Project Runway All Stars: S3 E7

The All Stars hit the red carpet! Actually, they are allowed nowhere near a red carpet, but they get to design for it, so that’s something. 

The Challenge: The designers get needlessly helicoptered to QVC Headquarters in Pennsylvania. (Mostly so we can watch them scream their heads off.) They are tasked with creating a red carpet look for Lisa Robertson, who I’ve never heard of but who has apparently been a QVC program host for almost twenty years. The winning look will be sold on QVC and worn by Lisa during the red carpet season.

Guest Judge: Lisa Robertson, Project Runway All Stars winner Mondo Guerra, and Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss, whom I worship, even if her red carpet game isn’t always A+. All-in-all, a pretty fabulous panel of judges.

Top 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This dress was as Christopher as it gets – by that I mean, it was very pretty, but it also looked like a Zac Posen knock-off. The smoky effect of the sheer layers in the skirt is absolutely fabulous – that detail alone probably would have bumped it into the top three for me. Christopher bit off a bit more than he could chew, trying to do his favorite technique (I’m sure it has a real name, but I’m calling it the rippling effect) within the time frame. I think that explains the construction issues in the bodice. But with a few small adjustments, I could see a starlet rocking this on the red carpet, so I suppose it’s a job reasonably well done.

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I know Elena put a lot of work into creating this textile, but I don’t think it was time well spent. It’s all over the place – there seem to be patches of animal-print-like stripes in very random areas, sometimes symmetrical, sometimes not. And the silhouette is old-fashioned and stuffy, which is probably a critique Elena’s never gotten before – if anything, her work is sometimes too futuristic. She heard “red carpet,” got freaked, and pulled some fabrics she didn’t really know how to use. I’m glad she wasn’t eliminated, because as annoying as her meltdowns can be, she has a lot of talent. Her decoy collection from Season 10 was so good, it was easily mistakable for one of the finalists’ collections, if not the winning one. And she has a strong point of view, which I think was her biggest strength over Irina.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This paper-like dress tore apart on the runway, and the judges were right to send her home for that. I only wish they applied that rule more consistently – the rule being that shit that falls apart on the runway has no place in this competition. It’s not like this was the first time we’ve seen that happen, but usually, the designer just gets a slap on the wrist for it. Anyway, Irina’s wedding gown was ill-conceived from the beginning. She said something about how all white red carpet gowns could be considered bridal, and how that’s fine, but I disagree. I’ve seen plenty of white gowns on the red carpet that did not look remotely bridal, and bridal is usually one of the last things a starlet wants to look like on the red carpet (unless she’s engaged and likes the press attention, like Jessica Biel just before she married Justin Timberlake). Between the failed concept and the clearly problematic execution, I think eliminating Irina for this look was necessary.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Korto whipped this together in the final hours of the challenge, but it had more intrigue and design than last week’s hastily-created look from Seth Aaron. I think the orange fabric is absolutely stunning, though the taupe fabric at the top would probably make Lisa look a little washed-out. But I found this flattering and a little bit surprising, making up for the mediocre execution. In any event, that was enough to win this week, since it seems no one really had quite enough time to make what they envisioned for their red carpet looks.

Top 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The pictures don’t begin to show how ridiculous Seth Aaron made his model’s hips and ass look in this dress. It was absolutely awful. And I think this photographs terribly, and looks very shoddily made. Seth Aaron is slipping, and I don’t like it, because he really is one of my favorites. But this silhouette and the optical-illusion black piping down the sides just destroyed this model’s flawless figure. That’s the opposite of what a red carpet dress is supposed to do.

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This had some puckering issues, and the color definitely does not work on everyone, but I didn’t think this was worse than Seth Aaron’s look. It wouldn’t look out of place on a red carpet – that alone would have made me give Viktor the top three spot over Seth Aaron. This episode brought us a Very Special Lifetime Moment that nonetheless totally made me cry because I’m easily manipulated like that, as Viktor came out as HIV-positive to his fellow designers. Doing it in the middle of the workday – literally pulling the designers away from their looks to tell them – seemed like some heavy-handed producer influence to me, but I’m proud of and inspired by Viktor, for sharing that piece of himself with all of us.

Judges’ Top 3: Korto, Christopher, Seth Aaron
Diva’s Top 3: Korto, Christopher, Viktor
Judges’ Bottom 3: Viktor, Elena, Irina
Diva’s Bottom 3: Seth Aaron, Elena, Irina

© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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17 responses to Project Runway All Stars: S3 E7

  1. Honestly, top three for Victor? I would have given him the auf. This thing looks like a revenge bridesmaid dress for the sister or cousin the bride REALLY hated for years. A self-sewn one. I don’t get how he managed to make it both overdesigned AND boring.

    Plus, I have had it with Victor this season. I guess he is convinced that the main reason he didn’t win in his season was because Anya was more “interesting”. He is most likely right, but the way he is playing the camera is more than a little annoying. The producers? I don’t think so, that is Victor trying to stay in the competition by sticking out through more than just his designs. The fan, the contrived drama from last week, now the sob story…he goes full out, and it all looks so staged. I am sure his family will really appreciate that he told a bunch of strangers before them. Hopefully he bothered to inform them before this was aired on national TV.

    Ass ill-conceived as Irina’s dress was, never ever I would have given her the auf for this one, because it was at least ambitious. The judges normally reward ambitions over everything else, and considering there were at least two other dresses which were worse on the runway, I got the feeling that they just waited for an opportunity to get rid of Irina and they knew that this would be most likely the only one.

    Concerning Elena – I am not as in love with her designs as you, I think she does always the same, and as soon as she is required to go out of her box, she fails. But at this point, it looks like she is the one set up for a win. Oh well….I basically agree with what you said about her dress. And again: Red carpet, she needed some interest in the front to win.

    Christopher’s dress was the one which really read bridal to me, in everything but the colour. Since it looked mostly black, even though it was more a dark blue, I kept thinking “gothic bride”.

    Either way, none of the mentioned designs fulfilled the actual challenge, to create something comfortable, something for the QVC customer (you know, because the standard QVC customer hits the red carpet all the time – NOT). Which is why Korto won with a dress which very basic (thus easy to produce), and didn’t look like red carpet at all. It’s pretty standard overall, and I am not surprised that they redid it and sell it in another colour. Because the colour palette was the only thing “out of the box” about it, but orange is not exactly a customer-friendly colour.

    I would have given the win to Seth Aaron, by default, because he was the only one to hit the requirements somewhat by creating something red carpet which might sell. The design photographed really well (which was part of the challenge, too) and has an Egyptian queen vibe to it I quite like. The problem with the slid and the butt, which was way smaller than Korto’s orange puffball mess, could have been solved easily for manufacturing.

    In the end, 10 hours are just not enough to manufacture a red carpet dress and the challenge was one of the most idiotic and confusing one they ever had. I guess most designers just heard “red carpet” and didn’t consider the “QVC customer”. It they had, they all had created something which can be worn with a bra.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I don’t disagree with anything you said about Viktor – he would have been in my top three by default, because there’s only six people left and I had to put him somewhere and I truly felt Seth Aaron’s was more obviously problematic. But your assessment of literally everything about him – I share those feelings completely. The bullshit with the fan has gone far enough. He might as well be chewing the scenery. It’s embarrassing to watch. (And yes, let’s hope he came out to his family and other loved ones first. You and I definitely do not need to know about Viktor’s health before they do!)

      I hope you’re wrong about Elena being set up to win the whole thing, but I do get that vibe as well. I did like her decoy collection, but I find her to be extraordinarily inconsistent in terms of quality, and as you said, she usually can’t step outside her little futuristic Gaga-esque box.

      The challenge was definitely the biggest problem with this episode. I framed it in my head as a red carpet challenge, with QVC producing it being a sort of bonus. But based on what the designers were told, they could have easily gone either way – red carpet or QVC customer, which like you said, are very different challenges. There’s just no way to fairly judge this competition when the designers aren’t clear on what the constraints of the challenge are.

      • My issue with Elena is more that it has been some time since her season aired and she hasn’t developed at all but is still walking in her narrow path. Uli for example, who never got the win she deserved, wasn’t any longer making flowing dresses when she was at all-stars. I truly think that Elena back then had a better collection than the finalist ones. But that was back then, and it was a very, very weak season. But apparently Allstars was created to give fan favourites their wins after all.

    • Dan

      I have had the EXACT same thought about Victor since the beginning of the season: that he decided before the season to make himself into a “personality” (since he would have won against Anya had he been one), hence the fan/commentary. So when he started talking about his secret in this episode, all I could think about was how this seems exactly like what I’ve been saying he’s been doing for weeks now. Lifetime has made me cynical…

  2. My Irina is gone, and I’m sad but when she was buying white fabric and I was shouting to her through my TV, “Don’t do it.” I was actually disappointed in all the dresses, but I’ve never really understand the extreme time constraints the designers are given. What if one designer who takes longer to complete work is actually better than others? Also, the judges asked Irina how she did those flowers, and then they gave her the boot. Irina tried to save herself by saying, “The model ripped the dress.” I can tolerate her comment because back in season 10 when she was a muse for two designers, she didn’t snitch them out for making an awful tuck in the back of her dress that the judges didn’t see. This was a horrific horizontal tuck to eliminate poofing right on her rump. The dress almost won the challenge because it was dramatic and perfect for her but the execution was terrible.

    Viktor’s flaps would have gotten him sent home by the regular PR judges. I honestly don’t know why anyone would pick that ghastly color. Seth Aaron’s slit was way too high, ready to reveal all that is holy. It is difficult for me to get past Elena’s personality. She is probably a decent friend. I see kindness in her occasionally but her outbursts are so invasive to others who share the work room that I can only think she is selfish or extremely immature. She is volatile, and it would help her to watch her old season to see that she has visions of doom during every challenge just about. She puts herself–and everybody else–through hell. Actually, she seems even more obnoxious now, if that’s possible.

    I could have easily made–or created–Korto’s dress back in high school. The only slightly edgy thing about it is the slim strap in the back, making it asymmetrical. The style would flatter anyone because it hides fat, and a glamorous woman wants something more revealing. Seriously. This is PR Allstars. There was no originality. Can you imagine claiming that design when there’s no design? The fabric is pretty to those who will wear orange. I used to watch a lot of QVC. Lisa Robertson was probably the most beautiful host. Boy can those hosts spin a story. They’re great at finding little reasons why you should buy something. Anyway, she was even prettier 20 years ago.

    I wanted to back up and explain a past comment that I made. I don’t like dresses with just one sleeve if the dress is symmetrical in every other way. Then the dress looks like the sleeve is missing, which was my problem with Korto’s last dress. How can I make this edgy? I’ll lop off the sleeve. I don’t have a problem with the one-sleeve look if the asymmetry lends itself to eliminating the sleeve.

    I found this tutorial on the Palu method. I’m not sure if this is how he does it exactly, but I want to try this on my doll clothes.

    • democracydiva – Author

      One of my biggest pet peeves is when designers blame their own mistakes on their models. So when Irina said, “The model ripped the dress,” I basically screamed “BULLSHIT!” at my TV. I just think it’s unacceptable for a so-called professional designer to try and pass the buck of their own failures onto their innocent models. These models put up with an amazing amount of crap from the designers – getting sewn into dresses, accidentally exposing their private parts on the runway, etc. – and don’t deserve to be blamed for the designers’ inability to create something that won’t fall apart after three seconds of wear. Sorry, had to get that little vent off my chest! 🙂

      The time constraints are completely arbitrary, which is why no one was able to create a real red-carpet-ready gown in this episode. The producers still seem to think that very harsh time constraints make for great TV, but they don’t – great DESIGNS make for great TV, and great designs take time.

      I definitely agree with your assessment of Korto’s dress – I think it was the best out of the group, but that doesn’t mean I like it. And thank you for sharing Christopher’s bias shred method. I like knowing the actual terms for things (even though I’ll probably just keep making up fake names for them.)

      • Hopefully, you can see this photo close up. You can see how it’s done. I may be more curious because I can see implementing this with doll clothes. I was able to get this closeup shot. I hope it’s OK for me to post a link here:

      • Did she outright claim that the model ripped it? I can’t remember…I only remember her asking the model what happened, and apparently the dress ripped when the model stepped on in while walking up the stairs. Yes, the fabric was not particularly stable, but apparently Irina managed to stitch it up in the bodice nevertheless. The skirt should, since there was no particular pressure on it, not rip on its own.
        I’m a little bit on the fence about the issue. Apparently the model DID step on the skirt (which was not exactly a point in favour of the design, which was supposed to be comfortable), on the other hand it was a difficult fabric to begin with.

      • Irina said to the judges, “The model ripped it (or tore it).” I’m guessing that some models are not the least bit careful. There was one runway show where the models where eating and drinking while in their garments or right next to the garments immediately before the fashion show. Another model picked up her dog crap (she’d brought her dog to the fitting!) while she was in a glorious dress. There was one model (can’t remember what season) who went out partying in her “look” after all the models had worn their looks to a party of some kind, and they still needed to be judged on the runway the next day. I’m guess that most models are very responsible. A dress can tear if it’s stepped on, but the designer should account for this. If it’s half designer’s fault and half model’s fault, the designer should keep quiet. Maybe Irina’s model was typically careless; we don’t know but she made herself look bad by blaming her.

      • democracydiva – Author

        I couldn’t believe it when I saw models eating and drinking in the clothes. The dog poop – absolutely insane. What a disgrace. But in this case, there wasn’t any clear foul play on the model’s part, so I thought it was unsportswomanlike of Irina to blame it on her model.

  3. Oh, thanks. I think this is silk. He basically puts a layer of fabric on top of another layer and sews them together via the visible stitching lines. Then he cuts the fabric between two rows of stitching, top row only. This example looks “shredded” as a result of the fabric properties or the way that it ravels, I guess. I don’t know how much the underneath layer matters. It would affect the way the fabric drapes.

    The judges usually appreciate good sportsmanship to a degree so pointing fingers at the models makes the designer look bad. I’m guessing Irina said, “Be careful.” Oh, I think she did say that, but the dress was already tearing before they got near the runway.

    I’m not that fond of the remaining designers. Seth Aaron has character. I’ve been disappointed in Korto’s designs, the orange dress and the one-sleeved dress. Viktor was barely memorable to me from his first season. For some reason I see Ray Romano when I look at him. I’m annoyed that he took Elena’s idea with the school supplies challenge without a mention to her of what he did. She did seem to offer it up. That was weird. I’m not sure about Elena’s designs. Who is left? Christopher? I love his shredding system. He can’t rest on that now.

    I love Irina’s designs so much except for those damn long sleeves. Remember her season when that other designer also did knits with oversized sleeves? I think it’s easy to copy others in the workroom unintentionally. I followed Irina’s work after her win. She has beautiful work at her website and she sells some pricy gowns on Etsy.

    • Irina and Seth Aarons were from the get go my favs of the bunch, because I remember very well their work from their seasons…one of the few cases in which I was actually really routing for a special designer and said designer even won. Though my fav of all seasons is still Michelle, because her style really speaks to me on a level none of the others do.

      I guess that means I will now routing for Seth Aaron alone, unless Korto or Christopher manage to win me over somehow. Victor and Elena are on my “hopefully this is soon over” list.

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