By Nadine Kam
Ivy Higa at work on her Week 7 design.
"Project Runway All-Stars"
Episode 7: "An Unconventional Nightmare Before Christmas" recap
This week on "Project Runway All Stars," the designers met host model Carolyn Murphy at the South Street Sea Port, where Fawaz Gruosi, founder and president of de Grisogono Geneve, also awaited. The challenge had nothing to do with his company, and he was there just to announce that the challenge winner would receive a de Grisogono watch.
The designers were then instructed to visit the second floor of the retail area, where they would head to a certain shop to find the materials they would use in the dreaded unconventional challenge. (The episodes were taped over the summer, and this was one of the areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy; some businesses at the seaport still remain closed.)
The designers were distressed to learn they were headed to a Christmas shop with instructions to create a garment that offered no clue as to the source of the materials.
Christmas materials are typically obvious because of the colors, amount of shine, metallics and glitter, so this was a tough one, and the person who freaked out the most was Emilio Sosa, who went home during his season during another unconventional challenge.
I laughed a lot when Joshua McKinley pulled out what he thought was a package of blue material, but when he unrolled it, it turned out to be a cartoony "Happy Hanukkah" menorah wall hanging. Definitely unusable.
Hawaii designer Ivy Higa said she knew she wanted to create a flapperesque dress. Nothing remotely Christmasy about that, including a return to the color yellow, gleaned from a tree skirt.
Once again, she and Casanova were playing around with the materials, causing Uli Herzner to note that they're like "one person in two bodies," and someone else to wonder what would happen if one of them were to be sent home. Ooh, foreshadowing!
Interestingly enough, last week I noted that it seemed Anthony Ryan Auld had adopted Ivy's style for last week's challenge, yet no one called him on it, and this week she observed his design was looking a lot like Uli's. The ever easygoing Uli, who's looking more like she may end up being the last woman standing, also noted Anthony Ryan's design was looking a lot like hers, but different enough for comfort. You can see both designs below, but I like Uli's better. It's just more cohesive, like she started with a plan. Anthony Ryan's looks pieced together any way they happened to fall into place. And some of the snowflake materials were obviously Christmasy.
Uli Herzner's design. She's also blessed with the season's best model, with the best walk.
Anthony Ryan Auld's design.
The judges mixed things up a bit by calling on Emilio, Casanova and Ivy, and telling them that only one of them is safe. I was pretty sure Ivy would be the safe one. Her design was less flapper—the drop waist wasn't dropped down far enough—and more 1960s mod, which shares similar broad appeal. But she was the only one who created a look that didn't look as if it had been made with odd materials, much harder than going glam. The judges, however, considered it playing too safe.
I was really shocked that Emilio was declared safe. I think he should have gone home for a mess of a dress that was garish through and through and held together with glue. I think he knew he should have gone home as well. The only one worse was Joshua, who, because he had no fabric, had to resort to breaking up ornaments to create an armored bra, and ribbon to create some hideous shorts.
Uli was named the winner of the challenge and Ivy ended up on the bottom for the second week in a row, with her buddy Casanova, who had gone through a series of designs, and lacking materials in the end, had to piece together a creation made from castoffs from the other designers.
When told she was in, Ivy broke into tears for losing her friend in the workroom, so when they went back to join the other designers, they thought she was out. Casanova had to tell everyone it was actually him going home and he was touched that so many others in the room also broke into tears.
We're now halfway through the season and Ivy's now in the Top 6, already two places higher than she finished in her original Season 8.
Ivy's decidedly non-Christmasy design.
Casanova's tortured, Frankensteined creation.
A big no for Joshua.
Emilio was lucky to be saved considering the hot-glued mess he sent down the runway.