Project Runway All Stars Blog

The Thin Line Between Winning and Losing

By laurareineke 01/18/2013 04:47AM GMT

And just like that, we're down to the most important moment in any "Project Runway" season: the presentation of final collections. That Uli, Anthony Ryan and Emilio only get four days to create six to eight looks seems a little cruel to me. (But let's be honest: I'm such a softie that if I were in charge of a reality competition show I would never kick anyone off, ever, because I would feel too guilty. Who needs winners and losers? Let's all be friends!) But it's "All Stars" and these guys know by now what to expect from the challenge parameters, so they get straight to work.

Carolyn herds in the season's previously eliminated designers to offer up as sacrificial lambs at the altar of collection-building. In a weird but mostly understandable move, Joshua declines to return to assist Anthony Ryan with his collection, so AR defaults to Kayne. Kayne is exactly the kind of dude I'd want on my side during crunch time: he's got a great attitude, can-do spirit and solid construction skills. Emilio picks Althea (solid choice), Uli picks Casanova (...not so solid) and we're off to the races.

There's a flurry of workroom business, Joanna pops in to critique, the designers express frustration at the fact that they have so much to do in so little time, etc. While all this is happening, Casanova lolls around the workroom like a sleepy panda. Bless.

But let's cut to the chase!

Emilio: "Urban Plantation"
His collection was rooted in the menswear styling of female plantation/factory workers' uniforms from the 1840s and 1940s. He went for an all-American look and grabbed a bunch of plaids, cottons and denims at Mood. The resulting looks are confident and casual. (My favorite is the print jacket over the dress.) I think styling the models with the red tied du-rags makes the clothes look a little too youthful. The judges don't care for that "junior" quality, but they agree that of the three finalists, Emilio's collection has the most to say and does the best job conveying that message.

Uli: "Mystical Winter"
Whites, ivories and classic Uli-style detailing, all inspired by her chilly-sounding childhood behind the Berlin wall. I was impressed by the versatility of the pieces in this collection. I think a woman could successfully mix-and-match every piece that walked the runway, and I know tons of twenty-something women who would die to wear those incredible silver pants and the broad-shouldered fur jacket. Georgina says the faux furs look inexpensive, but I think Uli's inclusion of the furs and other trivia gives the collection wonderful texture and depth. This really is the culmination of everything Uli has produced throughout the season.

Anthony Ryan: "The Thin Line"
Lots of bright colors, symmetrical lines, sheer panels and flashes of skin combined to create a sleek and sexy final collection. That last dress was a miscalculation—if you re-watch his runway show, you can see Georgina kind of grimace at the ripply hemline—but the rest fit together well. Isaac lays it on thick over the pockets on Anthony Ryan's gown ("The placement of those pockets is shockingly sophisticated. Is that a mistake? I can't believe you came up with that. I'm jealous of you.") which I find a little embarrassing; they're well-placed pockets, not the second coming. I feel that way about the collection in general. It's very good, accessible, modern, sexy and somehow still a little bit boring. Is it just me?

Anthony Ryan is crowned the winner (congratulations, boo!), with Emilio as runner-up and Uli in third place. I'm excited (Literally! I'm not just saying that!) to see what each of them goes on to accomplish. Their points of view are distinct and their skills have definitely been fine-tuned over the course of two seasons of "Project Runway."

But let's get to the important part: Your thoughts. Which were your favorite looks from each collection? Who do you felt best represented himself or herself on the runway? Did Anthony Ryan deserve the win? And how do you think he would hold up in a face-off with Mondo, the "All Stars" Season One king? Drop a line in the comments!