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Project Runway All Stars Blog

Season 3, Episode 7: QVC-ya Later

By laurareineke 12/13/2013 04:12AM GMT

It's a bit premature for me to start singing and dancing aggressively to "Final Countdown," but we've reached the point in the season when no designer is safe from final critique. This is where things start to kick into gear. ("Danger Zone" is actually a better song choice, now that I think about it. Karaoke, anyone?)

Our top six—Irina, Seth Aaron, Korto, Viktor, Christopher, and Elena—congregate to hear details about their next challenge. Elena lets out an endearing banshee shriek when Alyssa announces that they'll be flown by helicopter to QVC's studio in Westchester, PA, to meet with QVC program host Lisa Robertson.

Over the river and through the woods and the designers are in the lobby at QVC, where Lisa tells them they'll be designing red carpet looks for her to wear to the company's pre-Oscars gala. She stresses that the garment must look good on camera, in still photographs, and against a red carpet backdrop, AND that she have the ability to sit, stand, and move in it. "Easy!" Viktor fake-scoffs with a flick of his trusty fan. Isaac pops in to give some vague advice while they sketch ("Go for it"—thanks, Isaac) and then the designers head back to NYC.

Things get real in the workroom when Viktor pulls aside Elena and Seth Aaron to tell them that he's HIV positive and has been for seven years. Viktor admits that he's only now comfortable with the idea of living more fully with his diagnosis, which means announcing it beyond the bubble of his relationship with his supportive partner. Viktor wrote an open letter on the topic that you can read here.

The trio gets back to work and Zanna arrives for critiques, which...don't go that well. Zanna announces that the work she's seen is not all-star quality, so the designers grimace collectively and hunker down to make their work more impressive.

Our guest judges are Lisa Robertson and Emmy-nominated actress Elisabeth Moss. Here we go:

Top Three
Korto - A comfortable-looking, accessible empire-waist gown with a bright orange skirt (with pockets!), metallic sash and beige top draped asymmetrically in the back. The judging panel really likes this one, and Lisa notes that it's definitely a piece that would sell well to the average QVC customer. Korto gets the win.

Christopher - A navy mermaid gown with black leather trim, an elaborate navy tulle skirt and lots of chevron patterning on the bodice. Mondo calls the skirt "tortured" but this dress lands in the top of Elisabeth's and Lisa's scorecards for its attitude and good looks on the runway. It photographs less well than it looks in person is likely why Christopher is only safe this time around.

Seth Aaron - A short metallic gold number with a high-low V hem, black piping and thick black shoulder panels. Seth Aaron is confident, but the judges nitpick the hemline and the the fit on the bum. Elisabeth sticks up for it, citing the shininess and the length as things she likes in a red carpet look. Seth Aaron's safe.

Bottom Three:
Viktor - A slippery-looking olive green gown with elaborate bust cups and a train. Mondo jumps in to defend all the sorta-weird details that Isaac dislikes, including the (deeply unflattering, in my opinion) wing-like attachments running the front length of the skirt. Viktor's in the bottom, but he's safe.

Elena - A black and purple high-backed tank dress with ripped detailing along the sides and front. Elena made an effort to work with brocades instead of her usual neoprene, but the reptilian feel of the ripped fabric here is still very much in her wheelhouse, aesthetically. (That's a compliment! I like this dress a lot, though to my eye the proportions seem off.) No one hates it, but some of Elena's choices confuse the judges (Isaac calls it "dowdy, but good"), so she's in the bottom but she's safe.

Irina - An elaborate leather-flower-flecked gown—18 panels, boning, applique—that photographs well but unfortunately reads WAY too "wedding" for a red carpet challenge. It doesn't help Irina's case that the fabric shows every flaw and that the dress rips up the side just before judging. The judges like the dramatic appeal of it, but everyone agrees that it would render its wearer practically immobile. And, again: too wedding. Irina's out.

Irina is the second contestant to get the boot after winning the previous challenge. Watch out, Korto!

How'd you feel about the parameters of this challenge? Whose look could you see on a red carpet? Whose look would you actually want to buy on QVC? And now that we're down to five designers, who do you expect will make it to the top? Let me know in the comments.