Project Runway All Stars: S3 E8

Fashion bloggers get the spotlight in this episode, but all I care about is Nina. 

The Challenge: We were led to believe this episode would be ALL ABOUT NINA, but it was actually all about fashion bloggers. And since Democracy Diva was not included in that group of fashion bloggers, no one cared about them at all. The designers were paired with beauty and style bloggers who served as their models, and were tasked with creating a new trend for 2014. They also had to include a color that everyone very seriously referred to as “radiant orchid,” as if that’s a color we’ve all heard of for our whole lives and not just a completely random pairing of words. The winning designer gets to shoot a video with Nina for a fashion blog, and received a lovely $10,000 prize package that includes a stay in Belgium. (Random, but undeniably fabulous.)

Guest Judges: Nina Garcia (who should be part of every judging panel for everything, until the end of time), Christian Siriano (who appears to have halted the aging process altogether), and Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein (whom I find kind of boring, but he’s a big name, so Runway likes to grab him when they can, I suppose).

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I laughed my ass off when Christopher opined about the lack of romantic, feminine trench coats on the runways, only to have Zanna deadpan “Burberry” as her response. His follow-up stammering just proved how little this boy actually thinks before he speaks – and more importantly, at least in this industry, how little he thinks before he designs. It seems that a lot of the designers came up with their outfits first, and tried to pick something out that could serve as the next big trend, but the point of the challenge was to start with the trend and work from there. Christopher decided he wanted to make a girly trench, and wouldn’t let a little thing like it not being at all relevant to the challenge get in his way. Unfortunately, he’s no Christopher Bailey of Burberry. Even a perfectly-executed version of this look wouldn’t have really impressed me, because it still would have lacked the requisite trend prediction, and it just barely used the “radiant orchid” (I can’t discuss that color without using sarcastic quotation marks around that ridiculous name) that was also a requirement for the challenge. But this was ill-fitting, unflattering, not particularly unique, and worst of all, it didn’t even seem like Christopher was trying to fulfill the requirements of the challenge. He just knew that his obnoxiously big mouth would mean that the judges wouldn’t send him home yet, no matter how bad his look was, and so he gets to stay, even though pairing that military green with that “radiant orchid” purse should be considered a war crime.

Bottom 3
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Alyssa Milano won a permanent place in my heart for standing up for the petite ladies of the world, and wondering why on earth Elena would do something like this to a 4’9″ woman. The pictures actually make this look decent, but on television, this poor little woman was absolutely swallowed by that insane jacket, and the length of the skirt only made her look shorter. And in usual Elena fashion, she spent so much time working on one of her “signature” jackets that she seems to have forgotten to design literally anything else. Most of Elena’s jackets, while stylish and cool in a futuristic way, are so thick and bulky that they seem impossible to actually wear. Combine that effect with such a petite woman, and anything the jacket had going for it just fades away. Also, a peplum? For a challenge about a new trend, not one that we haven’t gone a day without seeing for the last year? Thumbs down.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Crappy QVC accessories aside, this was the clear winner. Korto seemed to be the only designer who actually thought about her 2014 trend first (the white suit) and created the look around that concept. I think that’s why she had so much success compared to her competitors. I loved the way she used the “radiant orchid” color on the other side of those panels – it was just a pop of color, but somehow it looked like a bigger and better use of the shade than Christopher’s little clutch. The vest was a great idea, the panels on it were beautiful, and the pants fit like a dream. I can’t say my pale ass will be rocking a white suit in the new year, but for darker-skinned ladies, it’s definitely a killer trend.

Top 2
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

A beautifully constructed, well-designed dress. But what was the new trend supposed to be? Seth Aaron babbled about colorblocking and seaming, but he didn’t really have a specific enough trend nailed down. He should have said the trend was leather cap sleeves – I’m not a huge fan, but at least it’s something specific and recognizable about this look. This is definitely chic and wearable, but it lacks the kind of originality that I expect from someone as talented as Seth Aaron.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

That’s a dress you could pick up at any mall in America. The leather jacket is undeniably cute and definitely wearable, but like Elena, Viktor focused too much on the jacket and not enough on the rest of the design. And there’s no element of this look that I can pick out and say, “This will be the new trend for 2014.” I still maintain that Christopher’s sad little Burberry knockoff was far, far worse than this, but I can’t say this was All Stars worthy.

Judges’ Top 2: Korto and Seth Aaron
Diva’s Top 3: Korto and Seth Aaron
Judges’ Bottom 3: Elena, Christopher, Viktor
Diva’s Bottom 3: Elena, Viktor, Christopher

© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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10 responses to Project Runway All Stars: S3 E8

  1. Can I say that I really loved Alyssa this episode…starting how she narrowed her eyes when Christopher’s design walked in (might be edited in, but nevertheless) to her agreeing with Nina concerning Elena’s design…which, to be honest, would be my pick for the auf if Christopher’s hadn’t be so bad. She made the poor blogger look like she wanted to star in the sequel for Gnomeo and Juliet, as tulip-obsessed Governess. And this has nothing to do with the size of her. For her size, she actually has fairly long legs in relation to her upper body. But the too long peplum (a trend I am not only tired of, but hated from the get go), the length of the black skirt and the shoes, every detail is designed to make her legs look shorter and in combination it looks like her upper body is larger than her legs. That is not a size problem. You would have the same issue with a larger model, too. Unless you find a woman who actually feels that her legs are too long and her upper body is too short (unlikely), this is an outfit for nobody.

    I am not really sold on Korto. I don’t argue with the win, she had a solid concept and considering how disappointing everything else was (again, a cookie for Alyssa for saying outright that they question was not who should win, but who should go….can we keep her?) it was an easy decision. But I have a lot of minor issues with her design, too. First of all, for a woman with this shape, white pants are a very bad idea. All this white makes the calves look wider, she would have been better served with something which slims her legs but makes her look curvier at the top. At least she should have added some piping to break up all this white. I also don’t like that the top looks a little bit too tight, considering how the fabric is strained in the button area.

    All in all…another disappointing episode, but Nina was a welcome addition.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I cannot even explain how much more I love Alyssa with each passing episode. She has proven herself to be the best host All Stars has ever had, and gives Heidi a run for her money as well. I don’t love Alyssa’s personal red carpet style, but I think she’s an absolutely magnificent host. Kind but honest; not nearly as willing to say whatever bullshit flies into her head for the cameras as Isaac and Michael Kors and even, to a lesser extent, Nina. But mostly, I’m a very short lady who loves when other very short ladies stand up for our kind!

      Agreed that while Korto’s was the best of the group, it still had some flaws. I would never in my life wear white pants – it’s just not something I can pull off, and I had to wear them for show choir when I was in middle school and that turned me off to them forever. A piping on the leg would have gone a long way – that’s definitely a great idea.

      There just aren’t enough true All Stars to be doing a third season of it. I know stretching it out for as many years as they can makes Lifetime more money no matter how bad the product is, but can you imagine how much better each season would have been if all these “all star” designers were pooled into one or two seasons, instead of three? More talent, less time wasted, better products – they really could have created something wonderful instead of just trying to squeeze every dollar out of a dying franchise.

      • You know what would have been fun? To take three to five designers. Give them every episode a challenge. Rate their designs from winner to looser. ALLL of them stay, but the points get added together every episode (with a nice reverence sheet in the workroom who is on which position in the run). In the end, the two to three top designers (meaning the most consistent ones) have three days to turn the clothes they made up to the this point into a mini-collection. Not only would that breaking up the format a little bit, it would even cost less because there are less designers to spend money on from the get go.

  2. I didn’t think Korto’s outfit flattered the woman. I didn’t like the way the color panels stuck out so far, and I wondered why the judges didn’t complain, especially Christian. The judges seem so inconsistent. Or maybe I’m confusing these judges with the regular PR competitions. That peplum jacket by Elena was hideous. A peplum shouldn’t be worn by a short woman unless the fit and the style are created impeccably for her figure type (like a very small peplum that may sit either slightly above or slightly below the waist to trick the eye. I think the judges gave Elena a break because she tried something different. Christopher’s look was awful; what was with that tie belt that made the garment look like a school sewing project? I pick Seth Aaron by eliminating the three entries that were worse than his. Isn’t this PR Allstars?

    This challenge was faulted from the beginning. The designers were asked to design around a trend that wasn’t their esthetic. It may seem easy just to plug in a current fashion trend but the challenge itself is counter-intuitive.

    I’m not sure I like Isaac on this show. He’s so adamant in his criticisms and pronouncements. Instead of merely agreeing with another judge, he’ll go on: “Alyssa is correct about this, Darling. One should never…..blah blah blah.”

    Incidentally, Democracy Diva should have been one of the bloggers. The ones they chose may have gotten their attention somehow but they didn’t know what looked good on their own bodies. Maybe they acquiested to the designers.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Inconsistency is the name of the game, and has been for way too long, on both All Stars and the regular season. The designers the judges like best (or the ones the producers think will draw in the most viewers) can basically do whatever the hell they want and still get praised for it. The ones who refuse to play to the camera, the ones who don’t play by the producers’ rules – they make the same mistakes as everyone else, but they’ll be the only ones actually admonished and eliminated for them. It’s gotten worse as the seasons have progressed.

      Great point about Isaac. Isaac definitely sees himself as the Michael Kors replacement, which means he thinks he needs to elaborate on everyone’s comments with snarky one-liners and life lessons. If he toned that down, I think he’d be a much more useful and appreciated addition to the judging team.

      They never would have chosen me as one of the bloggers – I’m too honest! Honestly, most fashion bloggers I know dress way better than I do (because they do this professionally and/or work in fashion industries, which I do not, so they have disposable income and/or access to designer stuff that I can only get a Loehmann’s on a really, really lucky day.) So maybe these ladies were just too polite to say, “um, this is not going to look good on my body,” or maybe Lifetime was paying them so much that they didn’t care, or maybe their sites will get so many hits this week that they REALLY won’t care. I definitely think they were pressured to go along with whatever the designers wanted, to keep the focus of the judging on the designers and not the bloggers. I, however, would have been supremely incapable of keeping my mouth shut. (I’m sure that comes as a HUGE surprise to everyone.)

      • I actually liked Isaac at first but now he takes his position as “expert” far too seriously.

        More about Alyssa. Once in awhile she still catches me off guard when she tells the designers that she believes they will have a bright future in fashion, and they’ve already been in fashion longer than she has. Some of her comments are still inappropriate but I can live with these comments because she is so great at doing Heidi’s job. Nobody else has come close to being decent–as you said in so many words. She has developed her own catch phrase of “break a leg,” which is usually used for broadway or other live shows but it works. One funny thing she said is, “Get out of here before I change my mind,” after telling a designer he was safe. And she seems truly sympathetic when someone gets the axe.

        I think these three shows should be produced differently. Why do we have three finalists and one winner as the last four standing? Isn’t that right? For that reason, I don’t think the available talent is necessarily spread too thin–although I saw seasons 1 and 2 awhile back before I’d watched all the seasons. Now I know who everybody is and what most of them do.

        These challenges should be different. It’s a mistake to make this show another Project Runway. Also, both shows need to find a way to design challenges that don’t allow the designers to use their instincts. This type of challenge that requires compromise my mimic the real word but it shouldn’t be a surprise when everyone falls short as with this last one. The “twists” are downright stupid sometimes. When they designed for Bonnie and Clyde, the instructions should have been to design something for the movie, period. Why must they design something for the 1930s that is fashion forward today. Hitting two opposing requirements just waters down the results, IMHO. They might as well say, “No sewing machines allowed, and you have four hours to do this,” or ” This is a group challenge but you’re not allowed to talk to the members of your group until you finish.” I mean, really, these challenges aren’t designed well. And these people know more about designing and finding a muse more than I do. Someone needs to step in with some common sense.

        Here are some ideas that seem overly simple:

        No solid black, period.
        Everyone use silk or chiffon.
        No leather jackets for awhile. Eeeeh gads.
        Design a look for age 50.
        Design a look for age 20.
        Design a look for age 70.
        Everyone design a wedding dress. Give the designers three days without a twist.
        Everyone design a coat.
        Everyone design a bathing suit for Grace Kelly (or somebody classy).

        I write a blog for the regular seasons. I skipped this because my blog is about doll clothes, but I get ideas from fashion, and I hope to dress my dolls as some famous high-fashioned people.

        I used to hang out at Tom and Lorenzo (Project Rungay) but they kicked me out which is a blessing. I don’t like they way they pick on certain people. They wrote about Jenny McCarthy, “Go home you tacky thing.” I try to be more careful about personal things that I say.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Almost every “twist” is awful. It’s engineered to create drama/make the designers miserable, not to actually help them create something bigger and better and more innovative. The challenges tend to have too many elements, and the designers never know which part of the challenge they’re actually being judged on, or whether the judges are just going to make up the rules on their own and not actually disseminate that information.

        Dressing dolls like fashion icons? I love that! Definitely going to check out your blog. 🙂

        And it makes me sad that Tom & Lorenzo kicked you out! There’s always a place at Democracy Diva for fashion fans who are respectful of other people’s opinions. That definitely includes you. 🙂 I definitely have some strong (negative) opinions about certain celebrities, but I try not to write at all about celebrities I hate personally because it’s not fun for anyone to be surrounded by that much negativity. (Rihanna and Kim Kardashian virtually never show up on my blog, because I don’t think they deserve any more media attention than they already have, and I’ll never have a positive thing to say about either of them.) Instead, when the celebrities I write about look less than fabulous, I like to blame their stylists, instead of the stars themselves. 🙂

  3. “This was not meant as a compliment.” Nina Fucking Garcia, you fierce woman have made my day! Korto, Ari and Viktor were the designers I was most excited to see again. Korto better work it now! I want this white suit, and Viktor’s jacket.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Loved that line. Love literally any time Nina sasses anyone, ever. I’ve been tentatively on Team Korto since the beginning – I’ve always loved her work in general, but it took her a few challenges to really bring out her true skills this season. As the weeks have gone on, I’ve become more and more optimistic that she’s got a real shot at the win. It makes my soul smile.

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