Project Runway All Stars recap: Naked in the City
New challenge was fun and sexy, and the designers had a reasonable amount of time to finish their looks (thank God)
I’ve been looking forward to this episode ever since I spoke to Georgina Chapman, who teased this week’s challenge for me by saying, “There were a lot of cute naked people walking the streets of New York.” Indeed there were. Angela met the designers on a beautiful day in Central Park, where she explained that they’d have $150 to convince New Yorkers off the street — their “muses” — to give them the clothes off their backs… isn’t that illegal? With whatever money they had remaining, they could buy fabric from Mood, although at least 50 percent of the final looks had to come from found materials.
More than anyone else, Anthony thought this challenge was made for him: “I’ve taken so many daggers in this competition for having a personality. … Me having a personality is me just being Anthony L. Williams!” Clearly that personality of his has helped him talk people out of their clothes in the past. His strategy seemed to be to grin, approach with a high-pitched “Hiiiiiiii!”, and compliments, compliments, compliments. He had no problem getting New Yorkers to give it up for free, including one already scantily clad hottie named Diego who gave up his jean shorts for a smile. Austin Scarlett may not have gotten Diego’s clothes, but he claimed to have gotten his number — let’s just pretend for a moment that’s true.
The others had more trouble with their search for scraps. Rami unsuccessfully tried to get a gay guy to part with his tank top (never get between a gay and his tank), Kenley looked absolutely pained by having to approach people, and Mike hated the challenge with every fiber of his being (his sadface is as dramatic as his joyface). Surprisingly, Austin Scarlett had no trouble — despite his creepy clothing and creepier stache, both of which suggested he had a van nearby — luring a girl out of her cute, punky outfit. Mondo preyed upon insecurity to get nerd-hipster Grace to give up her beautiful, colorful dress and army green coat (“Why are you so attached to the coat?”).
The scavenger hunt was fun to watch, but once the designers returned to the workroom after a desperate Mood run, some of them realized that their scraps wouldn’t add up to a great look. Anthony, who seemed to take enormous pride in taking clothes from people — at a certain point he was doing it for sport — realized quantity didn’t mean quality.
NEXT: We’re getting to the point in the season when the designers are starting to snipe at each other — get ready for more workroom drama! And the montage of Kenley as a nosy teacher was hilariously irritating.Our guest judge this week was Sean Avery, the hockey star and GQ golden boy who had an internship a million girls would kill to get. I’m not sure if the designers or Isaac took his opinions all that seriously, but I was fascinated by his flat drawl — he’s what happens when a jock becomes a pretentious fashion snob. He may be the least qualified guest judge to date.
KARA — SAFE
All three remaining female designers were in the middle of the pack this week, which made me wonder whether they really belonged there or the judges realized they needed to even the score with the males. I could see how Kara elevated her inspiration look, but overall, it was rather generic and those pants looked no better than those stirrup pants from the 90’s that gave women horrible camel toe. Mila might have been mad that Kenley helped Kara finish the pants, but those sweatpants were lame anyway.
MILA – SAFE
Mila’s overall look may have been a little too run-of-the-mill NYU undergrad (just put a Starbucks in her hand), but those pants were pretty sick — like a modern-day Catwoman. Had the top been a little less Top Shop, Mila wouldn’t have been out of place in the top three.
KENLEY — SAFE
Weirdly, this dress looked as though it were made out of paper and colored in with crayon. I liked that the stripes weren’t stick-straight, and it certainly wasn’t bad enough to be in the bottom group, but sooner or later, the judges need to send Kenley a warning. Her looks are all so safe and incredibly un-hip.
NEXT: Mondo’s first win of the season!RAMI — TOP
The top and the hemmed shorts were gorgeous, as the judges all agreed. Angela loved the new spin on the business suit. My only problem with the look (and I didn’t care as much about the hat as Sean and Isaac did): It had nothing to do with the inspiration look. Anthony got severely penalized for not emulating the look of his muse, yet Rami got off without any consequences. It looks like he mostly took the inner lining of his muse’s suit jacket. He used the found materials just for fabric, not for design. The outfit was beautiful, but if Anthony didn’t embrace the challenge, neither did Rami.
AUSTIN SCARLETT — TOP
Personally, I would have chosen this as the winner tonight. It bizarrely brought to mind Lisbeth Salander goes to a sock hop, with that heavy metal poodle skirt and sweater, and like Georgina, I loved the tiny waist and the length of the skirt. Sean didn’t like that there was too much going on with the applique on the left shoulder — Austin all but rolled his eyes at that critique. Isaac said it was out of control… but in a good way? Has anyone noticed that the judges seem to hate some of the looks in the top group and love some of the looks in the bottom? Very mixed messages here. But much more on the judging later.
MONDO — WINNER
Mondo’s first win of the season! And even though I personally responded to Austin Scarlett’s more, Mondo absolutely deserved to win for his fun, highly individualistic outfit. I loved that he used so many different materials, colors, and patterns, and as the judges and Joanna pointed out, this level of mixing and matching isn’t easy to pull off. Then Isaac brought up an entirely pointless, non-constructive quibble; he thought the look was “too stylish,” meaning it would be hard for a woman to alter it and make it her own off the runway. First of all, I totally disagree. Second of all, it’s the designer’s prerogative to present the look exactly as he wants to, not to worry about what a wearer might do with it later. (In other news, what was Mondo wearing to the runway? With that frumpy blouse and long paisley skirt, he looked like a principal’s secretary at a school. Yikes.)
NEXT: How on earth did Jerrell not get eliminated?JERRELL – BOTTOM
I’m at a loss. This look is almost offensive. It’s un-American. It’s everything that’s wrong with my generation. Not really, but I’m just at a loss for words. Sean actually nailed it on the head: “Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani at Burning Man on acid.” Perfect. I don’t care if Georgina kind of liked the construction on the top. The look as a whole was an eyesore and had components that had no business being together. Georgina and Isaac thought Jerrell had good “thought process,” but come on, no way. He’s demonstrated several weeks in a row that he has questionable taste at best, and the worst part is, he believes everything he creates is genius. Sending him home should have been the easiest decision all season. Sean proved to be the voice of reason tonight, telling Isaac he shouldn’t refer to a woman’s stomach as “big.” Thank you, Sean. I felt bad for Jerrell’s model.
MICHAEL – BOTTOM
Yes, this non-waterproof swimsuit was a huge misstep for Michael, but I still thought it was infinitely better than Jerrell’s disaster. It retained some of the spirit of the muse’s look, but Georgina was absolutely right in saying that it wasn’t practical. Maybe some women would wear this around New York, but they’re not the people Runway designers are designing for. Seriously, what is this thing? Those can’t qualify as shorts according to any definition. Isaac also pointed out the sagginess of the top, which needed more structure. Maybe having a reasonable amount of time actually hurt rather than helped Michael in this challenge.
NEXT: Thank you, Anthony, for leaving us with this quote: “If a black person says that you are loud, you are too loud!”ANTHONY — OUT
Once again, the judges confused us by seeming to actually like this jumpsuit quite a bit — at least at first. I didn’t like the jumpsuit at all. I thought it looked like a flight attendant outfit on a Russian billionaire’s private airline. The judges’ main problem with it was the fact that Anthony seemed to ignore the rules of the challenge. The main print from his inspiration got relegated to the clutch, which probably didn’t count, and only the items above the waist came from found materials. Again, I’d argue that some of the others — including Rami (although his look was much better) — also skimped on the challenge but didn’t get called out for it. Plus, the trump card: Look at Jerrell’s outfit! Isaac went as far as to call Anthony lazy. Maybe Anthony wasn’t as ambitious as some of the other designers, but again… Jerrell’s tribal hoochie get-up! Maybe I’m just upset that the season’s funniest one-liner machine is going. I’ll miss Anthony!
Does anyone else get the feeling that Isaac has a disproportionate amount of influence on the judges’ panel? A lot of the head-scratcher decisions they’ve made have come directly from him. Mila’s milk and sour cherries dress from last week? Awful, honestly. The only judge who liked it was Isaac, who called it his favorite look of the night. He was the one who pushed Austin’s boring, old-fashioned gold and black tulle to the win in the 24-hour couture challenge. He generally contradicts himself and makes useless critiques like the one about Mondo’s outfit being “too fashionable.” I never watched Fashion Show, but I wonder if he did the same on Bravo.
What did you think of the judges’ decision to send Anthony home? Was Jerrell’s look was better than Michael and Anthony’s? Did you like Mondo’s look better than Austin Scarlett’s? What did you think of the challenge? Who’s the best female designer?
Project Runway All Stars