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Project Runway All Stars Throws A Swap Meet

The designers each have to shop specific fabric types...but that's not all! Your editors discuss this week's trade summit.

Our Players

Hello, I'm West Coast Editor Tara Ariano.
Hello, I'm East Coast Editor Sarah D. Bunting.

The Talk

So many things went well in this episode, Sarah. So many. Interesting initial challenge: forcing designers each to use a different specific class of fabric! Interesting twist: having them steal each other's fabrics after they shopped! I was even interested in seeing what their evening resort wear would look like! But then...TRAGEDY! They sent my girl home!!!!! Valerie, if you're out there, I was rooting for you so hard! ...I mean, maybe not this week in particular, because jumpsuit?

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But even if I'm philosophically opposed to that garment in general, it fit the brief, it was tailored beautifully, and it was way better-looking than Layana's jumpsuit.

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That Valerie and Layana landed in the bottom didn't surprise me; that, of those two, they sent Valerie home REALLY surprised me. I didn't love it -- I hated the color (though that wasn't her fault, thanks to the fabric switcheroo), I thought it was a little too simple for what it was, and the cleavage was more "Grammys" than "resort," to me. But compared to the busted Joan-Crawford cosplajamas Layana sent down, which was also a bit too simple to carry that many design mistakes, Valerie's was a triumph. I can't say I think Valerie had that much longer in the competition anyway, honestly, but this was a poor call by the judges.

It's funny your reference for Layana's is Joan Crawford; mine was late '80s prom. I felt for her, because neither that colour nor that fabric is at all congruent with what we've seen Layana show this season...or ever, really. But I did feel it was unfair of Georgina to respond to it by saying it made her question Layana's taste level. I get that the challenge was to make something beautiful even out of what was, in several cases, a real bag of crap. But it's not like the cut was the issue on Layana's; as you say, there were construction issues, but that's not reflective of her taste, really.

Well, but the literal cut was the issue on Layana's; like I said, if you're going to go flowy jumpsuit, which is pretty much the default for the challenge, AND you're working with that fabric, the silhouette and finishing have to be impeccable. Hers were not, and I am totally sympathetic, but in a toss-up between these two garments this really shouldn't have been close, or gone the way it did.

But: we agree. Did you agree with Dom's win? I couldn't stop looking at it; I love it. Le Miz was right on about the black-and-white stripe. It's just cool.

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I absolutely agree with Dom's win, and as soon as they said (guest judge) Megan Hilty was going to wear the winning look, I knew Dom had it. The stripey textile she made out of the two different linens Valerie had chosen did not remotely look patched-together or crafty, and when Alyssa shaded her for saying it looked like a beach towel and Dom said it was purposeful, I rejoiced: it wasn't just beautiful; it had a little wit behind it too. (That also seemed like a case where the designer really had her model in mind; I love Hilty, but white girl is in no way going to look as good in that ivory bodice as Dom's model did.)

You're so right. In fact, I thought they might give Ken his second straight win because that particular pink looks so much better with coloring like Hilty's. But I'm glad they didn't, and Ken's love for that bubbly skirt narrative is of concern to me, because: hate. Loved the top, though.

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What were your thoughts on Emily's look? I have to say that of all the switches, this is the one that bummed me out the most, because I was excited to see what Alexander was going to do with those polka dots; they were obviously not Emily's style (again: yes, I know, THE POINT), but I agreed with the judges in the end that while the finished product wasn't great -- they didn't mention that it evoked Minnie Mouse, but I will -- it did have Emily's attitude. (And I'm glad for Emily's sake that the judges appreciated that, because it sure looked like her model hated wearing it and wasn't doing anything to sell it.)

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My notes here read, "Typical Em/reax," by which I mean that the look is typical in that it's thoughtful and has a meaningful process underlying it; and that my reaction, namely "hmm: no thank you," is also typical. I think Emily should have let the fabric free her a little more to do something A-typical of her, or made a big transparent ballgown skirt with pockets over the shorts. In this look you could feel her fear. But I was pleased that the judges acknowledged her thought process and that she bent the top to her will. It did seem like a missed opportunity for her, though.

And...the rest. Let's start with your dear friend Sam. While I think he did the best he could with BROCADE -- a classic textile for resort wear, as we all know -- Alyssa was dead right to say it was boring, and I further appreciated that she was campaigning against him, because it's enough already.

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I...loved that look. Even though it isn't great, if he had put a pocket in it I would have knocked the world down to buy it (and I don't even look good in that color). But if Sam doesn't stop getting talking-heads in which he snarks that he doesn't care if Kini blah blah peas and carrots, I'm going to knock them BOTH down. Eyes on your own dress forms, kids! ...Well, not on Kini's, you'll burn your corneas clean off, though he did the best he could with the skimpy cheapness he got lumped with.

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Speaking of doing the best he could: Alexander. Denim was already a whammy for a resort wear challenge, but his look did exactly what I'm sure it was supposed to: it didn't look (much) like denim. It was slightly ugly to see the underside inside the skirt when his model walked, but lining it with anything else just would have made it look heavier, so I get it.

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He did exactly what he should have with the silhouette in order to fake you out on the heavy feel of the fabric. Ditto Asha, whose look I really liked except for the headwrap, which gave it kind of a ma-TOUR feel to me.

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So we're about halfway through: do you have any thoughts on who will or should win? I really feel like this is the week we saw Dom really lock onto the tracks and stop settling for safe, and I'm not sure anyone who's left can really beat her. Ken's had a couple of good weeks, but I'm not sure temperamentally he's going to be able to stay focused.

I think Kini could, but part of me thinks maybe he's not a top designer so much as a very fast sewer who can think on his feet in these situations. I agree that Ken probably can't go the distance thanks to some emotional...intensity, and I suspect Sam's about to slide off Favorite Mountain in the next couple of weeks. But with Valerie out, I think it's down to Kini and Dom. Alexander's too costume, Emily's too cerebral, Asha's...well, maybe Asha. But I hope not, because rewarding Under The Gunn in any way is not acceptable.

I agree with you right down the line. Asha's had a couple of good looks this season, but this week was the biggest bore yet, and as you say, SHE IS NOT A PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STAR.

Previously.TV

Previously.TV

"I MEAN HELLOOOOO." - Michael Kors.

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