Editor's Note: Senior fashion editor of Marie Claire magazine and E! News fashion contributor Zanna Roberts Rassi is blogging exclusively on E! Online about the current season of Project Runway All Stars, giving her reactions and spilling behind-the-scenes secrets.
As the mentor I only see the process, not the finished looks until they waltz down the runway. So far I've had mixed reactions, happily surprised, shocked and occasionally downright disappointed. This week I left the workroom somewhat underwhelmed at the Avant-garde factor coming from designer's….and then came the runway. Time to share my thoughts on the five most noteworthy finished looks……created in under 10 hours.
AVANT-GARDE = Experimental, innovative, pushing boundaries, application of new techniques.
MYCHAEL KNIGHT: As you saw by my workroom reaction, I was less than impressed with his first attempt, the Avant-garde Glow worm! It was bulky, badly made and was more literal than Kate Middleton is at dressing (love her but literal).
So imagine my surprise when out trots a sophisticated Celine-esque wool shift dress with metamorphosis inspired cape! I nearly spat out my dinner. It's the perfect combo of chic and couture. Just enough experimental and a silhouette I've never seen him create on PRW. Well done for turning it round Mychael.
JEFFERY: Dude. Did you know this episode was airing on Halloween? Wow. I wish I hadn't let J talk his talk and roller over me in the mentoring session. I was blinded by the chat and confused by the interesting selection of textiles (foam) and I definitely didn't know about the executioner's mask. This was amateur Avant-garde from someone I expected so much more from. I thought the judges were very kind. Perhaps as Anya put it, because he argues back so adamantly.
CHRISTOPHER: Designers run (some literally, Seth Aaron) off the runway as soon as they hear they are "Safe" and wont be critiqued. BUT I sometime wish all looks were critiqued by the judges. Christopher's look this week a perfect example of that. It is GREAT. From the construction, the 3D looking painterly torso, the oversized hips, the sheer turtleneck, the plastic panels, leather and satin fabric choices…out there but somehow still wearable, in a Peter Pilotto kind of way. Editorially this would be a hit too. Hats off to you, Christopher.
VIKTOR: In the mentoring session Viktor told me about the romantic butterfly he wanted to channel…. I saw a sci-fi butterfly and cautioned him against creating a "super butterfly". He totally ignored me but hey, who cares, it looks awesome! Some expert details in design and construction you may have missed… Perfectly laddered / shredded side panels, floating power shoulders, cape seamlessly attached.
IRINA: Girl, you make a good BIG frock!!! It's your thing. This Avant-garde number commands attention for all the right reasons. The silhouette – not your regular puff ball skirt. The mixing of unusual fabrications – horse hair, tulle, leather. Black done interestingly well. There is a lot going on but somehow all works in harmony. Bar maybe the fringe face ring which feels like a gratuitous after thought. The lashes, the leather wristbands and the column headpiece were plenty! And PS - Happy you listened to me on nixing the bumblebee yellow stripe.
KORTO: Finally a suit!! And a damn fine suit. Basic made brilliant. The helter-skelter leather detailing on the legs was enough to take it into Avant Guard world and a terrific look. The jacket's heavy wool fabrication and thumb cutout detail was something I'd expect to see on a Thierry Mugler runway. It was a performance look fit for Madonna.