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.
And we're back! Didn't it feel like an eternity since the last episode of "All Star"?! But I think the wait was well worth itthis episode was the best one yet!
The episode kicked off with host Carolyn Murphy, sporting a very gender-neutral outfit, telling the designers that in this challenge they'd have to design an androgynous and avant-garde look for their models. Ohs, ahs and oh s**ts all around. "What the hell am I going to do?" Laura Kathleen stated with sass.
After the designers sketched out their looks, they went to Mood per usual. Half hour to shop. $150. "Thank you, Mood!" You know the drill.
Back in the workroom, just as the designers started getting down to business, the lovely Georgina Chapman sashayed into the space to basically throw off their game. The catch? The designers have to create looks for both male and female models. The silver lining? They got another trip to Mood, more money and an extra day to pull it off.
I felt like this episode really showed the close relationship between Ivy and Casanova. As you may or may not know, Casanova is Ivy's design assistant in NYC, so they're tight. I would even wager they're each other's biggest fans because the look on Ivy's face when Casanova showed her his design made it seem like he just created the best thing since slice bread. (RIP Wonder Bread.) And to top it off, Ivy gave him her extra money during the second trip to Mood!
But from one romance to a bromance, I was LOLing when Joshua put on Anthony Ryan's evening wear look and strutted across the workroom. It didn't seem like it was the first time he's walked the imaginary catwalk…
The laughs kept rolling in when Joanna Coles came to critique the designers. My favorite moment? (And I'm sure you'll agree with me.) Two words: ball room. I don't even need to elaborate.
(Sidebar: Not gonna lie, I enjoyed seeing the male models take their shirt off in the workroom. It was, uh, a nice change of pace. Yeah, that…)
On the runway, I have to say that I was actually impressed with what the designers pulled off in what little time they had:
Joshua: I thought this was his strongest week yet. When I first saw that he was going to use blue fur, I was a little worried for him. But he was able to pull it off! (And speaking of pull it off, can someone please retire those blue pumps! I'm so tired of seeing them!)
Uli: The first word I thought of when I saw her models was "cool." The looked effortlessly confident and I just adore the trim! The whole look was very non-Ulishe really stepped outside her comfort zone. As Isaac said, "It was sick…in a good way!"
Althea: Loved the coats. The rest of the look? Not so much. But I do think the coats were enough to keep her "in."
Laura Kathleen: This challenge was definitely a struggle for her and like the judges said, you could really tell she couldn't bring her thoughts together to create cohesive looks. I get where she was going, but at the end of the day, both designs looked like a beginning-level designer created it. And I think she's much better than that.
Emilio: Love, love, love. I almost couldn't tell who was the male or female. (The female model was jacked!) Flawless. He deserved to win, without question.
Kayne: I feel like both his looks were more feminine than masculine. They should have been a balance of both. The scarf around the male model's neck was bizarre, as were his short shorts. And the styling was equally weird. I didn't get the white eyebrows. I like Kayne, I really do. But I feel like this look warranted his exit.
Casanova: All I could think when his models were walking down the runway was, "I love goooooold." Click here if you didn't get that reference.
Ivy: I didn't mind her look. I didn't love it either. It was sort of forgettable to me. She's had stronger weeks.
Anthony Ryan: Another set of models who I couldn't tell apart! Anthony Ryan just gets it…every challenge. That's all I got.
Your turn: Which look was your favorite? Sound off!
Last week's elimination was the weepiest in the short history of "Project Runway All Stars" — for almost-out contestant Michael Costello and the fans, who were not ready to send home our sweet, hilarious Anthony Williams. Especially after a challenge he had in the bag. At least in execution and making us laugh. But life's a sewing machine-littered stage for Mr. Williams, who, post-departure, chatted with me about his haters, his lovers and how he can help me get a man. Because "Hi, Hot White Guy!" will apparently only get me so far.
Lisa: Have you gotten a good response from people since Episode 5 aired? This is the first “All Stars” elimination of that the fans were really upset about FYI.
Anthony: Everybody has been so amazingly positive and supportive and I did not know how people were going to respond to the whole situation. I was very pleased with the way I came off on television and I think that people really got the message so I was happy about that.
Well that’s good! But what was the message?
The message that it could’ve gone any way. You know, it’s all about perspective. From the perspective of “Project Runway” and Lifetime, I did not obey — oh, that’s such a strong word — I did not follow the rules but the rules were… you know, I say this all the time: if you do not put it in ink, I think that rules are subject to miscommunication in some way because I thought something different at the beginning of the challenge and then Joanna Coles said something different in the workroom and then on the runway, it became something else so this could have gone any way. I’m not going to say that I should have stayed and someone else should have gone home but from a different perspective, everything could’ve been different.
You said you liked the way you came across; did you mean just the last episode, or all season?
No, the whole entire season. I thought I looked amazing, you could see that I lost weight, there is an obvious improvement in my work and my confidence. I didn’t have an agenda, I wasn’t looking for anybody to give me anything, you know, I came in with just Anthony and that’s all I had to offer. I came in with Anthony and I walked away with just Anthony.
There was something you said at the end of the episode when you were consoling Michael, that “All Stars” gave you what you needed and you’re ready to go on to the next path. What is the next part of your journey?
Well I want my own show that shows me in my whole capacity and uses me as a catalyst to work with people and celebrate other individuals. So that’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to see how I evolved and see if I was proud of myself and mostly see if I could maintain an audience with just my presence alone, and I could. They could have blocked out everyone on that show and I guarantee I could’ve maintained that audience.
It’s funny that you mention that because when I was watching you going around and talking to people to get their clothes, that did seem like what you were doing, like you were just hosting your own show. A show were you go around and asked people for their clothes off the street.
That’s what I did and it’s interesting because I was the only person on the runway to say the exact name of the person who I received the clothes from because I learned a long time ago that it is so important to remember a person’s name and the reality of it is that I need them, it is very important in the moment that I celebrate them because at the end, they’re doing me a favor so I will always find a way to connect with you in some aspect.
Then really, in this challenge, you feel like you kind of won it in your own way?
Most definitely, I think that you just hit the nail on the head! I won it because I remained Anthony, I didn’t have to step outside my box, it wasn’t a challenge to talk to other human beings, I was really just myself.
Diego was the other breakout star of the episode. I want you to give me lessons on how to get a man!
Well the first thing you have to do is get your confidence in check and don’t let his body be the focus. Did you notice? Everybody was surrounding his body. I was like, “I don’t give a damn about your body, give me the pants!”
Should I take this advice into the dating world?
Yes, you should. I went out with a guy on a date and he was very muscular and he flexed his arm and he was like, “Do you like that? Do you think that’s sexy?” and I’m like, “No, sweetie, you must think I’m the average. I don’t give a damn about you having muscles.”
Are you currently dating and looking for a man?
I’m looking for someone who understands that I’m really just a person. Don’t get caught up with what you see on television, I still have to check my account before I go to the mall. I want to be with a guy who sees me for me and understands that I’m not perfect, and I need a guy who gives me a little room to flip out. And I’ll tell you this is so interesting, but I love nerds. I date nerds and we get along so well. I love nerdy men. I love corny jokes. I love nerdy guys.
Sometimes opposites attract!
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. We are opposites. The only time it’s become a conflict is when it’s time to go somewhere formal and they still pull out their old New Balance sneakers and I’m like, “Take them off!”
You said that in this competition you were taking daggers for having a personality. Who was giving you any crap for having a good personality?
Mila. We were standing and talking about something and Mila’s like “Designers over here and personalities over there,” and I’m like, you know what, I hate that. Nobody gives a damn about watching a show where people are sitting in front of a sewing machine and just stitching dresses. At the end of the day, television is about entertainment. There is nothing entertaining about watching somebody stitch a dress. If so, they can just take a camera and they can just set it up at any sweatshop in China and just film the women showing there. And even though people say [Mila] doesn’t have a personality, the reality of it is, that is still her personality. And part of your talent is your personality. I have found in this world that your personality will sustain what your talent can’t even get you.
During your time on “All Stars,” did you make any surprise friendships, obviously not with Mila, but with any of the other contestants?
I can’t get mad at Mila for being who she is but I really connected with Kara and Rami and I wasn’t too sure we’d click at all. Rami and I actually talk every day and he’s been to Atlanta to visit me, I love Rami and Kara! Kara is… let me tell you what I think is interesting about that. They edit Kara to make her look like she’s crazy and all over the place and blah, blah, blah but she’s the only one of us who’s selling her clothing at Neiman Marcus. Kara is a good person and so is Rami.
I don’t know if you saw, but there’s an Anthony vs. Jerell video on myLifetime.com right now and it’s a mashup of your one-liners and hilarious comments (yall can watch it below!). Did you feel in competition with him, like who’s the wittiest, who’s the funniest?
Oh no. Jerell is funny as hell, I did not know he is as funny as he is because you don’t get to hear what other people say in their interviews. One thing I can’t compete with is the wittiness and the frankness and the bluntness and the factness, all of that is me, I can’t ever compete with somebody else and be the best Anthony I can be so no, we weren’t ever in competition. But did I laugh at him as much as I laughed at myself? Yes I did, he is hilarious.
The preview for the next episode shows Jerell and Michael going head-to-head with a similar look. If you got to choose what one designer to go up against, who would it be?
Michael Costello. I would want to go against him because he’s been getting a lot of praise for some very mediocre work and I think that the work is beautiful but I think that when you sign up for “All Stars,” it’s not just a title, it’s a responsibility. I don’t know if it’s something about his work but he’s judged really unfairly against the ones who really put time and attention into what they’re doing and taking all of the technicalities of the situation. I really think that somebody could beat him in a challenge.
And who do you want to see win?
I would love to see Rami or Austin Scarlett win. I think they not only have the work ethic but they have the character. You got to have the character that will allow you to build a bigger business and I think that they have the work ethic and the character to allow them to do so, especially Rami.