Project Runway crowned its second All-Stars champ Thursday night. In a typical all-stars twist to make the competition more difficult (and more torturous!) the remaining three designers only had four days to complete a full mini collection with as many (or few) pieces as they wished using a budget of $3,000.
The Concept: Urban Plantation, inspired by working women in America, but namely the images of Aunt Jemima and Rosie the Rivet
The Collection: Strong. That's the word that comes to mind with every piece that comes out. Whether it's the vibrant primary colors paired with black or suit fabrics, the Jemima-Rosie headress reimagined as an oversized red bow or the dramatic silhouettes, Emilio makes a bold but feminine statement. The showstopper was a red, 1940s-inspired pantsuit with a plunging neckline and subtly puffed sleeves.
The Judges Said: Georgina Chapman also thought the red jumpsuit was divine and really dug the bodices over shirts. Isaac Mizrahi pointed out this was the most political collection, although felt some of the pieces read as Junior. Guest judge Liv Tyler loved the youthful use of color, but fellow guest judge Margherita Missoni wasn't a fan at all. She thought it lacked experimentation and excitement. Carolyn Murphy loved the multi-colored trench.
Anthony Ryan Auld
The Concept: "A Thin Line," about that line between dark and light in oneself
The Collection: Reminiscent of Mondrian, Anthony Ryan showed off his construction skills with form-fitting silhouettes that used color-blocking and creatively placed cutouts (both in the front and back) to create a very controlled, geometric design. It's dramatic, mod and has a very solid point of view. He opened with his best piece, a dress with a blue shirt-inspired bodice over a full-length black skirt with a cutout back, nifty low pockets and very understated use of illusion on the sleeve.
The Judges Said: Georgina thought the opening piece was spectacular, and Isaac calls it the "best dress I've ever seen on Project Runway." He also said he was jealous of Anthony Ryan's genius placement of the pockets. Carolyn thought he was always very art-inspired. The only real critique was that the closing dress was poorly constructed and lacked impact.
The Concept: Mystical Winter: She stuck with her strengths, a palette of white, ivory, silver and taupe
The Collection: Imagine Bjork as a woodland creature who's caught out in the snow. That's kind of what you get with Uli's magical collection that was the most feminine and fey of the three. Her body-conscious silhouettes have just enough ease in them to feel natural, not confining. It's the careful use of embellishments that were the most effective. She combined lace, beading, feathers and faux fur to create an almost animal-like texture to portions of the pieces.
The Judges Said: Isaac said she always had a knack for producing collections that made the viewers both laugh and cry. Margherita loved the fairy-tale quality of it and that it made her dream. Georgina and Carolyn both gave Uli credit for bringing out the psychological response.
Uli, however, wasn't magic enough. She was named the second runner-up. In the end, Anthony Ryan's collection appealed to the judges the most, which makes sense. Going into the finale, he had five challenge wins under his belt compared to his competitors' two apiece. He definitely had improved since his original season.
"Project Runway has given me a second chance to do what I love," he said. "I was faced with a lot of challenges, and it's those crazy-ass times that you really find the best of yourself."
Did the right designer win?