Project Runway All Stars review: Family fashion fuels a finale push


To get to the finale, Project Runway All Stars has its designers taking a modern, yet approachable look at family fashion.

In this second to last Project Runway All Stars episode, the designers need to make a big push to earn their spot in the finale. With four designers remaining and only three spots in the finale, this challenge needs to be on point. Did one designer fall flat just before the finish line?

The theme for this week’s challenge was modern family. Instead of the grand ball gowns or non-real world fashion, the designers created looks for a modern family of three. These looks were real, wearable and still fashionable.

Truthfully, this challenge is a little more realistic for any of the remaining designers. Sure, the grand, over the top runways are fun to watch. In truth, very few designers actually make those elaborate designs all the time. Many designers make outfits for real people that can be worn in the real world.

The nice part about this week’s challenge is that the families were all different. While each designer had to create three looks, the families were various combinations. From a young boy to a grandma, the designers needed to find cohesion and appease their client.

Listening to the workroom critiques, it was interesting that an emphasis was made on maintaining the designers’ point of view. In previous seasons, the designers needed to appease their clients. Pushing a style or a color story wasn’t well received by the judges.

In this week’s challenge, the commentary was the opposite. It was as if Anne was encouraging the designers to make the families wear a design that could be a little uncomfortable, out of the box or divisive. Shouldn’t the designers listen to their clients at least a little bit?

While the family portraits and vibe of the challenge was light, the runway was a little lackluster. Although the designers shouldn’t have proposed some grandiose or over the top design, everything felt a little muted, understated or predictable. Even with the grandma strutting down the runway, the road to the finale seemed more like a school zone than a speedway.

After looking at the runway the judges needed to pick a winner. The majority of the deliberations was focused more on which collection they would want to see versus the best looks of the week.

That statement seems to prove that this week’s challenge was rather blah. Just like boring, blah is never a good fashion term.

Winning this week’s challenge was Biddell. His three designs were the most vibrant and full of energy. The bold print helped to convey these feelings. Additionally, he was able to weave a cohesive vibe and story through all three looks. Overall, his designs fit this family. The kids and mom looked good in their designs. Biddell made smart decisions. Nothing was really earth shattering, though.

Designer Biddell’s final looks for the 12th challenge of Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

While the judges loved the girl’s outfit, the bright yellow bows on her pants were absurd. Who would wear bows all over her legs? Granted, Biddell was trying to make a statement, but this idea was strange.

The judges described his looks as young, witty ,and age appropriate. Anyone who is a fan of this show could have guessed that Biddell would make the finale. How could Project Runway All Stars choose a global champion if all the designers were U.S. winners?

As for the other three designers, they had positives and negatives. It seemed likely that Irina would make the finale. She should create a powerful collection. With big ball gowns and lots of glamour, that runway show would be fun watching.

For this week’s challenge, some of Irina’s looks were just understated. She has come a long way this season. While her taste level can be uncertain, this week’s looks were borderline.

Designer Irina’s final looks for the 12th challenge of Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

The young boy’s cardigan was delightful. Aspects of the godmother’s dress were nice. However, the color and fabric choices were slightly off. Still, Irina made it into the finale.

The bottom two designers were Dmitry and Michelle. It was surprising that Michelle was in the bottom. Given that she often makes “real world” clothes, this challenge should have been hers to win. Even with her family, she should have wowed the judges. Michelle has always pushed the envelope with fabric choices. The bold, sometimes questionable, prints can be divisive. This week’s print for the grandma was definitely one of those choices.

Designer Michelle’s final looks for the 12th challenge of Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

While the grandma loved her look, the judges questioned it. Additionally, that fabric wasn’t cohesive with the other two looks.

Truthfully, the other two looks were more successful. The young girl’s dress was adorable and even slightly fashion forward. The jumpsuit was also well done, although the judges criticized the color story.

Dmitry’s three looks were very questionable. Like almost every challenge this season, he showed a dress with cut-outs. While this design is his signature, the look is getting old. Can he not do anything other than cut-outs and ruffles?

Designer Dmitry’s final looks for the 12th challenge of Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

Even more concerning, the other two looks were almost throwaways. The palazzo pants and crushed velvet top were horrible. That poor woman looked huge in that outfit. To say that the design was unflattering would be kind. No one would want that outfit for their family portrait.

Additionally, the young man’s outfit was blah. While it tried to have a modern edge, the look was just nothing. When you can’t find an adjective to describe a piece of fashion, that designer should have scrapped that look.

The judges needed to decide which designer, Michelle or Dmitry, deserved a spot in the finale. Again, they looked at the season as a whole as well as which designer would present a good show.

As a fan, Michelle would have been a great choice. She has presented various styles, prints and approaches. While not always perfection, her collection would at least give people something to talk about.

Dmitry would show cut-outs, ruffles and maybe make a reference to peasant dress. His looks throughout the season have been repetitive. While a designer can have a signature style, a collection needs to be exciting, not predictable.

The judges made an unexpected choice. Both Michelle and Dmitry will be in the finale. All four designers will make a finale collection.

Looking ahead to next week, the winner is totally unpredictable. The designer with the biggest runway impact will win. Will the fans and the judges agree? Everyone will have to wait and see.

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What did you think of this week’s Project Runway All Stars? Did the judges get it right or wrong?