Project Runway All Stars recap: 'Versatile Tops and Bottoms'
QVC sponsors a challenge, causing the designers to think about what women in middle America would actually wear.
Remember when buying things from TV used to be a joke? Not too long ago it was a place for grandmas to buy magic face cream and shut-ins to buy Snuggies. And then somehow QVC turned into this place where Bobbi Brown, Dennis Basso, and the one and only Isaac Mizrahi are shilling their goods. So as much as I want to make laugh about how these All Star designers must be thrilled that the winning design will be sold on QVC, they might actually be thrilled. For one, people selling on there probably make bank. And two, selling on QVC is becoming kind of a thing. And it doesn’t help that this episode is perfectly timed when everyone is talking about Isaac and QVC.
But QVC is a sponsor for All Stars, so it makes sense that they would eventually be a part of a challenge, and this just happens to be the week. During the challenge assignment, Alyssa introduces Lisa Robertson, QVC program host. She tells the designers about the G.I.L.I. line, a line that reflects the “quality, value, convenience.” The designers must create separates to sell in that line, along with a fashion-forward version for a second model.
Now what doesn’t make sense this week is Alyssa telling the designers that she, Zanna, Isaac, and Georgina will ring the Nasdaq bell—and then the designers running to watch from OUTSIDE in Times Square. It was a confusing addition to the episode, so let’s forget it and get to the rest!
In the workroom, there are two camps: The “I have no idea what I’m doing” camp, and the “I got this” camp.
In the “I have no idea what I’m doing” camp: Jay is focusing on the fact that he’s over-designing. So he buys a ton of fabrics and decides to figure it out as he goes … I’m not sure that’s what the judges meant, but whatever works, Jay. Sonjia also has no idea what she’s doing, but that’s a weekly trend with her. Helen is also struggling because she is a high-end designer, not ready-to-wear. As she puts it, “I’m in this, like, fashion purgatory right now.”
In the “I got this” camp, the designers are confident, whether they should be or not. Michelle wants to pick a “sunshine” fabric, and she ends up choosing a hideous print that she thinks everyone will love. Fabio also wants to use a print, but he creates his own, which ends up looking like an updated tie-dye. And never one without confidence, Dmitry boldly chooses to use neoprene and lace and doesn’t look back.
Zanna comes in—styled as strangely as ever—for critiques. She likes Dmitry’s RTW look, but she advises him that it’s “quite extreme” for an everyday woman. She tells Michelle, “No cheeks on the runway” and Helen to not go “too Morticia.”
After the model fittings, Sonjia still doesn’t have any idea what she’s doing for her high-fashion look. “So I decide to YOLO this dress.” She takes her scissors to the fabric and “voila!” She must be a magician—because suddenly her yellow textile is actually a dress. But Helen wouldn’t be caught dead in it. (As much as these designers get along in the workroom, they sure love to throw shade in confessionals.)
For a very QVC runway, the judges are joined by Lisa, the QVC host, and George Kotsiopoulos, formerly of Fashion Police, currently of QVC. Although there was apparently a top three and a bottom three, it was hard to tell which was which based on the judges’ critiques, especially since they reviewed the designs in two mixed groups. Let’s just look at them one by one.
Here’s the thing: Dmitry did a fabulous job. Neoprene and lace sounds like a very strange concept, but it actually looked beautiful coming down the runway. And the judges love it—but neither look is ready-to-wear. As Helen says, “Yeah, the Midwest housewife is going to wear a neoprene, street-fighter wetsuit with lace appliqué.” And that’s true, but the judges seem to be more into overall designs than following challenge rules this season.
Fabio is a very specific kind of designer, a kind who is likely never to have mass-market appeal. And in spite of that, he created a ready-to-wear look that appealed to the judges. I couldn’t quite get over the SKORT (I just wrote “Ahh!” in my notes), but I’m obsessed with his painted fabric. I also like the dress, but I agree with the designers that it isn’t “high-fashion.” Isaac gets a little stern with Fabio; he tells him that his work is irrelevant to the world. Way harsh Tai. (Sidenote: Are those models twins?)
This lady didn’t have a clue what she was doing for most of the episode, but Sonjia pulled out two flawless looks for the runway. It gets a “yes, yes, yes” from Alyssa and an “it’s beyond” from Isaac. Georgina doesn’t love the flaps at the hips of the high-fashion look, but it’s a pretty minor concern for all the praise she receives.
Helen designs gowns, so it’s no surprise that her high-fashion look is impeccable. The mock-cape dress SHOULD be sold on QVC … or anywhere, I just want to buy it. The other look is a little too “junior,” as Michelle puts it. The judges are split on the two looks as well.
Michelle wanted this fabric to appeal to everyone. The designers are pretty evenly split down the middle on it, and I’m on Team Isaac: I hate it. Hate it, hate it. Can barely look at it on the runway, hate it. But if you can get past the print, you see that the looks are kind of exactly the same. Neither is really RTW, but George is still a fan. Isaac, on the other hand, says it’s “overindulgence.”
Michelle made a joke that Jay‘s pants were made out of a tablecloth and would be great for when you’re eating ribs. That woman has a way with words. The cut and hem of the pants didn’t help the fabric either. And whereas the other designers had at least one saving look, Jay’s dress isn’t winning him over with the judges either; it has strange pleats in the back, which are uneven and an odd length. The judges do like his top, but one out of three isn’t a great ratio.
What did you guys think? Did you agree with the judges’ picks? I want to hear your thoughts down below or on Twitter. And make sure you dress up for next week—we’ve got a wedding to go to! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check out QVC to learn what the moon is and buy myself a ready-to-wear look…
Project Runway All Stars