I'm happy to inform everyone that we can officially add "throw awesome parties" to the list of things Nanette Lepore rocks at (on top of designing gorgeous, feminine frocks, being a wonderful guest judge, saving the Garment District, having beautiful hair). On last week's episode of "Project Runway All Stars," the NYC-based fashion designer hosted the episode challenge, which was for the four remaining designers to create a look within budget, using her fabric. The winning look would be sold in her stores, 100% of the profits going to the Save the Garment Center Organization.
To unveil the winning look, Nanette and her sweet staff hosted a live screening of the episode where four "Project Runway All Stars" designers were cut to the three that would make it to the finale. With the Final Four in attendance, you didn't know what to look at the television screen or Austin, Kenley, Michael and Mondo! Torn between my official Lifetime duties and my responsibilities as Austin Scarlett: The Scarlett Harlots Fan Club press secretary, I alternated between the two.
When "Project Runway" Season 8 runner-up Mondo Guerra was announced as the winner of the night's challenge, there was applause for him, and hugs for the show's 4th place finisher Kenley Collins. But the night's grand finale was yet to come, as the winning dress was showcased on models (including the designer's daughter!) and racks throughout the store. Mondo's dress and the alternating, luxe fabrics were gorgeous in person. Nanette even took a second to show me the two small changes she made to the dress including adding darts at the bust and a black tie in the back to give the garment more shape.
Visit Nanette Lepore's online store here to shop Mondo's winning dress! Due to super popular demand, the dress sold out instantly but you can now place an order and the dress is expected to ship out by May 15 just in time for summer, so what are you waiting for?! Order now!
How would you make the ultimate outfit with Mondo's dress for Nanette Lepore? I'm thinking neon wedge heels and a sparkly clutch for night of flirting-and-dancing or black gladiator sandals and a vintage leather satchel for day/brunch with my girls — are you with me?!
Photos by Mark Irlando (Thanks, Mark!!)
We’ve reached the Final Four on our “PRAS” journey, but as Mondo explains, it’s really down to two: Team M&M vs. Team K&A. Mondo and Michael are Season 8’s besties with testes, a modern take on the Bert & Ernie, Odd Couple of yore. I know Michael lives in California and Mondo in Colorado, but I like to believe they’ll grow old together like the Golden Girls. (Mondo is Sophia-size but Dorothy-esque in demeanor, and his bedroom is obviously print-y like Blanche’s. And Michael is just Rose.)
Then there’s K&A, Kenley and Austin. This pair is classic Gen Y New York. Just a gal and her gay, posting Instagram pics of their unlimited champagne brunches in the city and vintage shopping sprees at Brooklyn boutiques. They’ll live out their elderly years together “Grey Gardens”–style in a Hamptons bungalow, sharing headscarves and costume jewelry, talkin’ about the good ol’ days while an ancient Tim Gunn sits suited up in the corner, nodding occasionally from his rocking-chair throne.
Um, anyway, back to Flatotel, where poor Kenleyrella whips up a batch of scrambled eggs for the boys, who beat her with a broom and tell her ModCloth is on the phone for her.
Coming off the heels of last week’s light-technology challenge — a favorite for me! — Angela announces yet another cool theme for the Fab Four, this one a little more down-to-earth. The designers travel to Nanette Lepore’s studio, which still exists in the ever-shrinking Garment District (never mind all those pesky signs that only read “Fashion District,” we swear it’s “Garment” — Google it!). I had no idea that Nanette Lepore, a designer I own one dress from (Loehmann’s — shh, don’t tell!), was NYC-based and fighting for the mom-and-pop shops of the Garment District. Go, Nanette!
Ms. Lepore herself, wearing one of my fave colors, tells the designers that they’ll be creating a ready-to-wear look made to fit a certain budget and manufactured locally. The winning look will be sold in her stores and proceeds will go to Save the Garment Center.
Upon first listen, Austin is nodding emphatically, Kenley is pretty confident since she does this sorta thing all the time (red flag, RIGHT?), Michael is making a Day Caftan, and Mondo is a little nervous. The All Stars have to sketch and meet with Nanette and her coster first … and Mondo doesn’t sketch. Or he does, but he draws something that Nanette likens to a tin can with a string hanging out. Is Mondo’s sketching a “can’t” or a “won’t”? Is it that he can’t sketch like I can’t kill a cockroach to save my life (I probably could. To save my life.)? Or is it that he can’t sketch like I can’t whistle (I purse my lips together and blow, but nothing happens.)? But he can “can’t” as much as he wants after that incredibly uncomfortable conversation at Nanette’s studio, where Kenley was like, “Hey, Michael, you should teach Mondo how to sketch,” and Michael was like, “HEY, RUDE, we’re in someone’s studio and you’re embarrassing my Bert!” Yikes. Open mouth, insert saddle shoe.
Nanette’s workroom visit is a little scary; this woman is business. She is bummed when Kenley tells her she’s scrapping the keyhole, and also is like, “Girl, this dress fits like crap” (she’s right), to which Kenley is like, “It’ll fit better!” which (spoiler alert) it won’t. And I don’t understand why not, because Kenley’s dresses have fit so perfectly all season.
Nanette is more intrigued by Mondo’s design, which is looking less like a tin can and more like a dress with every stitch. Joanna is worried that you can’t wear a bra with Michael’s caftan (you can’t, unless you consider those sticky things that look like chicken cutlets “a bra”), and at this point we kind of have no idea how Austin’s will work out and/or whether Nanette likes his coat.
I love this episode. I’m a budget shopper/working girl (aw, did you guys think I was a socialite, blogging in my spare time between fashion shows and charity galas? How sweet!), so I loved seeing the process of making a garment I still couldn’t afford. I also didn’t realize until now that the common links between the final four are that we have two who made it to the finale in their respective seasons and didn’t win (Mondo and Kenley), and two who were cut right before the finale (Michael and Austin).
Mondo used the word “defeated” 75,000 times, so this challenge was his. Not really because them’s the breaks in reality-TV land, but because he seems like the type of person who needs a challenge or adversity to rise above. I’m not totally sure how we get from tin can to potato sack to winning, but I do love the idea of Mondo’s dress. I agree with Angela that it’s my least favorite of his looks this season, and with Isaac that oh my god it needs a little more of a waist … and I could do without that bottom ruffle, but I think Nanette, in the end, was really drawn to it. Sketched to it, even. My favorite version of Mondo’s dress was the pit bull dress from the workroom (pre-bottom ruffle). Stay tuned to the blog, or check out Twitter and Facebook for pics from last night’s Nanette Lepore event, where Mondo’s dress was showcased.
Austin’s coat rocked. It was beautiful and sophisticated, and it’s too bad he didn’t go bolder in a different color, even though I do know a ton of girls who love their dusty jewel tones. The Scarlett Harlots can all rejoice now that our boy is in the finale. One inspirational haiku for the road to Fake Fashion Week:
Journey nears the end.
Cherubic Austin tall a-
bove two short brunettes.
Michael did what he does best to win in the clincher over Kenley he made a dress that a lot of women want to wear, including those pretty ladies cooing in adulation and “hint-hint, make me one of those”tion from the judge panel. He made a Day Caftan that is… a Day Caftan, but we’re all like “OO, pretty!” He sells a dress and a lifestyle that’s not just or even at all rich, it’s just fun and desirable. And who doesn’t want that?
Kenley, girl. What happened?! In her original sketch and meeting with Nanette, there was a keyhole in her dress design, and Nanette LOVED IT. Her eyes lit up when Kenley pointed out the keyhole, she commented that it was sexy … so what happened to that keyhole? It seemed like in the preliminary meetings, Kenley’s pitch was most on par with Nanette’s aesthetic, and the designer actually seemed most excited about her look, so it’s sad that veering from the original pitch and into printed-peacock territory sent her home.
This means Prince of Patterns, Don Drape-r and “Miss Scarlett if You’re Nasty or Isaac Mizrahi” make it to the finale. Tune in for Part 1 next Thursday!
Designer Nanette Lepore is the guest judge on this Thursday's all-new episode of "Project Runway All Stars" where the final four (!!) compete to make it to the finale. To celebrate her episode, Nanette is hosting an exclusive screening party Thursday night (find out how you can win a ticket below) AND doing a Q&A for fans on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Spend your lunch break this Friday with Nanette Lepore, who will be will be Tweeting with fans from 12:30 to 1:30 pm et on March 9. Follow the official "Project Runway" and Nanette Lepore Twitters to find out more.
Plus, one lucky fan in the New York area can win a ticket to the exclusive "PRAS" screening party! Visit the Official Nanette Lepore Facebook page here to enter for your chance to sip champagne with the Final Fab Four and get an up-close look at this episode’s winning look.
So what are you waiting for!? Enter to win and get your burning questions ready for Friday's chat!