Designers Going to the Royal Ball

Well so okay, from my title, no, most of these designer looks would truly not be at any designer ball! I was a little underwhelmed with this overall runway. But really, for such glam, royally fitting looks, more time was needed. However, this is the best of the best, so what has to be done to whittle down the field, it had to be done!

Nina Garcia joined Alyssa on the runway to give the challenge details. Nina just got back from Thailand, so inspired by all of the colorful silks. This would play into the designers’ challenge. They had to create a modern ball gown, off to a royal ball, and use colorful silks. Nina also announced the winning designer would win a trip to Thailand. There would be a $300 Mood budget and this would be a 1-day challenge.

It’s getting down to the wire, but there is still some time it seems for designer shade! Lots of comments on all of Michelle’s choices of colors, but heck, even she seemed stressed on that one! Michelle and Irina banter on each other again. Anthony was discussing Biddell again, and how fast he works. I guess the biggest takeaway I was seeing this week was that Michelle & Anthony are not designers of the more formal type pieces, and this was a struggle for them. However, this is Project Runway, and it is expected there will be some elevated, red carpet challenges. No time really at this point for excuses!

Anne was soon around for check-ins. She reminded the designers to channel their girl, their client, going to a formal ball. She asked that Irina not think of a wedding cake, which given her final look, I don’t see how she thought her look was going bridal? And then with Dmitry, she mentioned his look needed to be more formal. I again question that comment given he was certainly one who had a more formal look than the rest.

It was later time for model fittings and the only ones ready were Irina and Biddell. That was not boding well for the final outcome of this runway. You could kind of tell where the results were going here, but nonetheless, I was interested to hear the judges’ thoughts. Joining the judges’ panel were Nina Garcia and fashion icon Iris Apfel.

From the final results, the judges comments, so obvious Irina was winning this challenge. Her look was a little sexy for a royal ball, but she really went for that modern feel. And her look was so well made, such a knock out!

Biddell was also a “contender” for the win, albeit not really in comparison to Irina’s look. His look could be at a ball, but it wouldn’t stand out. He chose a great color in red, but the boxy construction on the shoulders and waistline was not done well. The model looked so much bigger in this look.

I thought Dmitry was a closer to contender to win than Biddell, but he landed in the middle. The floral applique work on the bodice was stunning. I also like the cutouts on the bodice and neckline. The bottom was where this fell apart. The mix of fabrics, the varied lengths, it took away from the luxurious feel of the look.

The bottom 2 was obviously Michelle and Anthony. We have been left with a question on many bottom 2s this season. Does the stronger body of work designer go home, or the one with the weaker look on this given challenge? Sean Kelly was one saved where his body of work was stronger, but the week he was saved, he had the worst look. That was the case this week. Michelle has had a stronger season than Anthony, but ultimately, I believe she had the weaker look.

I get that more formal looks are not her forte, but that shouldn’t impact crazy color choices and a poorly constructed garment. I don’t get where she was going here with this type of patchwork design. I can’t see even if flawlessly executed, all the time in the world to work on, how amazing this would look and be fit for a royal ball, even in a modern sense.

It was Anthony that went home. I actually liked the idea of using feathers. I also didn’t mind the color choices of ivory and yellow. Where this fell apart was the silhouette, this oversized caftan style. Had he done this look in a more formal type silhouette, it would have been better received.

Next week’s previews have me nervous, I hope my fave doesn’t go home!

Designers See Stormy Weather Ahead!!

Project Runway All-Stars is getting down to the wire, so this runway was going to be a tough one! It was definitely an interesting challenge. Alyssa came on a TV screen like a news anchor, with a special report on climate change. With that in mind, it was the perfect segway for the challenge — to create resortwear that transforms from one climate to another.

Each designer had to do their own special weather forecast, where they would learn of their resort location and 2 different weather conditions. The challenge budget was $200 at Mood, with 1 day to create their transformative look.

While shopping at Mood, Christina was having fabric woes. However, it was Biddell once back to the workroom who was having insecurities. Quick jump to Anne’s critiques. She noted my exact sentiment in that this is the best of the best, so no room for error!

I don’t know if I would don any of these looks as a whole, but there were definitely some amazing separates in the bunch. The notion for the challenge was to create transformation, so in that dual role, I wasn’t surprised to not totally love an entire look. But I nonetheless was excited to still see the runway, see what resorts worked, and which climates were best served. I was also excited to see one of the guest judges, a fashion line I wholeheartedly love, Reem Acra. And also joining her was actress Cynthia Erivo.

I usually do my recaps in a breakdown of the top and bottom. Each look kind of got mixed reviews, but a clear top 2 were Michelle and Irina. I absolutely agreed with this assessment, but I would have given the win to Irina over Michelle.

Irina had the Moroccan desert and this look fit this to a tee. She had to face a violent thunderstorm and high winds. Her look had such drama for the winds, it was, no pun intended, mind-blowing! And her water resistant transitioned outerwear piece was genius. I also loved her color palette. Georgina was spot on to say that this look seemed super luxe.

Michelle’s look hit less marks for me, but overall, I still felt it was a great look. The mixing of prints was kind of tough, and it certainly received mixed reviews. But I did love each piece separately and the green color palette was a bold, striking choice. Her resort was Costa Rica, which I didn’t really see in this piece. She also had to deal with warm tropical winds and then a downpour. Her transition to the downpour, having a rain jacket, did hit the mark. But I didn’t see the original silhouette working with the winds.

Instead of a top 3, I felt we had a top 2, middle 2, and bottom 2. So the middle 2 were Dmitry & Anthony. I loved Dmitry’s look, and didn’t agree with all the mixed reviews. My only issues with him were that his transformation really wasn’t there — holding a coat is not what I feel the challenge called for. And then secondly, this coat wasn’t a standout piece for me. But his under maxi dress was super gorgeous. I loved the print and the lace detailing. His resort was Palm Springs, but I didn’t see that in this look. I did see a look fit for being in the sun and then transitioning to a cold front, even though again, the coat was not a fave for me.

I didn’t agree at all with Christina being eliminated this week. I didn’t care if she was in the bottom 2, but Biddell should have been out on his look. Before all of that, I will say Anthony Ryan didn’t do great work here either. I think he should have been in the bottom. I have never been to Whistler Mountain, but his look read more costume than resort. For his warmth need, his basic underdress was far too basic, nothing overly exciting. And then his outerwear piece for the snowy cold, I didn’t like it. The color choices were not a great pair, especially for this resort need. I agreed with the judges that he needed more here.

As I mentioned above, Biddell should have been out this week. I don’t get this at all and don’t see this being modern in any way, shape or form. I do think his color palette felt very Miami. But this was throwback and not in a good way. It worked with thunderstorms because I felt he made it out of plastic. And I didn’t see anything specific for hot or humid weather. He also said he was tired!! Send him home because at least Christina still had fight in her!

As disappointing as Christina’s exit was, I do wish she had done a bit more with her look. She created a bathing suit and a cover-up. I don’t feel this fit the challenge criteria very well of transformation. I did feel this would fit well in Mykonos. Her bathing suit was great for sunny weather, and the flowing cover up worked well with the wind. But it all read basic and generic as the judges pointed out. Nothing super original was seen here. And it did look like pieces you could go buy now. Not a standout look, but not worthy of sending her home. I would still wear everything she created, especially her cover-up.

Given this was tough seeing Christina exit, I know next week will be even tougher! I don’t see Biddell lasting much longer, so I wish he had left this week and Christina stayed. I think she was the strongest international designer left.

Designers Take it to the Streets

So this week was all about streetwear. And not just streetwear, but creating high fashion, gender neutral streetwear. I was interested to see what the designers would come up with regards to this challenge.

As an added bonus, the designers would be flying blind as to who their model was. The challenge budget was $200 from Mood, 1 day to create. We never see much on the shopping, but Sean was pushing the limits on his allotted time. Anthony Ryan chose some very expensive fabric, wondering if he had enough. This was even more of an issue when learning he had a 6’4″ model.

In getting back to the workroom, we saw Michelle expressing a little sadness that her and Dmitry seemed not as close. And while that was not shade, there was still plenty of that going around. Sean was both on Biddell and Dmitry. Specifically with Dmitry, he noted Dmitry had not been in the bottom, and maybe it was his time. Michelle of course had comments on Irina, clearly a mutual dislike there. I thought it was funny Michelle was commenting on the gender aspect, but then quickly just quipped Irina’s look was ugly.

Shade turned to critiques as it was time for Anne’s check-ins. Ultimately, she felt when the designers met their models, it would give them inspiration to really amp up their looks even more. Christina was one who decided not to heed Anne’s advice. She felt she needed to show more of herself in this piece. Model fittings were soon thereafter, where Anthony Ryan discovered he had a twin in his model, except his model was much taller!

Biddell questioned Sean being done early last week, but he was back on his normal track of being finished up early, along with Irina. Even into the next day, Irina didn’t have much to do, so she decided to make herself a dress. She had leftover fabric, and put it to use rather than waste. Drama quickly arose because Irina decided to work on this side project on Christina’s machine. This left Christina working on Michelle’s machine, both of whom were still working on their actual challenge looks. I understand frustration the morning of. I also don’t know how much time surpassed. I think everyone here could have handled the situation better. And I never understand this issue over machines because there are plenty provided in the Brother sewing room. The time you are wasting standing around waiting, you could start on another machine.

Drama aside, I was ready for the runway! This week’s guest judge was actress Asia Kate Dillon. My excitement faded as this week left me confused! I know things are going to be difficult from here on out. But Sean leaving now, it still doesn’t sit right. On the other hand, he has been in the bottom quite a bit, so one could argue he has not been doing his best work this season. I absolutely don’t think he had the worst look this week. This cliche and expected nonsense the judges gave was nonsensical. Sean will be missed!

The worst look for me was Biddell. How this wasn’t in the bottom was yet another confusing judges’ decision. His fringe vest was like a cheap Native American costume. And the gold sheer top he made, it was more gay guy going clubbing than anything remotely gender neutral. What was probably the worst was his critique of everyone else misunderstanding gender neutrality, when he was probably one of the worst culprits.

Irina and Dmitry comprised the remainder of the bottom 2. I think Irina should have been safe, or in the top. She clearly created streetwear to a tee. And then I think she took risk in not creating something super bulky, but rather still body conscious.

I was so surprised hearing Dmitry had never been in the bottom, not just this season, but both of his prior seasons. I will agree with this look, this was his time. But it was hard seeing him then in the bottom 2. The look was too futuristic. The criss-cross on the bodice was confusing, as the judges noted too. Dmitry has shown so much strength in this season, so it was hard seeing the bottom 2 between such amazing designers.

While I didn’t agree with the top 3, I was fine with Christina’s win. This look was one of the few which met the challenge requirements on both streetwear, but also gender neutrality.

Michelle was my safe look. I liked the details here. There was a lot to take in. However I wasn’t a huge fan of the dye work. Ultimately I am not sure if everything came together in a resolved fashion. But I appreciated her risk and hard work here.

Anthony was also in the top. I would have put him in my bottom group, but not a candidate for elimination. I appreciated Sean had a fan in Alyssa. But her commentary for Anthony was way off. While I didn’t care for his look, I didn’t get the constant need to compare it to the other coat he made for the avant garde challenge. They were not the same coats! Irina makes a lot of outerwear. Sean uses a lot of fringe. A designer should certainly be free to make 2 coats in one season!

This week was tough, but it sucks knowing next week will be even tougher!