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Project Runway All Stars season 4


Happy Halloween, darlings.  A few things to get out of the way before we get to All Stars.  First, I watched the first episode of *Threads*, and it was humiliating.  To quote the illustrious Karen Miller, it filled me with self-loathing.  Second, the reunion show was just as dreadful, maybe even more.  Why did they do it with a live studio audience?  And all that cutting back to designers in the green room watching the show, that was peculiar.  Korina and Char were exasperating.  It makes me uncomfortable, this kind of thing.  Ditto all business that with Sandhya.  “Oh, but we DO like you!”  Really?  I hope none of the three of them return on an upcoming season of All Stars, I am full up.  And finally, there are two more fashion shows headed down the river, both featuring our patron saint, Diane von Furstenberg!  She has her own show on E!, *The House of DVF*, premiering this Sunday at 10 PM Eastern.  And *The Fashion Fund* starts season 2 on Ovation, Wednesday 11/5 at 10 PM Eastern.  Yikes, between these two shows, PRAS, and *American Horror Story*, my DVR will be chock-a-block!


The best thing about PRAS: it’s only an hour long.  Praise Jesus.  It’s good to see all these weirdos again.  Gunnar got the biggest laugh out of me on this first episode, when he said, “Hey, Fabio beat me.  However comma, I’m not that worried about it.”  Hilarious!  Don’t be surprised if I start sprinkling my conversation with spoken commas.


Boys vs. girls - - who thought of that, how novel.  Two bits of set-up and surprise in this episode: Benjamin and Fabio were both set up for disaster, Benjamin because he was doing an uptown look for the downtown challenge, and Fabio because he left his fabric at Mood (what a dingbat).  They both ended up in the top three, and Benjamin won.  So there.


I had forgotten about Alyssa and her strange pronunciations.  Remember how she couldn’t pronounce the name of Georgina’s fragrance, Parfum d’Extase?  This time it was the name of the guest judge, Ivanka Trump.  Her name came out Ih-VUNK-uh.



I love the attitude of Benjamin’s dress.  He should send Zanna a thank you note for talking him into redoing the dress, it made a world of difference.  Isaac was bonkers for it, I predict we’ll see something similar in HIS collection soon.  I’m just sayin’.  Chris’s kilt was cute, and I liked the top.  Not much more to say on that.


Loved Fabio’s jumpsuit, that was way cool.  Downtown, but upscale.  I could see that girl walking into Rice to Riches, my favorite spot in SoHo.  It’s a café that serves 20 different kinds of rice pudding.  Not to be missed!



Alexandria’s look was so cheap looking.  Dmitry’s dress was too short and too open in the front, and the necklace or whatever looked like a big wad of seaweed that affixed itself to her neck.  Was this a mermaid challenge?  Too bad Helen was on the losing team, because her evening gown was sublime, the most beautifully made outfit on the runway.



Another mermaid moment, with Kate’s clamshells.  Isaac put it perfectly - - the boob treatment wouldn’t be so horrid if the bodice of the dress weren’t so tight.  Michelle’s dress was not good.  It cracked me up that Alyssa said the fabric looked like car seat upholstery.  Again, not the challenge!  I really didn’t like the cut-out in the front, that didn’t make sense to me.  And the two other colors in the back, that wasn’t working, either.  And I know you’re getting tired of me saying this, but did the dress have to have an open back?


I was sorry to see Patricia go home first, only because she’s so likeable.  But she really deserved the auf.  The dress was a snooze, and thank you, Georgina, for pointing out those unforgiveable darts.  Why would she not see that as a problem, and fix it?  Did you get a load of Isaacs’s face when Patricia let out with the ululating on her exit?  His face said, “Hashtag: for real?”


LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 2


The darling Jeff had the funniest take on the PR season 13 reunion special - - he said it was like the Real Housewives of 7th Avenue!


My dear friend Frank sent this funny article from the NY Post.  It goes through each of the designers, saying who they are and what they bring to the table.  The final comment, about Samantha, is priceless.


On to the show.  Not the greatest episode ever, but not the dullest.  I like Chris March's comment - - "It's better to be stolen from than to have to steal."  But Dmitry's outfit ended up looking pretty good, and Chris was in the bottom three!  More on that later.


What a shame that the divine Elie Tahari had to share a show with Snooki and JWoww.  A shiver down my spine as I type those names.  Really, did they bring ANYTHING to the table as guest judges?  No.


I don't know if I've said this yet, but Jay looks good, doesn't he?  He's aging well.  Richard remembers Benjamin from his earlier season, and thinks he looked better as a blond (though this might be closer to his actual hair color).



Kate's dress was sweet, she was smart to make it short, but she is a one-trick pony - - or as the incomparable Kate reminded me, Dmitry had a funny twist on this expression in his PR season: she's a "one-way monkey."  And what was that dippy little jeweled headband that Kate was wearing?  Ugh, I cannot support that.


Jay's dress was cool.  The shredding was wonderful, and I love that the shredding technique had a direct connection to the "textile".  And who cares if the other designers were cranky that he was making so much noise?  Maybe they should bring back Stella with all her hammering and such.  Yes please, bring back Stella!


Justin was miles away from everyone else, don't you agree?  Do you remember, on the second episode of season 8 - - allow me to remind you.  The challenge was to design an outfit for a Marie Claire billboard in Times Square.  They had the runway show, and the judges sent away the ten or so designers who were safe.  Then, to the remaining six, they said, "Gretchen, congratulations, you are the winner.  Your outfit was so far above the others that we decided to do something different.  Congratulations, you can leave the runway.  The other five of you are on the bottom."  I thought they should have done the same thing with Justin.  What a wonderful dress.  It showed his use of unconventional materials, but it elevated them.  And it was a great fulfillment of the challenge, it was "feminine" (whatever that means).  Bravo to Justin.  I can't believe this was his first win.  One more thing: thank you, Isaac, for pointing out the boob in the armpit.  That's a  bugaboo of mine.  A bugaboob?



Fabio's looked like it was made out of fabric, nothing special.  Helen's was a snooze, I might have put her on the bottom instead of Michelle.  But Samantha's outfit - - yeesh!  That top was horrific, way too much flesh being exposed.  If The Snookmeister was on a nipple hunt with Chris's top, this outfit did all the work for her.  Utterly tasteless.  And the skirt was a snooze.  Gunnar's dress was pretty damn cool, I might have put him in the top instead of Kate or Jay.  Ditto Sonjia, that was awesome.  Maybe not so great from a construction standpoint, but great to look at.  Dmitry's dress was impressive on the top, but whoa Nelly, his model had a fugitive buttcheek!



Chris's outfit was a total head-shaker.  I felt bad for him, I think he knew he had failed.  But I stopped feeling bad for him when he blamed Dmitry on the runway - - really, come on.  Dmitry may have stolen his idea, but he did a better job with it, and Chris alone is responsible for what he puts out there.  Put on your big girl panties, honey.


I don't understand why Michelle was on the bottom.  Yes, her dress was rather ordinary, but it was chic and well made.  This gets a girl in the bottom two, really?


Alexandria is good TV, but that was NOT a good dress.  Amen to everything the judges said - - the shape flattened out the model, and the flounce was just plan ridic.  Back to Camp Couture with her.


LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 3


This episode was a lot of fun!  Have you seen *Wicked*?  It’s a first-class Broadway product - - it knows its audience, knows what it’s doing, and does it.  It’s been playing to strong audiences for over 11 years, so they must be doing something right.  I was tickled that one of the designers said, “I don’t think we’re at Parsons anymore!”  Har har har.  I had this to say when Alyssa Milano descended from the flies - - Glinda is enceinte!


I love that we’ve been seeing more of Swatch, he is the cutest dog.  This week they had a shot of him toddling up the stairs, and Richard almost spit up his PG Tips tea.


We were amused that Helen was explaining her design to the woman at Mood.  She said, “And then it’s gonna be pegged with all ruffles.”  The Mood clerk’s face very clearly said, “I really don’t care.  Do you want three yards, or four?”


So many funny comments this week.  Helen’s outfit: quinceañera or loofah?  Gunnar re: Dmitry’s dress: “It’s Nancy Kerrigan gone wild.”  And Dmitry, Mr. Slow Burn Belarus of 2014: “Eet’s called the workroom, not the talkroom.”


OK, to quote Samantha, let’s get down with the get down.



I liked Dmitry’s dress a lot.  Yes, it had an ice dancer vibe, but is that a bad thing?  The back was much prettier than the front, though.  I can’t believe Samantha was on the top, that dress was so sloppy, and not terribly special.  It just shows what a bunch of duds or losers the judges had to choose from.


Brava to Sonjia, that dress was a winner.  A beautiful color palette, an inventive design, and well made.  One problem, though: this dress is going on display in the lobby at *Wicked*, and it doesn’t really have a lot of oomph.  Whatever.



I liked Benjamin’s dress, she definitely looked like a bad girl.  Richard thought the fabric looked like mattress ticking.  Justin’s dress was OK, but the only thing that made it wicked is the fact that it was shown in black.  Michelle’s dress was dull and badly fitted - - did you see the lump on the side?  I couldn’t see what was going on in the back, but what I saw was ugly.  Jay was lucky that there were other stinkers, his outfit was way too voluminous, not flattering at all.  Kate was another lucky girl, that dress was costumey in the extreme.  The tulle poufs on the shoulders were the final horrible touch.  Way overdone.



Fabio - - which of the designers was it who said it looked like an apron?  Hit that nail right on the head, honey.  It would have been very pretty as a dress, why didn’t he just do a dress?  But the design was a little simple - - Richard said it looked like Fashion 101.


Helen’s dress was a definite loofah moment.  Isaac put it perfectly, about the ruffles: sometimes the thing you spend the most time on is the thing that sinks the look.


I’m sorry to see Chris March go home, but jeez, he shore did deserve it.  That dress was ugly, not flattering, not special, not good.  The guest judge said it was Hot Topic, Richard thought it was Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.


Completely off topic, did you catch that Gerber baby food commercial?


Hilarious!  I love a good 15-second commercial.  Now THAT is artistry.


LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 4


Dmitry gets the prize for best quote in this episode: “You know who doesn’t like Nina?  People who suck.”  While we’re on the topic of Nina, did you notice how Zanna referred to her as “my colleague and friend”?  Maybe I give Nina too much credit, but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that.


Zale’s!  How clever of them to sponsor a challenge just in time for the holidays.  A $10,000 Zale’s gift card buys you an awful lot of mall jewelry.  And I mean awful.


I have something to say about Fabio’s open relationship, and open relationships in general.  From what I’ve heard, it only works when that’s what’s happening with both partners.  The look-the-other-way or don’t-ask-don’t-tell techniques do not work.  It’s not like one person likes Miracle Whip and the other likes Hellman’s mayonnaise - - you cannot have both jars in the same fridge.



I would have given the win to Dmitry, I loved his dress, I thought it was cool looking.  Though the fit at her booty was not well done.  I have no idea why they put Sonjia in the top three, I didn’t like her dress at all, I thought she would be on the bottom!  I didn’t like the blue with the red, I thought the lace was a little funny.  I did not care for it.


Helen certainly knows how to make super-feminine dresses, which is a bit of a shocker, looking at her and her personal style.  I wasn’t wild for the dress, it looked like it was falling off, or in danger of falling off.  Isaac was gaga over it.  Whatever.



I would have put Fabio in the top over Sonjia, I loved his dress.  But did it need an open back?  Jay’s dress looked very Butterick.  I liked Michelle’s dress, the dichotomy of the girly pink lace and the black leather straps, that was interesting.  But again, did it need an open back?  Makes me think we need to add something new to my list of PR challenges: make a dress where you can wear a bra!  Samantha’s dress looked very pageant.  Justin’s dress was cute, but the spin on the runway was not a good idea!  I see London, I see France, I see the model’s underpants!



Benjamin could have been on the top, but his dress was undone by two features: the handkerchief hem (which was very hot in the 80s) and the blue/grey fabric hanging out of the skirt.  What was he thinking?  I think it was Nina who said it looked like a mistake.


I would have sent Gunnar home.  For one thing, he bugs me.  For another, his dress was a bigger disaster than Kate’s.  Kate’s dress was badly executed, and choosing that color was a serious lapse in judgment, but you could see something nice going on there.  Gunnar’s dress was such a mess - - it was bunched up in the bodice and bunched up in the back along the waist, and what was going on with the back of the skirt.  To use Nina’s signature phrase, “No bueno.”


Did Kate set a PR record?  Has anyone ever been eliminated three times?


LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 5


The Duchess of York!  Continuing her Develop Legitimacy Tour!  Did you hear the rumor that she and Andrew are going to remarry?  I guess I'd have to get up early to watch that wedding, since I did for their last.  She's a mixed bag - - the body looks really good, but the raccoon eyes and the red hair, I can't get behind either of those things.

A dialogue excerpt from our apartment:

ME: Look, they have an English sign language interpreter for Justin!
RICHARD: But she spells color with a U!

He is so very clever, is he not.

I got so tired of hearing Ben complain about how Sonjia bought "his" fabric, after a while I just heard "Waa was was waa."  Of course it led to him losing the challenge.  You know what he should have done?  He should have bought that same fabric and freaked HER out - - that would have been strategic, he would have sent the message of, "Go ahead and do your dull thing with this fabric, I'll show the judges something marvelous.  So there."

I really need to be on staff at Lifetime, I've come up with yet another brilliant idea for a challenge.  For this challenge, they should have had an added twist of making a dress to go UNDER the coat.  This would have addressed a huge issue that I didn't feel was addressed at all - - many of what we saw were coat dresses, which is not the same as a coat.  Richard tells me that the woman who spends $500 or more on a coat has a closet full of coats, and she does actually wear it as a garment, so it doesn't matter how long the sleeves are or how roomy the coat is, so I might be off base, but it would have been a wrench in the works for many of the designers, to have to think about what was being worn under the coat.  And they could have added a further wrinkle by having the designers make a dress (or whatever) for another designer's coat.  Wouldn't that have been great?

One more thing before we get to the runway.  I don't know if it was me who came up with this mnemonic device for remembering stalagmite vs stalactite, but it's so dippy it might have been me.  A stalagmite works with all its might to push up from the floor, and a stalactite holds very tight to the ceiling.

I really liked Dmitry's coat, because besides being groovy, it really looked like a coat.  Loved it.  Justin's coat was darling, but the open fanny in the back was not a winning idea.  He could have kept that shape and put a black panel down the center, or something.

Fabio's coat was very cute, very fashionable, but it just skimmed the surface of being a coat.  It was more of a dress.

I loved Helen's coat, it was beautifully crafted and had a strong Carnaby Street groove.  I would have put her in the top over Justin.  Brava to her.  Sonjia's coat had a novel shape and was very functional, but it didn't reference England at all.  You know what Nina would say about Michele's coat?  It's black and you can't see what it is - - the design is totally lost in the black fabric.  I've said it before and will say it again: why are these kids so dedicated to black?  That coat would be so cute in burgundy, or purple, or even mustard.

Jay's octopus coat was a passable idea gone sadly awry.  There were some good things going on, but they were derailed by the extra sleeves around the neck.  Samantha - - what is she still doing on this show?  That coat was in the top three for a challenge where they have to remake a Champion sweatshirt - - but that wasn't the challenge, was it.

Benjamin.  The judges were bothered by the fabric - - I thought the fabric was nice, and had an English vibe.  Those plastic pockets were what sealed the deal for him, ugh, that was a bad idea to end all bad ideas.

LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 6


Interesting idea for a challenge, no?  Almost as good as one of mine!  I thought maybe they were going to rig it so the dice had a little more variety, but I was intrigued to see that the results had a fair amount of overlap, including two designers with the same two parameters.


Michele was firing on all cylinders in this episode - - “lacy not racy” is a great quote, and I love that she latched onto Helen talking about playing “Russian roulette” with her grandmother.  She was all over that like a duck on a junebug.


Did you notice the hideous pantsuit that Zanna was wearing?  Ugh, it is seared into my retina, I’ll never be able to put it out of my mind.



The fact that Helen was on the top says a lot about the general quality of the work on this challenge.  It would have been so much better without the slice through the midriff.  I love the fabric manipulation in Michele’s outfit, but the padded hips were not a good idea.  BTW I never used the term “fabric manipulation” before I started watching PR.


Sonjia had it in the bag, yes?  But she should be sending a thank you note to everyone who told her that her initial fabric was not brocade!  Hello!  Richard thought her dress was very cruise wear, and I can see that.  I agree with what Georgina said, that it was bulky at the shoulder and she could have pared that down to make it sleeker.  But a winning look, for sure.



I loved Dima’s chrome jumpsuit, it was so Studio 54!  I also love that Michele called him “Dima”.  Bianca Jagger would have rocked in that outfit, perhaps she still would.  How was it that Samantha wasn’t on the bottom?  Oy, that was awful.  I would have put her in the bottom over Fabio.



Could we have an official word on whether or not Fabio was using denim?  I know the judges don’t have the opportunity to fondle the garments like they do on PR, but Michael Kors used to go up to the runway and touch something.  Remember when Anthony was eliminated for using polyester georgette?  I thought La Kors was going to hurl.  Anyway, I didn’t think that outfit was so terrible.


Justin’s dress was dull but not a travesty.  It would have been much cuter with short (or no) sleeves, and it could have hugged the figure a bit more.


Gunnar’s dress was a one-two punch of bad: it was ugly and it was boxy.  His fringe technique was nice but nothing we haven’t seen before.  I’m just glad he’s gone, he was wearing on my nerves.


LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 7


Interesting premise for a challenge.  But again, I don’t understand how they can get so up in arms over doing menswear.  This is not a surprise, they do it every season!  Wake up.


How did they determine that Jay and Fabio got the two men?  Each of the other pairs got a man and a woman, I found that curious.


I’m glad to Michelle pulled it together, she was nervin’ me with that attack of illness/nerves/what have you.  Maybe that was all for the camera, because her work ended up looking good.  And her partner ended up on the bottom, so there.  Right before the runway show she was trash-talking the other designers with total force, and I said to Richard, “I guess she’s feeling better!”


What was Jay thinking with that pink jacket?  The gray sleeves were a huge improvement, but still, the jacket was pink.  He said he was making an outfit for a gay man, but not every gay man wants a pink jacket.  Even *I* don’t want a pink jacket.  He had a giggle seizure about the jacket, and Richard said, “He’s gonna be laughing all the way to the exit.”  Didn’t turn out that way, but a clever remark, no?


Laverne Cox, what a great gal.  She can be a guest judge anytime.



Interesting that we had three men’s outfits on the top.  Jay was lucky that his client like the pink jacket, that could have been a huge bomb.  I thought the pants were a little shlubby.  I wasn’t wild for Michelle’s outfit - - it was what Nina Garcia would call “tricked out”, with the zippers and the side-mount pockets.  And yes, the cashmere didn’t read as luxe, though I bet it was delicious to the touch (especially on that guy).


Fabio’s outfit was very distinctive, original, and I guess it was high fashion.  I didn’t really like it.  That guy was gorgeous and had a killer body - - that didn’t come across in the outfit.  For a first date you want to really show the goods, right?


I liked Dmitry’s outfit a lot, I would wear that sweater in a heartbeat.  And it would look great on me!  I didn’t like Sonjia’s dress at all - - the color was flat and the cutout was not pretty.



I loved Justin’s outfit, I don’t know why he was in the bottom two - - I understand that the judges thought it looked off the rack, but a comparison to Banana Republic will never be a bad thing with me, it’s my favorite store!  Plus he gave his client what he wanted.  He might have been better off doing the shirt and/or pants in a snazzier fabric.


Sam’s outfit was bad, I definitely would have put her in the bottom two instead of Justin.  Not flattering at all, too heavy and rather misshapen.  Isaac’s critique of her had the greatest quote of the episode: “Don’t make boobs your problem, darling.”  Stitch it on a pillow, those are words to live by.


Helen’s dress was a disaster, it looked very maternity in the front, the wings and cutout in the back were pretty awful, and the fabric was tacky tacky tacky.


What a cop-out, not sending anyone home.  Helen was the clear loser.  Why did they keep her?

LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 8


Happy New Year, darlings!  I always skip the “previously on Project Runway All Stars” recap, because who needs to see all that again?  But I watched it this time, because it had been so long since I’d seen the show.  I didn’t just forget about the previous challenge, I’d forgotten who was on the show!  Then I saw Alyssa and her pregnant self and it all came back to me in a Proustian rush.


USA Today - - I wonder who owes them a favor.  Almost as low as the male swimmers.  Richard said, “So cheap and horrible.”


Happy birthday to Michelle, but jeez was she wenchy in the kitchen.  That discussion about, “Who has done swimwear before?”, she could have just kept her trap shut, but no, she had to say, “I’ve done a lot of it, but I’m not going to give you any pointers.”  She could have added a “neener neener neener” for the full 3rd grade schoolyard effect.


Guest judge Nigel Barker!  Love him, they could have him back anytime.



Sonjia was such a mixed bag.  The blue lace pants were gorgeous, but the top looked heavy and stupid with the denim insets.  For the swimsuit, the bandeau top was dreamy but the bottom looked like granny panties to me.  Whatever.


Dmitry’s dress was gorgeous, but I thought the metallic trim really cheapened it.  The swimsuit was divine.  Justin’s dress was so pretty, and the swimsuit was marvo.  Brilliant move on his part, reversing the fabric, having it be a black suit with print trim.  I think they gave the win to Justin just to piss off Dmitry.  He’s such a grump this season!



Fabio was lucky there were worse outfits on the bottom, his outfit looked real shlubby.  Richard said, “It looks like a K-Mart knockoff of something from the runway.”  The bikini looked funny, something about the shoulders.  I thought Helen’s outfit was sweet, it had a strong Gloria Guiness hostess vibe, which is never a bad thing.  I loved the swimsuit too, but didn’t like her ass hanging out.



I don’t know why the judges were so anti Jay’s dress - - were you bothered by the leather inset?  It didn’t read as leather to me, it didn’t bother me at all.  That dress had gorgeous movement, it was very red carpet Riviera.  His swimsuit was unflattering, it made the model look thick-waisted.


Oh Michelle.  Good news first: the swimsuit was flawless.  Would fly off the shelves, for the less than 5% of women who would look good in it.  But that dress, what a wreck!  Nigel hit the nail on the head - - the gathering in the front made it look like she tucked her dress into her underwear.  He didn’t say that the gathering in the back looked like it was tucked into her bra strap.  The outfit could have been very cute: she should have done it without the horrid gatherings, and as a romper.


I knew Sam would be sent home, her time was up.  I was surprised she lasted as long as she did.  The jumpsuit was nice - - loved the color and it had a great groove.  But that swimsuit was a horror.  Nothing about it was good.


Next week: everyone’s fantasy, Helen in a shark tank!

LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 9


I can see the headline in Variety: PROJECT RUNWAY JUMPS THE SHARK.  That was too ridiculous.  The only thing more ridiculous than putting one of the designers in a shark tank is having her SKETCH while she’s in there.  Hashtag: now I’ve seen everything.  And why didn’t Helen herself get a bonus for doing this?  It’s great that she earned more money for everyone, but she personally should’ve been given some kind of advantage.  I’m surprised the producers didn’t think of that.


I was rather skeptical about the veracity of Alyssa Milano being the model for Ariel in *The Little Mermaid*, but there it is, big as life on her Wikipedia page.  Which, you know, is the source of all knowledge.  Besides, if Marilyn Monroe can be the model for Tinkbell, why can’t Milano be the model for Ariel?


I thought it was so sweet that Michelle and Helen were looking after Justin in the workroom.  He has such a thin skin, I feel bad for the guy.  Of course that’s part of what makes him loveable, the fact that he’s so vulnerable.



I don’t know why the judges liked Helen’s dress as much as they did.  Talk about student work, it looked like a fashion undergrad’s version of a prom dress.  Which was not the challenge.


I would have given the win to Michelle.  The colors and the shape were very avant garde, I could see the inspiration, and she’s the one designer who scored a win with the wacko makeup and hair.  I have an idea for how she could have improved the dress: do you remember that moment in *The Great Muppet Caper*, where fashion designer Diana Rigg is on the telephone, a model comes up to her in a blue caftan, and without dropping a word or skipping a beat, La Rigg picks up a bottle of ink from her Louis XVI desk and pours it over the front of the dress?  Fashion history!  I would love to see some big black blotches on this dress, just a few, and well-placed.


Dmitry’s dress was gorgeous, but I had two issues with it: first, how considerate of the producers to give us a flashback to his finale show, so we could see how similar this dress was to the work he did before.  Second, and more important: was it really avant garde?  I don’t see that.



I think Sonjia’s outfit was worn by Anna Mae Wong in *Shanghai Express*.  Which was not the challenge.



Fabio, what a snooze.  And not pretty.  The back-to-front element didn’t really come across, it was too sloppy, and the “lapel” was so underpowered.


Jay’s outfit had some good ideas happening, but they did not come across.  The front of the skirt was too short, that was not flattering.  The neckline of the jacket wasn’t avant garde, it was just weird.  And enough with the wacko makeup already!  He could have taken those ideas and made something really stunning.  But he didn’t.


Au revoir, Justin!  That outfit was very Ladies Who Lunch.  It would have had a lot more punch if he had done it in many different, colorful fabrics.  Or he could have used La Rigg Effect, with the ink blotches.  Sadly, he deserved to go home.


LOVE, Chris


PS - - I’m a Miss Piggy fan from way back.  *The Great Muppet Caper* is my favorite of the Muppet movies by far, because Miss Piggy has the central role, and with Diana Rigg playing a fashion designer, what else could you ask for?  OK, how about Charles Grodin as Piggy’s love interest, and an Esther Williams-inspired underwater fantasy sequence?  Jeez, there must have been some gays involved in that movie.


PR AS season 4, episode 10


The darling Jeff sent me this jaw-dropping clip of Mizrahi on QVC.  The take-away quote: “No, the moon is a planet, darling.”

Yikes, what a moron!  Such an utterly clueless thing to say - - sounds like something I would say actually.  Though in my case, it would be more like “Oregon is not a state, it’s a TRAIL.”

Not a very entertaining challenge or episode.  The biggest thrill was having so much screen time for Swatch, who you must admit is the cutest dog on reality TV.  The connection between NASDAQ and QVC was flimsy, no?  And is ringing the closing bell really such a big deal?  Doesn't it happen every day?

LOVE George Kotsiopoulos, Richard and I are big fans of Fashion Police and were tickled to see him as a guest judge.

I don't know why they were so gaga over Dmitry's outfits.  His ready-to-wear outfit would only look good on a model.  And I wasn't so wild for the high-end look - - it was pretty and well made, but not all that.f  Helen's ready-to-wear outfit was very cool, but again. not the kind of thing your typical woman on the street would buy.  Her high-end dress was gorgeous, very Balenciaga, but how many times do I have to say this: why make it in black?  You can't see the detail in black.

Sonjia was the clear winner, because even though both outfits had issues, both of them were strong.  The ready-to-wear top was cute, and the skirt was distinctive, but not exactly practical.  How easy would it be to catch it on something with one of those holes, and then it would be ruined.  The high-end dress had some cool elements, but the jacket was a bad idea.  Ditch the jacket.

I thought Fabio's ready-to-wear outfit was cute, but not something that a lot of women would want to buy or wear.  And the only thing that was interesting about the high-end dress was the dyeing technique, that wasn't enough.  Did you notice the wonky draping in the back of the high-end dress?  It looked like the model had pinched a loaf.

I liked Michelle's outfits, but it comes down to that fabric.  It's not that the judges were against her using a print, it's the print that she CHOSE that was a problem.  The high-end look was very cool, and for my blood, had the closest relationship to the ready-to-wear look of any of them.  The ready-to-wear look wasn't helped by the flatness of the print.  And the design of the skirt was a little overdone.

Jay was deserving of the auf.  The gray top was a snooze (but definitely better than the horrid blouse he was working on for most of the episode), and Michelle hit the nail on the head when she said those ugly black pants looked like they were made out of a tablecloth - - and would be very practical if you were eating ribs!  She is a scream, that one.  His high-end dress was baggy and just not nice to look at.  And the unfinished hem, there is no excuse for that.

LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 11


Today's episode of Project Runway All Stars has been brought to you by Marchesa.  On sale today: Marchesa wedding gowns, Marchesa china, Marchesa glassware, and Marchesa jewelry.  Next week: Marchesa handkerchiefs, Marchesa panty hose, Marchesa garbage bags.

I said to Richard when the show was over, "That was one of the worst challenges ever."  He quickly said, "No, the challenge was fine - - it's the WORK that was bad."  Amen!  I think this might be a case of something the illustrious Karen Miller said years ago - - often, late in the season, the designers are given a challenge with not so many restrictions, where they basically have to make a dress, and they totally choke.  They're tired, they're over the whole thing, they have run out of ideas.

I felt bad for Sonjia, that was some meltdown in the kitchen.  But she pulled her wits together and made - - what?  I thought the twisted fabric looked like something Halston made for Bianca Jagger, and sure enough one of the judges referenced Studio 54.  But Richard thought it looked like something Nolan Miller made for Linda Evans as Krystle Carrington on *Dynasty*!

Another issue with Sonjia's dress - - it was too sexy.  No bride would choose that for her bridesmaids (and it's the bride who chooses these things, no?) because she'd be afraid of being upstaged.  I can see why they gave the win to Helen.  I guess hers was the dress that had the smallest number of problems.  Which is a problem.

They should have made a top three and bottom two, and put Michelle in the top.  Georgina put it perfectly: you could see that there were good ideas in Michelle's dress, it just wasn't executed well.  I'm not sure that Sonjia's dress, in comparison, had good ideas.  And hardly saw any ideas at all in Helen's dress.  But, of course, execution is paramount.

Dmitry's dress was so severe, it wasn't pretty or romantic. Fabio deserved the auf - - it looked like a uniform, the shoulders were wonky, the jeweled adornments did not help, and that hem.  That hem was an atrocity.

We're closing in on the big finish!
LOVE, Chris


PR AS season 4, episode 12


First off, what bonehead wrote in Milano’s script that Marilyn Monroe is “one of Hollywood’s first screen icons”?  I could make a list of fifty screen icons who had huge careers and huge impact before Marilyn Monroe made her first movie.  Please.  Plus, in true Project Runway fashion, the product they were pumping (the upcoming Marilyn Lifetime miniseries) has a tenuous relation to the challenge itself (designing a red carpet gown).


Richard and I were both annoyed by Michelle’s Grand Duchess of the Butinskys routine in the workroom, throwing shade on everyone else’s dresses.  Richard said, “No one gives a f - - k what you see or don’t see!”  Word!


And what did that Lassie thing have to do with anything?  Another bone I’m going to pick in whoever is writing this crap - - it’s not entirely accurate to introduce her as “the one and only Lassie”, there have been nine Lassies since 1943’s *Lassie Come Home*.  I’m splitting hairs, I guess that’s what kind of mood I’m in.  But back to my original point: what did the dog challenge have to do with anything?  They should have set it up like a quick fire challenge on *Top Chef*: the winner of the challenge gets immunity or some perk for the big challenge in that episode.


Richard and I both thought Sonjia’s doggie outfit was the clear winner.  Michelle’s was cute, but Sonjia’s had more pizzazz.  I loved what Dmitry said: “I’m allergic to dogs, but I’m more allergic to losing.”  And Helen: “My model pooped on the runway.”  Do you think she was the first designer to say this?


On to the runway show: I completely disagree with the judges, could not disagree more!  Richard and I both thought that Michelle’s dress was the clear winner.  Beautifully made, sexy but not slutty, and lots of pow.  If they wanted to have a face-off, it should have been between Helen and Sonjia.  Helen’s dress was very mother of the bride, it was way too understated for the red carpet.  Sonjia’s dress looked cheap and sloppy, I don’t know why she advanced to the finale.  Dmitry’s dress was beautiful, but again, lacking in oomph.  I wrote in my notes, “not wild for it.”  And would he shut up about the tea-dyeing already?  He didn’t invent that.


Oh, the drama of the face-off.  I was puzzled why they did this at all - - why didn’t they just send Helen home, since clearly her dress was the loser in the runway show?  Richard thinks they have some reason for wanting to keep her.  Ugh, it was hard to watch her lose it during the challenge.  Brava to Michelle for taking a couple minutes (out of her precious sixty) to comfort and console Helen.  Love what she said: “I don’t need a mental nervous breakdown now, I need to make a garment.”


I don’t think Michelle deserved to be in the bottom two, but she definitely deserved to go home, based on her work in the face-off.  Her look was sloppy and odd, and she gets no extra points for creating the word “pantcho”.  The bigger issue is that she didn’t fulfill the parameters of the challenge: you were supposed to combine three or more looks, and she used three garments from two looks.  Deal-breaker.  Plus, Helen’s dress was pretty cool, with the added bonus of not looking like it was made from four outfits.


LOVE, Chris




  1. Bud Abbott

  2. Fred Astaire

  3. John Barrymore

  4. Ingrid Bergman

  5. Humphrey Bogart

  6. Clara Bow

  7. Louise Brooks

  8. James Cagney

  9. Charlie Chaplin

  10. Gary Cooper

  11. Lou Costello

  12. Joan Crawford

  13. Bing Crosby

  14. Bette Davis

  15. Olivia de Havilland

  16. Marlene Dietrich

  17. Nelson Eddy

  18. Henry Fonda

  19. Joan Fonatine

  20. Clark Gable

  21. Judy Garland

  22. Greta Garbo

  23. Lillian Gish

  24. Cary Grant

  25. Betty Grable

  26. Jean Harlow

  27. Katharine Hepburn

  28. Bob Hope

  29. Buster Keaton

  30. Charles Laughton

  31. Harold Lloyd

  32. Myrna Loy

  33. Jeanette MacDonald

  34. Carmen Miranda

  35. Laurence Olivier

  36. Eleanor Powell

  37. William Powell

  38. Claude Rains

  39. Donna Reed

  40. Edward G. Robinson

  41. Ginger Rogers

  42. Mickey Rooney

  43. Norma Shearer

  44. James Stewart

  45. Gloria Swanson

  46. Shirley Temple

  47. Spencer Tracy

  48. Lana Turner

  49. Barbara Stanwyck

  50. Mae West


Missing: Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford


PR AS season 4, finale


This season flew by, did it not?  Maybe it’s the one-hour episode.  I greatly prefer that, as you know.


It amused me that Zanna said, “This really is the beginning of the competition.”  Really?  I don’t understand that comment AT ALL.  I love the parameters of the final collection, the idea of representing all four seasons with two looks each.  I wished that someone had gone from day to evening, and also done a cycle of spring, summer, winter, fall, spring, summer, winter, fall.  Wouldn’t that have been marvelous?


I wasn’t wowed by any of their collections, and we saw a lot of reruns, a lot of things we’d seen before.  But really, how original and innovative can you be in four days?  Why aren’t they given six or eight days?  That would lead to stronger work, and isn’t that what it’s all about, Alfie?


Wasn’t it nice to see that little clip of cutie boy Wesley from season 5.  Richard didn’t remember him - - I reminded him of the moment he had ironing his shirt bare-chested and it all came back to him in a Proustian rush.  On the other hand, Michael Costello is looking a bit haggard, no?



Loved her opening dress, my favorite thing from all three designers.  Demure yet sexy, an unusual combo.  I didn’t think the red skirt worked in the second look.  I LOVED the pastel dress, it had such a beautiful drape, was the most beautifully fluid thing on the runway.  I’m surprised the judges didn’t pick it out.  The black and white dress with the capelet was OK, but more of her knock-off Balenciaga business.  Yawn.  The black and white top with the long wool skirt, I thought that was lumpy and lackluster.  The judges were wild for the skirt - - I would have liked it with another top.  Loved the jumpsuit with the jacket, that was totally Angelina Jolie in an action movie (was it Mira Sorvino who said that?).  And the final look was a misfire.  Too heavy, too austere.


Final word: I would have made her the runner-up, rather than Sonjia.  She has a specific point of view and knows what she’s doing.



Blech on the opening look.  I don’t like those colors together, and the skirt was unbecoming.  The beige lace dress was a rerun, and the beige and the yellow together, ew.  The swimsuit was a good idea, and was season-specific in a way that other designers weren’t, but it was way too similar to the bandeau top she did earlier this season.  The red lace dress was another rerun, but it was beautiful, so I’ll give her a pass.  Ugh - - the worst look of the day, that red mini dress with the long black and gold print vest!  What was she thinking!  That vest was straight from *Maude*, and you know how I love *Maude*, but that was not the challenge.  The palazzo pajama was fantastic, the best thing in her collection.  The judges were coo coo nutty for that yellow coat, and it was beautiful, but it wasn’t shown off to its best advantage with its accompanying outfit.  The final dress was pretty at first blush, but had many issues on closer inspection: it would be better without the flounce at the waist, the stripes were off kilter along the front of the skirt, the hem was too long in the front (it shouldn’t puddle on the floor like that), and why did it need a train?


Final word: I don’t understand why she made it to the finale, let alone to the top two.  I guess the judges see something I don’t.



Fabulous opening look, the only one who really started with a bang.  I liked the white suit, but maybe that geometric cut-out thing is getting a little worn out.  Makes me think of Ven, aka Origami Rose, from Dmitry’s season.  Great technique, but the same darn thing over and over.  The sequined dress was just fine.  I loved the petal pink dress, but Richard hates the asymmetrical hemline.  The marijuana dress - - really?  A little too Colorado for my taste.  The yellow and black was cool looking, but too bulky.  The black pantsuit was sharp, but you couldn’t see the design because it was black.  Will these people never learn?  And the finale look - - I can’t believe none of the judges pounced on this, but the fringe was so extraneous and random.  The dress would have looked great without the fringe.


Final word: great craftsmanship, deserving of the win, but what did it have to do with the seasons?  I don’t see any of those eight looks being connected to a particular season.


You know how I adore Project Runway, but it’ll feel good to have some time off before season 14.


LOVE, Chris

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