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Project Runway All Stars Recap: Couture de France Inspired Gowns

January 11, 2013 05:17 AM by Donna W. Martin

Tonight’s episode of Project Runway All Stars was the last show prior to the finale. And it was a tough one! The designers were faced with difficult challenges and lots of surprises! Who made it to the finale? And who went home heartbroken? Take the jump to find out!

Carolyn came in and explained this week’s challenge. She said their challenge was to create one of the “most spectacular and most difficult styles…Couture,” which pays close attention to detailing and custom tailoring.

Then she gave them their first surprise. “You’re going to be shopping at one of the most respected Couture fabric stores in the world…Janssens & Janssens at the Rue D’Anjou in Paris!” That’s right; the designers were headed to Paris! Then there was another surprise. While in Paris, the designers would have a private tour of the House of Valentino. “Go pack because you are leaving now,” she said.

They designers scrambled to get packed before jetting off to Paris. After they arrived, they went to the House of valentine where they were met by Joanna Coles. She introduced them to Valentino’s head designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Chiuri and Piccioli took the designers on a tour and they were in awe. Anthony Ryan said getting to see the “inspiration, the process, and how they select the fabric” they use for their creations was invaluable information.

And then the designers got another surprise. Chiuri and Piccioli invited the designers to attend their Couture show the following day and gave them invitations for VIP seats.  Talk about excited… The top four ended the day with an evening dinner aboard a boat drifting down the Siene River.

The next day, the designers sketched in front of the Eiffel Tower. Joshua worked on a design that would marry black and white with color while Anthony Ryan decided to go with a long gown that would be sheer and see through. Emilio wanted to create a ball gown that was dramatic and had lots of color while Uli decided to go with a long gown with a train and lots of color.

After their sketches were complete, they were off to Janssens & Janssens at Rue D’Anjou. They had a budget of 3000 Euros and one hour to shop. Anthony Ryan chose a black fabric, Emilio went with a red print, Joshua went with black and white lace and a multi-colored floral print, and Uli chose black and gold…so much for lots of color.

After the designer finished shopping, they went to the Valentino Couture Show and then jetted back to New York City to get started on their gowns. They had ten hours left to complete their looks. They were tired but they pushed through it and got to work.

Six hours in, Anthony Ryan decided he didn’t like his gown and started over. Then Joanna came in. She talked with each designer about their works in progress and went she went to leave said, “I think Paris had an extraordinary impact on you. I’m seeing incredible work and I’m heartbroken to remind you that only three of you can go through to the finale.”

The designers resumed their work and then the models came in for their fittings. Uli’s dress was too big. Emilio decided to add sleeves, Joshua loves his design and thinks it’s beautiful and elegant, and Anthony Ryan’s garment was still very much a work in progress.

Later, the designers call it a night and head to their hotel.

The next day, they have two hours left to complete their designs before it’s time to hit the runway. They all worked franticly and were down to the wire getting their designs completed. Then it was time for the runway.

After the models walked the Runway, it was time for critiques. Emilio was up first. Isaac said he loved the dress so much…the long sleeve, the high waist, but wondered how it would look if it were five inches shorter. Georgina said the dress looked beautiful and elegant. And guest judge and designer, Cynthia Rowley said it was really, really, really strong in simplicity. Then Carolyn said she was in fantasyland looking at the dress…”It looks beautiful,” she said.

Then the judges moved on to Anthony Ryan. Georgina said his dress looked divine. Isaac said the silhouette on the side was precious because it’s controlled and it’s sexy in a new way. Cynthia said it the dress was beautiful and that she loved the way the negative space on the lace looked like a shadow. Carolyn added, “Simple elegance.”

Cynthia said Uli’s dress was interesting and was an incredible mix of textures but she didn’t love how she could see the nude lining in the dress. “I felt like I was seeing something I shouldn’t be seeing,” she said.

Georgina agreed saying the lining was an issue, it was distracting. Carolyn said it was a very Uli dress with the shapes in the front and back but the shapes in the back looked like a blob and looked heavy. Isaac said the dress was great. He said it looked expensive but it didn’t look like Couture. “It looks like a really expensive ready to wear dress.

Then last but not least, the judges looked at Joshua’s dress. Isaac said he was mad for the lace and liked the print but didn’t think the two worked together. Georgina said she loved the combination of floral and lace but the scale of the print was off…the flowers should have been larger. Cynthia agreed sating the dress was ill fitted. Then Carolyn said she liked the detail down the back but the shape of the skirt was off a bit. “It’s a brave combination. I like it,” she said.

The judges dismissed the designers so they could make their final decisions and then called them back to the runway for the results. Carolyn called all four designers by name and said, “One of you has won the Couture challenge, and that designer is…Anthony Ryan.”

She told Emilio he was also safe and through to the finale. Then it was down to Joshua and Uli. Carolyn said, “You have both come so far…this has been a very difficult decision.”

Then there was another surprise twist. Carolyn told Joshua and Uli they had one more challenge and it would decide who would get the final spot in the finale. She called their models back to the runway and then told them they had to “deconstruct their designs and reinvent them into something completely different…a dramatic new look.” But that wasn’t all… They only had one hour to get the work done and they had to reinvent their looks on the runway.

The judges left and a few supplies were brought out to Joshua and Uli. Then the one-hour countdown started. At the end of the hour, the judges came back in and the models walked the runway. Then it was time for another critique and final decisions.

Joshua was up first. Georgina said her mouth dropped to the floor when both models walked because the work they had done was extraordinary. Then she spoke about Joshua’s design. “It has a lightness now…it works better now.” She said.

Isaac said the dress was so nice and he liked it better now. Cynthia said it was so transformed and that it was pretty and fresh. Carolyn said the look was fun and so different and the shape was beautiful.

Uli was next. Georgina said it was beautiful and she loved the jacket. Cynthia said it was a “hilarious f*ck you to all of us…we didn’t like the lining and now you make the dress out of the lining.”

Carolyn said it was cohesive and beautiful and Isaac said it looked entirely different, fabulous. Then he joked there was another one hour challenge.

Carolyn asked each judge to write down the name of the designer that they believed most deserved the final spot in the finale. And then she read the results… “Uli, you are in,” she said, “And that means Joshua, you are out.”

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Were you surprised by all the surprises? And what about the extra challenge at the end? Were you sad to see Joshua go? Post a comment and let us know.

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Photo Credit: Lifetime

Topics: Lifetime Reality TV Shows, Project Runway |

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