On this week’s episode of Project Runway All Stars, the designers were whisked away to an exotic locale to design! They flew to Pennsylvania to see the studios of QVC. (For the purposes of this post, you should lower your expectations of the word “exotic.”)
Lisa Robertson, a QVC host, met them to spill the beans on this week’s challenge. Her bouffant was very symmetrical, as befitting the red carpet task before them: design a gown for Lisa to wear at some fancy shindig QVC hosts in Los Angeles for the Oscars. So, like…not an Oscar gown, but an Oscar-adjacent gown, which is almost as good. She said she needed to stand, sit, and move in the dress, which should really be a given, but is not, sadly enough. The rest of the prize was that the winner would get to have a version of the dress sold on QVC, but of course!
QVC is a cruel mistress, for Lisa forced the designers to fake-sell one anothers’ clothing to a camera. For some reason. She was all “being a TV presenter is hard!” and then the designers pretended to care.
As the group was sketching, Isaac Mizrahi walked in! He stayed for like one minute, told them to “go for it!” and then everyone left. Were they trying to fill time on this episode? I half-expected Not-Tim to do a tap dance for us, and then for Lisa to sell us the shoes.
Korto was flawless as usual, eschewing the funereal tendencies of red carpet dresses (ever-present black) and went for a gorgeous orange. Unfortunately, the shirred result was coming out a bit cheap as of mid-way through the build.
Elena freaked out (If you’re following along with PRAS Bingo, drink!) (Yes, we drink during PRAS Bingo.) (Duh.) because she chose a fabric other than neoprene and it was more difficult. Well, duh. There’s a reason she uses neoprene — because it’s thick, easy to give shape to, and easy to sew.
Viktor revealed a secret to Elena and Seth Aaron — he said he’d been living a lie for the last seven years. He was HIV positive. He said that only his partner knew up to now, not even his family knew. That’s a long time to keep such a trauma quiet. His unburdening seemed to be a huge weight off his chest (of course!) and we wish him all the best of luck and a very long life, indeed. Viktor is such a nice dude! I’m trying to think of something else poetic to say, but damn, life just sucks sometimes.
Not-Tim didn’t help Viktor any by telling him that his olive-green gown was a bad choice, for nobody puts green on magazine covers because it doesn’t sell. Shut up, Not-Tim! Quit ruining the moment with your “facts.”
The designers were able to work with a photographer and a small light setup to see how their gowns would photograph, which was a super cool thing to do for them for a challenge wherein they’d be judged for how hot the dress would photograph. Funny how that worked, huh? Everyone discovered that photographs are unforgiving, and Korto just plain started over again with her dress.
Guest judges! Hopefully this week we’d do better than Abigail Breslin. Naturally, Lisa Robertson was one. Mondo Guerra, PRAS season one winner (WOOOOO MONDO I LOVE YOU, MONDO!) sat in for Georgina. Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) joined them! Love her, although her fashion is uneven, let’s be honest.
Christopher’s midnight blue gown was hard and soft, dominatrix and mermaid. Stunning. He used his favorite technique on the sweetheart bodice — the piecing/feathering he loves so. The va-va-voom top flared out from the hips in layers and layers of sloppy, floaty tulle, and I wanted to ride it like a cloud. Above the sweetheart was a shoulder piece in black leather that left the boobs plenty of air, but gave the whole thing a bit of an edge. Loved. This. Want. One. The only drawback? From the hobbling steps of the model, this gown might not pass the sit/stand/move test. Isaac called it amazing, and basically everyone else did, too. It didn’t photograph as well as some others, though.
I was into the olive of Viktor’s dress, and it’s not even a color I ever wear myself. But it was a cool choice instead of black, at least to me. The dress itself was fairly standard ye olde bombshell wiggler, except with two ruffles of fabric jutting from each hip, over the thighs, and to the floor. With the green color, I thought “seaweed” or “gills.” Not good thoughts, really, unless you’re Ariel. The fit wasn’t quite right, and the satin showed every single construction flaw. It was glamorous, though. I feel like if he’d had one more day, this would have come together. Lisa said it was flattering, but didn’t photograph well. Elisabeth hated the wings, Isaac loved the wings, Mondo called the wings “kooky.” Everyone agreed the fabric choice made all the difference, in a bad way.
Seth Aaron gave us space-girl chic, and it wasn’t my style, but I enjoyed it. He took “Oscar” literally and put his model in a golden dress with a high V, cap sleeves (of black) and a zipper from her collarbone to her bits. The fabric appeared to be striped in narrow ribbons of black and much wider sections of gold, done in a flattering chevron that pointed down at center front. It had a high/low hem that cheapened it a little, as he didn’t line the inside skirt, which is a huge no-no for a freaking red carpet dress. The back had a large open portion, and his model looked slamming in it. Like, damn. Hot. Alyssa loved it, and Mondo enjoyed the risk he took. However, Isaac said, “Look at the size of her butt!” I thought the booty was a feature, but nobody asked me. Lisa was worried about the proximity of the center front to her baby-making hardware, and didn’t think it appropriate for the Oscars, and I agreed.
Unfortunately, you could kinda tell that this offering was Korto’s second dress. It was very simple, something we’ve all seen before: a Grecian silhouette of light beige on top and orange on the bottom, separated by a beaded belt of silver and gold. The top was pleated, draped, twisted to deep V with braided straps. The skirt had pockets, and it definitely passed the sit/stand/move test, so those are good things. Alyssa loved it, but said the taupe on top photographed quite blandly. Elisabeth and Isaac dug it, too. Lisa called it $sellable, so yay Korto!
Elena gave us the more interesting of the two space ladies, I thought. She manipulated her shiny purple and black fabric to look like shiny scales flowing down the body in narrow columns to the hips. The skirt got the same treatment, except covered by a sheer black overskirt that extended from the pubis at the front to under the butt in the back, cutting across the widest part of the hips. I did not love the proportions, but thought the concept was cool. On the runway, she said it was organza atop a brocade. Isaac thought it was very interesting, and liked that she “made” the fabric herself, but called it dowdy. Mondo didn’t get it.
Irina made a beautiful wedding gown for a wedding. On wedding island. In June. The bodice and upper skirt were constructed of vertical bands of ivory fabric made to slide over every curve
of the bride’s. A pretty piece of matching tulle danced across the bodice to match the veil. Not-Tim told her in the work room that she was making a wedding dress, and Irina cleverly avoided that pitfall by adding giant ivory flowers to the skirt that would compliment the bouquet. The long, circle train floated behind, and would give the bridesmaids something to do. The wedding cake topper? The model ripped the thing as she was trying, and almost failing, to climb a step. No walking for this bride — hope the church is on a very flat piece of land. Lisa loved it, even though walking was an issue. Isaac criticized the construction — quite a few puckers to be had here and there. Both Elisabeth and Alyssa screamed “wedding!” and it was especially apparent in photographs of the dress.
The winning looks came down to Christopher and Korto, and Korto won! I think her look being simple, a bit safe, and bright made all the difference. After all, QVC is not a place I think of for crazy and wild anything.
Elena and Irina sank to the bottom, and…ouch, right? We’re getting close to the end. Irina was sent packing for making a wedding dress, despite explicitly being told the over and over again that that’s exactly what she was doing. Her stubbornness was her downfall.
What thought you, Persephoneers? Which one would you want to wear to the Oscars? And who would be your Oscar date, if you could choose anyone? (And, as this is my recap, you’re not allowed to say Bumblesnoot Counterweight.)