Project Runway Ball-Mania!

Starting right off the bat this week, Alyssa met the designers on the runway, informing them of a visit to a castle for the rest of the challenge details. However, she didn’t say what type of castle! The designers arrived to find they were at an inflatable bouncy castle, filled with all types of balls — toys, rubber, sports, etc. They were tasked to create a modern day ball-gown with the use of these unconventional materials, the balls!

The designers had 5 minutes to gather their supplies. An interesting note was that it seemed almost all of the balls were taken from the castle, yet the designers were later told they didn’t get enough materials?? Either way, it was a “make it work” moment for this 1-day challenge.

The designers upon arriving back to the workroom were excited to get creative! Helen whined a bit, but most of the bunch were having fun with this challenge. A lot of the balls to choose from were similar in color, so naturally, there were similarly colored looks being created, multi-colored rainbow and gold for example. So who would win those individual duos and who would just plain win out for the week! To help judge, this week’s guest judge was country singer Kacey Musgraves.

For those safe with the week, I felt there was a reason for this. There was some good and some bad aspects within a given look as a whole, so overall, just the need for a bit more of a push from certain designers. Having seen the next week’s episode already, I know Ken landed in the top, but I would have rather seen him on top this week because I did really like his look a lot! It was super sexy and I loved the color!

Shout-outs — Intermix on the killer heels

But onto the judges’ top 3, we have Stanley, Fabio, and Kimberly. I actually think the judges were not all in agreement with Kimberly’s look. It read a little “barbie princess” to me, more junior than modern ball gown. So certainly for the win, it had to have been Fabio or Stanley.

Shout-outs — Intermix, Rodial, & Umberto

I didn’t love Stanley’s look, and certainly not enough for a win. I got this candy-esque vibe from it, but as always, he did do some high quality work. For me, the winner was Fabio. I have been much more impressed with Fabio this go-round than on his original season. And this look was just another check mark in the book for me with him (picture above, Stanley below)!

Shout-outs — Umberto for Hair!!

In the bottom 3, we had Amanda, Helen, and Candice. I am not sure how Helen landed in the bottom. Her look was a basic silhouette, but it was so well-made, great color palette, this just made 0 sense! There were some other options that could have taken her bottom 3 placement.

Amanda and Candice were also in the bottom. Amanda, granted her look had fit issues, it was a little costume-y, but there was an interesting quality to it that I appreciated. It was so different than the rest and really stayed true to Amanda as a designer.

I think from this bunch, it was obvious Candice would be out. The bottom part was just so bad. It sucks to say, but it felt like a let-down. I know Candice is better than this, and it was just one where the challenge won out. I’m very excited to see Candice very soon with NYFW!

Best Dressed Round-Up for Early 2018

Lots of red carpets ongoing in the mix for this early part of 2018 — Critics Choice Awards, Producers Guild Awards, NAACP Image Awards, National Board of Review Awards/Gala, Go Glam for G’Day gala & more! Here are my faves —

JESSICA BIEL

ALLISON JANNEY

ALLISON WILLIAMS

ROSE BYRNE

EMMA ROBERTS

ALEXIS BLEDEL

JAIMIE ALEXANDER

GAL GODOT

MARGOT ROBBIE

MILLICENT SIMMONDS

NIECY NASH

HALLE BERRY

RACHEL BROSNOHAN

CONSTANCE WU

STERLING K BROWN & RYAN MICHELLE BATHE

PR All-Stars Double Up

Project Runway All-Stars this week went for a pairs challenge. In the first episode, Alyssa said that would be the only team challenge of the season, but I guess pairs’ work is still a possibility! We also later found out that this runway would be a double elimination, sending the bottom 2 team, both designers, going home.

The designers met Alyssa at fine dining restaurant in NYC, Daniel. Joining her was the establishment’s head chef Jean Francois Bruel and Head Sommelier Raj Vaidya. The designers appeared to have randomly sat with a companion of their choosing, but it was soon discovered their dining companion was also their challenge pair. The challenge would be for each pair to receive a food and wine pairing. From that, this food/wine would serve as an inspiration to create 2 looks, fine dining for elegant creations. The winning pair would be invited back to Daniel for a full 5 star dining experience.

The designers were off to Mood, $400 budget, ready to get started on this 1-day challenge. Versus being in LA, the designers were in NY, so working at NYFW home Skylight Clarkson Square. During Anne’s check-ins, she noted being thrilled about how well the partnerships were working, but pushed for more creativity, and of course, a bold reminder of the pending double elimination.

This week’s guest judge was actress Whoopi Goldberg.Overall, I thought this was another great runway. I found in most pairings that one look really stood out over the other. I loved Joshua’s sexy black number, a perfect result with an inspiration from the black sea bass. His partner, Amanda, her look was very safe, but I thought it complimented Joshua’s look well, given a more RTW pairing to that of a more upscale piece. Edmond and Helen were paired, but I wasn’t seeing a clear inspiration from their Minted pea soup & Chenin Blanc pairing.Helen’s look was nonetheless stunning. Even though Char’s look seemed relatively safe too, I thought her and Stanley did well, receiving inspiration from their Lobster & Rose of Pinot Noir pairing. Stanley’s look was also amazing, a real stand-out. I believe they should have been in the top!

The judges’ top 2 teams were Kimberly & Anthony, as well as Fabio & Ken. I didn’t fully dislike the winning pair of Fabio & Ken. I wasn’t the biggest Fabio fan during his season, but I have been surprised at liking some of his work so far. I will remain optimistic. And this week, his look was very modern thinking, fashion forward. I also liked Ken’s gown, but did think that the mid-area made the look too boxy.

I would have gone hands down with Kimberly & Anthony. Anthony was the stronger of the 2, but his Jackson Pollack inspired work looked phenomenal. I am not sure how either pair really worked with the food/wine pairing of Lamb Chops and Syrah, but loved the color palette here and the work made.

This season is full of some strong contenders, so almost any given week, whomever goes home will be a shock. As much as I really thought Merlinne & Candice should have been sent home, I hated that Candice would be going. Her first 2 looks were knock-outs, and even though the judges failed to note this, I am at least happy we get to see her again. Merlinne on the other hand as received undue accolades the first 2 weeks and this look was just such a travesty. Her skills are nowhere near the all-star level and I will be highly disappointed if undue judges’ praise continues.

Shoutouts — Umberto for Hair, Rodial on Glam, Intermix on heels!

I guess given the safe designers’ group, finding another bottom 2 pairing was not the easiest. Candice and Merlinne were a given, but joining them was Melissa & Ari. This was such a surprise given how strong Ari had started out. Compared to the mess of Merlinne & Candice, I don’t see much justification of how Melissa and Ari were ultimately axed. And really, shouldn’t some consideration been given for Ari’s 1st two strong weeks! Melissa really steered off course, but I think Ari’s biggest misfortune here was beading placement. With a bit more time, this look could have been such a knockout!

Shoutouts — Umberto for Hair, Rodial on Glam!!

Sad to see both go because this was not the right decision in my book! Hoping for better results from the judges in future episodes!

Best of the Golden Globes Weekend

Lots to look at with the Golden Globes weekend, past just the red carpet, afterparties, Art of Elysium, & more!

MADELAINE PETSCH

LILI REINHART

CAMILA MENDES

AMBER HEARD

LEA MICHELE

VICTORIA JUSTICE

CHRISTINE EVANGELISTA

ABIGAIL SPENCER

KENDALL JENNER

RUMER WILLIS

OLIVIA HOLT

VIRGINIA GARDNER

SARAH HYLAND

CARA SANTANA & JESSE METCALFE

SCOTT EASTWOOD

PRAS Goes Post Apocalyptic

Isaac Mizrahi I believe said this was one of the best runways ever and I totally agree! From the first week until now, I could not have seen a huger difference! From the get go, with the designers meeting Alyssa in the workroom, cages, caution tape spread about, fire extinguisher craziness, I was lit from the get-go!

Alyssa said out of chaos can come a beautiful runway, and that was certainly the case this week! A major trend in fashion is distress, post apocalyptic fashion. There are lots of techiques, dyes, blow torcheers, sanders, etc. For this challenge, the designers had to use at least 2 techniques to create a post apocalyptic look. They also had to create a story, a scenario, for their woman.

So with the concept in mind, a $200 Mood budget in hand, the designers were off to work on this 1-day challenge. During Anne’s check-ins, she was concerned she wasn’t seeing enough distress with some of the designers. An added perk was told in that if Anne agreed with the winning look, it might end up in the pages of Marie Claire.

This week, we were also more formally introduced to the hair care provider, Umberto Salon, and for glam, Rodial. And the guest judge for the challenge was actress Danielle Brooks.

I found it so hard to pick only 3 for the top! I would give huge shoutouts to several, or really certain aspects of a look — Candice’s pants,Helen, Amanda Amanda Amanda, Josh, Fabio’s coat, and even a little with Melissa. With all of these greats, I still agreed mostly with the judges this week. I am shocked though that Merline ended up in the top again, but thankfully not with the win!

Shoutouts — glam Rodial, Intermix heels

Anthony was so deserving of this and he was stressed in the episode. He was having a rough go. But he made it work and this look was truly amazing!

Ari too deserves another week of accolades, creating so much, and everything being a true standout!

The bottom 3 was hard. I don’t know if this was my exact bottom 3, but I don’t see how Kelly is out this early! Her look was not the worst of the bunch. The fishnets didn’t help here, but her top and earmuffs were bangin’!

Of this bottom 3, I would have sent Char out. I guess the judges recalled her top 3 placement last week, but I felt that was undeserving. This was more costume than fashion.

Nice makeup look with Rodial

Stanley was also in the bottom. I could sort of see why, but I am so thankful he didn’t go home. I hope he remembers the judges’ comments on keeping things modern for the weeks to come and he should be fine!

 

PR All-Stars is Back!

Project Runway, the regular season, wound up recently, but it’s already time for another All-stars season! I have watched the first 2 episodes, and thankfully, because of episode #2, I am very excited about this season. With this first challenge, I felt underwhelmed, but after #2, I am hooked!

The designers met with host Alyssa Milano at the MetLife stadium/field, for introductions and challenge details. The theme this season is rookies versus vets, and given that, it made total sense for the 1st challenge to be a team challenge, rookies v. vets! Each team was tasked with creating a cohesive, fierce collection. To choose between fall or spring, the designers did a quick stitch relay (8 stations — sewing, cutting, pattern, tracing, pinning, hand sewing, etc.). The rookies were close, but the vets came out on top, choosing spring, leaving fall for the rookies.

Each team had a $1000 budget, but the winner of the relay race received an extra $500. And so with that, the teams were off to shop at Mood and get started on this 1-day challenge. This season’s mentor, aka Tim Gunn, is Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, Anne Fulenwider. And the same judges as seasons before, Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa. The first guest judge was PR designer, Michael Costello. Also new for this season is Intermix, as the accessory wall sponsor.

Before Mood, each team planned and organized. At this stage, I saw more from the vets, who decided to go with an “Art Basel” theme. Once in the workroom though, it seemed as if the rookies had it a bit more together, focusing on a 70s inspiration. During Anne’s check-ins, overall, she felt the designers were playing it safe and needed to step it up!

I agreed with Anne, but I didn’t see that many of the designers stepped up to the task. I found faves within each team, but if I had to pick a winning overall team, I did agree with the judges’ assessment in choosing the rookies’ Fall collection. I did not agree however with the top 3 from this team. I am surprised that Amanda, Kelly nor Candice didn’t make the cut. Their looks really gave this collection some pop and flare!

Umberto hair shoutout & Rodial for glam!

The judges picked Merline, Char, and Edmond, leaving Stanley and Kimberly safe. I kind of felt all of them played it a bit too safe, but of the judges’ top picks, I would have gone with Edmond.  It was a minimalist look, but I did like the color, and it seemed the most well made of this top 3 chosen.

If not Edmond, then maybe Char?? Her look was very basic to me, so not sure how it made top 3. It just felt safe, but I did love the color used. Merline won the challenge, and even after hearing the judges’ comments, I am confused. I remember she got rave reviews during her season and I was always left perplexed!

Shoutouts for all Styling, Intermix, Umberto & Rodial

70’s vibes are not really my thing, so the vets really should have had this in the bag. But I didn’t see the most cohesion here, and many of the looks fell flat. I was glad the judges pointed out how amazing Ari’s look was because it was such a shame he was in with the bottom crowd!

Shoutout — Umberto & Rodial, but overall for this collection wrong shoe choice from Intermix!

Shout-out — Correct styling here from Intermix, also on point with hair & makeup

The bottom 3 was Ken, Casanova, and Helen, ultimately with Casanova going home. This was the right call based on this bottom 3, and all in all, it was the right bottom 3 as well. Helen was safe from the bottom 2, but I think the reason she landed in the bottom was because of how safe and uninspiring this look was. I know she can do better!

Ken had some construction issues, but just as with Helen, it also lacked vision and innovation. Casanova too suffered from those same issues, but there was not a lot of effort in this look, just far too basic.

Gorgeous hair & makeup, Umberto & Rodial!!

I definitely found much more excitement in this next runway!

 

Kia Von Vega — Latest Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT — Eugene DeVillamil

When I first started Fashion Nexus, back in 2014, I had the greatest pleasure of being introduced to bombshell designer Kia Von Vega. So amazing to now see more work from this unique designer voice, and what a great way for her to ride out 2017, and ring in 2018 with a bang — debuting her latest collection!

Kia Von Vega showcased her Clear Boutique Pre-Fall collection at the False Alarm Warehouse in Williamsburg on December 10, 2017. On top of signature Kia sexiness with her looks, we saw a lot of bold color and graphic prints.

“The collection inspiration was glamour and style for the intellectual woman” says Kia Von Vega. “The pieces have raw strength. The collection is for confident women who are not afraid to be”.

I enjoyed that Kia stayed true to her voice with this collection, but still offered such a variety and something new for her clients with this presentation.

Beautiful styling for the looks was created by Chloe Lynn, Deanna Wilklow, Monty Bee, Taylor Vincenti, Babette Douglas, Jen Elyse Feldman, Haley Conroy & Lauren Moscato.

Proj. Runway to PR All-Stars

This past season of Project Runway has come and gone, and in fact, it is now time for Project Runway All-Stars. I was remiss in putting out my last 2 posts, recapping the last 2 episodes. I want to dole out some final thoughts now, but also, take the opportunity to discuss this new season of PRAS! But firstly, let’s look back at this final 5 with Proj. Runway.

As we all will recall, Kenya was axed 1 episode shy of showing at NYFW. I know there was some outrage. But if I am being completely honest, she was really not ready. While it does suck to be right there at the end and not make it, there was no way she could have re-worked her looks enough to come in 1st or 2nd. Her main style tricks were bows and peplum. I was not a fan. She needed to push herself further and that is a sentiment that held throughout the season. I think she was the only designer who never won a challenge. Had she challenged herself more, perhaps this would have not been the case.

Margarita came in 4th, but I will skip to commentary on Brandon. He should have been the one in this 4th place. I actually think the judges didn’t feel as if they could give him 4th because they sang his praises all season! This collection, having seen it in person, fell so flat. In fact, I thought it was a decoy collection. All in all, no excuses! There is no way Brandon should have created 10 looks, all in this same, not so thrilling flamingo print. His aesthetic already bodes similarities, and using the same print, really made everything look all the more similar.

Moving on now to Ayana — she would have been my third place. This really saddened me because I loved Ayana’s work throughout most of the season. I know she faced some problems upon arriving back at home and wondered had this not happened, would it have made a difference?? Her color palette wasn’t overly exciting and similar to Brandon, her looks read a bit repetitive. There were a couple of standout pieces and of course, her finale wedding gown was immaculate. But overall, I was left expecting more.

I loved both Margarita and Kentaro’s collections, so either winning was a plus for me. As much as Margarita’s collection was so well-received at NYFW, I knew the judges were not going to award her the win. But she very much deserved more than 4th place! Similarly to my reasoning with Brandon, I think the judges felt as if they couldn’t give her a higher placement because they did not sing her praises all season. But this collection was fun, feminine, super sexy, and was really very memorable.

This of course meant Kentaro nabbed the win, which was really so well-deserved. I know he had fumbled a bit with his looks leading up to the finale. But this collection was truly sublime. I still remember it to this day, just a very haunting, memorable collection. It was poetically beautiful!

Moving on now to this next season, #6, for PRAS. I still find it weird to say that there has been so many all-star seasons?? I get that Lifetime understands that PR is a hit, and they want to spin that gold as much as they can, but 6 seasons of all-stars, it’s a bit much! Given that, I am excited about this cast and looking forward to the concept of Rookies v Vets.

I love Amanda Valentine. I have followed her since her stint on PR, and she has created some eye-catching pieces. I will root for her! I am also a fan of another rookie, Candice Cuoco, and look forward to seeing her talents at play again! Two vets I am looking forward to seeing are Joshua McKinley and Melissa Fleis. I was always captivated by their work on any of their given seasons!

2017 End of Year Best Dressed Round-Up

Many red carpets and events right at the end of the year, CMAs, Baby2Baby gala, Patron of the Artists Awards, MTV EMAs, SAG-AFTRA Foundation event, BAMBI Awards, and more. Here are my faves from those various events!

KELLIE PICKLER

MIRANDA LAMBERT

MANDY MOORE

VICTORIA SWAROVSKI

RITA ORA

ALY RAISMAN

CAMILA CABELLO

JULIE BOWEN

KATHARINE MCPHEE

KARLIE KLOSS

DANIELLE BRADBERY

REBA MCENTIRE

MADDIE & TAE

MICHAEL RAY

HUNTER HAYES

Project Runway’s Winter Wonderland!

In sharp contrast to the coveted fashion week spots, for S/S 2018, the designers this week were tasked to create winter-themed looks. And with this runway, it was supposed to decide which 4 would be going to NYFW? As we later see, I guess not….

Tim & Heidi met the designers on the runway, snow drifting down, to lay out all of the challenge details.The look created needed to be a high fashion, winter look, one where any fashionista would be thrilled to wear it while out in the cold. Tim & Heidi cautioned the designers to not think of a simple snow suit!

This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $400 budget, meaning the judges wanted to see ambition.To best get in the winter mindset, the designers would sketch in the coldest spot in Manhattan, Minus 5 ice bar. The interior is made of carved ice, a very cool setting!

Mood trips have been pretty par for course over the season, but not this go round! Margarita was the only one who thought fur for a winter look! After planning around this, picking out some select pieces, and even purchasing everything, it was then explained she couldn’t use these pieces. PR is a cruelty free show, so that means NO FUR!! I am not sure if this is spelled out in the massive rule list the designers must follow, but at the very least, it could have been stated as a reminder for this challenge! Tim, with the other designers’ blessing, did permit Margarita 5 more minutes to shop. I understood her initial frustration, given a plan around what she selected. But the constant whining over this, almost the entire first day, eventually started to wear thin.

Tim-time was on Day 2, and while he re-directed a new focus for some, he urged continued efforts for the rest. But the end of Day 2, Margarita was still in struggle-mode! This week’s guest judge was actress Katie Holmes. And what a sight the runway was, all Winter Wonderland’d out!

All designers were on the spot this week, and for the most part it was a judges’ love-fest. Although for some, there was some positives laid out, but mixed with some critique. I think at best, the judges could have picked a solid 3 for fashion week. And if they were set on having 4 show, then as in season’s past, they could have had 2 compete for that final spot, showcasing 3 looks from their collection. However, the judges didn’t allow anyone to receive a pass. This means all 5 designers left will create collections. And when they return to NY, they will most likely select 3 looks that best encapsulates their entire collection. And from that, the judges will decide on a final 4, but who knows, maybe even a final 3??

Personally, I am not a fan of Brandon, but the judges have sang his praises all season, including this week. Every designer also stated if they could go to fashion week, they would want Brandon to join. As much as I am happy he didn’t get a free pass, I think given all of this unwavering support, he could have been set to go. I have not seen growth from Brandon throughout the course of this season. His looks all remind me of each other. What might create an issue for Brandon in the next challenge, is that his 3 looks selected, might all look too similar. And maybe this was thought of internally by the judges.

I guess if no designer was getting a bypass for NYFW, then it makes no sense to only allow for one or two. But another designer who should have gotten this was Ayana. She has been on fire as of late. And while this week, the judges didn’t love every aspect of her look, she still did a great job. She was one of the only designers who I think really strove for full ambition, meaning worthwhile for 2 days of work and a $400 budget. Additionally, most of the other designers also said alongside themselves going to NYFW, she too should join.

Besides Brandon, the only other designer all 4 judges loved was Kentaro. This look really did make simplicity standout. The neutral color palette was a bit grappling for me. I don’t see it working in harsh winters, and this color palette, I just think it would get dirty so easily! But the judges were sold. However, in comparison to someone such as Brandon, who has repeatedly been on top, Kentaro has been in the bottom as of late. I would understand the judges doubting a guaranteed NYFW pass for him.

Margarita was another designer that the judges for the most part loved. I don’t think it was at the same level of Brandon or Kentaro, but approval nonetheless of her fur dress. The judges really liked the coat, but I thought it was okay. In retrospect now, I don’t see that this look felt overall, super luxe. I felt the coat lacked an expensive quality. No other designer picked Margarita when asked about who should join them at fashion week. I am guessing this did not instill much confidence in the judges permitting her the direct shot to show. She too has been on the bottom a lot lately, even being eliminated, but saved with the Tim Gunn save. So with a loved look this week, it did give her the chance to still create for NYFW.

And last, but not least, we have Kenya. She was last to be told she too would get a chance to create and show for NYFW. The sentiment I got from the judges this week was that her looks, even looked at individually, were just okay, but nothing knocked their socks off. Her coat, I find this would be hard to wear a great deal, and I didn’t really gravitate towards the look. Kenya has had no true highs over the course of the season. In fact, as stated at the onset of the week, she is the only one left who hasn’t won a challenge. I completely understand this. The judges have never seemed to gush over her the way they have for others. But I guess given she hasn’t fared too poorly either, this meant she too should get the chance for a mini-preview next week.

So almost a waste of an episode, given no actual decisions were made, but the question still remains, who will show at NYFW!?!