The Most Difficult Challenge of All: My "Project Runway All Stars" Predictions
It’s hard to write a blog about Project Runway fashions when the episode doesn’t really show the fashions. They’re obviously saving the big reveal for us in the part two finale episode, so this week I can only comment on where I think the designers are going, and what I think their chances are of winning given the chosen direction.
Before I go into each of the three contestants’ work, I do want to note how difficult this challenge is. They have four days to put together a five-piece collection. That’s it, the only direction. Believe it or not, the fewer design parameters a designer is given, the harder it is to design. Design is really about solving problems, and given no problems to solve, the field is wide open and a clear direction is not always evident. So not only do these designers have to invent their own rules, they have to do it in a ridiculously short amount of time, shorter even than it sounds.
Included in these four days is shopping for fabric. They are given one hour to shop but believe me, by the time the producers gather up everyone, take them in vans to mood (even the eliminated designers travel with the current ones so any spotters can’t tell the active designers from the eliminated ones) easily three hours have passed. Then there are the model castings, the trip to Marie Claire to chat with Joanna, the time out of the workroom to hear a spiel from Georgina, Isaac (helpful) and Angela (probably not as helpful). The designers are also asked to take time away from the work room each day to do interviews which become the small clips you see dispersed throughout the show. Taking all this into account, the four days have now realistically become two and a half at the most, and you still need to deduct time for sleeping and eating. That’s five garments in two days—by far the hardest challenge yet.
I am going to start with Austin. He is definitely giving us a very Austin mini collection. Every dress looks like something that came from the trunk of a vintage Barbie. It’s all very glamorous, very eveningwear, and it ends with a wedding dress. It’s what Austin does, and he does it well, but eveningwear collections never win on “Project Runway.” Never. Eveningwear designs tend to be more classic than everyday fashions. A collection of street wear pieces next to the most impeccable made evening pieces is going to feel more modern, even if it’s not the most innovative thing ever seen. I know, I’ve been there. You have got to mix sportswear in with the evening wear (think Christian Siriano) and I’m not sure Austin’s pink pleated petal pushers are going to pull the sportswear weight. Prediction: Second place.
Michael Costello’s actual designs were shown the least in this episode. We got to see a lot of his fabrics, and it looks like he is going to be heavily dependent on print to carry it. But really, ‘Safari?’ That is the most overused theme in all of fashion design (no, actually ‘Hollywood Glamour’ is the most overused, ‘Safari’ is the second most overused.) I will be shocked if Michael can come up with something new and surprising for the judges within this tired old been-done-before theme. Prediction: Third place.
Mondo wins the whiney weenie award for this week, but I think he may win more than that. All his “this is hard, I’m so tired,” crap didn’t go over well with me and it certainly didn’t go over with Austin and Michael. I feel for the guy, I know how hard this is, but buck up and sew, buddy. After what appeared to be much wasted time (but really there is so little time how could he have wasted vey much?) he did come up with a theme and seemed to find his groove. With the exception of the Rorschach test, I’m not sure how translatable ‘Therapy’ is into fashion. But then again, that’s where the potential to do something surprising lies. I predict Mondo for the win for this, and a couple of other reasons. His designs tend to be for the younger crowd, and therefore seem fresh, which looks new and modern, as opposed to glamorous eveningwear or bare-down-to-there caftans. I also predict Mondo to win because of the edit he is getting. In any story, the main character has to hit his lowest low before he bounces back to reach his highest high, and Mondo is certainly poised to bounce back.
Let’s all tune in next week to see if I have learned anything in all these years of watching “Project Runway.”
Missed an episode? Watch full episodes of "Project Runway All Stars" for free online before the finale, Thursday March 22.