Season 5, Episode 2 Recap: Let It Flow

It’s Thursday, it’s time for a new challenge, and for those of you who are keeping track, we have yet to lose a single contestant. As I learned from “Troop Beverly Hills,” “too many accessories clutter an outfit,” so let’s get eliminating, shall we?

The group raucously arrives at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Next to the poised principal dancers stretching at the barres, the designers look like an overstimulated kindergarten class.

Alyssa, pretty in pink, encourages the All Stars to pay close attention to the fabric the dancers are wearing while they perform, as it will be inspiration for this week’s challenge.

The Challenge:

Create a design that showcases how fabric can move on the body and through the air. For added drama, there will be a wind machine on the runway.

After the gorgeous performance by the Alvin Ailey dancers, the designers sketch in the dance studio before heading off to Mood, where they have 30 minutes and $300 to shop. Everyone seems to have a sense of what they are creating apart from fäde, who says, “I usually let the fabric lead me.” Which would be fine if this were just your run-of-the-mill jaunt around Mood, but this is a competition with a lot on the line. Sometimes you’ve got to take charge of your own destiny, or at the very least take charge of the “Project Runway All Stars” challenge in front of you.

In the workroom we get a little more insight into the Sam and Mitchell feud: Sam blogged things that hurt Mitchell’s feelings. The whole thing frustrates Stella. She spits out the words “blog gossip.” I can only assume she is a total luddite. Okay, let’s be honest: If Mitchell wants to be in this business, he’s going to have to get used to the Sams of the world offering criticism of his work, solicited or otherwise.

As the designers get started on their looks I’m concerned that the runway show will be a little monotonous; flowing fabrics have a tendency to look the same. I guess it’s all in the details. So far, Kini is the only one ready to add a little extra zest–-he’s dip-dyeing his yellow fabric with some orange to make it look like a Hawaiian sunset. It’s a risk, but at least he’s trying something different. Aloha.

The monotony breaks when Emily, who has lost her voice and possibly her mind, decides to make shorts. She’d begun the challenge by making a kaftan, which Zanna pointed out was “very Georgina Chapman.” Emily understandably panicked, thinking she would have to do something to stand out as an original. How about some weird silky oversized see-through shorts? That’ll do it.

On the day of the runway we hear a bite from Daniel that gives me pause. He says he thinks the taste level of Valerie’s look is questionable. Earlier in the episode he told fäde that he loved his material. Daniel is the opposite of the canary in the coalmine.


Alyssa introduces Georgina, Isaac, and this week’s guest judge, singer/actress/Broadway star Vanessa Hudgens.

The Top:

Kini: A lightweight yellow gown with plunging neckline. The bottom portion of the dress has been dip-dyed in a lovely orange. It’s dramatic and billowy. Alyssa notes that the black belt around the model’s waist is perplexing and I agree that it breaks the look up in an inorganic way, though I don’t think the use of a belt is completely misguided. Isaac doesn’t like that the top half of the dress is lace, but I think it gave the runway some much-needed texture.

Valerie: Inspired by salsa dancing, it’s a floor-length coral dress that can move with or without the aid of a wind machine. As Isaac points out, the skirt of the dress catches the air, giving a simple yet dramatic effect. It’s darling.

Sam, the winner: Sam tells a story of a fabulous woman driving through Italy to her villa, and this is one of the rare cases where I totally buy the backstory. It’s a black and white striped high-low casual dress with a matching headscarf. This dress has purpose and, as Alyssa mentions, “a very distinct silhouette.” While I prefer Kini’s look this week, I am very appreciative of Sam’s understanding of the prompt.

The Bottom:

fäde: Inspired by a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, it’s a knee-length shiny bronze dress under a black and white overlay with a train. He’s added a thick collar made from the same bronze material as the dress. Whether they dislike the fabric or the silhouette, the judges can all agree that the look doesn’t work.

Alexander: As he says, he basically “created a balloon to capture the air and hold it as long as possible.” But it’s far more complicated than your standard-issue skydiving parachute. It’s a deep blue cape and body suit with a see-through dress with lace applique. Alexander also included lace cuffs, I assume as some sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to the overall superhero look of the garment? The trouble is, as Isaac points out, he’s taken it to a costume level. What woman would actually wear this?

Emily: Inspired by the fabric she chose, Emily has created a purple kaftan with rope detail on the neckline and those aforementioned shorts. Georgina says the cut reminds her of gym shorts. To top it off, Emily hasn’t accounted for her model’s undergarments, so a nude strapless bra is seen clear as day under the fabric. The whole thing is just odd.

I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge Sam’s streak of arrogance. These things happen when you’re young and feel on top of the world, but I wonder if he’ll pull back or get increasingly worse? Maybe Mitchell is right about him. Anyway he wins and Vanessa Hudgens says she’ll wear his design. Snaps.

We lose fäde and his teeny-tiny glasses this week. His comments at the end seem to indicate he’s learned nothing and will continue to be a free-spirited weirdo, which brings me joy, to be honest.


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