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Project Runway All Stars, Episode 11: “Couture de France”

Only three All Stars remain after this couture challenge.

I don’t often truly envy the Project Runway designers – they have to work very hard, live with strangers, and face public scrutiny and criticism. I think the winner earns that prize package.

Last week’s episode, however, made me wish I could step into the shoes of one of the All Stars! In a first for Project Runway, the four remaining designers got to go to Paris, visit the Valentino atelier and showrooms, and attend a preview of the Valentino haute couture runway show. The challenge for the episode was to get inspired, then create a couture dress, double-quick.

There was sketching, practically in the shade of the Eiffel Tower, followed by fabric shoping at Janssens & Janssens with 3,000 Euros each.

The House of Valentino creative team of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli met with the designers in Paris. Back in New York, designer Cynthia Rowley (featured in the Designer Spotlight in Threads no. 163) was the guest judge.

This was the final elimination challenge before the face-off runway collections. I know I had a favorite before the runway presentation. How about you?

On to the couture garments!

The winner

Anthony Ryan Auld won for his mixed-texture black dress. Anthony has consistently demonstrated a knack for interesting and flattering seam placement. Carolyn had a good point, though: perhaps the dress needed a visual break somewhere, a chance to breathe.

Anthony’s design:

Anthony Ryan Auld's dress.

The safe one

By “safe,” I don’t mean to denigrate Emilo’s design. The lightweight fabric, the wide shoulders and high waist seam were all very interesting and Emilio came a close second to Anthony. Isaac remarked, and I think he was correct for once, that bringing up the hem about 5 inches, deliberately exposing the shoes, could have made the dress even better.

Emilio’s design:

Emilio Sosa's design.

The face-off

Uli and Joshua were the bottom two. The judges gave them a second, speed, challenge, asking them to create another look from their dresses. Uli won the second challenge. Unfortunately, A&E Networks, the source for the images I include with these posts, did not include images of the second challenge garments in the press materials for this episode.

Uli’s dress:

Uli Herzner's design.

Joshua’s losing design:

Joshua McKinley's design.

What did you think?

Goodbye, Joshua. Were you surprised that he was out this episode?

I had a sinking feeling the moment I saw Joshua selecting his print at Janssens & Janssens. What did you think of his finished design? Do you think it could have been saved with a different scale print for the skirt?

Wasn’t it fun to see behind the scenes at Valentino? And how about that Valentino red jumpsuit Carolyn wore for the runway judging? Didn’t she look fantastic, and it was utterly simple? If you could visit any designer atelier, which house would it be?

Are you excited to see the All Stars finale next week?! Care to make a prediction about the winner?

Also coming up, another season of the original Project Runway. Did you hear about the twist: It’s an all team-challenge season. Every challenge, teams! I’m very interested to see how this turns out.


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  1. sews4fun | | #1

    I guess there will be no discussion of episode 10 but...whatever. I am glad the talent free Ivy is gone, the girl can't design and she suffers delusions of granduer concerning her (cough) "work".
    I would really like to see Uli win, her designs are targeted to real people and I like what she puts down the runway, episode 11 excluded.
    I really really hated Anthony Ryans moo moo he put on that veteran last week, it was SO unflattering! I suspect he was kept because the diva in chief Issac Mizrahi wants to see him win project runway. I wanted to turn Mizrahi over my knee and paddle him for acting like the spoiled child he is. That little temper tantrum display was just .....infantile! I am not in love with Emilio's stuff these days and Anthony Ryan is hit and miss. Even if she doesn't win, I feel uli is the true winner.
    I never understood how Josh stayed as long as he has, his stuff is garish and in poor taste. Yes, the vetran episode was his best but realistically, he's put that dress down the runway before in another episode. DeJaVu all over again!

  2. hazelspi | | #2

    I wish we could have seen more of the events in Paris. To go thru all that expense and then just show short clips seems to be counter productive. I greatly enjoyed seeing what was shown however...it would have made a great two-part episode don't you think?

  3. sews4fun | | #3

    Well well, what a surprize, Anthony Ryan won. I have to say, that colorblock stuff he put down the runway was the weakest winning collection I've ever seen, it was BORING.
    My husband asked me who was going to win and I said Anthony Ryan, Emilio second and Uli in last place no matter what kind of sensational stuff she puts down the runway.
    I wasnt thrilled with Emilios or even Uli's stuff but then again, with 4 days to make a collection, they all did better than I could have. Still, I wish Uli knew when to stop.
    I guess if Anthony Ryan's body of work is considered, that could be a reason why he won. As I recall, no matter how lovely Uli's stuff was, she was always in second place. What's the saying? Always the bridesmaid but never the bride?

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