'Project Runway All-Stars': Auld takes top prize

January 17th, 2013
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finalistsLifetime photos
The finalists, from left, Emilio Sosa, Uli Herzner and Anthony Ryan Auld.

"Project Runway All-Stars"
Episode 12 Finale: "Go Big or Go Home" recap

Heading into the final competition, the designers—Emilio Sosa, Uli Herzner and Anthony Ryan Auld—were told they have just four days to create a runway collection. The designers were free to choose their own themes, colors, visuals, music and the number of pieces to show (or manage to finish in the brief time frame).

The designers were afraid when on their first work day, host Carolyn Murphy drops in on them in the workroom. That usually signals a difficult twist. But this time, it was good news when all the season's ousted designers filed in and the finalists were able to choose one to assist them for a couple of days.

designersThe ousted designers returned, looking very relaxed, most ready and willing to assist if needed.

Anthony Ryan picked first because of his win last week and tapped his apparent frenemy Joshua McKinley, who basically said he was too tired to do it. (Refusing never seemed to be an option in "Project Runway's" history." So the designer extended the invitation to Kayne Gillespie to work on his collection, themed "The Thin Line."

Uli chose Casanova for her collection of whites and creams, themed "Mystical Winter." During critiques Joanna Coles asks Uli to save her little fur jacket for her. It's always a good sign when editors want to wear your designs.

Emilio picked Althea Harper to work on his conceptual showcase, "Urban Plantation," an ode to working women from the plantation to Rosie the Riveter, who took over when men went to war during World War ll. The idea was that the pinnacle of fashion is often the domain of celebrities, the wealthy and the celebrated, and he wanted to honor working women who rarely get the recognition they deserve.

His collection turned out to be colorful and gritty, and very true to his spirit. Uli's was the opposite, ethereal and mythic and the most  artistic and designerly. I was hoping she would win, but true to the favoritism shown all season long, the judges chose Anthony Ryan's collection, which was modern, clean and very commercial. Yet, it's so 2010-11 with its linear and mod-ish color blocking and cut-out backs, nothing that hadn't been in the stores all last year, which to me, was representative of everything he showed, one of the reasons the show has been on a downhill trajectory and is applying more gimmicks. The next season of the original "Project Runway" will have the designers working in teams, rather than as individuals.

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Two designs from Anthony Ryan Auld's winning collection.

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Two looks from Uli's collection.

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Designs from Emilio's collection.

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