Project Runway All Stars Blog
Episode 4 Recap: How Many Licks Does It Take?
On Episode 4, we begin at Flatotel, where dreams are made and Anthony Williams fans himself with the plastic lid of a food-to-go container. Surely there will be other contenders, but just a few seconds in, that is my favorite shot of the episode. (Spoiler alert: Itâ€™ll soon be rivaled by a quick camera glance at Ramiâ€™s tank top muscles. I had to Google â€œarm musclesâ€ù to make sure, but I think triceps are my favorite in general!)
With the über-sweet influence of Gordana no longer with us, I was hoping for more of a bitch session at the dinner table, but these Gracious Guses just cheer for Michaelâ€™s Miss Piggy win and weâ€™re back to the runway, where Angela Lindvall introduces us to our new challenge, which is â€œall about taste.â€ù The All Stars have to create a look inspired by a gelato flavor, and Ange says â€œLâ€™Arte de Gelatoâ€ù with an accent my half-Italian mother, who pronounces America's national treasure Guy Fieri's surname as â€œFeeeyeearrrrrriiiieeee,â€ù would most likely approve of.
First, the designers must choose their scoop muse and force each other to feel uncomfortable and squirmy like theyâ€™re back in junior high gym class wondering if theyâ€™ll be picked last for dodgeball teams or if Stephen P. is going to circle yes or no. As the previous challenge winner, Michael gets to go first and pick who goes next. Rami lets at least one claw out when he scoffs that he knows â€œwhich way the cookie will crumble,â€ù as in, â€œDuh! Michael will choose his bestie Mondo.â€ù
He's right! Michael chooses grapefruit and, as suspected, Mondo for next up. Kara is the last one, so she gets chocolate with cayenne pepper flavor. I realize I would do poorly at this challenge, because knowing that we get to actually eat our chosen flavor, I would be like, â€œDo you have cookie dough with peanut butter swirls and rainbow sprinkles?â€ù So my first instinct is to cheer Kara up by telling her, â€œGirl, you got the best-tasting flavor!!â€ù but she is sad to be saddled with the inevitable task of making a chocolaty-brown dress. This doesnâ€™t seem insurmountable, considering that a supermodel stands before her WEARING A BROWN DRESS.
Diane von Furstenberg (whoâ€™s wearing a part brown-ish dress, I might add) joins Angela to share the news that the designers have only six hours the shortest time in â€œProject Runwayâ€ù history to complete their challenge. Plus, sheâ€™ll be guest-judging, so the All Stars know theyâ€™ll have to really werq it out.
After a truncated fabric-shopping trip (how precious is â€œMini Moodâ€ù all decked out in the sherbet-y colors that I would happily wear every day!), and during an equally whirlwind visit from Joanna Coles, the designers are shown sewing, ripping, sweating and generally freaking out. They all fare very differently, given the time constraints: Anthony says this challenge has more to do with being a fast seamstress than a talented designer; Kara sews like itâ€™s her last dress ever; Austin slaps himself on the wrist for using a glue gun; April realizes too late that she doesnâ€™t have enough fabric; Michael drapes a beautiful silhouette on his model and pretty much has his dress done; Jerell digs him for it.
Letâ€™s pause here for a sec. Iâ€™m confused when Michaelâ€™s speedy construction and sewing skills are brought up, so help me work through this, â€œPRASâ€ù fans. Ms. Coles tells Michael heâ€™s the envy of the other All Stars because of how quick he is in the workroom. Michael says his secret is that heâ€™s been sewing since he was a wee lad. But thatâ€™s not his secret to being a great designer. Itâ€™s not that which makes this challenge easier than another or his designs desirable, right? His sewing skills were a huge point of contention during Season 8 he spent the first seven episodes being accused of having no skills by the other designers and using fashion tape to construct a dress, and even a since-reformed Mondo did not at first want to be his partner for a team challenge. (Upon finding out the two were paired, Mondo deadpanned to the cameras: â€œIâ€™m so pissed. I canâ€™t stand it. I feel like I want to scream.â€ù) What I see, in this particular challenge and in most of Michaelâ€™s work, is not enviable embroidery. Itâ€™s a deep understanding of fabric, of all types of womenâ€™s bodies and of how fabric should drape over said bodies in a way that makes both woman and dress look beautiful. But what do I know?
In the final three hours, the designers reach a new level of unhinged, fueled only by the two servings of their designated gelato flavors and fear of falling under Austinâ€™s death stare.
Scissors at your side
donâ€™t stab Kara sewing, but
your eyes pierce my heart.
Each week Iâ€™m a little more stumped by the judgesâ€™ choices for Top 3 and Bottom 3. Iâ€™ll give them credit that theyâ€™re tasked with ranking exceptional talent and so might be choosing six looks they want to talk more about, rather than choosing the definitive best and worst three, but, yâ€™all, thatâ€™s confusing! So here are my top, bottom and middle:
My Top: Jerell, Mondo, Michael, Austin
I couldnâ€™t choose a winner (to reference my indecisiveness, please revisit the discussion of my favorite ice cream flavor above), but I thought Austinâ€™s â€œrich lady on resortâ€ù should have been in the top for capturing the creamy, dreamy, mildly exotic flavors of his gelato.
I have eyeballs and a decent memory, so Iâ€™m aware that each week, Jerell does a different version of a dress he has already shown Dresses 2 and 3 were from the same collection, and Dress 4 is plucked from Dress 1â€™s line. But even so, his Fruit of the Forest frock was so on point with the fabric, the organic objects detailing the trim, all the way down to the hippie-chic styling. It was Katniss Everdeen realness, minus all of â€œThe Hunger Gamesâ€™â€ù dystopian blah blah blah. And I kinda loved it.
If you donâ€™t know what cantaloupes look like, Google â€œcantaloupeâ€ù (but not â€œcantaloupe deathsâ€ù) IMMEDIATELY and try to tell me that Mondoâ€™s canta-caftan wasnâ€™t a big olâ€™ honey â€œdo.â€ù If it was shorter, I would move somewhere fabulous and tropical just to wear it every day to tan myself beside my loverâ€™s infinity pool. Very Mondo, very cool, literal but literally awesome.
Isaac didnâ€™t think Michaelâ€™s grapefruit dress was as tart as the flavor itself is, but I wouldnâ€™t exactly file full-on cleavage like that in the â€œsweetâ€ù category. Michael takes home his second win in a row for being able to create (in six hours) a sumptuous, sexy dress that makes Diane von Furstenberg purr and will happily clothe a supermodel at an â€œindustry event.â€ù After sheâ€™s done breastfeeding.
My Middle: Mila, Anthony and Kenley
Milaâ€™s sour-cherries dress would have benefited the most from more time and nicer fabric. It was cute but looked like a cheap dress that you wear to da club and throw out the next day because it smells like an ashtray and someone (you) spilled Watermelon Pucker on it so you certainly canâ€™t return it.
Some people might emphasize the passion in passion fruit, but Kenley goes the opposite route and sticks to her aesthetic in a punchy, fruity palette. I think the judges would have put her in the bottom if not for April and Karaâ€™s mishaps, but the dress is adorable â€œadorkableâ€ù even! She should be Zooey Deschanelâ€™s personal costume designer and stylist on â€œNew Girl.â€ù
The more you look at Anthonyâ€™s dress, the better it really is. The silhouette is not flattering, but it looks like a scoop of ice cream melting on a sugar cone in the prettiest way possible. Iâ€™m not sure if he meant it to, but even the folding of the fabric at the bodice looked like origami, similar to Andy Southâ€™s final collection, ultimately evoking the â€œgreen teaâ€ù flavor of his pick.
My Bottom: Rami, April and Kara
Ramiâ€™s creation was an eye-assaulting kiwi explosion in dress form. Thank god he shelved the fuzzy brown jacket, right? But I think sweet, passionate, misguided Kara and her pregnant cupcake dress should have been the designer sent packing this week. To quote Jerell, â€œThatâ€™s not the business.â€ù
Iâ€™m a big April fan and didnâ€™t want her to go home. Or cry. April, you will be missed! I look forward to following your career, youâ€™re going to do big things, girl!