Fashion Tribe

'Project Runway': Into the wind

February 19th, 2016


Dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater provide the designers with inspiration for a challenge involving movement and flow.

Episode 2 recap: Let it Flow

The second episode of "Project Runway All Stars" opens with the designers heading to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater studio.

I'm so excited about this challenge because I love movement in clothing, partly because I'm short so movement is important. I love the sophistication of structure too, but short people tend to disappear in a crowd and when clothes move, they catch the eye and force viewers to take notice and perhaps do a double-take.

At the studio, the dancers perform for them and the designers are instructed to keep their eyes on the fabric. They're told the forecast for the runway is "blustery wind," with a wind machine to enhance the billowy, ethereal quality of their designs.

Hawaii designer Kini Zamora selects bright yellow fabric and shows a sketch in vivid yellow and orange, giving a shout-out to Hawaii and the colors associated with the islands.

In a pre-season interview, Kini said all the designers got along but it doesn't look like Sam Donovan and Mitchell Perry are getting along because Sam made snarky, critical blog remarks about Mitchell's work during his season.

Kini Zamora works his magic on his yellow gown.

Mentor Zanna Roberts Rassi, senior fashion editor for Marie Claire magazine, comes in and during her critique of the designers' work, tells Kini she sees the "start of something glamorous," in his work. Meanwhile, Alexander Pope looks at Kini's gown and says, It looks like a yellow blob."

Rassi's last remark to the designers is that they're playing it too safe and that their garments look like normal apparel in the wind, instead of having been created for the wind.

When Kini finishes his gown, it looks beautiful but then he announces that he's going to dip-dye it and everybody, including me, is afraid for him because the garment is complete and there is no recovery from error. It's a big if as to whether the dye will turn out the way he wants it to and he knows it. He says that if he gets one spot of the orange dye on the field of yellow, "It's bye-bye Kini."

Kini's finished look, front and back.

Luckily, it turns out well, and Stella Zotis chalks up the final result to Kini's coming from Hawaii and being inspired by a tequila sunrise.

In the design room and on the runway the designers ooh and ah over Alexander Pope's cape, but it's paired with a tacky sheer dress with blue floral overlay. I have issues with the idea of a cape attached to a collar and random dress. Of course a chiffon cape is going to move in the breeze. Such a basic idea requires zero thought.

On the runway, Kini, is named as one of the top designers, along with Sam and Layana Aguilar. Judge Georgina Chapman praises the color and said that the ombre dye elevates the gown. Guest judge Vanessa Hudgens says he gave her a "total birds of paradise" moment. Judge Isaac Mizrahi doesn't like the gown's lace bodice and show host Alyssa Milano questions the black belt that cuts the gown in half.

I love Sam's dress, with movement built into the dress so that it doesn't require a wind machine to flow. Kini ends up safe, and Sam is declared the winner.

On the bottom are Alexander, Fäde Zu Grau, Emily Payne. I think Alexander should go home, but sadly it is Fäde who goes home. I think he's a talented designer, but flow is not his strong suit.


Sam's finished look.


Alexander's look.

This more structured dress got Fäde sent home, even though it's more tasteful than Alexander's ensemble.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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