Joanna Cole, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, returns as Tim Gunn and four judges: Georgina Chapman (founder of Marchesa), Rachel Roy (designer worn by Michelle Obama), Isaac Mizrahi, and last night's guest judge was Mondo Guerra, last season's All Stars winner. Mizrahi and Chapman were judges last season. As judge, Carolyn Murphy last night proved to be a woman of specific tastes, likes and dislikes.
On last night's episode, the Project Runway All Stars (contestants from the last nine seasons) were split into two teams and challenged to create a runway collection with attitude as its theme. From adjectives like coy, confident, fierce and independent, the designers separated into Team Confident and Team Bold. Team Confident chose a leather and lace, black and white palette, while Team Bold chose modern lines, royal blue and black as its color scheme.
Laura, a season 9 contestant, won best look for the losing Team Bold. Anthony Ryan Auld, the color blind designer who was sent home a lot earlier than fans would like during his season, created the winning design. A simple, but sleek white pant, and a sophisticated, yet contemporary blouse with a surprising, lacey, see through back that works both as day and evening wear. Excited, Anthony Ryan walked away with the first challenge win.
If history repeats itself, then Anthony Ryan will do really well in the competition early on which is great. But Anthony Ryan's problem in the regular season was that he ran out of ideas and got a little lax after forging ahead so fast and almost effortlessly in the competition. Never the less, Anthony Ryan's cancer story and his color blindness make him a Project Runway all time fan favorite.
Emilio Sosa, Casanova, Ivy Helga, season one's Wendy Pepper and the unforgettable Joshua McKinley are all back and in the running for the fashion season that offers a much larger money prize to the finale winner than the regular season offers.
Joshua McKinley claimed he's back to prove that he can work outside of the box. And perhaps prove that he's not so huge of a villain. During the team challenge he chose Peach, an older contestant, for his team. Josh is most remembered for bashing an older woman designer and dismissing her work as "old." Judges do that all of the time, but contestants rarely bash each other's work face to face. When Josh bashed teammate Becky during their season, she retreated to the restroom and cried.
Something similar happened to teammate Peach on last night's episode. Teammate Andre criticized her work just a little bit and questioned her design aesthetic. Peach immediately lost confidence and Josh, during confessional, explained the transaction between Peach and Andre as a comment on Peach's work as a bit "juniory" .
Usually, Tim Gunn visits the workroom and gives the designers a few complaints with his razor sharp complaints. Joanna Cole, however, entered the workroom, reminded Ivy Helga that she was a terrible "bitch" during her season. Ivy agreed and explained that she was in a bad place financially and that one's life circumstance dictates one's behavior. Now Ivy is a business owner and she's in competition with her employee, Casanova.
Ivy's design was one of the top three winning looks last night. It appears that Ivy has blended her older, mature and blandly sophisticated style with an edgier, younger feel and ideas that buyers will either love or completely ignore. Carolyn Murphy hated Ivy's white jacket with lace arms, but the other judges adored Ivy's work. When Ivy first competed, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors dismissed Ivy as a tailor, not a designer.
After Joanna Cole gave individual critiques, she left the room and assured the designers that their talent filled the room. It was a little uplifting, but not much. For sure one of them would be sent home the winner isn't granted immunity in the All Star game.
In the end, Peach's hopes for a winning season were spoiled when she was eliminated for a design that was indeed "juniory" and not very well made or considerate of the modern buyer. She couldn't defend her work and Isaach Mizrahi suggested Peach simply stop talking. Suede, Peach and Andre landed in the bottom three. Suede's napkin dress made it by the judges because Isaac Mizrahi liked the skirt, but wished Andre had paired it with a turtleneck or some other top.
Mondo called the lower half of Suede's cocktail dress a bunch of handerkerchiefs. Andre's design was too busy and complicated for women to wear. Carolyn stated flatly, "I don't get it."
But Andre and Suede weren't eliminated because their designs required effort and a lot more thought than what Peach appeared to put into her work.
Consequently, Andre and Suede will return, but Andre, hopefully not for much longer.