Rue Recap: Project Runway All Stars Get the Picture

Welcome back, Project Runway fans! Last week was all about creating wearable art, but this week the art did the inspiring – in the form of fan-provided (a PR first!) photography.

Sandra Micek, marketing VP for USA TODAY, joined Joanna Coles in the workroom to give the designers their assignment: select an inspiring fan photograph and parlay it into a runway look.  These kinds of challenges are great for divining which designtestants really do have industry potential, because rather than making a dress out of fruit or matching outfits to pets, they get to create something that’s entirely true to their own style aesthetic.

The photograph selections ranged from a spray-painted gas meter (Joshua’s pick) and a train station (Althea’s) to a butterfly (Ivy’s) and a forlorn-looking young woman wearing a headband (Andrae’s). Andrae began chatting with his photograph like the subject was his friend and kindred spirit, and Joanna wondered if his work was “bonkers or brilliant” (I’m betting on the former).

Parts of the runway were close to picture-perfect, between Ivy’s flowy sheer skirt, Laura Kathleen’s hand-dyed gown, and the banded back of Anthony Ryan’s dress. There was also Casanova’s look, which I’d snatch up in a flash (sans hat).

But some designers just weren’t ready for their close-up. Joshua’s dress was reminiscent of Rainbow Brite, and Casanova’s assessment of Kayne’s as fitting for “a Parisian prostitute with a chicken on her head” seemed pretty spot-on. Not to mention Emilio’s yellow-and-grey number  (which host-judge Carolyn Murphy noted would make her “look like a Chinese lantern”) and Andrae’s mix-and-match zippered panels.

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means no new Runway. So, until the end of November – auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer 

Did the designers’ looks inspire or disappoint? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala

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November 16, 2012