Project Runway All Stars: Season 2 Finale


Well, we can always count on Project Runway to be predictable. I suppose that’s comforting.

The Challenge: In five days, and with the help of a previously eliminated designer, create a mini-collection with a budget of $3,000. Anthony Ryan tried to choose Joshua, who actually refused, which I found stupid until I learned Joshua had only been eliminated five hours before. He knew he was too burnt out to do his best work for Anthony, and I actually respected that. (You know the judges have been hitting the crack pipe too hard when JOSHUA is the most sane person in the room.) Anyway, Kayne ended up being AR’s assistant, Emilio chose Althea, and Uli chose Casanova, which was a wonderful choice if only because it brought some desperately needed silliness to this sorry excuse for a finale. (Not sorry in terms of the fashion, but sorry in terms of the ending being a total DUH since the season premiered.)

Guest Judges: The fabulous Liv Tyler, and Margherita Missoni, who I basically fell in love with as soon as she started speaking.

ANTHONY RYAN AULD
Winner
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Anthony Ryan didn’t make a bad collection. He just didn’t make a great collection, and both of his competitors did. Furthermore, this entire colorblocked and cut-out and peplumed collection was entirely unoriginal. We’ve seen looks exactly like this all over the runway and the red carpet – hell, Victoria Beckham has a whole career of making dresses uncannily similar to some of these. Anthony Ryan made sharp, sexy, wearable garments, but it lacked the spark the other collections had: the inspiration and storyline of Emilio’s collection, or the fairytale-like, emotional experience of Uli’s show.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Cute, and I can see a lot of women wearing it, but that’s probably because it’s already for sale in every department store in America.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

One of my favorite looks. When he combines the sharp lines with the flirty silhouettes, the results are more polished and interesting than his standard form-fitting dresses.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I like the ombre effect, but I think the color-blocking on the sleeves might have been one design element too many. And all of these looks are starting to blend together in my mind – cohesion is important, but so is using this opportunity to show that you are versatile enough to make lots of different kinds of pieces.

Photo: Lifetime

He should have nixed the gray fabric around her neck – it looks like a ratty old t-shirt, and it makes the whole outfit look sloppy. I also think this would be hideously unflattering on literally anyone except this model.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The front looks boring and ill-fitted, but the back is lovely. Or it would be, if that slit weren’t so damn high.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This looked poorly made, and though the black booties were a bad choice throughout the collection, they were a particularly bad choice with the finale look. This was not a show-stopper – his first look was infinitely better than his last.

As for his win – well, what did we expect? Is it worth all the caps lock and cursing and ranting against the producers for yet another worthless season, rigged from the start? I think not, dear readers. Let’s just move on to looking at more pretty things.

EMILIO SOSA
Runner-Up
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Emilio’s collection had the most interesting inspiration: his muse was the working woman, particularly the working black woman, from the plantation to the factor. Inspired by Emilio’s mom, a lifelong factory worker, and Rosie the Riveter, I loved the idea behind this collection. And with the exception of a couple of looks, I thought he executed his ideas in a fresh, thought-provoking, and wearable way. I hope Emilio runs with this inspiration in his own career, because I think it’s a fantastic muse. The above dress was a little ordinary for an opening look, but it packed much more of a punch when the model stomped down the runway like a true diva.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I loved the way he played with menswear fabrics and I love this twist on a man’s work shirt. I found the little bustier over the blouse adorable, and the skirt was simple and classic.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Flawless.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

One of my favorite looks of the collection. The way it ties around her waist gives it such a feminine and adorable feel, but the exaggerated shoulders and straight-legged, high-waisted pants bring back that menswear-influenced women-at-work aesthetic. A classic piece that was both true to the inspiration and could look killer on a red carpet.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I love this look, but I think it would have worked better in a much larger collection. In a mini-collection, you expect each look to have some sort of star quality. And while this is adorable and fits right in with his storyline and is incredibly wearable, I don’t think it belongs in a seven-look collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I love the use of the men’s shirt but in black, and the bustier again but in the print. The skirt is to die for.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The coat and dress are both gorgeous, though I’m not sure I would have paired them together. But still, Emilio showed a variety of silhouettes and many different types of garments; he showed prints and solids, jeans and jumpsuits, cocktail dresses and bustiers. His collection was very strong, but in my opinion, nobody could hold a candle to the great Uli Herzner.

ULI HERZNER
Second Runner-Up
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Uli’s inspiration was a winter wonderland, and what a wonder land it was, dear readers. The moment her show began, the audience was transported to a completely different place, some alien-eskimo haven full of interesting and beautiful garments that I can’t believe were made in under five days. This dress, for example, is flawless, and I’d kill to have it hanging in my closet.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I love the detailing on the bodice and the asymmetrical wrap scarf, but the skirt is only okay.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The blouse is so delicate and beautiful, as is the sweater. But those pants are just fan-freaking-tastic. The combination of the dark metallic silver and ivory really does create that winter wonderland vibe.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Not my style, but gorgeous. It looked expertly made and I think the pants were much more complex and textured than they look in these photos.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Quirky but fun. I could easily see this on a red carpet.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Beyond gorgeous. I love the sheer black stockings paired with everything, but particularly this sweater and skirt. I’d wear this outfit nonstop in winter wonderland, no doubt about it.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Stunning, bear arms and all. It was perfectly Uli – draping and embellishment, but never over the line, never too much. Anthony Ryan and Emilio made collections, but Uli put on a show, from the snowy lighting to every last feather.

Judges’ Top 3: Anthony Ryan, Emilio, Uli
Diva’s Top 3: Uli, Emilio, Anthony Ryan

If you can even believe it, Project Runway is going straight into Season 11 this week. (And went straight into All Stars from Season 10, I might add. This show is now on YEAR-ROUND.) But no matter how bad it gets, I’ll still be bitterly blogging, and I hope you’ll still be reading. Thanks for making this season bearable for me, dear readers!


© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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Comments

  1. Hi, Diva! Great recap, as always! I was disappointed in the finale, but not at all surprised. AR turned in the least inspired collection, but somehow walks away with the grand prize. I’m sure we all saw that coming ten boob-dresses (sacks!) ago. Anyway, I am so over their overly-manipulated, unsubtle, travesty of a show that I am not planning to watch it this season. It starts so soon, and there’s no time in between to forget the letdown of a clearly rigged show, that I don’t feel anxious for it at all. I sincerely hope that Uli and Emilio are both go on to have the careers they deserve. I know that Emilio is already a well-established costume designer, but I would love the chance to wear something of his myself. Uli’s stuff is generally quite lovely, but I would take her classic Uli dresses over her feathers and fur phase any time. Simply not my aesthetic. Thanks for such a great season. I might drop in to read your blog even though I am done with the show.

    • Thanks for commenting, Reli! I couldn’t agree more about the travesty this show has become, and the fact that there’s no break between seasons is just terrible, for bloggers and audience members alike! I’m confident that Uli and Emilio have great careers ahead of them – they showed the world that they have talent and skill. You’re a hero for sticking with the show for this long – there’s so few of us left! Come back and visit the blog sometime. :)

  2. I truly could not believe Uli was in third place. I have to say, I loved Emilio’s words – about his collection – like, all that theory and concept. I have to say I did not love the clothing. The sketches were really good and I like his red jumpsuit and his final piece. Both were on point yes. But for me, when he has that freedom of showing his work (without the shows direction on theme let’s say) he loses that magic thing. I think he may be a great custome designer and that is why he always nails the challenges. Because they have restraints and kind off a theme. I see a better future for him in selling red-carpet-ready dresses than casual ready-to-wear : ) . Uli. FREAKIN’ fantastic. You could tell her collection had much more work than the winners. The texture. The styling, even the way the models projected the clothing. It was blasfemous (for me) she was on third place. Her faux fur, did not made it look cheap. They are on budget and also, faux fur is a trend Georgina! ¬¬ – That’s all :D (I tried not to rant that much with the winner who can sew and design far more simple color blocks than Mila Hermanovski’s faboluous pieces).

    • You make a great point about Emilio – he needs a strict concept or direction to make his best work, and that’s why he is such a successful costume designer. Let’s hope to see some Emilio Sosa originals on the red carpet soon! As for Uli – faux fur is a trend for good reason – it’s 2013 and the world (excluding Anna Wintour) is more uncomfortable with real fur than it used to be. Designers should be congratulated for going faux instead of using the real thing! And I was never Mila’s biggest fan, because I thought she had too narrow and limited a point of view, but her work was still impeccable and her mod colorblocking was infinitely better than AR’s! Thanks for commenting, Manuel. <3

      • I agree with a lot of what you two are saying, but I disagree about Emilio needing direction and a strict concept. I think it’s important to remember that the designers were given four days to come up with a theme, shop, and execute. While Uli did do an AMAZING job, I would also argue that her theme was less expansive and less ambitious than Emilio’s. Winter Wonderland, I think, is a concept that many talented designers would be able to execute in a short amount of time – not in the same way that Uli did, and certainly many would not have been as imaginative as she was, but it was in many respects an easy theme. Especially considering that it continued what she had been doing on the show all season. Emilio’s theme, on the other hand, was something which needed more time. I think that is the only reason he was not able to present as cohesive a collection as Uli did. It was more ambitious, more meaningful, and more political, and it needed time to be properly developed. His other collections, done outside of the show, have been fantastic. So I don’t think that the issue is that he needed more direction or tighter reins, I think he just needed more time for such an ambitious concept.

  3. Hi Diva!
    Everything about Uli’s designs are sublime. Her proportions are spot on, as are her fabric choices and embelleshments. Her designs transcend ages and fads. To me, this is what fashion forward is all about. Thanks for posting interesting and thoughtful blogs.

    • I completely agree with your lovely assessment of Uli’s immense talent. She continues to grow as a designer, which is what makes her work so versatile. Thanks for commenting, Kitty! <3

  4. Thank you, Diva, for another great recap! Your description of this version of Project Runway is right on point and thought-provoking as always. I guess we all knew Anthony Ryan was the appointed winner, but hoping-against-hope that Uli would get the recognition she deserves.

    If Joanna Coles can’t convince designers that most women do not want backless dresses, I guess we can give up hope. Those of us ladies who need support cannot wear these creations and we’re tired of seeing them on super skinny models.

  5. Thanks Diva…..I’ve really enjoyed your blog and the commentators….I don’t have too much to add as I agree with much already said….and I appreciate Reli´s comments…hadn’t heard that prospective before. However, Uli’s collection was the one to make me gasp out loud, whereas I stifled a yawn or two with AR….I hoped against hope but unfortunately everyone called the ending, WEEKS AGO (and talent had nothing to do with the trending), and that is a real travesty.

  6. PaubloPowers says:

    I was so disappointing with their decision! Again, PR picked a trend follower designer, and not one that actually sets one. I just hope that season 11, they redeem themselves like they did with Mondo!

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