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 designersKorto, Seth Aaron, Viktor, Elena, and Christopherthat 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.
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!
A wise man once said: "After the show, it's the after party." That man (R. Kelly) may not have been directly referring to "Project Runway All Stars" and "After the Runway," but he might as well have been!
Tonight, tune in to an all-new "After the Runway" at 10/9c when Isaac Mizrahi and Joanna Coles grill the designers post-PRAS. Special guest stars, (like the sassy divo himself, Anthony Williams, Angela Lindvall and more) will be stopping by each episode.
If you could switch places with Isaac Mizrahi or Joanna Coles for the night, what questions would you ask the designers?
Who's black and white and red [lipstick-ed] all over? Oh, and not at all an ice queen? MILA HERMANOVSKI! In fact, why don't we dub the flag challenge victim with the more apt titles of: Color Block Countess and/or Lady of Leggings? From the set of her latest project, "Star Trek 2," the Season 7 designer talked to the "Project Runway All Stars" Blog about the show's playground politics, her secret PRASBFFs and her stance on the Joanna vs. Tim, PR vs. PRAS judges debates.
Lisa: You’ve always been in the “Project Runway” Lifetime family. What was it like coming from Season 7 to “All Stars”?
Mila: On one hand, you come in with your eyes a little more open and you sort of know what the rules are, what the game is like, a little bit. When I did Season 7, it was all a mystery to me. They withheld all information and part of the whole bubble we were in was having all your comforts taken away from you the lack of phone and any outside influences at all; any music, any communication with your family and that kind of thing. So, just knowing you’re about to go into that is helpful. Part of that psychological stress is not there, however, there are still the same old mental challenges and physical challenges. And then of course, being with the other twelve designers, there are a lot of strong personalities under one roof.
We definitely saw that this season! Pretty much each episode, you were shown complaining about Kara and Kenley in the workroom.
Yeah, unfortunately, the way I was edited, it made it seem like I was jealous of their friendship or something and that wasn’t the case at all. It’s just when I’m in that environment, I take it very seriously, I really wanted the prize, I really wanted to win and that’s just my kind of ammo when I’m in a competition. It’s not that I didn’t want friendships and I didn’t want to find friendships, but some of the ways they acted in the workroom were just distracting to me and I was like, “don’t you guys take this seriously?” And they kind of went overboard with their antics sometimes and that, to me, was very distracting sometimes and kind of annoying. But, I was just a very serious worker, that’s all.
When I interviewed April, she said that you guys had a kind of “behind-the-scenes friendship” that we didn’t really see. Did you have kind of surprise friendships that came out of doing this?
Absolutely, and April was definitely one of them. I mean, there were definitely cliques that formed and I’m not going to lie, there was drama behind-the-scenes and off camera that definitely caused tension with those cliques but yeah, April and I had more like-personalities and that’s what it boiled down to. There was a little bit of natural segregation not too different to one that would happen on a playground (laughs). Like, me and Michael and Mondo and April and then there was Kara, Kenley, Austin, Anthony, Jerell…
Interesting. It’s funny because you guys are from the last few seasons; maybe that was one of your common bonds.
Yeah, that is interesting. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence or something deeper than that.
Were there other things behind-the-scenes that we didn’t really get to see, that you were disappointed didn’t make it to air?
I notice there’s a couple of photographs of me actually laughing and having a good time in the workroom and I’m bummed sometimes that that stuff doesn’t make it to air because it doesn’t make me as likeable of a person! Someone who knows me personally knows that I’m not all serious all the time and that I do have a great sense of humor and I like to make friends.
There was definitely a camaraderie, for example, between me and Mondo. It was really sweet when we first met, he said, “I’m a big fan of your work and I really respect what you do.” And that was really touching to me and I think that was really what set the precedent for the rest of our time together. He would sometimes ask me for a second eye, like “what do you think about this?” and vice versa and off camera too, there were a couple moments we spent comforting each other.
A lot of the fans have been adjusting to the "All Stars" judges and Joanna in the workroom. What was your impression of the new panel and your stance on Joanna vs. Tim?
At first, I was very intimidated by Joanna because my experience was with her was a judge [on Season 7] and she’s kind of a ball-buster as a judge. In the workroom, she was a little stand-offish at first, I felt like, and didn’t really offer up much advice and I think a bunch of us would talk about that afterwards, like, “gosh, I wish she would’ve given me a little more advice.” And maybe that was just a warming up period or something because by the time I got to Episode 8 when I was eliminated, I felt she was actually giving more constructive criticism and advice to people and I really grew to respect her and love her. She’s an awesome woman and a powerhouse at what she does.
In fact, that sort of relates a little bit to the judging panel in terms of how much I miss having an editorial point of view there. It was two designers and a model and I really missed having Nina Garcia as a representative who maybe looks at fashion collections and different points of views of fashion designers more objectively than two fashion designers do. I think that when you have your own line and you’re designing all the time, it’s just natural that you’re going to gravitate towards certain things more than others.
If you could have your way, would you get Tim back in the workroom and have Joanna on the panel?
Probably I would! If it was either/or, I would choose to have Tim whose background is more in education and mentoring and have Joanna, who has an amazing editorial eye, as a judge.
That’s a really good point. Something Joanna (and both my coworker Caitlin and I) celebrate you for are your amazing pants and leggings.
Thank you, awesome! It just sort of evolved naturally and after I did my Mercedes Benz Fashion Week collection on Season 7, I introduced a couple of leggings with panels on them and after the show I developed and pushed that even further and made what I call the "Bentley of leggings," which is, each leg has 20 pieces in it and four different fabrics and I really just took off with that.
You can find them in my store, which I’m expanding soon, on my website and there’s a couple boutiques in L.A. that are selling them. After my fall collection launches, I’m planning to hit the streets and if nothing else, I can get my leggings into a store and that’s a foot in the door because it’s easier to sell.
And if you want to do, like, a Target diffusion line, I would feel great about that.
I would feel great about that too!
What is next for you after "All Stars," you mentioned that you’re working on a movie now?
Well, I’m booked on “Star Trek 2” until that’s finished shooting. It’s a dream job and what pays my bills and funds my collection. I’m going to be showing the collection first in L.A. then in Palm Springs with other Project Runway Designers at the El Paseo Fashion Week in March.
I don’t think anybody ever realizes how much hustle there is involved in being a fashion designer and actually getting it into the stores. It’s not just about making a collection and putting on a runway show because that doesn’t get you orders. I have to hit the streets and I’m going to start with the boutiques in L.A. and eventually expand beyond that because it’s a growing process. Unless you have a big chunk of money and you can hire everyone to sell for you and market for you. It’s a lot of work for one person.
And you’re working on the movie, so that’s a busy schedule I’m sure.
It’s a minimum of 10-11 hours a day up to 12-13 hours a day with the lovely L.A. commuting.
So when we watch "Star Trek 2," where do we see "Mila"?
The costume designer has given me the domain of creating futuristic looks for the civilians in the film. I’m not really allowed to talk much about it but I can say it’s like a stylized look for people on the street in the movie.