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Project Runway All Stars, Episode 7: “An Unconventional Nightmare Before Christmas”

Designer Ivy Higa at work in the Project Runway All Stars workroom. The seventh challenge was an unconventional one, in which the designers had to work with holiday decorations from a Christmas store.

‘Twas the night before the runway, and the All Stars were busy with glue, gobs and gobs of glue.

If you sent me to the mall and said I had to sew a garment from unconventional materials selected from just one store, a Christmas store would be my last choice. (Except maybe for that place that only sells men’s shaving equipment.)

In Episode 7, “An Unconventional Nightmare Before Christmas,” the seven remaining designers faced the inevitable unconventional challenge. Host Carolyn Murphy brought them to a Christmas decor store (complete with a Santa who did the ‘minutes left’ announcements). Each designer had to create an outfit made from Christmas decorations.

The guest judges were Kylie Minogue, the Australian pop singer known for her fashion sense and penchant for wearing hot pants, and La La Anthony, an actress and radio personality who lives in Brooklyn.

On to the judging of this unconventional challenge!

The winner

It was Uli Herzner’s challenge to win. She has a wonderful way with the artistic placement of trims.

Uli Herzner's design.

The loser

Casanova went home for a look that wasn’t cohesive. The disparate sections (ruching, braided trim, glitter panel) created a garment that wasn’t flattering. Casanova had difficulty with the challenge from the beginning, starting over three times and finally constructing his look from remnants cast off by the other designers.

Casanova's design.

The rest of the designs

Anthony Ryan Auld’s dress came a close second to Uli’s design.

Anthony Ryan Auld's dress

Laura Kathleen’s dress received praise from the judges as well. Unfortunately, it made the model look fat.

Laura Kathleen's look.

Joshua McKinley’s design. Fun top, but the shorts were awful.

Joshua McKinley's design.

Ivy Higa’s design: Ivy and Casanova were tied for worst design. I’m not sure why Casanova got the boot.

Ivy Higa's design.

Emilio Sosa’s design, woven from ribbon:

Emilio Sosa's design.

What did you think?

Am I the only one out there who cried “What!?” at the judges’ decision?

Did you think Casanova’s dress was worse than Ivy’s dress?

What do you think of the unconventional challenges on Project Runway? The hosts and judges kept referring to them as “fan favorites,” but what do you think?

Who’s next to leave?

Emilio started off strong, but he’s been showing signs of stress in the last three challenges. Do you think he can come back?

Do you think Uli’s dress was truly better than Anthony Ryan’s?


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  1. CinderellaLollipop | | #1

    I thought Joshua should have gone home. His outfit was a chiquita banana girl gone bad! His shorts were hideous and ill-fitting, too. I thought costumes were frowned upon? This was nothing a woman could wear, except maybe on Halloween--with leggings on under those revealing shorts.

  2. user-2300022 | | #2

    i thought uli and anthony ryan were neck and neck on this challenge. i would give a slight edge to uli's only because it seemed like one seamless piece whereas anthony's was not one seamless piece to your eye as it followed the garment from head to toe,

    yes, i think emil may be losing it. i liked his color better than casanova's but that was it. both dresses were not good. however, ivy's was awful. i would have eliminated her. although they were both very close in their misguided attempts. no one would have ever worn any of these three dresses.

    i would probably want uli's dress to wear so i guess she does pass the ultimate test, willingness to wear it oneself.

    it is hard to believe uli and anthony were in the same store as everyone else for their supplies. no one would ever guess that. you'd guess those two had gone to Mood.

  3. user-2300022 | | #3

    the reason that joshua stayed ws that his conical bra top was the most creative thing that was done. that piece could have been shiwn in a gallery or museum. the judges cannot eliminate someone who shows that much art talent in a challenge, they could not let him win because of the shorts but you never disqualify first rate art work either. he has exhibited this talent before and nina garcia said she had to give him a lot of credit because he was always brimming with artistic creative ideas whereas others seemed to have no ideas at all. ideas are golden. that is what makes someone a top tier designer, not their ability to make an evening dress,

  4. User avater
    aislinnluv | | #4

    Oh, please... as if anyone could make something really wearable from the bizarre materials in these challenges! This fan is not amused by them. I'm convinced the producers have kept Ivy and Laura Kathleen on for their drama-queen turns more than for their ability to design and create fashion. And I preferred Anthony Ryan's silver dress to Uli's.

  5. Jodymac | | #5

    I do think Uli had the most wonderful design. But definitely Anthony Ryan had a great design, too. Just not quite as good, in my opinion. But I would have been happy with either one of the winning this challenge. However, Ivy should have been at the bottom of the bottom. Casanova at least was innovative. Ivy just sewed a dress with fabric and then added a few little trimmings. And the construction that I could see at the top in front was quite shabby for someone who is supposed to be one of the best. I think Emilio still has it in him to design top designs, but not up to the talent of Uli or Anthony Ryan. I loved the unconventional challenge. They have to venture outside their secure zone. That's a good thing.

  6. User avater
    iris68 | | #6

    I liked both designs - Uli's and Ryan's. His was a little better done, in my opinion. But we don't really see the design the way we'd like. And I agree, the materials they used....
    So, how could we judge?!
    Ivy should be gone a few weeks ago!
    I don't know what happened to Althea. She was very good with her designs in her past season. Tries to hard????

  7. user-261446 | | #7

    I thought Uli deserved to win. The snowflake pieces in Anthony Ryan's dress reminded me of reindeer antlers. As La La pointed out, they did look too Christmasy, or at least out of place.

    I was sorry to see Casanova go because I really enjoy him. I have seen him on other fashion shows (maybe it was 24 Hour Catwalk with Alexa Chung or Isaac Mizrahi's own show, The Fashion Show) and he has evolved into a more wonderful personality as well as designer.

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