By Nadine Kam
Designer Elie Tahari joins Joanna Coles in the workroom to critique Ivy Higa's work.
"Project Runway All-Stars"
Episode 9: "There's No Business Like Sew Business" recap
This week the designers are challenged with producing a ready-to-wear garment for Elie Tahari, using his fabric, with the extra step of producing a piece within a practical retail price point.
Funds raised from winning garment sales will go toward NYC's Save the Garment Center and its mission is to promote, preserve and save the city's stature as one of the world's fashion capitals. The movement's website, savethegarmentcenter.org states: In 1960, 95 percent of clothing sold in the U.S. was made in the U.S. Now, that figure is down to just 5 percent. Despite this drastic decline, there are still 846 fashion companies headquartered in New York City which is more than London, Paris, and Milan combined. ... There are 24,000 apparel manufacturing jobs in New York City that make this domestic clothing production possible."
When it comes time to choose fabric, all the designers pick colors or prints except Uli, who chooses white (again).
Hawaii designer Ivy Higa picked a dramatic landscape print, and when Joanna Coles and Elie Tahari enter the workroom for their critique, Elie tells her, "You have a lot of guts," due to her choice.
To showcase the entire print, she changes her beautiful asymmetric design to a simpler maxi dress. Elie suggests cropping the dress to do away with a heavy black block to give her dress a lighter, beachy feel.
Ivy counters that she didn't want to disturb the print while giving women the option of hemming the dress to their liking. Joanna said she doesn't want designers to expect buyers to run out to their tailors, calling it lazy. I have to agree with that. There are so many things I buy with the intention of "fixing" them, but there's never time, so everything stays as is and many times go unworn.Judges would have preferred Ivy's dress in a shorter, beachy length.
To Joshua, whose dress is bordering on tacky and overdone, the designer suggests, "Try to think about what women want to wear," and what they are willing to wear.
His ready-to-wear critiques were very sensible and Tahari, who also co-founded Theory, is known for wearable designs that flatter women.
Later on, the Israel-born designer—who Emilio relates came to New York with nothing and slept in Central Park to survive—said, something like, "When you have to fight for truth, food, love you feel appreciation, and appreciation is everything."
Editors tend to have seen it all and become very jaded but upon hearing this, Joanna goes, "Oh my god, I feel moved." She was so touched and inspired by his thoughts.
In the end, just as Tahari had feared, because of the black color block, Ivy's dress weighed heavy on the bottom when her model was stationary. It flowed nicely when the model walked, but Ivy was sent home. I suspect it had less to do with her dress than the reality that this was her fourth week on the bottom. Her dress was so much better than Joshua's, which was a travesty. His dress had many counts against it, making his model appear to have mono, sagging boobs, while the sides gaped and a roller coaster zipper, with all it's ups and downs, made the models behind look puffy. And the biggest critique, Tahari said his dress looked slutty.
Well, don't cry for Ivy, who immediately went to work for one of this season's guest judges, and continues to get offers.
Anthony Ryan's dress. I liked Uli's better, and as of this writing, she's winning a higher score with viewers using the "Project Runway All-Stars" website's "Rate the Runway" feature, with 5 stars vs. Anthony Ryan's 4. But I suspect we're not getting the full effect of her fabric from photos. Her knit wool is probably hard for many women to wear, too heavy to sell well.
The dress translated for retail, now available at www.elietahari.com as the Liv dress, $398, in sizes 0 to 14. All proceeds from sales will go to Save the Garment Center.
Uli's dress. Judges commented it looks fresh and young. I think they're subconsciously looking at her model as part of the package.
Joshua's dress was a travesty. Elie Tahari said it looked slutty, yet he's still in the game. How unfortunate.