Project Runway All Stars Blog

Episode 8 Recap

By Tracy_Goldenberg 02/24/2012 12:54AM GMT

Whenever someone’s like, “I hate when people misuse or overuse the word ‘literally,’â€ù I cringe because they’re talking about me. In fact, they’re literally talking about me. This week’s challenge makes me think of my disastrous diction, because it’s the challenge where the designers’ downfalls could be in being too literal.

Project Runway All Stars UN Flag ChallengeIn a scene straight out of a very tame rom-com, the designers meet Angela on the roof of the United Nations building. Here, on this lush, cubic expanse of shrubbery, we all gain the perspective that our work problems are peanuts compared to those in the very building Ange’s heels are slowly sinking in the roof grass toward. World hunger, human rights, yada yada. But onto the challenge!

Duh, the designers must create a dress inspired by a flag and its country. They get a limited pick from one of the six in front of them that represent the major world regions (whatever that means.) At this point in the competition, it is less an irritant and more cold fact that Michael and Mondo are BFF. But now it appears Mila is bringing her alliterated self to the party. We also know that Austin and Kenley are buds, so the question really is: Where does Jerell belong?!

I love these challenges, because there’s always a choice that all of the All Stars are like, “Oh my goddddd, I’m soooo happy I didn’t get saddled with that option!â€ù And this time it is Austin’s Seychelles flag, which is the kaleidoscopic nightmare that keeps Mila up at night.

At Mood, Mila’s “I didn’t come here to make friendsâ€ù attitude looks like it’s about to pay off for her as we watch Mondo and Kenley give kind-but-questionable advice to Michael and Austin, respectively. This is a time when the wrong choice of trim (bright blue velvet) or fabric (iridescent, anything that can be described as “2-for-1â€ù) can send you packing up your pincushion and heading home. Or to wherever sequestered, kicked-off contestants go.

Kenley Collins Polka Dot FlagWe’re led to believe that Kenley and her ’50s aesthetic are going to blow this challenge. I’m no fashion designer, but as a “Project Runwayâ€ù viewer, I’d like to introduce the kettles to the pots. Most of the designers on this show, especially the standing six, have been proudly and successfully using their design calling cards throughout the competition — and why shouldn’t they? These aren’t aspiring fashion students; these are industry professionals who are known for what they do. As Jerell said re: Michael, “Greece, Michael Costello, draping.â€ù As Kenley said re: Jerell, “This is so Jerell!â€ù Before they picked flags, sketched, went to Mood, entered the workroom, I could have told you what they were all going to make:
Austin: a flowing, feminine gown.
Jerell: an (I’ll even quote him) “ethnic and embellishedâ€ù dress with at least one scarf-like quality.
Kenley: a cute, vintage silhouette, most likely with polka dots.
Michael: a drapey gown for red carpet or resort.
Mila: a cool, color-blocked ensemble.
Mondo: a funky, brightly colored, pieced outfit in jersey.

By these standards and expectations, Mondo was really the only one who gave us something a little out of his ordinary. But then again, when you saw his Jamaican flag dress, didn’t it call to mind his Heidi/Jessica Simpson–approved polka dot gown? You know, the one where he transformed what looked like simple black jersey into a gorgeous red-carpet silhouette with a unique pop of print?

We’re used to watching “PRâ€ù and nodding along with the judges in agreement as they criticize the contestants for doing something “expected.â€ù On “Project Runway All Stars,â€ù we’re seeing individual challenges week-to-week, but we’re also watching the designers form a collection of their work. Whether they mean to or not. This isn’t meant to be a criticism; I think it’s one of the most interesting things about this season. This is reality television with seasoned vets, so let’s give their garments story arcs as well.

We’re going straight to the runway, and totally ignoring Joanna’s sudden call to action that all of these looks be bra-friendly. Like, really? Now? Who cares? They make so many contraptions for boobs these days that I’m not going to let my ta-tas stand in the way of fashion. (There’s a joke in there somewhere, I’m sure.)

Project Runway All Stars Mondo Flag ChallengeI don’t know if it was clear in the paragraph above, but I love Mondo’s look and think he was totally deserving of the win. His clothing is high-fashion but really wearable, and as a super hip young woman living in a metropolitan area, I want most of it. I also loved Kenley’s look and thought this was a weird time to tell her she needs to do something different â€_ because she did, didn’t she? Isaac’s remark was kind of like that fight you have with your boyfriend or your roommate when they didn’t really do anything wrong but you’re pissed at them about doing other things over and over, and you’re just waiting for them to mess up again, and when they don’t but do something kiiiiind of similar and annoying, you lash out and say things you don’t really mean. Or at least didn’t mean that time. I’m not sure if Kenley’s dress was necessarily Chilean, maybe Chilean hipster expat, but I liked it and it was a cool, Kenley interpretation of both the flag and the land.

It definitely wasn’t the challenge for our other four contestants. Georgina Chapman and I have something in common — besides the fact that we’re both gorgeous, and we love Austin Scarlett and can’t bear to see him go. So he doesn’t!

Love your namesake red
— so divine on the runway!
No comment re: dress.

I don’t need to tell you or Michael Costello (who I think reads this blog â€_ gulp â€_ love yaaaaa, MC!) that the blue trim was not so great. I will say that I’m not a big fan of that type of completely open back on a dress. It just creeps me out, as the very hint of someone’s butt crack is prone to do.

Mila’s dress may not have been for the average lady (do you know how many mullet skirts I’ve tried to make work recently? Me neither, but I’ve bought none, if that tells you something), but it was such a cool concept! Jerell’s Indian look was so (SEE ABOVE) literal and kinda tacky, so I thought he was heading home for surrrre. I was literally wrong.

Bye, Mila! Send me a link to your leggings shop, girl! I will literally buy some!!!!

And don't forget — Laura Bennett is recapping the show over on Lifetime Moms!