Project Runway All Stars Crowns Its Sixth Victor
The three finalists show their seven-piece collections to guest judges Catherine Zeta-Jones and Zac Posen. Which ends up being the man of the hour? Your editors discuss!
I did not envy the judges having to choose among these finale collections, Tara. I really liked almost every piece, and my negative notes were nitpicks, relatively -- so I didn't think they could really make a wrong choice. But Anthony was a surprising choice, to me. I'm happy for him, but I didn't think the judges would go that way.
You were surprised he won based on the collection he showed? Because to me that was the least surprising possible ending, based on how heavily the editing seemed to have been favouring him all season. I also thought all three collections were very strong, though that second look of Stanley's stuck out as a very New York & Co.-ish misstep.
But if you introduce your collection with as grabby a concept as "Audrey Hepburn lived long enough to become Rihanna" and deliver? That's a winning move.
I didn't factor that editing into anything, really; he gives good talking-head and always has, and it didn't help him unduly in the past. I was more struck by the judges describing their reactions to Fabio's collection as emotional, almost visceral. (And by their fondness for that navy jumpsuit, which I didn't care for at all; my notes read "ronin scrubs.")
It seemed based on Alyssa's comments that they would opt for Fabio's edgier and more "challenging" looks. Not that they necessarily should have -- there's only so far you can defend those aggressively weird pants and shorts lengths as "intellectual" -- but I do wonder if Anthony's closing the show put it over the top for him. I was with Georgina Chapman on that print, which read a little Upper East Side matron to me, but it was a showstopper.
Given the way a look is more likely to win on Runway Prime if it's something Heidi would wear herself, I wonder if guest judge Catherine Zeta-Jones's enthusiasm for that finale look -- and for Anthony's black gown -- contributed disproportionately to Anthony's victory.
As soon as CZJ described how she'd feel wearing that peacock gown on a red carpet, I could picture it -- and those shades with her colouring: [chef's kiss]. The question with this franchise is always whether they want to push fashion forward or promote work that's commercial; Fabio had some interesting ideas and the seven looks hung together as a collection better than Stanley's did, but you're not going to see most of Fabio's stuff at Macy's. Particularly not once he switched out that pretty bird top he sent out last week!
I liked the yellow he went with instead, but don't get me started on the demise of that bird print. This Bunting would wear those buntings all day, even though that cut would make me look like a steep hill. Ditto the stripey short-sleeved jacket, because that's a garment I am against on principle -- it's the appendix of tops; why...is it? -- but that one is so chic and adorable.
I also loved that white figured-fabric skirt, not least because I suspect the presence of a pocket.
But the various pants are maybe pushing fashion too far forward for the franchise, and you make a good point about the winner coming down to the brand identity of the franchise. Stanley's looks didn't push hard enough, probably. Although that blue dress with the deep V literally activated my salivary glands, and the judges didn't even mention it.
Stanley, I think, screwed himself by trying to show too many different ideas -- he went for versatility rather than cohesiveness. You really see it when you see him standing next to all seven looks and they look like they could have been designed for seven different challenges.
I loved that navy dress too, but the one that the judges seemed to respond to most strongly was that sci-fi choir master thing he sent out first -- nothing like anything else he showed for this finale; nothing like anything else he showed all season; too weird to pin a win on.
I have nothing against Stanley personally, but...he stole Ken's spot, sorry.
I don't disagree. Another question I have is how much they respond to how well finished Stanley's looks are, compared to what the other designers tend to send out thanks to the time constraints, and whether that carried him a bit further along this season than he ought to have gone. That long-sleeved dress is a perfect example: it's flawlessly made, but the color does 90 percent of the work and the unexpected sleeve on this runway does most of the rest. And you're not going to pin a win on that either.
That said, Anthony's black dress looked unfinished in an unintentional way to my eye, so the judges must see things in the room that we don't. Still have no problem with his win, though. That shock of pleated leather alone!
With Anthony, I think we just can't underestimate how smart he was to announce his muses and do right by them. I saw Audrey in all his bateau necklines with the skinny straps, and yet he made all his looks feel now enough that I could imagine Rihanna wearing them even before Zac confirmed that his GOOD FRIEND RIRI (...bro) certainly would.
Anthony had a customer in mind, and he made me wish I could be her. Plus he was a sweetie all season and a delight to watch all along, up to and including his shriek of excitement when Alyssa told him he won.
Satisfying end to a strong season!
Very satisfying, and it's quite rare in either iteration of the franchise that everyone in the finale brings it, and we could have felt good about pretty much any win. If only we could also feel consistently good about Alyssa's wardrobe choices.
Maybe Zac's good friend RiRi (...Zac.) could give her a few pointers before Season 7?
Someone needs to mount an intervention, and I don't care who does it as long as it keeps Alyssa from any more drag queen dinosaur cosplay. It's just because we love you like crazy, girl!