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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SETH AARON HENDERSON
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.
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