January 10, 2012

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Project Runway All Stars: Episode 1 Recap and A HAUTE MINUTE with Elisa Jimenez

Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen Episode 1 of Project Runway All Stars... Stop. Then wiggle with it. Now stop. Then wiggle with it.

Last night marked the premiere of the new season of Project Runway, the All Stars edition. You knew this already, because you've read my interview with Season 2 contestant and current All Star, Kara Janx, that was posted yesterday, right? Good answer. On last night's episode, we meet all of the contestants, and the new host, supermodel Angela Lindvall. Right away we can tell she's no Heidi, but I'm willing to give her a chance. We also meet the new judges, Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi. To open the show, the contestants do a mini-fashion show for the judges, each showing one piece of their work. After watching a video message from Valentino and his business partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, the contestants are brought to a 99 cent store where Angela announces the challenge. It's the Unconventional Challenge! Each designer must design something using materials from the 99 cent store, with a one hundred dollar budget. But, there's a twist! The look must be inspired by the look that was already shown. Boom!

The host of Project Runway All Stars, Angela Lindvall

Materials are bought and brought back to the work room. Where's Tim Gunn? Surprise! Along with a new host and new judges, we're also introduced to the new mentor: Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire magazine, Joanna Coles. I like Joanna. I love Tim (duh) but I like Joanna and I think that as a contestant, having the Editor-in-Chief of a major fashion magazine not only be aware of your existence, but advise your work, is an incredible opportunity. Moving on, time is up and everyone heads to the runway for a show and the subsequent elimination. In the bottom 3? Sweet P, Gordana and Elisa. We sadly say our farewells to Elisa, and she graciously accepts her fate.

The day after her elimination, Elisa spoke with me and a few other reporters on a conference call, about her early exit from Project Runway All Stars.

Elisa Jimenez in the workroom

Why did you agree to do Project Runway All Stars and what was the best highlight from being back?

Elisa: It was a pivotal time in my own work. I needed something huge in my work, to shift my focus. The same day I did meditation was the day I got the All Star request. I wanted to be present this time. The first time I was timid about being verbal. The highlight was the people and getting to meet colleagues and other designers.

From your piece last night, how do you think Heidi, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors would have judged it?

Never thought of that. First, the shorts I made last night, which I'm crushing on and will be in my spring collection, were made out of a gift bag. But I can't really tell what the other judges would have thought to be honest. Michael Kors and Tim Gunn know my work. I thought it was a different voice. I respect Isaac, to have his compliment and his dialogue really meant a great deal because I was more connected with admiring his work. He's someone in fashion who has constantly reinvented himself in an industry that's very fickle.

Are there any celebrities you would love to design for?

I do have some celebrity crushes, like Mila Kunis. I think she is strong and beautiful. She is visually beautiful and I think she would work well in my clothes. I really like the supernatural genre on television and I would love to get into costuming. I think I could make some good wings.

You got some mixed messages last night from the judges. What do you make of the feedback?

I actually stand by the piece I did. There was a story on the wings and I didn't get a chance to defend myself on the runway because of me being nervous. The work stands for itself...very beautiful pieces don't need to be explained and I didn't think I should have to explain my work.

Elisa's eliminated design

There seemed to be a divide between the designers on how to perceive you and how you work. Is this true?

Absolutely. I do installation work. When working in a studio, every amount of space is a place to work. We did have specific stations to work at, but I made mine a petite little studio. I had a construction area, HP area, design area...the floor is a great cutting place.

Do you think your unconventional methods make it more difficult to compete?

My methods and ideologies make it difficult for people to understand the concept that something comes from it. I have come to accept the fact that I am with people who have a set of rules and I have my own...it makes me competitive. I have made a career for 17 or 18 years in a field that lets people in who only do it a certain way.

Is there anyone you're rooting for to win?

I'm going to actually try to do the challenges with the contestants as they go through, just because I want to do them. I'm rooting for Austin, though. Everyone is talented, obviously, but Austin has this incredible feeling for it - he's an intelligent, talented young man. But also, in the context of Project Runway, he was part of the first season and therefore is known to people who watch it. I think it would be really great for everyone if he were to win. I'm impressed by his intelligence. He's such a kind and talented gentleman and that's so rare.

Project Runway All-Stars airs in Canada on Mondays at 10 pm ET/PT on Slice (and it airs on Thursday nights on Lifetime in the US). I'll be spending a "haute minute" with every contestant as they leave the show, so be sure to check in here every Tuesday! And, you know, come back often.

photos: courtesy of SliceTM



  1. I'm also not sold on Angela as the host, she seems a bit stiff but hopefully she'll get better as the series progresses. I love that Isaac is a judge, I had always thought he should be a guest judge and there he is! Looking forward to this season, should be exciting!


  2. i'm glad elisa is in the all stars :)