Project Runway All Stars: S3 Finale


The end is here, dear readers. 

The Challenge: The designers are tasked with creating a mini-collection inspired by their countries of origin for a runway show at the United Nations. Oh, and they’re forced to throw in an additional look made of a random printed fabric thrown in at the last minute.

Guest Judges: Gayle King (BFF to Oprah, and no, I have no idea what she was doing there either) and fashion designer/Project Runway judge Zac Posen.

ELENA SLIVNYAK
Third place
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Elena’s collection was, in a word, ELENA. Like we all predicted she would, Elena trapped herself inside her tiny little box of futuristic jackets with big shoulders, and didn’t show us anything we haven’t seen from her before. That’s not to say there weren’t some beautiful, stylish looks, like this first one, but there was not a surprise to be found amongst this collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

One of the judges critiqued that Elena spends so much time on the tops of her looks that she nearly always neglects the bottom half. That’s always been one of her biggest flaws, and it ever-so-slightly reaffirmed my faith in this show to hear a judge actually call her out on that. For all the intricacy her jackets and tops contain, this very basic skirt was the most interesting silhouette she showed below the waist of any over her looks.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Same skirt, different color, and this one doesn’t go with the top half at all.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Cool jacket; the bottom is a complete throwaway.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I found this hideously unflattering, though the judges didn’t seem to agree.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

These proportions are a nightmare. Oh, and there is maybe no styling choice I hate more than clip-on bangs. Even Seth Aaron’s obnoxious glasses on every model didn’t bother me as much as Elena’s addiction to fake fringe.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Flowy and easygoing are not Elena’s strong suits. Taken in a vacuum, this collection might have pleased some, but anyone who’s seen Elena’s prior work knows this is all she’s done before, and apparently all she’s ever going to do. I’m so glad the judges actually recognized that, at least in this episode, if not the others.

KORTO MOMOLU
Runner-up
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This was a spectacular opening look, and one of my favorites in Project Runway history. It was warm and feminine, effortlessly sexy, and the cut-out in the back? Delicious, and so perfectly Korto. She and Seth Aaron both showed beautiful, interesting collections that showed their voices as designers while also highlighting their versatility. Their aesthetics are so different that it was hard to compare them, and difficult for me personally to choose which I liked best. I think I’d agree with giving Seth Aaron the win because his collection was more cohesive, and Korto had more looks I didn’t love. But as far as I’m concerned, it was a very close competition.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This dress would have been so much better without the peplum. That skirt is so delicate and lovely, but the peplum is completely unnecessary. Let’s finally let that particular runway trend die, please.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This doesn’t translate quite as well to photos, because the movement of these pieces was what made this look particularly spectacular. Definitely one of my favorites of Korto’s collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I hate that mini-skirt underneath the printed fabric – I think this dress would have been so much better with a complete skirt in the print, and without the belt.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The weight of the top of the dress seemed to be out of balance with the lightness of the bottom, but I liked what she was going for here. This had a sort of modern art deco aesthetic that really drew me in.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I don’t think she does the big shoulders particularly well, and this look seemed to be for a woman much older than the one who’d wear the rest of the collection. I just don’t think this one fit in particularly well.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Beautiful, but I hate how much the bracelets distract from the dress. It didn’t pack quite enough of a punch to be her finale look, but it was still a collection that felt like a breath of fresh air.

SETH AARON HENDERSON
Winner
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Seth Aaron isn’t one to shy away from theatrics, which is why I’ve always loved him as a designer. I know he’s too cartoonish for some, but that’s exactly what I love about his work. As I said earlier, the giant glasses were a bit much for every single model to wear, but I thought they worked so perfectly here, with his take on the little black dress. The mix of textures was very interesting, and the cut-outs in back were expertly tailored, like basically everything Seth Aaron makes.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I could very easily understand why people might hate this look, but I absolutely love it. He definitely should have ditched the glasses for this one, but I thought this was so much fun. His collection gave you color when you thought you’d get monochromatics, and vice versa – everything felt like a little surprise, and in my opinion, that’s what makes for a great collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

An incredibly important piece in Seth Aaron’s collection, this look proved that for all his over-the-top tendencies, the boy can edit. He’s not so committed to his own personal point of view that he can’t create something easygoing and wearable – that’s what distinguishes him from Elena, who couldn’t create something this simple and lovely and outside her box if her life depended on it. This is one of the most flawless little white dresses I’ve ever seen.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Definitely the weak link in an otherwise strong collection. I understand what drew him to this print, but I didn’t think it worked particularly well here, at least not when tucked in to this rather disappointing skirt.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

To me, this looked incredible on the runway. Seth Aaron can mix textures like a pro. This was a risk, but I think it paid off.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I love the front and the back, but I think they belong on two different dresses.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Stunning and Dior-esque from the front; slightly too wide and Little Red Riding Hood-esque from the back. But it’s a memorable finale look that packs a punch. Seth Aaron brought the drama and brought it hard, and for that, I think he deserved the win.

Judges’ Final Rankings: Seth Aaron, Korto, Elena
Diva’s Final Rankings: Seth Aaron, Korto, Elena

Thank you for joining Democracy Diva for another fabulous season of Project Runway, dear readers. Continue the sass with me on Twitter tonight for the Golden Globes red carpet & show – I’ll be starting at 6 PM EST!


© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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15 responses to Project Runway All Stars: S3 Finale

  1. I was trying to be patient and wait for your commentary! Elena was Elena, as you said, and I can see the talent, but she’s stuck in her POV and, I think, not mature enough to vary it at this point. It was a competition. You don’t win a competition by doing the same thing for two full seasons.

    I love Korto, and I think she shows a lot of practicality in some of her looks- she understands the concept of designing for real women to wear, not just for models. I also love her use of color. But I think she may be too wearable to be high-fashion.

    Seath Aaron annoys me- I keep wanting to tell him, Come on, Seth Aaron- cheer up! Please!- or maybe just hand him a xanax. But the man understands designing for a target audience, he has mad tailoring skills, and I loved most of what he created because he toned down the crazy this time. With his season win, they had just gone to the circus, and he was stuck in clown costume mode. He’s moved out of that and upmarket to a more elegant clientele. That white tent dress is straight out of the 60s, with a modern edge, and deserved to be reinvented.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I agree with everything you said! Especially the stuff about Korto. I love her so much, and I find her work beautiful and extremely wearable for real people. But I don’t think she’s particularly high fashion, and I do think that a show called “Project Runway” (i.e., that’s supposed to at least marginally focus on runway fashion) should take that into account.

  2. Looks like we are nearly on the same page again. (Yeah, I am late, but watching Sherlock was more important)
    First of all: Can we keep Alyssa? I could have hugged her when she first pointed out the “only the upper half is designed” problem and later on rightly said that it was the same silhouette in different variations. GO GIRL!
    I think the problem with both the first dress and the one you pointed out (and more or less all of Elena’s dresses) is that the proportions are slightly off. And really, paring a bulky jacked (which in itself was great) with a bubble skirt? What was she thinking?
    I don’t think that the result was as close as you said. Korto made a serviceable collection, but it was only that, serviceable. Perfect for QVC, but it was lacking a real show stopper. She played it too safe overall, and the belts were a big mistake. They made looks which would have been otherwise impressive look as if the model just belted a piece of fabric around her. And the red top needed a pair of pants. And I (again) agree with the judges that the structured pieces didn’t really work. Slightly overworked and bulky at the wrong places (hip!). In the end, she didn’t take enough risks, and the few she did take didn’t pay off, because they were not that well thought out.
    Seth Aaron was divine! I really liked the idea with the glasses, but I agree, not every model needed them. My favourite look was the scarf look…because when it first came down the runway I was all “Well, good use of the print, but only a nice little dress” and then she turned around and I was “wow”…I like that the back is so different, it is a nice surprise. I also think that it was clever to do the shift dress…while there is design, it is nevertheless easy to make, giving him more time for the more complicated looks. My only “complain” is that the day of the death is not a Spanish holiday…it’s celebrated in Mexico and a couple of other countries, but not in Spain. But, well, the scarves were a last minute twist and he said himself that he never was in Spain.

    • Oh, and may I add that the scarf twist was wasted on this? This would have made such a great regular challenge, just because it would have forced all the designers to work with colours and patterns.

  3. Surprisingly, my favorite collection was Korto’s. I’m still trying to put into words what I don’t like about Elena’s designs. I wouldn’t wear her jackets now or when I was a very young woman. Her style is often rich, but it is stiff for me with no sensuality or femininity to it. I have a similar reaction to Seth Aaron’s clothes. But he is so clever. His clothes are almost unisex and playful. I am appreciating Korto’s colors and I loved all about her collection except for the big round sleeves. I hated Seth Aaron’s big sleeves as well. I didn’t care much for his collection at all–even though his skills shined through, and I still think he has the most talent. Based on this challenge alone, I’d give it to Korto. As Kelly Osborn would say, “I’m obsessed” with Korto’sI first look and her last look.

    I agree with swanpride. Let’s keep Alyssa.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Team Alyssa! Alyssa forever! It’s just so refreshing to have a host for All Stars who can string a sentence together. And she lacks Heidi’s “this is all about ME” mentality – it’s so nice not subjected to challenges involving the host’s crappy line of yoga pants for New Balance and everyone pretending that that is somehow “fashion.”

  4. One more thing….Gayle King is the editor at large for Oprah Magazine, or, at least, she was for years. And isn’t she a cohost on one of the major network talk shows, like Today? I’ve always been curious about her relationship with Oprah. Does Oprah buy Gayle cars or houses? But Gayle has been a professional TV person for years, just on a smaller scale than Oprah. In other words, she is no slouch, and her knowledge and taste in fashion is probably better than half the guest judges they’ve had on the show, FYI. I wouldn’t consider her an expert exactly but she is a celebrity in her own right.

    • democracydiva – Author

      You’re right that she has skills and experience as a magazine editor and a talk show host, but I’m not convinced that’s why Lifetime chose her. For the big finale shows, it’s usually a famous actress with a great red carpet history (or a not-so-great one that the judges all pretend is great), a fashion designer, or another industry insider. Not to say Gayle isn’t in the industry or doesn’t have good taste, but she seemed like a very random choice for the finale even if she does know what she’s talking about more than some random reality star who has guest judged for a regular episode. I have no idea what her relationship with Oprah is really like – honestly, I’ve always assumed they were secretly lesbian life partners – but I still think Lifetime could’ve thought bigger than “Oprah’s BFF” for the finale judge, especially for All Stars.

      • How great it is to have a best friend for life like Oprah and Gayle. I don’t see them as being gay. Just lucky to have a best friend.

        Now I understand about the appropriateness of the judging. I guess I’m so used to being surprised at their selections that there is little shock value left. Also, I view All Stars as kind of a not as popular brother to the real Project Runway. Even though the prizes were huge for this last competition, there is no Heidi or Tim Gunn. PRAS is like summer school (to me) so I don’t expect all the class of the regular show, especially with the hosts of the past. Alyssa classed up the show (but she needs a bigger wardrobe and style budget). The designs of the show were actually less impressive to me than ones I’ve seen during many of the regular seasons.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Oh, there’s basically no basis in reality for my thought that they’re gay, it’s just what I always guessed, haha. And while I also view All Stars as the kind of redheaded stepsister of the main seasons, it’s supposed to be “better” – as in, the stakes are supposed to be higher. But as far as I’m concerned, without Tim Gunn, I’m never going to take this show as seriously as the regular season. (And yes, let’s hope there’s a campaign to broaden Alyssa’s style budget for next season!)

      • I guess they can only have a PR All Stars when they find enough appropriate designers. They may need to get a few more regular seasons in first.

        I get the two shows confused sometimes. When Nina showed up on this last PR All Stars, it took me awhile to realize that she isn’t usually on the show. She’s from the “other” show.

        They didn’t even have a real runway show with the all-stars. Just four days to create their looks. The show must have a small budget. No Heidi. No Tim. No $8,000 or $10,000 for each designer to make a collection. No trip to Europe. I think a real All Stars show would have the same cast of characters for me to take it seriously. It’s a different show. Not as good when it should be better.

  5. Rose Hilburn

    I want to order the pant jumpsuit Korto mad in the finale of the all stars but can not find any where to order it

    • I didn’t realize that these designs were ever available to the public. Are they? I’ve seen Irina’s bridal gowns that are similar to the look she created that got her booted off. She charges several thousands of dollars. She is on Etsy, too. Are you talking about Korto’s last look that she called palazzo pants? I loved that!

      • democracydiva – Author

        Sometimes the winning looks are auctioned off on the Project Runway website, and sometimes the designers will sell similar things on their own. I suggest contacting Korto on twitter (@kortomomolu) and asking her!

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