Fashion muse Miss Piggy came to the runway in search of a flirty, flamboyant cocktail dress.

By Stephan Lee
Updated January 20, 2012 at 06:01 AM EST
David Russell/Lifetime

Project Runway All Stars

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When host Angela (from certain angles she’s a dead ringer for Jennifer Morrison) teased that a fashion icon who’s been a muse for such brands as Burberry and Prada would be guest-judging the episode, the designers all hoped it would be one of their predictable favorites: Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, SJP. Instead it was Miss Piggy of Muppets fame. I was left wondering, “Why?” The Muppets movie is mostly out of theaters, and designing a “flamboyant cocktail dress” for Miss Piggy would basically be like designing clothes for a chubby drag queen. And maybe I’m being a total Statler and Waldorf, but the whole let’s-pretend-Miss-Piggy’s-a-real-person-with-real-needs gag that ran through the entire episode started getting less and less cute, especially during the critiques. I love the Muppets and Miss Piggy as much as anyone else, but this challenge came across as irrelevant and sort of limited the designers to a narrow, Juniors-section aesthetic.

Speaking of cute, Joanna Coles struck fear into the designers’ hearts by heralding her arrival in the workroom with an ominous, “I’m heeeeeeeere!” There’d been some major tension in that room. Kara, Austin Scarlett, and Mondo fought over accessories more savagely than adult hipsters playing an ironic game of Pretty Pretty Princess. Mila scoffed at how close Kenley and Kara were getting, but maybe she really just wanted to be included. Michael made catty remarks about Austin Scarlett’s dress, and Anthony gave us this gem about Michael’s design: “It looks like a princess-seamed dress with some bubbles on her boob.” So Joanna’s guidance was much needed, and I loved how enthusiastic she was about Miss Piggy. “I’m beside myself!” Still no smiles, though!

For the most part, I didn’t like the way most of these dresses were coming together. Most of them looked like something you could buy at Toys”R”Us, and it seemed a bunch of the designers were following the mantra, “When in doubt, go retro! And stick something Zooey Deschanel-ish on your model’s head!” That vaguely retro look that most of the designers are falling back on feels about as fresh as planking (sorry, Idol is on in the background!).

NEXT: Another Anthony gem: “I was about to eat a piece of bacon this morning and I felt so convicted. [Conflicted?] I already feel bad for all [Miss Piggy’s] children I’ve eaten in the past.” Try to be a little more enlightened, Anthony — not all pigs are related. So funny, though!On the runway, beside Georgina, Angela, and Isaac substitute Eric Daman — Emmy-winning stylist for Sex and the City and little plastic person come to life — sat Miss Piggy herself as a guest judge. You know, I wanted Miss Piggy to act even more like a chubby drag queen. She was dressed like a prime minister and seemed surprisingly subdued. But anyway, on to the fashion!

SAFE GROUP

April

April called her look Tim Burton-esque and cartoonish, but is that what Miss Piggy is all about? She made no concessions to this challenge. The dress was neither tasteful nor outlandish enough to make an impact. Also, it didn’t help that April’s model is the worst. Terrible walk and totally blank face.

Jerrell

It’s amazing how a dress this costume-y and flapper-prostitute-like can also be entirely boring and safe at the same time. Of course Jerrell loves his look. Jerrell, when will you tire of your own overconfident act? That’s not going to win you fan favorite.

NEXT: The judges send mixed signals … They want the dresses to fit real women and also Miss Piggy’s puppet proportions? Not everyone’s blessed with those curves!Kara

What’s with all the dumb gloves? Another prostitution-inspired look, only this one is more updated than Jerrell’s. Terrible styling.

Anthony

This was cute! There was the right amount of whimsy and plumage, but I feel as though the judges took the Miss Piggy directive way too seriously and penalized Anthony for the lack of garish colors.

Mondo

I loved the Hilly Holbrook/Queen Amidala of the Naboo hairdo, and the retro “Oriental” look felt authentically 60’s yet playful enough for Miss Piggy at the same time. In my opinion, this was better than two out of three of the top looks.

NEXT: I loved Austin Scarlett’s rundown of his similarities to Miss Piggy. “We’re kindred spirits. I myself like to pepper my conversations with French phrases. … Sometimes I refer to myself as ‘moi.'”

TOP

Kenley

The judges didn’t even seem to like this literal, unimaginative life-sized Barbie dress. Georgina rightly criticized the construction of the top, which appeared glued to the model’s chest. Piggy didn’t know what to make of the giraffe print. This one belonged in the middle.

Rami

Miss Piggy called Rami’s dress “the most outlandish, ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen … I love it! It looks like a candy store exploded.” If those were the criteria, then yes, Rami deserved to place second in this competition. When Rami finds himself out of his element, like last week, he doesn’t put forth his best effort. He could do so much better.

Michael – WINNER

Before All-Stars, I wasn’t a fan of Michael on any level, but he’s starting to win me over, as a designer and even as a personality on the show. As much as I disagreed with a lot of the judges’ opinions last night, I absolutely agreed that Michael’s dress deserved the win. It was flamboyant enough to give a nod to the silly Miss Piggy theme, but the fabric was really quite beautiful. I actually kind of liked the Princess Beatrice hat — and seriously, who cares whether it would fit around Miss Piggy’s ears? But more importantly, I really wanted to know how the Miss Piggy-sized rendition of this dress turned out, and whether Michael had to make it himself. When I saw the previews for this challenge, I totally expected there to be a last-minute twist where everyone would have to make a puppet-sized companion piece to their real-sized dress. Puppet-sized things are always fun.

NEXT: There’s a fine line between nightgown and cocktail dress. …

BOTTOM

Austin Scarlett

Even though Austin’s dress resembled a costume from Sucker Punch, I found it pretty interesting too look at. In some ways it was an eyesore — the bows on the side were a major misstep and I agreed with Georgina that the colors, while rich and saturated, were all tinged with gray. At least it was well-constructed and out-there. I completely agreed with Eric’s Muppets in Space comparison!

Mila

Vampiric and a bit gothic, I agreed with Eric that there was a Wednesday Addams vibe to Mila’s dress. Aside from the fact that it had nothing to do with Miss Piggy, the dress was boring and didn’t have much design to it.

Gordana — OUT

It’s interesting that the first three designers to go were the bottom three from the first challenge. Gordana thoroughly deserved to get eliminated for this rag that made her model look 50 years old. No matter how old she may be, the woman wearing this nightie should be going to bed. Gordana should have taken Joanna’s advice and made it less like sleepwear. That Joanna’s always spot-on! The judges actually gave it way too much credit, calling it “pretty” and “happy.” It lacked vision, and Miss Piggy said it was a “fine, fine dress, but I don’t know if it’s ‘moi.'”

So fashionistas, did the right designer go home? Did the right designer win? What did you think of this Miss Piggy challenge — charming or totally uninspiring? How many more designers have to get eliminated before we have a real competition on our hands?

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