“PROJECT RUNWAY’ ALL STARS”
Season 6, Episode 3: “Perfect Pairings”
This week, the All-Star designers are led to the dining room of Daniel, full of tables for two, and randomly seat themselves. What they don’t know at that moment is that the person seated with them is going to be their teammate in a double-elimination challenge.
The inspiration for their designs will come from their choice of the food or wine presented during the dinner, and they are told they must come with complementary designs.
Hawaii designer Ari South is paired with Melissa Fleis, and the dish that inspires them is one that would be familiar to many locals, citrus-cured hamachi dressed with colorful greens.
While Fleis is inspired by the colors, layers and textures of the fish, South says the wine makes her feel happy and she envisions the lightness of a cocktail dress.
When they head to Mood to purchase fabric, Fleis chooses colors she thinks of as “scary” to push herself.
In the workroom, Candice Cuoco struggles in her partnership with structural artist Merline Labissiere, who tends to work her way at fabric manipulation and construction to arrive at a design. Without knowing what Merline will come up with, Candice says, “You can’t pair if you don’t know what one or the other is yet.”
Mentor Anne Fulenwider, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire magazine shows up to critique the designers’ early attempts and talks about the nature of collaboration that is at the heart of their task, mentioning the collaborative nature of Dolce & Gabbana, sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley and Olsen of The Row, and Valentino. She says that the aim is to push each other creatively and before leaving warns Fleis not to let her design go “too Florida,” which translates in fashion speak as old and tacky.
When the models come in for their fittings, Anthony Williams observes Helen Castillo’s and Edmond Newton’s and red and nude-colored gowns, saying, “It looks like a tampon and blood right before they come together.”
South says the fittings are not going well and that the problem with Fleis creating a pant look is that there is no room for error. Once it’s cut, there is no fabric left. When her original fabric doesn’t work, she switches to another fabric and creates a short dress. It looks old, like a mid-century thrift-shop find.
At the runway, judges Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi are joined by celebrity guest judge Whoopi Goldberg.
The judges feel Fleis hasn’t put enough effort into her dress and call it dowdy. Chapman describes South’s form-fitting chablis-inspired panel gown as “borderline slutty” because of the sheer, beaded front panel that shows the model’s navel. Mizrahi and Goldberg love the nude beaded back.
The teams of Williams and Kimberly Goldson and Ken Laurence and Fabio Costa win praise, although they have an issue with Kimberly’s oversize look, giving the win to Ken’s sculptural and Fabio’s soft lace skirt over a black jumpsuit used to express the idea of restrained lightness of the wine they were served.
South and Fleis end up in the bottom two with Cuoco and Labissiere, whose patchy asparagus-inspired outfit is sloppily pieced together. Judges also take issue with Cuoco’s uneven pant hem, but the latter duo is saved by Cuoco’s soft, draped top. And unfortunately, South and Fleis are sent home in the third week of competition.
It’s always tough to go home during a team challenge when there is always a weaker partner. If it had been an individual challenge, Fleis was most likely to go home.
New episodes of “Project Runway All Stars” air at 7 p.m. Thursdays on Lifetime.