don’t do what the client wants; you must add in your own signature style’ and back again depending on her mood – was joined by hair salon expert Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen. Laurence’s mission seemed to be to hog the screen and pitch to be back on BBC primetime, turning up in a fuchsia pink suit and using phrases like ‘which of our fledgling designers are ready to fly the nest?’
The shy and retiring Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen
Cassie decided to ignore the 50s retro vibe the owner wanted and to take the scheme further back in time. Guess where? You got it – a Victorian Sweeney Todd emporium with baby-nappy green walls, hideous red velvet curtains, a collection of animal skulls, and some old paintings presumably rescued from the skip at the back of the set of Sherlock.
Cassie's choice of wall decor - makes a change from pouting models, I suppose.
Frank ran with the ‘sweet shop’ theme, deciding to please the client rather than himself for once – putting purple tiles on the wall, jelly bean stickers on the window, and – bizarrely – emptying jelly beans into the glass lights (which presumably all melted into one sticky mess after about thirty minutes at thirty watts). He spent a large portion of the budget on lights that didn’t fit, and then spent a larger portion of his budget paying for an electrician to try to sort it out. He even resorted to calling the electrician ‘mate’ in an attempt to get the price down (a sadly futile effort).
Frank grabs a power tool in a bid to help the electrician (and thus save some of his fast-disappearing budget)
Ju ticked the ‘industrial’ box by buying a battered old locker, and then having fulfilled that part of the brief went off on a seaside tangent with seagull wallpaper she designed herself, porthole mirrors, and designing possibly the most uncomfortable seating since the Restaurant episode.
Ju's feeling the pressure
After tears, tantrums, and a lot of unfinished tiling the salons were ready for inspection. Laurence and Michelle (by ‘Laurence and Michelle’ I do of course mean ‘Laurence’) felt that Ju’s salon contained ‘pops of niceness’, but that he was ‘struggling to fall in love with her’ and that the banquette was ‘a bit sheddy’. Frank’s was ‘a bit too clean cut’ and ‘missing a bit of Frank’s soul’, but – surprise, surprise – they loved Cassie’s barber’s shop, describing the shades of green as being ‘perfectly poised between pleasure and pain’, and that the ‘chromatic crisis’ was like ‘picking a scab’. Of course upon seeing the animal skulls Laurence couldn’t resist asking Michelle if she was feeling horny – it’s fair to say he was in his element.
Ju's finished salon, featuring 'sheddy' banquette
The judges weren't keen on the jelly bean decal, but were even less keen on the number of spacers left in the unfinished tiling
Cassie's barber's shop - Laurence said 'it feels naughty; cavalier'
And so remarkably the favourite Ju was gone. Smug Frank and Even Smugger Cassie are left to fight it out in the Grand Final. The Victorian bloomers are forgiven. The not finishing the tiling is forgiven. Who would have thought that the two designers who clashed the most would have been kept on until the last programme? It’s almost as if the producers planned it……