Season 3, Episode 5: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Lifetime's premiering a four-hour, two-part Bonnie & Clyde miniseries starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger on December 8 and 9, and that's as good a reason as any to challenge the "Project Runway All Stars" designers to a '30s-inspired couples' fashion competition. The challenge: Design two complementary looks for a young modern coupleone male look, one female lookbased off the 1930s Bonnie & Clyde aesthetic. The designers must work in pairs, but only one person will win the challenge, which means only one person will be sent packing.
The designers are smart about pairing up. Christopher has first pick and he doesn't hesitate to choose Viktor, the designer with the most menswear experience. Strategy! Seth Aaron grabs Jeffrey, Irina picks Mychael, and Korto and Elena get thrown together by default.
I've been watching "Runway" long enough now to be wary of menswear challenges, which often turn out to be more trouble than they're worth. Contestants have a habit of biting off much more than they can chew design-wise, and the limited timeframe is not conducive to properly fitting all the pieces of a good menswear look together on a male model.
Jeffrey struggles with that point here. He's given a male model whose measurements are apparently a year old, which throws off Jeffrey's game something fierce. He yells. He throws stuff. Everyone in the workroom tenses up. During his season Jeffrey was infamously crabby, argumentative, and stubborn, so I bristled at what looks to be the beginning of a proper tantrum. But! BUT! Then he takes a voluntary time-out. When he returns to the workroom, he apologizes to everyone for freaking, then buckles down and gets back to work. And...that's it. That's it! What a pleasant surprise. Maturity is fabulous.
"Runway"/"All Stars" alum Austin Scarlett is sitting in for Georgina this week. He, Isaac, and Alyssa are joined on the judging panel by designer Elie Tahari (One of my favorite guest judges ever! He's so great!) and supermodel Bar Rafaeli. Here we gooooo:
Jeffrey - A knee-length, high-collared grey jacket over trousers. In the workroom Christopher calls this a James Bond villain look and once I hear that I can't un-see it. The judges, though, are all about it. Jeffrey gets raves for the wide-legged pegged pants, but the coat is the centerpiece. Jeffrey gets the win. Yay Jeffrey!
Christopher - A burgundy gown with a tan leather belted harness at the waist and sheer paneling in the skirt. Alyssa is (surprisingly!) the judge to voice my concern with this look, which is that it chops the model up horizontally in a way that's not totally flattering. The rest of the judges think it's gorgeous. Christopher's safe.
Irina - A black jacket with a massive collar and flared zip sleeves overtop a black-and-gold bustier and a golden tan skirt. Austin thinks it captures the spirit of the '30s more than the other designs, but Isaac says the proportions are wrong. There's some back-and-forth about the merits of the jacket, but Elie defends its inclusion, arguing that without it the judges would have felt the look was too simple. Irina's safe.
Seth Aaron - A very elaborate broad-shouldered purple skirt/jacket pairing with lots of streampunk-y leather details. Alyssa LOVES THIS LOOK (all caps is appropriate here, I promise; she's very enthusiastic). Elie thinks it's overdone. "It looks like an old silhouette from that era and we decorated it with pieces of leather," he says. Isaac thinks the leather yoke at the shoulders is good, but that the belt is a little much. Bar: "She's not feminine enough. She's not dangerous enough." And the clincher: "She's not Bonnie." Seth Aaron is safe, though.
Viktor - This look is so Viktor. A navy single-button suit (sans lapels) with fringe at the back of the jacket, black leather shoulder detailing, and a matching bowtie/pocket square combo, this one draws the judges' ire for having too much going on. Elie thinks Viktor is better dressed than the model, which is never good. Austin and Alyssa dislike the fringe. Viktor's safe, but barely.
Mychael - High-wasited black quilted trousers with a gold-and-black zip-up leather jacket. The judges are very frowny about this. Elie doesn't like the mix of leather and gold"It takes it too costume-y"and Isaac agrees, saying he feels like the look is more evocative of the '80s than the '30s. Mychael is out.
I'm sad to see Mychael go! He's a talented, very likable guy. But this is "All Stars" and them's the breaks.
What are your thoughts on this "couples' challenge"? Were there any designers you would've preferred to see work together? Which team's looks worked best as a pair? Do you think Jeffrey deserved the win? Let me know in the comments.