“PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS”
Season 6, Episode 2: “Damsels in Distress”
The All-Star designers are surprised when host Alyssa Milano shows up in their workroom surrounded by hazard tape, trash cans, blow torches and sanders that have more in common with construction zones than fashion studios.
The theme is a fun one: to create distressed fashion for a post-apocalyptic runway. It calls for a destructive streak, which is tough on some of the designers with perfectionist personalities, but Hawaii designer Ari South appears thrilled with the task, saying, “I’m comfortable burning things, boiling things.”
Hawaii provides a natural inspiration for South as she imagines a scenario in which shifts in Earth’s tectonic plates lead to volcanic explosions around the world. She plans to create a distressed wool coat and dress of lava-red-dyed silk georgette, because manipulating fabric “is something I do really well.”
Anthony Williams appears to be struggling most, saying, “It’s definitely challenging for me to destroy fabric. I have an appreciation for the hand of material and how it moves. For me to completely abandon that thought process for this challenge is really a challenge within a challenge for me.”
Mentor Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire magazine, eventually shows up in the workroom and delivers a brief history of distressed design, which she said originated in the 1970s, took off with denim in the 1980s, and more recently resurfaced in the work of Jeremy Scott.
She acknowledges the amount of work it will take for South to realize her vision, and South considers a shortcut of throwing the entire dress into the fire. Fulenwider tells the designers she is so inspired by their visions that she may feature their designs in her magazine.
But considering the opportunity to push boundaries with this challenge, the initial designs presented on the runway are ho-hum. Have these people never watched “Mad Max” or recent “Star Wars” films? The show starts to come alive with the entrance of South’s dramatic ombre gown with puka-filled distressed skirt that the judges appreciate for its lacy, degradé effect.
South makes the top three along with Williams and last week’s winner Merline, who created a futuristic, black, sculptural dress with 3-D armor-like effects.
On the bottom are Kelly Dempsey, Char Glover and Stanley Hudson.
In the end, Williams is named the winner for his take on a Gambian princess who survives an apocalypse in her ballgown.
Dempsey is sent home for a look judges equate with a high school costume project.
And South is declared safe to compete next week.
>> Related Post: Hawaii designer Ari South returns to ‘Project Runway All Stars’
New episodes of “Project Runway All Stars” air at 7 p.m. Thursdays on Lifetime.