Sunday, October 28, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars Season Deux, Episode 1: Attitude Adjustment

Greetings, Project Runway Fans!  It's All-Star time!  Can't you just feel the excitement in the air?

Wendy Pepper!!!!  Josh! Ca-za-no-va! Ulllliiiii!  Kayne!  Anthony Ryan!  ANDRE!!!!!

Some things never change.  Emilio has that cute little lisp that sugar coats his fierce competitiveness.  Wendy Pepper STILL isn't here to make friends.  Suede still talks about himself in the third person.  Your straight guy friends will keep confusing Laura Kathleen with Althea and Althea is "Miss Bossypants."

Tell your straight guy friends that they'll want to watch this season, if for no other reason than to see the host, Carolyn Murphy.

Only, she'll be looking more like this....

Sorry guys.  That dress is all sorts of wrong.  Let's get on with this week's recap because right now, I've got another girl on my mind....

Hurricane Sandy, as seen from the US Space Station.
The challenge

This week's challenge split our group into teams, even though there were only thirteen designers.  They were to choose a mood and then build a cohesive collection with each designer contributing to the look.

And in case you were wondering, Wendy Pepper was chosen last, by the other team.

Joanna Coles is back with her fabulous British accent and loads of good advice for the veteran contestants.

Our guest judges this week were Rachel Roy (who dresses Michele Obama) and Mondo Guerra, on his world promotional tour, only this time, he didn't promote anything.

Team Black and Blue

Did I mention that each team's collection had to be cohesive?  For some reason, this team interpreted that to mean that everyone had to use the same two colors.  zzzzzz.  Actually, that was there default plan because they couldn't agree on any other.  And that was the start of the problem...

Laura Kathleen

It was the judges favorite of the evening, but because it was on Team Loser, she was safe (free from having to hear judges critiques) and that was that.  I'm not really feeling this outfit.  Yes, it's flattering enough on the model, but that peplum would be horrendous on a real woman.  There's something a little casual about the bodice that keeps me from saying that this is a lovely dress...I just can't put my finger on it.


When Emilio wasn't winning the most challenges in his season, he was dying fabric in the toilet.  Actually, he won that challenge, too!  This is an interesting dress.  It is very flattering and for the right woman, would be a real show stopper.  It's provocative without being tremendously vulgar.

The exposure is only in the front.  Quite a brilliant and youthful dress and it fits perfectly.  Had that skirt been short, it would have been too much.  The model is showcased beautifully here.  Something tells me that when the fabric choices were made, Emilio had this outfit in mind....the others could fend for themselves.


Here's where the collection begins to fall apart.  It's a cute enough dress, but the sheer top just doesn't add enough interest to the very pedestrian dress underneath.


SUEDE SAYS: It's perfectly ok to use bra cups as capped sleeves!

There's a time and place for this sort of dress and that is during an unconventional materials challenge.  The bodice is a bit bunchy and the skirt is just too crafty.  It was not a completely offensive look, just not up to the polished standards the judges were expecting.    The bra cup sleeves do nothing for me.


Peach, I want to like you as a designer.  You seem like such a nice person, but you lead with your insecurity.  When Peach went before the judges, she began tearing her outfit apart...explaining away all the compromises she had to make...complaining about the fabric.  That's not the way to go, Peach.  Sell the dress in case the judges didn't quite think it was the worst one up there.  They were on crack this week anyway, as I'm about to explain with the next team.

It is sad to see Peach go.  I hope she is able to continue designing on her terms with a design process that gives her enough time to workout the self doubt.

Team Bossypants!

Right away, Wendy and Althea clashed.  Wendy thought Althea was much too controlling.  I agree.  Her taste level is extremely questionable and it extended through the entire team.  If Black and Blue had had its act together, Bossypants would have been kicked to the curb.  Or maybe not.  The judges were really eating this crap up.


The front is cute but the back is way out of proportion.  That tail at the bottom looks sloppy.   I really hate the styling here, too.  Not my favorite look at all.


The judges LOVED this look.  For Casanova, who did not impress me in his season, this is not bad at all and very well fitted.  It was rightfully in the running for a win.


Uli's turned a new leaf, everyone.  She doesn't work exclusively with prints anymore.  However, the essence of every dress she turned out in her season is reflected right here, only with the ugliest front piece I've ever seen.  


"Everyone loves a good jacket."  - Rachel Roy

You would have expected the judges panel to argue about the lace patches on the jacket, but no.  They argued about whether shorts were still in or passe.  "I'm over dress shorts," declared Isaac Mizrahi.

Then, Rachel began praising how perfectly placed the lace pieces were.  "They match in the back."  While that may be so, everyone is ignoring how strange this looks from a if someone shot holes through your arms and waist.  Then again, they would probably rave at how slimming that effect is......sigh....

Anthony Ryan

Admit it...when you saw him working in the sewing room, it didn't look like he was off to a good start.

Of all the looks out there in Team Bossypants, this one was the most versatile and modern.  Isaac thought the fit of the pants was off...I'm not seeing that.  Rachel gushed over how the back made the model's tush super sexy.  I would have complained that we would have liked to see more of that sexy tush and less of the cheap lace that covered it....but I wasn't on the panel.  The back is a surprise and the judges responded well to that element.  

Anthony Ryan was the winner this week.

Before I dart off to stand in line for D-batteries and bottled water, I have to note with amusement that this season is chock full of BIG PRIZES!  The winner gets to be an assistant editor at Marie Claire for a year, use of a fully equipped sewing and technology studio for a year, $150 K, a trip around the world to fashion weeks, and the OPTION for Nine West to pick you up as a designer.

So let me get this straight...for the privilege of knocking yourself out for two and a half weeks and coming out on top of a cut-throat competition, you get 365 days to travel, use stuff, and arm wrestle with Nina Garcia AND hope that doesn't distract you from putting together a winning proposal for a Nine West capsule (limited edition) collection.   Really?   I'm thinking the runners up this year will be the really lucky ones.

I may combine the next two weeks as I'm not sure that I'll have cable (or power) after the storm.  We'll see.  Until next time!!!


  1. Brilliant recap and good luck weathering the storm. I'm in Philly and know what you are talking about. Here's my take...

    1) Carolyn Murphy talks slooow. I thought my video was off speed.
    2) Joanna Coles makes me miss Tim Gunn. Tim acts as a mentor and Joanna acts like an editor. Correct, but cutting.
    3) I was glad that Anthony Ryan won. Not only because I like him and I do. But more that I feared Ivy would best her employee Cassanova. I'll be curious whether their working relationship will get air time.
    4) Ivy's soup kitchen anecdote was moving, but the promos show that she's bitchy for richer or poorer.
    5) Mondo's critiques reminded me that the panel probably needs a rising designer's point of view. Mondo's opinions contradicted the judges & I liked the contrast.
    6) My pick for the final winner will be Laura Kathleen. I don't have any real reason for it except she got noticed for a look that was subtle on a losing team. We'll see if my prediction holds up.

    Enough from me.

  2. I'd say, as pre-planning goes,the finale will come down to Uli, Laura Kathleen, and Anthony Ryan—with Emilio as a possible fourth. These seem to be the designers selected for a make-up win, much as Daniel Vosovic was predestined to win the one-off All Stars, and Mondo practically had the Season 1 prize delivered to him on a silver salver.