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Project Runway All Stars recap: But Can You Wear a Bra with It?

The designers create sensible looks for Nanette Lepore.

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Barbara Nitke

Project Runway All Stars

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Reality TV

Let me start out with a mostly irrelevant observation. All season, I’ve had the infuriating notion that Austin Scarlett reminded exactly of a British actress whose name and body of work I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I had a foggy vision of an actress who often plays prissy bitch-in-pearl type characters and has the signature gesture of tilting her head, pursing her lips, and blinking passive-aggressively at people. As I was watching tonight’s episode, it suddenly came to me: Keira Knightley’s mom from Bend it Like Beckham! Or strong-jawed actress Juliet Stevenson. Seriously, I was so relieved to have finally made the connection that I almost cried real tears. The resemblance — physically and spiritually — is uncanny.

Now that this important order of business is out of the way, on to the show. As Joanna had us know, this week’s challenge was the most crucial one all season because it determined who would go on to the finals. Knowing that, I was hoping we’d get a dramatic runway theme; instead, we got a challenge that was all about sensible styles for the modern woman — at least we can all remember last week’s bizarro glow-in-the-dark challenge fondly. Angela explained sloooowly (if you dropped her voice like four octaves, she’d sound a lot like Kevin Malone from The Office…same speech inflection and pace) that the designers would be creating a look for Nanette Lepore’s line. Nanette Lepore’s looks are typically approachable and affordable, so the designers had to aim for a certain price point. The designers had to sketch a modern, commercial dress, and then Nanette and a scary woman with a calculator — called a “coster” — would assess the retail value of the look and a fabric budget based on the sketch. Okay, I’ll admit that this pricing concept, which I’m sure is extremely simple, went way over my right-brained head. I got a B in microeconomics, and I was in college not too long ago, so grade inflation was rampant.

I found it endearing that an artistic guy like Mondo was such a bad sketcher. Nanette thought Mondo’s sketch looked more like a tin can with a string hanging out of it than a dress. I thought it looked more like an unsolvable maze. Kenley apparently made some bitchy comment to the effect of “a good designer should know how to sketch,” and Mondo turned into a huffy diva about it. It seemed that the cameras missed the first half of the argument, but it didn’t sound that interesting anyway.

NEXT: Once again, Joanna wondered if Austin Scarlett’s look was hideous or fabulous. That’s sometimes a good sign.