Season 3, Episode 10: Origin Stories
Three designers! Six looks each! Four days! We've reached the finale of the third season of "Project Runway All Stars," which means it's crunch time. Alyssa informs our trio that they'll be drawing inspiration for their final collections from their countries of origin: Elena from Ukraine, Korto from Liberia, Seth Aaron from Spain. And they'll do it in none other than the center of global politics, the United Nations headquarters in NYC.
The finalists chat with the delegates from their countries and do their sketching inside the UN building. For their time in the workroom, they get special help from their old pals Viktor, Christopher and Jeffrey. They also get a last-minute twist: Alyssa pops back in to announce that their collections must include a seventh look, at least half of which must be made from scarves they've been provided. Viktor has to talk Elena off the ledge after this little curveball, but she pulls it together.
The runway show takes place back at UN headquarters, which is pretty cool. Our guest judges are TV and magazine personality Gayle King and designer/"Project Runway" judge Zac Posen.
A vaguely otherworldly-looking collection, comprised of pieces that incorporate all of Elena's trademarks: Bold shoulders, color-blocking, mixed textures, interesting colors (in this case, greys, black, lavender, and pale yellow). Isaac likes the use of leather from knee to hem on Elena's pants. "Those are great pants if they fit," he says, "but they don't fit." Georgina also tempers praise with criticism, admiring Elena's bubble skirts but noting they might've better kept their shape if the fabric had been backed. Alyssa's issueand one that I hadn't thought of before but actually agree withis that Elena spends so much time on the design and construction of the top halves of her looks that the bottom halves often come across as an afterthought. She also brings up Elena's propensity for sticking with the same basic silhouette as a downside when presenting a collection. Elena takes it all in stride. No tears! She lands in third place.
Inspired by Korto's homeland of Liberia, her collection focuses on bright yellow prints interspersed with all-white ensembles. There's lots of love from the panel for Korto's golden opening gown, as well as her pieces' flexible wearability. "Korto allows a woman to be and to breathe," Georgina says, but then admits that this collection is a "bit of a mess," both in design and in construction. Isaac and Zac point out problems with tailoring. Isaac thinks even the structured pieces would look better without the belts. In the end, Korto is declared runner-up, and not for the first time: She came in second during her original season AND during the "All-Star Challenge" special in 2009.
Seth Aaron: Spain
A "very modern, very clean" collection (in Seth Aaron's words) based on a bright yellow, red, and gold color scheme. Georgina praises Seth Aaron's confidence with draping and color, and Gayle admires the back of Seth Aaron's opening look. "To me, the whole thing is a styling disaster," Isaac says, "but the clothes are great." Zac nitpicks the length of the pants in the collection but then he and Isaac geek over the arm hole detail in the short white dress. Plus Seth Aaron's scarf look gets the best reviews of the three finalists'. He's declared the winner! Making him the first "Runway" alum to claim the title for a regular season as well as a season of "All Stars."
I'll admit that of the three collections, Elena's was actually my favorite. All the things I harped on about her work this season were incorporated to great effect here, and her vision and aesthetic are so much clearer to me than either Korto's or Seth Aaron's. But what do you think? Are you happy Seth Aaron won? How much does it bum you out that Korto came in second place AGAIN? Of all the finale looks, which stuck out the most? Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading and commenting all season!