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Realistic But Not Extreme

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow


Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Good Queen Fun

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Realistic But Not Extreme

A great challenge to celebrate a terrific feat!

Kudos to whoever thought of this challenge: realistic but not extreme, inventive but relatable, and models who really seemed to love walking down the runway! I gasped when I heard the amount of weight that some of these women had lost... 169lbs! AMAZING! Granted, it was still a very difficult task for the designers to cover so many basis, while still being relatively confined, but I thought that there were some really fun pieces... let's get started! rate_runway_05_405.jpg

Though I hear that people are griping about him designing the same jacket twice in the first few episodes, I really thought that it was a great match for this challenge. He toned it down and made the proportions much more approachable, and used the contrast of matte/shine to bring some visual interest to the jacket. Everything seemed to fit her very well, and though, as a rule, I despise Capri jeans on woman, I feel that it is modern enough to keep her looking hip, but still like a woman (as opposed to those creepy older women who wear their daughters clothes thinking they look sexy... I actually once saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm easy"...while walking with her 5yr old daughter. I vomited.). rate_runway_10_405.jpg

Obviously there was more against Steven than his design (construction issues were quite evident), but I'm a bit torn about the original wedding dress. It's tricky because the challenge was to create something for their "everyday life", and lord knows that a thousand and one ideas came to mind when I first saw the dress - cause honestly - even that was salvageable, but how to make that much beading appropriate for everyday was the hardest part. I know someone like Laura Bennett would scoff in my face and pronounce something fabulous like "Darling I change diapers in couture!" but still, that's a lot of white and a lot of beading for daytime. Even if he made it into a chic cocktail number, though he may have gotten flack for it not being "everyday" appropriate, I think it still would've saved him from the chopping block. rate_runway_04_405.jpg

I thought that the color combo of the navy and cerulean blue are lovely, but I know that these women would all benefit from a bit of structure in their outfits. I'm obviously aware of the constraints Chris was in, but perhaps pairing the skirt with a wide belt from the overly-blatant product placement wall it would've given the well-needed balance to the outfit. Granted, the shoes and choker were all wrong, but at least he's back with a second chance, which is a hell of a lot more than most designers get. I guess we'll have to postpone out hot coco date for at least another week! rate_runway_07_405.jpg

Now here is the structure I was talking about... unfortunately the design is a bit haggard. Volume is a great thing when on the right body, and I guarantee that women, who have spent their adult lives in clothing that "tents" their body, really want to show off all of their hard work off. Make the hem less choppy, lob off the back tail of the red jacket, and some more interesting design details throughout would've made this look work for her client. Oh, and calf-length black leather boots are extremely difficult for most people to wear as it visually chops their legs off... and it kinda screams "the mall" to me. rate_runway_02_405.jpg

The color and shape are very nice, and though I feel she was a bit sneaky ditching the fabric altogether (I don't see trim as counting), I think the final look is fairly good. Same concern with Chris, I think adding some structure like a nice belt, would've really defined the waist a bit more and made it a bit more polished and smooth. The overall shape is great for her body, and most women, and really lets HER stand out. rate_runway_09_405.jpg

I think if this was "The Clothes Off Your Back" challenge from Season 2, Kevin would've taken the gold. I don't see any semblance of a bad, boxy blazer anywhere in that design, and kudos to him for making a nice shape and cute top out of something so eehhh. Same comments as Kors about the leggings, especially paired with ankle strap shoes - these women want to look taller and leaner, stop chopping them up! As it was, it wasn't "everyday appropriate" in the judges eyes, but something tells me that his model was in love with her new look and would be more than happy to look and feel as good as she did on the runway! rate_runway_08_405.jpg

I actually like the idea of this dress: the contrast of prints (which is definitely becoming her signature), the proportion is great, and the color works for me. I think it could've used a little more refinement all around, especially in finishing like the under skirt (?) and the dinky little bow in the back. Then again, that's the story of Project Runway as a whole isn't it? With just "a little extra time" it could've been great... oh well, I think it's cute and looks great on the model, and snaps for putting her in a peep-toe shoe WITHOUT an ankle strap. rate_runway_11_405.jpg

This is the structure I was talking about! I think it works great with the fabric he had to work with, and is balanced beautifully with the soft gathering of the top. I actually think that his model looks the most svelte from pre to post designing, and she's glowing, look at her she's LOVING it! I also admire how Rami was able to take a garment used formerly as a jacket, and successfully make it into a cute skirt (or I'm assuming as the front buttons look like a sleeve placket). Polished, clean and sexy, I don't know why he wasn't in the top 3... rate_runway_03_405.jpg

Sheers are a tricky thing, especially in a nude fabric, ESPECIALLY for someone who isn't 16 years old and size 2. The trim is nice enough but it's just kinda "nice", no pop, and unfortunately we're yet again perpetuating the idea that jean Capris are ok... I don't get it... I just don't. These are creative people designing to be "America's next great designer" and they're sending down jean Capris!... oy, I need a drink. rate_runway_01_405.jpg

Sweet P
The look is very Sweet P, which is good, as well as a universally flattering design for most women. It fits her fantastically and is a great color, but I wish it would have more "pop" as well, which is what I guess the critique always is... it's nice, but is it fashion-forward enough? Though I think Sweet P is a doll for crying throughout the entire episode - I'm a sucker for the nice guys. rate_runway_06_405.jpg

Although the updated dress is fit well and relatively flattering, I feel that it misses the mark as far as 1) making it appropriate for everyday use and 2) making it feel modern and fun. Granted, forest green velvet is tricky enough to work with, and honestly, I'm at a loss for what I would've done, so a few snaps to Victorya for at least making something sewn and fit well, out of nothing.

Nature Calls

The designers are blossoming in this week's challenge.

This is the designers' final challenge, and it will determine which of them will move forward and present collections at New York Fashion Week. Heidi announces that I'm taking the designers on a field trip. Indeed, I am. In another celebration of New York City, we visit the New York Botanical Garden. There, the designers meet Collier Strong, consulting makeup artist for L'Oreal Paris, who explains that this is the L'Oreal Paris challenge. Collier instructs the designers to use the Garden as the source of their inspiration for an evening gown design (which, coincidentally, is what they declared that they wanted to do when we were in the van driving to the Bronx). They are given cameras and have one hour to explore the garden and take pictures to record their inspiration.

Back in the workroom, they have 30 minutes to choose one photograph to serve as the inspiration for their evening gown. Then, we go shopping at MOOD with a budget of $250. They have two days for this challenge.

Our guest judge is the stunning Georgina Chapman, co-founder of and designer for Marchesa.


Jerell WINS! And he couldn't have been more Jerell in this design: a fitted bustier and a full, layered skirt with a slight train. The brownish purple duchesse satin body of the dress was gorgeous, and the under-layers of crimson followed by a dark green sequined panel were gorgeous in my opinion. Still, when I called "time," he still had a lot of work to do, including resolving the fit of the skirt in the back. No one is OUT. All four designers move forward to create collections and compete for three spots at New York Fashion Week. In spite of Jerell's win, he will compete, too.


Kenley used a python print in shades of fuchsia and purple to make a mermaid-like gown with a high neck and a racer back. From the knees down there are multi-tiered layers of gradated "leaves" in the same python fabric, each of which is piped in a different shade of purple or fuchsia charmeuse. The leaves look more like fish scales, ergo the mermaid association of this look. Thankfully, Kenley removed the leaves from the shoulder. But, still, her design looked very costumey in my humble opinion, and her technical treatment of the gradated leaves did not have her usual polish. In the end, the look was very Kenley and she's moving forward.


Korto was inspired by a dramatic flower in shades ranging from orange to yellow. She chose creamsicle and ochre textiles in charmeuse and created a gown with a deep, plunging neckline and a train with a vent with an inserted panel. A tired-looking ivory lace with beading embellishments was used in two side panels and as trim along the back. Thankfully, she edited the lace down to a more diminutive use, because she had originally intended to cover most of the back with this problematic textile. I had difficulty seeing Korto's point of view in this gown, but she was confident that it was there. Thankfully, she's moving forward!


Leanne designed a stunning gown in lavender charmeuse, and while she retained her signature details and structural embellishments, this was a "softer" Leanne. The pleating in the one-shoulder top cascaded into a symmetrical flourish that hugged the hips. The judges questioned the efficacy of the darker blue panel in the train of the gown, but isn't that a matter of taste? In fact, with the exception of poor construction, isn't it all a matter of taste?

Chacun a son gout!