We’re in the home stretch of “Project Runway All Stars” season seven. Only five contestants were left going into the Wednesday night, March 13 episode, “Nina Says Don’t Cry Over Spilt Silk,” and (presumably) only four came out. So who advanced to next week’s penultimate episode, and who was left crying in a pool of misspent silk? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
“Spilt Silk” features Nina Garcia, the editor-in-chief of Elle magazine and a longtime judge on the original “Project Runway” series (you can see her on Thursday night when that show returns to Bravo for its 17th season). In this episode of “All Stars” she challenged the remaining designers to create luxurious ball gowns with silk. Garcia also judged this challenge, along with fellow guest judge Iris Apfel, who at 97-years-old has been a fashion icon for the better part of a century.
This “All Stars” season featured past “Runway” winners from the American series and from international spin-offs, but only one of the final five was from abroad: Canadian “Runway” champ Evan Biddell. He was up against past US champs Dmitri Sholokhov (“Runway” season 10, “All Stars” season 4), Anthony Ryan Auld (“All Stars” season 2), Irina Shabayeva (“Runway” season 6) and Michelle Lesniak (“Runway” season 11).
No one has dominated the competition this season. All five of those designers won at least one design challenge, and all of them spent at least one week in the bottom two. That means no one was safe, so every stitch counted. Find out what happened below starting at 9:00pm (all times listed are Eastern).
9:01 p.m. – The arrival of Nina Garcia to the runway was a sweet surprise for the four American designers who were judged by her on their original seasons. For Evan, he didn’t have a relationship with her already, but he did know her from the show and Alyssa Milano made sure he knew that she followed his work on his show as well. Nina presented this week’s challenge to the designers: creating a luxurious silk gown suitable for a royal ball.
9:05 p.m. – In the design phase, all the designers were conceptualizing ways to give the royal gown a more contemporary spin. Once they got to Mood to choose their silk fabrics they were happy to find out that each of them was going for a different color. Anthony Ryan was making the “surprise” decision of going for a bright yellow which I’m pretty sure he’s been doing all season long. It’ll be interesting to see how the judges react to his color choice this time around and if they call him out for doing more of the same.
9:07 p.m. – Somehow Michelle returned to the workroom and realized that she wasn’t happy with the fabrics she had just purchased. She had a mixed bag of oranges, pinks and yellows and said that she didn’t have enough of one color to do a whole dress and so her challenge was going to be piecing the fabrics together in a way that she was happy with. On the other side of the room Irina quickly assembled a corset for her dress, frustrating Michelle who thought Irina wasn’t using enough silk considering all the netting and tulle for the corset.
9:16 p.m. – Evan and Irina both felt comfortable in the challenge because they know they work quickly and are experience with evening wear. Michelle, Dmitry and Anthony Ryan were much more frustrated in being out of their element.
9:18 p.m. – During Anne Fulenwider‘s visit to the workroom, Evan explained his use of a silk fabric that is made to create volume without a ton of structure beneath it. Michelle explained her vision of doing something bold with color, but Anne did think her combination was reminiscent of a “1970s kitchen” and so she stressed editing to make it work. Anne warned Irina that her silhouette was looking too traditional while Dmitry’s wasn’t exactly formal enough for the scope of the challenge. Anthony Ryan was very clearly stressed out during his visit and got emotional with Anne over whether or not his point of view was going in the right direction.
9:22 p.m. – When it came to model fittings, Michelle, Dmitry and Anthony Ryan all were not ready and so they couldn’t work with the models to get things right. Evan and Irina did have things to work with and so they continued to move along confidently. Usually the designers can get catty with each other, but once most of Evan’s dress was constructed both Anthony Ryan and Michelle came over to admire it and told him that he created a stunning look.
9:33 p.m. – Once the designers were putting the finishing touches on their garments, Irina was perplexed by what she called “crap” by everyone else. Michelle was gaining confidence in her look, mostly happy with the colors she had chosen compared to the more drab decisions her competitors had made. No one except for Dmitry seemed to like what he created–Anthony Ryan said the bottom of it looked “tortured.”
9:39 p.m. – Upon arrival at the runway the designers were greeted by the iconic fashion influencer Iris Apfel who joined Georgina Chapman, Isaac Mizrahi and Alyssa and Nina as the judges for this week’s challenge. On the runway Dmitry thought his dress had movement and he was proud of the piecing together of the fabric that he achieved. Michelle liked the idea behind her dress, but was not happy with the way it moved. Anthony Ryan thought the effect of the feathers on his dress worked and he was happy with his color choices. Evan’s dress made him happy because it looked as regal as he wanted it to and Irina’s was a showstopper as far as she was concerned.
9:47 p.m. – Georgina was torn by Anthony Ryan’s dress because she liked the idea but didn’t understand his color story. Both Iris and Isaac were not torn on Anthony Ryan’s because they were sure that they did not like it. Nina and Alyssa weren’t as down on it though. No one on the panel thought that Michelle’s dress was appropriate for the challenge which frustrated Isaac because he thought both her and Anthony Ryan should have been more excited given the fabulous parameters of the challenge.
9:49 p.m. – The judges were split on whether or not Dmitry’s dress was appropriate, but Iris found it to be the most appropriate especially if taking the early 1900s into account. With Irina’s they thought the bodice was really great and looked couture, but questioned whether the see-through bottom was the right decision. And with Evan they appreciated that he thought outside of the box and were impressed with the amount of work he achieved in such a short amount of time, but again weren’t convinced it was entirely right for the challenge.
9:59 p.m. – After discussing further, Dmitry was the first designer called safe. Between the top two, Irina and Evan, the judges declared Irina the overall winner and offered her the trip to Thailand as a prize. Friends Michelle and Anthony Ryan remained in the bottom with the judges ultimately decided that Anthony Ryan would be the one to leave the competition.
NEXT WEEK: The final is asked to design three looks for a family portrait and mentor Anne Fulenwider joins the judges on the panel to critique the designs in full.
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