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The Project Runway All Stars Blog

Fit for a Flapper

By laurareineke Fri., Dec. 21, 2012 ,5:04 am EST

After last week’s Christmas extravaganza, we’re back to more traditional challenges. But first we get to take a breather as the designers chill at the apartments. Ivy’s bummed about Casanova’s departure—understandably, given their real-world work partnership and obvious friendship—but there’s no time for tears! We have to time-hop back to the Roaring '20s!

So let’s talk '20s. That decade of pre-Depression decadence (the alliteration was unintentional but I’m keeping it) was, as Carolyn points out, the beginning of a new era for women's fashion. The designers’ challenge: Create a look for a modern woman inspired by the 1920s. They draw cards to determine what event their imaginary ladies will be attending. Because there are only three events, Carolyn notes that the pairs of designers will be scored against each other first to determine who ranks in the top and bottom for the challenge. This additional level of personal competition ups the stakes a bit, which is important at this stage of the competition.

Busy time! Emilio and Joshua gravitate toward the same materials at Mood, Ivy and Anthony Ryan compete for space in the workroom, Uli and Laura Kathleen clash regarding trims and feathers. (Laura Kathleen even goes so far as to throw down a not-so-subtle dig at embellishment-lovin' Uli: "I don’t need feathers to compensate for my design." If the other designers have a snappy retort, they keep it to themselves. Laura Kathleen: 1, Everyone Else: 0.)

Joanna pops in to remind Joshua and Ivy that they’ve yet to win a challenge this season, and also that they were both in the bottom two last week. Truth hurts. She then asks the designers to critique each other’s pieces. There's some ribbing between competitors but no one seems to get too cranky or take offense, which I appreciate. Drama-free is okay by me! Good-natured designers usually have more energy to focus on their work.

The designers get to sit at quaint little bistro tables for the speakeasy-themed runway show. Gretchen Mol (who's fabulous on "Boardwalk Empire," by the way) and fashion designer Jenny Packham are our guest judges for the week.

The looks:
Joshua: I really dug his use of vibrant color (that pop of bright lime green was A+) but this look read the least like "Modern take on 1920s" than any of the other designs this week. It felt generic.
Emilio: I didn’t think this was one of Emilio’s strongest pieces—I agree with Georgina that it was "a touch lacking in personality"—but I liked that it looked garden party-appropriate without being too literal.
Winner: Emilio

Uli: Joanna’s earlier comment about this being too similar to Uli's earlier work was on the nose, but this was still a gorgeous piece, with lots of intricate, expensive-looking details. But am I the only one who thinks white fringe looks too ‘70s
Laura Kathleen: We get it, LK, you like a strong pant. But the judges’ disdain for that fur was palpable, and once they got going they found a lot of issues with the styling and details of the garment.
Winner: Uli

Ivy: I saw this and thought, "Oh, she stepped out of her bedroom in a sleeveless slip and wrapped a chevron robe around her to keep things decent." I haven't decided if I mean that as a compliment. I think I would have liked this more if the hemline was an inch shorter? It looked oddly heavy.
Anthony Ryan: The feather capelet (what a great word!) would work with a lot of dresses, but not this one. The model took it off and immediately looked fresher and younger. That said, the actual dress was blessedly free of distraction. That spirit of minimalism pulled it into the current century.
Winner: Anthony Ryan

I had a knee-jerk negative reaction to Anthony Ryan's win, but after further consideration I don’t think any of the designs were clearly above-and-beyond. Laura Kathleen’s losing look didn’t even seem all that bad in the scheme of things. But "All Stars" must keep chugging along, and that means someone has to get the boot.

Which looks worked for you? Did Laura Kathleen's fur-and-pant combo really warrant her being sent home? I look forward to hearing your feedback in the comments!