Project Runway All Stars Blog
Episode 9 Recap: Twinkle, Twinkle Little All Stars
Honestly, Iâ€™d tune in to any form of â€œProject Runwayâ€ù the designers could make shoes for dogs or outfits for paper dolls or just have to create new designs out of objects in the room on a never ending cycle until there was nothing left for the models to wear but Brother sewing machines and HP tablets. But even I can agree that no challenge is as good as a really exciting, never-been-done-before challenge like last nightâ€™s: using lighting technology to make a look that can strut right off the runway and onto the stage with guest judge Pharrell Williams. And no one is more overjoyed by this idea than Austin.
Although the designers get a modest Mood budget, they first stop at the Barbizon Lighting Company, (which is not to be confused with the revered Barbizon Modeling School. Class of â€™99, if youâ€™re curious). Here, Kenley hears Judge Isaacâ€™s voice in her head, telling her to do something new and considers light bulb pasties. Perhaps Isaacâ€™s warning to Kenley was foreshadowing for this challenge, where sheâ€™ll have to travel past her Betty Draper happy place and find greener Gaga-like pastures if she wants to make it to the next episode.
While Austin searches the store for â€œdelicate strings of light,â€ù (even though we all know he has some in a hatbox back at his apartment marked: â€œGossamer Strands of Phosphorescenceâ€ù in perfect calligraphy) Mondo informs us that the Season 1 designer is becoming a prima donna. Everyone watching LOLs because the sky didnâ€™t roll out above us last Tuesday and decide to gradually become blue over the days that followed. For the best response to such a claim, I turn to the man himself, who explains what itâ€™s like to be him and grow up with the name Austin Scarlett in the following clip:
If you couldnâ€™t visualize what the final designs might look like during the Barbizon shopping spree, Mood only adds to the confusion with the fabric selections: pink taffeta, stiff organza, black tulle, zebra print and an odd quilted orange. (Time out: WHERE IS SWATCH? Is it in his contract that heâ€™ll only work for Tim Gunn?) But what seems obvious is how this challenge will go down: Mondo will win, Jerell will come in a close second, Michael will be in the middle, Kenley, with her plaid ball gown and Austin, with his starry night dreamscape will be in the bottom and Kenley will go home because Iâ€™ll chain myself to Austin and cry until Georgina lets him stay.
But I donâ€™t have to remind you that this is â€œAll Starsâ€ù or the twisty-turny world of reality television. Do I?
Our Top 5 is tense and the social climate is only a few degrees above â€œicyâ€ù in the workroom. Poor Kenley. Maybe itâ€™s all in good fun and better editing, but I canâ€™t help wincing every time someone makes fun of her directly to her face and she just laughs it off. Homegirl is a real trooper. Iâ€™m going to have to ring housekeeping at Flatotel to find out how many mascara-stained pillowcases they had to chuck after filming.
But the Oscar for Best Cinematography goes to the cameraman who gets this shot (pictured right) of Austin and Michaelâ€™s passive aggressive Judy Jetson not-fight.
Austin compliments Michaelâ€™s garment saying: â€œThatâ€™s looking gorgeous by the wayâ€_ kind of Judy Jetson.â€ù (Translation: â€œYour draping sucks, FYI.â€ù)
Michael agrees: â€œJudy Jet yeah, perfect. I love that actually.â€ù (Translation: â€œWhy donâ€™t you come over here and say that to my face, GownBoy?â€ù)
Austin waits a beat, blinks, cocks his head, puts his hand on his hip and retorts: â€œI do too.â€ù (Translation: â€œIâ€™ll suffocate you with leftover tulle in your sleep.â€ù)
Not only is this episodeâ€™s challenge the best weâ€™ve seen in a long time, Pharrell Williams is a stand out guest judge. Itâ€™s clear that the designers are excited to see him on the judging panel; he represents a part of the fashion world under-represented on the show and his presence encourages the All Stars to create pieces fit for the music world. Inhabited by Fergies and Gwens and Gagas and Katy Perrys, this is a scary and exciting world where image is everything, debatably sometimes more than the sound itself.
I celebrate Austinâ€™s win, not only because he is one of my favorite human beings on TV/the planet, but because his design rocked the challenge and was true to his non-neon aesthetic. His dress looked like a dreamy, starry sky but was still cool. And as an added bonus for the Austin lovers (Austinettes? Scarlett Harlots?) out there, Pharrell was so drawn to both his dress and Austin himself. When he told him, â€œyouâ€™re a star, man,â€ù my viewing party and I were all smiles and happy tears at home.
Mr. Williams also loved Kenleyâ€™s outfit, which I was on the fence (pun intended, I guess?) about. I think Kenley pushed herself past what sheâ€™s most comfortable with, and like Austin, found a way to give the judges what they want while staying true to who she is as a designer. I thought she had Jerellâ€™s problem as well, with a look that was riding the line between hip and matronly a little too close for comfort. But the biggest problem with Kenleyâ€™s look is that no one mentioned Nicki Minaj. Was that, like, in someoneâ€™s contract? Do Pharrell and Nicki have beef I didnâ€™t know about? These are the great mysteries of life.
Michaelâ€™s look falls in the middle for me it was like the first draft of what I bet would eventually be an amazing stage costume. But in the first phase, it was more really awesome Halloween costume.
Mondo says his look is love or hate, but for one of the first times ever his outfit is neither. Itâ€™s just â€œmeh.â€ù And if you can pull off â€œmehâ€ù with neon and under a black light, especially when your looks are usually so oo-and-ah-worthy, youâ€™re deserving of the bottom this week. Unfortunately.
Remember that time this season Jerell did a look that was â€œComing to Americaâ€ù meets Gwen Stefani? If only he had lit up the runway with something more like that this time around. Although at this point with only three episodes left in all, weâ€™ll admittedly be missing more of him than we will his actual fashions.
Head on over to Lifetime Moms to check out Laura Bennett's Episode 9 recap, featuring a title that I wish I had thought of first.