The Challenge: Create an eco-friendly red carpet look out of green (as in eco-friendly, not the color) AirDye fabrics and trimmings recycled from previous challenges. (Darling Casanova looks like he’s struggling to understand why they wanted all the dresses to be in the same color. I hope Emilio translates for him later!) Also, the High Line exists and gave us money to talk about them. Winning look gets worn by Carolyn Murphy on the red carpet, but it’d be a better prize if an actual famous person was wearing it. Like the amazing…
Guest Judge: Diane von Furstenberg. I sort of wished they hadn’t announced her as the guest judge until the end of the episode, so that half the designers didn’t gear their looks toward Diane’s aesthetic instead of their own. Not to say it didn’t work for some of them, it just made me know way too early on exactly what some of them were going to design, which made the episode a little dull.
But Diane herself is probably the best guest judge in Project Runway history. Aside from her credibility as an enormous fashion icon, she’s thoughtful and caring and delicate with the designers, but she doesn’t lie to them. And she includes anecdotes about being 20 years old in Rome engaged to a fabulous man and discovering the pajama palazzo and being TOTALLY AWESOME. What more could you possibly want in a guest judge? Even Isaac looked wistful, like he was being transported to 1970s Rome in his mind during Diane’s story. But I digress; let’s hit the runway.
Somewhere in the depths of my closet is an old Betsey Johnson dress, a hand-me-down from my sister that might actually be a hand-me-down from our mom. Regardless, it’s in the exact mauve color and print and texture of this dress, but in a simple spaghetti-strap sundress instead of, you know, wings. Adorable as it is, it’s no red carpet dress, and neither is this. It has some elements I like – the exposed shoulder, the strap and draping across her back, the sort of dirty-but-girly aesthetic – but the pieces of fabric haphazardly sewn onto the model’s ass look terrible. Though this was ultimately a hot mess, there were much bigger disasters on the runway than Althea’s. But we’ll get there, dear readers.
ANTHONY RYAN AULD
I agree with Diane that this had a bit too much fabric on the sides (and yet still managed to expose the model’s panties). I like the color and the neckline, but the black strap in back just looks like a strapless bra, not a part of the gown. It had the easy, laid-back grace to appeal to DVF, and I enjoyed that, but I didn’t think it was particularly interesting or innovative.
I loved this. He took a hideous print and made it work, and that pop of strawberry red underneath and at the bust was an incredible effect. The simple silhouette kept it from veering off into crazy town, because it’s hard to combine a wild print and a wild silhouette and still look red carpet-ready. It was just a touch too basic for him to win outright, but he absolutely should have been in the top three.
Emilio had a rough time with this one. It’s actually a mark of what a strong designer he is, because even his worst designs meet the requirements of the challenge better than most of the stuff on the runway, at least from afar. You could see the threads from the unfinished hemline on the runway, and you can see how a part of the skirt lifts an inch or two up off the ground for a strange patch in front but is far too long in the back. The seam is too visible in the back, and I think a single embellished strap in the back would have been better. But all in all, it was very basic and poorly constructed – that might be average for some of the other designers, but it’s a failure for the usually on-the-mark Emilio.
Awful. She beat the hell out of that fabric until every puckered seam exploded and seemingly melted parts of the dress. A far worse crime? I’ve seen this dress six hundred MILLION times on the red carpet before; in fact, I passed being sick of it about two years ago. It’s the worst kind of red carpet look – too short, in a terrible color, not remotely body-conscious, with a stupid skirt attached and terribly contrasting accessories to boot – and yet I’ve seen it on too many flash-in-the-pan starlets. Diane von Furstenberg should not have to look at something as awful and ordinary as this.
The dress drapes ridiculously in the back, throwing the shape of the model’s body all out of whack. The color is a little depressing for the red carpet, but I like the thin straps in the back. It was another decidedly middle-of-the-road look from Joshua, which is disappointing, but we’re almost out of time for people to hide in the “safe” pack. He’s going to have to come out swinging or head on home.
I thought this was effortless and chic and a perfect way to get Diane von Furstenberg to love you – and that was Laura’s main goal with this challenge, to impress her hero. I think the neckline and the little shoulder embellishments are lovely, though I think the gold strap in back is a little incongruous with the rest of the look. I don’t think it needed those extra wings in the back, but it was overall a beautiful look. But I think it’s a little much to call this a red carpet look. It’s fabulous resortwear, it’s a romantic evening in Rome, but I don’t think the combination of this look’s easy, breezy, incredible wearable elements add up to a red carpet look.
I wanted to hate it the moment I saw Uli in the workroom, scooping up all her recycled trims, but I can’t. She somehow kept embellishing and embellishing and acrobatically toed the line between hideous and fabulous. She made a “rainy day in Miami” print look fresh and funky and attention-grabbing instead of drab and sad. I think the lightness of that fabric in the bubble skirt is a great way of doing the drapiness of DVF in a way that offers a little more coverage. The styling was excellent, and I found myself wanting to meet this crazy girl on the red carpet.
Judges’ Top 3: Laura, Uli, Anthony Ryan
Diva’s Top 3: Uli, Casanova, Laura
Judges’ Bottom 3: Emilio, Ivy, Althea
Diva’s Bottom 3: Emilio, Althea, Ivy