The Project Runway Season 12 Finale

Fashion-Week collections – and one big win – in Episodes 13 & 14

 
This is it, Project Runway fans! Last week, while we chatted with designer Alexander, Tim visited the contestants in their hometowns. The judges couldn’t decide who should go to Fashion Week – and Helen was ultimately sent packing for presenting a three-piece mini collection that wasn’t show-worthy.

This week, the Final Four showed their full collections, with two additional challenges: one look needed to feature unconventional materials, and another (sponsored by Tide) was to be made from laundry-safe fabrics.

Dom: She designed her own prints for the retro-futuristic collection, and the dress made from a window screen and door hinges and this jacket both blew me away. While the bathing suit was an odd surprise, she paired it with a gorgeous cape cover-up. She could have lost the plastic peplum on her sapphire dress, but overall, this was the best show of the four.

Bradon: This collection was “expressive and abstract” but “disjointed,” per Zac and Nina. I’m half in, half out on his opening piece, a metallic ball gown skirt with an unexciting floral print. The metallics went a touch disco, but he did make pants perfect for spring. There were some misses, like the oddly anatomical shorts and the Tide Challenge dress, which looked out of place.

Justin: Through his show, Justin told the story of hearing for the first time, complete with a dress representing sound waves. Some of the garments lost their shape against the white catwalk, but his 3-D-printed accessories were so totally fresh and cool. And that feathery closing number? Showstopping.

Alexandria: While the judges loved the strength and vulnerability (“that a lot of women feel,” added Zac), Alexandria’s collection was wearable but boring. Guest judge Kerry Washington loved the mix-and-matchable separates, though the pants all looked ridiculous. Heidi called the collection “young,” “hip,” and “now,” but I wouldn’t have worn 90% of it.

Did the judges get it right? (I vote yes, considering by 10:25PM I was begging the TV gods with my eyes squeezed shut.) And will you be tuning in to the upcoming third installment of Project Runway All Stars? If so, be sure to tweet us at @ruelala and tell us what you think.

Thanks for joining me. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

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October 18, 2013

Let’s Talk Project Runway: A Chat with Season 12′s Alexander Pope

Introducing Alexander Pope. Broadway costume constructor. Project Runway Season 12 designer. And an elimination this season that came far too soon. Read on for our behind-the-scenes chat about the show, New York Fashion Week, and his upcoming mini collection.

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Rue La La: Tell us about being on the show. What was the workroom actually like? Which designers did you enjoy working with?   
Alexander Pope: Well, first off, the workroom was smaller than I thought it would be. But other than that, it’s just a workroom, but not as stocked as it should be… just the basics for us. I enjoyed most of the designers, but I think Jeremy and I bounced ideas off of each other quite well – I tend to bond with the Brits more often, ha!

RLL: What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges? 
AP: Nothing.

RLL: Okay then. The worst?
AP: Well it wasn’t advice, per se, but once they found out I work on Broadway, I kept hearing the descriptor “costumey” a lot. Even when I’m looking at my design, completely confused about their comments because I made a twill gown or a silk bustier dress – clothing, in my eyes.

RLL: Speaking of Broadway – when you started on the show, were you afraid of being called out as a costume designer?   
AP: That’s exactly what I was afraid of. I had a feeling I was going to be pigeonholed as “just a costumer,” and unfortunately I feel that happened. I’ve always known it’s hard for designers to truly “go there” with their designs. I fortunately get to “go there” for a living, so I figured I’d be able to cut back and make it more wearable and commercial. I feel I did a good job with that. I mean, it’s always easier to take a step back than take a step forward. I, my dear, have been stepping forward for decades, so it was a challenge for me to edit and simplify.

RLL: We saw you showed your gothic collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. What was that like? 
AP: It was a blast! I was so nervous, and, honestly, sewing up to the eleventh hour! I knew I was going far and beyond what any of the other designers were doing, but that’s what I do. I wanted to give them a show. Because, let’s face it, 90% of what’s on the runway isn’t what’s on the racks. But then, if you break down my collection, it’s a couple of pairs of nice slacks, great shirts, a couple of gorgeous dresses, and a pair of shorts. It’s wearable.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk Project Runway: A Chat with Season 12′s Alexander Pope” »


October 11, 2013

Project Runway Gives Us Butterflies

Who's off to Fashion Week? Find out in Season 12, Episode 12

 
Hello again, Project Runway fans! I’m still heartbroken over last week’s double elimination, but I’ll try to keep it together. This week, the designers had two challenges – reasonable, considering this determines who moves on to the finale. The first was to create a daring avant-garde look inspired by a visit to a butterfly house. The second? Select an ousted designer’s losing look and reimagine it into a winner. No joke.

The good: Dom’s print mixing and palazzo-pant jumpsuit made me catch my breath, and her recreation of Jeremy’s bright jacket was spot on. Bradon created the definition of avant-garde – a sculptural work of art. I loved the shoulder detailing on his second piece, but the front went a little “French maid.” Maybe it’s just me.

The only slightly less good: Justin’s first piece seemed more like haute couture than avant-garde, but the cording was rich and original. For look #2, he picked the outfit that got him sent home earlier in the season – a brave, emotional choice – and nailed it.

The bad (and the ugly): Alexandria’s goth-butterfly dress belongs in a Halloween store, and her punk-rock recreation of Miranda’s design was forgettable. And Helen – what happened? Her dress’ bright orange looked, as Zac and Nina put it, like a “shredded carrot” or “pumpkin fest.” And her second design? Boring.

Dom and Bradon earned their spots in the finale, for sure. But, unable to pick the third (which is weak, as Justin is the obvious choice), the judges decided to let all three remaining designers create a collection – with the caveat that not all of them would make it to the finale.

Who do you think will earn that coveted final spot? Join me here next Friday for a special post. Until then – sound off on Twitter (we’re at @ruelala), and auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

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October 4, 2013

Project Runway Gets Print-Happy

A double elimination rocks the workroom in Season 12, Episode 11

 
Welcome back, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers and styling team gave superfans head-to-toe makeovers. This week, the ever-recurring HP challenge had them creating their own prints, thanks to some inspiration from young entrepreneurs in various fields.

The good: Dom’s bright, exotic print was the best of the night. Bradon’s dress and jacket were glamorous and, ultimately, more wearable, but Dom deserved the win for this challenge in particular. Helen hopped onto the crop-top bandwagon, and guest judge Peter Som called her look “Star-Spangled Hipster.”

The bad (and the ugly): I loved the richness of Alexander’s print, though Nina’s point – “there’s something very serious about it when it should have been light” – was valid. Justin’s tacked-on skirt earned him his spot in the bottom, despite his stunning fitted bodice. Kate hid her print, which is never a good idea in the “design your own pattern” challenge. And I was shocked to see Alexandria move on. Her messy design missed the mark.

The last laugh: Peter Som outshined Zac when it came to witty quips. “She looks like she fell into a Kleenex box,” he said of Kate’s dress, which the other designers also called a “tampon” in the workroom. Poor Kate. Love you, girl.

This was a sad day in Project Runway land, with two of my favorite designers auf’d in one night. How about you? Did the judges screw it up? Let us know on Twitter at @ruelala. Until next week, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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September 27, 2013

Project Runway Faces Reality

8 superfans get made over in Season 12, Episode 10

 
Hey there, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers transformed their models into Southern belles. This week, the challenge tested their ability to satisfy an everyday, non-model-sized client: the die-hard Runway watcher.

The good: Helen has come a long way since Kate handed her her first win. Seeing Jamie’s transformation paired with that red-carpet dress was by far the highlight of this episode. I’d be surprised if, at this point, she didn’t make it to the Final Three. Justin’s idea to incorporate Tristen’s signature into the dress was genius. Bradon’s choice of black for a “sexy” and “modern” look wasn’t original, but it was chic and versatile enough to land him in the top.

The bad (and the ugly): Alexander’s unfinished garment had me worried. He’s one designer I’d like to see stick around a bit longer. Zac called Alexandria’s look “maternity librarian” – scary accurate, and far too matronly for the 20-year-old client.

This has been a season chock-full of bad behavior. Regardless of Ken’s sage-colored flop of a dress, his explosion when Alexander had to move into his room was akin to a child’s temper tantrum. Ugliness all around. Except for Susie, his superfan model/client, who rocked the catwalk.

The last laugh: I loved that Kate incorporated lace into her top’s look, but my only thought as it came down the runway? Robin Hood. Or maybe a chain-mailed Peter Pan. That said, I’m glad she was safe.

The judges sure got it right this week. Agree? Let us know: @ruelala. Talk to you next time. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

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September 20, 2013

Project Runway Turns On the (Southern) Charm

The Bottom Three get a second chance in Season 12, Episode 9

 
It’s Friday again, Project Runway fans! Last week was all about creating activewear for Heidi’s New Balance line. This week, the designers faced the Belk (of the Belk Accessories Wall) Challenge. Belk’s Executive VP of Private Brands, John Thomas, asked them to create a modern look for a Southern woman to be produced and sold in Belk stores and online. I love when there are two big-stakes, huge-prize challenges in a row – keeps everyone on their toes.

The good: John enjoyed Kate’s bright and modern pattern, but Heidi thought the empire waist made the model look pregnant – a valid argument, but it likely would have been flattering on an average- or plus-sized figure. Bradon’s plaid shirtdress with its asymmetrical high-low hem was a hit with all the judges, and Alexander’s sweetheart neckline? My fave. The movement won me over.

The bad (and the ugly): Dom’s dress reminded Nina of hospital scrubs. Ken took heat for creating “a beautifully cut purple nightgown” and playing it safe, especially after he bragged the whole challenge about being from the South. And finally, Jeremy’s colorful, sleeveless V-neck dress and red “casino jacket” earned him a round of “madame” comments – again.

Great advice from Zac: “You’re not going to become a star of 7th Avenue if you’re going to be safe all the time. Fashion is about taking those smart risks.” I think we can all find truth in that.

The second chance: Heidi and team, thinking the Bottom Three didn’t understand the challenge, sent them back to the workroom for another hour. The result? Dom’s monochromatic flirty number was a clear winner. Ken’s piece was my least favorite – it was far too short and looked like two dresses fused into one – but ultimately, Jeremy’s simple redesign, while pretty, just didn’t impress.

Are you as ready as I am for Ken to go home? (And who misses Michael Kors already?) Let us know on Twitter at @ruelala, and I’ll catch you next week. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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September 13, 2013

Project Runway Has a Field Day

Heidi’s activewear line gets a fresh update in Season 12, Episode 8

 
Hi again, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers used the Marie Claire shoe closet as inspiration. This week, they battled each other in an obstacle course to earn an extra hour in the workroom, where they created activewear for Heidi Klum’s New Balance line, HKNB. Plus, Michael Kors returned as guest judge. Oh, happy day.

The good: Helen’s mesh jacket moved well and covered “the ass and the thighs” (thanks, Nina), so everyone adored it – and it’s for sale at newbalance.com as part of HKNB. Kate’s look was polished, functional, and something I’d wear out for an autumn run. And Alexander pulled off athletic pants sans side seams. So cool. Michael said he could see it on a sales rack… but at least that would mean it’s in a store, right? Irony: Dom and Justin won the field-day challenge and had extra time to work on their looks, but they were both just safe.

The bad (and the ugly): The judges said Ken’s too-long, strappy tank belonged on the same rack as Alexander’s look. Karen started over after Heidi called her first try a “green Martian” in the workroom, but the result was more like Sunday lounge-about clothes than stylish activewear. And Alexandria’s second go at drop-crotch pants was ridiculous – who could exercise in those? – but since we were finally able to hear some of that classic Michael Kors wit, I’ll leave the commentary to him…

The last laugh: …“Well, if you want guys to leave you alone in the gym, wear that look. I mean, first off, you can’t move. Second off, you pooped in your pants.” Michael, please don’t leave.

I agree with the judges over who went home, but I would have picked Kate to win. (And if the judges had, too, I’d be the one doing the running this morning – to where I hid my credit card. From myself.) How about you? Tell us on Twitter at @ruelala.

Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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September 6, 2013

Project Runway’s Library of Shoes

Booties, sandals, and more inspire the designers in Season 12, Episode 7

 
Happy Friday, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers sent nature-inspired mini collections down the runway. This week, it was all about shoes – complete with a sketching session in the Marie Claire shoe closet. (Jealous.) Here’s how it went.

The good: I loved Ken’s peplum minidress paired with lace-up heels, and the judges did, too. Zac wasn’t into the bag, but noted that the wearer wouldn’t need it anyway since “everyone is going to pay for her.” Alexandria was smart to pick thigh-high gladiator sandals – they stole the show – but I would have liked to see more color in her actual design. And Helen’s rocker bootie–inspired cape dress looked so high-end I thought the judges might try to buy it off the model.

I also have to mention Karen’s pop of neon – refreshing after a runway full of black, black, black.

The bad (and the ugly): The judges picked on Jeremy for his Pretty Woman stiletto boots, but really, that chiffon sweater looked like a deflated jellyfish. Though the gold tuxedo loafers Bradon selected were lovely, his top reminded me of a bridesmaid’s dress gone really, really wrong – he has to stop breaking my heart like this. Miranda attempted a similar silhouette to last week’s disaster, but the holiday-esque plaid and red loafers prompted Nina to ask, “Where’s the eggnog?”

The last laugh: Ken’s own description of his model – “man-eater of the new millennium” – was spot-on. Though he’s been edited as the season’s “villain” and a bit of a diva, the guy does know how to construct a dress.

Who else is excited for Michael Kors’s impending return as guest judge? I’ve grown to love Zac, but ultimately I want to have my cake and eat it, too. (That is, both of them. Every week. Forever.)

Did the right person go home? I say yes. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter – we’re at @ruelala. And until September, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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August 30, 2013

Project Runway Goes Glamping

Find out which designer earns the Tim Gunn Save in Season 12, Episode 6

 
Hey there, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers teamed up to make mini collections with unconventional materials. This week, they went “glamping” – glamorous camping – for inspiration to create a nature-infused, high-end look. Here’s a peek at how things went.

The good: Jeremy’s love letter–adorned, bias-cut gown had me wishing I could reach into the TV and grab it (and have it magically be in my size). Although everyone laughed at Alexandria the entire episode, the judges loved her reinterpreted denim jacket and drop-crotch pants/skirt hybrid. Alexander’s dress was dramatic and mysterious, but the leather could have been integrated better. And though Miranda was just safe, her flower train made this design a personal best.

The bad (and the ugly): When Bradon’s piece hit the runway, I wondered for a second if the model was pregnant. Such a disappointment from one of my faves. Karen’s billowing ombré dress looked like something peed on a tent. Zac likened Ken’s dress’s colors to those of a “squished frog,” and Justin’s glue-gun lacework was reminiscent of… well… the hot-glue table at summer camp after the kids are done.

The last laugh: Nina continues to delight. Her sound bite of the week? The reference to Justin’s garment as a “foaming vagina.” Really. But the best part – the only thing that makes this overwhelmingly funny rather than sad – is that despite the judges’ disgust, Tim was able to keep Justin from walking out the door. (Also, Tim’s camo suit? A-ma-zing.)

Do you think the save was used appropriately? Or is Tim going to kick himself when, in a few episodes, Kate or Bradon or Jeremy screws up? Tweet us at @ruelala to chat about it.

Talk to you soon. Until then, auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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August 23, 2013

Project Runway Drives It Home

The designers gather materials in Lexus sedans in Season 12, Episode 5

 
Good afternoon, Project Runway fans! Last week, the designers crafted with bow ties provided by Tie the Knot, a fashion charity in support of gay rights. This week, they formed four teams and drove Lexus sedans to pick up materials from a vintage wallpaper store, a supermarket, and a party-supply shop. The goal? Work together to design an unconventional three-piece mini collection.

The good: Bradon, Alexander, and Miranda made a beautiful, white-themed collection – if I were a judge, this group would have won my vote. Also, the fruit detailing on Helen, Justin, and Dom’s pieces was an original and stunning touch. But ultimately, Jeremy’s strapless pencil dress was impeccably tailored, and Karen and Kate used their unconventional materials the best. (I mean, seed glitter and rice embroidery? Awesome.)

The bad (and the ugly): Sue was a mess. While her garment didn’t look much worse than Ken’s or Alexandria’s (Zac Posen on their collection: “The material is bad, the sewing is bad, and the taste is bad”), the fact that her model was still wearing her own clothes as they headed for the runway was unprecedented and sad. And let’s not discuss her issues with Ken, because they were both right – she can’t sew and he is a drama queen.

The last laugh: As Jeremy’s dress walked the runway, he told the camera, “I am blinded by its luminescence!” He also used the idea and shape of a stingray as inspiration for his garment. Talented? Yep. Amusing? You bet. I hope he sticks around, because it makes for a good combination.

With this elimination, it seems we’re finally down to a solid core of good designers. I doubt the drama is going away anytime soon, but at least we’ll have pretty things to look at for the rest of the season. And now, a serious question: Any theories as to how Sue got on this show in the first place? To weigh in, tweet us at @ruelala.

Catch you next week. Auf Wiedersehen.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Did you miss an episode? Catch up or refresh your memory with our Project Runway recaps to date.

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August 16, 2013