The Final Task before the Finale!

Right here at the end of Project Runway on Lifetime, and probably the last All-Stars season for a bit. This is also the world championship, so there is a lot riding on these last 2 challenges. With 4 designers left, the road to winning will not be easy! And this penultimate challenge would not be an easy one either.

This week would be all about families. Each designer would create 3 looks for a modern-day family. The looks were to be cohesive as these looks would be incorporated into a family portrait. The Mood budget would be $400 and the designers would have 2 days. With the task details given, it was first time to sit with their families and gain inspiration for their looks.

While shopping, Biddell wasn’t sure about 1 of his looks. He finally finds his fabric, but Dmitry had already called it. There wasn’t much left on the roll, so this left Biddell with none. Of course, there was another roll that was found so crisis averted! Day 1 was all about laying out groundwork and really getting everything going. Biddell was unsure on cohesion, and Dmitry seemed a bit lost as well. Irina really wanted to add details into her looks, and Michelle was busy creating lots of pants!

Anne came by for her check-ins on Day 1. She reminded the designers to be cohesive. And that while it was important to please their clients, they also had to please the judges! And as Anne critiqued the looks, we also saw some typical designer shade. Michelle and Biddell had some choice words for Dmitry’s looks, which was laughable to me since they clearly had a good bit to worry with in their own looks!

Time for Day 2! Biddell came into the workroom with a new attitude, ready to inject some fun into his work. The family fittings were also a part of day 2. All of the families seemed very excited. Biddell was still at a loss on what to do with one of his looks. With this week being all about family, missing their own families naturally came to the designers’ minds, so they each made calls home.

I am sure 2 days flew by for the designers! The morning of, we saw our typical Michelle/Irina drama. Irina was not having any of the self pity for Michelle. Michelle was probably feeling a bit on edge because she had gone home at this point before, in her last all-stars season, being eliminated right before the finale. But nerves aside, it was time for the runway. Anne had some strong opinions during her critiques and that was rightfully so since she was this week’s guest judge.

I know we’ve seen in regular seasons of PR that right before the finale, no eliminations happen. So all 4 designers being safe was not super surprising. It kind of would have been more interesting if someone had gone home, but I guess with 4 left, we get to see some amazing final looks and it’s going to make naming a winner even tougher!

With 4 left, there was a top 2 and bottom 2. The top 2 were Biddell and Irina, with Biddell winning the final challenge. My choice would have been Irina. I really loved what she created for her family, very RTW, practical, wearable looks, but still with some fashionable touches. I think her cohesiveness was the best of the 4. The judges seemed to want a bit more, but bump them, they are being crazy! My only critique was the pants look, that maybe it would have been a bit better if it was a skirt because the pants led too a great deal of body coverage.

Biddell did a great job as well. I don’t think all 3 looks translated as being cohesive. The look for the daughter, I loved the print, but both the top and the bottom in the print, it was a lot. I think a solid color pant would have been better. And the bows, I mean they were cute and fun, but I don’t know if they were necessary. And if he wanted to do them, put them on the side of the pant, not the front. The look for the young man, this look was the best of the bunch. Loved the jacket and really just such a fun look! The dress he made though, I didn’t love this. Making the top portion akin to a varsity jacket, the dress lost sophistication and appeal. He didn’t know what to do on this look and this being what came to mind, I just didn’t get it.

This left the bottom 2 being Michelle and Dmitry. I don’t know who the judges would have sent home in this instance. It pains me to say, but of these 2 different family creations, I do feel Dmitry missed the mark. The dress he made was sublime. It showcased great touches of Dmitry. But the other 2 looks fell flat. Dmitry is clearly not a menswear designer and these menswear pieces felt dated, unflattering in fit, and very basic. And then with the pants look, it had no direction or resolution.

That all being said, I don’t think Michelle did much better of a job. She had one very youthful dress, striking print, and it was a standout piece. Similar to that of Dmitry’s looks, one amazing dress doesn’t do the trick though. The look for her kid, a jumpsuit, I don’t think this was something he would wear in the real world. Jumpsuits are high fashion, but not on the playground! I’d say a shorts look, cool graphic shirt, that would have been the better route. And then the look for the grandma, this was just way too much of that print. I liked the print, but it was too much. I think the better option here would have been the prints for the pant, and then a top, mainly solid, but maybe incorporating a little bit of the print perhaps along the neckline, or a strip across the bodice.

If all 4 bring their A-game for the finale, this is going to be such a tough call!

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!

Designers Go From Day to Night

We have had a Southwest Airlines challenge; a Butter London challenge; and so in keeping in line with sponsors of the show challenges, it is now time for the JC Penney challenge. The designers met Alyssa at a JC Penney store. Joining the group was Design Director for Contemporary Brands for JC Penney, Monica Dalton.

The challenge details were to turn daytime separates into a sensational nighttime look. Each designer would have 3 different separates, all of which had to be incorporated into their final look. Throughout the store were 8 live model mannequins, each wearing 2 separates. The designers would claim their model, and then shop for their 3rd separate item. The only materials for this challenge would be these items.

There was an additional bonus for the win this week, in that the winning designer would receive a $2000 shopping spree at JC Penney! This would be a 1-day challenge. The designers were off to shop and sketch. Michelle decided to choose based on the model, versus the actual clothing items they were wearing. Didn’t see that as the smartest move, but oh well! As the designers were back to the workroom though, it was Christina who faced the most struggles.

It was soon time for Anne’s check-ins. A few needed to really think about the nighttime element. Others needed a bit more runway impact. It was nice to see that some were getting positives, such as Dmitry and Irina. Throughout the episode we of course saw our traditional “Designer Shade.” Michelle and Dmitry were exchanging shade on each other, Dmitry saying Michelle was not doing much more than she usually does, while Dmitry was making a hideous skirt. Irina also thought Michelle was being far too basic.

Some were finishing up a little early on the first day. Biddell decided to make a turbin. Michelle and Sean seemed to be done, or maybe just taking a little break toward the end of the day, but as we later saw the next morning, they still had lots to do. Regardless, in that little break-time, Christina was over the noise. But it was Dmitry who had no issue asking for a little respect in the workroom as others were still working.

The morning of the runway had one huge surprise in that I guess as Sean was soon finished, he decided to help Christina. Biddell was criticizing that, but also that Sean should focus on his own garment. An odd statement since Biddell has finished early himself, so I don’t get that criticism, but I do agree at this stage in the game, helping out might not be the best strategy?

It was soon time for the runway. This week’s guest judges were actress Vanessa Williams and model Jasmine Tookes. So the safe designers for this runway were Dmitry and Anthony Ryan. Dmitry’s top was great, but his skirt was not his best work! However, I thought Anthony Ryan did a great job on his chic dress. I loved the colors and really wish he had been in the top!

In the top however was Irina, Michelle, and Biddell. This was absolutely not my top group. And I am even more confused how Biddell nabbed this win. I loved the shimmer of his fabric, but I didn’t see this as a fashionable nighttime look. It was elevated street chic. And drop trousers can be hip for some, but it is not in the nighttime life! I would have pegged him as safe.

Michelle making the top was also a surprise for me. This look had very little runway impact. Looking at it upclose, the appeal could grow on you, but this was far too basic and simplistic compared to some of the others. A look doesn’t always need the bells and whistles, but this was not simplistic minimalism at its best.

I was at least happy for one top contender, very well-deserved, Irina. This was such a vibrant look, daring red color.

As much as Biddell’s win struck confusion for me, so did Sean being in the bottom. I could totally see this as a maxidress that anyone would want. The judges basically said this was too commercial without saying those exact words. HELLO! This was a JC Penney challenge. They were using commercial fabrics, to make looks for a commercial sponsor. I loved this and Sean was not deserving of a bottom 3 spot.

The bottom 2 however was spot on. Just as we saw last week, Sean was saved because he has shown more promise than Django, but his look was far worse. This was absolutely the case between Christina & Cynthia. Christina had the worst look, but she has shown far more potential than Cynthia. I can’t feel too badly for Cynthia leaving because she really hasn’t stood out, playing it far too safe. Hopefully Christina will step it up next week!

Designers “Try” Avant Garde

Huge Willy Wonka fan, so the start of this week, this challenge, was a super exciting one for me. The designers headed to Broadway in NYC, the Theater District, to meet with Alyssa and get the challenge details. They went to the Broadway venue for the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory show, where joining Alyssa was Tony award winner, star of the Willy Wonka show, Christian Borle.

One underlying message of Willy Wonka is the power of imagination. Fitting for this week, to push the bounds of creativity and let the imagination run wild, an Avant Garde challenge. The designers would use Willy Wonka as an inspiration to create new inventions in fashion. It could be something practical, but a surprising use; inventive way to wear something new; or an unexpected innovation.

Cute segment with the designers not having sketchbooks, and they magically appear. This would be a 1-day challenge, with a $300 budget. However, there was a pile of chocolate bars, and in the spirit of Willy Wonka, one contained a golden ticket. This golden ticket would allot one designer an extra $100, and Biddell won that honor. After sketching at the show venue, the designers were off to Mood. We later learned the designers could source materials from 3 other locations as well because of the innovation component to this challenge — a dollar store, building supply, or an electronic shop.

With that in mind, Anthony got tons of dry erase markers, while Michelle ordered some foam carpet padding. After some new materials arrived, Anne came by for her check-ins. Of course, Django looked miserable! Anne had faith in some, such as Michelle. She thoughts others needed more strength in their looks, such as Cynthia. Django’s look also received some crazy concern, as he was discussing an apron — I was concerned too!

I am not sure why Django then went in full attitude mode, getting mad at Anthony for calling Anne, Ms. Anne, and then Christina for her look. There was definitely some other designer shade throughout the episode — Dmitry on Sean’s zebra prints. And then super funny Irina calling out Michelle for repetitive designers, but Cynthia thought the same of Irina.

The end of the day was crazy, especially seeing Sean decide to start over! Naturally the morning of the runway was going to be crazy, very much so for Sean with a whole look to complete (not a great birthday for him!). It was then time for the runway! The guest judges this week were Broadway star Andrew Rannells & actress Anna Camp. Overall, I was unimpressed with this being an avant garde runway. I am not sure for this type of environment, a 1-day challenge, if anything else was to be expected. The looks were not bad, they just weren’t Avant Garde…. well most of them.

Cynthia is riding the safe wave, and she needs to step up. Her look was so similar to Christina’s vibe, so definitely wasn’t avant garde. At least Cynthia incorporated more. Evan went with a futuristic vibe, but that doesn’t equate Avant Garde. For him getting extra money, I don’t see it was used wisely. I loved Dmitry’s look, not sure how inventive it was, but it did read super chic to me.

For the judges’ top 3, it made sense, and was fairly obvious. Christina created a super chic look, very bad-ass, loved the colors with the pop of the blue. I wish we had seen a bit more with the music aspect, but overall this was solid work.

Michelle had such a purpose with her look. The story worked for this challenge and I did see something different in her look. I don’t quite get the over-the-top praise for the under dress, but the creativity here worked.

Anthony’s gamer look was cool. It was kind of a throwback in a sense of writing, so really how new is that concept? But working that into the garment was interesting. The judges were right to point out the childhood imagination here. His win made the most sense.

Irina being in the bottom was kind of comical. There were 3 similar pant, futuristic bad-ass looks of the bunch, clearly not super inventive, yet Irina was in the bottom? I’m glad at least 2 of the judges had different thoughts, and this was clearly not a unanimous decision. Given that, there was no surprise she would not be in the bottom 2.

Sean’s look was a clear mess, and Django riding the bottom wave as of late, this was the clear bottom 2. Sean survived, barely! I love Sean, but if the judges were sending a look home this week, it would have been Sean. He was saved because he shows more potential. I am fine with that decision, because he does have more potential than Django, but it shouldn’t be held back that his look for this challenge was bad. His styling was cool, but as Anna Camp pointed out, the look was very much unresolved.

It was Django’s time. His look was interesting, but it was not Avant Garde. The top was cool, the hat was a little whacky, and the pants were a bore. The judges were right to point out that this look did read more cinematic and historical than creative and inventive for the future of fashion.

Designers go Red Carpet Glam

I love gorgeous gowns, so with this week being all about red carpet glam, I was super excited! Alyssa met the designers on the runway, joined by President of Butter London, Sarina Godin. Butter London has a new Glazen collection, creating an intense, metallic look, with a gel texture. This would serve as the designers’ inspiration for the challenge.

Each designer would create a red carpet look using metallic fabrics, while also adding a unique texture. The red carpet at hand would be up to the designer. The winning designer would receive a years supply of Butter London products and services for fashion shows and photoshoots, in addition to the $5000 weekly prize. This would be a 1-day challenge with a $250 budget.

The designers were off to the Butter London studio, to check out the Glazen collection firsthand, and to get some inspiration. Right from the get-go, Anya was not super thrilled. Others were much more excited and ready to head off to Mood, getting a little scared on the prices, but others were beginning to see their visions come to life!

As the designers were back to the workroom, we first re-visited the Michelle/Dmitry drama from last week. Dmitry still stood by his copying thoughts, but Michelle did offer an apology for snapping. Anya was still at a loss, which was no surprise, given her lack of actual sewing skills, she wouldn’t be relying on normal bag of easy tricks. In fact, when she was in the sewing room, it kind of looked as though she was checking out the other designers as if she was cheating on a test.

Anne came by for her check-ins, where we know from the past, Django was less than thrilled. Anne noted a cheap curtain look, making others modern, and giving some elevation. She reminded the designers that there was some interesting fabric choices, but the fabric couldn’t do all the work. Model fittings were soon thereafter, where some designers made some changes, such as Sean & Django, and we really got to then see how messy Anya’s process was for her look.

I’m going to add a new segment in my recaps with Designer Shade! Biddell was hating on Sean’s fringe, being super repetitive. But most shade was on Biddell, Anthony Ryan not seeing how he could just finish so early, and not try to do more. So yes, by the morning of the runway, Biddell was still finished, while Anya was barely struggling to get by. She had 2 or 3 other designers actually helping her complete her garment — YIKES!!

Given my excitement for the challenge this week, I was ready for the runway! There were actually 3 guest judges on the panel, not sure why so many, but nonetheless a full slate for the day — talk show host Wendy Williams, racecar driver Danica Patrick, and model Lily Aldridge.

The judges’ top and bottom pretty much made sense. For the rest, here are my quick thoughts — I didn’t love Cynthia’s print, it felt like too much; Christina’s look felt underwhelming; Anthony Ryan needed more punch in his look and it read very heavy; but I loved Dmitry’s look, such glamour!

How Irina was not the winner this week was beyond insane! Her look was the epitome of a red carpet challenge. I might have personally preferred a little less of a slit, but this look was stunning. The ombre effect was spot-on. This would be on anyone’s best dressed list.

The judges’ selected Sean as the winner. His fringe work was of course stunning. And this look would have been much better had the top been less, versus more. It was certainly a great look, but I didn’t get the red carpet story. I don’t imagine this being a look for the Met Gala!

Biddell rounded out the top 3, which was the right choice. Other designers thought his look, specifically his fabric choice, was cheap. But I didn’t see that, I saw chic glam. I didn’t really care for the earrings the way some of the judges did. They were too big!

The bottom 3 was Anya, Django, and Michelle, not too surprising of a group. Django’s look was originally dubbed by Anne as moo-moo like, so he added a midriff cutout I guess to be more sexy, more modern. It was not a good call. I loved his fabric choice, but he has to know better what to with it!

I don’t think Michelle’s look was as bad as the judges thought. Seeing the hem upclose, that was worthwhile to mention. And my major critique was, as Danica pointed out, the fit was off. This look read too boxy. It didn’t have to be skin-tight, but there was too much flow.

I think it was obvious who was going home though however, Anya. I don’t know if there was anything positive to say here. There were so many errors, it was so trashy, the fit was so bad. This is an embarrassment coming from any All-Star designer, especially one this far along in the game. Shame on the judges for keeping her so long!

Designers are off to the Zoo

Alyssa hit the runway with a bang, as she strutted out having her own “Britney Spears” moment with a yellow albino python. The snake was of course a way to introduce the challenge! The designers were to find inspiration from a zoo animal, to create a look for a wild night out. The judges would be looking for a runway look that would stand out, attract the most attention.

With that, the designers were off to Turtle Back Zoo, racing to find their 1st choice animal inspiration, because each designer had to pick a different animal. The jaguar was a top choice, and then also an owl?? Each designer seemed good with their final selection, especially Juli who was fond of her “cheeky” monkey.

Sketching was done, and it was time for Mood, shopping with a $200 budget for this 1-day challenge. Anne came in later for her check-in critiques. She really was getting each designer to talk out their process. She mentioned no trashiness or going to the renaissance fair, and encouraged a couple to create a WOW factor. She and Django didn’t see eye to eye again, especially over the color green.

Django is very much not a fan of Anne’s critiques! Model fittings were next and Sean was kind of bouncing around 2 different looks. Day 1 was filled with hard work, but the morning of the runway brought some drama! Dmitry is known for his use of cutouts. Irina mentioned to him about some similarities seen in Michelle’s look. Anthony Ryan then made Michelle aware of this chatter. Michelle called Dmitry out and he deflected. But later, we saw Biddell also point out the similarities. I am not that immersed in knowing Dmitry’s work offhand, so I only saw the similarity when seeing the comparisons on the show. The judges also made mention of this, so clearly it was not just a minor issue.

Drama aside, I was ready for the runway! This week’s guest judges were supermodel Joan Smalls and actress Peyton List. Production clearly wanted some more Dmitry/Michelle time/drama on the runway. Otherwise, I don’t see how Cynthia’s super sexy leather look or Biddell’s mixed media, shimmery look didn’t make the cut.

A few other quick mentions — I definitely saw Anya’s bird inspiration, but I don’t think her prints worked together within her separates; Christina’s alligator look was pretty literal, and the sleeves, as well as the back were pretty cool, but the front was just so blah. I didn’t agree with the judges top 3 looks at all, but I do agree that Michelle, despite the drama, deserved the win.

Her porcupine inspiration look really did look like a WOW dress. She selected an eye-catching print, included some great details in the look, it really stood out. Joan Smalls’ comment on this being very visual was spot on. Dmitry’s look also made the top, and while not horrible, I still felt he was included so that the comparison drama could continue with Michelle. It was different, I will admit that, but I don’t know if it stood out in the best way.

And then Anthony Ryan rounded out the top 3. I didn’t hate his look, I just saw it more as a day or brunch look than a wild night out. It was a great look, but I don’t think it fit the challenge description. As for the bottom 3, it seemed kind of obvious that Django would land there. I was surprised he wasn’t bottom 2, especially over Sean. Django really didn’t capture a lion in this look; it was very much underwhelming. I don’t see Django doing well here because of that fact his work is going to have a hard time standing out amongst these other super talented designers.

With Sean being in the bottom 2 with Juli, it was kind of like the writing on the wall that it would be Juli going. Sean did capture the giraffe in his look, but I didn’t see this for a wild night out, and the plaid print fell flat. I liked the idea, but with the plaid print, and his styling choices, the look read far too casual.

For me, it was very much time for Juli to make her exit. I get that she is a commercial designer, but that generally doesn’t fare well on this show. This look was far too basic and not flattering. And she did attempt to try and do more than basic, and that attempt went horribly awry. Her leaving now reaffirms my point that Seth Aaron should have stayed over her!

Underwear for Outerwear Designs

This week’s runway began with a sexy bang, awaiting designers saw models walk out in sexy lingerie. Alyssa soon joined to lay out the challenge details. The designers were tasked to create outerwear from underwear by transforming corsets into high fashion looks. Each designer would be given a standard corset to use, completely with the ability to re-design, but the corset had to be fully visible in the silhouette of the final look.

The stakes were high for this week’s runway. As Alyssa was going over the challenge details, head designer for, Helen Mears, also joined the designers. Adore Me is an online e-commere site for women’s lingerie, sexy looks for women without sacrificing comfort. Helen announced that the winning look would be sold in a limited edition on and that the designer would be awarded $10,000.

With the details laid out, the designers were off to Mood with a $200 budget for this 1-day challenge. Afterwards, the designers were back to the workroom to begin cutting away, although Michelle accidentally cut her finger instead — YIKES!!

Anne soon came by for her check-ins. She began with a history on the use of corsets in high fashion looks, so making it clear there should be no excuses in the work done for this challenge. She was enjoying some of what she saw, but cautioned others on certain elements of their looks. Some needed a push, while others were doing that themselves, such as Irina. I am glad to hear that during Anne’s consultation with Anya that Anya realized her fabrics can’t do all the work for her! Django probably got the toughest critique and really just hoped he could make the runway critiques this week.

When the models came in, Jasper was back to his normal antics of working on his model’s walk and running around the workroom. Also after the model fittings, a couple of designers were doubting their work, Dmitry and Cynthia. As the day tolled away we saw some designer shade being tossed around — with Jasper for gluing lace onto his garment; Jasper calling out Cynthia for not using her corset in what he thought was the right way; and Biddell telling Dmitry that this was not his best work.

It was soon time for the runway! This week’s guest judges were designer Rebecca Minkoff and model Olivia Culpo. This was just a so-so runway for me. There were a few amazing looks, some looks that had amazing details, but certainly a few underwhelming looks. The judges’ top and bottom 3 were mostly what I had on my list, but I don’t see how Anya was not in the bottom. Her look was a hot mess and so poorly constructed! Django might have had a little too much going on, but at least his look didn’t have construction issues.

And then my one change in the top would have been including Juli. I still think Juli should have been out last week, this look doesn’t wow me enough to change my mind. But that is all in the past, and looking at the present, I did like this look top to bottom. Whereas with Dmitry’s look, his top did have a wow factor, but the pants kind of felt like a throwaway. A few other quick mentions — Michelle’s look felt like PJs to me; I didn’t care for Sean’s plaid and I thought the fit was a little too baggy to read sexy; I don’t see why Biddell was jumping on Dmitry about his best work because his work this week was certainly not his, way too safe!; I didn’t love Anthony’s work, but I was at least intrigued.

The win did come down to Irina and Christina, which was 100% the right call. I loved what Cynthia created. It was effortlessly beautiful, simplicity and minimalism at its best. But while Irina’s look was perhaps a little too sexy for me, I think she deserved the win of the week for creating just so much more and doing it so well. The jacket she designed was so fierce, such a bold, great color, and was really amazing. Perhaps could more easily sell what Christina created than Irina, but my choice would have been Irina for the win. Both talented ladies however knocked it out of the park this week, leaps and bounds above the rest.

As mentioned above, I would have traded Django for Anya in the bottom 3. Django’s look was not the best, but it wasn’t the worst, so I was glad he did not land in the bottom 2, which was between Jasper and Cynthia. I legit thought it was Cynthia going. Her look left no impact on me. I didn’t get her color choices and it was just a very sloppy look. And then just for fun, she created a Kentucky Derby-esque hat, which really hurt the look versus help.

But ultimately it was Jasper who was eliminated. I really didn’t care which of the 2 left. I don’t think either had done much to stake their claim to stay. Jasper has created nothing but super commercial looks, not really high fashion at all. This look definitely read slutty, not sexy. The fit was just way off and the lace was applied so poorly. You could tell he glued it and didn’t sew it, not that this would have made a huge difference in helping the overall final quality of the look.

Next week looks super exciting though — can’t wait!!

All-Star Designers Step Up!

I was not impressed last week with the All-Star designers’ dual color challenge. However, this week was a major turnaround, and a truly outstanding runway! The ever-popular unconventional materials challenge definitely made the designers step up their game.

The designers all met at the Southwest Airlines terminal, appearing as if they might be going on a trip. Once Alyssa greeted them on board the plane, they quickly knew a challenge was awaiting, not a destination. This was the week for the always popular unconventional materials challenge. All the materials were in the baggage claim, all flight related — tags, coffee cups, reflectors, air sickness bags, and more! The designers would have 2 days to create a look for modern-day travel.

On top of winning $5000, the week’s winner would also receive a vacation to any destination Southwest Airlines flies too, for the winner and a companion. The winning designer would also get to partner with a non-profit group affiliated with Southwest, Re-Threaded, and would serve as a consultant on upcycling, all for women empowerment.

The designers had 5 minutes to collect materials and then it was off to the workroom. Everyone quickly began figuring out their goal for the challenge. I think the global winners of Project Runway had the most trouble at the onset here, maybe not being as familiar with this type of challenge. Jasper mentioned during his season of Project Runway, there was no unconventional materials challenge.

The 2nd day of work soon arrived, and Django began by starting over on his design. Anne came by for her check-ins, urging some to do more, or saying some might be going in the wrong direction. She did have some positives — Hey, I love pockets too! As the end of the day approached however, many designers still had quite a bit to do!

The morning of provided its usual frantic moments, although it seemed Jasper had finally finished his work craziness and was soon focused a bit much on his model’s walk for the runway. I was getting very excited to see this runway, as I’m sure were the judges, including 2 guest judges — award winning journalist Tamron Hall and supermodel Martha Hunt.

As I mentioned in my introduction, I absolutely loved this runway! I had so many faves, and picking a top 3 was hard! I guess what it came down to was who not only made a great look, but one that was also fitting to the challenge theme of a modern day travel look.

I did love what Michelle created, but I think my top 3 would have included Cynthia. I loved her use of color, and she got a great fit for her model despite the type of materials she was using. But I guess with Michelle, she also had a striking color, and the reflectors created that extra pop of intrigue for the runway. However, I did find Cynthia’s look a bit more suitable for travel, and with Michelle, I felt a bit more of a red carpet or cocktail vibe. Nonetheless, both did excellent work!

A few other shout-outs, Django and Evan first. I loved these looks, but they definitely read more upscale than travel. Christina and Anthony Ryan both went a bit more of a sportier route, which was nice to see, but I don’t believe there work was quite as polished as some of the others.

The top 2 was without a shadow of a doubt Irina & Jasper. This was a tough call and it really could have gone either way. I am a huge Irina fan, so I am very happy for her win, and given she was on the bottom last week, this was a great turnaround to see for her.

And Jasper’s look was deserving of all the accolades too. He seemed so crazed during this challenge, and I thought we were in store for a disaster. But that was clearly not the case! I loved his color palette, and he really did create a super chic, high fashion travel look.

The bottom 3 made sense, although I did not like seeing Sean there! It was clear as the judges discussed though that he would not be going anywhere. There were really on 2 poor looks this week, and that was the bottom 2, Juli & Seth Aaron. I can see why with Sean’s look it created some discussion, but I was happy to hear this look had some positives mentioned. I thought it was a colorful look, perfect for travel!

A lot of times in a bottom 2 scenario, we see someone who did too much, and one who did too little, usually with the one doing too little going home. For Juli and Seth Aaron, I guess you could say both did too little. Seth Aaron made a dress from seat belts and that is exactly what it looked like. And Juli made a super safe, very basic look, that had 0 wow factor.

I guess what saved Juli was that her dress was at least wearable. However, I have only seen “safe” looks from her, where as Seth Aaron was just in the top last week. And at least with this challenge, Seth Aaron showed some attempts of trying. I think he should have stayed over Juli. But since she is not out, hopefully we see her step it up next week because safe is not what needs to come down the runway!