Smile Down the Runway
Episode 5

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Smile Down the Runway ?

This week's episode splits its focal point between Ikuto's latest fashion challenge and Kokoro's wavering resolve to be designer. The tall assistant first dreamed of being a model and seemed to have a natural knack for it, but what she had in measurements couldn't make up for her anxiety. She quickly learned that cattiness at the agency would leave her with few friends and she didn't enjoy the stares as she walked down the runway. During her first runway show, she encountered top designer Mai Ayano who reassured her and earned a spot in Kokoro's heart.

Since that day, Kokoro has done nothing but study to follow in Mai Ayano's footsteps but her nightmare manager is dead set on getting Kokoro to abandon her dream of designing and return to the modeling circuit. The manager and Kokoro's peers see her new dream as nothing more than a diversion, like Kororo is acting spoiled. Her she is with a natural gift for modeling but she's willing to squander it because she "doesn't like it."

Which, I mean, isn't fair to Kokoro. She put the time in and discovered that she didn't actually like the job she thought she wanted. She's young and she wants to try something else and is working hard toward her new goal. IT'S HER LIFE, let her LIVE. Ikuto, having glanced at Kokoro's notebook and seen the inside of her apartment, knows that Kokoro is serious and has the wherewithal to create clothing. The two reinforce their dedication to achieve their dreams by putting their all in the Geika College's upcoming fashion show. Ikuto got the opportunity to join as an non-student last episode, but this week we find out that it isn't just a display of the student's best work; there's a prize on the line. Ikuto could win a cash prize to help him get his own fashion line off the ground and the opportunity to go to Paris.

To which I say that teacher must of really buttered up the administration into allowing her to invite a non-student to the show. If a college is going to give out an award of that magnitude, they're going to want to give it to one of their own students. It makes sense for a college to invest in its own talent because any successes that winner has would reflect back on the school and bolster admission.

The show has multiple rounds and each student in the preliminary has about US$100 to create a piece for a 1/3 size doll. The outfit must be "stylish" and suited for a top model named Sarh. Ikuto isn't the only familiar face in the room (Kokoro is testing with a different group), he's joined by the freckled fitter from Hajime's show, Kaoru. Kaoru was the one who put Ikuto in his place after they narrowly saved the final look of Hajime's show and she's not exactly endeared to him, but she's still a decent human being. She sticks up for him when the room starts murmuring about his financial situation. Driven to make sure no one pities him again, Ikuto totally bungles his initial design...because frankly it's stupid. He focuses on himself over the client, tries to cut costs to pay back his sister and create something entirely out of cheap scrap fabric. Sir, you are creating something that will represent both the best design school in the country and a currently trending celebrity, you cannot make her "stylish patchwork" because you wanna save 50 bucks.

Dumbfounded, he turns to Chiyuki to do what he should have done in the first place and enlists her help to research his client. Unfortunately, the research segment turns into "let's ogle Chiyuki" because Ikuto has never seen a girl in shorts and a tank top before. Yeah, yeah the guy lives with two teenage sisters, this should be nothing to him but let's give the audience a little cheesecake instead of focusing on how Chiyuki has more basic sense than Ikuto. After watching a bunch of videos and getting the personality 411 from Chiyuki, Ikuto is still stuck, that is until something about Chiyuki in her pjs inspires him. Chiyuki has been set up as Ikuto's muse, so I'm not surprised that something about her will end up breaking him out of his designer's block.

I'm not really sure what direction Ikuto will take his design. Based on the info we got on Sara, there's a plenty of info to figure out what she might like. Ikuto knows that she's a model that stays up-to-date on trends; she picks her own clothing for television appearances so you could easily look at her professional appearances off the runway to figure out what kind of patterns, colors, cuts, and fabrics she appreciates. Those would all be things he should take into consideration. You can see similar trends with Hollywood celebrities on the red carpet; Jennifer Aniston is almost always in a solid colored dress that ends above the knee. Janelle Monae's style is more eccentric and risky. Reese Witherspoon exudes a "sorority chic." Ikuto basically failed the first step of design here which is knowing your client. Let's hope he gets it together and puts out something interesting.

Rating:

Smile Down the Runway is currently streaming on Funimation.


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