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Project Runway All-Stars 2: The Roaring 20’s

Last week, on Project Runway, the designers confronted the dreaded “unconventional materials” challenge.  This time, in keeping with the season, they had to make clothes out of Christmas decorations.  Uli won and Casanova was sent home.

The following morning, the designers discuss Casanova’s ouster.  More importantly, they realize, that with only six of them left, there is no safety zone any more.  Everybody will either be in the top or the bottom from now on.

At the runway, Carolyn arrives bearing six silver envelopes, which immediately makes the designers apprehensive.  She gives a spiel about how modern fashion began in the 1920’s.  Ergo, the designers are to make a look inspired by the 1920’s.  She then passes out the envelopes and tells the designers to open them.  Each one contains  an invitation to a 1920’s social function:  an afternoon garden party, an afterhours’ speak-easy, and an evening social soirée.  Each designer will have to make a look that is suitable for their given event.  Thus, Emilio and Joshua will be making something for the afternoon garden party, Uli and Laura will be making a look for the evening social soirée, and Anthony Ryan and Ivy will be making looks for the afterhours’ speak-easy.

Carolyn then tells them this particular challenge will also be a fashion face-off.  The designers will have a day to work on their looks and $250.00 to spend at Mood.

Back at Parson’s the designers start sketching their looks.  Uli decides to make something with fringe, while Laura decides to use fur.  Emilio decides to make something from the late 1920’s, rather than the early 1920’s.  Joshua opts for a draped look.  At Mood, Emilio picks out a geometric print, while Ivy selects an expensive beaded black fabric.

Back at the workshop, Ivy tries to hide her work from Anthony Ryan, since he’s her direct competitor in the face-off.  He’s amused and declares he wouldn’t copy her anyway.  Uli is using fringes for her design.  She’s uncertain if this is a good idea, as she’s used fringe in some of her other designs.  She decides that since fringe was used in 1920’s fashion, she can probably get away with it.  Joshua is using a hideous loud print as a stand-in for muslin.  Anthony Ryan is making a black feathered capelet, while Ivy and Laura are both working with their beaded fabrics.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds, and she starts with Joshua, who is making a draped dress.  She tells him it looks “too marsupial,” which means the draping is hanging in such a way that it looks as if the dress has a pouch like a kangaroo’s.  Joanna thinks Emilio’s chosen print looks like something that would been used for a sofa in the 1920’s.  Emilio admits he didn’t consider that, and then adds he plans to evoke nostalgia with his look.  Joanna likes the pants Laura is making for her look, but thinks Uli’s dress looks a bit too similar to other things she’s done.  Joanna then admires Anthony Ryan’s capelet and Ivy’s beaded fabric.

The models then come in for their fitting.  Laura is delighted to find that her pantsuit fits her model perfectly, while Uli is distressed to discover that her dress is see-through.  In order to preserve decency, she is going to have to make an undergarment of some sort.  Joshua plays time-keeper, reminding people that it’s almost time to go home.  For someone who was notorious for stirring up drama during his season, he’s gotten very little screen time.  Either he’s behaving better this time around, or he’s been deemed irrelevant, given that he has very little chance of making the finals.  Or both.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work.  The models come in for their final fitting, plus hair and make-up.  At least one designer asks for a bob for their models.

Then it’s off to the runway, where the designers find a somewhat different set-up.  Instead of the usual double line of chairs, the designers find small tables with a pair of chairs.  It’s an attempt to recreate a 1920’s speak-easy, complete with drinks.  Carolyn explains how the fashion face-off will work.  There will be a winner and a loser from each pair.  The losing designers risk being sent home.  The guest judges are Gretchen Mol, an actress who plays in Boardwalk Empire, a show set during the Prohibition, and Jenny Packham, an English fashion designer.

Joshua made a draped purple and gray dress.  An elaborate brooch appears to be holding the drapes in place in the front.  There’s also a strip of chartreuse fabric lining the purple fabric in the back.

Emilio made a sleeveless white dress with a geometric pattern that is more turquoise at the top, but gradually shades to gray at the bottom.

Uli made a silver and white dress with a long white fringe.  She also made a silver shawl.

Laura made a dark red pantsuit.  The sleeveless top is made of several panels of dark red fabric, some plain, and some decorated with glass beads.  It also has a plunging back.  The pants are wide and billowing.  She also made a shawl out of fur.

Ivy made a black and silver dress out of a beaded fabric.  She created a chevron effect, with the stripes angling downwards.  She used silver-gray leather for the shoulders, and put a fringe made of feathers on the bottom of the dress.

Anthony Ryan made a sleeveless black dress.  Over that, he put a sheer, silver sheath with pinstripes, so it looks as if the model is wearing a pin-striped black and silver dress.  The sheath also has a black fringe at the bottom.  Anthony Ryan also made a capelet out of black feathers.

Since there are only six designers left, nobody is safe.  Everybody has to face the judges, who start with Joshua.  He tells them he wanted to explore the freedom and fluidity of the 1920’s.  Georgina likes the brooch, which she says drew the eye.  She also likes the cut of the dress, which feels modern.  Jenny praises the pleating and says the overall design is “snappy.”  Carolyn praises the cut, but says the dress is too safe.  Isaac finds it uninteresting, but says it could be commercially successful if handled properly.

Emilio tells the judges that he was inspired by the geometric print of his dress.  Carolyn loves the detailing in the back, and Gretchen says the dress is really ladylike.  Jenny calls it elegant but dated.  Georgina says it’s impersonal.

Uli wanted to make a dress with a loose fit and she’d used the white fringe to provide movement.  Isaac loves the dress itself, but thinks the white fringe looks cheap.  Jenny says it’s very modern and Carolyn likes the shawl.

Laura was inspired by Art Deco, an art style that developed in the 1920’s.  Isaac praises the pantsuit, but says the fur was too much and “went cavewoman.”  He also thinks the fur makes the model look heavier than she is.  Jenny thinks the look is sophisticated, but Carolyn doesn’t like how the pants flared out to the sides.  Georgina dislikes the proportions of the look.

Ivy talks about how she’d used leather and a beaded fabric.  She’d wanted to create a geometric silhouette and used feathers to make her look more feminine.  Carolyn thinks the result is too literal, while Isaac says it’s too heavy.  Gretchen says it looks like something she’d seen worn at an art opening.

Anthony Ryan, who had been making a dress for a speak-easy, wanted to design a party dress that a woman could dance in.  Jenny likes the design, but thinks the “underneath could have been closer to the body.”  Gretchen says it’s young, fun, and very striking.  Isaac dislikes the feathered capelet at first, but then changes his mind.  Georgina says Anthony Ryan has a way of taking something and making it his own to create a modern and fresh look.

The judges then announce who had gotten which scores.  Joshua had the low score and Emilio had the high score for the garden party.  Laura had the low score and Uli had the high score for the evening social soirée.  Ivy had the low score and Anthony Ryan had the high score for the speak-easy.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the high-scoring designers.  Emilio is one simply by virtue of doing better than Joshua.  His look isn’t as good as the other two contenders’, though.  Uli’s look was light, free-spirited, but also complex.  Anthony Ryan’s look is exciting.

As for the low-scoring designers, Joshua actually did a good job– just not as good as Emilio.  Laura made a beautiful top, but horrible pants, and her taste level is boring.  Ivy’s look was poorly made– but she has excellent taste in materials.

Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision.  Emilio is safe, and Anthony Ryan is the winner.  Uli and Joshua are both safe, leaving Ivy and Laura in the bottom.  Laura is out, so Ivy is in.

Next episode:  The designers have to make a ready-to-wear look with a “wow factor.”

There is already news about Season 11, which starts on January 24, 2013.  Because of schedule conflicts, Michael Kors is stepping down as judge.  Zac Posen, a fashion designer who has sometimes served as a guest judge, will be stepping in.  Plus, the designers will start off working in teams.  Fashion design is a collaborative industry, so designers do have to be able to work with others, especially when they’re just starting out, like most of Project Runway’s contestants.  This change could result in drama kings and queens being weeded out.  I also suspect that there will be individual challenges towards the end, when there are too few designers left to make team challenges viable.  To learn more, read www.eonline.com/news/372422/project-runway-new-season-to-feature-teams-guest-judges-include-bette-midler-miranda-lambert-and-more