Project Runway All Stars: Episode 10

Fire up your crack pipes, dear readers.

The Challenge: Design a “timeless and feminine” ready-to-wear look for Nanette Lepore’s collection – and work with a coster to present a design and price out how much the dress cost to create in order to determine the budget.

The Prize: The winning look gets sold in Nanette Lepore stores, with all profits going to charity to save New York City’s Garment District.


Photo: Lifetime

Here’s my pitch for how this episode should have gone: The challenge would be to create BOTH a runway look AND a ready-to-wear, Nanette Lepore-store-ready version inspired by their runway look. Give them four days and enough cash to do it right, or bring back former designers to give them an extra set of hands to work with. That way, the designers could have used the runway version to show off their creativity and the fact that they are capable of more than the same exact silhouettes and tricks they’ve shown us time and time again. AND, they can prove that they are also capable of fulfilling part of the grand prize (having your garments sold in Neiman Marcus) by making something real women can buy in actual stores.

By giving them a day and a half and no money, the producers once again ensured a terrible runway show. What else can you do but pull out your old tropes under the parameters of this challenge? Hence, the raincoat above you, and the similarly uninspired garments you’ll soon see. Who the hell is paying $500 for a wrinkled raincoat with a very unfortunate collar? Other than that, I suppose Austin met the challenge – it’s feminine, though more dated than timeless, and it’s sellable (though nowhere near at its stated price point) and wearable to real women. But if you expect me to fake an orgasm over this like the judges did, well, I’m just not that sort of girl.


Photo: Lifetime

Kenley should have won this challenge. Hear me out, haters: this was boring as anything else on that runway and nowhere near her best look, and she’s churning out those same silhouettes like it’s her goddamn job. And she was an idiot to lose the keyhole, which was clearly Nanette’s favorite part of the design. I totally get why Kenley gravitated toward this phenomenal peacock print – it’s gorgeous, and it’s very Kenley, but different than her usually baby bedroom polka dots. But I wish she’d found a way to make the keyhole work. It was probably a timing issue more than an “it won’t work with this print!” issue, but it was an issue either way. And the judges were right to criticize her for that.

But this is the only thing on the runway that I believe is decent to look at and would sell to a variety of women at its stated price point. The judges can hate on the seaming in front, but I thought it was at least flattering to the body, even if the print didn’t line up the way the judges expected it to. And in the back, I loved the way she seemed to purposefully line up the prints “wrong,” and create a new sort of feather swirl pattern surrounding that seam. And the girl might love her a cap sleeve a little too much, but the way the blue center of the peacock feather popped out from under the cap sleeve was quite lovely. She wins no awards for innovation or ambition, because this is a dress in which the print does 98% of the work. But I’ve got Nanette Lepore hanging in my closet, and I’m not shaped like a supermodel, and I’d buy this dress tomorrow. I can’t say that of anything else on this runway – that’s why I’d have given Kenley the win.


Photo: Lifetime

A haze of crack pipe smoke lingered in the air as the judges praised this hideous, unimaginative piece of ill-fitting, vulgar garbage. First of all, this is just his winning design from episode 4 in a tacky print that’s making my hangover so much worse than it already was. Second, the fit on this was so disastrous, it could not possibly have been worn for longer than the length of a runway without exposing the model’s nipples and/or buttcrack – and that’s if she doesn’t trip on the embarrassingly long hemline. Third, and most importantly, REAL WOMEN WON’T BUY THIS DRESS. You don’t just need to be a size two to wear this – you need to be a 5’10” size two with no breasts. There is one and only one body type this gown works for, and that’s a runway model. Don’t even try to tell me that this is ready-to-wear – I am certainly nowhere near ready to throw a few yards of ugly fabric around my shoulders and wear it out in public.


Photo: Lifetime

This made me miss Tim Gunn, who would have told Mondo this was fashion student work at its worst, and to snap out of his obnoxious funk and get to work. This was amateur work, it’s not aesthetically pleasing, and the trim at the bottom is just horrible. The top is sort of sophisticated, but the bottom is twee, and that incongruity kills this dress for me. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I’m nearing last season’s atrocious finale levels of exhausting with Project Runway. Leave your snarkiest feelings on the subject in the comments.

Judges’ Top: Mondo and Austin
Diva’s Top: Kenley and Mondo
Judges’ Bottom: Michael and Kenley
Diva’s Bottom: Austin and Michael

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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7 responses to Project Runway All Stars: Episode 10

  1. I don’t usually care for Kenley’s same old, same old, but she deserved to stay over Michael. Thought the comments made to Mondo in the group post-runway show to get over it and work were very appropriate. Still think that the choice of winners has been manipulated to produce this final three.

  2. Vincent Dall

    Yeah, not much to disagree with here. Mondo’s outfit is one of the worst (or worst) things he has ever done on two seasons of PR. That he was praised for this and actually won the challenge gave me a sad. I also think the designers should think twice if they ever attempt to repeat the “all-stars” experiment (if being the operative world; I doubt it will happen again b/c the show seems to be on its last legs). Why? Because most of them have come out of it looking a bit worse for wear, including Mondo who has been way to high maintenance and whose work has not shown considerable development (and, in this week’s case, a decline) since his last appearance on the show. Oddly enough, the designer who has managed to improve their image – as a person and as a designer – is Kenley. Yes, she has a limited perspective but within this perspective she has done some really lovely/playful garments, which is more than can be said for M.C.
    p.s. I love your idea for how this challenge should have been constructed. As it was conceived, it was a terrible choice for the final-challenge-before-the-final. And it was made worse by the fact that the judges (1) ignored the parameters of the challenge and (2) the outfits that came down the runway were mediocre to bad.

  3. susan kelly

    Why not give them a half year to complete a few looks and judge them on that… oh wait we already do that, its called Fashion Week and various runway/collection shows. The whole point of PR is to do it fast… that makes the concentrate on the important aspects of design, the silhouette, the fabric, proportion, line, balance.. If one is a regular watcher of the show you are not expecting looks truly worthy of a couture house.

    Kenley should have won? Really? That dress was awful, the fabric print was nice but not one that I’d ever wear (i’m one of those tall, thin, straight up and down size 2’s) that big peacock feather is about the size of my head. But really not matching the pattern on a big specific print like that is such a huge mistake. I love fashion and I shop everywhere from Chanel to H & M and I have stuff from H & M that is matched. I didn’t love the fit either… it was baggy. Really it was just a dress and her fav silhouette at that. Move on Kenley, having a “point of view” does not mean designing the same dress over and over again. She can have a 50’s aesthetic and not do the same silhouette.

    Austin boring, wrinkly no thanks.

    Mondo…… I think the purpose of this show is to right the wrong of Mondo not winning the first time he was on and rightly so. I mean Gretchen Jones, really? I miss from Mondo’s first season all his print mixing, he just isn’t doing that to the same degree as he use to and he is incredible at doing that. This dress had a good vibe to it and I loved the prints he used. I’ll agree that the bottom of the dress was a little too cute.

    I’d buy this dress (and have my tailor do something to the bottom) as I like how I look in this sort of boat neck shifty sort of dress.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I think you’re so right about Mondo – they could’ve just called this show Project Runway: Mondo’s Revenge. And I miss his masterful print-mixing too – he hasn’t shown the same kind of work, at least not to the same quality as some of his best stuff from when he was on the show the first time around. Thanks for commenting, Susan!

  4. Kitty

    I wondered why the designers were restricted to “x” amount of dollars of fabric for their prototype. Surely designers for Nanette Lepore would be alloted a bit more fabric for their prototype designs so they could have flexability to modify their origional designs. Once a design is solidified one would know how much fabric is needed and costing would follow. Asking designers to work with limited fabric in an origional design doesn’t make sense.

    If Kenley could have had more of the solid contrasting fabric surely she would have made better use of the beautiful peacock fabric. I could imagine a beautiful dress with princess seams. In the center of the dress the keyhole design could be in the solid fabric which would either come down into a flattering V design or a slimming center pannel allowing the printed fabic to be featured on the sides and back.

    I liked where she was going with the dress… she needed more fabric choices and a bit more time. Austin needed the same. I don’t think more time and fabric would have helped Michael or Mondo.

    Isn’t it high school prom girls who want a dress plunging in the back and the front? Real women understand that you must choose–and that you must wear a bra to be comfortable and decent. Michael doesn’t appear to understand real women.

    Austins raincoat had a lot of possibilities but was way too ambitious for the limited time frame. With more time he could have made better use of the iron and hem. Who knows what other fabrics could have been utilized.

    I wanted to like this season more than the last one. Unfortunately the challenges were kind of “dim”. If designers are allowed to design without hideous time constraints I think we will see more of the true nature of who they are and what they are on their way to becoming.

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