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Project Runway All Stars 2×10: The “Real” World Challenge

Only four designers remain, and until this episode, we’ve seen nary a “real world” woman for the designers to freak out about.

Lo and behold, no one among Joshua, Uli, Anthony Ryan or Emilio has anything but nice things to say about the women who are the inspiration for this challenge. Smart, too, since all four of the “real world” women are either active, reserve or retired military, and clearly not to be messed with.

While there were no “OMG! BOOBS!” or “HOLY SHIT! FAT!” moments among the designers, it was clear throughout the episode that no one wanted to be that asshole who hates women-who-aren’t-models’ bodies. While we’re still miles away from a day where aspiring Project Runway designers can look at any woman and make her some attractive clothes without making a big damn deal about the fact not everyone is shaped like a 19-year-old fashion model, we’ve got to celebrate the baby steps. Regardless, the women paired with the designers are collectively and individually awesome, and most of them get a great look out of the experience.

Tonight’s Celebu-judge is none other than former-Mrs. Xenu Maverick, Katie Holmes. If I recall the scuttlebutt of the day, this was filmed the day she announced her divorce to the press. Hoo boyhowdy, that seems like a long time ago. ANH introduces her with some hyperbole even ANH doesn’t believe, and her barely-contained incredulity endears her to me. Katie is no worse than other celebu-judges on this or So You Think You Can Dance, but she’s no better, either.

Uli is paired with U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Jessica Lord, who needs a fancy dress to attend the wedding of a childhood friend. Jessica loves the dress Uli is wearing during their meet and greet, and asks for one in purple. Uli can’t find a purple print that matches her vision, so she chooses a zebra print that’s as subtle as a zebra print can be. The final result is totally gorgeous, and Jessica seems to really like it. Uli is in the top two.


Project Runway All Star Uli's look for episode 2x10.


Joshua fell in love with his client when he learned that she loved leopard print and when she revealed that her first concern after learning she was going to lose her leg was whether or not she could wear high heels. U.S. Army Captain Leslie Nicole Smith is accompanied by her stylish and handsome service dog, Isaac, when she struts down the runway in this completely adorable and 100% Joshua dress. It’s hard to see in the photo below, but there’s a band of illusion fabric between the bottom hem of the skirt and the band of dyed animal print. I love it, it’s young and flirty, but still completely appropriate for the fancy military event Captain Smith will be attending. Joshua wins over the judges, too, and is the winner of this challenge. This is his first win of the season, and I’m thrilled. If I recall correctly, Joshua was very classy during the “real woman” challenge in his season, and he was a peach to Leslie. He even made a matching outfit for Isaac. I’m beginning to suspect that Joshua was pretending to be a giant douche during his season, because it’s increasingly apparent that he’s The Best.

Project Runway All Star Joshua's look for episode 2x10.


Emilio is paired with U.S. Navy Petty Officer Lisa Dalhouse, a jet engine mechanic who needs to look fantastic for a bachelorette party in Las Vegas. Lisa’s favorite color is yellow, and she wants something short and flirty. Emilio makes her a kicky little dress with a very bold back. The judges pinged him for creating a distracting color variation in his fabric, due to the fusing he used to shore up the bodice. Guest judge Carmen Marc Valvo told Emilio he should have created an angled cut on the sides of the bodice to help it conform to his client’s shape better. Emilio ended up in the bottom two.

Project Runway All Star Emilio's look for episode 2x10.


Project Runway All Star Emilio's look for episode 2x10, from the back.


Anthony Ryan worked with U.S. Air Force Captain Donna Barrios, a logistics officer who needs a great f’ing dress for her 40th birthday party. Sadly, Anthony Ryan does not give her a great f’ing dress. Anthony Ryan has been having a great season, he’s barely even stumbled in any challenge so far, but he really blew it on this one. It’s not completely his fault, and some of the judges really, really liked the final result, but it was obvious he wasn’t totally comfortable with the challenge, and it was obvious that Captain Barrios wasn’t in love with the dress she got. Anthony Ryan was also in the bottom two.

Project Runway All Star Anthony Ryan's look for episode 2x10.


“For the first time in Project Runway All Star’s history” (I see what they did there.) the judges decide not to send anyone home, and all four designers are moving on to the final challenge before the top performers create their collections. Which happens every damn year on Original Flavor Project Runway, but whatever. I’m glad all four are moving on, and while I think Uli and Anthony Ryan have an edge, any of the four remaining designers could win this thing.

What do you think? My heart’s with Uli or Joshua, but my money’s on Anthony Ryan. His POV has clicked with the judges since day one, and he’s barely even broken a sweat, until this episode. I don’t think we could ask for a better final group. While it may be low on ratings-enhancing cat fights and drama, I think watching four people who are ridiculously good at what they do is 10x more compelling. That’s the formula that originally set PR apart from other “reality” programming, and it’s nice to see All Stars return to that glory, even if it was accidental.

Until next week, reader(s)!

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

7 replies on “Project Runway All Stars 2×10: The “Real” World Challenge”

I’m not an Anthony Ryan fan. I don’t hate him or anything, but wow. I don’t remember seeing such a shapeless sack on All Stars. Ugh. I thought he deserved to go home just for that.

Close ups of Emilio’s dress reveal a bit more of the back issues – I definitely agree that a diagonal would’ve been better. But I still think the dress was cute.

I liked both Uli and Josh’s dresses and could’ve seen either win. But I do look forward to seeing more from them all.

Both the two in the bottom were crimes in their own way. Anthony Ryan’s dress was horrid. I was truly puzzled at all the praise it got. It had nothing new or stylish about it, and resembled an unflattering sack cinched in by a crooked belt. And those straps! Both buckled — that is just plain poor sewing. The judges must really be sucking down the Anthony Ryan Kool-Aid to not comment on those terribly-laid straps. They insulted me as a seamstress.

And that’s the worst sewing I’ve seen Emilio do. The amazing color saved him. Just terrible construction, frankly.

I didn’t love Joshua’s dress, but his client did, and that’s what it was about. And yes, I’m so, so glad we didn’t have an hour of hating women. Maybe they were afraid their clients might come back with a warplane if they said anything amiss.

I thought Joshua’s dress was adorable, but I’m a sucker for cute crap. I think it suited the client, she’s very girl-next-door cute, and even the oogliest of Joshua’s clothes are still happy clothes, KWIM? (This is why most magazines don’t let idiots who know little to nothing about fashion write about fashion. We don’t have nearly as much vocabulary as we have ballsy insouciance.) I might also be totally biased by the dog, and want him to win all the things. Dogs make everything look 17.8% better. It’s science.

Yeah, Emilio and AR were in a lot of trouble. I’m glad they both got to stay, because I really want to see the collections each of them will create. My favorite PR seasons are always the ones where the finale is made up of very different designers.

HA! That’s the trick. Force the designers to work outside their comfort zones, but toss in women who know dozens of ways to kill them with no forensic evidence as clients to nip any whiny bullshit right in the bud. I think the key was waiting until this close to the end. I’m sad it still wasn’t possible for all the women to get a look that knocked their socks off. That always happens to at least one client in the “real” challenges, and that sucks. If I got picked to be on PR, where I might get to meet Heidi “There Can Only Be One” Klum, I would be most certainly put upon if I had to moddle a dreadful frock for all my fellow bloggers to mock. In fact, that’s what I imagine blogger hell is. With fire, and stuff.

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