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Project Runway All Star Challenge

Aug 24, 2009
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Chris ripped the table top off at the restaurant to skirt his impromptu creation. It capped off his mini collection beautifully.

The premiere night of Project Runway, season six, was launched with a two hour fashion face-off with an All Star Challenge for eight designers from past seasons. Here’s a quick recap of the pre-show:

The show picks up just like before. Heidi is pregnant, we’re in Manhattan, and people we recognize—past participants—tell what they’ve been doing since their last appearance. Remember Sweet P. Vaughn with the loving face and tattooed arms? Daniel Vosovik, Korto Momolu, Uli Herzner, Chris March, Mychael Knight? I’m sure you remember Santino Rice who said in his introduction “Project Runway didn’t make me—I made Project Runway.” He markets himself as an egomaniac, but I’m not buying it. Deep down I think he’s a nice guy. The one I didn’t understand is Jeffrey Sebelia, who won three years ago. Why did they bring back a winner when there were so many other people we’d rather see? Whom would you like to see again? Jeffrey’s wasn’t on my list.

The Challenge
Their challenge was to make a mini collection with three looks. One had to be red carpet worthy and each designer had a $1200 budget. They were given one hour to sketch before heading off to buy fabric at Mood. They only had two days to prepare for the fashion show for a winning prize of $100,000. Then, in the middle of their construction panic they were torn away from their work and taken to dinner. After the meal, they were given one more day to work, but also, one more garment to design and make. They had five minutes to take the material for the fourth garment from what they could rip out of the restaurant. In a mad dash they peeled back the table surface, took placemats, rocks from the flower arrangements, rugs, and light fixtures—whatever they could pull out.

The allure of PR
What is it that makes this show so attractive? Did the right person win in this program?
First, it’s the buzz of the city. The view of the cityscape, the apartments, and the street traffic captured on the camera build the excitement that is NYC. Who can resist it? Meeting on a rooftop for champagne and walking into studio space set up for work, with good cutting tables and dress forms is energizing.

Next, it’s the designers, the way they look, their personal style, the hair, clothing, jewelry. All through this show, I was captivated by the necklaces. Korto and Uli both wore great necklaces. I get the sense of looking into a crystal ball at the next trend. How the designers style themselves is a lesson in itself.

Watching the creative process is invigorating. These players have a history and professional reputations. Winning this challenge is a shoe-up to their careers. I imagine $1000,000 enables far more indulgences to their creative whims for their next collection. This is trial by fire—it’s not enough that they have to produce a fabulous design, it has to be accomplished in ridiculously small amounts of time…it takes fast work, but also the ability to edit all but the most essential.

Then, watching them self correct…or not. This part’s like watching a sporting event. Sometimes mistakes are the path to fantastic design. But if the designer can’t let go of the original concept and move on it can pull them down.

My 2 Cents on the Winner
I thought the best collections were Korto, Chris, and Sweet P—in that order. My least favorite collection was Daniel’s, the winner.

I was disappointed when Daniel won because I thought his collection looked like exercise clothes. I wouldn’t wear them to work; I wouldn’t wear them to play, except to workout. I know exercise clothing has a huge market but it wasn’t exciting to me. Daniel said he was looking for urban edgy confident designs. Michael Kors praised his focus. It looked to me like something you’d take on vacation because it would pack well.


Daniel’s restaurant design looks like Captain Blue with her hair spray jets.

 


This is from the winning collection. I thought it looks like exercise clothes.

Sweet P. put together a wonderful little collection. Seeing it was like inhaling some wonderful part of Alice in Wonderland. It all had a subtle fantasy quality without being like a costume or too sweet. She used elegant proportions in a totally fresh and romantic presentation with exquisite color combinations.


Sweet P.’s collection used soft colors, nostalgic silhoettes, and combined them with a variety of fabrics for an edgy presentation.

 


This frock looks like leather to me. I think it’s an excellant ballance between feminine and edgy. Totally delicious!

 


This reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. Maybe it’s a bit costume-like, but I can’t look at it without smiling.

Chris, who is known for his grandiose parade float type costumes, put together a remarkably elegant wardrobe that looked wonderfully aristocratic. He was in the top four by the judges. He used exaggerated gray and black check wool in three of his garments and paired it with bright orange or purple accents in leggings or hose. And his restaurant retrievals were spot-on with his collection. He was delighted to be in the upper four. I hope this is a doorway for a whole new career for him. I loved it.


Chris ripped the table top off at the restaurant to skirt his impromptu creation. It capped off his mini collection beautifully.

 


Oversized checks were the theme in Chris’es collection. They came off with an aristocratic air.

Korto is not the number two girl in by book. Her collection was spectacular. How it was rated below Daniel just doesn’t make sense to me. As the judges all agreed, her clothes look wonderful on women. She understands their shape. She has a great eye for texture and line too. She took the black placemats and lava rocks from the flower arrangement at the restaurant and turned them into an evening dress that anyone would wear on the red carpet. It is stunning. Her other pieces were equally elegant, with the perfect jewelry and accessories. In my eye, she was the whole package for a much larger clientele.


This dress is delightful. It’s totally wearable, the shoes and necklace are perfect. The asymetrical design is chic and sohpistcated.

 


Korto took black placemats and the lava rocks from the flower arrangment and put together this dress. It is as stunning as everyother piece in her collection. My favorite restaurant garment.

I could have spent several days just thinking about these clothes, but right on the tail of this program was the kick off for season six and I’ll tell you what I think about it next time.

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