Category Archives: Fashion-Modeling

Project Runway All-Stars 2: Green Designs for the Red Carpet

Last week, on Project Runway, the designers had to craft androgynous avant-garde looks that could literally be worn by either a man or a woman.  This meant they each had to make two outfits, one for a male model and one of a female model.  Emilio won and Kayne was sent home.

It’s the next morning and the designers meet Carolyn at The Highline, a park which used to be an elevated railway line (and still has visible railroad tracks.)  The railway had originally been slated for demolition, but it was converted to a park instead– an example of large-scale recycling.  Carolyn then introduces the designers to Joshua David and Robert Hammond, the park’s founders.

The three of them then describe the challenge:  Male a garment that is both environmentally friendly and suitable for a red carpet event.  The designers will all use AirDye fabric as the basis for their designs.  AirDye fabrics have been made with no water or power.  As the name suggests, air is used to help the dye penetrate the fabric.  (Conventional dying techniques can use several dozen gallons of water per pound of clothing.)

Carolyn has brought several swatches of cloth, and invites Emilio, last week’s winner, to take first pick.  He picks a scarlet cloth.  He then invites Casanova to choose next.  Althea is last and gets stuck with a reversible pink and blue fabric that doesn’t look particularly suitable for a red carpet look.

After the designers have made their selections, Carolyn explains the rest of the challenge.  In keeping with the green theme, the designers will recycle embellishments and trims from past challenges, so there will be no trip to Mood.  Diane von Furstenberg will be the guest judge, and Carolyn will wear the winning design to a red carpet event.

The designers then take the traditional thirty minutes to sketch.  Ivy plans to make a draped dress, and she’d picked the bright gold color because it reminded her of the sun.  Uli likes working with bright colors, and Althea plans to make a dress that is both form-fitted and draped.

Back at Parson’s, the designers find their chosen fabrics waiting for them, plus a collection of trims and embellishments.  Cue the mad dash as everybody tries to get something they can use for their look.  Everybody, that is, except Anthony Ryan, who believes a good red carpet dress should be able to stand on its own without a lot of razzle-dazzle.

As the designers work, Emilio notes that his pretty scarlet chiffon is flimsy, so he decides to make an undergarment.  Uli finds that her blue fabric is darker than it had appeared in the sunlight, and is glad she was able to get a lot of trim that she can use to liven it up.  Laura talks about how Diane is her idol, and how she plans to make wide-legged pants with her print.  Ivy is making an asymmetrical gown.  She’s worried about time constraints, because her failure to complete a look was the reason for her elimination during Season 8.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds, and she starts with Laura, who shows her a sketch of a look involving wide-legged pants.  Joanna applauds Emilio’s color choice, saying it’s perfect for the red carpet.  She also likes the bright blue that Anthony Ryan has picked for his look.  Althea is making something with exposed shoulders.  Joanna questions Joshua’s choice of colors.  She notes that Casanova is using a print and is impressed by Ivy’s “clear vision.”  She sees that Uli is adding trim to her look.

Ivy may have a “clear vision,” but she’s apparently bitten off more than she can chew, as she’s cutting pieces for her garment when the models come in for their fitting.  Ivy has nothing for her model to try on.  Uh-oh.  Althea and Emilio are also feeling the time crunch.  Later on, back at the apartment, the designers talk about their clients in the outside world, that have included people like the Kardashians.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work.  Emilio and Ivy are both very far behind on their work and end up taking all kinds of short cuts so their models will have something to wear.  Ivy cuts her dress short, and Emilio skips hemming.  He knows it looks sloppy.  The models come in for their final fitting, followed by hair and make-up.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces Diane von Furstenberg, who is the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Joshua is up first.  He made an a one-shouldered dark green dress with an asymmetrical bottom.  Uli made a blue print mini-dress trimmed with blue feathers.  The feathers also serve as a shoulder piece holding the dress in place.

Althea’s pink and blue dress doesn’t look too bad from the front.  But from the back… what was she smoking?!  She cut the skirt very short in the back and then apparently sewed or pinned a bunch of cloths there.  She also draped a pink piece over her shoulders almost like a shawl.  The effect looks both cheap and bedraggled.

Casanova made a sleeveless, floor-length gown out of a pink and red print with a patchwork design.  He added a bright scarlet liner to the skirt.  Anthony Ryan made a draped, sleeveless blue dress.  It’s floor-length with a plunging back and a v-neck.  It is also very voluminous.

Ivy made a sleeveless gold mini-dress.  It’s got diagonal pleats down the front.  The back is exposed, and the fabric in the back looks ill-fitting:  too tight over the model’s rear and too loose around the back.  There’s also a train attached to one side

Laura used a salmon, blue, and cream print with an abstract pattern.  She made a jumpsuit with very wide-legged, billowing pants.  It has a plunging back and a narrow v-neck in the front.  Emilio made a scarlet, floor-length gown.  It’s shoulder-less, but has a silver strap holding it in place.  More silver trims the top.

Carolyn then calls Joshua and Casanova and tells them they are safe.  Everybody else has to face the judges.  They start with Anthony Ryan, who wanted to make a dress with a Southern flavor.  Diane likes the design and thinks it looks both comfortable and elegant.  Carolyn likes the color, but not the fact she could see the model’s bra peeking through.

Ivy talks about how she’d been inspired by the sun.  Isaac hates the look, going so far as to say it was the worst the fabric has ever looked.  Carolyn says it is definitely not something she’d wear.  Georgina says the dress looks heavy.  Diane thinks Ivy had a good idea– but the execution was lacking.

Emilio tells the judges that he was drawn by the bright scarlet color of his look.  Diane told him the lining of the dress was a problem.  She also doesn’t think the silver trim was necessary.

Uli shows off her design.  Isaac says he doesn’t usually like a dress if this type, but Uli’s dress is an exception.  He says it looks great.  Diane applauds her skill in manipulating the feathers.  Georgina thinks the back of the dress looks a bit unfinished.

When it’s Althea’s turn, Carolyn says the dress doesn’t make sense.  Diane says it looks like Marie Antoinette meets Frederick’s of Hollywood, but adds that Althea shows considerable skill.  Georgina says she could see that Althea had trouble with the fabric, which is a difficult one to use.

Last up is Laura, who says she likes long, flowy designs.  Diane calls the look a pajama palazzo and says it’s well done.  In fact, she loves it.  Isaac likes the print, and Georgina advises Laura to watch her proportions, as the look makers the model look a bit wide in the waist, and women generally don’t want that.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat.  Uli’s look was playful, while Anthony Ryan’s look was elegant.  Laura did a good job making her pajama palazzo.  As for the designers they didn’t like, Emilio’s gown looked unfinished, but the color was extraordinary.  Althea’s dress was well-made, but looked old.  Ivy had a good idea, but executed it poorly.

Carolyn then announces that Anthony Ryan is safe.  She then asks Diane to announce the winner– and it’s Laura.  Carolyn adds that she can’t wait to wear Laura’s design.  Uli and Emilio are safe, while Ivy and Althea are in the bottom.  Althea is out, so Ivy is in.

Next week:  The designers face the dreaded “unconventional materials” challenge and have to make clothes out of Christmas ornaments.

Project Runway All-Stars 2: The Art of Androgyny

Last week, on Project Runway All-Stars…. the designers apparently celebrated Thanksgiving, as there was no new episode.  The week before that, they had faced an “interactive challenge,” in which the producers had invited fans of the show to send in photographs via Twitter.  The designers then had to make a look inspired by a photograph.  The winning design would be featured on USA Today.  Anthony Ryan won and Andrae was sent home.

On the runway, Carolyn explains the next challenge:  They have to make an avant-garde look with an androgynous theme.  It has to be something that could be worn by a man or a woman and it has to combine masculine and feminine aesthetics.  The designers would have $150.00 to spend at Mood.

Back in the workroom, the designers take the traditional 30 minutes to sketch.  Kayne thinks of androgynous performers like Adam Lambert and David Bowie and uses them as inspiration.  Emilio decides to make a woman’s look out of fabrics typically associated with men’s clothing.  Uli isn’t quite sure what to do, as she specializes in very feminine women’s clothing.

Then it’s off to Mood.  There, Kayne tells us that he plans to make a jacket while Emilio plans to make a suit.

Back at Parson’s the designers get to work, only to be interrupted by Georgina.  She has come to announce a twist.  No sooner does she say this, then a group of male models troop in.  Everybody’s horrified, as they’d assumed their looks were for women.  Altering their clothes to fit men would take some doing.  Not to worry, though.  They don’t have to do that.  The designers do have to make a look for the male model assigned to them.  The two looks have to be complementary since the male and female models will be walking the runway together.  The designers will get another $150.00 to spend at Mood and an extra day to complete the challenge.

In the meantime, they have to take their guys’ measurements.  Anthony Ryan decides to make a dress for his man. Kayne has his model try on the women’s jacket he’d been working on– and discovers that it fits him perfectly.  Kayne therefore decides to make a matching black and white houndstooth jacket for him.  After the men leave, the women come in for their fitting.  After that, it’s time for the designers to go back to the apartment and get some sleep.

The following morning, the designers go to Mood to buy fabric for their men’s looks.  When they get back, they find men’s dummies waiting for them; at least one designer comments about how large they are.  Joshua tries on Anthony Ryan’s dress and likes it.  Laura DR’s about how this challenge is hard for her, since she’s used to making traditionally feminine clothing.

Joanna comes to make her rounds and starts with Uli, who is making a strong shoulder for her women’s look.  Joanna likes the detail in her looks. Joanna then stops by Anthony Ryan and reminds him that the judges don’t want him to play it safe.  (Especially not during an avant-garde challenge.)  Althea shows off the coats she’s making, which are both purple.  Joanna is pleased with Emilio, noting that she couldn’t tell which of his looks was for a man and which was for a woman.

Joanna then checks out Casanova’s work and notes that one of his piece looks like a gladiator’s breastplate.  She then warns Laura to watch her details.  Kayne shows off his looks and Joanna thinks the smiley face on the yellow shirt is a bit much.  He wisely gets rid of it.

After Joanna leaves, the female models come in for their fitting.  During this, Casanova has problems with the pants he’s working on, so Ivy helps him.  The male models come in for their fitting, and one guy tries on high heels.  After that, it’s time for everybody to go home.

The next day is the day of the runway show, so the designers get back to work.  Anthony Ryan and Laura have noticed that Ivy and Casanova keep helping each other.  Ivy opines that it’s not fair; as All-Stars, they should be working independently, while Anthony Ryan notes that there can only be one winner.

Both sets of models come in for their final fitting, and for hair and make-up.  Ivy asks for Kabuki mask-like make-up, while Uli wants a tribal look for her duo.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges, Jason Wu and Robert Rodriguez, who are both fashion designers.  Then it’s time to start the show, with Joshua going first.  He made ridged white pants, a black top and a loose black jacket for his male model.  He made white knickers and a black and white shirt for his female model.

Uli made black and silver outfits for her models.  The man wore silver pants and a black shirt with short, feathery sleeves.  The woman wore shiny black leggings, a black top and a silver jacket with mid-length sleeves.  Althea made matching purple outfits with pants and leather jackets.

Laura had her male model wear pale grey pants and a sleeveless, sheer gray top with cut-outs in the front. The shirt also has a panel of solid black fabric in the back. Laura put her female model in skinny black pants with cut-outs down the sides.  She also made a black top and a silver and black jacket with large gold buttons.

Emilio made matching dark red outfits.  He put both models in pants, fedoras, and striped red and gray cravats.  He put the woman in a vest with a good portion of the back cut out.  He out the man in a vest-like top that has an exaggeratedly large collar on the right side.  The man’s vest appears to be wholly backless.

Kayne made a black and white houndstooth jacket and matching shorts for his male model, who also got a maroon tie.  Kayne made a matching jacket for his female model, and also put her in a lemon yellow shirt and dark copper pants.

Casanova made matching gold outfits for his models.  He put the man in pants and a long-sleeved gold and white shirt with scorpion cut-outs in the front.  He put the woman in knickers with cut-outs just above the knees.  The sleeveless shirt has pleats down the front, making it look like armor.  Both the top and the knickers have a scorpion design cut into them.

Ivy made sheer black pants for both her models.  She also made black shorts for the man, in order to preserve decency, and made a black jacket, too.  No shirt, though.  He got to walk the runway barechested.  Ivy made a black leotard and a sheer black jacket for the woman.

Anthony Ryan did indeed put his guy in a dress– sort of.  It’s actually more like a sleeveless black tunic with a train.  He also made black and white leggings.  He put his female model in a miniskirt made of the same material as the guy’s leggings.  He also made a long-sleeved, sheer, gray and white top, that isn’t so sheer across the model’s breasts.  He also gave her solid black stockings.

Carolyn then calls Althea, Ivy, and Joshua and informs they’re all safe.  Backstage, Joshua complains about being dismissed as merely safe and snipes at Ivy, telling her she has an attitude problem.  Welcome back, Joshua.  I haven’t missed you at all.

The other six designers have to face the judges, who start with Uli.  She tells then she wanted to make a “tribal” look.  Isaac loves the looks, and Carolyn likes how the outfits are interchangeable.  Robert likes the texture of the fabrics used, but Georgina dislikes the leggings.

Laura talks about how she’d mixed elements of men’s and women’s clothing in her looks.  Isaac doesn’t like the results, as he thinks the fabrics used look cheap.  He adds that he could tell this was a hard challenge for her, as he knows she’s used to making very feminine clothing.  Jason thinks the looks show too many ideas, and Robert deems the looks to be over the top.  Carolyn doesn’t like the gold buttons or the cut-outs.

Emilio tells the judges that he’d used menswear fabric for both his looks.  Georgina appreciates his attention to detail, but advises against putting semi-circles on the woman’s side, since they obscure the waist.  Robert loves the design, and says he couldn’t tell the models’ genders– which was what the challenge was all about.  Jason calls the design “fabulous,” and Carolyn says the male model is “painfully gorgeous.”

Kayne simply says that he’d fallen in love with the houndstooth and had to use it.  Isaac doesn’t like the combination of houndstooth and leather.  He also thought the yellow top made the woman’s outfit look cheap.  Carolyn adds that she’d have preferred to see the female model without a shirt, as that would have been sexy.  Kayne explains that he wanted to switch gender roles somewhat and have the man be the one showing a lot of skin.  Georgina says that Kayne needs to edit himself.

Casanova wanted to make both his models look like warriors, so he put them in outfits that resembled armor.  Georgina doesn’t think the looks are particularly androgynous.  Isaac likes the female model’s look, but thinks the man looks like her accessory.  Jason doesn’t think the looks are androgynous or avant-garde.

Last up is Anthony Ryan.  Isaac loves his outfits, saying they look “fresh” and “new.  Jason adds that they are well-made.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Emilio scores points for his clever use of fabric.  Uli’s looks are sophisticated, and Anthony Ryan has a high taste level.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Laura’s look was over the top.  Kayne used a bad combination of fabrics and colors.  Casanova’s “armor” was a good idea, but the results looked like costumes.

Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision.  Anthony Ryan is safe, while Emilio is the winner.  Uli and Casanova are safe, leaving Kayne and Laura in the bottom two.  Laura is safe, so Kayne is out.

Next week:  The designers face a green challenge, and Diane von Furstenberg turns up.


Project Runway All-Stars 2: Picture This

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make “wearable art” inspired by “aerosol art,” more commonly known as “graffiti.”  In this variation on the textile challenge, the contestants had to spray paint  a design on some fabric and then use the results to make an outfit.  Emilio won and Suede was sent home.

The following morning, Carolyn simply tells them that the next challenge will be an interactive one, and then sends them off to Joanna, who will fill them in on the details.  Joanna  introduces the designers to Sandra Micek, an executive from USA Today.  Together they explain the challenge.  USA Today has collected photographs sent in by fans of Project Runway via Twitter.  Some of the pictures were sent by fans from other countries, including Spain, Russia, and Indonesia.  The designers are to pick a photograph and then make an outfit inspired by it.  Sandra also tells them to think about the story behind their picture, and asks them, “What is your headline?”

As there are only two computers with USA Today’s photolibrary downloaded into them, only two designers can make their choices at a time.  Since Emilio won the last challenge, he gets to go first, and he invites Casanova to use the other computer.

Before the two men start searching the photolibary, Sandra tells the designers that the winner of the challenge will be featured in USA Today.  Emilio picks a picture of a young girl who reminds him of his niece.  Casanova chooses a photograph of a black person in a white, androgynous outfit.  He decides to make something similarly androgynous.

Althea picks a picture of a British train station and Ivy chooses a monarch butterfly.  She tells us that it represents change and evolution.  Kayne chooses a picture of vintage jewelry and Uli picks a picture of clouds taken from inside an airplane.  Joshua picks a colorful abstract painting and Anthony Ryan chooses a picture of a walkway.  Laura chooses a picture of water ripples and Andrae chooses a picture of a pensive-looking black girl.  He thinks she looks “forlorn.”

The designers then sketch, and Althea decides to make pants, since she’s only made dresses thus far.  Emilio decides on an exuberant look matching his girl’s personality.  Then it’s off to Mood, where the designers spend 30 minutes and $150.00.

Back at Parson’s, Laura decides to make her own print. When she complains to Joshua about the fact that she was picked last to use the photolibrary, they have a talk about her relations with the other designers.  He advises her not just to mind her manners, but also to not get caught up in people’s drama.  He warns Laura that if she focuses too much on other people, she’ll get distracted from her own work.

Joshua decides to make his top first, as that will be more complicated than his skirt.  Andrae DR’s that he feels like an outsider.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds, and she’s accompanied by Alison Maxwell, the style editor from USA Today.  They start with Andrae, and agree that his look could be “brilliant or bonkers.”  Laura chose a beautiful picture, but should concentrate on making something many people could wear.  Laura snottily DR’s that she does not make clothes for “farmers,” but makes fashion-forward garb.  That attitude strikes me as inappropriate unless 1) you’re very, very good and/or 2) you’re making avant-garde or haute couture.  Neither of those apply here.  Emilio tells Joanna that he’s doing a t-shirt dress and loves the attitude of the girl in his photo.  Joshua is making a structured, multi-colored shirt and Joanna cautions him to make sure it doesn’t look “too arts and crafts.”  Alison likes Uli’s work, but Joanna fears that Kayne’s look, with its black lace and red fabric, could look very “hookery.”  Joanna likes Casanova’s pants, but not his hat.

Ivy talks about how her butterfly made her think about how things evolve, and Joanna responds that she thinks Ivy has found some real energy.  Anthony Ryan tells Joanna about how he’d depended on designing clothes to get him through his battle with cancer.  His headline will have to do with “always moving forward.”

Joanna is pleased that Althea is stretching herself by attempting a suit, but she wonders if the result will be as “special” as the photo that inspired it.  At the end of her rounds, Joanna tells everybody, “I’m sure you felt emotion when you chose your picture.  Make sure that emotion transfers into your final product.”

The following morning, it’s the day of the runway show.  The designers busily work until the models come in– and some of them continue to work.  Then it’s time for hair and make-up.  Casanova thinks that Kayne’s look makes his model look like “a Parisian prostitute with a chicken on her head.”  One of the women describes Josh’s gaudy shirt as looking like something from Rainbow Brite.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges.  Tavi Gevinson is 16 years old and the creator of the fashion blog, “Style Rookie,” while Charlotte Ronson is a fashion designer.  Then it’s time to start the show.

Kayne made a sleeveless red dress with black lace covering a cutout in the back.  He also made a feathered headdress.  Laura made a sleeveless cream gown with blue spatters that look like she had an accident with about a dozen pens.  She then dyed the bottom half of the gown brown, which makes it look as if the model had waded through mud.

Andrae made a green, red, and yellow dress out of pieces of cloth that have been zipped together.  He also had the model wear a bunch of strings with the same color scheme in lieu of an actual necklace.  Casanova made white, billowing pants and a matching sleeveless top with the back cut out.  He also made a wide brown belt and a fedora of the same color.

Althea made a khaki suit with a green top.  The jacket has mid-length sleeves and the pants are capris that seem not to fit properly.  Joshua made a bright blue skirt out of some shiny fabric.  He also made a sleeveless, color-blocked shirt using red, orange, and yellow fabric.  He then added black trim and what might be black buckles or clasps across the front.

Uli made a long, off-white dress that has a long slit up the front.  It also has a plunging back and a sculpted bustier that looks a bit like a corset.  Ivy made an orange sleeveless top and black and orange skirt.

Anthony Ryan made a snug white skirt and a sleeveless black and royal blue shirt.  The shirt has black mesh across the front.  Much of the back was cut out, and strips of black fabric were sewn across the gap.  Emilio made a sleeveless dress with a loose, bright yellow top and a very poofy light gray skirt with yellow lining.

Carolyn then calls Laura, Andrae, Joshua, Anthony Ryan, Emilio, and Althea.  They will have to face the judges, while the other designers are safe.

The judges then start with Althea.  Everybody seems to hate the pants, although Charlotte does like the jacket.  Carolyn thinks the whole outfit is drab.

The judges praise Anthony Ryan for his ability to have his photo and outfit reference each other.  Tavi, in particular, likes how he captured the spirit of the photo.  Georgina does ding him for his color scheme, saying that he’s used it before.  She urges him to take a chance and use something different next time.

The judges don’t like Joshua’s look at all.  Georgina thinks it’s too costumey, and Isaac thinks it’s simply too much.  Tavi doesn’t think the blue skirt and multi-colored shirt go with each other.  Nor can she see either garment going with anything else.  Ouch.

Andrae explains how he’d made his dress out of zippered panels.  He also says the mood is supposed to be “forlorn,” and Isaac says he doesn’t see “forlorn.”  (Neither do I, as I don’t associate bright colors with “forlorn” or any other synonym for “sad” you care to name.)  Georgina then tells him that putting zippers and stretch fabric together causes the fabric to buckle, which is exactly what has happened with Andrae’s dress.

Laura tells the judges that she dyed her own fabric.  The judges are suitably impressed.  Tavi also thinks that Laura did a good job of capturing the mood of her photo.

Last up is Emilio.  Isaac thinks the dress is light and modern.  Charlotte thinks it’s a fun dress– but might be hard for people to actually wear.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Anthony Ryan had made a sexy outfit and Laura had done a good job dying her dress.  Emilio’s look was bold and light, but would not be an easy dress to wear.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Andrae’s look resembled something from Footlocker and his styling– with those colored strings– was awful.  Althea had made a nice jacket, but horrible pants.  In her defense, khaki can be a difficult material to work with.  Joshua’s look was schizophrenic and an overly literal interpretation of his photograph.

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

Next week:  The designers have to make androgynous designs and work with male models.


Project Runway All-Stars 2: Wearable Art

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make disco-inspired outfits that complemented party shoes made by Nine West.  Uli won and Wendy was sent home.

The following morning, the designers meet Carolyn at a graffiti-covered warehouse that is home to the world’s largest collection of legal graffiti, which is also known as “aerosol art.”  This week’s challenge is to make a look that is “wearable art,” which could either be worn or displayed.  It is, in essence, a new version of the textile challenge.  Instead of using a computer, though, they will use seven yards of white fabric and a crate full of spray paint to make their own patterns.  They will have two hours to work on their patterns.  Three top “aerosol artists,” Meres One, Sen2, and Zimad, will teach the designers various techniques for using spray paint.

Kayne and some of the other designers do indeed ask about the aerosol artists’ techniques.  Ivy decides on a look inspired by female superheroes.  Laura decides to use purple and yellow in her look– and notes that Althea has decided on the same color combination.  She immediately assumes that Althea is copying her.  Um, not necessarily.  Two garments that happen to be the same color can look totally different in terms of style, silhouette, etc.  Ivy decides to repay Casanova for his help during the last challenge and help him with this one.

Then it’s off to Mood, where the designers have 15 minutes and $50.00 to spend.  I’m presuming that most of them buy neutral fabrics or items like buttons and zippers.  Then it’s time to go home, since they need to let their painted fabrics dry before they can use them.

The following morning, the designers get to work.  Emilio notices that his fabric is stiffer than it had been and therefore decides to make a piece reminiscent of a denim jacket.

At lunch, Kayne and Ivy gossip about Laura, who they both agree is annoying.  Laura overhears them, and is not happy.  Kayne then tells her that she needs to watch how she talks to people, as she can offend them.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds and starts with Althea, who is making a purple and yellow dress that looks similar to the one she’s wearing.  Emilio tells Joanna about the drip technique one of the artists taught him.  Joanna advises Kayne to ask himself if his dress is hideous or fabulous.  She tells him there’s a surprisingly fine line between the two– and his look could go either way.

Anthony Ryan shows off a white dress with black and turquoise stripes.  He tells Joanna he wanted to do a graphic look.  She asks him about accessories and he shows her a pair of turquoise shoes, and she approves.  Uli tells Joanna that she saw the Berlin Wall come down when she was a teen-ager– and the Berlin Wall was covered with graffiti.  She’s using it as her inspiration.

Suede tells Joanna that he’s inspired by the earth, sky, and stars, which explains the yellow and green discs he’s putting all over his dress.  Laura’s dress has an asymmetrical hem, and Joanna cautions her to make sure the judges don’t take it for a mistake.  Ivy has painted words all over her garment.  She’s inspired by comicbooks and the sound effects, like POW!, that are often used in them.

Then the models come in for their fitting and Uli is delighted to find that her dress fits perfectly.  Andrae, on the other hand, discovers his gown is much too long.  On that note, it’s time for everybody to go home.

The next morning the designers get back to work.  Andrae and Suede both note they still have a lot to do.  Anthony Ryan tells us that Ivy could be a threat.  The models come in for their final fitting and then go to hair and make-up.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges, Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, who are both fashion designers.

Andrae made a green skirt decorated with a purple and yellow pattern.  He then made a sleeveless top that is white in the front, but matches the skirt in the back.  He also made a sash partly out of the skirt’s material and partly out of purple tulle.  Uli made a sleeveless mini-dress with exaggerated, pointed shoulders.  It is orange and purple.

Kayne made a black halter-top and paired it with a floor-length, multi-colored skirt.  It seems to consist of different colored panels that were sewn together.  Strips of black cloth act as dividers.  One wide piece of black cloth divides the top portion of the skirt from the bottom portion.  It also pulls the top part snugly over the model’s hips, while making the bottom flare out.  In the process, it also makes the model’s hips look bigger than they probably are.

Laura made a sleeveless purple and yellow mini-dress with a hem that is even in the back, but rises in the front.  Anthony Ryan made a sleeveless white mini-dress that he decorated with short black and blue bands.  His look also has a cut-out in the back.  Casanova made a yoked, backless dress.  The front is divided into quarters and each quarter has a different color or pattern on it.

Emilio made a skirt and jacket combo that looks more inspired by fire than graffiti, as both pieces are yellow, orange, red, and black.  He also made a red bustier and a skinny yellow belt.  The nod to graffiti apparently comes in his use of bold, bright colors.

Suede made a black and white tulle skirt that he then decorated with green and yellow discs.  He also made a black, sleeveless, one-shoulder top that he covered with green and yellow discs.  The top makes it look like the model rolled in candy that somehow stuck to her.

Althea made a black and white sleeveless mini-dress.  She decorated the white parts with a purple and yellow giraffe pattern.

Ivy made a jacket and skirt combo.  The jacket is yellow, orange, and white, with words like “passionate” and “tenacity” spray-painted in black.  The jacket is also cut very short in the back, exposing part of the model’s back.  The top portion of the skirt is made of the same material as the jacket, and has the same color scheme, while the bottom half is made from a white, translucent fabric.

Joshua apparently used every color he had.  He made a skirt with black, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red stripes.  His sleeveless top is black white, yellow, purple, and orange.

Carolyn calls Ivy, Emilio, Suede, Anthony Ryan, Kayne, and Laura.  They have to face the judges, while the others are all safe.

The judges start with Anthony Ryan, who wanted to do a graphic look.  Georgina praises the proportions, and she also thinks the dress itself is cute.  Robert likes the shape, but Jeffrey thinks it’s a little young looking.  It’s also not something he’d put in a gallery.

Laura was inspired by some of the techniques the aerosol artists taught her.  Georgina thinks the design looks like two dresses.  She also would have preferred a longer skirt, as the current short skirt cheapens the look.  She does like the top, which she deems elegant.  Robert would have also preferred a longer dress, and Jeffrey dislikes the odd hem.

Suede wanted to make something feminine.  Georgina praises his desire to do so, but doesn’t think the outfit is all that wearable.  None of the judges like the green and yellow discs he put all over his outfit.

Emilio took his inspiration from rap music, which is often linked with aerosol art.  Carolyn loves the dress and wants to wear it.  Georgina praises the silhouette and proportions, but thinks the belt should have been wider.  Robert also dislikes the belt, but Isaac likes the red top.

Ivy talks about her superhero idea.  Georgina thinks the look is modern, while Isaac likes the cut-out in the back.  He doesn’t like the word “tenacity” on the jacket, as he thinks it’s too on the nose.  Jeffrey thinks it’s a great play on a suit, but thinks the bottom part of the skirt would have looked better in red or orange.

Last up is Kayne, who wanted to create pop-art in an evening gown.  Isaac thinks the look is dramatic, but also thinks there’s a disconnect between the black top and the wildly colored skirt.  Jeffrey notes that the black stripe across the skirt makes the model look bigger than she is.  Georgina thinks the skirt is too busy.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat.  Anthony Ryan’s look has great proportions and seems effortless.  Emilio’s look is chic and boasts a fantastic silhouette.  Ivy made a good jacket.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Laura Kathleen’s look had an odd hem and wasn’t all that reminiscent of graffiti.  Kayne’s look was tacky and made the model’s hips look bigger than they are.  Suede’s look was confusing, with all those discs.

Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision.  Ivy is safe, and Emilio is the winner.  Anthony and Laura are in, leaving Kayne and Suede in the bottom.  Suede is out, so Kayne is still in.

Next week:  There’s an “interactive” challenge with a computer.

Project Runway All-Stars 2: Disco Designers

Last week on Project Runway: All-Stars 2, thirteen designers returned to New York City seeking the prize that had eluded them the first time around:  victory.  These returnees quickly had to prove their mettle in a team challenge.  Each designer had to make an outfit that would be a part of a cohesive mini-collection.  Anthony Ryan won and Peach was sent home.

The following morning, the designers go to the Nine West Shoeroom, where they are surrounded by shoes.  Lots and lots of fancy shoes.  There they are introduced to Stefani Greenfield, the Chief Creative Officer of the Jones Group.  She issues this week’s challenge:  Make a party outfit inspired by disco.  Wendy is delighted to hear this.  She had actually lived through the disco era and thus believes she has an advantage over the younger designers.

To help the designers get into the mood for the challenge, Stefani shows them a bunch of colorful shoes.  Many of them are platform shoes and others have heels made of cork.  Most have colors that could just about make one’s eyes bleed:  silver, magenta, turquoise, etc.  Each designer will get a pair and their outfit will, of course, have to go with the shoes.  As the winner of the previous challenge, Anthony Ryan gets first pick.

After making their choices, the designers are then given the traditional thirty minutes to sketch.  They also learn that there’s a prize on the line:  The winning designer’s outfit will be featured in Nine West’s fall ad campaign.  As they sketch, Andrae decides to make skinny pants and a voluminous coat, while Casanova considers a spider-web look.  Later on, at Mood, Ivy buys emerald green fabric for a jump suit, while Wendy looks for silver chains.  Uli picks out white fabric, as she believes that a white dress will stand out against a sea of colorful outfits.  The designers have to stay within a $200.00 budget.

The designers then quickly get to work, since they have only a day to complete the challenge.  Wendy and Suede do take some time to get to know each other, and Laura notices their growing friendship.  Kayne works on a bronze outfit, and he regrets getting chevron-striped fabric for his pants as he realizes the judges will eat him alive if the stripes don’t match up perfectly along the seams.  Making sure they match will, of course, eat up precious time.

Suede tells us that he was in the bottom last week and thus vows to do better.  He plans to take the judges’ advice to heart.  Wendy notices that Suede is wearing chains and decides to incorporate that in her look.  I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea as Suede’s dress sense seems to be inspired more by punk than by disco.  Casanova is working on a magenta dress and worries that it will be too simple.  He needs to think of a way to spice it up.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds and she starts with Kayne, who says his look is inspired by Donna Summer.  Joanna isn’t impressed by Uli’s white dress.  She thinks Ivy’s look may be a little plain, and Ivy responds that her idea had been to “make the shoe the leading lady.”  Joanna is baffled by Andrae’s decision to make an organza coat, and she declares that she’s never seen a coat in a disco.  She calls Wendy’s look “Halloweeny” and tells Emilio that the 70’s were the “decade that taste forgot.”  Finally, she stops by Casanova, who tells her that he’s making something a woman can comfortably dance in, since that’s what people used to do at discos.  She seems pleased with his thinking.

Afterwards, the models come in for their fitting, and Andrae realizes that he’s behind again.  After the models leave, Kayne suggests a disco dance-off.  Somebody thoughtfully provided a disco ball and Wendy and Joshua dance under it.  Back at the hotel, the designers find a letter from Carolyn urging them to play a video.  It turns out to be a message from the designer Karl Lagerfeld.  He wishes them luck and the designers treat themselves to some champagne.

The next morning, it’s the day of the runway show so the designers get back to work.  Andrae has trouble with his organza and he’s worried he won’t finish in time.  The models come in for their final fitting, and then go to hair and make-up.  Wendy asks a hair stylist to give her model a “Bianca Jagger look.”  Ivy gets Casanova to help her add some embellishments to her look, which prompts Anthony Ryan to cry foul.  Since it’s All-Stars, he doesn’t think people should be helping each other.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judge, Rafe Totengo, the creative director for Nine West handbags.  Then it’s time to start the show.

Emilio made a draped sleeveless chartreuse dress with a very long skirt.  The top is a halter with wide raspberry-colored straps, and Emilio added a sash of the same color.  He used pale gold sandals.

Wendy made skinny black pants with a snakeskin pattern on them and paired them with a black, white and red halter-top.  The halter-top is held in place and trimmed by a silver chain with large round links.  Two lengths of the chain are also attached to the left side of the pants.  Wendy used back and white sandals.

Anthony Ryan made a sparkly black and gold shoulderless mini-dress.  He paired it with black sandals that have cork platforms.  Casanova made a hot pink mini-dress with long sleeves but bare shoulders.  He cut out a “spider-web” design in the back.  His shoes were silver sandals with extremely high heels.  Suede made a sleeveless draped gown out of a sparkly gold fabric.  He used red sandals.

Andrae made a purple skirt and a sleeveless magenta top.  He added a purple jacket with billowing sleeves that was made of some gauzy, see-through material.  He used black and red sandals.

Ivy made an emerald green sleeveless dress with a see-through skirt plus dark hot pants.  She used gold fabric for the shoulders and decorated the front with beads.  Her shoes were high-heeled sparkly gold sandals.

Uli made a sleeveless white mini-dress out of a sequined fabric.  It’s decorated with black and tan embroidered geometric patterns and boast white fringe.  It’s paired with a set of yellow sandals.

Joshua made a turquoise jumpsuit that matched his sandals.  Laura made a sleeveless striped cream and gray jumpsuit with billowing pants.  She added a sparkling gold jacket.  She had tan sandals.

Althea made what looks like a basic red mini-skirt that’s been paired with a snug, sleeveless top apparently made of strips of magenta fabric.  She also used brown high-heeled sandals.    Kayne made billowing tan pants with a chevron pattern and a bronze sequined halter top.  His shoes were red platform shoes.

After the show, Carolyn calls Anthony Ryan, Emilio, Althea, Kathleen, Joshua, and Suede.  They are all safe, and it’s the other six who will have to face the judges.  They start with Ivy, who had wanted to do a modern take on the 70’s jumpsuit.  Georgina loves it and Carolyn likes the colors.  Isaac wishes she had embellished the back as well as the front.

Wendy’s look prompts Carolyn to ask, “Are we in Spanish Harlem?” Rafe thinks the look has too much going on, with the chains and the print shirt.  Isaac thinks it looks “theme park,” which is presumably another way of saying it looks like a costume.  The judges agree that it looks too junior and too much like an outfit that could be found at a mall.

Kayne’s look reminds Isaac of J.Lo, and when Kayne starts to thank him, Isaac responds, “It wasn’t a compliment.”  Georgina is impressed with how well he’d lined up the chevron stripes on his palazzo pants.  Carolyn likes the silhouette of his look, but dismisses the top as “boring” and “cheap.”

Uli tells the judges she wanted a fun, flirty, but not slutty look.  Georgina says that she was smart to choose a simple shape, given the time constraints.  Doing so let her create a polished look.  The judges also think the dress looks futuristic and somewhat Native American.  Georgina worries it might not be 70’s enough.  (With both fringe and an apparent Native American influence?  Is she kidding?)

Casanova wanted to make something that a woman could comfortably dance in.  This apparently helped him reign in some of his tackier impulses as he noted a dancing woman doesn’t want to worry about certain body parts being exposed.  Isaac thinks the dress is sexy.  Georgina loves the color but wished he’d made it a tad longer.  The judges applaud the “spider-web” detail in the back.

Last up is Andrae, and the judges don’t like his jacket at all.  They’re annoyed because they think it’s too similar to last week’s design.  His top and skirt are okay, and Georgina  likes his styling.

Afterwards, the judges chat.  Both Uli and Ivy made great dresses.  Casanova chose a great color, but his dress is similar to what can be found in a mall.  As for the designers they didn’t like, Kayne had done a good job with his pants, but his top looked cheap.  Wendy and Andreae’s looks were… “interesting.”

Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision.  Casanova is safe and Uli is the winner.  Ivy and Kayne are both safe, leaving Andrae and Wendy in the bottom.  Andrae is in and Wendy is out, much to Suede’s distress.

Project Runway All-Stars 2: Designers Seeking Redemption

Welcome to the second Project Runway:  All-Stars!  Thirteen designers from previous seasons descend on New York City to vie for the crown.  In case you haven’t heard, the returnees are Wendy Pepper (S1), Andrae Gonzalo (S2), Kayne Gillespie (S3), Suede Baum (S5), Althea Harper (S6), Emilio Sosa (S7), Peach Carr (S8), Casanova (S8), Ivy Higa (S8), Anthony Ryan Auld (S9), Laura Kathleen, (S9), and Joshua McKinley (S9).  As I said in an earlier article, I don’t think all of the listed contestants quality as All-Stars.  Early outs like Peach (11th place!) especially don’t strike me as All-Stars material.

We get the usual shots of the designers arriving and getting together.  Most of their DR’s have to do with how they should have won or at least gotten further in their respective seasons.  Wendy Pepper tells us that she’s here to “right the great wrong of Season One,” namely her failure to win.  So far the show sounds like Project RunwayRedemption Island, minus the island, of course.  Many of these designers feel like they have something to prove.

As the designers get together and size each other up, Casanova and Ivy are shocked to see each other.  Casanova works for Ivy these days and is understandably horrified to discover that he’s competing against his boss.  Whoops.  Uli tells us that she thinks Emilio and Althea will be her chief competition.  Other designers are astounded to find the infamous Wendy Pepper in their midst, and one of the guys likens her to a “Disney villain.”

Eventually, the designers make their way to the runway, where they are met by the model Carolyn Murphy, who is this season’s host.  She tells them this will be the “toughest All-Stars ever” and immediately sets out to prove her point by telling the designers there will be no immunity.  An off week can therefore get a designer sent home, even if they’d won the previous challenge.

Carolyn then describes the massive prize package.  The more usual prizes include a spread in Marie Claire, a sewing/embroidery studio from Brother and $150,000 in cash.  In addition, the winning designer will get a one-year stint at Marie Claire as a contributing editor, all-expense paid trips to Fashion Weeks around the world, office space from Hewlett Packard for one year, an HP technology suite, and a private label capsule collection with Nine West, who also provide the goodies for the show’s accessory wall.  The complete package is worth 3/4 of a million dollars.

Carolyn then sends the designers to meet with Joanna Coles, who will be reprising her role as mentor.  Joanna tells them that their first challenge will be a team challenge.  Cue the moans, groans, and eye-rolls.  Joanna then draws Kayne and Joshua’s names out of a black velvet bag and invites Kayne to start a school-yard pick’em, which ends with Wendy being left till  last.  Kayne’s team has Uli, Casanova, Ivy, Anthony Ryan, Althea, and Wendy.  Joshua gets Peach, Andrae, Suede, Laura, and Emilio.

Joanna then tells the teams that there will be no team captain.  Each team will be responsible for a mini-collection inspired by an “attitude,” like “confident” or “provocative.”  Each designer will be responsible for an outfit within the collection, and the looks have to be cohesive.  Each designer will have a budget of $250.00 to spend at Mood.

The two teams then caucus.  Joanna has helpfully provided a bulletin board with a list of words describing attitudes.  Kayne’s team chooses “confident” as their theme and decide to use leather and lace as their predominant materials.  Joshua’s team chooses “bold” and decide to use a lot of black and royal blue in their looks.  Then it’s off to Mood, where the designers track down their desired materials.  After quickly checking out their new workroom, the designers get to work.  Wendy tells us that she thinks Althea is a “Miss Bossypants.”

Joanna then comes in to make her rounds, starting with the folks on Team Bold.  She notes that Peach seems to be doubting herself, and Peach admits she’s an athletic gear designer who specializes in tennis clothes.  (What is Peach doing here, then?  Project Runway has had only one or two sports-themed challenges that I can remember.)

Over on Team Confident, Joanna nixes Anthony Ryan’s bowtie and says Uli’s studs remind her of a stegosaurus.  She tells Ivy that she was almost afraid to meet her because she’d been such a raging bitch during her season.  Ivy then tells Joanna about her business and money woes, which had gotten bad enough to cause her to volunteer at a soup kitchen so she could have access to the food.  Joanna also tells the folks on Team Confident that the combination of black leather and lace immediately make her think “hooker.”

After the critiques and the models’ fittings, the designer check out their penthouse apartments.  They find the usual champagne there and Joshua toasts Wendy for being one of the designers who paved the way in the first season.  He also seems to be acknowledging her status as a fellow villain for he adds, “Bitch to bitch.”

The next day, the designers get back to work.  Both teams start off by doing a quick status check to make sure nobody is horribly behind.  Anthony Ryan tells us that he thinks Uli and Emilio are threats.  The models come in for their fitting, and Andrae realizes he’s behind after all, and asks one of his fellows for help.  Emilio notes this and comments that Andrae is bad at time management.

On the runway, Carolyn welcomes the designers and introduces the judges.  The regular judges are Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi, who had both served on the first All-Stars.  The two guest judges are Rachel Roy, a fashion designer, and Mondo Guerra, the winner of the first All-Stars.

Team Bold is up first.  They could also be called “Team Bruise” or “Team Black and Blue,” as they used black and royal blue for all of their looks.  Emilio made a snug, knee-length blue dress with a cut-out in the front.  A strategically placed black bandeau is the only thing saving the model from indecency.

Peach made a very basic little black dress.  She tried to make it interesting by making the long sleeves two-toned.  It doesn’t work.

Andrae made a basic black mini-skirt– and then added a ridiculously elaborate top.  The base appears to be a simple halter-top.  Andrae then put a sheer black top with short sleeves over it.  Over that, he added a length of blue fabric that looped over the model’s neck and appeared to be sewn into the sides of the outfit.

Suede made a black and blue mini-skirt that seems to consist of handkerchiefs sewn together.  He also made a black top with plastic epaulets decorating the shoulders.  Laura made a long black skirt and a sleeveless blue top.  Joshua made billowy pants and a halter-top.

Team Confident is next, beginning with Ivy’s black leather shorts and creamy white jacket.  She made elbow patches out of black lace and put more black lace on the jacket’s sides.

Althea made a knee-length dress with a slit up the front.  It has neither sleeves nor shoulders.  She also made a long vest out of black lace.  Casanova made a black leather skirt with a bustier top.  He added a vest made of black leather, plus leggings.

Anthony Ryan’s look consists of skinny white pants and a sleeveless black top with a white collar and white shoulders.  The back of the shirt is the most surprising part, as it’s made of black lace.  Wendy made a (very) little black dress with a bustier and a bare back.

Kayne made a black jumpsuit with a corset-like bustier.  He also made a backless black dress out of some sheer, gauzy material.  Said dress has long sleeves and a train.  Uli made a draped white dress with a black yoke.

After the show, Carolyn announces that Team Confident won the competition, and that the winning designer will come from their ranks.  The season’s first casualty will come from Team Bold.  Anthony Ryan, Ivy, and Casanova had the highest scores, while Andrae, Peach, and Suede, have the lowest scores.  Carolyn then adds that Laura had had the highest score of anybody on Team Bold– and could have been the winning designer if she’d been on Team Confident.

The judges then start with Casanova, who tells them it would take a confident person to wear a dress made of black leather.  Heh.  Isaac loves the tights and Mondo thinks he took a risk by “mixing tones.”  It was a risk that paid off.  The judges think the outfit looks expensive, but needs a longer skirt.

Ivy wanted to make her version of an executive’s power suit.  Both Rachel and Georgina love the jacket, and Georgina notes that jackets are difficult to make properly, so a good one gets points in her book.  Isaac does not like the shorts, and Carolyn would have liked the jacket better without the lace cutouts.

Anthony Ryan wanted to surprise the judges.  Georgina did find the lacy back of his top surprising.  Rachel praises his look as both cool and wearable.  Isaac likes the skinny pants look, but adds the fit around the crotch needs work.

Suede wanted to use bold shapes in his look.  Mondo says he doesn’t like napkins on a skirt.  He thinks it’s sloppy.  Georgina thinks it looks like two dresses in one.

Peach basically apologizes for her look and explains she designs tennis outfits.  I repeat, why did she agree to be on the show?  Isaac thinks the sleeves are poorly fitted, and Rachel jokes that she should have used some of Suede’s napkins to liven it up.

The judges are simply confused by Andrae’s look, even by such minor details as how one would put it on.  Georgina points out that if he has to explain his design, there’s a problem.  The look is both messy and complicated.

After their deliberation, Carolyn then announce the judges’ decision.  Casanova is in, and Anthony Ryan is the winner.  Ivy  and Suede are in, leaving Andrae and Peach in the bottom.  Andrae is in, so Peach is out.

Upcoming weeks:  There will be a show on or near a battleship, and the designers go to Paris.


Project Runway 10, Finale: And the winner is…

Last week on Project Runway, the final four designers were sent to their respective homes to make ten outfits for Fashion Week.  They had five weeks in which to do so.  Tim visited them at their homes and checked out their collections.  Upon returning to New York, the designers had to submit three finished looks for a final judgment to see who would go on to Fashion Week.  All four of them made the cut.

Immediately after the judging, Tim congratulates the designers and then advises them not to “overthink.”  This probably translates to, “You have only two days, so don’t spread yourselves too thin.”  Back at the hotel, the designers have a toast to celebrate having made it to Fashion Week.

Christopher, however, is in a foul mood.  He complains that the judges act like they’re doing him a favor and then mimics Nina.  He seems to believe that his four wins entitled him to a spot regardless of what he showed the judges.  Um, no.  Being the front-runner actually means that the judges expect more from you than two outfits involving black shorts.  After all, they did specifically asked to see a range of looks.  (Fair warning:  Christopher whines a lot this episode.  I am not going to transcribe every moan.)

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  All of them are thinking about what the judges had told them.  Fabio was told to make his collection more “luxe” and expensive-looking.  He decides to make a couple of pieces that fit that description.  The judges told Dmitry that his outfits looked too dowdy, and that some, like the one with the patterned coat, were too busy.  He decides to mix and match his separates to get better combinations and rethink his styling in order to get a more youthful vibe.

The judges were understandably bored and underwhelmed by Christopher’s three pieces.  He decides to make new ones– but can’t decide what to make.  Oops.  Mister Front-runner may be in trouble.  As for Melissa, the judges were less than impressed by her decision to make everything black and white.  She decides to make a colorful dress.

As the designers work, Tim comes in to announce that they will have model fittings and hair consultations that day.  He then gives everybody a budget of $300.00 to spend at Mood.  Christopher wanders around Mood feeling completely lost, while Melissa finds some bright orange leather, a color she informs us is called “blood orange.”  She’s especially happy to have gotten the chance to go to Mood as she was practically out of fabric.

After that it’s time for the L’Oreal hair consultation.  Melissa asks for hair-dos that are midway between a faux-hawk and a French twist.  Dmitry, remembering the judges’ critique, asks for a youthful look.  For some reason, this apparently involves giving the models exaggerated eyebrows.   Christopher, still anxious and indecisive, explores disheveled styles.

Then it’s time for the models’ fittings, prompting Christopher to whine that he’s not ready.  It seems that Christopher is really showing his age, or lack thereof.  He’s the youngest, and probably the least experienced, and the stress of getting ready for a major show is obviously getting to him.  Hence the dithering and complaining.  The other three, who are all older than he by five to ten years, maintain their focus and work.

Melissa takes the judges’ advice and cuts the oversized cuffs off of her jacket.  She also has one of her models try on a long white dress.  She then asks the model if the shoes are bothering her.  No, the problem’s not the shoes, it’s that Melissa unwittingly resurrected the hobble dress of the 1910’s.  She then claims there’s no time to fix it.  Um, wouldn’t a slit or two do the job?

The next morning, the designers get back to work, as it’s the last day before the big show.  Tim comes in to announce the make-up consultations.  He also tells the designers they will have only until 5:00 to wrap things up.  Christopher actually calms down enough to make his selections and is happy with the results.  Melissa asks for lots of color in her make-up.

Then Tim makes his final rounds, starting with Melissa.  She shows off the new blood-orange dress she’s making and Tim likes it.  Melissa needs something like that to liven up her collection.  On to Dmitry.  Tim likes the clothes, but thinks the “silver leaf” effect in his models’ hair is too much and will distract people from the clothes.  Tim notes Christopher’s lack of focus– he’s trying to make five pieces at once or something ridiculous.  Tim urges Christopher to calm down and focus and points out that one of the new pieces looks cheap.  Last up is Fabio, and Tim likes his collection, commenting “You’ve had an epiphany.”  As he leaves, Tim tells everybody that he’s thrilled with their collections.

Melissa continues working on her dress.  Dmitry notes that Christopher and Melissa seem stressed, while he and Fabio are calm.  Melissa has always had time-management problems, while Christopher’s nerves are simply getting the better of him.  At 4:45, Tim comes in to deliver a 15-minute warning, prompting Christopher to protest that he has two more looks to make.  Tim retorts, “That’s ridiculous!”  Fifteen minutes later, Tim herds the designers out the door.  They need to go home and rest.

At around 2:00 a.m., the designers get up to go to Fashion Week, which will be held at the Lincoln Center.  There they check out the runway, which is the biggest they’ve ever seen.  They also note that there are enough seats to accommodate one thousand people.  They don’t have much time to gawk, though, for the models have started to arrive.  Dmitry gets an unwanted lesson about his poor choice of hairdo:  The elaborate do’s take a long time to style, which causes him to fall behind schedule.  To make matters worse, the models’ hairstylists apparently all finish at more or less the same time, and Dmitry has to organize all ten models at once.

Finally, it’s time to start the show.  Heidi welcomes everybody to the tenth anniversary of Project Runway.  She then introduces the judges, including the guest judge Jennifer Hudson, singer and actress.  Insert rant about how the guest judge for Fashion Week ought to be an actual fashion designer, and not just some celebrity who likes to wear pretty clothes and/or looks really good in said clothes.

Christopher is first and he tells the audience that his collection is about “construction and deconstruction.”  He wins points by being the only designer to make and use his own textile (the X-ray print seen last week.)  He loses them by apparently not getting the memo that this is a spring collection.  The colors he uses are more suitable for a fall or winter collection:  black, brown, ivory, and gray.  The only colors he uses are dark ones:  purple, maroon, and dark blue.  The fourth piece is one of the tank top and short shorts combos that he’d showed last week.  The fifth piece is a dark blue-purple trench coat, which looks a lot more impressive.  The last piece is a tiered brown gown that seems to have come from out of left field.  I’m not a designer and even I know that a gown doesn’t belong in a collection that consists mostly of separates.

Melissa is next, and describes her collection as showing the transition of “death to life,” which is actually a good theme for a spring collection.  Easter, the chief Christian holiday held in spring, is all about resurrection.  The ancient Greeks had Hades, the god of the dead, marry Persephone, the goddess of spring.  The collection’s vintage Melissa, with lots of leather pieces.  She improved last week’s shorts and tunic combo by adding a spackled white leather jacket to it.  Last week’s white jacket, minus the over-sized cuffs, is part of the first look.  There is too much black for a spring collection, with three black dresses, a black swimsuit, and two pairs of black pants.  The white hobble dress, the ninth piece, really did hobble the poor model wearing it.  Melissa’s collection does end on a strong note, thanks to her final piece, the blood orange dress, which is the color of some dahlias or poppies.

Dmitry then tells the audience about how he was inspired by “organic architecture.”  He then starts off with one of last week’s looks: the white dress with geometric cutouts.  His third and fifth looks are also from last week, but he wisely pairs his patterned fringed jacket with a rather basic pair of black pants, thus keeping all eyes on that jacket.  Unlike Christopher, he remembered this is a spring collection, and thus added a couple of pieces in pale yellow.  Like Christopher, his last piece is a gown.  It’s black and the skirt looks as if it’s made of some feathery material that doesn’t look too dissimilar from the fringes on his jacket.  It fits the rest of the collection, at least partly because half of his looks are dresses, while the other half are separates.  The ninth piece quite arguably prepared the audience for the gown as it was a metallic dark gray dress.

Last up is Fabio, who calls his collection “Cosmic Tribalism.”  It looked the most like a spring collection, particularly in terms of color.  I’m not overly fond of pastels, but they are spring colors, and he used them.  The only neutrals in sight are white and light gray.  Black is conspicuous by its absence.  The light colors and the draping provide an airy, ethereal effect.  His first two looks combine garments from last week with new ones.  Like Dmitry, he’d apparently decided to mix and match some of his separates to improve his collection.  The third look, unfortunately, is one from last week I hadn’t liked:  a gray skirt with a white vest that doesn’t seem to close properly.  Most of his looks consist of skirts, pants, and dresses in some combination.  There aren’t any looks I’d call showstoppers, and the tenth look is just plain strange:  It involves gray pants, a pink dress or tunic, and a sleeveless white robe with a matching belt.  Huh?

Afterwards, we get the usual backstage from people like Joanna Coles and various Project Runway alumnae about who they like best.  Nick from Season 2 likes Christopher, while Valerie from Season 8 is a fan of Fabio.

Then it’s time for the judging.  Heidi begins by complimenting everybody on their efforts.  The judges then start with Dmitry, who had wanted to use geometric shapes in his work.  Heidi thinks his clothes are beautiful.  Michael calls them “impeccably made,” but the last look, the feathered dress, verges on costume.  Nina likes the fringed jacket and the yellow dress.  Most of the looks were “editorial,” which is Nina-speak for, “They would photograph well and could be put in a magazine.”  Jennifer thinks the clothes look rich.

Melissa tells the judges that she wanted to play with textures.  Michael praises Melissa for understanding how women want to look.  He does not like the hobble dress, though.  Jennifer, curiously, does like it.  The judges think Melissa’s clothes have a “tough chick vibe” to them.  Nina likes the blood orange dress.  It’s cool and sexy, without being slutty– and that can be very difficult to pull off.

Christopher talks about being inspired by his mother’s X-ray.  He wanted a dark and haunting collection.  For spring.  Right. Michael loves the first look and the splattered leather used in the collection, but he doesn’t think the gown goes with the rest of the collection.  Nina would have preferred a more romantic collection from him, as that is one of his strengths.  Heidi likes his black jacket and one-shoulder dress.

Fabio was inspired by tribal body art that he’d seen in his native Brazil.  Heidi loves his collection, and calls it “fluid” and “ethereal.”  Nina thinks it looks both sophisticated and easy.  Michael says the draping looks effortless.  Jennifer likes the colors and layers.

After that, the judges have their chat.  They note that Christopher was the only one to make and use his own print.  However, his collection was “all over the place.”  He’s a young designer who’s still finding himself.  Melissa has good taste, but her collection had no surprises.  Fabio’s pastels were a surprise and he’s a conceptual designer.  Dmitry is a perfectionist, and his looks are polished and commercial.

Heidi then announces the judges’ decision.  Christopher is first out.  Melissa is next, leaving Fabio and Dmitry in the top two.  Dmitry’s the winner.  His friends and Tim all come out to congratulate him.

Next week:  Project Runway All-Stars 2 starts.

Project Runway 10, Episode 13: Time Crunches and Stylistic Concerns

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to design an avant-garde look inspired both by Oheka Castle and L’Oreal Paris’ latest make-up line.  Dmitry won and Sonjia was sent home– after being robbed of  her spot in the Final Four.  Given that the judges had made a point of examining previous challenges, you’d think that the designer who’d won three challenges would have been a shoo-in.

On the runway, Heidi and Tim explain the rules of their final challenge.  The designers each have to make a collection of ten looks.  Each designer will get five weeks and a budget of $9,000.  That means we’ll get a bunch of rush jobs, as the designers will have to crank out roughly two looks per week.  That won’t allow them time to experiment or try anything new.  Instead, they’ll stick to what they know they can do in the allotted time.  Back when Bravo ran this show, the designers used to get several months to make their collection.

In addition, the designers are not guaranteed a spot, as only three of them will actually show at Fashion Week.  Let’s ignore the fact that one of the worst-kept secrets ever is Project Runway’s use of dummy collections during Fashion Week.  Sonjia and some of the other defeated designers will also be showing collections, since Fashion Week was actually held in September.  Melissa tells us she’s determined to get a spot.

Four weeks later, Tim makes the first of his home visits.  He starts with Christopher, at the latter’s house in Massapequa, NY.  Christopher shows off his workplace and outfits.  He also shows Tim a textile he’d made inspired by his mother’s X-ray.  She’s hurt her back in a car accident, and Christopher used a copy of the X-ray in his textile.  Tim then examines the clothes themselves.  He likes a coat, but thinks the leather bustier with the sweetheart neckline is “too sweet.”  Christopher then shows a pair of leather shorts he’d ruined by pouring bleach on them.  Tim admires the “corroded” look and thinks he should incorporate it in his collection.

Tim then meets Christopher’s family.  He  has two sisters, and everybody seems very supportive of Christopher.  His mother say she’s proud of him.

Fabio is next.  He and his lover, Jason, are staying a in friend’s swanky apartment.  Tim also meets Fabio’s mother.  Fabio, who was born in Brazil, would love the money and the career boost that winning Project Runway would give him.

Fabio then shows off his collection, which he’s calling “Cosmic Tribalism.”  He’d dyed his fabrics with watercolors, creating a pastel effect.  So far, he’s got pale pink and baby blue fabrics.   He calls one look the “Priestess” and two others “people within the tribe.”  Tim likes most of it, but thinks one pair of pants resembles long johns.  He’s baffled by other components of the collection, and he especially dislikes the shoes Fabio plans on using, as they look too clunky and boot-like to go with the airy-looking clothing.

In Jersey City, NJ, Tim catches up with Dmitry, who is also staying at a friend’s.  Dmitry had had to quit his job to go on Project Runway, which meant he’d also had to give up his apartment, since he couldn’t pay for it anymore.   His family are all back in Belarus, and he’d emigrated to the U.S. when he was 18. His collection is inspired by what he calls “organic architecture.”  As one might guess, his clothes look very geometric.  Tim admires a coat, but dislikes a pale green dress.  Tim asks him if there are any “surprises” in the collection.  Dmitry needs to show the judges something new, and not designs they’ve seen before.

Last up is Melissa, who has her own place in San Francisco.  She shows off her collection, which includes a “cracked” leather jacket.  Tim likes her collection and sees nothing to complain about.  He does tell Melissa it will come down to the judges’ taste.  Afterwards, Melissa’s parents take Tim, Melissa, and Mick, who is Melissa’s boyfriend, on a boat ride.  Melissa and her family talk about Rogers City, the small town where Melissa grew up.

A few days before Fashion Week, the designers return to New York City.  Christopher is the first to arrive, and promptly checks out the apartments.  He and the other three designers are happy to see each other again and seem to like their new digs a lot.  They like them even more when they find champagne and a note from Heidi welcoming them back.

The next morning, the designers check out their new workroom in the 1407 Broadway building.  They also check out each other’s collections.  Tim comes in to welcome them and spell out the rules.  The designers will present three looks to the judges.  They should therefore pick out three strong looks that show their range.  As soon as she hears this, Melissa starts to wonder if she’s done enough to get to Fashion Week.  Christopher can’t decide which three looks to pick.  Dmitry tells us that he thinks some of Christopher’s looks are “slutty.”  Given that Christopher’s looks include at least one pair of black leather shorts, I can’t disagree.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Fabio.  He advises Fabio to “own” his ideas– even the clunky shoes that Tim had originally hated.  Fabio did at least dye them a pale cream, to better match the outfits.  Tim thinks the judges will either hate or love Fabio’s collection.

Christopher is up next and Tim loves the bleached leather vest he’d made.  He’s worried about Christopher’s indecisiveness, though, especially when the latter says he won’t decide until he’s seen his models.  (I agree:  At the least, Christopher should decide on a first choice, second choice, etc., so he’ll have some sort of starting point.)

Melissa shows Tim the jacket she plans to show the judges, and adds that she has a gown she won’t show until Fashion Week– assuming she gets there.  Sensing her self-doubt, Tim gives her a pep talk.  Feeling better, she gets back to work.

Last up is Dmitry, who has picked out three looks he plans to show.  Tim notices that everything is black and white.  He advises against a black and white collection– especially since Dmitry has a nice yellow dress.  Dmitry decides to stick with his black and whites outfits.  At the end of the day, the designers go home.  Everybody’s nervous about the judging.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Tim comes in to tell them they will have three hours to get their models dressed and made-up for the show.  Each designer gets three models.  Christopher has problems finding looks that will fit his three models. Afterwards, the models go to hair and make-up.

On the runway, Heidi welcomes the designers back.  She also reveals that there’s no guest judge; it’s just the regular judges this time around.

Dmitry’s first look is a sleeveless white knee-length dress.  At first glance, it seems to have brown trim in geometric patterns.  A second glance reveals that the “trim” is actually cut-outs showing the model’s dark skin.  His second look includes a black skirt and a very sheer black top that gives viewers a good look at the model’s black bra.  The best part of the look is a patterned black and white jacket that has fringed sleeves made of black leather.  His third look is a sheer black top paired with skinny white pants.

Christopher’s first look includes short black shorts and a see-through cream knit top showing the model’s black bra.  He also made a long vest out of distressed black leather.  His second look includes short black leather shorts and a brown and white shirt made of his x-ray fabric.  From over here, it looks tie-dyed.  His final look consists of a black bustier and a skirt made out of the same brown and white x-ray fabric.  Two looks involving black short shorts aren’t exactly the best way to show one’s range.

Fabio’s first look consists of skinny white pants, a turquoise croptop that looks tie-dyed, and a very long, draped white vest.  He also made an arrow-head necklace in pastel colors.  His second look includes a knee-length white skirt, another blue tie-dyed top, and a cream vest that gapes so much in front it simply looks way too small for the model.  His last look is a very pale pink dress with asymmetrical sleeves:  one side is sleeveless and the other has a short sleeve.  The dress has a slit up the front, and Fabio made a plastic necklace with a stacked arrowhead design.

Last up is Melissa.  Her first look consists of short white shorts and a sleeveless black tunic with a good part of the front cut out.  Her second look consists of skinny black pants, a black top, and a white leather jacket with an oversized black collar and black cuffs.  Her last look is a sleeveless little black dress with an oversized collar.

The judges start with Fabio who tells them his collection is called “Cosmic Tribalism.”  Heidi likes his point of view, his necklaces, and his handbags.  Moving on to the actual clothes, she loves the colors.  Michael also likes the colors, and he enjoys the contrast of normally sweet colors being used with edgy designs.  On the other hand, he doesn’t like the wigs.  Nina thinks some of the pieces, like the vest, are beautiful– but they don’t look expensive enough.  She thinks the necklaces and other finishing touches look “junior” and unsophisticated.

Dmitry is next.  He talks about being inspired by organic architecture and some of New York’s buildings.  He also wanted to do something “graphic.”  Nina likes the white dress with its cut outs, but she thinks the styling needs work.  Michael agrees and adds that Dmitry needs to make his styling seem younger.  He also thinks Dmitry has too many ideas and needs to edit.  The jacket is great– but such “wow” pieces need to stand on their own.  In this case, pairing the jacket with a sheer top was a mistake, as the latter distracted viewers from the jacket.  Similarly, Heidi advises pairing show-stoppers with simpler pieces.

Christopher tells the judges about how he’d used his mother’s X-ray to make a textile.  Heidi thinks it’s creepy.  She does like the colors he got with it.  On the other hand, she would have preferred a wow piece to his separates, as the tops and the shorts are boring.  Michael agrees and calls them “banal.”  They are beautifully made, though.  Nina thinks the first two outfits are both too similar and too skimpy.  The vest is good, though.

Melissa wanted to show her range and thus chose to show shorts, pants, and a dress.  Heidi loves the jacket, but thinks the dress is too simple.  Michael wishes the designers hadn’t held back their show-stopping pieces for Fashion Week.  He reminds all the designers that the models have to be impeccable from head to toe.  He loves Melissa’s white jacket and handbags, but hates the wigs she had her models wear.  Nina asks if the whole collection is black and white and Melissa answers that she does have a red piece.  Nina tells her that a black and white collection requires amazing styling to be successful.  She also suggests shortening the jacket’s sleeves.

The judges then have their chat.  Dmitry had made some beautiful pieces but combined them in dowdy ways.  Fabio made the novel choice of using pastels, but his collection needs to look more luxe and sophisticated.  Christopher had made some interesting prints, but may not be much of a showman.  Melissa made very contemporary clothes, including a beautiful jacket.

Heidi then calls everybody back in and announces the judges’ decision:  Everybody is going to Fashion Week.  Everybody needs to fix their styling and otherwise improve their collections.  The designers have two days to make the needed changes.

Next week:  Fashion Week!

Project Runway 10, Episode 12: Of Leading Ladies and Lame Judges

Last week on Project Runway, the designers had to make baby clothes fit for Heidi’s Truly Scrumptious line.  They also had to take care of crying baby dolls, which was both demeaning and annoying.  Sonjia and Christopher both won for making, respectively, the best boy’s and girl’s outfits.  Elena was sent home.

The following morning, Fabio tells us that he’s delighted to have made it to the Final Five.  Melissa notes that she, Fabio, and Dmitry have all won one challenge apiece.  As Sonjia and Christopher have won multiple times, they probably have two of the Final Three spots sewn up.  Ergo, Melissa has to make a better outfit than Dmitry or Fabio in order to win her spot.

On the runway, Heidi congratulates the designers for getting to this point.  She tells them that this is the last challenge before Fashion Week and it will determine who among them will go.  She then sends them to “a far, far away place,” that turns out to be Oheka Castle, which was built about 100 years ago by Otto Hermann Kahn.  Tim is waiting for them.  With him is Billy B. from L’Oreal Paris who tells them about their new make-up line, Electric Fantasie.  There are four make-up groups for four “leading ladies”:  Enchanted Queen, the Seductive Temptress, the Wise Mystic, and the Artsy Muse.  The Enchanted Queen uses a lot of black and red, the Seductive Temptress combines neutrals, metallics, and green, the Wise Mystic uses cool colors, while the Artsy Muse uses warm colors.

Tim goes on to explain that the challenge will be to make an avant-garde look inspired by both the Oheka Castle and the Electric Fantasie make-up.   Tim then draws names from the button bag and thus assigns everybody a lady:  Fabio gets the Enchanted Queen, Sonjia gets the Seductive Temptress, Dmitry gets the Wise Mystic, and Melissa gets the Artsy Muse.  Christopher gets to pick and quickly chooses the Enchanted Queen.

The designers will get 45 minutes to sketch on the castle grounds, $400.00 to spend at Mood, and two days to complete the challenge.  As the designers roam the grounds and sketch, Dmitry decides to make a suit, while Sonjia decides to make a form-fitting look for her temptress.  Christopher imagines an evil queen look, and Fabio imagines a young, regal queen in a structured coat.

At Mood, the designers get 45 minutes to shop.  Sonjia hunts for materials that will fit her color palette.  Melissa tells us that she feels “lost,” because she didn’t get the Enchanted Queen, which would have let her use a lot of black.  Instead, she has to work with the more colorful Artsy Muse.

Back at Parson’s, Tim tells the designers they have until 10:30 p.m. to work on their looks.  He strongly urges them to be ambitious and tells them the judges are expecting two months of work in the next two days.  As soon as he leaves, Sonjia discovers she has a serious problem:  She can’t find the gold fabric she’d really wanted, and she’d bought five yards of the stuff.  She vows to “make it work,” and starts fiddling with some green fabric.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and starts with Melissa, who is working with leather.  He warns her to really watch her time.  Christopher is working on a look with an hour-glass figure and exaggerated hips.  Tim says nothing, but seems dubious.  Dmitry shows off a blue coat, and Tim warns him that unusual sleeves are not enough to make a garment avant-garde.  Fabio has made a coat and is working on a dress and shorts.  Tim really dislikes the coat, calling it “costumey” and “flat.”  Last up is Sonjia, who apparently doesn’t tell Tim about her missing fabric.  If she did, the audience doesn’t see or hear about it.  The gold fabric is apparently history, which is a shame, as gold and deep green go great together.  Anyway, Tim gives Sonjia a pep talk mixed with tough love, telling her that he doesn’t think she has shown her true, full potential.  He urges her to “unleash” something.  At 10:30 p.m., the designers head home.

The following morning, the designers get back to work.  Fabio apparently slept poorly and tells us that he feels “dead.”  At Parson’s, Sonjia DR’s that she doesn’t want the judges to dismiss her look as something they’ve seen before.  She is working on a green dress with pleats, and plays around with the material.

Fabio talks about flipping a pair of pants upside down when he was in design school, and decides to try the same trick with his coat.  Billy B.  comes in for the make-up consultations, and not surprisingly, he uses the make-up from Electric Fantasie.

Tim comes in to make his rounds again.  He starts with Fabio, and comments, “You’ve had an epiphany.”  He really likes Fabio’s coat now and calls it “buoyant and sculptural.”  Melissa has finished a black and white skirt and describes what the rest of her look will be like.  Upon hearing her plans, Tim notes, “You have a lot to do,” and lets her get back to work.

Tim then visits Sonjia and isn’t impressed with her green dress.  He warns her to not to make something that looks like a student project.  He’s even less impressed with Christopher’s black dress– which he thinks looks like something from the 1890’s.  It’s beautifully made, but not avant-garde.  Dmitry’s look has the same problem:  It’s exquisitely made, but not avant-garde.  Worse, the silhouette is too similar to other stuff he’s made before.

After Tim leaves, the models come in for their fitting.  Things go well for Fabio and Sonjia; their outfits may not be avant-garde, but at least they fit.  Christopher is also happy with his dress, while Melissa has doubts about hers.  After that, it’s time to go home for the night.

The following morning. it’s the day of the runway show, and the designers talk a lot about how close they are to Fashion Week, about how much it would stink to get sent home now, and how about how it’s always been their dream to be a fashion designer and go to Fashion Week.  We’ve heard it all before.

As the designers work, Tim comes in to tell them that they will have extra time for hair and make-up.  He then sends in the models.  As his model gets her hair and face done, Fabio works on what he calls “finishings,” which have to be made by hand.  Not surprisingly, when Tim comes to collect everybody, Fabio and Melissa are both still working.

On the runway, Heidi introduces the guest judge, actress Zoe Saldana.  She’s also a co-founder of the fashion website, which is short for “My Fashion Database.”

Melissa made a long black and white patterned skirt with a slit up past the knee that exposes the skirt’s coral lining.  She also made a sleeveless black shirt with coral trim around the collar, and a turquoise leather vest.  The model’s also wearing black leather gauntlets.

Fabio made a short-sleeved maroon jacket and sheer black palazzo pants that billow so much they could be taken for a gown.  He also made a sheer black top that’s woven or braided in the front.  It’s very dark and doesn’t look particularly queenly.  (On the other hand, neither do many of Elizabeth II’s outfits…)

Dmitry made a structured dark blue suit with a high, detachable collar.  It also has a plunging back and exposed zipper.  If one thinks “slightly futuristic” equals “avant-garde,” then this could qualify.  Similarly, if one equates “mystic” with “monk,” then this look might be sober enough to fit.  But, it’s really just a suit.

Sonjia made a green gown.  She used illusion to cover up her model’s and much of her front.  Unfortunately, it’s significantly lighter than her model’s skin tone, which makes it obvious that it’s there.  The rest of the front is covered by two folded pieces of green material.  I get the feeling that if Sonjia had had her gold fabric, she’d have used a lot less illusion, and the resulting dress would have been stunning.

Christopher is last up, and he made a glittering black gown with exaggerated hips that give the model an hour-glass figure she doesn’t really have.  Black feathers decorate the shoulders.  In a bizarre touch, the model’s also wearing gauntlets made of black feathers.  The model looks more like a comic book supervillain than any kind of queen.

Then it’s time for the designers to face the judges.  They start with Sonjia, who did the Seductive Temptress.  Dumb Comment #1:  Heidi loves the color and the concept and can see it on the red carpet.  This is not for the red carpet.  The difference between a red carpet look and an avant-garde look is comparable to the difference between a Maserati and a concept car  Heidi does add that that the illusion doesn’t match the model’s skin tone at all.  I agree that there’s no excuse at this point in the competition for Sonjia not doing a better job there.  Dumb Comment #2:  Nina says she sees green as the color of envy, not sexual temptation.  Green was part of Sonjia’s assigned color palette.  She had to use it– especially after her gold material went missing.  Again, nobody apparently mentioned this fact.  Dumb Comment #3:  Michael thinks it looks like an ice skating costume for Nancy Kerrigan.  Nobody ice skates in long gowns, not even ice dancers.  He does note that there is too much illusion, especially in the back.  He also thinks all that illusion makes the dress look like something an old woman would wear.  Zoe simply thinks the gown looks incomplete.

Christopher is next, and he did the Enchanted Queen.  Dumb Comment #4:  Michael likes the eye make-up, while Heidi likes the nail polish.  What about the gown, guys?  Michael feels the dress is Gothic and costumey.  The feather gauntlets are “coo-coo.”  He and Zoe both would have liked to see some construction in the chest area.  There’s an “emptiness” there.  The problem is that a look that exaggerates the hips doesn’t work that well on a small-breasted woman:  it tends to make her proportions look out of whack.  Heidi adds that she likes the back better than the front.

Dmitry tells the judges that his Wise Mystic lives in a castle.  Heidi thinks the suit is amazing, as there are angles she’s never seen before.  Zoe thinks the sleeves are stunning, but get lost amidst the other details of the look.  Michael dislikes the shoulders and the “Vampira” collar, which Zoe then compares to collars worn by the Chippendales.  Nina calls the tailoring impeccable.  Yes, but is it avant-garde?  So far, nobody has said anything about whether any of these looks are avant-garde or not.

Fabio also worked on the Enchanted Queen look.  He wanted to show the conflict within her.  Michael likes the jacket., but not the palazzo pants.  Zoe likes the jacket as well.  Fabio demonstrates how his jacket can be flipped upside down and then worn, and the judges are suitably impressed.  Nina likes the jacket, too, but Heidi and Zoe don’t like the overall look.

Last up is Melissa, the Artsy Muse.  She was reminded of Andy Warhol and wanted to use bold colors.  Michael loves it.  He loves the fact that she made separates and used colors.  Nina loves the vest, but thinks the skirt is too long.  Heidi  wonders aloud which is uglier:  Melissa’s look or Fabio’s.  Zoe likes it, and Michael praises Melissa’s skill at working with leather.

Heidi then asks each designer why deserve to go to  Fashion Week and who should go with them.  They answer the first question with the expected natter about they learned to sew as children, how they have so much more to show, how they’ve dreamed about going on Fashion Week since they were twelve years old, etc.  As for the second question, Melissa would take Sonjia and Fabio; Fabio would take Melissa and Christopher; Dmitry would take Fabio and Christopher; Christopher would take Fabio and Dmitry; Sonjia would take Melissa and Dmitry.

The judges then dismiss their designers to have their chat.  As they can’t agree on this particular challenge, they discuss designers’ past efforts as well.  They note Melissa made something with a rock and vibe this time, which she has had not done before.  That shows she has range.  She’s also adept at handling color.  Sonjia “respects women’s bodies,” which probably means she knows how to make a woman look sexy without making her look like a tramp.  They do wonder about her showmanship and if she has a “story to tell.”  That last is Dumb Comment #5.

On this show, and probably in the real world, fashion designers have to walk a line between pleasing their clients and remaining true to their own style.  We’ve seen designers get tossed from going to one extreme or the other.  Nathan got sent home in the “real women” challenge for trying too hard to please his client and making a tacky dress as a result.  Ven eventually annoyed the judges with his origami rose fixation.  Given that Sonjia has already won three challenges, the answer would seem obvious.  If it’s not, then it’s time to rethink some of the challenges.  In particular, it might be a good idea to toss some of the corporate challenges, like the Lord and Taylor challenge and definitely toss irrelevant nonsense like the baby clothes challenge, and replace them with challenges that would let the designers express their own sense of style.

The judges continue with Christopher, who makes beautiful, intriguing clothing.  Dmitry had made a perfect jacket.  His aesthetic tends to be severe, but he has excellent craftsmanship.  Fabio is androgynous and likes to play with gender roles.

Heidi then announces the judges’ decisions.  Christopher is in and Dmitry is the winner.  Melissa is also in, leaving Fabio and Sonjia in the bottom.  Fabio is in, which means Sonjia is out, which makes no sense, especially when the judges were shown discussing past challenges as well as this one.  Given that Sonjia had three wins to her credit, she should have gone on to Fashion Week, and Melissa or Fabio should have been sent home in her stead.

Next week:  The Final Four have to make collections which will determine the three who go on to Fashion Week.  Plus, Tim sees the designers at home.

Another Project Runway All-Stars Already?!

Has Lifetime lost its collective mind?!  They’re premiering another Project Runway:  All-Stars on Oct. 25.  The first All-Stars, which resulted in Mondo Guerra winning, had premiered on Jan. 5, 2012.  Carolyn Murphy will replace Angela Lindval as the host, while Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman will return as judges, and Joanna Coles will play mentor.  So far, so good.  Isaac and Joanna in particular had done good jobs with their respective roles.

The problem is the cast:  Wendy Pepper (S1, 3rd place), Andrae Gonzalo (S2, 6th place), Uli Herzner (2nd place), Kayne Gillaspie (S3, 5th place), Althea Harper (S6, 2nd place), Emilio Sosa (S7, 2nd place), Peach Carr (S8, 11th place), Casanova (S8, 10th place), Ivy Higa (S8, 8th place), Anthony Ryan Auld (S9, 7th place), Laura Kathleen (S9, 5th place), Joshua McKinley (S9, 2nd place).

See the problem?  In my not-so-humble opinion, someone called an “All-Star” should be extraordinarily good at their craft.  In this context, an All-Star designer should be somebody who had either made the finals or just missed them.  In other words, they should not have finished any lower than fifth place.  The first Project Runway:  All-Stars had met this criterion:  Everybody except Elisa Jimenez (S4) had come in fifth place or higher.

In All-Stars 2, we’ve got five designers who all finished below that.  All three of the Season 8 designers had placed blow fifth place in their season.  Andrae and Anthony Ryan had also finished below fifth place.  Likable as some of these people might be, they are not All-Stars material.  (And why are there so many designers from Season 8, anyway?  They’d used up all the good or interesting ones in the first All-Stars!)

Seriously, the talent pool is simply not deep enough to have two All-Stars shows in one year.  Project Runway is or should be about skill and creativity, not “big” personalities.  Casting people because of their personalities might work on shows like Survivor or Big Brother, but it shouldn’t happen on a show supposedly intended to find the best new fashion designer.  The fact that the casting department seems to like designers with obnoxious personalities only makes it worse.  Does anybody really want to see Ivy or Joshua again? They were insufferable enough the first time around, thank you very much.

Another related problem is the fact that these people supposedly earn their living as designers, which means some Project Runway alumnae doubtless had other commitments that kept them from being on All-Stars.  Where all the winners, for example?  They’re probably working.  Project Runway gave them a leg-up and they’ve moved on since then.  Why are Peach and Casanova back?  Probably because people like Jillian Lewis (S4, 3rd place) and Korto Momolu (S5, 2nd place) said “No, thanks.”   Why are Wendy, Ivy, and Joshua back?  Probably because nobody sane wants to hire them or otherwise work with them.  I’ll grant you that Joshua did place second in his season, so he is a legitimate contender.  That doesn’t change the fact that he acted like a complete jackass during his stint on the show.

The designers’ likely commitment issues may explain why so many of the contestants are from the later seasons.  The designers from the later seasons have had less time to establish their careers and may therefore feel more need for the exposure that Project Runway can give them.  They may therefore be more available or at least more willing to come back for another shot.  The first season, by contrast, wrapped up in February 2005– over seven years ago.  Most designers from the first season are probably either established designers with a niche and corresponding clientele, or they couldn’t make a go of it and have moved on to something else.  In any case, they are probably not willing or able to participate in All-Stars.

On top of all that, having two All-Stars in one year cheapens All-Stars.  The first All-Stars, for all its flaws, felt special.  One of the prizes, for instance, was an internship at Marie Claire.  The guest judges were mostly people within the fashion industry, as opposed to the usual actresses.  The smaller than usual cast made it seem as if the chosen designers were truly an elite group.  All-Stars 2 doesn’t feel special at all.  It feels more like Lifetime is trying to cash in on the success of the first  All-Stars by cranking out another as quick as they can.

It is simply too soon for another Project Runway:  All-Stars.