PR: Elena Slivnyak Decoy Collection

Posted on October 01, 2012

When Project Runway made the switch from having 4 or 5 collections at the finale, and giving the designers several months to put them together, to having as much as ten collections at the finale and giving the designers much less time to put them together, the quality of the finale collections, we’re sorry to say, declined tremendously. Having sat through the last 7 finale shows, we can tell you that vast majority of what walks down that runway is simply not worthy of walking a New York Fashion Week runway. When Elena’s collection walked out, we sat up in our seats and took notice. It’s cohesive and extremely well executed, demonstrating a strong point of view. It’s one of the strongest decoy collections we’ve seen.

Let’s start the show.

This is both expected and unexpected. The color-blocking science fiction vibe? Totally expected. The simplec, lean silhouette? Not expected at all. We mostly like this dress, but we think the blocking on the bust is a bit unfortunate, giving the illusion of droopy boobs. We loved the crazy lipstick and striped stockings as styling choices. It demanded that you take notice.


Great looking coat that really works best with a pair of pants.


This is one look that, to us, speaks of Elena’s tendency to go a bit too far. We don’t love these colors together and we think the straps should not have been a third color. These looks are so out-there that they work best when she restrains her color choices.


The crotch is a little off, but for the most part, she makes great pants. Notice that we’re on the 4th look and we’ve seen dresses, pants, coats and a blouse. She might’ve gotten a bit repetitive with the color-blocking, but she’s throwing out every kind of garment, which is very smart.


Let’s face it: there’s only so much we can write here. Not because there’s anything wrong; just that once you hit on the sci-fi color-blocking theme and talk it out, there’s not much else to say. That jacket is great, although it makes a size 2 look a little hippy.


Now it’s starting to get too repetitive. That top is very similar to the one two looks up.


And this is too similar to the first dress.


This is pure fabulous. We recognize that a lot of what she’s showing here isn’t going to have mass appeal. Many women wouldn’t want their various body parts outlined with color-blocking and many women wouldn’t respond well to the sci-fi feel of it all, but this is just plain chic. She has a real talent for eye-catching outerwear.


This is the only real clunker in the collection. We appreciate that she tried to do something a little different from her other looks, but the flowy, sheer peplum doesn’t feel like it belongs in this collection.


Not only our favorite look in this collection, it was our favorite look from ALL the PR finale collections shown this year. That chartreuse is a tough color to wear and maybe she could have skipped the color blocking in the jacket once she decided on that collar, but overall, this feels chic, wearable, and very of the moment.


If this had been a contender for the win, the judges would have likely praised it for its very strong point of view, for being extremely well-executed, and for being somewhat unexpected. Then they would have complained that there weren’t enough variations and given the win to someone else, most likely. We wouldn’t have disagreed with any of that (although we’re hard-pressed to come up with a S10 finale collection that’s better than this one), but we came away from this with a heightened view of Elena’s talents. She’s definitely got something interesting to offer and she’s professional enough to realize that a Fashion Week collection should look as polished as humanly possible.


[Photo Credit: Getty]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • gabbilevy

    The only piece i really like is that chartreuse jacket. The color blocking/sectioning the bodies is reads really ugly to my eye.

    • Melvis Velour

      Maybe I’m reading into this piece too far but doesn’t it seem to be a spin on that fabulicious green jacket that Sonjia did?  Don’t get me wrong, this jacket is amazing and would probably sell like hotcakes if it was available in multiple colors.

      •  I don’t think so. Sonjia’s jacket was all about the asymmetric cut with a little peplum. It’s really not anything like Elena’s jacket here.

      • VestigialMe

        Elena didn’t steal from Sonjia. Elena stole from Irina. Irina invented jackets and she would appreciate if you did not forget that.

        (God, season 6 was ridiculous.)

        • CozyCat

          Thank you for bringing a great laugh into a stressful day!

  • I must admit that I just don’t understand why Lifetime and/or BMP can’t start filming a month earlier. It would mean four less decoy collections and also one more month for the finalists to create their collections for Fashion Week. How hard is that to figure out or schedule?

    • MoHub

       I guess B/M don’t have calendars.

    • Frank_821

      actually they could also adjust a week by adding an extra challenge if they were concerned about having enough editing time. the past few seasons the final challenge has 5 contestants vying for 3 spots. And also that’s why you have a reunion episode before the finale as well as a week break

    • MissAnnieRN

      I totally agree. Although, I think I’ve come to a place of acceptance regarding PR’s fall from grace. It’s just not the show it used to be. Either there isn’t a whole lot of talent to shop out there or they are too focused on drama to cast talent. 10 decoy collections is too many. And since the lifetime switch, there haven’t been many memorable ones. Mondo’s, that’s it.

    •  Probably because they have decided to add All Stars to the line up, and don’t want to spend money on another crew. Actually, now that I’ve said that, its probably ALL about saving money.  When will they learn that a well produced show is a much BETTER show, and far more likely to appeal to the audience and create real loyalty.

      • 3boysful

         I wonder if they realize that a ginormous chunk of the loyalty they “have” is due to TLo.  WIthout their thoughtful/hilarious recaps, and the great commentary of the BK/PUFs (not to mention the TLounge), I’d be FAR less inclined to tune in.

        • This is 100% true for me. I’d have stopped watching this years ago, but I love this blog and watching the show makes reading it more fun.

        • agentilities


        • I couldn’t possibly agree more.

          • Kthrow

            Absolutely the ONLY reason I watch … agreed!

        • annieanne


      • Granted there are some really well made shows out there with no viewing audience at all (mad men, breaking bad, & every good network show that ever got canceled).

    • formerlyAnon

       Right? And it’s not as if it would add any time to the filming itself.

      I think the bottom line is that they really DON’T GET that the joy & uniqueness of this show correlates to how important the work is. If it’s just reality competition drama & personalities, well, it’s second rate. The challenges have become mostly silly or repetitive & they mostly don’t give enough scope for real drama if that’s what we’re going for : where are the jars of spiders, the two-girls-sobbing in the bathroom, the contestants lost in lower Manhattan, at risk of missing their chance to be in this week’s runway show?

    • mjude

      i agree, it really drives me crazy. 

    • tereliz

      While I agree with this sentiment, it DOES give a larger number of designers the chance to show the world what they can do when not conforming to the insane parameters of Project Runways increasingly annoying “challenges”, so I can’t say it’s a stupid idea, exactly. Of course, if they’d only cast a couple more talented designers each season, it would make more sense. 

    • Girl_With_a_Pearl

      Agreed!  I also don’t understand why B/M seems to decide who the winner is ahead of time and then eliminates contestants not based on what they produce in a given week, but based on their drama quotient.  Oh, and I also don’t understand why they don’t give the contestants more time to produce something worthwhile.  (O.K., the last one’s about money.)

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        For Bunim-Murray, the bottom line must be money.  I do wish that Tim and Nina would do some quite lobbying for a couple of two day challenges.  More and more Heidi seems to have a lot of influence, and as a longtime fan of PR, I’m not sure that is working in terms of giving the designers a better chance to show their creativity.

        • Derek_anny

           I have noticed that recently, Heidi seems to be straining against BM.  I can recall two different times where she’d pushed ‘one day in, next out’ during judging in preference to judge by consistency. 

    • CozyCat

      Here’s another view:  as the judging has become more cracktastic, and the challenges more rapid and ridiculous, the probability of a good designer being cut and a hack slipping thru increases. This is the second season of the new era where a decoy collection was arguably the best.  So having lots of decoys ups the chances that a good designer can grasp the opportunity to get their work noticed. 

      • formerlyAnon

        Though neither decoys nor finalists are well served by the shorter time and tighter money they have to put together their final collections. 4 or 5 weeks – when it’s coming off the exhausting pressure cooker of filming – just doesn’t cut it.

  • lehen

    and at least she didn’t wear her crazy-eye makeup to the show!

  • hmariec19

    When I looked at all of the collections that were presented, this was far and away my favorite.  Too bad she wasn’t a contender for the win.  

    • peacockprincess

      I figured she was in the top three because this collection was by far the best of the lot.

    •  This is also my favorite of all the final collections.  I knew when she was the only one who had not won any of the challenges that she would be eliminated.  It will be a very disappointing ending I think. 

    • IMNAngryLiberal

      I, myself, have kind of a retro 60’s SF vibe so this was by far my favorite of the collections shown.  Yes, she did get a bit repetetive with the color blocking and I wouldn’t have chosen that exact color palette, but this looked like a cohesive collection and for the most part, looked to be well made.  I keep telling myself that this year’s winning collection can’t possibly be as bad as Gretchen’s and Anya’s, but I may be wrong.

    • KateWo

      Totally agree…I thought this was the clear winner. I like some of the designers who are left but I think their final collections are duds.

    • EveEve

      Any chance B/M created a twist that allowed her to be a finalist?  This was the only collection that looked worthy of walking the runway this season.

    • i love this collection. im glad she could make a good case for herself infront of an audience that matters, after somewhat embarassing herself on tv. good for her.

  • pippitypup

    It has a distinctly retro SF vibe. These would not be out of place on any of the SF shows of the 60s.

  • homofascist

    Love it.  I am bummed we won’t get to see it on the teevee.

  • stoprobbers

    I think the lipstick was a terrible choice. It’s distracting to the point where I realized about 2/3 of the way down the page that I barely registered the clothing. I was so distracted by the lipstick, the clothes flew by.

    Attempt to pay attention to clothes #2 was only marginally successful (seriously, i couldn’t stop looking at their lips) but I want most of the coats. Strong collection, but not the best I’ve seen. 

    • Araina23

       It probably wasn’t as noticeable live in the tents as it is in the pictures.

    • MilaXX

      In print it may be distracting, but I saw this in motion on youtube and the lipstick didn’t pull focus.

      • stoprobbers

        Well, I did not see it in person and looking at these pictures it was all I can see. Since only a few people, comparatively, get to see the live show versus the thousands to millions who will see the pictures, I think it was a particularly bad choice, especially since the rest of the collection is rather interesting and deserves to be looked at. 

        • MilaXX

          Those same people seeing it online in stills can youtube it just as easily. Besides since she’s a decoy, the main point of her collection is to impress those people in the tents. They are the people who she can hopefully make connections with to further her career.

    • Lily-Rygh

       I agree, totally. I think she clearly presented a very strong point of view, and some of these pieces were really chic and wearable…but the only way I could even SEE them was to scroll down just enough to eliminate the lips from my sight-line.  I have no idea how this came across in the tents, but on a computer screen, at least, the lipstick was a huge and unnecessary distraction; the (mostly) clean lines of this collection just didn’t ask for such focus-pulling styling.

    • CozyCat

      I can’t remember who it was, but some other, much bigger name, designer did something similar with the makeup (can anyone recall who it was?)

  • marilyn

    It was a shame that she was eliminated.  However, I can’t get past the gross lipstick.  The color blocking is rather repetitious.  I think she has a great future as a designer.  She will probably be one of those designers who goes on to become well known.

    • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

      I agree; I’m really not crazy about the color blocking, but I think she presented a very chic collection.  However, I must say that I found her behavior on the show to be downright rude and aggressive at times.   If she wants a big future in fashion, she’d better learn to play nice in the sandbox with the other kids.

      • Glammie

        Yes, she has the talent, but the people skills are seriously lacking.  And it’s not like she’s really mean, it’s more like she just falls apart under stress and kind of goes all over the place.

    • If she does become successful, it’s only a matter of time before one of her assistants writes a ‘Devil Wears Prada’-esque tell all.

  • TAGinMO

    Given this collection as well as her pre-show portfolio, it’s a damn shame she was auf’ed only one week before the avant garde challenge. If she’d stuck around a week longer, she’d have likely made the finals and taken home the win.

    • bristlesage

       Yeah, looking at this, I totally agree she would have lit it the hell up in the avant garde challenge.  So sorry we won’t get to see that.

      • terpsichory

         And it’s just so frustrating that she got Auf’d for a friggin toddler outfit! It feels like such a waste.


    • EveEve

      I’m holding out hope that B/M threw in a twist that allowed her to stay in the running.

      • Twitter seems to disagree unfortunately.
        “Thanks for the support! xoxo” from Elena sounds pretty sincere, unless she’s actually trolling her fanbase to build suspense.

  • HobbitGirl

    I’m disappointed this isn’t in the finale, or at least closer to it – I love the mod sci-fi vibe!

  • RebeccaKW

    I like most of the jackets, but the dresses…other than the color blocking, don’t seem all that new to me. 

  • SapphoPoet

    I didn’t like any of this and wouldn’t wear it–it’s just not my style or taste. (Although I kind of like the last outfit.)

    Having said that, I completely agree that it was the only collection that looked worthy of being at fashion week. Everyone else sent clothes down the runway. Elena put together a very cohesive and utterly memorable collection where all the pieces spoke to each other. She has strong point of view and executed it well. She’s to be commended for taking advantage of her opportunity and I hope that good things happen for her. 

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I don’t think that I’d wear anything in this collection, but it’s cohesive, has a real point of view, and very few missteps(aside from the wackadoodle lipstick).  Her decoy collection is more memorable than any of the other designers from this season.

  • jjfg

    When saw this initially, I was thinking it wasn’t a decoy.  I don’t love it, but it’s strong and individual and I bet she caught more than a few people’s eye with this.

  • StelledelMare

    This was definitely my favorite collection out of this season’s contestants. Everyone else’s in comparison were just so boring

  • muzan-e

    The layered colour-blocking on that chartreuse jacket really blew my mind.  In different shades I would stare at it lustfully in shop-windows for day after day…

  • Clueless_Jock

    It’s not bad at all, but this seems more H&M than couture.

  • My favorite collection from this season. It’s a great example of how to use that second chance; so many other decoys have blown it completely.

    And I absolutely agree about the final jacket. Colorblocking was a mistake with that scarf collar. 

  • VanessaDK

    The styling is magnificent and eye catching.  So important but so rarely remembered by finalists.

  • janetjb

    This isn’t a collection that speaks to me, but I can imagine Michael and Nina really liking it.  

  • I have to admit I was/am pleasantly surprised by her work  I truly like a great deal of these pieces, and could easily imagine them being translated in a ready to wear context. A skosh of judicious editing, and it would be a slam dunk.

  • lundibleu

    Like both Laura (and to a lesser extent Bert) last year, this is far more interesting than some of the likely finalists. It is different, looks well done and isn’t necessarily what was expected. I was expecting her to be inline for the win with this… Laura’s was similarly surprising, and she had also, with Bert, realised the need for professionalism and not sloppy crap. Well done Elena, the only thing missing really is a long slinky sci-fi gown…

    • SapphoPoet

      I know–I was so surprised by Laura’s final collection last year. It was so beautiful; I was shocked that it was a decoy.

      Ooo–a slinky sci-fi gown would have been great!

  • Frank_821

    I think by the end of her run and her decoy collection, we can get a better assessment of Elena. As big a source of drama as she was, the other designers seem to really respect her talent. By her own admission, she is not someone who can handle the stress and crazy constraints of the PR-particularly the ones created these days.

    In terms of talent she was a good choice for the show and I am glad, unlike Ven, she was able to capitalize on the opportunity to appear at Fashion Week. The girl made a statement about herself as a designer and a good one at that.

    I have to say though imagine if they had just started the show a couple weeks earlier and had only 6 collections. Imagine what Elena could have come up with, with extra time

  • Winter_White

    So…now I’ve seen that.  But good luck to you Elena!

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    I like the jacket in the second look and the top in the sixth. I actually like the “clunker” peplum top. It adds that little bit of missing interest when she plays with textures. I don’t mind the three colors on the third dress, I just think it needed to be modeled by a woman of color. That dress would look gorgeous on a woman like Viola Davis or Gabrielle Union. The collar on that last jacket is fabulous, I love the whole look, but I agree that she should have skipped the colorblocking on the jacket after designing that collar.

    This collection was much better than I remembered. Too bad she got the auf, but I don’t think it’s the last we will see of Elena. 

  • Krafty_L

    I understand why PR has decoy collections like this, but I thought that the opportunity to show at Fashion Week was part of the prize of being in the top 3. Doesn’t the fact that the top 5-6 get to show dilute the prize?

    • l_c_ann

      The prize is only diluted if the chosen three make forgettable collections.  As they often do.

  • formerlyAnon

    I liked the coat in photos 15/16 and the final chartreuse jacket best. But I liked a LOT of this despite the fact that her sci-fi vibe is not my ideal, which I think is a tribute to her ability to cut & construct.

    Notice: she somehow managed to take the ubiquitous and thoroughly played out exposed zipper and make it look appropriate & integral to her looks. Good for her.

    • SapphoPoet

      Good observation about the exposed zippers; I didn’t even notice them and normally they jump right out. 

      • pookiesmom

        It’s like the exposed zippers actually add to the colorblocking of the pieces. They’re not just superfluous add-ons meant to make the clothes look more “edgy.” Love.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          I too didn’t at first see the exposed zippers-good for Elena that she used them thoughtfully.

  • MilaXX

    This was my favorite collection and as the season went on I got sad that it wouldn’t be a finale collection. I think it’s the best collection out of all the season 10 designers. If she made plus sizes I would save my pennies for that aubergine and chartreuse dress and I didn’t mind the 3 colors at all.

  • What I thought, when I saw this in the Fashion Week posting, is that this is the collection of someone who really wants to succeed in the industry as opposed to Vens, which was very much the work of someone who wanted to get even for being criticised.  She needs to learn to edit, though- as you point out, the chartreuse jacket would be much stronger without the underlying color block, and almost every garment would be more visually pleasing with one less shape.

    Still, interesting, cohesive, and, I think, on trend in shape and cut.

  • NDC_IPCentral

    Elena evolved over the episodes in which she appeared.  She used her decoy opportunity to good advantage – while this won’t be shown on Lifetime, she showed to THE INDUSTRY, and that may get her more mileage.  As most have said, this was a thought-out, cohesive (i.e., not-disjointed) presentation, and she smoked most of the rest of the contestants who also showed.

    With maturity and some calmness, Ms. Elena might make a bit of a fashion mark someday – a tall order in a challenging, cut-throat and money-conscious industry, but she just might.

    • CozyCat

      I hope she gets an episode of “all on the line.”  Not only does she have worthy talent, but watching her interact with Joe Zee would be a hoot!

  • Vickiefantastico

    I am in utter shock that she isn’t in the finale. This is a very cohesive, at times very original and beautiful, collection that I honestly thought would be a contender as the winner. Not so excited to watch the rest of the season, honestly!

  • MrsMaxPower

    This was the only collection that I remembered after looking at all the FW posting pics. Like it or loathe it, it was memorable and I hope she can go all Janx on it and forge a great path for herself without being in the finals. 

  • tallgirl1204

    This is my favorite, too, of the finale.  Of course, I am the girl who has a star trek communicator pin in her jewelry box and is always hoping for the right jacket on which to wear it.  I want a number of the looks, and particularly, I want the leggings. 

  • When the collections first came out, I was sure that Elena was a finalist along with Fabio. It shocked me that they dumped her last week so they could keep Melissa even though I knew Melissa was a pet of the judges. At least she didn’t do a F**K YOU! collection like Gunnar and Ven. 

    • VestigialMe

      And yet, in a way, she did.

  • Anathema_Device

    Interesting collection. I like a lot of it, mostly the same ones you liked, with the exception of the purple dress with the yellow shoulders. I love that color combo. I could reason that b/c she is a decoy, she probably just decided to hammer home one theme, in order to be remembered. Might have been what Ven was trying to do, too.

  • pookiesmom

    I’m super bummed that she wasn’t in the finale. Hers was hands down my favorite collection out of the bunch. Fresh, bold, interesting. I loved it.

  • l_c_ann

    AND (thank you TLO) thanks to your presentation we get to see the backs of the designs for the first time.

    And I love them.  I fluv them. 

    They are crisp, can be worn with bras, and are not the sameo, sameo, that certain boring designers cling to ….the making of black dresses to dress NYC and very few other places. 

    Could you tell us something about the fabrics she used so masterfully?

  • alula_auburn

    This definitely looks stronger to me on revisiting, although I have to admit I still find the styling more distracting than eye-catching–it makes me take notice, but not of the clothes.  But I really like a lot of the shapes in the coats and the blouses–I think it’s a huge and brilliant transformation from some of her earlier big, heavy looks all in the shoulders.  These somehow look tough, but also light and almost airy, which I think is a really cool aspect to the sci-fi vibe.

  • susan6

    Please tell me that the runway music was weird futuristic computer farting noises like in some of the 70’s sci-fi dystopia movies.  Beeeeeep!  Booooooooooooop.   

    • duneboi

      Here’s a link to a YouTube vid of Elena’s Fashion Week collection with music:, you’re not too far off on your guess — it’s kinda tribal/futuristic/electronic with a heavy bass beat.Notice, too, the judges reactions to her collection, if you can extrapolate anything from this vid.

      Hope that helps.

  • It’s a shame that her body of work on the actual show wasn’t strong enough to have gotten her to the final three, because this is cool as hell.  Yeah, I see some repetitiveness, but over all, I really like this collection a lot.  Hate the yellow and green lipstick, but other than the styling, this could have been a winner if she’d have kept her shit together during the competition.  Oh, and if there hadn’t been a stupid baby clothes challenge that got her eliminated.

    • CarolinLA

      But we have to ask why is that?  Why is this level of work missing from all her work on the show?  I’m gonna take a stab at why I think that is:  I think that Elena throwing a fit and getting overly distressed and making everyone miserable around her is part of her creative process.  She thinks she needs that to come out the other side and do her best work.  That’s all well and good if you have the luxury of time.  Her histrionics, which may have served her well creatively before, were her death knell in this competition.  

  • LadyJazzmine

    Chartreuse jacket is awesome and I don’t even like chartreuse. I have to disagree on look #8 though. The color blocking makes it look like a giant face is swallowing her vajayjay.

  • Judy_S

    I did not like this collection, and still don’t, much. The lipstick puts me off, I am not crazy about the colors, and even if I was in the demographic and physical shape to wear these I wouldn’t. BUT thanks for the astute analysis. I can understand why it maybe should have won!

  • SewingSiren

    This is the most memorable collection. I think Elena did very well. I see that she refined many of the ideas that she was working on during the competition. It’s a shame that this one won’t be seen on the teevee finale, because it’s the best of the bunch. That seems to happen a lot. April, Jay Nicholas, and Kara Janx all had collections that were stronger than the winning collection and none of them were seen on the program. Most unfortunate.

    • VestigialMe

      I’m glad you appreciated April’s collection. It was beautiful in a way I didn’t think she was capable of.

      • SewingSiren

        Oh yes. April’s collection was probably my all time favorite. I was actually considering on bidding on one of the empire waisted gowns, but alas they sold them at a fixed price which was too high for my pocketbook.

  • Lilithcat

    Love the chartreuse jacket and the blue & grey blouse in particular.  Good on her for showing a finale-worthy collection, when so many decoys just do a throw-away.  She’s one smart cookie.

    I don’t like the lipstick, though.  I find it distracting.

  • Rin

    The last look and the coat paired with yellow pants were fantastic. And I’m probably one of the rare who like her lipstick choice. 

  • I love all of this. The gauzey and demented peplum aside, which I will give her kudos for being on trend as there are more demented peplums than one can wave a sewing needle at these days. I think this collection is brilliant, beautiful, and bold. She manipulated what is another of the current trends (colour blocking!) in an unexpected and entirely killer fashion. I will happily wear it all.

    And the backs! God, the backs on these clothes are adorable.

    #3: The purple dress with the yellow straps is stunning. I think it is one of the few that the styling is not working in favor of as those green lips clash horribly rather than supporting the internal colour story. I can only think she looked at it and went ‘well I can’t put yellow and yellow’, but yuck. I’d still wear the dress.

  • Wicked Witch of the West wear. “I’m melting! My boobs are melllllllting!”

  • Your (TLo’s) favorite outfit is also mine. Overall, I think this is a really good, cohesive collection, and an ORIGINAL one to boot. 

  • Joyce VG


  • chitowndg

    I’m not with you on the last jacket – I think it is to frippery and the proportions are off.  The rest of the collection is great – things I would wear differently if I had one of the coats or jacket.  As I flipped through the photos I kept thinking of the pants I would pur something with (and the lipstick obviously).  When you make someone do that, you are halfway to sales.

    I think these pieces are much easier to wear than the styling suggests.

  • Wendy Wetzel

    I wanted Elena gone the first week.   Ugh and ugh for this collection, esp the lipstick.

  • nannypoo

    I like this collection a lot. It was obvious in the baby challenge that they wanted to keep Melissa instead of Elena regardless of talent, since Melissa’s baby outfit was pure crap and Elena’s, while crappy, also demonstrated some design and some skill. This quality of this collection must have come as a surprise to the judges.

    The lipstick is hideous.

  • jw_ny

    Seeing this collection has changed my opinion of Elena in a more favorable way, as a designer, too.  Even toward the end of her stay on the show, she did lighten up on her negative & bitchy attitude…I saw glimmers of there being a real and rather cool person there.  She’s blunt tho, which I can usually respect.

    I believe that she was not cut out for the reality show stress in the beginning, nor could she not find a way to apply her aesthetic to the challenges, although she did eventually adapt.  (She did make a good “character” for reality tv tho. ;)) 

    The chartreuse jacket with the ivory skirt (nice shape on that skirt!) and the grey & ivory coat with the chartreuse pants were my favs of this collection.    I also think the chartreuse jacket would look better without the grey color blocking panels over the boobs…love the collar.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    I’m just too distracted by the insane lipstick.  It’s all I can see.

  • mjude

    i have to give her credit.  i quite like this.

  • ShivaDiva

    Interesting! Which is more than you can say for most of these decoys, unfortunately.  Seems like she would make a great costume designer — and that’s not a knock.  So many SF films put everyone in silver or clear plastic, cut the edges off any rectangles and call it a day.  

  • SewingSiren

    The shoes are fantastic too.  I wonder where  she got them, they go so well with the collection it’s almost as if they were made for each other. Does that little pogo stick platform give you a little bounce in your step?

  • I want all of this for my wardrobe. I already have a pair of chartreuse pants from the Gap that I can wear with that fabulous grey jacket. Sigh. 

  • BrooklynBomber

    Wow. I love the pale blue & gray blouse and that last jacket. She’s one who really wasn’t able to show what she’s capable of during the competition. Not perfect, but the point is to find someone with a vision, isn’t it? She’s got it.

    • Stubenville

      And thank you B/M for dragging Project Runway down to the lowest common denominator reality show. Actual talent gets lost in gimmicks like wailing baby dolls.

      • BrooklynBomber

        In her case, i suspect it’s a combination — baby challenges, 1 day challenges, etc., yes, plus a personality type that just doesn’t work well in that situation. Clearly she gets easily stressed out, and she might have had the same issues during the Magic Elves era.

  • When I saw the first few pieces of this collection, I could only think Cirque de Soleil and adult Teletubbies.  After seeing all of the collections in their entirety, I’m shocked that Elena didn’t make it to the finals.  She has a strong point of view, cohesive styling and impeccable execution – signs of a mature designer.  My other two picks are Christopher and Fabio.  No idea who be the third now. 

  • I agree with you about the best look – I’d wear that in a second. In fact, I will put aside all my “insane in the Ukraine’ jokes and agree that this entire collection was very professional looking and chic and I would wear a lot of it. Those coats! yum. She really surprised me and I love it. 

    • Amy

      I second that!

  • tereliz

    That gray and cream coat with the asymmetrical zip and the chartreuse crop coat are the best items I’ve seen from Elana. Maybe getting auffed when she did gave her exactly the right amount of time to get her shit together and start thinking about her decoy collection. 

    It’s too bad she didn’t make it to the finals, because this was my favorite of the PR NYFW collections. 

  • I liked this collection (my favorite after Fabio’s). I would have expected Elena to present these armor-like, rigidly linear, shoulder-prominent, high-collared coats (as shown in her portfolio). If she were given more time, she may have done so (after all, those coats must take quite a while to execute due to the multiplicity of the pieces/units contained within). The designers have a mere few weeks (four weeks, I think) to prepare a collection. It isn’t enough time. Recall what Jay made in Season 1. THAT is a finale collection. I do think he’s, as of the time of writing, the strongest designer PR has had. Others may have done as much intricate work if given as much time as Jay had been given (months, not weeks). In Elena’s case, however, time constraints worked in her favor. She opted for simpler pieces: ones she could execute well within the time allotted without compromising her point-of-view. By virtue of being simpler, these looks are more market-friendly (her clothes won’t be mass-market, however much she tones down her tendencies, but there is a greater commercial viability to this collection than to her before-show pieces). They’re also more colorful (rendered in hard, saturated, crayon-like colors). I give her credit for the color-blocking which is anatomical and topographical. My only criticism concerns the undifferentiated nature of some of these looks (i.e. look #7 is near-identical to look# 1, and sometimes the color-blocking patterns become repetitive). She did mitigate the repetitiveness somewhat by introducing a range of clothing articles: pants, tights (love the graphic impact of those), dresses, coats, jackets, skirts (LOVE the flowing yet structured skirt in the concluding look), and blouses/shirts. I do think, however, that the repetitiveness was sort of the point: it IS a mechanical (as opposed to organic) experience, an inescapable alternate reality, one that asserts and imposes itself over and over.

    • natalia osiatynska

      How insightful and eloquent. A pleasure to read.

  • JMansm

    “She’s professional enough to realize that a Fashion Week collection should look as polished as humanly possible.” Someone please explain this principle to Ven and Gunnar. 

  • Normally, I’d have been happy to see Elena be eliminated because she was such a jerk. But having seen the collections when they were first posted during Fashion Week, I was really disappointed to see her be eliminated, because this is THE ONLY finale collection that has any interest at all.


  • Susannah Perry

    I’m sorry… I just… I can’t.  I absolutely cannot find more than one good thing about this collection and that is the chartreuse jacket in the last look.  The whole collection is a gimmick.  The tights, the lipstick, the same pieces over and over just slightly altered to be a dress or a coat and every single one of them making models with RIDICULOUS bodies look like droopy-boobed aliens.  No.  I’m sorry.  This is hideous.

  • alyce1213

    I love this, not that it’s all perfect — but it’s highly imaginative, colorful, fun to look at, well-conceived, and surprising.
    The last outfit is among my favorite designs ever done on ANY season of PR.

  • siriuslover

    Too bad she didn’t make a jacket like that for the outerwear challenge. This really is a very good collection. Clearly, the pressure cooker known as PR does not work with Elena.  I hated the lip color though, even if I get the sci fi point you guys made (is that what she said in her introduction?)

  • Certainly the most memorable collection BY FAR. I wasn’t a fan of Elena’s on camera persona, but she’s the only designer with a distinctive, modern, fashionable POV, it turns out. I was really bummed when she was eliminated after having seen this. I can’t begin to guess which of the forgettable remaining collections will be awarded the win. Not sure I care at this point, either, sad to say.

  • KathKo

    I thought she was in the finale 3 when you first showed up the 10 collections and I was puzzle “did the judges ditched the conventionnal/plain designers for a loony one ?”
    Now I dread next episode, where we’re going to learn that Christopher and Dmitry are finalists and Fabio and Melissa will fight for the third place. Feh.
    I think Elena’s collection is one of the most creative since season 6/7. I didn’t like the outrageous make-up, but it is so her, you wouldn’t expect anything else. And she did show others that you can still be true to what you like to do and what you did throughout the competition while showing something else.

  • Snailstsichr

    I am just blown away by the back of the jacket of the 5th look (the cream and grey jacket with the chartreuse skirt). You can see it walking away in the photo of the next outfit. I want that outfit. And the last outfit, of course.

    I am still waiting for Elena and Dmitry to discover they are long-lost cousins and do a re-make of the Patty Duke show where they are fashion designers who must share an apartment in order to keep their design house alive.

  • save_the_hobbit

    When I saw all the collections you had posted, I immediately thought that Elena must be in the finals if she had such a great collection. I was really surprised when she was eliminated….this was an amazing decoy collection. She actually made me like her towards the end. 

  • The color blocking on the second-to-last look (the light green) looks like little fairy wings. I actually find I like the sheer peplum just because it goes with that ethereal feel. 

  • Trisha26

    I agree with everything TLo said – good and bad – but I just can’t with the lipstick. I’m all for eye-catching whackadoodle stuff on the runway but when it’s ugly or distracting, no. Which sort of sums up Elena for me on the show this year. I don’t care how talented a designer you are, if you genuinely are a bitch or allow yourself to be portrayed as such, you diminish your talent.

  • anybody have any ideas on what kind of fabric was used?  Especially in the last jacket?

  • joything

    Sign me up for sci-fi chic. The final look and the jackets were fab.

  • annieanne

    I agree with everything you guys said except for thinking that the sheer peplum didn’t belong. I thought it was purposely placed to break up the repetitiveness of the looks.
    Also the lipstick. I thought it was horribly distracting at least in photos. Maybe in worked better IRL.
    I wish she’d done an evening look. I’d love to see how that colour blocking would’ve worked on a gown.

  • l_c_ann

    That shear peplum isn’t a peplum, in the strict sense of gathered fabric attached to a bodice.  The ‘peplum’ is an extension of the blouse which has a built on aqua dickey.  And then it has a minimalist vest that has an exposed zipper in the front.  How surprising and rather creative. 

  • TSkot

    Wonder if this would be what her collection would have looked like had she been an actual finalist, or if she decided to make the best of the opportunity of still showing even if it’s just a decoy.  Either way, it was the best PR collection shown this year – maybe in several years.

    • hoez

      She said that it would have more ‘risks’ in it which would probably mean more variety if she were actually a finalist. Wish it were the case… 🙁

      • TSkot

        She might have dodged a bullet, then.  Her definition of “risks” might have been a disaster.

        • Well, yes if she were making a garment in 5 hours it would be a disaster. Not enough time to execute her very avant-garde aesthetic.
          I think she has an amazing ability to edit, given enough time, and I would have loved to see some of the sellable but repetitive looks thrown out for more chic outerwear or maybe even a gown.

        • CozyCat

          I don’t know about “risks.”  But being a decoy liberated her from having to please the judges.  Given how Victor self distructed after getting “feedback,” that might be good.
          But I do think you can see the beginning of this collection on the show–the smock/scrub in the print challenge starts to use the same kind of colors and has the new lighter feel. 

  • Rosington

    I LOVE this collection.  I am a solid size 6 and I would strap on some extra-small spanx to look like a size 2-4 in that first dress!   Fuck breathing.  Who needs it?  😉

  • Buffy

    I really thought this was a contender for the win.   The only other time I remember being disappointed that a collection was actually a decoy was with Ben’s. I think in some pieces the color blocking looks a bit skeletal (1st dress) but it’s well done and all the pieces are executed wonderfully.  The styling is nuts but it did make you sit up and take notice, so purpose served.  I’d love to wear that chartreuse jacket..

  • Glammie

    Sorry guys, I find the lipstick completely distracting, so that’s a fail for me.  Do like the collection though–and it would be up there for the win if Elena had made it to the finale.  That said, Elena just didn’t deliver during the show.  I think if she’d done anything like this during the show, the judges would have begun to take her more seriously as a contender.

    Well, glad she made it to the decoy level.

    • l_c_ann

      There was no time to do quality work during the first ten episodes this year.  Even the times when the designers were forced to work in pairs or triplets, there was often a pairing of competance and barely-there-seamstresses.  If I had given up my life for a month and expected to compete with people who I could respect as equals,  how could I not have had a melt down when paired with half-leopard-head Buffy?  Buffy made lots of friends in the work room according to the editing;  how would you like to have depended on her to execute half of a design?  Frokeman?  Where did he fit in, really? 

      Think back about the early expendables….the ones who didn’t appear to take this PR seriously. 

      Editors have a lot to answer for ……

      • Glammie

        The work situation at PR is far from ideal, however, everyone else competing is working under the same constraints and some have delivered–Dimitri’s done some gorgeous stuff.  Sonjia’s shown she can make a great jacket, while Melissa made, early on, some nice dresses and a good jacket.  

        I actually think the judges kept Elena on, in part, because she did show flashes of something interesting.  (While the producers kept her on because she was BSC.)  Elena just never quite pulled it together and she kind of ran out of time.  I do think Melissa was saved, but it’s not as if Elena hadn’t been spending time in the bottom–and for good reason.  I just don’t think she works well in that kind of pressure cooker.  

      •  How about by not treating her like a complete bitch?  People rarely do their best work when faced with hovering disapproval, and it’s not their fault that you got them as a partner.  Suck it up, move on, and remember that every garment has a hem and any moron can put one in.

  • janierainie

    I thought she was a finalist too, and you’re right, she was too repetitive. I do love that last jacket. I hate the lips though. I thought for sure Melissa was going to get eliminated due to the strength of Elena’s collection. Once again I was wrong. Oh well. 

  • Kate4queen

    I love the coat and the long jacket, but I did like this collection a lot more than I thought I would when I saw it here. Good for Elena!

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    i would be willing to buy some of these had i the money. &, yep, i agree that it’s probably the strongest of the final collections [at least among what i’ve so far seen]. i would also add the word depressingly cos i was hoping for better from more than a few of these people. but then, on top of that, i would add that this is the only collection i’ve seen this season where the work is better than what the person did on the show. if i remember correctly, her first few outfits were really good but, like this, too repetitive. then, off & on, she kept jamming the clutch. otoh, i dont think she shouldve been eliminated last time out–but, otoh’s opposite side, we all know that that was more for personality & story arc than for work. so theres that.

    the only thing i really disagree w/ is the lipstick. it is eyecatching, yes, but it catches yr eye & keeps it there. when i first saw this bunch of stuff i found it super distracting. less so here & probably even less so in the everlovin demi-flesh, but i think had she worked it darker & less neon–could be the same color, just, you know, darker & less neon–she wouldve made the same point while forcing the eye not to the mouth but to the clothes.

  • The lipstick is making me homicidal.

  • GTrain

    i love it all (except the sheer piece)

  • MzzPants

    I had a similar response when you first posted this…kick-ass and pulled together.  I never thought she was smack-talking about her skill set.  Hope she lands a serious opportunity because of this.

  • Call me Bee

    Очень хороший!  (Very good!)  This is different than what I was expecting from her (I don’t look at the decoy collections until the desgners are aufed.)  Aside from the color blocking on the very first dress that gives the wearer sad boobs, the whole collection has a great mod look.  My faves are the dark grey and white jacket with the charteuse skirt, and the very last look.  Elena–well done!

  • rainwood1

    Elena’s collection is better than I expected, and I agree with most of what you wrote, T Lo.  

    I really wish BM would have fewer decoys showing at FW and give them more time so that the designers have the opportunity to knock it out of the park.   The fact that they continue to let so many designers do a finale collection, but don’t give them the time to do it properly is just further proof they don’t really give a *%#@ about the fashion aspect of PR.

  • emcat8

    OK, so I actually love this collection. I don’t think that dress gives a droopy boob silhouette, but maybe I’m just biased because I really like this, especially the striped stockings/leggings. And I would kill to have those jackets. I hope she finds a way to manufacture them, because I would/will buy them.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    Oh it’s interesting and has a point of view.  However, as clothes, I don’t think these pieces flatter most women’s bodies and in fact one or two of them make the models look even wider than they are.

  • How I wish Elena had been a finalist so we could hear the judge’s critique. She had the best collection by far this season. I love her colors, pairing the brights with neutral gray, brilliant; love the color blocking and it looks *expensive*. Is the fabric wool jersey?

    My only quibble is her shoulder. On the first jacket, the dropped shoulder makes the jacket look oversize, the sleeves are a tad too long but masterful cutting and seaming there.

    I am just hopeful that, as mentioned above, some sewing room shenanigans enable her to come back and compete in the final. The mass-voting for fan favorite over on the Lifetime website might actually work out this time.

  • ccm800

    I really think she is likely the best designer of the season – and have since the beginning. She is a fresh perspective while most of what we’ve seen from everyone else is seamstress vs. designer. She had the best rack coming into auditions and has been the only one to send anything stand out down the runway all season. Most everything else has been the least mediocre choice. 

  • hoez

    Wish she made it to the finale and won. 🙁 This was the best collection by far.

  • I can see Heidi making her “I would wear that!” stare while Nina and Michael EAT THEIR WORDS for auffing her.

  • guest2visits

    I also thought it was very repetitive, it made me wish she had included her favorite color; ‘black’ – for more variety. 
    Or possibly a more formal dress or suit than the collection showed here.  I think the lip color looked too much like Elena
    applied it herself. It made the models look like they dove onto cupcake frosting, and it made the clothing look less ‘serious’
    or ‘important’ to me; and alot more like sci-fi costuming.  But for sure, there are a few items that I liked alot (coats and jackets); and I liked the soft, but light color palette.

    • Elena in interview said she did the makeup herself.
      Perhaps she could have benefitted from advice of the L’Oreal Paris hot makeup guy. It’s a nice idea, but a little too eye-catching.

      • guest2visits

        oops. Really?   I was all mad at her make-up people for doing this to her runway line-up. (Dimitry’s too).
        I was thinking that they (make-up team) could have done a more professional look for her, I felt it was
        kind of a crude attempt at something ‘avant garde’.  It was more distracting then Andy’s (season 8) bobbing
        stars that looked like they might stab the models in the eye as they paraded down the RW.
        Still, – I really do like alot of her RW collection; it seems like a much simpler, ‘relaxed’ version of her
        complex designs that she brought into the start of the show.  I think she’s got lots of good ideas in her.

        • I rather like how the makeup looks when the models are actually walking.
          In stills, it’s very distracting.

  • Anna_Hilda

    Was anyone else reminded just a slight bit of Marie Genevieve’s collection on
    Season 1 of Project Runway Canada? The collections are very different,
    but there’s a similar vibe and both make use of tights with stripes down
    the front.

  • Love that last look. Favorite one this year for me, too.

  • By far the best collection this season, but if she had been in the finals, she would definitely ditch some of the repetitive looks (and put in their stead some fabulous sci-fi gowns) to impress the judges. I’m disappointed that she wasn’t given that chance.

  • All Stars Season 3, anyone? Elena’s shown us she’s got chops. She could really clean up.

  • unbornfawn

    Tron! Or at least that is what I thought when I first saw this collection. It is cohesive and has a point of view. It won’t be to everyone’s taste that’s for sure. The repetition and placement of the color blocking take it down a few notches.

  • are we looking at the same collection. only around 3 of the pieces actually look good on models let alone an actual human. Her sense of proportion is just odd. two jackets are good in concept but not fit and the others make models look huge. MODELS.

  • quiltrx

    Some of this I really like, and some I don’t–but I certainly have to say that it actually IS a collection, not a bunch of unrelated stuff (as we see too often).  And from what I can see here, the workmanship is good-to-great, which is impressive given the time frame and the fact she knew she was a decoy.

  • Haley Buchanan

    I love every single piece here, and, while I’m not necessarily sure that every piece would flatter my non-model body, I’d give them a try.  I’d certainly rock the leggings, which I hope she starts selling on her website or something like that.  Glad to see that, outside of the stressful environment of the show, she can make some thoughtful, colorful, beautiful pieces!

  • Renaissance_Man_ATL

    When I reviewed the collections as they were posted here I just assumed Elena was a finalist and, most likely, the winner as her collection was the best, by far.  IMHO.  The dresses are very on-trend, the color blocking is well done, the jackets and coats are well executed, and the over-all collection is cohesive and lovely.   She was never my favorite over the course of the season and was often a straight up BITCH, but her collection really impressed me.

  • Zippypie

    The last look is fantastic.  I was highly disappointed that Elena didn’t make it to the finale, given the collections as a whole.  This is definitely the best of the bunch, as repetitive as it is.  Loved her use of color, hated the lipstick in the stills, but brava to her for taking a point of view and presenting it boldly.

  • Derek_anny

    How much are we laying on the harness-belted sheer tunic being her version of a last minute look?

    • If that’s true, I’m still incredibly impressed.
      It’s a cute blouse (albeit with a peplum that’s too long and flowy) and a frigging awesome harness/vest.
      Although, since she’s going for symmetry it’d be better for this look to be more…. symmetrical. The blouse just kinda shifted under that vest and looks messy.

  • yybb

    Yes, these designers do not have a lot of time to execute. But they most likely start thinking about final collections the moment they are selected to appear in PR. Considering how many collections end up in Fashion Week, there is a pretty big chance to get there.
    This collection clearly shows it. I’m sure Elena had all these thought out long before she actually made the first stitch. In this case it is really the only question of execution.

  • Lattis

    My god. I love her collection. I would wear every damn piece – except the peplum and the mauve, grey and chartreuse dress and that only because I hate mauve. When TLo first posted this I thought Elena was the proverbial chopped liver and this totally changed  my estimation of her POV and her abilities. I love this whole damn collection. Too bad she didn’t make it to the top three.

  • Stefanos Mantyla

    Out of the top 6, this was in my top 3, along with Sonjia and Melissa. Now that she is gone, Fabio, whose collection I like the more I look at it, will take her place. The other two do not even come close. Christopher has by far the weakest (Still a mystery to me how he made it this far). Dmitry’s could have been something had it not veered into tacky territory.

  • When I saw this collection, I was so rooting for her to get through every challenge. Not super amazing such as Seth Aaron’s but in comparison to the other collections I’ve seen in this seasons bryant park show, this is in the top 2, if not the best. 

  • Allison Woods

    This demonstrates what I suspected about Elena: give her enough time to work through her ideas and the outcome is a LOT better. She just can’t think as fast as a one-day challenge requires, but it doesn’t make her any less of a designer for that. I love most of the collection and would wear several of the pieces.

  • This collection reminds me of beef parts chart in supermarket meat departments. 

  • Truly_Outrageous

    I like most of this collection. I know the first dress looks like robot boobs but I really like it. And I love the outwear in this collection too. I like a good sci fi inspired collection. I wished she made it to the top so she could’ve been a contender. She deserves it (especially over Chris). She has a lot of talent and ideas in comparison to some of her former competitors. And I also think her freak outs were kinda funny (although I would never want to experience them in person). Insane in the Ukrain was one of my favorites this season.

  • Arianna McGregor

    I might be the market she was after in creating these; I pretty much love them across the board. I like the idea of highlighting my body parts! Shape! I love the third colour on those straps. Even the flowing peplum oddity makes me happy. I like an item that makes one look “hippy” if the waist is tailored enough. Bang-on hourglass. I would totally wear this stuff.

  • Neverbuynewclothes

    In the stills we get to see the backs of the preceding designs as the models walk away.  These clothes look good from the front and the back!

  • mhleta

    This was my favorite collection, too. I want to see her design ski wear and workout gear. This futuristic color blocking would be crazy cool in motion and, added bonus, it would crush the ubiquitous Lulu Lemon. (If I see one more woman in Uggs and Lulus at the grocery store I’m going to start throwing produce at them.)

  • Every time I see this it makes me really sad that she’s not in the final. Such a fantastic collection!

  • Wow! Now THAT’S a collection!!!!! 
    It’s like 60s mod meets the New Millenium! Gorgeous. Well done, Elena!

  • I love all of this. When I first saw it on TLo back during fashion week, I thought for sure that Elena had somehow made it to the finals. I desperately want a pair of those leggings! But the lips. The lips are horribly distracting. I like the tiny pops of color, but there has to be a less distracting way to get that in there.