In this week's episode recap, Laura Bennett busts out her eagle eye/insanely good memory to discus some of the designers' inspirations (hint: they're not just gelato flavors!). You'll never guess whose dress was similar to their decoy fashion week collection read Laura Bennett's Episode 4 to find out and hear what she really thought of Michael at the top and Kara in the bottom!
Who is your favorite former "Project Runway" designer of all time, on "PRAS" or not?!
I know you guys already had this figured out by reading a little bit about my interest in muscles and teen pop culture, but I am very classy! So a “night at the opera” challenge is where my tastebuds reside — why, just recently I rocked a last-minute black tie event with a $37 dress purchased four hours earlier at Loehmann’s, so…
Unfortunately I couldn’t pencil in a day of “PRAS” judging, so I suggested my good friends Mark Badgley and James Mischka for the job. The adorable couple — “partners in life and business,” according to their Wikipedia page (deal with it!) — announce the challenge, and the designers feel the pressure. Except Michael Costello, who is a big fan of the type of opera that we’re all a big fan of.
Can someone help me with Kara’s statement of the night/week/world? The camera cuts to her and she says, “Evening wear I can do. But it’s not my ‘pabboo’ moment. Whereas it’s Austin’s ‘pappoon.’” HELP! What do those words mean? I won’t even Google them spelled 500 ways, can you guys just let me know in the comments?
Everyone has their money on Austin, who understands that he must win in order to keep his King of Couture crown and sash earned in Season 1. (Although we all know I’ll be there, like a hybrid creepy stalker/beauty-pageant host with a bouquet of roses, either way.) Mondo admits that he saw an evening gown challenge coming and brings up a good point: Evening gowns without polka dots are not his forte, and this challenge is also not his “pabboo” moment. April answers my prayers from last week and says she’ll do a color this week for her gown. Unfortunately, that color is red/oxblood.
Mood is where the Great Red Debacle (As Seen In the Preview) of ’12 happens. AND IT IS TENSE. Michael is flustered by April’s choice to use red and feathers, so he ends up going with THE MOST GORGEOUS black matte jersey material ever, because surely no one else in this EVENING GOWN challenge is doing a black dress.
Back in the workroom, we see that April isn’t even doing a full oxblood dress, she’s actually dyeing part of the dress for an ombre effect, which has all of the designers concerned. I’m trying to visualize April’s ombre “corpse bride” opera dress and am wondering if this would have been a great time for her to do a dramatic black dress with maybe serious shoulders, sleeves and intricate details.
Joanna returns to the workroom, and I think we can all agree that the best part of her visit is when Austin overhears Rami say that he is his biggest competition in this challenge and I get to make a screengrab of this:
At the end of the day, the designers don’t sleep like in other seasons, but swill a glass or two of bubbly chased down with some self-doubt. Anthony suggests that instead of “couture” they be encouraged to make “really, really pumped-up prom dresses,” which may or may not be Foster the People’s new single feat. Anthony Williams.
Let's start with... The Middle: I know there are haters in the crowd, but unfortunately for y’all, I love things that Kenley creates. Her dress is a little prom, but “Pretty in Pink”/cool-edgy girl prom. Rami’s fuchsia frock, on the other hand, is what 16-year-old Lisa would have begged her mom to let her wear to prom. And not that I wasn’t a tastemaker at 16, but high school was a time when I wore more platforms and belly-baring shirts than Geri Halliwell at the height of her career.
I’m surprised that Gordana doesn’t make it to the top or bottom. I personally LOVE the flapper look and the sexy illusion skirt on her gown. (Heidi and the regular PR judges would be really into that styling, dontcha think?) I really like Mondo’s mod dress from the front, but think the bow/obi at the back looks a little tacky and costume-y.
I don’t hate Jerell’s dress, but the giant, pregnant, are-my-legs-moving-or-am-I-floating silhouette, which appears here and on Kara and Sweet P’s dresses, has got to stop. For all of Mila’s workroom jabs, her dress, although slinky and sexy, looks like something you could get at any department store. Don’t forget your color-blocking roots, girl!
The Top: Austin’s earlier comment about Michael’s dress being too much celebrity and not enough socialite feels truer the second someone mentions Kim Kardashian at the opera (also, don’t give that family any ideas!). Plus, Badgley & Mishka warned, “If you do a black dress, it should be the most dazzling black dress we’ve ever seen,” and I can’t imagine that that is it. Well-fitting, yes, but so is everything I own from American Apparel.
I am falling more in love with Anthony Williams and his crystal-encrusted accessorizing each day. And speaking of accessories, if he keeps making boobies look like that in dresses, he’s going to win this whole thang hands down!
The win goes to the lovely Austin Scarlett for a luscious SGD (Serious Gold Dress) that looked like liquid gold on his model. Beautiful, flattering, sexy — I imagine most women, myself included, would line up for a chance to wear that. Lopsided tulle or not. This week’s Austin Scarlett Haiku shall celebrate his win:
King of Couture crown
Rests upon his flaxen hair
Beneath the halo.
The Bottom: Kara is saved after she wins the judges over with the pockets in her comforter-cover couture, and thankfully, despite a sad top on an otherwise interesting dress, April makes it through.
I love Sweet P. I think she’s pretty and wears beautiful clothing, but unfortunately I haven’t liked either of her designs from this season. The things that become evident to me while I’m watching “Project Runway All Stars” are:
1) I love all of these designers!
2) Every week will be sad with one of our friends leaving.
3) It’s never a good idea to attend a “PRAS” viewing party when you have to write a blog about the show. Ah well, better luck next week!
P.S.: Miss Piggy next week!?!?!
Laura Bennett continues her "Project Runway All Stars" episode recapping over on LifetimeMoms! For Episode 2, Laura falls in love with the show all over again. Read her recap here to find out what she thought of the top, middle and bottom!
What kind of dress do you think Laura would have made in last night's challenge? A "Night at the Opera" seems right up her alley!
I half expect Season 8 designer Mondo Guerra to show up for "All Stars" with Jessica Simpson and Heidi Klum wearing polka dot gowns and carrying his luggage (which probably contains mostly jorts, spectacles and single drop earrings). Alas, he struts onto the show alone, soon to be swept into the arms of his seasonmate, that Lil' Designer Who Kinda Could, Michael Costello. Even the gritty streets of NYC, littered with graffiti and 5-speed bikes, are no match for the adorable reunion, and "Project Runway All Stars" has officially begun!
There are no words, only poetry when my eyes first spot Mr. Austin Scarlett, so I'll let a haiku do what mere words cannot:
Spring in trousered step
Blonde coif reflects summer sun
Loafers without socks.
While the designers tell us how much they want to win this time around, Rami shows up for his "Runway" redux faced with the impossible task of making us see he's gotten hotter since Season 4. He succeeds, with chest and arm muscles that can only be described as derivative of Zac Efron in "The Lucky One." My love letter extends to include Mila's fierce red lip, Kenley's super cute shorts, and Anthony and Jerell's everything.
We get so used to this family of familiar faces, and then it's time to meet the new host and judges. Supermodel Angela Lindvall (who's cool and fun and seems like the type of friend who responds "Duh! Where/when? I'm THERE." When you mass-text "Brunch?" to your friends on a Sunday morn) greets the designers and shares the following exciting/terrifying news:
First, there is NO immunity.
Second, the winner will take home: the chance to sell their collection in select Neiman Marcus stores and on NeimanMarcus.com, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a one-year position as guest editor of the mag, Brother sewing equipment, $100,000 in technology and office supplies from HP and Intel, and $100,000 cash. (Jerell, still want that sash and tiara?)
Third, Angela will be joined on the judging panel by Isaac Mizrahi and Marchesa designer/co-founder Georgina Chapman. I agree with April and Anthony — they know and we know what the "Project Runway" judges love/hate/think of the 13 designers standing before us. If coming back for Round 2 is going to be a truly fair fight, the playing field has to be level, and that means all-new judges.
We get a glimpse at what the designers have been up to since their seasons when they each show a piece in the series' first runway (check out more pictures of past work here!). I love Mila's look and would wear it in a heartbeat. Mondo's outfit is predictable, but I would totally fight with Prince William's fun cousins over that kooky headpiece. There are few words for Anthony's kelly green cocktail dress and jewel-encrusted safety pin, besides "fab," "u" and "lous."
Kenley and April are two of my favorite "shoulda won"'s, and I'm disappointed by their dresses. Hopefully April's new purple 'do will encourage her to show us more color this season. I want her to stick around and know that black bodysuits and dresses won't do the trick.
For the first challenge, the designers get to live out my (and apparently, a super-psyched Kara's) dreams with a 99-CENT-STORE SHOPPING SPREE! Yup, this is the unconventional challenge, and possibly the best one in the history of "Project Runway."
Michael, who has already pointed out that Rami, a.k.a. DrapeMaster Flex Arms-R-Strong, is his biggest competition, notices that he and April both chose mops for their materials. Once in the workroom, Jerell advises Michael to have a "woman-to-woman" chat with her about their designs, but Michael is probably too afraid of April, so Mondo hides him under a mop head.
A less understandable fear is the designers' apparent uneasiness with Elisa and her "crazy" behavior — she's sitting under her table, guys, so, like, loose cannon, right? I give Elisa lots of props for setting the record straight with our new workroom mentor, Marie Claire EIC Joanna Coles. She was all classy with her "My clients pay me for my spit mark blessing," but if I was Elisa, I would have started finger-snapping and been like, "I worked on a little indie film called 'High School Musical,' Jo. Heard of it? Ever sipped soup out of a 'High School Musical'–branded thermos? Does Marie Claire have thermoses? Didn't THINK so."
I know everyone's going to be lamenting the absence of the "Make It Work" Man, but I think Joanna is the perfect person for the job this season. The All Stars need her fashion-industry insight to ultimately help them take their careers and businesses to the next level. And if my sound reasoning doesn't sway you, at least let Joanna's red blazer try.
Now, let's take it to the runway. Since YOU get the chance to be the judge and vote for who you think should win each challenge, I'll also enjoy the opportunity!
Re-examining the middle, I think Kenley's bathmat-dress-and-loofah-headpiece combo was more Top 3 than Jerell's scarf dress, and wish Anthony's purple number with the clever gold safety pin accents had gotten a little love. We don't get to see the Michael vs. April showdown, which is OK because their dresses end up being different and both are pretty great.
Mondo's dress didn't do it for me. I loved the subtly striped bodice and the hat — which was somehow even better than the one he showed earlier — but that ruffled skirt made me cringe. I do like Mondo's clothing, but never as much as I love/luff/lurve his accessories.
Rami was the clear winner for making beautiful, fancy clothing out of bags I mostly see toting the belongings of homeless people here in NYC. If I was a fellow contestant, I'd be shaking in my boots right now. And if I was a homeless person with a serious stash of those plaid bags, I'd get Rami on the horn ASAP.
The Too Soon Crown goes to Elisa, who, sure, could maybe work on her pitch, but made a daring look that was somehow artsy, hippy and Ke$ha-y all at once. And fit her model perfectly. The only way Sweet P should have been allowed to stay for her terror-y cloth dress is if she had presented it to the judges magic-towel style and they watched it transform into a dress from a Mickey Mouse–shaped disc that fit in the palm of their hands.
Elisa leaves us with the grace and the kind words I hope everyone will remember her for (spit, schmit!), and I cross my fingers that we'll see her again as a blessing-giving helper bee later in the season.
I don't have enough time to process Elisa's departure, though, as the season's teaser trailer shows us a possible Austin Scarlett/Isaac Mizrahi smackdown and more tears than the aftermath of a "Bachelor" group date. Next Thursday can't come soon enough!!
Did you think the right designers were in and out this week? Did you vote for your favorite? There's still time!