The remaining five designers make bridesmaids dresses ... for a wedding on the runway.

By Dalene Rovenstine
January 30, 2015 at 05:37 AM EST
Pawel Kaminski/Lifetime
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In the words of Sonjia, “It’s getting really real.” We are down to the top five All Stars. And what better way for them to showcase their fashion skills than with the worst piece of fashion on the planet? The bridesmaid dress. (I’ve worn five—I speak from experience.)

The designers meet Alyssa and Georgina down at Marchesa, where they met a blushing bride-to-be named Dana. Dana is going to marry her fiance Peter tomorrow. And she’s just missing one thing: the bridesmaids dresses. The designers are given $150 dollars and one day to create looks that the bride will love (or course they don’t ask the bridesmaids’ opinions, they never do).

For as much as this challenge is worth—a Marchesa “experience,” featuring glassware and chinaware, a diamond ring, and front row seats to the labels’ NYFW show, oh, and a chance in the finals of this here show—the designers sure don’t seem to put as much effort into these looks as usual. (I’m telling you, no one ever cares about the bridesmaid.)

But with their navy, plum, and dark gray fabrics from Mood, the designers get to work. Dmitry is going to do draping with silk jersey; Fabio is going to construct with organza—which apparently you don’t do, but sounds interesting to me; Helen is fussing about having to do a bridesmaid dress and not the bride (what did I tell you); Michelle is just so happy because she “loves love”; and then there’s Sonjia, who has yet to sketch anything.

This is not a surprise—Sonjia never sketches anything and last week she won the challenge with that strategy. But stress and exhaustion finally get the best of her. Over a nice ordered-in lunch, she loses it. Nothing dramatic happens; she has a good cry and her friends give her a little pep talk. In the promos they tried to make this moment seem bigger than it actually is, but I did enjoy seeing the designers support one another. It’s a pretty good final five group.

And Zanna agrees, but she wants them to elevate their designs. This is the Marchesa challenge, you know. She brings along the CEO, Edwin Chapman, who just happens to be Georgina’s brother. He and Zanna dole out some critiques to the designers: Mostly “Make it more Marchesa.” Since the bride is wearing one of the judge’s designs, the bridesmaids’ dresses should be as romantic and ethereal as hers.

It takes Sonjia awhile to get her dress in shape, but she does what she always does—her quick-hands magic and transforms a piece of fabric into an actual design. She’s happy with it, and all the designers are confident with what they have. Michelle even says, “I feel so good about my dress I’m really not worried about it.” Which means she should absolutely be worried.

NEXT: Here comes the bride…

Everything is going great for everyone on the day of the wedding/runway show until the bridesmaids (who conveniently all have model proportions) arrive. Michelle’s dress does not fit. It puckers in the wrong places and isn’t flattering, but as with any runway day—there’s no time for changes.

This week the judges are joined by So You Think You Can Dance‘s Cat Deeley. (Seems like an odd tie-in since the show’s on hiatus, but maybe they just wanted her for her fashion knowledge?) Once again, the judges give incredibly mixed reviews to all the designs. It’s a pretty common trend this season, but Isaac is OVER it. “Not your best week All Stars.” And with that, let’s see them…

There is really nothing special about Helen‘s dress. It’s “tasteful” as Georgina says, but there’s not much to it. Luckily, she’s up against other dresses that are also pretty “meh.” (But that braid is pretty great!)

For the first time in a few weeks (this season?), Fabio actually made something feminine, fun, and flirty. It still had some issues, though: the hemline and sleeves were off, but it’s not the worst dress on the runway… it’s just a little safe. And that’s not what we usually see from him.

Michelle took a great idea and executed it very poorly. She created a pattern with her fabric, but it just didn’t fit the bridesmaid as well as it fit the mannequin. And the judges are not feeling it. Isaac wants it to be five inches shorter. Alyssa thinks it’s both phallic and circus-y. But Georgina does stick up for the concept.

Helen mentioned how Dmitry‘s dress looked very similar to bride Dana’s dress when they met her, and that’s a pretty apt comparison. He didn’t take any risks—even though he used about 10 different kinds of fabric. Of all the judges, only Cat liked the look. When Georgina says, “It’s not a disaster,” Isaac loses it. “It’s not called Project Runway: It’s Not a Disaster. It’s called Project Runway All Stars.” The judges think that’s hilarious—they’re all chuckling away, but none of the designers seem to even be smiling.

Again, conflicted judges. Alyssa is a big of Sonjia‘s bridesmaid dress, but the others feel that it has too many competing parts. The draping is overworked and the fabric isn’t flattering on the average woman. I feel the same way—I want to like it, but there are one too many elements. Luckily, she was saved by getting the trimming from Fabio. (Good for her, bad for him.)

Winner: Helen

Out: Fabio

He’s been sneaking through for weeks, but the judges apparently had enough. Were you surprised by the results? Happy to see him go? And a final question: Would YOU want to get married on the Project Runway All Stars set? Because that seems like …. something.

Past Runway designers compete for the top prize.
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