Honestly, I’d tune in to any form of “Project Runway” 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 night’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 ’99, if you’re curious). Here, Kenley hears Judge Isaac’s voice in her head, telling her to do something new and considers light bulb pasties. Perhaps Isaac’s warning to Kenley was foreshadowing for this challenge, where she’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 “delicate strings of light,” (even though we all know he has some in a hatbox back at his apartment marked: “Gossamer Strands of Phosphorescence” in perfect calligraphy) Mondo informs us that the Season 1 designer is becoming a prima donna. Everyone watching LOLs because the sky didn’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 it’s like to be him and grow up with the name Austin Scarlett in the following clip:
If you couldn’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 he’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 I’ll chain myself to Austin and cry until Georgina lets him stay.
But I don’t have to remind you that this is “All Stars” 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 “icy” in the workroom. Poor Kenley. Maybe it’s all in good fun and better editing, but I can’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. I’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 Michael’s passive aggressive Judy Jetson not-fight.
Austin compliments Michael’s garment saying: “That’s looking gorgeous by the way… kind of Judy Jetson.” (Translation: “Your draping sucks, FYI.”)
Michael agrees: “Judy Jet yeah, perfect. I love that actually.” (Translation: “Why don’t you come over here and say that to my face, GownBoy?”)
Austin waits a beat, blinks, cocks his head, puts his hand on his hip and retorts: “I do too.” (Translation: “I’ll suffocate you with leftover tulle in your sleep.”)
Not only is this episode’s challenge the best we’ve seen in a long time, Pharrell Williams is a stand out guest judge. It’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 Austin’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, “you’re a star, man,” my viewing party and I were all smiles and happy tears at home.
Mr. Williams also loved Kenley’s outfit, which I was on the fence (pun intended, I guess?) about. I think Kenley pushed herself past what she’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 Jerell’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 Kenley’s look is that no one mentioned Nicki Minaj. Was that, like, in someone’s contract? Do Pharrell and Nicki have beef I didn’t know about? These are the great mysteries of life.
Michael’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. It’s just “meh.” And if you can pull off “meh” with neon and under a black light, especially when your looks are usually so oo-and-ah-worthy, you’re deserving of the bottom this week. Unfortunately.
Remember that time this season Jerell did a look that was “Coming to America” 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, we’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.
A wise man once said: "After the show, it's the after party." That man (R. Kelly) may not have been directly referring to "Project Runway All Stars" and "After the Runway," but he might as well have been!
Tonight, tune in to an all-new "After the Runway" at 10/9c when Isaac Mizrahi and Joanna Coles grill the designers post-PRAS. Special guest stars, (like the sassy divo himself, Anthony Williams, Angela Lindvall and more) will be stopping by each episode.
If you could switch places with Isaac Mizrahi or Joanna Coles for the night, what questions would you ask the designers?
Who's black and white and red [lipstick-ed] all over? Oh, and not at all an ice queen? MILA HERMANOVSKI! In fact, why don't we dub the flag challenge victim with the more apt titles of: Color Block Countess and/or Lady of Leggings? From the set of her latest project, "Star Trek 2," the Season 7 designer talked to the "Project Runway All Stars" Blog about the show's playground politics, her secret PRASBFFs and her stance on the Joanna vs. Tim, PR vs. PRAS judges debates.
Lisa: You’ve always been in the “Project Runway” Lifetime family. What was it like coming from Season 7 to “All Stars”?
Mila: On one hand, you come in with your eyes a little more open and you sort of know what the rules are, what the game is like, a little bit. When I did Season 7, it was all a mystery to me. They withheld all information and part of the whole bubble we were in was having all your comforts taken away from you the lack of phone and any outside influences at all; any music, any communication with your family and that kind of thing. So, just knowing you’re about to go into that is helpful. Part of that psychological stress is not there, however, there are still the same old mental challenges and physical challenges. And then of course, being with the other twelve designers, there are a lot of strong personalities under one roof.
We definitely saw that this season! Pretty much each episode, you were shown complaining about Kara and Kenley in the workroom.
Yeah, unfortunately, the way I was edited, it made it seem like I was jealous of their friendship or something and that wasn’t the case at all. It’s just when I’m in that environment, I take it very seriously, I really wanted the prize, I really wanted to win and that’s just my kind of ammo when I’m in a competition. It’s not that I didn’t want friendships and I didn’t want to find friendships, but some of the ways they acted in the workroom were just distracting to me and I was like, “don’t you guys take this seriously?” And they kind of went overboard with their antics sometimes and that, to me, was very distracting sometimes and kind of annoying. But, I was just a very serious worker, that’s all.
When I interviewed April, she said that you guys had a kind of “behind-the-scenes friendship” that we didn’t really see. Did you have kind of surprise friendships that came out of doing this?
Absolutely, and April was definitely one of them. I mean, there were definitely cliques that formed and I’m not going to lie, there was drama behind-the-scenes and off camera that definitely caused tension with those cliques but yeah, April and I had more like-personalities and that’s what it boiled down to. There was a little bit of natural segregation not too different to one that would happen on a playground (laughs). Like, me and Michael and Mondo and April and then there was Kara, Kenley, Austin, Anthony, Jerell…
Interesting. It’s funny because you guys are from the last few seasons; maybe that was one of your common bonds.
Yeah, that is interesting. I don’t know if that’s just a coincidence or something deeper than that.
Were there other things behind-the-scenes that we didn’t really get to see, that you were disappointed didn’t make it to air?
I notice there’s a couple of photographs of me actually laughing and having a good time in the workroom and I’m bummed sometimes that that stuff doesn’t make it to air because it doesn’t make me as likeable of a person! Someone who knows me personally knows that I’m not all serious all the time and that I do have a great sense of humor and I like to make friends.
There was definitely a camaraderie, for example, between me and Mondo. It was really sweet when we first met, he said, “I’m a big fan of your work and I really respect what you do.” And that was really touching to me and I think that was really what set the precedent for the rest of our time together. He would sometimes ask me for a second eye, like “what do you think about this?” and vice versa and off camera too, there were a couple moments we spent comforting each other.
A lot of the fans have been adjusting to the "All Stars" judges and Joanna in the workroom. What was your impression of the new panel and your stance on Joanna vs. Tim?
At first, I was very intimidated by Joanna because my experience was with her was a judge [on Season 7] and she’s kind of a ball-buster as a judge. In the workroom, she was a little stand-offish at first, I felt like, and didn’t really offer up much advice and I think a bunch of us would talk about that afterwards, like, “gosh, I wish she would’ve given me a little more advice.” And maybe that was just a warming up period or something because by the time I got to Episode 8 when I was eliminated, I felt she was actually giving more constructive criticism and advice to people and I really grew to respect her and love her. She’s an awesome woman and a powerhouse at what she does.
In fact, that sort of relates a little bit to the judging panel in terms of how much I miss having an editorial point of view there. It was two designers and a model and I really missed having Nina Garcia as a representative who maybe looks at fashion collections and different points of views of fashion designers more objectively than two fashion designers do. I think that when you have your own line and you’re designing all the time, it’s just natural that you’re going to gravitate towards certain things more than others.
If you could have your way, would you get Tim back in the workroom and have Joanna on the panel?
Probably I would! If it was either/or, I would choose to have Tim whose background is more in education and mentoring and have Joanna, who has an amazing editorial eye, as a judge.
That’s a really good point. Something Joanna (and both my coworker Caitlin and I) celebrate you for are your amazing pants and leggings.
Thank you, awesome! It just sort of evolved naturally and after I did my Mercedes Benz Fashion Week collection on Season 7, I introduced a couple of leggings with panels on them and after the show I developed and pushed that even further and made what I call the "Bentley of leggings," which is, each leg has 20 pieces in it and four different fabrics and I really just took off with that.
You can find them in my store, which I’m expanding soon, on my website and there’s a couple boutiques in L.A. that are selling them. After my fall collection launches, I’m planning to hit the streets and if nothing else, I can get my leggings into a store and that’s a foot in the door because it’s easier to sell.
And if you want to do, like, a Target diffusion line, I would feel great about that.
I would feel great about that too!
What is next for you after "All Stars," you mentioned that you’re working on a movie now?
Well, I’m booked on “Star Trek 2” until that’s finished shooting. It’s a dream job and what pays my bills and funds my collection. I’m going to be showing the collection first in L.A. then in Palm Springs with other Project Runway Designers at the El Paseo Fashion Week in March.
I don’t think anybody ever realizes how much hustle there is involved in being a fashion designer and actually getting it into the stores. It’s not just about making a collection and putting on a runway show because that doesn’t get you orders. I have to hit the streets and I’m going to start with the boutiques in L.A. and eventually expand beyond that because it’s a growing process. Unless you have a big chunk of money and you can hire everyone to sell for you and market for you. It’s a lot of work for one person.
And you’re working on the movie, so that’s a busy schedule I’m sure.
It’s a minimum of 10-11 hours a day up to 12-13 hours a day with the lovely L.A. commuting.
So when we watch "Star Trek 2," where do we see "Mila"?
The costume designer has given me the domain of creating futuristic looks for the civilians in the film. I’m not really allowed to talk much about it but I can say it’s like a stylized look for people on the street in the movie.
Whenever someone’s like, “I hate when people misuse or overuse the word ‘literally,’” 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.
In 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!” 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 friends” 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-1”) can send you packing up your pincushion and heading home. Or to wherever sequestered, kicked-off contestants go.
We’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 Runway” 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.” As Kenley said re: Jerell, “This is so Jerell!” 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 embellished” 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 Simpsonapproved 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 “PR” and nodding along with the judges in agreement as they criticize the contestants for doing something “expected.” On “Project Runway All Stars,” 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.)
I 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 … 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 … gulp … 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!
We were happy to ride the emotional rollercoaster along with Kara Janx on "PRAS," but now that the ride has finished, we're hoping the Season 2 vet will just, like, invite us over for a home-cooked family meal or something! After her teary Episode 7 departure, Kara turned on that ol' Southern [African] charm and discussed her friendships on the show, her business persona and which man in her life drops her legendary "Project Runway" "pee pee" line on command.
Do you watch every week?
Oh, of course, of course. I’m completely addicted and hooked. I want to see what went down for sure!
How do you feel about the way you were portrayed this time around?
I look like I’m panicking constantly and for the most part, I am. But a lot of that is my process, a lot of that is sort of how I deal with my creative energy. I anticipate having some self-doubt it’s like, “panic, panic, make beautiful clothes, panic, panic.” I’m so professional and I have such a strong business persona but… it’s very bizarre. It’s also just the difference from my regular life, being in a reality TV format. It’s just a different environment and I handle different things obviously in different ways, so no surprise there.
You mentioned your business persona, and other designers have talked about how you are one of the more successful of the All Stars you actually sell clothing at Neiman Marcus, is that correct?
Yes I do, thank you. Going into the show, my agenda has always been to translate that into more grand equity. For me, it equals sales. It’s how you market yourself. It’s a direct reflection of your business and how you sort of yield the results of the show with the consequences of the show. For me, it’s always been a business consequence. I work really hard, I’m part of that hamster wheel of showing collections to the retailers in that shuffle and it’s really been good for me because that’s really my niche, that commercial space.
On “All Stars,” you talked a lot about your family and we can see what an influence they are in your work and life. I don’t think you seemed “panicked” on the show, but more “emotional.”
That’s a much better word for panicked, you’re right, I’m very emotional by nature. I’m very passionate, I’m very outspoken and I’m just sort of an open book. My family is everything to me as it would be to any mother and I go on the show in the best interest for my family, you know what I mean? You leave your kids and go on a show and it’s such a natural thing to miss them and not be at your peak.
On Season 2, I had nothing to lose and I had no personal attachments on the home front and now I have a great husband and beautiful kids and that’s a massive priority for me so if that’s how I went through the show, so be it. For me, it’s important that my kids know I have integrity and that I work really hard and I do what I do with the utmost passion.
What do they think when they watch the show. Or, are they allowed to watch the show?
They’re allowed to watch a little, they watch the recorded version. I think every time they watch it, my little boy laughs and says “snip your pee pee!” My daughter loves Miss Piggy, every time she sees me, she’s like “I always think it’s cool you were with Miss Piggy!” They know mommy was on a TV show and mommy’s on TV… it’s a very normal thing. Very normal. (laughs)
So they quote your iconic “Project Runway” line?
Right because of the commercials, you know in the beginning, now my son just sees and he’s just like “snip your pee pee!” and he just finds it really sort of cute and humorous.
That’s so cute!
It’s so cute. They’re tiny you know? They take it at face value, so it’s nothing. Well, it’s not nothing, it’s just like, “Oh, kids, mommy’s on TV.”
Well, you seem emotional but you also just seem like a mother and that really came across this season. You seemed kind of like the glue that held some of the people in the workroom together.
That’s very complimentary and I love that. I just feel I had some tactic relationships. There was no hidden agenda or malice so I feel like if they asked for advice or if they needed some kind of emotional console, I was there. I didn’t want to be the mother hen and by no means did I set out to do it, but we had such strong bonds and strong friendships. I’m always so gracious to be in that contemporary environment with similar minds. If you go and get those opportunities to be one of the people who are nice about design and competition and all these things, so I definitely like to think that I love them and they love me, so that’s nice.
I heard that you, Rami and Anthony were the Kardashians?
Yeah, my sisters! We were the ‘Dashes. We were our own little family and we loved that because it was our way of leaving that working place and just being our own little thing. It was hilarious, you can imagine how hilarious it was, especially with Anthony. I was Kourtney, you know, I was the one with the kids and the ponytails. I was quite happily Kourtney.
Yes, that’s a good one. Rami said he didn’t know why he was Kim.
He has the physique of Kim! He’s Kim! Like, how do you not know that?! Rami has the physique of Kim, Anthony has the physique of Khloe and I have the psychic of Kourtney. It’s obvious!
You also seemed really close with Kenley.
Kenley and I were best, best buddies. I like that she is just an open book, she’s so emotional and we really sort of connected. We both find each other completely hilarious and we just really enjoyed the experience. We went through the journey together. Watching last night reminded me of our special journey together. We were there for each other and we encouraged each other and picked each other up when we were down and, you know, you need that. She’s just a great girl with a lot of fantastic energy and I think sometimes she gets a bad rep and I just adore her, I just absolutely adore her.
Did you know that Mila was so perturbed by your relationship with Kenley? Watching the show, she talks about it almost every episode; did that come across in person?
Well, everybody has their ideal workspace and I think that everyone has to adjust and insert themselves into the environment that they’re in and I don’t know that Mila wants two girls running around, or that she wants a symbiotic, co-dependent type relationship. I don’t mean we were co-dependent, I just think that’s sort of how we are in our lives. I always say that the TV is a direct reflection of who you are in your life. In my season, I had Santino who was loud and crazy and would sing 24/7 but it was funny too and you just got to sit back and look at the situation and accept it so you can really embrace it. It’s difficult for everyone. Everybody works differently.
Next episode, the designers are creating looks based on flags. What country’s flag would you choose as inspiration?
Oh, I think that’s obvious. I would definitely go with the South African flag, for sure and I know its culture and its history and its change.
Do you have an idea of what you might do?
No, no, no, no! I’m not even going there, it’s always funny because whenever I watch seasons before I even knew I was going to be on “All Stars,” I would be like, I can’t believe I did that! Or, I don’t know how they do it! And when I went back I’m like, “I’m going to do it anyway!” But I’m actually not going to try and do it because I don’t know that anyone could give me a challenge again.
Who would you want to win this season now that you’re out of the running?
You know, I’m going to tell you that everyone can and may the best man win but obviously I’m rooting for my peeps, Kenley and Austin. It’s an exceptional challenge, you know, Mondo, Kenley, Austin, just very exceptional. And not easy.
Godspell Photo: Jeremy Daniel
In the first frames from last night’s episode, Kenley gives Kara a run for her producer-friendly money. “Guys, can you beelieeeeve that Rami was sent home? It’s like, it’s anyone’s game now. I mean, any one of us could be next!” Yup, that is entirely true and exactly how it works. But to Kenley’s credit, all of the designers are rightfully solemn and pensive post Rami’s departure. Being the best of the best is tough when you remember that in “the end,” only one of you can actually be the best. Just ask the Kardashians.
But the All Stars aren’t allowed to fear the seam reaper for too long. They finish their generic Wheaties, wrap their curlers in silk scarves and head to the next challenge: on Broooodwaaaay! If you don’t know anything about Broadway or the theater, let Austin Scarlett explain it to you: “The world of theater is a world of imagination, is a world of illusion, a world of fantasy.” Simply put, Austin Scarlett is theater. Theater is Austin Scarlett and is therefore probably spelled theatre and pronounced thee-ay-toooorrrrr. Austin feels like such a focus in the first moments from this episode, with hints of “this is a challenge fit for me” in the air, that I am initially worried.
For this challenge, the designers must create a look of separates for a super rich character in the Broadway show “Godspell,” so I have a feeling fabric choice will be a big player. Unfortunately for Kara, it is in fabric buying heaven Mood that Austin narrates a perfect clip about her rollercoaster emotions. She begins the one-part interpretive dance one-part panic attack that he describes over a pile of ribbon and thread at Mood and ends it in the workroom, after abandoning her tube-of-lipstick creation for a scarf duel with Kenley. Lots of scarves in this episode! Now I think, “ah, it is Kara’s clock who is ticking this episode and/or maybe has been for a few episodes.”
While Austin finds Kara’s personality charming, Mila is fed up with her and all the workroom revelry. I try to give Mila credit, probably because I like her leggings and her lipstick so much, like, “okayyy, maybe Mila isn’t always saying negative things. Maybe that’s just how she’s edited.” But you can’t edit these words into someone’s mouth: “I’ve noticed a lot of this sort of unnecessary, over-complimentary love for others’ designs.” What is that ‘tude, an L.A. thing? Girl. Come on. She almost redeems herself when she uses the word “dirndl” (love it) for the second time on the series.
The designers only have a day and a half to make their designs but thank Gunn for that second bit of day because at the end of the first night, it looks like they’ve got a lot left to do and at least a few breakdowns to recover from.
On the runway, Angela is a vision in sparkles and I can no longer keep the secret that she is in fact Taylor Swift’s sister. In a scene that was cut from last night’s episode, Taylor actually appeared on the runway with Angela, photo proof to our left. Sorry Swiftval, the secret is out and I feel GREAT about it!
I’m interested to hear what you all think, but for me, this might be the first runway where the top two and bottom two seemed crystal clear. With that being said, what was with all of those short skirts?????????? Mondo deserved to win in my book just for actually taking it to the necessary level (RICH, PEOPLE) and going floor length.
In the middle, Jerell is sent walkin’ back to the sit-and-wait room for his totally passable but boring school marm-y getup. Joining him in the middle are Michael (top middle) and Kenley (bottom middle) although I would have flip-flopped them. While I think it could have ranked higher if it was, say a hip garden party challenge, I wasn’t a fan of Michael’s look for this challenge. Plus, I liked that loopy, shiny fabric headpiece a lot more when he made it the first time around for Ms. Piggy. I don’t know where “rich” and “signature thrift store pieces” come together so it was definitely a miss for Kenley, although the brocade coat was to me exactly what would read both loud and rich in a Broadway show.
I went to Miami over Thanksgiving and my friends made me buy ridiculous clothing so that we could “get into the clubs.” I think Mila’s girl probably could have gotten into the club but she would have looked pretty silly even there for that is not a blouse you dance to LMFAO in. It was between Mila and poor Kara, who ended up leaving us (and going home to a family who I would have to believe is incredibly proud of her!)
Mondo and Austin are the top two designers and they ARE the top two designers, my favorite two this challenge and overall. Austin’s look was beautiful and I think would have been the absolute best if he had gone all-out gown on the bottom and ditched the black capri-length leggings. But let them wear Austin Scarlett — or Starlet — indeed.
Where Rami’s “Project Runway” legacy is in draping, Austin’s in gowns, Andre’s in Red Lobster, Mondo’s must forever be in prints. His selection of fabrics is an art form that I can actually FEEL when I’m watching him select and put them together. I’m happy he rebounded from last week with a winning look that I bet people in the nosebleed seats would “oo” and “ah” over from afar and still want to see close up.
Want more recapping fun?! Read Laura Bennett's Episode 7 Recap on LifetimeMoms!
Taylor Swift pic: Getty Images
Get a true-blue "Project Runway" fan to tell you their favorite and/or the most talented designers in the show's history, and Rami Kashou is sure to make the cut. I lovingly devoted significant blog space to my adoration and appreciation for Rami's glorious muscles, but as a serious "PR" fan myself, I'm also a legitimate lover and follower of his work. The kind he does with fashion and fabrics.
I'll speak for all of us (especially after reading the comments here, on Twitter and Facebook) and say that it was beyond shocking to see Rami go last week. Many of us pegged him as someone who would make it to the finals. But just because his time on "All Stars" came to a premature end, definitely doesn't mean Rami's reign as an All Star shared a similar fate. Find out what the gorgeous, multitalented king of draping is up to in his honest exit interview:
Rami: Who am I talking to?
Lisa: I'm Lisa Raphael, I do the "Project Runway All Stars" Blog on myLifetime.com... so I’m the one who Photoshops all those photos of you in your tank top.
Rami: (laughs) Now I know where all that came from!
You’re welcome! Well, I hope you appreciate it and don't think I'm crazy over here.
Rami: Not at all, you’re marketing my arms for me, what can I say?
Yes, I would like a commission. Are you getting arm and muscle endorsements now?
Well, I booked an Effen Vodka campaign, which was amazing. They wanted to cast me after the episode when you saw me in the first tank top, I guess. A few days later I got a call from them and they said, "we like your look, we like your aesthetic, we like your designs, we want you to be in one of our ad campaigns." And now it’s coming out in April! So maybe you had something to do with it, who knows?
Perhaps! You can send me a bottle of vodka, that works for me. So it’s going to be your person, it’s not like you’re designing something for it?
It’s myself as a designer, and it’s literally a whole studio that was set up with a sewing machine and everything and my designs, and it’s basically me being myself as a designer, so … I saw some of the pictures, they look really cool.
Wow, congratulations! Is that something you ever thought about doing, like modeling or featuring yourself as a person rather than your designs being center stage?
I mean, I don’t think of myself as a model necessarily, definitely not, but when it comes down to merging that with my work, I think it’s great. I never thought of it, but if opportunities like this come to me, I’m very open to them. It’s great to merge with cool brands and cool aesthetics. Effen Vodka is all about creativity and fashionable people, it’s a growing brand. It’s flattering and it’s exciting, and it’s a great way to infuse your work in different areas of the creative field.
Can't wait to see them and sip some cocktails! Now I have to ask: What is your actual workout routine? You go to Crunch in NYC, right?
I go to Crunch in New York when I’m there. In L.A., I go to Gold's Gym. I go five times a week, and it’s an hour and a half of exercise, not big on cardio, more on lifting. And then of course lots of vitamins and protein and all that stuff.
How did it feel being — I don’t know if you saw that little video mashup that we have on the site — how does it feel to be labeled as the eye candy of "Project Runway All Stars"?
It’s very flattering. I mean of course, who wouldn’t want that kind of compliment? The video’s funny, especially the background music and the slow-mo, but it was great, it was like a nice little parting gift.
Well, let’s talk about another parting gift, which was, your designs featured at the Super Bowl.
I know, that was amazing, it was an amazing experience. The stylist was — this happened before "All Stars" aired — Madonna’s stylist was doing the entire performance and she was looking for Grecian costumes and she just wasn't happy with what she was seeing, and somehow she remembered my name when it came to draping and she instantly said, "Rami has to do it!" So she called me and she said, “Honestly, I know it’s very last-minute and we’re out of time but I can’t picture anyone else doing it, I would love for you to do it,” and of course I said yes, even though I was worried about time because there really wasn’t much time for approving the first sample, for re-doing it, till Madonna approved it and Madonna looked at the sketches, etc.
It was definitely an interesting experience to taste a little piece of Madonna’s world and how to operate under that amount of pressure. [The whole process] was two weeks. The first few days were sketching, and then the next week it was sending the sample to New York, then having it approved, and then her putting in her comments and what she wanted changed and us having to go in with new materials and redo the sample and send it in again. In the end, we had three days to finish those six gowns — and those chiffon gowns, they were 32 pieces each. You can’t just cut chiffon on a surface, you have to put the tissue paper underneath and cut it very gently so literally in like, 15 hours, everything had to be cut so it could go to the sewers. Everybody was freaking out as far as time, and then in three days we had six chiffon gowns with gold corsets finished, which I don’t know how we did it. It was worth it, of course.
And in the end, I had no idea they were going to be the first six that walked out who led Madonna and the gladiators! When I saw that, I was like “Oh my God, that is even bigger than I thought,” so it’s one of those moments where you’re like, I have to pinch myself, this is so amazing, I love what I do and it just makes everything worth it. It’s one of those moments where you’re like, I’m on the right track! So that was really cool.
How does the high-stress world of Madonna compare to "All Stars"? It sounds like kind of a similar thing, where you had a limited amount of time.
It’s similar and it’s probably even more intense in other ways. It’s just the way things work. You saw it, it was a huge performance. The main thing about her, honestly, is that she has to see and approve every single thing on everyone. Even down to the sketches. But just the fact that she saw my sketches, and I got her notes through the stylist, was pretty crazy.
Are you going to frame those?
Yeah, I think I should. I have lots of them because I kept re-doing them until she was happy.
Wow, so she’s a tougher judge than Angela and Isaac and Georgina?
We, the fans, all really felt you were going to make it to the very end for "All Stars." Did you also feel that you left too soon?
Absolutely, definitely I felt like I was just getting started, I was like, oh wow, okay. But yeah, I mean of course I wanted to show more of my work and felt like there wasn’t much encouragement from the judges during that challenge. I felt it from Georgina for sure. But it seemed like the others were adamant about me being out. I’m like, okay, let’s do this.
Oh, that’s so sad. If you could’ve gone back and chosen who you faced off against, would you have picked another designer?
I don’t think, oh, if I faced off so-and-so, it would have made a difference. I don’t think it honestly had anything to do with that. I’m not delusional, my top could have been a little bit better but in all honesty, let’s face it, my design was not about the top. Only the neck of the top was showing. Ironically enough, Isaac insisted on seeing the blouse and suddenly my design became about the blouse, when, in all fairness, let’s be honest, some other designers in other challenges, when they were suffering, they helped them out. So I found that really interesting, but you know what, in the end, it’s a game show and you take it with a grain of salt and move on. I am grateful for the exposure, I don’t think it’s about, oh my design was so horrible and I went home, I think there are a lot of different elements that play a part of it and that’s fine.
Well, you definitely seemed to rebound really well! It sounds like you came out of it with some surprise friendships too. I talked to Anthony and he said you two have become really close during the show.
Yes, and Kara and Jerell. Those were some pretty good outcomes.
Did you expect going into "All Stars" that you would make these sort of lasting friendships?
You never know what to expect and those sort of strong bonds you have with people, you don’t expect them to happen during a competition reality show because it’s such an intense process. But I think Anthony and Jerell and Kara, it just somehow happened. I don’t know who came up with it, whether it was Kara or Anthony, they decided to create a group called the Kardashians and suddenly I was Kim, and Kara was Kourtney and Anthony was Khloe and that just became the inside joke. (laughs) There were fun moments!
Wait, why are you Kim Kardashian?
I don’t know, that’s what they decided. I didn’t insist on being Kim.
So continuing to look ahead for you, you have so much going on — you have Madonna, you have the vodka campaign coming up ... What else is on your horizon?
I am launching a Bebe Bridal collection! I hope and aim for it to grow and become a huge project. I’ve been working on that collection for the past three to four months. That’s launching March 8, and for me to have an official bridal collection — it’s going to be Rami Kashou for Bebe with bridesmaids dresses — that’s probably one of the biggest endorsements that I’ve gotten and I’m very excited for that. And I think the part of having my line of greeting cards at Papyrus shows that my creativity can hopefully extend to different avenues and not simply clothes. I think that just proves that my brand has potential to become one day a lifestyle brand, so that’s my aim. Obviously Effen Vodka came after ["All Stars"], so I’m hoping exposure will give me opportunities like that. I think when people see it, they decide whether they want to work with you or not, so I hope my passion and my professionalism in what I do and the way I speak about my brand and maybe my design aesthetic will get me new opportunities like that, because that’s the one thing I think will be good from "All Stars," the exposure.
Still not enough Rami "exposure" for you? Watch his video exit interview here and view his portfolio of work from this season and past collections!
Super Bowl Photo: Getty Images
ISAAC MIZRAHI AND JOANNA COLES HOST "PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS" COMPANION SERIES, "PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS: AFTER THE RUNWAY," BEGINNING FEBRUARY 23
HALF-HOUR AFTERSHOW TO AIR THROUGH THE PROJECT RUNWAY ALL STARS FINALE
LOS ANGELES, (February 13, 2012) – What did he say on the runway?! She did that?! Burning questions from this season of Lifetime's "Project Runway All Stars" will get answered with the companion series, "Project Runway All Stars: After the Runway" following each night's the telecast of "Project Runway All Stars," beginning Thursday, February 23 at 10pm ET/PT. Hosted by designer and "All Star" judge Isaac Mizrahi and Marie Claire Editor-In-Chief and mentor for the "All Stars'" designers, Joanna Coles, each episode will feature the exclusive first interview with each week's eliminated designer as they get whittled down on the way to the finale. The half-hour show includes in-depth, roundtable debates and passionate discussions with "All Stars'" remaining standout designers as they answer pressing questions about what happened behind-the-seams both on and off the runway during that evening's episode. Special guests will appear in each episode, including "All Stars" judge and designer Georgina Chapman and Neiman Marcus's fashion director Ken Downing.
"24 Hour Catwalk" moves to 10:30pm ET/PT, airing after each night's telecast of "Project Runway All Stars: After the Runway," beginning February 23.
"Project Runway All Stars: After the Runway" is produced by The Weinstein Company and Bunim/Murray Productions. Executive producers include Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein (Co-Chairmen of The Weinstein Company), and Meryl Poster and Barbara Schneeweiss of The Weinstein Company, Jonathan Murray of Bunim/Murray Productions and Rob Bagshaw. Rob Sharenow, Gena McCarthy and David Hillman of Lifetime also executive produce.
For this, my birthday episode of “Project Runway All Stars” (please send all gifts in the form of donations, shoes, numbers of eligible bachelors or neon nail polish to Lisa Raphael c/o Austin Scarlett Fan Club NYC Chapter, Brooklyn, NY, the show is going to be all about couples. We know this, because we are immediately titillated by the budding romance between Mondo and Kenley. Mondo says Kenley is too loud, obnoxious and annoying, but Mondo is fairly reserved so that might be a good match. Plus, they both looooove polka dots oops, SPOILER ALERT!!
Angela struts onto the runway with a bunch of “weekend bags,” or if you live in New York City, “regular every day purses.” I totally disagree with Angela’s suggestion that it is difficult to figure out what to wear on a weekend getaway. Girl, that’s the most fun thing to pack for because you just choose your favorite three or four outfits and it doesn’t even matter if you already wore them that week! What’s tough is having to figure out what to wear every day to work: “Hmm, will my office mate remember this skirt from last Thursday?” “Are lace accents really ever appropriate in an office setting?” “Can I wear my Team Gale necklace with my Team Edward t-shirt?” etc.
The designers get to choose their bags and then dig inside for the ultimate surprise decoder ring: the name of the season that indicates who their partner is. Austin and Kara make the same adorable “Price is Right”-presenter faces when they show their tag and they are our first pair with spring. Jerell and Michael have winter, Mondo and Kenley have summer and Mila and Rami have autumn.
With eight designers split so evenly into four teams of two, it is only fair that each couple must go head-to-head against each other to create seasonal looks for a girl going on a weekend getaway. We know there will be drama, we just don’t know between whom yet. Unless we watched the preview for tonight’s episode, then we know it’ll be between Michael and Jerell.
I die over this week’s backstories: Mila’s girl lives in NYC and is traveling to a place in Texas called Marfa for the Marfa Art Festival and I don’t believe for one second that either of those are things. Also, Texas doesn’t even have autumn, does it? Next! Austin’s woman is leaving NYC to check on the garden at her spring home. I wholeheartedly believe that Austin knows at least one woman who has a spring home, as opposed to a summer home. Kenley’s girl is “light and likes to have fun.” She’s “going to Miami for the, for the, um… that art thing. Yes! The Art Basel.” And she “just wants to be sexy and cute.” (Kenley, don’t sue me when I use this exact description for my “Bachelor” audition tape.)
The tension between Kara and Austin is only playful, their workroom smack talk features him teasing her ruffles, and she his pleats, but at Mood, we see Mondo and Kenley both going for polka dots and Michael and Jerell each selecting grey, striped wools so we know a storm's a-comin'.
Look, I wasn’t in the workroom. I don’t know who decided to make a drapey, capey, cowl-necked winter coat first, but yeah, from Living Roomland it definitely looks like Jerell did and Michael was influenced by him. My favorite parts about this particular drama were Joanna’s workroom conference (crazy to think about what those tension-breaking magazine meetings are like) and the lunch commentary.
Mondo: “This feels just like dinner at my family’s house.”
And Michael’s impression of Joanna is fantastic.
But the best part about this sort of conflict is that there is a winner and a loser. In this case, Jerell wins the whole thing. But obviously, being justified is the greatest prize of all. When all is said and sewn, both are nice coats. Moses and Jackie O would be happy to wear either of them, I’m sure.
Back in the workroom, Kenley told Joanna that she thinks a lot of girls would want to wear her polka dot jumper. I think she’s wrong. I am a girl and I know a lot of girls, but know very few that would wear this. Especially on a “hot summer day.” I was shocked when she came out on top, but I guess not every emotional story arc can end in happiness. Sorry Mondo and Mrs. Guerra :’(
I agree that Austin’s look was Rose Nyland realness on the runway (A. Scarlett in spring / thank you for being a friend / beautiful year round), but Betty White is So Hot Right Now and he brought us SPRING, honey! Let’s get serious: his outfit wasn’t for the everyday, modern woman the judges kept referring to it was for an eccentric lady who travels to her “spring home” on the weekend to tend her garden, for god’s sake. Do you know how many ruffled cardigans that woman owns? And her closet is all floral prints and pastels. For my feelings on Kara's design, I’ll just quote Cynthia Rowley: “To me I just don’t see anything original about any of these pieces. At all.”
Capes don’t really do it for me because I’m not in the business of solving mysteries in the 1800s, but I have to hand it to Mila. Her look was chic, autumnal and made me want to ride horses and go apple picking in a Tommy Hilfiger commercial. I thought she and Rami had the strongest designs overall. If only Rami had created a different top to put under that gorgeous blue blazer, I think he probably would have won. To celebrate his too-short time on “Project Runway All Stars,” watch and drool over a mashup of Rami’s hotness below. Do you guys think maybe Rami was actually born in ancient Greece, and the gods gave him mortality and muscles in exchange for togas? I guess we'll never really know.