Project Runway All Stars: Episode 4

There’s a lesson to be learned here:

The Challenge: In six hours only, create a look based on a gelato flavor. (Yum, but random.)
Guest Judges: Diane von Furstenberg (filling in for Isaac) and Miranda Kerr (who pledged to wear the winning design).


Anthony tried to do too much in six hours, that’s true. This was kind of falling apart at the seams. But that’s what infuriated me about this challenge: when you give designers six hours to make a garment, you force them into one of two options. 1) Attempt something beautiful or interesting or risky (i.e., actual fashion), and fail to execute it in the allotted time; or 2) Make a dress you’ve made a zillion times before that you know you can complete in six hours, no matter how uninspired it is. Anthony fell into category #1, a category I respect more, for at least attempting to make fashion even when they know it’s practically impossible.I thought his color palette was fantastic and the low-key but lovely styling worked well.

But a message to the Project Runway team: you have some twisted idea that less time = better television, because you have the flawed belief that this show is about drama and not design. We love the drama, and constraints on the challenges help create some fantastic drama, but for the love of God, there’s a limit. The constraints aren’t worth it if no one can make a fucking dress to put down the runway.

Rant aside, the back of this is kind of awful to look at. While the color palette is great for the challenge, it’s rough on that model’s skin tone. It washes her out terribly – she looks chlorinated.


I’d like to preface this by stating that April is one of my all time favorite Project Runway contestants. She has a strong point of view and a shit-ton of creativity. She can’t go half a sentence without cursing, and though the judges always deride her Halloween aesthetic, I think it’s a great perspective. She ain’t perfect, and she’s young and has plenty to learn, and she certainly doesn’t do well under time constraints.

But this was bad, though not the worst on the runway. The colors in the layered fabrics are fantastic, but that’s really it. The styling was excessive, the neckline is insane – it was very clearly made in six hours.

And the back was a bit of a hot disaster as well. Farewell, April. Diane von Furstenberg might not “get” you, but the Democracy Diva does. (And we all know it’s my approval you really seek.)


I keep kind of forgetting about this, but I don’t dislike it at all. He very wisely chose fantastic accessories – you sort of forget the dress is there. He at least attempted to do something interesting with the bodice, even if i wasn’t perfect. But at least it’s relatively flattering and wearable.

But there was certainly no stroke of brilliance or inspiration here. Austin definitely fell into category #2, pulling out some easy old tricks to make a simple dress.


I find it shocking that the judges continue to ignore the hot disasters Jerell keeps sending down the runway. This would have been such a choice moment for a seething Isaac Mizrahi comment about Pocahontas visiting Miami Beach. This is painful to look at – the crooked band connecting the two prints is killing me. All that business on the top is hideous, and both those prints are like a raspberry acid trip.

Oh, sweet Lord, deliver me from these HIDEOUS PRINTS!


Tom & Lorenzo pointed out that Kara sent a nearly-identical look down the runway in her decoy collection during her season of Project Runway. They’re clearly right – see for yourself:

Yeahhh, that’s basically the same fucking dress. Except the one from the decoy collection was kind of cute, and the gelato one was an unflattering disaster.

That poor model. You can’t see it as well in the photos as you could on television, but that skirt was awful on her. It doubled her width, I swear.


I thought this was adorable. Category #2 all the way – a totally simple and very Kenley dress, but unlike most other garments on the runway, it was executed impeccably. I know the print does most of the work, but when the camera zoomed in you could see just how well-constructed it really was.

I do love that little collar in the back. Again, nothing jaw-dropping or inspirational, but it was a hell of a lot better than most of the garbage on this runway.


This was awful. Category #2 in the worst way, and I don’t give a fuck what they paid Diane von Furstenberg to say, this draping looks like shit. The bubble-hem sleeves are insane – I can’t think of a woman alive who’d want to wear them. The color had nothing to do with his gelato flavor, and the photograph is much kinder than television, because it was way more hideous on TV.

The strap at the top is nice, I’ll give him that, but the one at the bottom is crooked and these giant billowing sleeves are fucking ridiculous! And what is that puddle of fabric pooling around her ankles? It blows my mind that this snagged the win. Just terrible.


Let’s get one thing straight: Mila’s one-note problem is not that she only uses black. It’s that she only uses black, white, and one other color in a 1960s mod color-blocked way. She might think this was SO OUT OF THE BOX because it wasn’t black, but that’s a fucking joke. This was as Mila as anything, and we all know it.

That being said, I thought the belt and shoes were hideous, but I didn’t mind the dress. It’s too sheer and it’s inherited some of Michael’s crazy poofy sleeve issues, but I like the colors.

But it’s just kind of hideous from the back, isn’t it?


Although this was another very simply draped gown, the way Mondo recreated the cantaloupe by doing his signature move (mixing prints and bright colors) was really kind of inspiring. I appreciated that he managed to make a simple silhouette (i.e., something he could actually finish) but show his stroke of genius in the fabric choice and color-blocking combination.

And it was one of the only garments on the runway that looked wearable from the back. Maybe only wearable in an island nation, but still. It’s got a resort wear thing going for it that I appreciate.


Remember THIS hot disaster? Rami should thank his biceps for ensuring that the producers won’t get rid of him, even when he churns out something as hideous as this. I hate the silhouette, I hate every color and every fabric, from the polka-dotted bodice to the shiny skirt. The belt is ridiculously tacky and the purse and sunglasses were also big mistakes. It’s like he knew he didn’t have any good ideas so he just kept throwing shit on the model until time ran out.

Not nearly as offensive from the back, but still. Let’s pray for a challenge that maximizes the designers’ creative potential rather than limiting it, like this hot mess of a challenge did.

Judges’ Top 3: Michael (Winner), Mondo, Mila
Diva’s Top 3: Mondo, Kenley, Austin
Judges’ Bottom 3: Anthony, Kara, April (Eliminated)
Diva’s Bottom 3: Jerell, April, Kara

Need more Runway? We’ve got it all here!

All photos courtesy of Lifetime.

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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