Project Runway All Stars recap: 'Thrown for a Loop by Betty Boop'
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“Thrown for a Loop by Betty Boop” starts with Alyssa Milano introducing an actress, singer, and dancer who also happens to be a fashion icon. She’s worked with Jean-Paul Gaultier and Zac Posen. Enter Betty Boop to the runway. All the designers are hit with nostalgia and get excited to dress the cartoon icon. I’m into this little gag, but I’m confused as to how they pulled this off — like how many times did they have to shoot this?
Betty Boop tells the designers that she wants to inspire young girls in Hollywood, so their challenge for this week is to design a young, chic Hollywood outfit for her. She lets them know that her style is glamorous and playful but she also wants to be “at the forefront of fashion.”
The winning designer will help create a special collection for Betty Boop to be sold at Torrid.com and other locations nationwide. The designers have one day for the challenge and a budget of $200. Betty treats them to a cute li’l good luck “boop-oop-a-doop.” She is adorable and her voice freaks me out.
The designers get to sketching, and Merline says she wants to keep her design young and fresh. In other words, she’s making the same dress she’s been making for the past three episodes: volume and structure. I’m bored already. As for Stanley, he decides on a little romper and mini-dress over it with a beaded collar. To me this sounds tacky, but Stanley envisions this look for the Teen Choice Awards, so it makes sense. My favorite designer this season, Fabio, is taking inspiration cues from his own style and decides to mix “a vintage piece with a high-end piece.” It seems like everyone, even Helen, is pairing up and bouncing ideas off each other — except Joshua.
During his confessional, Joshua says, “I don’t need other people’s ideas.” I agree, because he already has his eyebrows to deal with. Despite his shadiness, his idea — taking inspiration from the iconic “I heart NY” logo, but with Betty’s head — seems pretty legit. Icons only, Joshua.
As for Helen, she’s taking a big risk this week, as she has been since All Stars began, and decides to go with a grayish striped fabric plus some polka dots? Betty Boop but make it goth, I guess. I’m rooting for Helen; she’s talented, and it’s time for that to show. She describes her design as “iconic” but also difficult, especially since she hasn’t done it before.
The designers head back to the workroom and are greeted by a 5-foot-tall Betty Boop statue. Joshua is relieved because he uses the statue to draw the silhouette for his graphic T-shirt. In a shocking plot twist, not one designer went with red fabric for Betty’s new look, despite it being her favorite hue.
“I’m dressing Betty Boop like she’s going to the BET Awards,” says Char, and everyone erupts in laughter.
Helen is worried about Edmond, whose fabric is…umm, interesting? To him it looks like an orchid, but to Ken and Helen “it looks like a vagina.” On the other hand, Stanley is mega confident this week and is sure his design is way more hip than what the other designers are making: “They look more like Aunt Betty Boop than Betty Boop.”
When Anne arrives to give some guidance on “young Hollywood icons,” she puts Char on the spot right away, asking, “What does young, Hollywood chic mean to you?” Anne only likes half of her design and that’s that. She also instantly rejects Merline’s ugly combination of blue and floral printed fabrics. Over it.
When Anne gets to Fabio, my jaw drops, and not for good reasons. His dress looks BASIC and outdated, plus that print is hideous. Anne tells him that his dress is missing sex appeal and I agree completely. From there, Anne destroys every designer’s dress, and I must admit it was a vibrant and hilarious moment seeing the All Stars roll their eyes and question their place in the competition. Good job, Anne!
Anyway, Anne finally gets to her archenemies: Joshua and his eyebrows. The tension from last week is palpable and Joshua is being a little petty, so Anne responds with a bright smile and backhanded compliment: “You’ve set yourself a challenge in creating a very street look, so you’ve got to elevate it. Let’s see if you can do it.”
“Bop-bop-bo-doop,” replies Joshua as Anne walks away.
Before Anne exits the room she tells the designers none of their looks are young. She also casually drops a deadly hint: “Oh, and there’s a message from Betty Boop’s friend coming soon.”
The designers lose their minds.
“Lord, please don’t let this be a twist or another challenge or anything that’s going to throw my night off,” prays Anthony during his confessional.
When the designers gather around the TV, Popeye, the iconic cartoon sailor, pops up to give the designers a little history lesson about his own Hollywood career and Betty Boop. Popeye is only there to wish them good luck, and a sigh of relief can be heard from all the anxious designers. Although the challenge is a little cheesy, I’m diving into the fantasy because the designers (and producers) seem to be having fun.
But there’s still drama. Char is hard at work on her neoprene dress when Ken suddenly makes a rather rude (?) but very assertive comment about her design: “Why are you making a maternity dress?” According to Ken, Char is torturing the neoprene she chose and is making a mess of a dress. But in Char’s defense, the dress “is not finished yet.” I don’t think she ever finishes it?
The real issues start to show for some of the designers when the models arrive for their fitting, but other designs fall into place. Helen decides to combine stripes and polka dots. Risky. As for Edmond, he decides that he’s going back to printed fabric instead of sticking with his white-and-black design — which is not a good idea. Homeboy is struggling.
The morning of the runway, Joshua doesn’t even have a skirt ready, so he has to make one in two hours. Basically everyone is running around trying to finish hems, ironing, adding accessories form the Intermix wall, and throwing shade. While Anthony finishes his design — a super cute and young black-and-white creation — Joshua destroys it during his confessional, saying, “Betty’s not going to wear a dress that looks like a tissue that you blew your nose in.”
Ken offers some sound advice for Char during his confessional: “The draping is a mess. If I was her I’d just go pack my s— and escort my own self out the building before the dress even walks the runway.” I hate to say this, but Ken is right! It looks like Char gave up halfway through the challenge and just resigned herself to making a frumpy, cheap-looking dress. (Recap continues on page 2)
Alyssa struts onto the catwalk wearing an eye-catching shimmery dress paired with an unfortunate hairdo; her people just don’t get it right. Oh well. She then welcomes regular judges Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi and introduces the designers to this week’s guest judge: designer Rebecca Minkoff.
The Betty Boop-inspired designs be-boop down the runway, and according to the judges, Helen, Stanley, Merline, Edmond, Joshua, and Char nailed and butchered the young, chic Hollywood challenge.
Helen stayed true to her aesthetic but took a risk with her “iconic” printed fabric choices — and it paid off. Georgina loved the neckline of her top and the ease of the sarong-style skirt, but she did not think the gray stripes were Betty Boop at all. Isaac thought Helen “struck a good balance” with her design. Rebecca loved the silhouette but thought that the top had a menswear vibe to it. Alyssa loves Helen’s craft with the stripes.
Merline once again tries to explain her design, saying that she tried to go a little more formal. Isaac is trying to figure out how Merline went from Betty Boop to this dated look. Georgina literally asks her if she knows who Betty Boop is! She thinks that Merline hid all of Betty’s trademarks. Rebecca points out that the back of the dress feels like an afterthought.
Edmond tells the judges he wanted to emphasize the waist and play with color. The judges are all like, “Sure, Jan.” Alyssa tells him that the fabric really hurt him and it feels like something Alexander McQueen did 10 years ago — which is so true. Then Alyssa goes in for the kill and says the front of his dress looked like “saggy balls.” R.I.P. Edmond. Isaac says the dress is not youthful and he feels personally victimized by it. He then warns the designers that he wants to see “young and chic. We want to see it every week.” YAS ISAAC! Rebecca adds that the dress is a hot mess. LOL.
Joshua (and his eyebrows) finally gets the stage time he’s been thirsting for and tells the judges his design was all about introducing a girl from N.Y.C. to L.A. Isaac liked the look and calls it racy but not trashy. Rebecca thinks this look has many layers — physically and figuratively. Georgina loves the Betty Boop T-shirt. Alyssa doesn’t think the look is chic but still likes it.
Char tries to explain her neoprene maternity design and no one likes it. Alyssa tells her that the only good thing about her dress is the color. OUCH. The host goes on to detail everything that is wrong with Char’s design: “The white underneath is upsetting, the draping is upsetting, and the neckline is upsetting.” Georgina is confused as to what happened in the workroom. Rebecca calls Char’s design a freshman student competition dress. Char, you’re finished.
Stanley is a little scared after seeing all his fellow designers get ripped apart, but he manages to explain that he wanted to focus on the legs and “sex them up.” Georgina says his design has a vintage Betty Boop feel but with a modern take, which she enjoys. Rebecca really loves the collar on Stanley’s design and calls it chic. Isaac tells Stanley that his design is classic and American. Alyssa thinks the design is missing a little sex appeal.
Winner: Joshua for paying homage to Betty Boop with an iconic T-shirt.
Out: Char for making a maternity dress.
I’m glad that Joshua finally got the spotlight he so badly yearns for. But if I’m honest, I wanted Helen to win. @ ME. On the other hand, Char should’ve listened to Ken.
Do you agree with the judges? Let me know your thoughts on the Betty Boop challenge and what you think of All Stars season 6 so far. Sound off below!