Best Dressed — Oscars 2019

It’s been a hot minute since the Oscars, but I of course have to always go thru my faves and create a Best Dressed list. This is a mix from the main red carpet and the Vanity Fair afterparty!







  • Wearing Ahluwalia














Video Games Merging with Fashion

This week on Project Runway we got a bit of insight into the video game world, and the designers got to merge that industry with fashion. The designers met Karlie on the runway, first hearing video game noises, then seeing a game character, which turned out to be Karlie’s alter ego. Joining Karlie on the runway was Robin Hunicke, co-founder of Funomena (worked with the SIMS game, tenure professor at UC Santa Cruz, & THIS WEEK’S GUEST JUDGE), Mitu Khandaker (professor at the NYU Game Center), & Nina Freeman (video game designer). These amazing ladies would also be there to help the designers for this week’s challenge.

The designers’ challenge for the week was to create a female video game protagonist with a functional and stylish look. This video game character would need a story and to have an ability. The designers were cautioned to not go too costumey. The designers lucked out in having another 2-day challenge. This is certainly one program format change I have noticed, the designers receiving quite a few 2-day challenges. I am not sure it has created an overwhelming number of successful looks, but it’s hard to imagine some of these designers coping well with too many 1-day challenges! Also this week, instead of a race to model comp cards, all of the designers would be keeping their same models.

First up for the week, mentor time with some of the leading women in the video game industry. Some of the designers looked at games, seeing how a character could encompass being anyone; the designers didn’t have to create themselves for this challenge. Others got to see how algorithms and coding worked into the games. After these mentor sessions, it was off to Mood. Christian reminded the designers this look was to be fashion, not a costume. Another change I have noticed this season is slightly larger budgets, or at least from what I recall in the past. This week the designers were allotted $300. While at Mood, many of the designers were going for red fabrics. Christian was urging the designers to be more creative and not just all go for red. Venny was one who changed up his color choice, then later finding himself overbudget by $90. He had to cut some major corners!

As the designers got back to the workroom, animators were there to work with the designers to create a digital version of their characters. It was soon time for Siriano Sessions. He reminded a couple to not be boring. He was intrigued by others, such as Hester & Bishme. And he was all about Garo’s whip! Getting into the 2nd day, Garo began with some hammer-time. Tessa went a more quiet route, really needing that laser focus to work on her look. Later in the day were model fittings. Tessa had some doubts with Hester’s look, thinking it was treading the line of a costume. Venny was worried over his lack of fabric and then couldn’t even do his fun shoe idea as it was too small for his model. Jamall was running real low on time. Sonia was having a major fit issue and thinking she might have a lot of work to redo.

With so much to do for some, it was back to work. The designers were excited to see their digital illustrations. And poor Jamall! He made some alteration marks during fittings and then ironed away those marks, yikes! The designers had been working so hard and decided to have a little fun on the way home. They took a ferry, and enjoyed goofing off a bit, doing some runway walks & posing. Fun time aside, it was back to work for the morning of the runway. Many designers still had so much to do. Rakan was very unsure on his makeup choices, like literally having no ideas for the makeup artist. Jamall decided to scrap a mesh top for his look. He had spent so much time on the tailoring of his suit. Christian did express disappointment in that choice. A few designers were working right up until the runway began. Rakan was one such who was cutting away very quickly, right until the last seconds.

Before breaking down the judges’ top & bottom choices, here are my thoughts on the rest! I can’t help but see Lela in a battle with Tessa because they both work in a minimalist aesthetic. Tessa clearly has won each week, so I generally feel less than impressed with Lela’s work. She said this look was representative of femininity & power, I get the feminine aspect, but nothing with power. Sonia has impressed me each week, but came up short in this challenge. The styling choices she made really took her look to a costume level. I loved her story (empathy powers), she chose a gorgeous color, and the look had such great flow. But this felt like a rather basic dress with a lot going on for hair & makeup.

Sebastian has been on top lots as of late, but also came up short this week. I felt his look was more dated, more historical, than that of a video game character or a Moon Goddess as he dubbed this look. I didn’t feel it embodying a strong woman. Not his best work, but just okay. I guess that is why Lela, Sonia & Sebastian found themselves safe. I was on the fence about Bishme. I really thought he brought something so different to the table and so for that, I felt this was a top look! His woman was a goddess, or a Queen of Hearts as he called this look, and one with such a gorgeous, long back train. It was a little over the top, but could work in a game setting!

I also really felt Renee should have been in the top. She stayed trued to her aesthetic and created still a hardcore, bad ass look. Renee says “sensitive warrior”, which I feel is perfect depiction. Her mixed media choices were amazing. The top with the embellished neckline and the draped silver sash piece were just so stunning. I could have lived with Bishme being out of the top, but Renee was very much deserving. So even though Hester got the win, that would have been the person I would have had to take away from the judges’ list. Hester’s look was very Hester. So for remaining true to her aesthetic, I certainly applaud. But this look was a fun girl, not someone I felt fit the challenge parameters in creating a strong female protagonist. I mean even the name of the look, Star Raver, I take that as a depiction of fun, maybe a little adventurous, but that adventure side, I wasn’t seeing in this piece. Nonetheless the pants were super dope and she made some great styling choices.

Tessa created a great look, so seeing her in the top was deserving. She really created such a character, something very different and unique. And even though this was for a video game character, the Miller’s daughter, it was still super wearable. I didn’t even notice until later, she created an apron, which was the part that folded down, super creative!

But Garo was in my original top list, as well as the judges. I felt this was the winning look. I definitely got the point the judges were making in that a strong women didn’t have to be defined by being a dominatrix, but that doesn’t take away from this type of empowerment. And Garo really created such strength here and didn’t do so in a cheesy or tasteless way. Super hilarious that everyone thought this was Nina in a sense and I guess it might have been since Gara said this was a Fashion Editrix character!

The bottom 3 couldn’t have been more spot on. I also agreed that Rakan was clearly the right choice in being sent home. As for the other bottom 2 spot, it was hard to choose between Jamall and Venny. Neither should have felt safe. Jamall I thought was deserving for having not got another challenge. But I think the judges put Venny there to shake him a bit — seeing just as you were on the top last week, doesn’t mean you can’t go home the next week! So Jamall being saved from the bottom 2 was inconsequential since it was super clear it was Rakan’s time. I liked his idea, but this look was cheap. It looked like pleather, it was not constructed well, and it read like a superhero costume. It was not functional fashion. I don’t even think his story for the character, a Syrian Queen, made sense. It also made no sense what he said after the critiques that the best 3 designers were in the bottom. So 2 designers who have constantly been in the bottom and one who really didn’t even deserve his top placements are the three best in this competition?? I don’t think so!

So again, Jamall should feel super lucky he was saved, again. Last week his look didn’t make sense when looking at the challenge parameters and neither did his look this week. The suit fit okay, but it was not a video game character. It was too basic for this challenge task. Why when given this type of challenge do you think of a suit?? Scrapping that mesh top I don’t think would have kept him out of the bottom, but it would have helped this look tremendously in terms of at least not being basic.

And finally, looking at Venny’s outfit, I also didn’t get what he was thinking in this creation. Also similar to my critique with Jamall, why would you go to this type of look when thinking of a video game character?? This look was one you might see as part of a church choir, definitely not a Savior of the World! I think back to his changing of a color choice at Mood, per Christian’s suggestion, and also having to cut corners when being overbudget. You might think this led to his bottom placement, but if this was his idea all along, those 2 points would have no bearing here. More fabric was not going to help this look and instead of a blue look, this creation wouldn’t have been any bit of success in red.

The Designers Go Luxe with Streetwear

I am not the biggest fan of streetwear, but at least if I am going to look at a whole challenge comprised of this style, it might as well be LUXE & high-end! This challenge was inspired by trailblazer Dapper Dan, known for introducing high fashion to the hip hop world by creating luxury streetwear. The task at hand would be for each designer to create their own take on the future of streetwear, taking into account the inspiration of Dapper Dan’s work.

There would be no trip to Mood this week as the designers were provided with a great deal of high end fabrics to choose from and use for their looks. This would be a 1-day challenge. Renee, as the winner from last week, chose to keep her model, while the rest of the designers were randomly assigned models by Karlie. The designers enjoyed meeting with Dapper Dan and were pleased to learn he would be visiting the workroom to give his take on their looks.

As the designers were back to the workroom to get started, many designers were getting their ideas going, such as Kovid wanting to create multiple pieces. However some designers, such as Sebastian, were stressing right from the onset, noting streetwear is not something he typically does. Christian was around next for his Siriano sessions. We got to see everyone was wanting to do a bomber jacket. There was some excitement for Renee, while Hester seemed to be a bit all over the place. Christian was confused about Rakan’s idea of a farmer woman? And we were all really left to wonder if Jamall was even getting this challenge?

Christian then announced this would be a flash sale challenge, so the designers had to take special photos for the Instagram stories and this would be the chance where winning looks would be sold thru Nineteenth Amendment online. Next up, model fittings! Christian was still around and seemed very bothered that Rakan and Jamall were taking breaks at this time. The designers do need to eat, but maybe during a short model fitting time is not the best idea?!? But as this was a 1-day challenge, it was time to really get to work! Tessa decided to incorporate her brand name into the inner part of her jacket, hand-painted, so we then got to see her version of a fun drying technique, which was basically running around the workroom, air drying! Kovid was in major freakout mode, which I really saw as no surprise. And there was a little debate on Sebastian’s look from both Tessa & Rakan, over his sleeves.

Dapper Dan made his appearance the morning of the runway. He was very excited by some of the looks! But even with this special appearance, there was still a good bit of work to do for some, especially Jamall. And while Dapper Dan was not going to be a guest judge, we were welcoming a guest judge to the panel, Founder & President of Harlem’s Fashion Row, Brandice Daniel.

Of the 2 minimalist designers, Lela (pictured above) & Tessa (pictured below), Tessa definitely did a better job in this challenge. I don’t think either really stood out against some of the better looks this week. I do think Tessa created a solid look, but most of her intricacies just kind of fell flat on the runway. I at least found some positive with Tessa. However Lela created a rather boring look. I didn’t see anything super high end or with a nod to the future with her look. Both were fitting of their safe status.

What Hester created was very Hester, but I don’t know if it was streetwear. I saw this more as festival fashion, something you would see at Coachella. The color, the sparkle, the sheer overlay to her short, just really took this out of the streetwear element. I loved Sonia’s look, but in a similar critique to that of Hester, I didn’t see streetwear elements here. I couldn’t give this a top status for that reason. Regardless though, this was such a super chic look, the bodice, the neckline, so amazing.

But 2 designers I have to give props to, that both would have been in my top 3 were Sebastian and Renee. For Sebastian not having any clue on streetwear, this was an impressive look. I loved the pants! Perhaps one could argue there was a lot going on between his jacket-style sleeves, the pins, and the criss cross top, but I did see this hitting the challenge mark. This was elevated street style with a modern vibe. I also really loved what Renee created. This was a super dope look. She really did a lot of great work here, especially the jacket! The pop of sparkle was not overwhelming and the plaid addition was sublime! Renee or Sebastian would have been way more deserving of top 3 than Venny!

This is the 2nd time Venny has been in the top 3, where I have been left really perplexed. He was in no way a contender for the actual win either time. This look was not elevated enough for me, sort of a snooze. I also don’t think he did well with a plus size look. The judges saw it as streetwear, which I don’t disagree with, but this wasn’t high end or something with a modern feel.

Joining Venny in the top 3 was Garo & Bishme. I didn’t hate this look, but I also didn’t love it. The wasitband detail was not working for me. The tweed was okay, but I definitely didn’t care for the zippered neckline. I didn’t agree with the judges’ assessment for this look.

But a clear contender for the win with this top 3, definitely deserving of a top spot was Bishme. The judges fell absolutely in love with this look. It really hit the mark so well across the board for the challenge. It was streetwear, super luxe, and bringing something new to the table. He chose the perfect color with this cobalt blue for the jacket.

The bottom 3 consisted of Rakan, Jamall, and Kovid. Kovid and Jamall clearly being the bottom 2. I don’t know if Rakan really deserved a bottom 3 placement. I actually kind of liked this look from him, probably the best of anything I have seen from him. I guess I sort of got what the designers were saying in this looking a bit like a “genie” look. It probably would have also come across more street in flats or sneakers, versus heels. I didn’t dislike this as much as the judges did, but I did agree with Nina’s assessment — it felt safe.

This was a tough bottom 2 because both looks were pretty awful. If the judges were making a decision based only on this challenge, clearly Jamall would have been out. But given Kovid has consistently been in the bottom and how super obvious this competition was just not for him, the right call was made in him leaving this week. Jamall really should be breathing a huge sigh of relief. This could have been an easy challenge for a double elimination and both would have been fitting for elimination. If it was not already confusing how Jamall saw his teaparty dress as street, I believe we all got even more confused listening to him explain that this look was also inspired from black culture. The look not fitting the challenge aside, it was also riddled with technical issues, which the judges definitely pointed out.

Ultimately though, it was Kovid’s time to go. I actually feel Kovid has a very street aesthetic to his look. In fact, his top look from the prints challenge was super street. I don’t know how he then really missed the mark here! I am glad the judges pointed out how out of place the top was in this look. This was one of my first notes! But there was no nod here to the future, it was very much looking back at the past.

Designers — Survival of the Fittest

The new season of Project Runway already gave us a first group challenge, and now, it was time for the first unconventional materials task. I have to admit, I was a little confused on the task at hand. I really was interested to see who would use the unconventional materials the best, but the part I was hung up on was that the looks needed to be survival chic?? I saw lots of pretty dress-like looks that really didn’t do much by way of providing protection for the model. But then I also saw more chic outerwear, really making use of the unconventional materials. That all being said, I was fairly impressed by what the designers did and am really interested to see a few designers and how they grow throughout this season!

So the episode began with the designers being whisked away for a camping trip. I feel a few thought they were going somewhere a little more glam, but nope, it was off to the woods in Staten Island! Everything was moved to this campsite, the work stations, the accessory wall, and even the runway show! The designers would have to battle in the elements in order to stay in the competition. This really would be survival of the fittest! The designers would even be camping overnight, but Christian was definitely not going to be partaking in that endeavor!

Marni would be back for some styling help. And the designers were blessed with another 2-day challenge to get their nature looks completed. The designers had 20 minutes to gather their materials. Hester was a little upset since her pile created, people started taking from it. It seemed the couple of girls who took items gave them back, but Hester still felt some items were missing. But there was no time for dawdling as the designers were eager to begin work. Tessa decided to create her own loom, to help weave a fabric out of the ropes. Sebastian was in full leaf crazy mode. While Afa was having a floral debate in terms of adding flower embellishment creations to his look.

Marni & Christian later came by to see what the designers had been working on to get started. They expressed excitement for a few, such as with Sonia & Hester. They were a little concerned for Kovid since he had a lot going on with his many different types of materials. Nighttime one was celebrated with some s’mores before lights out at the campsite.

Day 2 involved model fittings. Everyone was worried about the colder temperatures, especially with their models walking around with no clothes on. Christian was still around for his time with the designers, and he urged to get a bit more from Renee & Rakan with their looks. Day 2 went by super quick and for the 2nd overnight, the designers were all about getting a warm fire started!

The morning of the runway began super early, 530 am! There was a lot of talk going on, if it was going to rain, which in fact it did. But rain or shine, the runway was happening!

I wasn’t so sure about this bottom 3. There were a good handful of looks that felt very sloppy, really just felt unresolved. I thought Kovid was really the only solid one that belonged. Anyone else, there was some room for debate, so it was more astonishing to then see Afa get eliminated! Before jumping on that, a few other quick mentions. I wasn’t feeling Jamall’s look at all. This is the 2nd look he has created that just look liked an overworked comforter. The entire look felt messy, with a bunch of leaves scattered all over the place.

Bishme created a really cool skirt with the rocks. And I also loved the reveal for what was under the jacket. But the jacket he created was not at all repurposed enough.

Switching to a more positive note, I am not sure given the challenge parameters if Sebastian’s leaf look really fit the bill. But that aside, this was a gorgeous couture leaf creation — STUNNING!!

If Renee landed in the top with her more outerwear look, I am a little shocked Venny’s look then fell short from the top. He created a gorgeous outerwear piece, that was actually fashionable. The intricacies of the rope-work & use of chains he did on the jacket was amazing.

Moving onto the judges’ actual top 3, there was Hester, Renee, and Rakan. If I had to choose from this group, hands down it was Hester. The rope bodice she created was so high fashion, very pretty. I loved how there was a soft and hard aspect to this look that really complimented each other well.

The judges’ winner however was Renee. I don’t see how this won or was in the top. I don’t feel she repurposed the unconventional materials much or at all. Christian basically said earlier in the episode that this just looked like a tarp jacket with a bunch of stuff thrown on it. And really, that is all it was. Even Renee said she didn’t see herself in comparison to what everyone else created, so that being said, I don’t see how she received such high praise. Put her green jacket against what Venny created, you can’t tell me there is not a huge difference!

Another confusing top placement — Rakan! This look would have been in my bottom. The gauze felt so plain and sad. I will admit what he did with the sleeping bag was better than what Jamall did, but I do not see this as a top look.

Just as I was confused at some of the top, I was also confused just as much on the bottom looks from the judges. I get that Sonia’s model had difficulty walking in this look, but there was at least a good bit here to discuss. Yes, some was negative, but in comparison to some of the other super bare minimum looks, there was at least a story here, someone befitting of being in nature. I am glad at least Sonia had a fan in Karlie.

I would be surprised if Kovid has longevity in this competition, but I also didn’t see Afa going all the way either. Of this bottom 2, I think the wrong decision was made in sending Afa home over Kovid. Kovid hasn’t been super impressive thus far. He clearly showed no direction in this look. There was way too much going on. Yes, there was lots of color, and I agree with Nina, the pants were really cool. But he doesn’t know how to edit and I just don’t see his childlike spastic behavior making it much further.

Again, I don’t think Afa was going far in the competition either. So being overly upset he went home now, I can’t put myself in that mindset. What I do find issue with though is how annoying the judges were being in trying to validate this decision. They made a point to give the model a blanket twice. Okay, it was cold outside, but she was hardly the only model who was barely covered. If that was part of their criteria to send him home, why not Garo, why not Tessa? Those 2 models were half naked too. This is Tessa’s look below. Now don’t get me wrong — I do not hate this look. But are we going to pretend this model wasn’t cold either??

I don’t think he did anything too amazing with the rope. And the flowers he made were kind of corny and not super chic. But he was far more innovative in his work than what Renee did by just tacking a bunch of camping gear onto a green tarp! I wasn’t in love what what he did, but I wouldn’t say it wasn’t innovative.

The Last of Project Runway on Lifetime!

This is the last showing of Project Runway ever on Lifetime, and probably the last all-stars season for a bit, which does make sense! So to crown the World Champion of Project Runway, it was great to see these last 4 designers give us a truly spectacular runway, leaving the series to go out with a bang on Lifetime!

The designers met Alyssa at Baccarat in NY. For such a glam environment they were in, it was the right mindset to be in for inspiration with the designers’ final collections. Each designer would create a 6 piece collection and the perk, it could be any theme they wanted. Their budget at Mood would be $3000, with 4 days to create it all. Another perk, the designers would get some help in the workroom.

Model casting began at the luxurious hotel. The designers would also sketch there as well. Biddell was thinking of conspiracy theories, the Queen of England as a reptile! Irina was wanting to do something very geometric, very sculptural — to work with deconstructing shapes and creating a 3-D aspect. Michelle was inspired by a favorite album, Harvest Moon, so she wanted her collection to be called Harvest Mood. And finally, Dmitry didn’t seem to focus on a clear direction, but rather creating a killer jacket.

The designers were off to Mood to shop. Biddell found a fabric Anthony Ryan used, but thought heck, it fit with this theme, he would risk it! It was then back to the workroom to finish up Day 1 for the designers’ work. Everyone was planning, then many starting full-fledged looks. Dmitry was intent on keeping a schedule. Irina was not on this same path as her first day was spent cutting triangles, no draping and no patterns.

For Day 2, the designers’ helpers arrived! Mondo would work with Irina, Erin Robertson with Dmitry, Sean Kelly with Michelle, and Christina (from this season) with Biddell. Anne came by for her check-ins as well on this day, and the helpers stepped aside for a break during this time. Anne loved what Michelle was doing; she even tried on her bold green jacket! She reminded Michelle to take her somewhat frumpy fabrics and to give them elegance. Onto to Dmitry, she put in his mind how this could be a triple win for him — the only designer who could nab that title! She loved his jacket he was so focused on, but asked him to add a little sexiness to his work. Jumping then to Irina, she noticed 2 very similar red looks and suggested her collection needed more ebb and flow. And finally, with Biddell, she really loved his interesting fabrics and the manipulative work he was doing. She questioned if there was cohesion and pushed he find that connective thread.

On Day 3, well really throughout the episode, we were taken back a little on each designers’ journey, personal confessions of why they want to win. Irina experienced a mini meltdown, which was understandable given what her mom was going thru. The models also came by for their fittings. This mostly went well. Michelle changed up her looks a bit and Irina finally found herself in a better place.

The last and final day quickly came, and there was lots left to do. Little bit of a bummer, the helpers were only there for 3 hours. Brand consultant, Francesca Amfitheatrof (formerly of Tiffanys), also stopped by for a visit. She discussed with the designers how important branding is. Michelle thought of for this collection, peach romantic moodiness, very emotive looks. Dmitry was going with a dark, romantic, graphic collection. Biddell was set to be the dramatic showman. And finally, with Irina, she was pursuing bold femininity, which actually is something I always see for her, really sticking to her true designer aesthetic. To end the day, the designers had a little champagne and cake celebratory moment.

The morning of the runway was filled with still a good bit to do for each designer, lots of final finishes, details and even doing some re-fittings. Dmitry had a minor snaffu with one of his jackets, but handled it like a pro! Even at 15 minutes left, many models were still not dressed! Of course fast finisher Biddell was doing a little rapping! But rapping aside, it was time for the runway. This show would be in front of the NY Fashion elite and many previous Project Runway designers. The guest judge for this finale was actress Andrea Riseborough.

So first up, I will discuss Biddell. He pushed his street-style with aggressive elegance, giving us Regal Reptilian. I have not been a fan of Biddell most of this season. His aesthetic is just not my thing. But I really commend him for this impressive collection. I would have to agree with the judges in his 4th place finish though. While I loved so many of his fabric choices, I didn’t love everything he did with them and how some of the final looks resulted. Using a corkscrew like fabric was so interesting, but the zipper down the front of that dress, it just lacked sophistication.

I loved the 2nd look, such fierce pants, but this super long-sleeved top was too much for me. The judges even pointed out the sleeves being too long! With this skirt 3rd look, I thought the fabrics used here were super stunning, and I loved the top, so chic. But the skirt was far too boxy for my taste.

The 4th look, shades of blue, again, such a killer pair of pants. His use of mixed media in this look was so amazing. But the jacket, it was so flared, really just took away from this piece. The 5th look, the shorts piece, definitely the worst for his collection, even with the judges agreeing. I couldn’t find anything positive here, such an ill-fitting look. Up until the final gown piece, I can’t say that I fully loved any complete look, but this last look, this was a stunner. It was so luxe and regal, which really Biddell needed for some of his other pieces. I also didn’t care for his styling choices here with the braided pigtails & huge jewelry pieces. I really think Biddell could use some help editing! Everyone was right here in saying this collection did lack cohesion. He has a clear designer POV, but there was just so much going on here, as the judges pointed out, this work needed some finesse.

Deciding 3rd was tough for me because I love both Irina & Dmitry. I wouldn’t want to offend either. The judges gave it to Irina, but I think ultimately I would have given that spot to Dmitry. He never really settled on an identity for this collection. Before presenting he just said this was his personal journey as an artist I guess coming to life. I think the lack of specific direction here hurt him. These looks were super Dmitry like, but I can’t say I saw growth here, or any elevation. I saw more from Irina in that regard, so 3rd would have been Dmitry in my book.

You can’t take away from his stunning red jacket opening look. The cutouts were beyond amazing. And these pants, I mean anyone and everyone, including Isaac is obsessing over them. I don’t know that any other look really matched this level of success.

The next look in the black LBD, it was a little too short, and I didn’t care for the shape of the over-sized sleeves, but I did love the shimmery neckline. The 3rd dress look, it had great Dmitry cutouts, but the sleeve pads, the fringe, it was probably the weakest of his looks.

I don’t think Dmitry had great cohesion here and this next yellow dress probably didn’t help that concept. It was a great color. I appreciated the drama, but the side embellishments I don’t feel were needed and the length again, way too short! The 5th look, another pants piece, I did like this look. The sheer top was spectacular. The pants, not as good as the first pair, but still an overall competent look. The last look should have been a bang, but I didn’t feel that with this dress. I loved the sheer aspect, but again, wish it was longer. I got what the judges felt here in wanting more. Dmitry even teared up some on the runway, but I agree with the judges, this collection was not enough for the win!

I would love nothing more than to have given Irina the win, but I don’t think this collection beat Michelle. Michelle really did find some magic. But I can very much feel good in saying Irina should have been 2nd. I appreciate that Irina pushed herself here. As much as I wanted to see 6 super glam, super luxe looks from her, including some killer gowns, I love that she gave us that more commercial, more RTW side, really showing that she can do it all. I don’t know how you could have paired some of what she did here with the gown/dress goddess vibe I love from her. But if that magic could have been found, hands down she would have won.

With this collection, it was very RTW, still some super luxe looks, but varied silhouettes. I think to really perfect what she was aiming for here, she also was lacking a bit in time. Other designers were relying on fabrics and prints to do their work. Irina was creating her own, making her own textures, and so in that regard, it wasn’t about simply cutting fabrics and patterning. But this collection still embodied what Irina set it out to be, the strength of a modern woman, Fearless Femininity.

Her first look, a jacket look, I did love this blue piece. I felt the top to bottom lacked some connectivity, but overall, I really liked this piece, solid opener, really showing this sculpture and geometry she was aiming for.

I agree with the judges, the 2nd look was probably the weakest. I didn’t love this color choice in lime green, but I appreciate the direction she was aiming for. I thought the 3rd look, red & pants piece, very solid and I loved the pants here.

The next piece, the red dress, my fave of the collection. It was super chic and so cute, still very sculptural. I’m afraid of white pants, lol, so I don’t think I could rock those in this next look, but I loved the black sculpted top, so interesting. The judges raved over the final all white lace look, but I still contend the red dress was the best! I agreed with the judges that there was a heaviness to some of her pieces, which really didn’t go with her last 2 lighter pieces.

Super hard to take away the win from Michelle though. She really did pull out every stop here and I hope she can take some of this magic home, to revitalize her business. Her goal was textured baroque, romance, nice to naughty, her Harvest Mood collection. The first piece was stunning. I don’t know why everything looked so short for me, but other than length, I loved the peach color and the mixture of lace work.

The 2nd look has grown on me now and I really do like it. Fierce pants and such a shimmering and shiny, eye-catching top. The 3rd look was a little repetitive then to this 2nd look. It was a great fabric choice, but not as successful as the 2nd look.

It was that look and the full peach look that were the weaker links for her. But neither took away from the supreme quality of the other 4. The fully peach look just felt a little too voluminous. The green jacket look, such a success. Everyone would want that jacket, and whatever was under it looked amazing too.

And the final piece was a great closer. The fabric was another solid choice, so sexy and dramatic. Probably what I didn’t care for more than any of her looks was the big hair — way too over the top with already such a voluminous collection.

I do congratulate Michelle on this win. So what again does she win —

  • Guest editor for Marie Claire
  • chance to also collaborate for an editorial and photospread for Marie Claire
  • Create a signature color for Butter London
  • A trip for 2 to London, sponsored by Butter London
  • a $40,000 Brother Sewing package
  • a cash prize of $100,000

So no more Project Runway on Lifetime, but ready for the focus now on this new season on Bravo!

Designers Go Print-Tastic

I was a little uneasy with this week’s challenge! Head to toe print looks, that is a lot, especially when picking that perfect print which could make or break one’s look. Prints are a huge trend in the industry, so successfully taking on this task and thriving would be a great feat for any burgeoning fashion designer.

A little bad news for the designers however — no more 2 day challenge. We are now at the first one-day challenge! Last week’s winning designer, Sebastian, in getting to choose his model, decided to keep who he was working with. The rest of the bunch had to race to get their first choice. Nadine ended up with one of the plus size models and was less than thrilled. She claimed to be a print pro, but I would think a person who can work with prints, should be able to design for all.

Some great news for the designers, they were going to receive some expert help from celebrity stylist Marni Senofonte. But first, the designers had 15 minutes to sketch. Tessa was one who definitely felt worried as prints really do not fit the mold of her minimalist asethetic. It was then off to Mood with a $250 budget. Rakan decided to go with a more somber, bland print, despite Christian’s suggestion to rethink that choice.

Getting back to the workroom, the designers first met individually with Marni. She discussed with the designers how integral styling can be for any look to be viewed as a success. After her visit with Marni, Tess seemed a bit calmer. Hester was beginning to have a little self-doubt though. We heard a bit of her backstory, kind of sad, seeing that her aesthetic was not suitable to her design school professor and she actually got kicked out.

Christian was beginning his Siriano sessions, helping some with their styling choices. The models later came by for their fittings. Nadine seemed to have zero patience with her model. She was even stressing over her model’s walk. Most of the designers seemed to be doing okay, and that trickled over to the next day, the day of the runway. Afa was one that certainly was still receiving a bit of help in styling his look.

I was excited to see how this runway was going to go! And joining this week’s panel was the first guest judge, designer Adam Selman.

I noticed 2 designers used an army fatigue print, REALLY! All of the prints and 2 chose the same unimpressive one — CRAZY! I loved Venny’s jumpsuit and the print he chose. However, his print didn’t really translate well on the runway, or really when photographed, so I wish he had chosen something a bit more eye-catching. Bishme’s look would have been in my bottom list. He chose a bold print, striking color in red, but the look was too “big” — big shoulders, a big hat (which was not great), big train. He could have toned this look down some.

Jammall would have been in my top group. I have to give him a little credit now since I have been hating on him most of the season. I loved his print, such a sexy, chic look. I also really loved Tessa’s look. I don’t understand why she still didn’t love this look. She stayed true to her aesthetic and I loved the print she chose.

For the top though, the judges chose Hester, Kovid, and Sebastian. Hester ended up winning, which I don’t agree with, but I am not going to put down too much. She really stuck the right balance of quirk with this look. I wasn’t ready to go on the picnic, but I appreciate her work here. I loved the accessories she created for her look!

I get why Kovid made the top for the judges. He was back to his street chic style, doing a fantastic job. I thought he chose a great print. And who can’t appreciate a strong comeback, which he did from the work last week. I didn’t love this look at much because it read very heavy to me and super streetwear is not really my taste.

The judges were salivating when Sebastian’s look came down the runway, so clearly he was making the top. I loved the silhouette, such great structure, an amazing flow. His quality of work is so superior and he really does have top construction skills. My issue here was the print he chose. I didn’t find it to be super striking.

The bottom consisted of Rakan, Nadine, and Garo. I don’t agree with Garo being in the bottom and am happy he escaped the bottom 2. I actually really liked his look. I loved the poppin’ pink color and this look felt bold to me. I get what the judges were saying about the crotch though.

Rakan being in the bottom was no shocker though. He really did choose such a boring print. And the look he created, too much coverage on his model, very messy feeling, super drab. The look really had no life in it.

But the writing was on the wall it would be Nadine to go this week. And I can’t say it wasn’t deserving. The print she chose was unimpressive. I still don’t think she can make pants. I have seen her make several pairs now and none of them seem to fit well. I did like the open back though. I would also give her that this model is not the best walker, which I know she complained about. But a good walker is not going to magically make your look better.

And then listening to her on the runway, she was being so unkind to her model and I am glad the judges called her out on that. The message is clear, no attitudes this season! First it was Cavanagh and now Nadine. Although I feel Nadine acted far worse, especially in this episode. She rolled her eyes constantly during the runway critiques. She was instantly complaining backstage since she was in the bottom. She even called the judges bitches — REALLY? This was the sign of someone with not just a bad attitude, but someone who clearly believes they can do no wrong. It was sad to see. And to see her then say she was ready to go home, wow, how defeatist. At least Cavanagh handled her elimination with some professionalism and class.