Project Runway All Stars: Designing for the Duchess
December 6, 2014 3:20 AM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The 10 remaining designers fly to London to create an outerwear look inspired by the city. Sarah Ferguson introduces the challenge, invites them to tea, and agrees to wear the winning design. A sight-seeing tour (on a gloriously sunny day) and numerous product placements ensue.
posted by TWinbrook8 (10 comments total)
So after the past couple lackluster episodes, I thought this one showed a lot of inspiration. Here are all the designs side by side.

I couldn't decide between Fabio and Dmitry, both were exquisite. Justin's, I did not like on the runway what with the huge muffler and the open back; it looks better in stills. Sonjia and Helen had similar silhouettes. I liked that Helen used a bright color but Sonjia had the better volume and a shiny zipper. Michelle's was too dark to see, Gunnar's was a limp mess.

Of the bottom three, I think Samantha deserved to go home for a jacket that looked like it was made from fleece and available at any mall.

Re Fabio's coat, he must have to remake it for her to wear. When does that happen?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:58 AM on December 6, 2014

Justin's slit was way too high, but he was really smart to go for the bright lining. I was impressed at how tamped down Dmitry's usual ex-ice skater turned to a life a prostitution aesthetic was this episode. I thought Sonjia's zipper made the outfit - super modern, shiny, added interest.

Michelle's did not film well at all; I wondered at the time if the texture was too far away for the Judges to appreciate. But then I remembered the texture was the only interesting thing on the coat.

I do not understand why Ben just jumped into the trap of "I won't buy another contestant's fabric, but I also won't change my design to fit my new fabric!" Come on! You've been on the show before.
posted by julen at 6:04 AM on December 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Naive question, why don't they use models that are similar to the target, in this case Princess Ferguson? The dresses all seem wearable but perhaps not on all bodies. Wouldn't a pattern based on a particular shape be a constraint that helps pull beyond just "make it work"?
posted by sammyo at 11:08 AM on December 6, 2014

I like that Hellen used color, but looking at it again I now realize what I felt was "off" about it. The fabric doesn't seem special enough to not use some sort of zipper, clasps, or buttons. It kinds looks like a fleece robe without fastenings.

I don't agree with their hatred of the back of Justin's. I mean sure a tulip back that covered the butt would have looked nicer and should have been done, but having it open in the back wasn't disgusting or anything the way they reacted. Most of my coats don't cover my butt. I understand it was a "long" style but still.

I also don't get why Ben didn't just find another solid fabric? He went from wanting that gray to getting that weird brown print - which wasn't pretty to begin with.

That oversize moto thing was awful though. I liked her concept but then she put that elastic scrunchie section around the waist which made it like a cheap kids' coat to me.

Of course Fabio's was amazing.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:10 PM on December 6, 2014

> Naive question, why don't they use models that are similar to the target, in this case Princess Ferguson?

I think given the time constraints it's hard to get the fit right as it is, and that's with models they've worked with several times now. Plus the added work in getting a new set of models (while making sure the regular models don't drop the show for other work) would probably cost a bit. And of course you run the risk of the designers complaining about how these new models are larger than their normal models, which the "target" maybe wouldn't love hearing.

I really liked Fabio's, but then I usually do. I also liked Sonjia's, as others have mentioned that volume and that zipper worked really well, it was cool.

Jay seems the only designer not mentioned here yet. Did anyone else catch his comments after the judge's critiques? He said (to the other designers) that the judges liked his concept but thought he should have added more. That was the opposite of what he should have done! To me the mustard leather & grey combo felt a bit behind the times for me, it was four years or so ago when that was the thing. Seems a bit soon for it to be back. Or is it a return I've missed?

I can imagine the dislike of Justin's back doesn't come from having the butt exposed, but rather because of the long style it looks like it's sort of framing the butt shouting "look at me". Sort of like a cleavage window in a top or dress. I wasn't a big fan of it, and would have preferred a more covered butt, because otherwise I quite liked the coat.
posted by bjrn at 4:04 AM on December 7, 2014

A butt exposing coat doesn't make coat sense, like a thick sweater with both a turtleneck and cap sleeves: be too warm and too cold at the same time!

I thought Jay's coat looked very 80s.
posted by provoliminal at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2014

Okay, I was a fan of Sonji's since she made this jacket on season 10. This time around, she made a nice coat too, but I can't cheer her on after I found out Sonjia works with fur. Her favorites are fox and racoon and I have no respect for people who support animals being skinned alive after leading a horrible existence. Shame on you, Sonjia.

Besides Fabio's, I liked Helen's coat and firmly expected to see Gunnar in the bottom three, instead of Jay.
posted by travelwithcats at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2014

I did not like Helen's coat. I thought the color and color blocking AND shape were ugly, but apparently this one is very subjective. I also did not like Dmitri's, which seemed to have an unpleasant stiffness. I think it must have some qualities in person that did not translate well on screen.

Loved Jay's. Thought Samantha should have gone, but I do not enjoy Benjamin's aesthetic so this works, too.

I am working my way through Season 3 of Project Catwalk, which is pretty good.
posted by Glinn at 1:31 PM on December 7, 2014

I liked Justin's coat, although the point of a long coat is to cover your whole body, butt included. I love how he knew that it was a poor choice, and just tossed away that comment about "why cover up the best part". There was something hilarious about how he didn't even mean it.

Dmitry's usual ex-ice skater turned to a life a prostitution aesthetic

It will take weeks to get all this ginger ale out of my keyboard!
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:40 PM on December 10, 2014

I actually really liked Jay's. The back was really awesome, but I also liked the front a lot - something about the design and the color-blocking made it look almost like sexed-up academic regalia, which struck me as a very appropriately British reference. The only thing I'm not super keen on is the stripey arms - a little too circus for me.

Michelle choosing black-on-black in a matte wool was really disappointing, not even because it looked bad but just because you couldn't see it on the runway for shit.

Dmitry's usual ex-ice skater turned to a life a prostitution aesthetic

posted by en forme de poire at 11:35 PM on December 16, 2014

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