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.