Sunday, January 6, 2013

Project Runway All-Stars, Season Deux, Episode 10: Defensive Posture

Greetings Project Runway All-Stars Fans!

Finally,  an episode I can endorse!

I LOVE "real women challenges" and I especially love this week's challenge with veterans from our armed forces.  Let's meet our vets, shall we?

Anthony Ryan is paired with Lisa from the Air Force.  Lisa is concerned about her weight, which has gone up since she's been back--particularly in her bust area.  She prefers to hide her bust, which is a real challenge because she is going to a formal dinner and needs an evening gown.  It's really hard to hide a bust in an evening gown.  Good luck, Anthony Ryan.

Emilio has Lisa, who served in the Navy--all over the world and most recently in Afghanistan.  She's ready to party down in Vegas and needs a kick-ass dress.  This should be no problem for Emilio, right?

Uli has Jessica who served in the Marines and would like to not look like a Marine vet at her next party.  "I like what you're wearing," she says.  This should be a cake-walk for Uli.

Joshua has Leslie Nicole from the Army.  Joshua's brother serves in the Army and this touches Joshua's strong patriotism.  He's talked about his brother before and the pride he feels for what he is doing.  Now that the armed forces are more accepting of gays, perhaps Joshua will feel more comfortable getting involved with vets in the future as many of them return home to a new life.  He has a real facility with his model this week.  He was thrown a curve ball of sorts....

That's Isaac the helping dog....isn't he cute?  No....I mean Leslie's artificial leg!  She's currently wearing her mechanical one.  She has a more...aesthetic one that she will wear on the runway.  However, Joshua immediately knows where to go when he hears her story.  She had a blood clot in her leg and in the process of treating it, the leg became infected with a flesh-eating bacteria.  She almost died.  They ended up amputating the leg just below the knee.  The first thing she asked when she recovered from the surgery was whether she could wear high heeled shoes again.

The designers were given $150, 30 minutes in Mood to pick out fabrics, and the rest of the day to make the dress.  This last part was critical for a couple of designers who, on account of the short time, had to cut some major corners.

So we have four, worthy models this week.  Let's see how our designers did and what the judges said.


Yes, it's an ULI signature dress, but with some interesting detail that really fits her model.

First, the complex strapping in the front with a touch of black illusion provides a bit of modesty while keeping the look very sexy.  There's little embellishment in the front that Katie Holmes really hated.

"It is a beautiful dress and there's no need to put a gaudy, sparkly doo-dad on the front of it as if you are trying to make it something it is not.  This is sort of like having an ordinary wedding in a medieval, Italian castle because you're trying to keep paparazzi out while showing the world how rich you are...."
Actually, Katie didn't exactly explain why she hated the embellishment in the front....but I'm sure this is exactly what she had on her mind.  She filmed this episode just one day after her divorce was finalized.

This is my favorite part.  First of all, you can see Jessica's beautiful tattoo.  Second, the strapping serves as a double bra effect-- there is a halter strap and a regular bra-like strap.  Jessica is now fully supported in the dress for whatever activity she wishes to do.  The print, while not Jessica's favorite color of purple, is lively and graphic.   This is sexy and comfortable--perfect and would have been my win if not for.....


In his season, I felt he had such incredible potential as a designer.  His weakness, however, is embellishing his outfits.  His strength is in playing with negative space.  It's his forte and trademark of sorts and it could provide him endless opportunities as a designer.  I knew he'd knock one out of the park if he'd just concentrate on that element.

This detail alone, made this outfit universally crave-able.   But this was a real risk.  Done poorly, it would have just drawn attention to the one thing that would make people uncomfortable--Leslie Nicole's artificial leg.  However, this dress was beyond gorgeous.

The judges obsessed over the fact that this outfit was actually a top and skirt.  I guess the object was to make it easier for Leslie Nicole to put on.  Together, they look like a gorgeous dress, so who cares how it is composed?  You can't see it well in this picture, but Joshua gave Isaac a matching outfit.

The trim here is leopard--Leslie Nicole's favorite print.  However, all Joshua could find was a black and white cotton print, so he dyed it green.  I don't know if he knew this would result, but the result is sort of an olive drab/camo effect--sort of harkening back to her Army days.   At this angle, you get the full effect of how airy and light the illusion strip makes the skirt.  It elevates the outfit from just a nice dress to something flirty, fun and a full celebration of one woman's survival against the odds.

It was the winner this week and much deserved for Joshua.  However, Joshua clearly threw a bit of a monkey wrench into Isaac Mizrahi's plans this week.  Joshua was supposed to crash and burn.  How DARE HE NOT crash and burn!  Spoiler.


Emilio came really close to crashing and burning this week.  His model, Lisa, has a slammin' body.  She would be any designer's dream client.  She's easy-going.  She didn't even have many demands on the construction or color of the garment.  "I can wear yellow," she said--not as a demand, but as an illustration of how much she likes color.  Emilio sketched the perfect dress...

and went to Mood searching for yellow fabric.  I'm sure the producers quickly scooped up all the good yellow fabric and stashed it in the back room because when Emilio got to Mood, the only fabric he could find required inner-facing to hold up as a bodice.  He had to ditch the complex draping and seaming in the back as well.  The result, ended up boxy and poorly sewn.

From this angle, it doesn't look too bad....however....

The left strap is wonky and the seams are blatantly obvious.  For some reason, using the facing made the fabric look lighter, so when it comes up against the skirt that didn't have the facing, it looks like two different colors of yellow were used.  It's not as obvious in the picture but on TV and in person, it really stuck out.

While the left strap rolled forward in the front, the right strap hiked up in the back.  Everyone complained about his sewing skills, but I think this issue this week was simply the poor fit in the bodice.  This could have been resolved with extra time and attention to detail, but Emilio ran out of both and ended up with a poor compromise on his original design.  He would have been booted off by me had it not been for a surprisingly bad showing by everyone's favorite golden boy....

Anthony Ryan

Isaac, dude, take a chill pill.  You know you were so wrong this week.  Even Carmen Marc Valvo (the other guest judge) said so.

"Frankly, Isaac, I'm concerned for your sanity.  Perhaps you've been working too hard.  All this TV judging while trying to produce a fashion're overworked and becoming unreasonable."
"The straps are beautiful and the ombre is very feminine."
"You've clearly lost your mind.  We're hear to judge these designers, not fall in love with them."
"I tell you what, let's look at the outfit and discuss this rationally."

Anthony Ryan made three mistakes:

1. Using ombre.  First of all, ombre has a cursed Project Runway history.  Just ask Andre who used it in the challenge and was promptly booted off.  Folks have dyed fabric for an ombre effect, only to be told their outfit looked dirty.  At least he put the dark part at the top, avoiding the "it looks dirty" meme.  However, I think he thought the dark color would slim her bust.  That didn't happen because...

2. Gathered fabric.  He gathered the fabric at the top and cinched it at the waist.  All this does is create extra volume at the bust, waist and hips WHERE YOU DON'T WANT IT.

3. Slitting the skirt.  The skirt is voluminous to begin you put a slit in it to make it flop out more?  Yikes.  This is what happened in the back, as a result....


"Excuse me, he made a fourth mistake.  He made the bodice straight across which also accentuates a large bust.  If she wants to hide her body, I suggest she employ a cardigan and a large bag.  It works for me."

So after much discussion, the judges decided to eliminate Isaac from the discussion altogether and send him to the next challenge in Paris a bit early.

And they kicked both Anthony Ryan and Emilio off the show.

At which point, the producers, who already purchased four tickets for Paris, came in and put Anthony Ryan and Emilio back on the show.

Yes, next week we're all going to Paris!  Woo hoo.  I really hope that Isaac enjoyed his flight in coach. He usually flies first class, but the producers had to pay for four tickets instead of three, thanks to him.

Au revoir!

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