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Project Runway All Stars Blog

Season 3, Episode 8: Style Haulin'

By laurareineke 12/20/2013 04:25AM GMT

Well, well, well, look who it is! I'm THRILLED to see Nina Garcia, who's always been one of my favorite parts of the "Runway" universe, back to participate in an "All Stars" challenge. I can hear the Nina haters gasping in horror, but seriously, I think she's fabulous. She struts on to the runway to inform the remaining designers—Korto, Seth Aaron, Viktor, Elena, and Christopher—that five of StyleHaul's top vloggers (with a combined audience of over 6 million people, no big deal) will be flown in to act as the inspiration and models for our designers' looks this week. The looks have to incorporate the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year (a dusty pink-ish purple called Radiant Orchid) and should be indicative of what the designers think will be a top fashion trend next year.

The gang pairs up with their vloggers (all of whom are bubbly, excited, and game for anything. No divas! What a relief) for consultations, and then the work begins. Viktor flounders a bit with incorporating his personal aesthetic into his garment and Elena struggles to fit her work on a super petite model. Meanwhile, Christopher rebels against including the Pantone color in his design, opting instead for an Army green shade, relegating the Pantone color to an accessory.

Our guest judges are Nina (sitting in for Georgina), most revered "Runway" alum Christian Siriano, and designer Francisco Costa.

Korto - A sleek white pantsuit with foldover detailing on the vest that shows off a pop of the Pantone color underneath. Korto explains that she chose white to get away from the "color on crack" trends of the past few seasons. The panel rags on the choice of accessories, but the vest gets very war praise from everyone, and Francisco is very appreciative of Korto's decision to make pants in a challenge in which everyone else made skirts. Korto's our winner.

Seth Aaron - A very Elena-like black belted sheath dress with leather shoulder accents and seamed Radiant Orchid color-blocking. "It's not a lasting image," Isaac says. "What's the trend?" Francisco asks. Consensus: well made, confidently worn, but nothing new. Still, Seth Aaron is safe.

Elena - A super-structured geometric pink/black/white peplum jacket over a tight black miniskirt. This reads a lot more...constricting, I guess, on the runway than it did in the workroom, and Christian and Nina both comment on the strictness of the shape of the coat. But Elena's work with texture is praised, especially by Nina, who didn't see much of that from the designer during her original season. Elena's safe.

Christopher - A moss green lacey belted trench dress that Christopher calls "new vintage Paris soft military," a wordy description that actually does help clarify the whole look, to me and to Isaac. Nina and Christopher side-eye each other over the lace's debated resemblance to seaweed. Alyssa's offended (and I can't blame her) that Christopher's only effort to incorporate the Pantone color was by adding it as a clutch. He's in the bottom...but he's safe.

Viktor - A white leather jacket over a strapless black dress; the black fabric is torn and shredded a bit to reveal the Pantone color layered underneath. For Nina and Isaac, the jacket muddles the proportions of the whole look, but the panel likes the fabric technique on the dress. Unfortunately, that's not enough to keep him around: Viktor is out.

I'm not sure how to feel about the judging this week. For all of the flaws of Viktor's look, it was still more visually interesting and forward-thinking to me than Seth Aaron's dress. But I'm also much more curious to see Seth Aaron's final collection than Viktor's, and as we hurtle toward the season finale, that has to be a consideration beyond what the designers offer up in each challenge. Seth Aaron could very well be eliminated before he gets there, but I wonder if that was on the judges' minds at all this week.

What do you think? Did you buy Christopher's elaborate explanation for his garment? Who do you think best incorporated the Pantone color? Was Viktor's elimination warranted? Let me know in the comments.