So this week, with the whole Project Runway franchise arena, we are bidding farewell to PR season 13, all the ups and downs. But no worries since it’s also time to welcome back PR All-Stars, season 4! Before season 4 officially kicked off there was a special reunion episode with the outgoing PR season. I could really do an entire post on that alone! Drama was re-visited. Disputes were settled. Indeed, a great deal was in store as the designers sat back down with each other. We did learn that Amanda received a $5000 cash prize for using the Aldo accessory wall the best during the season. I remember often giving her an Aldo shout-out on my recaps so congrats to her! But all in all with the reunion, it was great to watch and see how everyone was doing. Very happy to know Korina is going to be having some pieces at Lord & Taylor — that’s AWESOME!! But moving on now to PRAS, I’m excited to blog about this upcoming season and it looks like we will be in for some drama, spectacular creations, and much more! I’m excited & can’t wait!!
The episode kicked off as all of the designers came together at Grand Central Terminal in NYC. From season 12 we had Justin LeBlanc, Alexandria von Bromssen, and Helen Castillo. Some tensions were revisited between Helen & Alexandria. Will there be more of that this season?!? Only time will tell, but of course more designers were ready to make their entrances. Kate Pankoke was on both season 12 & 11. So she was reunited with the group above, but also with fellow castmates from season 11, what I dub as “the dreaded groups season”, which included for this all-star cast, Benjamin Mach, Patricia Michaels, and Samantha Black. We also saw quite a few designers from Season 10, Fabio Costa, Gunnar Deatherage, and Sonjia Williams. Oh, and then one designer, having to go a bit further back seasons-wise, we have Chris March.
Returning host & judge Alyssa Milano was there to greet everyone with a few surprises. One being that she was expecting, which fits perfectly with PR & PRAS’s theme of “expect the unexpected”!
But another huge surprise was that these designers would also be working with 2 previous winners, Dmitry Sholokhov and Michelle Lesniak. So note, if the competition was not already tight, they would now have to all step up their game even more! This goes for the winning designers too as they have titles to defend. The designers also were reminded to always be on their game as there would be no immunity, yikes! There would however be some prizes along the way. Gotham West would be the designer’s new home.
The challenge this week was all about NYC, to create a collection inspired by the uptown or the downtown scene. The collection aspect of course meant group challenge. And with an equal number of men and women, what would make better sense than to pit the girls against the guys. The designers had to think collection, think cohesion, but ultimately, each would be responsible for their own look. Being in Grand Central, a subway token decided the fate of the teams. Dmitry called gold-side on the flip, he got it, and the guys chose downtown, leaving the women with the uptown girl. There would be a losing team and a winning one. From the losing team, a designer would go home, and from the winning side we would of course have a winner. Each team would have a $1500 budget and it was up to the groups on how to split it. And no surprise, there would only be 1 day to accomplish this all!
The groups were off to their locations with an hour to chat and find inspiration. The women went uptown and were thinking of a classy girl, but with some edge. They were creating for a socialite party girl. Hanging around The Plaza Hotel provided a great deal of inspiration with colors and the vibe. The men went downtown and were thinking of a raw, edgy girl. It was surprising to see from the guys’ team the first bit of tension as some of the men were worried about Ben’s outfit looking more uptown than downtown. Everyone was then off to Mood with 30 minutes to shop. I would have loved to see more on the decisions of how the budget was divided up — was it equal? Oh well, back to the workroom we go!
The workroom was dope — decked out with the QVC accessory wall, Brother sewing room, relaxing lounge, and kitchen area. It was nice to take in some luxe workroom aspects, but it is still a workroom so quick to work went the designers. As the guys were unpacking, Fabio learned his fabric was missing. There was no clue as to what exactly happened, but a plan was put in place and everyone handled the situation professionally. As the men were starting to gel, the women then seemed to show some tensions. Just as the guys were worried about Ben, Alexandria was concerned Kate’s look didn’t fit with their collection. Some of the ladies were concerned about Patricia and her working process, as we saw many times during Patricia’s first PR stint. Next up, Zanna-time!
I thought her comments were spot on. She reminded a few to keep their theme of uptown or downtown in mind. She too reiterated some of the guys’ concern with Benjamin’s piece and from that, he knew some changes were needed. Also with a couple of the guys, Zanna wanted to make sure the looks were not too short! Zanna reminded the designers of how important styling was. She introduced to them that Chi Hair Care and Mary Kay cosmetics teams would be on board for this season to help with all of their styling needs!
As the first day came to end, many thought it was over way too soon, another no surprise moment for the episode! The morning of continued with a little more last minute craziness. The designers were off to receive their styling help. The ladies went for the same beauty look, thinking of spring, so going fresh and sunny, with a citrus lip from Mary Kay. The guys gave us the inside scoop on their hair look regime, wanting a stylized look, but something that looked as if the girl did it themselves, all courtesy of Chi hair care. It was soon time for the runway where Alyssa introduced to the designers what would be in the store for the winner. It is a truly phenomenal prize package consisting of
- the chance to create their own capsule collection with QVC and appear during QVC’s Spring Fashion Week programming;
- a fashion spread in Marie Claire and a position at the magazine as Contributing Editor for one year;
- CHI Haircare will send the winner to stay in a luxury spa resort as a special guest at their International conference in Cancun, Mexico, plus product and staff for entire year of runway shows;
- from Mary Kay, an entire year’s worth of beauty products for their fashion shows and professional makeup artist services for their debut show;
- a cash prize of $150,000 and
- a complete custom sewing & crafting studio to launch the designer’s winning line from Brother Sewing and Embroidery.
The designers were also introduced to returning judges, talented designers Isaac Mizrahi & Georgina Chapman of Marchesa. This week’s guest judge was Ivanka Trump, successful businesswoman, and too a designer, with her own apparel and accessories brand. After the runway, it was announced that Ivanka would don the winning look.
As far as which team won this week, I really thought it could go either way. Both teams had some hits and misses. I thought the ladies had a more cohesive collection, but the men had more innovative designs. I did like a few more of the women’s looks though, more my style. Both teams had looks with execution issues though so a few will have to step it up or they will be out sooner rather than later! Let’s start with the winning team, drumroll please, THE GUYS!
I think from where Benjamin was originally at, no asymmetry, the more ladylike neckline, this was a drastic turnaround and he really made it work. I think it was the piece that maybe didn’t fit quite so well in the guys’ collection, but as a standalone, it was a knockout. Most of the guys thought downtown, and went literal, lower east-side or east village. Benjamin rightfully remembered in downtown there is also Soho, Tribeca, FiDi. Great back, wonderful movement, a great piece from Benjamin indeed! Also, love the black bracelet, great choice from the QVC accessory wall!
The judges however selected Fabio as the winner. He also had a stunning look from the back! And don’t get me wrong, I was very much impressed with this jumpsuit. This was far better than anything I remember from Fabio during his season of PR. But for this look, I could have done without the cinched waist and dangling piece on the front. And to also mention for the guys, shoutout for the distressed, yet chic look with the hair, courtesy of Chi hair care. But I think both teams got it wrong with beauty/make-up looks this week. So for the guys, the eyes just had way too much make-up on them. It looked more like morning after eyes than the original “going out” look.
I also loved Chris’s work this week so I was happy to see him land in the top 3. I want this skirt! I loved the layers, the safety pin detail, the leather, just everything about it, I’m a fan. I can’t say this leather top was deserving of such a rave, but he still very much deserved his top 3 placement. He also gets a QVC shout-out for perfectly pairing his look with these knee-high black boots. So funny, I really wanted a pair of these myself this week for my Halloween costume!
So with the ladies dubbed as the losing team, we had a bottom 3 consisting of Kate, Michelle, and Patricia.
But because the ladies as a whole were on the bottom, no standout looks from their team received any praise. No worries! I can take care of that. First, for Helen, I mean WOW! She could have won with this look. The fit, the execution, such clean lines, it was all spot on perfection. Breathtaking!
I can almost guarantee this was a split-type look when it came to the judges’ scoring. Some will love it. Others won’t. That point of debate is likely over this iridescent fabric. Personally, I’m a fan. I love the pairing with this faded green. I think the back was cut beautifully. Also, shoutout for the QVC heels!
And a surprise for me, I really loved Alexandria’s top this week. I wasn’t a fan during her season, but this top was spectacular. I don’t think its pairing with this ivory floor-length skirt works with the collection’s vibe of an uptown girl, but shout-out nonetheless is owed for this top. My thought is if the women had landed on top, this would be the top 3, likely Helen winning! I will also mention now the styling choices for the ladies’ team. Just as with the guys, shout-out for the hair, very chic up-do by Chi hair care. But the beauty look, not right for the uptown girl at all. The citrus lip, bad choice. I would have gone with a nude lip or light pink, but I guess the ladies were trying to insert a bright pop of color. Something just looked off with this color choice though.
But alas, the girls were the bottom group this week so let’s discuss the bottom 3. Michelle was a surprise with ending up in the bottom. She won her season. And all episode all we heard was how much she didn’t like Kate’s look, yet her look was just so luxe, with high priced suede. And for her girl, she just had so much money to spend. The problem, this wouldn’t be a dress a girl would want to spend her loads of money on. Ivanka was a fan, but I agree with the other judges. This fabric didn’t look so high quality and expensive.
This left Kate & Patricia in the bottom 2. I was also surprised Kate landed in the bottom. I’m a fan of Kate and her work. I’ve followed her success since her time on PR. She creates such beautiful bridal gowns. But this look did have a bit too much going on. The slit in the back, the overworked bust, etc. I know she can bounce back though so I think it was the right decision she stayed this week. Shout-out for the QVC metallic silver heels!
Patricia was unfortunately the first to go. She had many issues going on. If you look back at any of her previous work, you would have no clue as to how this look below would fit in that aesthetic. It didn’t read Patricia at all. During the episode, all we saw Patricia working on was some leather detailed work, which was nowhere to be seen on this piece. All she had was a plain boring ivory A-line dress trimmed in black. This bottom 2 represents what many PR bottom twos consist of, a look of too much and one of too little. The look of “too little” generally goes home and that, in a nutshell, is why Patricia was out.
Very much can’t wait to see how this season plays out!!