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Project Runway All-Stars 2: A Not-Unexpected Result

Last week on Project Runway  All-Stars 2, the designers flew to Paris to see real haute couture and learn some of the tricks of that trade.  They also had to try to replicate haute couture themselves.  Anthony Ryan won and Joshua was sent home.

On the runway, Carolyn congratulates the three finalists and then spells out their final challenge:  Make a mini-collection in four days.  The designers will be responsible for all aspects of the show.  That means they will choose a theme and the accompanying music.  They can make as many outfits or pieces as they want, and they will have a budget of $3,000 to spend at Mood.

Back at the workshop, the designers begin to plan their shows.  Uli will make “Winter Wonderland” or “Mystical Winter,” which will make heavy use of her favorite color scheme.  She will also use a lot of fur and feathers.

Emilio’s theme will be “Urban Plantation.”  His show will portray the working women of America using classic American fabrics and colors.

Anthony Ryan’s theme will be “A Thin Line.”  He wants to strike a balance between light and darkness.

After sketching, the designers head out to Mood.  There they spend three grand and 90 minutes.

Back at the workroom, the designers start making their collections.  Carolyn comes in, saying that she knows they need help.  The eliminated designers then troop in.  She tells the finalists they can each choose one assistant.  Anthony Ryan picks Joshua, who begs off, pleading fatigue.  Anthony Ryan’s second choice turns out to be Kayne.  Uli chooses Casanova, and Emilio picks Althea, reasoning that somebody who had also made it to the finals of their season would be helpful.  Emilio also tells us that his mother had worked in a factory while he was growing up.

On day two, the designers and their helpers get to work– except for Casanova, who is catching some z’s in the lounge.  Not cool, dude.  You’re supposed to be helping Uli.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds and starts with Uli, who shows off a feathery jacket.  Joanna likes it and says the collection looks coherent (so far), but it needs a showstopper piece, preferably at the end.

Anthony Ryan shows off a black and yellow outfit, and admits he was worried about it looking “too bumblebee.”  He believes he’s solved that problem.  He says he wants to take something innocent and “create some chaos in it.”

Last up is Emilio, who hasn’t finished anything yet.  He tells Joanna that his looks will be a mix of 1840’s Aunt Jemina and 1940’s Rosie the Riveter.  Joanna says his collection sounds very exciting and she can’t wait to see it.

After Joanna leaves, the designers meet Matin from Laura Mercier for hair and make-up consultations.  Then they go back to the apartment for a toast.

On day 3, the designers and their helpers get back to work.  (This time Casanova actually does help Uli; they’re working on a pair of pants.)  Anthony Ryan comments that Kayne is quick.  Unfortunately, all good things and collaborations come to an end.  The assistants have to leave and the designers have to finish their collections on their own.  Uli tells us about growing up behind the Berlin Wall, while Anthony Ryan talks about how badly he needs the prize money.  If he doesn’t win, his career as a designer will be over, for he’s not earning enough to keep himself afloat.  He’ll have to find a more reliable source of income.  Emilio is working on eight looks, while Uli is making seven outfits that have two or three pieces each.

On the day of the runway, the designers head to Gotham Hall, where the show will be held.  They have three hours to finish their looks.  The models come in to get dressed and have their hair and make-up done.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges, actress Live Tyler and model Margherita Missoni.  I’m sorry, but in my not so humble opinion the guest judges for the finale– especially in All-Stars— ought to be actual fashion designers.  Actors and models don’t cut it.

Emilio is up first.  He tells the audience that his collection is called “Urban Plantation,” and that Aunt Jemina and Rosie the Riveter were the inspirations for it.  He was the only designer of the bunch to use prints.  His first look was a black and white dress with a chain-link pattern on it.  His third look was a pantsuit made of a multi-colored print fabric.  He used the same fabric to make the dress in his sixth look and the coat in his seventh look.  His solid colors were black, white, and red.  Unlike Anthony Ryan or Uli, he made no gowns; all of his looks involved pants, skirts, or dresses.

Anthony Ryan is next and he tells the audience that his collection is called “The Thin Line.”  His influences were apparently Star Trek and Season 7’s Mila, as practically every piece involved color blocking.  Every single look consisted of two solid colors, and most of them also had cut-outs in the back.  The first and last pieces were gowns, while the other five were dresses of varying lengths.  The first and fourth looks had long sleeves; all the other designs were sleeveless.

Uli is last and she calls her collection the “Mystical Winter.”  As one might guess, she uses a lot of white, gray, and silver– which makes her the only designer in the bunch to use a metallic fabric.  About half her looks involve fur or feathers.  Her last design is a taupe gown with a feathered front and sleeves.  Her second look is a long white skirt, a silver top, and a white capelet. Uli also made pants, skirts, and short dresses.

Afterwards, the judges talk to all three of the designers, starting with Emilio.  Georgina loves his point of view.  Isaac praises the collection’s focus and notes that Emilio’s models are all women of color.  Carolyn loves the coat and Liv likes the colors he’d used.  Isaac says the collection does go a “little junior.”  He especially dislikes the first dress. Margherita says the collection lacks experimentation.  She does know he made said collection in four days, right?  That doesn’t leave a lot of time for playing around with fabrics, colors, or designs.

Georgina calls Anthony Ryan’s first dress “spectacular,” and Liv thinks it was sexy.  Isaac calls the blue and black dress, the “best dress I’ve ever seen on Project Runway.”  He also praises Anthony Ryan’s placement of the pockets.  Carolyn praises his artistic sense.  The only weak spot in the collection that the judges can see is the seventh dress, which was poorly constructed and lacked impact.

The judges also like Uli’s collection.  Isaac calls it a great collection, and Georgina says it’s strong.  Margherita loves it and Liv appreciates the details.  Carolyn does think the jewel on the rear of one design is a bit much, though.  The judges also think the faux furs look inexpensive.

The judges then have their chat.  Emilio is the most cerebral of the designers and his collection has a political angle.  It’s just not very exciting.  Anthony Ryan is very creative and artistic, but his finale dress was weak.  Uli is the most willing to experiment, but her faux furs made some designs look inexpensive.

The judges announce their decision.  Uli is the second runner-up, and Anthony Ryan is the winner.  That means Emilio came in second.

This was not the most suspenseful season of Project Runway.  It was obviously from fairly early on that Anthony Ryan, Emilio, and Uli were going to be the finalists.  The three of them won practically all the competitions.

Next week:  The 11th season of Project Runway starts.