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The Project Runway All Stars Blog


Fit for a Flapper

Posted By laurareineke 5:04am GMT

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!


Bros Before Ho, Ho, Hos

Posted By kim_messina 4:35am GMT

Happy Holidays, "PRAS" fans! I can't think of a better gift than a Christmas-themed episode of "All Stars"! (Okay, and maybe a new pair of Louboutins…I hope Santa reads this blog!)

Let's count the number of Christmas cliches I can use in one blog. And go!

The episode started out with the remaining designers meeting Carolyn Murphy and Fawaz Gruosi, founder and president of de Grisogono, at the South Street Sea Port. They were then told that the winner of this challenge would score a de Grisogono watch. Their faces lit up like kids on Christmas morning. (That's one cliche!)

The designers were then briefed that in order to win the present (Two!), they would have to survive the unconventional challenge. Dun dun duuuuuun! Their task? To create a look from material found at a Christmas store…but the look can't appear as if it came from a Christmas store!

Fun Fact: This episode was taped in the middle of the summer during a crazy heat wave in NYC, so I found it hysterical that in the beginning of the episode the designers were running into a Christmas store in shorts and tank tops!

As the designers started working on their designs, many of them had a "WTF" look on their faces. I can't say I blame them. Casanova had the best line. He said with all the silver and gold he can make a piñata. I die.

Speaking of Casanova—the poor guy had such a hard time conceptualizing his design! He made a total of four dresses! His final look consisted of scraps from the other designers. It was nice that they other designers let him use their leftovers. You know what they say…bros before ho, ho, hos. (Get it? I love cliches.)

I can only imagine how hard (and fun) it must be for Joanna Coles to give constructive criticism on the unconventional designs. On one hand, i.e. talking to Emilio, it's like, "You're just going to use ribbon?" But on the other hand, i.e. chatting with Anthony Ryan, it's like, "Who knew you could pull that off with ornaments? You've been a very good boy." (Zing!)

On runway day, I was totally fan girling that Kylie Minogue and La La Anthony were the judges. I felt like it all goes back to my teen years—I used to watch La La on "TRL" every day after school and "Can't Get You Out of My Head," was on the countdown forever.

The designs were innovative to say the least. I'll even agree with Carolyn when she said that the designers were able to prove that they can "think outside the box." Whether their designs topped the naughty or nice list is up for debate.

Anthony Ryan: From a distance you definitely couldn't tell that the dress was made from ornaments. I didn't love the disco ball-esque tiles on the bottom and top of the dress, but overall I thought he did a good job at masking the fact that everything came from a holiday story (not surprisingly).
Ivy: I actually really liked Ivy's for some reason. I'm normally one of her bigger critics, but this dress drew me in. It was fun, retro and flirty the way it moved down the runway.
Joshua: What happens when Madonna falls into a Christmas tree? This look. I didn't like it—at all. The craftsmanship on the top portion was great, but it was all too costumey for me. And the hot pants looked like a diaper. I think he should have been eliminated this week.
Uli: This win was a long time coming for Uli. I loved that her dress had simpler sides so it wasn't completely glitter and sparkle in your face at all times. Good job.
Emilio: I feel like instead of getting better each week, Emilio keeps declining. His dress looks straight out of an episode of The Jetsons. Step it up, man! You're much better than that!
Casanova: I think with all the problems he had in the workroom, Casanova was able to pull off something decent. Was it a strong look? Not really. Did I think it was grounds for elimination? No.
Laura Kathleen: Like Uli's dress, I liked that it was slightly subdued than the other dresses. At first I didn't think the model looked fat, but when Isaac Mizrahi pointed it out, I had to agree.


Season 2 Q&A: Georgina Chapman Chats About Her Upcoming Marchesa Documentary

Posted By laurareineke 12:18pm GMT

Project Runway All Stars Judge Georgina Chapman

Curious about the inner workings of a successful fashion house? Next Thursday, Lifetime will debut a new half-hour documentary special on the inner workings of Marchesa, the brand built by "Project Runway All Stars" judge Georgina Chapman and fellow designer Keren Craig. Georgina shared with us some details about the doc—and took time to answer some spare questions about this season of "All Stars" as well. Check out the conversation below, and be sure to tune in for "Project Runway Spotlight: Marchesa" when it airs December 20 at 10/9c.


Season 2 Q&A: La La Anthony Steps Up to the Judges Panel

Posted By laurareineke 11:30am GMT

Project Runway All Stars La La Anthony

Actress and TV personality La La Anthony was tapped to join this season's roster of guest judges (along with superstar Kylie Minogue) for a creativity-stretching challenge involving glitter, garland and the spirit of the holiday season. We spoke with her about her time on the show and her interest in fashion—check out the Q&A below!


First Look: Kylie Minogue Judges the Unconventional Challenge

Posted By kim_messina 4:20pm GMT

Kylie Minogue on Project Runway All Stars

Everybody's doing a brand new dance now! Iconic pop singer Kylie Minogue is joining Carolyn Murphy, Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman on the judges panel for this week's episode...the unconventional challenge! (TV personality La La Anthony is also sitting on the panel!) In the episode, the seven remaining designers play naughty or nice when the challenge brings them to a Christmas décor emporium.

Besides judging on "PRAS," Kylie's been busy celebrating her 25th year in the music industry. Her latest release, "The Abbey Road Sessions," includes her classics "Can’t Get You Out Of My Head," "Loco-Motion," "I Should Be So Lucky" and "All The Lovers." Watch the trailer for "The Abbey Road Sessions":

Click here to download the album or here to order it on amazon.com.


Season 2 Q&A: Althea Talks Hair, Fabrics and Drama

Posted By laurareineke 3:10pm GMT

Project Runway All Stars Althea

A standout Season 6 contestant (she was the runner-up!), Althea Harper was an easy choice for this round of "All-Stars". But after six challenges without a win or a memorable look, this week's pink-and-lavender polka-dotted number prompted the judges to give her the boot. We spoke with Althea about how her hair influenced her decision to come back to the show, feeling out of place during the season, and the thought process behind her fabric selection. Check out the Q&A below!


"Boo Boo, That's What You're Going to Show the Judges?!"

Posted By kim_messina 4:11am GMT

Big props to Joshua for providing this week's quote of the episode and now subsequent title of this blog! Way to go, girlfriend!

The episode started out with the designers walking the tracks at the High Line in NYC. (Fun Fact: The High Line is where "Project Runway" celebrated its 10 year anniversary back in September. If you're ever in NYC, you must check it out—the view is awesome, especially at sunset!) Host Carolyn Murphy told the designers that for this challenge they'd be going green to create a red carpet look using fabric from AirDye fabrics, which are made using virtually no water or power. Easier said than done, right?

I thought the designers passing around the ring of fabric samples was a nice change from the chaos that is known as Mood. However, I was completely befuddled by the fabric that Althea chose. I do realize that she was the last designer to pick, so her options were limited. But, she said that she would have rather chosen a "bolder color choice" and there was definitely a bold blue/purple fabric hanging on that ring that she could have picked instead. I feel like she sealed her fate in that moment. To me, that pink and blue chiffon looked so lackluster that even the nicest and most stylish red carpet gown couldn't bring it to life.

I was also loving Ivy's reason for picking her gold fabric. "The reason why I chose the sun as the inspiration for my design is because I feel like a woman should feel like a star at a red carpet event." Thanks, Captain Obvious. I die.

Workroom Shocker: Uli stocked up on feathers, trim and embellishments! ::insert sarcasm::

I was freaking out for Ivy as the day progressed. The models came in for the fitting and she was still working on her patterns! Just like she said, I was really scared that like in Season 8, this red carpet challenge would be the one that would give her the boot. Her sketch was gorgeous, but by the end of the day, I was just really hoping that she'd be able to walk something down the runway.

On runway day, it was like Emilio went from hero to zero. He started off this challenge with such a clear vision of what he wanted and got rave reviews for Joanna Coles during her visit. What happened?! His looks are always so polished and in those few hours that the designers have to finalize everything, Emilio's entire gown went down the drain. It could have been a top contender!

dvf. Dvf. DVF. D. V. F. Diane von Furstenberg was the guest judge! (I should have worn my wrap dress today in honor of this episode!) Talk about pressure! If I was one of the designers, I would hang on every word of her criticism and recite her critique every night before I went to bed as an affirmation. Between Diane and Karl Lagerfeld in episode 2, I think it's safe to to say the designers can now ascend to happy fashion heaven.

I am really happy that Laura Kathleen won this challenge. It obviously meant a lot to her and she was so focused in the workroom. This was the first challenge where she didn't seem to have any doubts about her design and stuck to her guns. And I also like that it wasn't a "typical" red carpet look. I can't wait to see Carolyn rock it. (But can someone help me figure out what DVF was saying to LK about the pajama palazzo?! I didn't catch a word of it, but I also can listen to her speak for days and not care. She's preaching the fashion bible as far as I'm concerned.)

I also really loved Anthony Ryan's dress. He honestly does no wrong. He just gets it. Every. Single. Time. Gorgeous.

Ivy's dress looked like a really bad bridesmaids dress. I can only imagine a bridal party reacting like this if they all had to wear it. (Warning, don't watch if you have a weak stomach.)

I predicted Althea's departure the second she picked that fabric. The design didn't help. There was way too much going on with the exposed shoulders, draping, etc…

Do you agree with me? Did Laura Kathleen have this week's strongest look?

PS: Also, a huge congrats to Georgina Chapman, who recently announced that she's expecting her second child with husband Harvey Weinstein. Check out her teeny (and fashionable!) bump:

Georgina Chapman

Non-Runway Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images


Season 2 Q&A: Kayne Shares His Workroom Secrets

Posted By laurareineke 4:33pm GMT

Project Runway All Stars Kayne

Sassy, lovable Season 3 contestant Kayne got the boot on last night's episode of "All Stars" after sending a poorly-received pair of houndstooth-and-leather suits down the runway. We chatted with the laid-back designer about how his previous work experience helped in the workroom, his favorites of the remaining designers, and what he really thought of his elimination. Check out his Q&A after the jump!


"A" is for Androgyny and Avant-Garde

Posted By kim_messina 5:03am GMT

And we're back! Didn't it feel like an eternity since the last episode of "All Star"?! But I think the wait was well worth it—this episode was the best one yet!

The episode kicked off with host Carolyn Murphy, sporting a very gender-neutral outfit, telling the designers that in this challenge they'd have to design an androgynous and avant-garde look for their models. Ohs, ahs and oh s**ts all around. "What the hell am I going to do?" Laura Kathleen stated with sass.

After the designers sketched out their looks, they went to Mood per usual. Half hour to shop. $150. "Thank you, Mood!" You know the drill.

Back in the workroom, just as the designers started getting down to business, the lovely Georgina Chapman sashayed into the space to basically throw off their game. The catch? The designers have to create looks for both male and female models. The silver lining? They got another trip to Mood, more money and an extra day to pull it off.

I felt like this episode really showed the close relationship between Ivy and Casanova. As you may or may not know, Casanova is Ivy's design assistant in NYC, so they're tight. I would even wager they're each other's biggest fans because the look on Ivy's face when Casanova showed her his design made it seem like he just created the best thing since slice bread. (RIP Wonder Bread.) And to top it off, Ivy gave him her extra money during the second trip to Mood!

But from one romance to a bromance, I was LOLing when Joshua put on Anthony Ryan's evening wear look and strutted across the workroom. It didn't seem like it was the first time he's walked the imaginary catwalk…

The laughs kept rolling in when Joanna Coles came to critique the designers. My favorite moment? (And I'm sure you'll agree with me.) Two words: ball room. I don't even need to elaborate.

(Sidebar: Not gonna lie, I enjoyed seeing the male models take their shirt off in the workroom. It was, uh, a nice change of pace. Yeah, that…)

On the runway, I have to say that I was actually impressed with what the designers pulled off in what little time they had:
Joshua: I thought this was his strongest week yet. When I first saw that he was going to use blue fur, I was a little worried for him. But he was able to pull it off! (And speaking of pull it off, can someone please retire those blue pumps! I'm so tired of seeing them!)
Uli: The first word I thought of when I saw her models was "cool." The looked effortlessly confident and I just adore the trim! The whole look was very non-Uli—she really stepped outside her comfort zone. As Isaac said, "It was sick…in a good way!"
Althea: Loved the coats. The rest of the look? Not so much. But I do think the coats were enough to keep her "in."
Laura Kathleen: This challenge was definitely a struggle for her and like the judges said, you could really tell she couldn't bring her thoughts together to create cohesive looks. I get where she was going, but at the end of the day, both designs looked like a beginning-level designer created it. And I think she's much better than that.
Emilio: Love, love, love. I almost couldn't tell who was the male or female. (The female model was jacked!) Flawless. He deserved to win, without question.
Kayne: I feel like both his looks were more feminine than masculine. They should have been a balance of both. The scarf around the male model's neck was bizarre, as were his short shorts. And the styling was equally weird. I didn't get the white eyebrows. I like Kayne, I really do. But I feel like this look warranted his exit.
Casanova: All I could think when his models were walking down the runway was, "I love goooooold." Click here if you didn't get that reference.
Ivy: I didn't mind her look. I didn't love it either. It was sort of forgettable to me. She's had stronger weeks.
Anthony Ryan: Another set of models who I couldn't tell apart! Anthony Ryan just gets it…every challenge. That's all I got.

Your turn: Which look was your favorite? Sound off!


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Designs

Posted By kim_messina 4:48am GMT

The challenge by the people, for the people! Can I get a heck yeah!

There have been a decent number of "design a look based on a photo" challenges over the years, but I really enjoyed the fact that this time around it wasn't the designers choosing what to shoot. It was in the hands of you, America. (Heck, it was in the hands of the world...the power of social media!)

After Joanna Coles was done explaining the challenge, she let the designers go in pairs to pick photos. I didn't really understand why the designers were able to pick who would get to select a photo with them. If there were only 10 photos, then I'd get why you'd want to make sure your biggest threat picked last. But there were thousands of photos, so the odds were in everyone's favor that they would find something inspirational. Off the bat, my favorite photo was Emilio's only because little Sophie is freaking adorable. But the headline "Sophie's Choice"...not so much. I'm glad Emilio didn't go with that.