Project Runway All Stars: S2 E8

The designers got their flapper on for a 1920s challenge.

The Challenge: With $250 to spend at Mood, create a look inspired by the 1920s for a modern woman to wear to one of three specific events (an afternoon garden party, an after-hours speakeasy, and an evening social soiree, whatever the hell that means). The designers for each event went head-to-head against each other for the top and bottom three, which always ends up with something being overpraised and something being underpraised.

Guest Judges: Designer Jenny Packham and Boardwalk Empire‘s Gretchen Mol.

After-hours speakeasy

Photo: Lifetime via

It’s laughable that this won. I’ve said this episode after episode, but the judges’ constant need to overpraise Anthony Ryan for basic and sometimes ugly designs is still unfathomable to me. The feathered capelet wasn’t pretty or wearable, and the silhouette of the dress is unflattering and under-designed. The black underlay comes down way too low in the back, and I couldn’t picture the modern woman who is supposedly wearing this outfit.

IVY HIGA, Bottom 3
After-hours speakeasy

Photo: Lifetime via

And my disbelief continues: I am shocked that Ivy wasn’t eliminated for this truly terrible design. She chose one great fabric and made mistake after mistake after mistake, resulting in this sad result. The dress has basically no design to it – the beautiful fabric is practically wrapped around her like a bath towel, and the center seams in front and back add nothing to the look. The gray straps look like they’ve been stapled on, and they have nothing to do with the rest of the outfit. The feathers on the dress are haphazard and make her look like she’s molting, and not in an attractive way.

Afternoon garden party

Photo: Lifetime via

Definitely one of the strongest looks on the runway, though it did have its flaws. I absolutely loved the silhouette and thought it was incredibly body-conscious and flattering. Emilio felt it was a late 1920s silhouette, but the judges felt it was more 30s; in any event, it’s freaking gorgeous. I loved the way he redesigned what could have been, as Joanna warned, a grandmother’s-couch sort of fabric into this architectural art-deco print. I really wish the lace had lined up in the back – it’s just too obvious a construction flaw to ignore, because the lace is otherwise such a lovely and eye-catching part of the look. It would have snagged the win for me, had the lace and the center seam in back been executed a little bit better.

Afternoon garden party

Photo: Lifetime via

This was an incredibly literal and expected “modern 1920s” look. Even with the pop of color in the back, it was underwhelming and completely overshadowed by every other look on the runway – even the worse designs were at least more interesting. The brooch was a freaking stupid idea, and none of this felt as inspired or thought-out as the rest of the looks.

Evening social soiree

Photo: Lifetime via

This was the winner for me. I thought this dress was beautiful, with and without the capelet. I wish the skirt were slightly longer in front, but I loved the fringe and the beautiful lines of periwinkle and lace and all kinds of gorgeous stuff coming down the dress. When she took the shrug off, the dress had these gorgeous, wide straps that were lovely, very 1920s, and incredible wearable. It was chic, perfect for the parameters of the challenge, and expertly styled.

Evening social soiree

This was bad, but not nearly as bad as Ivy’s. I’m not sad to see Laura and her massive ego leave, because if I had to hear her talk about her money one more time, I was going to lose it. The beading on the bodice (which is covered by the tacky, cheap-looking fur vest) was really lovely, expertly done, and felt like an updated 1920s look. But a flowy pant for this challenge was a terrible idea to begin with, as it was inevitably going to make the bottom half of her look stubbornly 1970s no matter what the parameters called for. Even worse, she executed them terribly, so even that rare woman who likes wearing flowy pants would never go for these. But Laura actually designed something, instead of letting one nice piece of fabric do all the work like Ivy did, so I would have given Ivy the auf.

Judges’ Top 3: Anthony Ryan, Uli, Emilio
Diva’s Top 3: Uli, Emilio, Anthony Ryan
Judges’ Bottom 3: Joshua, Ivy, Laura Kathleen
Diva’s Bottom 3: Joshua, Laura Kathleen, Ivy

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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5 responses to Project Runway All Stars: S2 E8

  1. Ivy’s idea of design was good. Love her fabric, but wasn’t on the bias enough. The feathers were too light for the bodice and if they were closer it’d have been better. I actually was rooting for Laura (didn’t like her), she was also out in her season and then she showed an impressive decoy collection. She has taste, but what a bad season. The judges are being biased.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I remember Laura’s fantastic decoy collection, and I thought she was eliminated too early in her season as well. But I don’t think she’s shown anything to that level of design or taste during All Stars, with the possible exception of her Diane von Furstenberg look. And the judges’ biases are just becoming impossible to ignore – it really takes a lot of fun out of the show when you know they’re going to praise Anthony Ryan no matter what.

  2. guest2visits

    I also liked Ivy’s design on the RW; but it shows poorly in the stills as very solid and
    hefty looking. Older, too.
    For me it was between Uli and Anthony. They both made something wearable for today
    although I disliked the ‘sweetheart’ shaped back of Anthony’s skirt – It wasn’t as
    simple and elegant as the rest of his design.

    • democracydiva – Author

      The sweetheart low-cut back definitely brought down the elegance of Anthony’s design. I agree that Uli’s was very wearable today and still referenced the 1920s period beautifully. Thanks for commenting! ❤

  3. Josh can drape, but I wondered what he was thinking with that brooch. His look was obvious and it’s one he’s done in the past. Loved Uli’s dress, hated the wrap. Hated the feather capelet on Anthony’s look: if he’d left that off, brought up the back, and brought the waist in a bit, it would have looked better. Glad Laura was cut: I looked at that and said, “I wore that in the 70s!” I kind of agree that Emilio’s was more 30s than 20s, but it really was the best and I loved the way he shaded the colors of the print: blue/green on top, grey towards the bottom. Too bad for the execution flaws, but he definitely presented a Look.
    And Ivy- oh, it is so long past time for Ivy to go, although I think she’s trying really hard to make over her image. That fabric was too heavy for what she wanted to do with it, and I can’t imagine what she was thinking with contrasting shoulder straps. It looked like she ran out of fabric and just went with what she could find. I think Ivy is one of those designers who just can’t do well in a competitive setting with major time limits. It’s not that they’re bad designers, but they work best when they work with a design and have time to tweak it. Same thing with Top Chef: some chefs have to work with a dish. When you have huge time constraints, some people just don’t produce good work.

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