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After a so-so finish on Season 9, Anthony Ryan quickly emerged as the designer to watch on Season 2 of "All Stars", winning challenges left and right and dominating the judges' attention. He came out on top in last night's season finale and we spoke with him about the big win, his final collection, unhelpful Joshua, and his plans for all that prize money. Check out the Q&A below!
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 miscalculationif you re-watch his runway show, you can see Georgina kind of grimace at the ripply hemlinebut 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!
After last week's surprise non-elimination, we're back for another round with our Final Four: Uli, Anthony Ryan, Joshua and Emilio. But Carolyn makes it clear right away that someone WILL BE ELIMINATED this time. Cue ominous music! Don't get too comfortable, y'all.
I'm glad Carolyn made the distinction in the challenge guidelines that the garments should be inspired by couture. No designer can create real haute couture in a mere six hours, but expecting the designers to incorporate the qualities of those labor-intensive garments into their work is a smart way to raise the stakes this late in the game. That they're given a bunch of money for high-end fabric and a trip to Paris for inspiration is icing on the cake. Oh, and they're treated to a private tour of the Valentino fashion house. No big deal.
(Just kidding. The designers react as if each surprise is manna from heaven, and it's great to see them so happy and excited. At this point in the competition I'm sure they were eager for a bit of a mental break.)
The group packs up and jets away to Paris, where they're introduced to Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, the creative directors of Valentino. They tour the house's busy sewing rooms and get up-close-and-personal with a stunning selection of hand-made gowns and jackets built from fabrics that look like they cost more per meter than a year of my college education. When Piccioli and Chiuri present the designers with tickets to the brand's runway show, the foursome look legitimately thrilled ("I'm like a straight guy at a baseball game!" Joshua exclaims). I don't blame them.
After a sunset dinner on the Seine, a productive shopping trip, chill-out time for sketching in front of the Eiffel Tower, and of course the incredible couture show, the clan hops back to Parsons to start designing. One of my favorite guest judges, Cynthia Rowley, is back to lend a critical eye to the runway show.
Anthony Ryan: A beautifully detailed, sexy piece, that while looking fabulous didn't actually succeed in reminding me of the person who designed it. (To me it looked more like a Joshua-style dress than an Anthony Ryan-style dress. Eh? Eh? Just me?) AR came away with the win here.
Emilio: Emilio's use of color and strong lines speaks to me, so it's no surprise that I loved this look. His dress had a tapestry quality to it. I mean that in the best way: It was elegant and expensive-looking, and looked luxuriously heavy (though apparently the fabric was feather-light). He was smart to follow Joanna's suggestion to back off the use of unnecessary applique, and he pleased the judges by upping his tailoring game after last week's sorta-mess. Not the winner, but a win nonetheless.
Joshua: I'm kind of obsessed with the bright floral print Joshua used for the bottom of this gown. That said, his desire to throw unexpected fabrics together struck me as a move more appropriate for an avant-garde challenge than a couture-inspired one. Compared to the work of the other three designers, this gown looked like it needed a stronger editor's hand. (Did the sleeves seem weirdly long to anyone else?) This was nowhere more apparent than when he was asked by the judges to deconstruct it. The result was a vast improvement but still looked so...casual. His auf-ing didn't surprise me.
Uli: This beaded, gold-leaf-lookin' piece wasas usual!very, very Uli. The judges didn't love the the nude slip or the skeletal backbone design. They didn't really seem to love the dress at all, actually. Then Uli reconstructed it into an entirely different jacket-and-dress combo that blew the judges away, securing her a spot in the final three. Like Georgina, I would absolutely wear that gold-shouldered jacket. What a great piece.
I'm excited to head into the finale with Anthony Ryan, Emilio, and Uli. They're likable, talented people, and their distinct styles should make for an excellent final showdown. But of course, you're welcome to disagree!
Would you have preferred to see Joshua advance after this challenge? Did Anthony Ryan deserve the win? How do you think AR and Emilio would have handled the last-minute reconstruction task? Let it all out in the comments.
This recap is brought to you by my favorite blink-and-you'll-miss-it phrase of the season so far: "I must have a fairy drag mother today!" said by Anthony Ryan at the end of this week's episode. May we all have fairy drag mothers watching over us in the new year. Amen.
We're down to the final four, and if you'd asked me at the start of the season, I probably would have guessed that Uli, Emilio, Anthony Ryan and Joshua would make it this far. (Anthony Ryan notes that he's the only one left who didn't place in the final four during his original season, but he's definitely proven himself to be a contender this time around.)
The designers meet Carolyn on the deck of the USS Intrepida decommissioned World War II-era aircraft carrier docked off the edge of NYC that now serves as the awesome Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museumwhere they're introduced to their clients: Four badass female American military veterans. It's the Real Women Challenge! With lady soldiers! Each of the women will be attending a different formal function. The designers with whom they're paired must create appropriately fabulous looks for the occasion.
I've always liked the Real Women challenge because it's usually an interesting demonstration of versatility. Sure, you can design and create clothes, but can you work well with others? Can you tweak your vision to suit a stranger whose taste may differ from your own? Does your specific style still hold up when it's translated into a more collaborative garment? These are important questions for anyone competing on "Project Runway," an environment in which designers are rewarded for having a well-developed sense of their own style AND a tool belt full of ways to implement it in each challenge.
The women chat with their designers about their events (a 40th-birthday bash, a bachelorette party in Las Vegas, a wedding, a formal military event) and thankfully everyone seems to land on the same page quickly.
Anthony Ryan's client Donna, an Air Force officer, makes it clear that she doesn't want to draw attention to her bust ("I'm a boob hider."). Then she asks him for a strapless dress. This seems wildly counterproductive to me. When has any woman worn a strapless dress to hide her bust? That style of garment literally relies on the bosom to be worn properly. Anthony Ryan doesn't see an issue, though; at Mood, he grabs a grey-to-white ombre fabric to fashion into a floor-length strapless gown.
Uli does the same thing Anya did a lot of during Season 9: She sketches out a dress that's essentially a duplicate of the one she's wearing. To be fair, this is a specific request from the client, Jessica, but it's still a little disappointing that Uli didn't push to do something more unique to Jessica's taste. Jessica likes purple, but Uli settles on a very flow-y grey print. Yawn.
Leslie and Joshua hit it off right away. Leslie lost her left leg below the knee after a terrifying-sounding health crisis, but she asks him for a dress that will help her show off her prosthetic while still being acceptable attire for a formal military event. At Mood he grabs a loud black-and-white leopard print and I scream "NO!" at the screen. It's too much! Too tacky! But in the workroom he rolls up his sleeves (just kiddinghe's wearing a tank top) and breaks open a box of dye so I'm able to chill out a little bit.
Emilio's client, Lisa, wants something short and flashy for a night out in Vegas. She says she loves yellow and you can see Emilio's eyes light up, because if there's one thing he loves it's bright, arresting colors.
Uli: Jessica's final dress fit her nicely, and the bias cut at the bottom was both flattering and practical for its eventual use at wedding, where there will presumably be lots of dancing. It wasn't especially inventive, but it was exactly what the client asked for, it looked expensive, and it screamed "Uli!" so I can't really find fault in it.
Emilio: This garment seemed to be very Emilio in its concept but it was lacking in execution. Yellow was the perfect color choice for Lisa: It's eye-catching but not obnoxious. But the judges were right to call out a number of weird design choices, notably the awkward cut along the sides leading into the open back and the color variation. As Georgina said, "It just wasn't committed enough for me."
Anthony Ryan: This turned out to be less of a disaster than I'd envisioned. I still didn't love it. The addition of straps was a good choice. Other bright spots: The sexy slit in the skirt, which hit at just the right height, and the smart choice of fabric. I thought the garment might have worked better without the banding underneath the bust, which cut up her figure in a way that wasn't entirely complimentary. Donna said she appreciated feeling a bit hidden in it, so in that sense I guess it's a win, but like Katie Holmes my eye was drawn straight to the area the client was trying to hide.
Joshua: The easy winner. Joshua's initial fabric choice was alarming, but he managed to tone in down and incorporate it into the skirt and the back of the top in a way that was on-trend, age-appropriate, and totally flattering. His client Leslie looked absolutely radiant. I really loved this one.
It was smart of the judges to keep everyone around heading into the next challenge. I didn't think any of these looks was worthy of elimination. And the added level of competition will be good for the designers as they make their way to Paris (!) next week.
Of course, your mileage may vary. Let me hear your thoughts in the comments. If you had to boot one of the final four, who would it be and why?
Instead of doing a normal recap of this week's episode, I thought I would channel my inner David Letterman and do a Top 10 list (in no particular order) of Episode 9's highlights (and lowlights):
10. Two words: Elie Tahari. Did anyone else form a mini-crush on the designer after the episode? He's adorable. Not to mention that his story of how he made it was inspiring and I'm pretty sure if you were to look in your closet, you would find that you own at least one thing by him. I know I do. (Or several dozen.)
9. Elie's fabric floor. It was like Mood on crack.
8. Joshua's pink and yellow shorts.
7. Meeting Anthony Ryan's boyfriend, Matthew. He skipped Beer Thursday at work to talk to AR. Now that's love.
6. Uli's love affair with white. I feel like it's one of those "If it ain't broke don't fix it" kind of things. She knows what she likes and what she's good at. I'm glad she didn't have enough money for the vest because I think the clean simplicity of her dress is what made it stand out in the sea of color.
5. Ivy's fabric. Ugh! I hate that she didn't listen to Elie's criticism to make the dress shorter. She could have had something beautiful walk the runwaythe fabric could have done all the talking. A shorter dress would have screamed Elie Tahari and fit perfectly with his designs. I do respect her integrity as a designer, but there has to be some sort of compromise.
4. "It looks like she has a dump in her butt." Poor Joshua. The guy never wins a challenge. At least he realizes that he has issues with editing. (Ahem, the zipper.)
3. Stacy Keibler as a guest judge. I certainly hope George Clooney tuned in to this week's episode!
2. Casanova's (virtual) return! He's like a mini-budha with his words of wisdom to Ivy.
1. I'm starting to believe that it's Anthony Ryan's fashion world and we're just lemmings gracing the catwalk. I mean, is there a challenge the guy hasn't won?!
Bonusthis episode's takeaway value: All love, no fear.
What was your favorite moment from Episode 9?
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 departureunderstandably, given their real-world work partnership and obvious friendshipbut 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.
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 piecesI agree with Georgina that it was "a touch lacking in personality"but I liked that it looked garden party-appropriate without being too literal.
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.
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!
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 Casanovathe 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 yearsI 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 itat 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.
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 docand 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.
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 fashioncheck out the Q&A below!
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":