Project Runway All Stars review: The world champion sparked a harvest mood


The Project Runway All Stars world champion was crowned in last night’s finale. Was this season’s winner the popular choice?

With the premise of a worldwide competition, the Project Runway All Stars champion is considered the top designer from a group of previous champions. While this season featured both fan favorites and exceptional designers, the final four presented finale collections that expressed their design point of view. Did the judges crown the right winner?

Going into the finale, the judges chose to let all four designers create the finale collections. While it was clear that a non-U.S. designer needed to be in the finale, the build-up to the finale episode was a little lackluster. Like most of Project Runway All Stars season 7, the vibe was just a little off. Picking the winner seemed almost anti-climatic.

Throughout the season, there have been mis-steps. From the unavailable JCPenney sales to the strange product tie-ins, the season lacked some of the spark that fans have come to expect. It was as if everyone knew it was the last hurrah for this show and people were ready for it to end.

Given that the finale allowed the designers to create a six-piece collection on whatever they wanted, the hope was the collections would be exciting, innovative, and a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, some of the looks were recycled from both episodes and seasons past.

Since this season has been somewhat predictable, it was easy to see that Biddell wasn’t going to win. As the first designer voted out, his collection didn’t stand up on the runway. The problems started with his theme and fabric choice.

Biddell’s theme was reptilian royalty — the conspiracy theory idea that the Queen of England is a reptile. While snakeskin print can be interesting, no one wants to see snakeskin in look after look.

Designer Biddell’s final collection for Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

Parts of Biddell’s collection were innovative. The textures on the back of the cork dress were stunning. However, his collection suffered because the looks were too streetwear. While he tried to find an aggressive elegance, the collection needed more polish and refinement.

In a disappointing twist, the second designer eliminated was Irina. Given the judges’ statements from last week about Irina’s growth, it appeared that she had a good chance at the title. Overall, her collection was the most innovative.

Designer Irina’s final collection for Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

With her theme as a modern woman, with a nod to geometrical design, Irina’s collection was clearly the most feminine. The sensual geometry seemed to flatter curves in a visually impactful way.

Although her dress with the yellow skirt was almost a repeat from a previously shown look, Irina had two very successful pieces. The final two lace inspired designs were superb. They conveyed a sense of fragility to the powerful pant suit.

Even though Irina had the biggest growth through the competition, she was the second designer eliminated. Truthfully, only Alyssa was rooting for her to be in the running. Isaac seemed to run hot and cold on Irina.

The final two designers in the running were Dmitry and Michelle. Given this season’s banter about “borrowing” ideas and the meaning of “friends,” it seemed fitting that these two designers were the last two standing. While each one has their own style, there are similarities in the two designer’s points of view.

Looking at Dmitry’s collection, he stated that the looks were deeply personal. It was clear, from the first look, that this collection as Dmitry’s work. From the cut-outs to the ruffles, all of Dmitry’s signature pieces were on display.

Designer Dmitry’s final collection for Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

To be clear, his collection was lovely. The idea of using a face as a cut out on the red jacket made a huge impact. It was like a painting where people see different things. Do you see a face or just a design? Still, it was another cut out.

Dmitry’s collection suffered from one big mistake: the mustard yellow ruffled dress. This dress didn’t work in the collection. It was like sending Big Bird down the runway with a bunch of art gallery girls. The juxtaposition wasn’t smart.

Granted, Dmitry is a skilled designer and makes impeccably tailored clothes. At the same time, he has a big ego, which was on display in his exit interview. Sometimes being a little humble can endear a person to fans.

Michelle’s collection referenced her favorite album, Harvest Moon by Neil Young. She described her collection as a “textured baroque inspired romance novel.” The looks transformed from nice to a little naughty. While the nice to naughty collection was a little overstated, her collection had the biggest impact on the runway.

When Michelle is on point, her fabric choices and textiles are stunning. Given that she studied textiles in art school, it makes sense that this genre is her specialty. The collection had the right balance of wit and humor.

Designer Michelle’s final collection for Project Runway All Stars, Season 7.

Photo by Barbara Nitke

Copyright 2019

More importantly, Michelle understands her girl. From start to finish, each piece fit together. While not appropriate for the same event, the same woman would want to wear those designs. Michelle had the most cohesive collection.

Additionally, Michelle offered some innovation on the runway. Similar to her skirt/coat with the sleeve pockets, these looks had a sense of freshness.

The cuff sleeves were special. The color palette, specifically the peach tones, was gorgeous. As a statement piece, the green jacket was a show stopper.

Overall, the collection had a sense of ease. Many women would gravitate to these clothes. From the innovation to the thoughtfulness, Michelle’s collection was clearly a step above the rest.

The Project Runway All Stars world champion is Michelle. Given her heartfelt exit interview, hopefully this title ensures that her design career continues.

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What did you think of Project Runway All Stars‘ final season? Did the judges choose the right designer as the finale winner?