Sunday, December 30, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars, Season Deux: Clearance Rack

Greetings, Project Runway All-Stars fans!

We're down to our last five designers....the best of the best, right?

We'll get to that in a minute.  Before we dive into the challenge, let's meet this week's judge and muse, Elie Tahari.

Elie Tahari was born in Israel and came to New York about 35 years ago.  He was penniless and homeless.  He took a job at a boutique and fell in love with fashion and the culture of New York that surrounded it.  Tahari is not a fashion house that relies on the runway.  He focuses on "ready to wear" and by doing that, has come to dominate that element of the fashion industry.

As a mentor, he was certainly constructive and insightful.  As a judge, he was very fair.  I'd love to see more of him in the Project Runway franchise.

He gave designers full access to his fabric.

And each designer had to consult with the Project Runway pricers (same two ladies from last season's challenge) to concoct some sort of budget.

Dream killer.  Imagination and styling cost money.  
The winning outfit would be sold as part of Elie Tahari's line...whatever season this happens to be...I'm guessing Spring 2013 at this point.

OK...enough of the warm fuzzies.  It's time to visit the Project Runway All-Stars Boutique and see if there's anything hanging there that we'd be remotely interested in wearing.


For some reason, most of the designers focused on being noticed on the runway--not on what women might be interested in when they enter a store to find a dress.
Elie talked Emilo out of using both the orange and yellow, both two difficult colors to wear.

The grosgrain ribbon just doesn't do enough to elevate this dress to a special level that makes one wish to spend $200-300 for the privilege of wearing it.  I would have loved to have seen the colors reversed-- maroon is such a hot color on the runway this year.  As it its, I kept thinking of

and this.

Maybe there's a future designing ready-to-wear for the NFL and NBA.

Elie strongly lobbied for Emilio to be safe, particularly since he followed Elie's advice and limited the outfit to just two colors.


Uli came so close this week.

For some reason, she chose fabric that looked like a white dishtowel, then she proceeded to spend the rest of the episode second guessing herself.

"In an effort to make you forget about all of the prints I used during my season, I have chosen white again for yet another challenge."

The dream killer cost estimators nixed the vest Uli had planned to make.  So in an effort to make the dress stand out, she added a collar with fringe.  The texture got everyone's attention.  The dress is meticulously tailored and would have fit into perfectly into Tahari's line-up.   It just didn't grab the judges attention as much as Anthony Ryan.

Anthony Ryan

Anthony Ryan took some ugly fabric and isolated the strongest graphic elements. He added stretch side panels that would make it easier to custom fit a wide range of body types.  There was a bit extra on each side, so he turned them into pockets.

Long story short, Anthony Ryan won and here's the dress that you can buy.

The pattern piecing is gone as are the pockets, the side panels are thinner and back pattern matches the front.  The neckline still remains.  It is less edgy than Anthony Ryan's original design and in many ways, less interesting.  It is very accessible, however.

Proceeds from the dress fund the efforts of Save Our Garment District.


I continue to be disappointed in Joshua McKinley's efforts this season.

Elie gallantly tried to talk Joshua out of paring a very stiff lace with a wool knit.  He also pointed out that the weird draping would cause some puckering.  Still, Joshua would not be deterred.

The gathered circle of fabric bunched up in the front and the heavy, exposed zipper puckered up in the back.  The dress looked cheap.  The lace gave it no visible interest.  Josh was nearly given the boot this week and if it had been up to me, he would have been sent home.


Ivy tried to let the print do the work this week.

And Elie tried to talk her out of using the full width of it in her design.  He implored her to make it shorter.

But that would "not be true to her vision" would it?  Can't not be true to one's vision, not when you're this close to the finish line.

It's not a bad outfit, really.  She tried to break things up at the top a bit.  Yes, the slits on the side were too big and unwieldy.  Yes, the "not too long, not too short length was neither.  She could have taken 6 inches off the bottom and changed the whole look of the dress.

Overall, I think she came closer to a ready-to-wear look than Joshua.  Unfortunately, the judges were tired of watching her fall short, challenge after challenge.

Unless there's a world-rocking result next week, the finalists will be Emilio, Uli and Anthony Ryan.  But try and hang in there with us.  Maybe we'll see some spectacular dresses next week.  Hope springs eternal.

Until then!


  1. Well, at some point we're going to see the most beautiful dress Isaac has ever seen on Project Runway. Maybe next week? Are my expectations too high? Ha ha!

    I agree that Joshua should have been eliminated. I understand that Ivy has been a bottom dweller most of the season, but it's not like Joshua has been amazing enough to make up for that pink disaster.

  2. After Sunday's victory over the Cowboys, Redskins burgundy and gold is THE color combo around these parts.

    Besides, Emilio shouldn't have let himself get talked out of the orange bits, which not only gave more detail to the dress, but also made the burgundy pop coming between the two colors.