At the top of the hour, four Project Runway All Stars remained. Each needed to impress the judges with just one more ensemble in order to compete for the season finale prize, which includes, among other things, the sale of their collection in select Neiman Marcus stores. But one of the four would be eliminated, making this the most intense challenge of the competition yet. The designers seemed to have jumbled emotions at the onset of the challenge; confident that they’d made it this far in the competition, but nervous to be sent home just before making it to the grand finale.
The challenge introduced the designers to the business aspect of the fashion industry. Sure they’re all creative and can design a dress, but can they do it on a budget? Project Runway also introduced us to a coster, which very well might be the most miserable job in the fashion industry, they basically have to figure out how much a dress can sell for and then how much money the designers can spend on fabric and trimmings to make the garment on or under budget. However boring this may sound, this particular coster did get to have her very own calculator with her name on it, so I guess that could make up for something. Maybe? Probably not.
The winning look for this challenge would be sold online with proceeds going to save the Garment District, of which many long-time fashion shops are being forced to vacate the area because of high New York costs. Nannette Lepore, who started her career in the Garment District, was guest judge this week and someone who finally seemed to understand the business and function of fashion, which is not true for many of the previous guest judges.
In the workroom this week, on a scale of one to ten, with one being the least confident and ten being the most, Mondo was at a negative one. His lack of drawing skills and failure to sketch started him off on the wrong foot causing his self-confidence to plummet. And from a viewer’s standpoint, he really did seem to be floundering. He had a number of miss-matched fabrics and a sketch that looked like a rectangle. On the other side of the scale, however, was Kenley, whose total lack of regard of other people’s advice is starting to grate on everyone, especially Joanna Cole, who seems to think each of the other remaining designers “will figure it out” except for Kenley. Michael was confident with his dress and why wouldn’t he be since he’s designed the same caftan dress nine-times over already. And Austin was Austin, creating a feminine overcoat in a shade only grandmothers would love in a fabric that was a tad too wrinkled.
For this being the last challenge before the finale, the designs that came down the runway were sorely lacking in inspiration. Austin’s overcoat, once the judges were told that it was a coat and not a dress, was well received but without too much fanfare and he was told that he would be showing a collection in the finale. Mondo, who eventually pulled himself together and created a little sack of a dress that would maybe look good on a three year old, won the challenge. The way the fabrics and prints were paired together was quite light and fun, but no one wants to look like they’re wearing a potato sack, no one. But like I sad, there wasn’t much for the judges to choose from. So that leaves Kenley and Michael in the bottom this week, both of whom seem to be one-trick ponies. Kenley, who had stated out with a cute basic dress idea and a beautiful peacock-print fabric, ended up showing a rather matron-looking dress and since she had put so many panels in the garment, the peacock print looked rather shredded. Michael created a dress that, without the green print, would look pretty basic as well. But rather than looking matronly, Michael’s problem is that he goes overboard on sex appeal. His dress was cut low in the front and the back and was so long the model looked as if she would trip over the hem at any moment. The judges admitted that this was the toughest decision they had to make this season, probably because they wanted to get rid of both of them, but ultimately decided that they’d like to see a bit more from Michael, which means that Kenley is an All Star no more.
Does it look like a tin can with a string coming out of it? –Nannette Lepore
How do you wear a bra with this?! –Joanna Cole
Who’s a bigger diva, me or Austin? –Kenley
Like the male Snooki? –Garnier hair stylist
Michael’s dress was just very inappropriate. –Austin
Running around like a mad couturier chicken with his head cut off. –Austin
Because then she wouldn’t have such a potato shape. –Isaac Mizrahi
Until next week! Be sure to check out our other favorite site dedicated to all things Project Runway…Blogging Project Runway!
–Bonnie J Brown