Project Runway All-Stars Recap: Episode 3

Managing Editor

Due to technical difficulties, I missed out on last week’s episode. They were doing gowns for the opera, and some were stunning. Some were very much not. Austin won, and Sweet P was out. I have opinions, but oh well. It was going to happen sooner or later. Tra la.

Meanwhile, StraightColin has come back from his travels around the nation. He’s once again going to lend his own brand of insight and snark to my recaps. You should be excited. Because I certainly am.

Angela gets right down to it and informs the designers that they’re going to design a flamboyant cocktail dress for one of the most famous fashonistas in the world. Austin starts dreaming about making pasties for Madonna and Cher, but the reality is much more awesome (odd?): Miss Piggy. Who will be present to judge as well. Oh, good lord.

StraightColin says: They’re going to have to stand there and be berated by a puppet. Next week they’re going to have on Charlie McCarthy and Buster. “Who’s the dummy now?”

Mila is apparently only taking this seriously because other fashion designers have designed for her. And this must of course mean that she doesn’t wear anything silly. This leads me to wonder whether or not she’s ever actually seen any of the Muppet films.

It’s a mad rush at Mood, and everyone’s diving for pinks. This is a smart move as it’s her signature color. I’m not sure why people are bringing up darker fabric… yes, you’re making cocktail dresses. But as Anthony so eloquently put it, you’re doing it for a Muppet. Let’s take this a little be farther, shall we?

Gordana’s loving her soft, lady-like design, and I can’t say I disagree. Mondo thinks it’s quiet and soft, but that it doesn’t make enough of a statement. I’m thinking along the same line. The keyword was “flamboyant.” Rami comments about the mounting pressure, which seems to show in a bit of a passive aggressive argument about accessories.

Oh, and apparently Mila has seen Muppet stuff before. Kara’s beside herself to sex up Miss Piggy, and I love it. She seems genuinely joyful about the prospect of designing for a Muppet. Rami’s polka dots are mildly disconcerting, but I trust in his vision. And his chest hair. Michael’s a little dismissive of it, calling it a little safe. April, on the other hand, is throwing herself into the work and trying to stay out of anyone’s business. Good call.

Joanna show’s up to mentor the designers, and she seems legitimately excited about the challenge. We begin with Gordana, who wants to present Miss Piggy in something a little more youthful. Which apparently means something from Old Navy’s Summer 2003 collection. I’m feeling a little less confident about this as I see it. Joanna’s getting a night gown vibe, Gordana insists it will be comfortable.

I love how dedicated everyone is to talking about Miss Piggy as a real person, but Joanna is so hilariously elegant in how she tells Gordana that she’s a puppet, comfort isn’t an issue.

StraightColin says: Cue talk about double spanx. What? Had to throw in a weight reference? Let’s consider for a moment Miss Piggy’s confidence here. As if it wasn’t enough that that she was named Miss Piggy, now we have to remind her of her weight.

With Kenley, Joanna pointedly asks how a pig would feel about wearing a giraffe print, but Kenley doesn’t seem phased considering she wears leopard. Austin, apparently, is a kindred spirit to Miss Piggy. I’m hardly surprised.

Miss Piggy brought Mondo joy in his childhood, so he wants to mirror that joy in the fashion of the 60s. I’m not sure I entirely understand, but… ok. Joanna says farewell, still staying dedicated to the fantasy of Miss Piggy. I love every minute of it.

Mila thinks Kara and Kenley are being codependant, and thinks that’s bad. Sure, it’s a competition, but if last season has taught us anything it’s that you can be friendly and helpful and still compete. If it’s a design challenge, then the best design will shine through. Simple as that.

And then there’s a bit of a catty mess between Austin and Kara. Kara, who clearly had an accessory plan, finds out that Austin has sniped her stuff. Yes, Austin, it’s a competition, but don’t pretend you’re being friendly when you’re just being viscious.

What the hell is on Austin’s head? I hope he has castanets. And Eric Daman looks like he’s perpetually fighting back a vomit burp.

Here’s my quick reaction to the runway. See more, of course, on the Breaking Down the Looks post:

  • Michael – It’s too dark for Miss Piggy. It’s nice, and he’s apparently learned to sew, but I’m not sold.
  • April –Not big enough. She’s a puppet, not a runway model. Go bigger.
  • Jerrel – The shoulders and the dress don’t seem to go too well together. From the neck up she looks very 20s, but the rest is another dress entirely.
  • Kara – I love Kara’s look, but I’m not sure Miss Piggy is a midriff kind of girl. It’s a hot twist on rockabilly chic, though. I just don’t know if it’s this challenge.
  • Kenley – It’s a very cute take on a 40s cocktail dress. A little Katy Perry. It’s well done, but it almost seems too simple. It’s a print and a cut.
  • Anthony – Oooh… I love the feathers, I LOVE the back. It’s very polished. I want it. But again, I’m not sure if it’s Piggy.
  • Rami – My first thought was Dolly Parton n 9 to 5, but I think it works for this challenge.
  • Mila – Very mod, very go go, but not very Piggy. Step it up, Mila.
  • Gordana – Surprisingly pulled off. It really looks very sweet, but almost not cocktail enough.
  • Austin – I really don’t understand this. There’s less organic shape in this than there should be on a puppet woman with curves. And holy crap the bows.
  • Mondo –The dress is very fun, and rather cute, but it looks like she can’t move in it. She looks like Jane Jetson.

Georgina thinks Austin’s look is built well, but that the color scheme is a little bit off. I agree.  The stylist dude thinks the bows show a lack of consideration for a mature pig’s figure. Granted, he himself seems to have dressed from Austin’s closet, but nevermind. Piggy is concerned that she wouldn’t be able to hula hoop in the dress. A reasonable concern.

StraightColin says: It looks like something you’d see on someone reclining on a ches lounge with burgundy velour apholstery. In a cat house. And it’s structured like a German expressionist painting.

Rami fell in love with the polka dot organza, and makes a great metaphor about rose petals. The judges are glad that he went for it. In hindsight, he seems to be one of the few who went big and quirky and fun, and I’m on board. Georgina is concerned about the seams with the polka dots, but other than that everyone is loving how fun it is. Piggy thinks it’s garish, outlandish, and ridiculous… and she loves it.

We could see Miss Piggy in Gordana’s dress, but then I think we have seen her in it before. The judges don’t think it’s big enough for the red carpet premier, and I agree. They are, however, impressed by Michael’s look, and Piggy thinks it looks like a present for Kermit. I’m just not sold. It looks well done, and I’m actually surprised given his construction problems in the past. It just reads a little too dark for the Miss Piggy I grew up with.

Mila struggles with flamboyance, as it’s not true to her point of view. That’s well and good, but this is Miss Piggy’s red carpet, not Helena Bonham Carter’s.  As Piggy says, it does not scream Miss Piggy, “It whispers it.”

And the winner is… What? Michael? Ok. Well… there you have it, kids. The first “WHA?!” moment of the season. Rami and Austin are safe. Gordana’s dress wouldn’t stand out in a crowd too much and it’s just pretty. Mila didn’t consider her client enough. And apparently the bigger sin is not pushing the envelope enough… rather than not designing for a client. Now, I know I can’t really compare the ruling here to the ruling in Project Runways past, but really? You design a gown that doesn’t have your clinet in mind at all and somehow that’s better than desiging a lovely gown perfect for the client that just isn’t big enough? I don’t know what to think.

What about you guys? Should Mila’s go-go look have gone-gone? Did Rami’s candy store explosion deserve the win? Let me know in the commnets! And check out Breaking Down the Looks for my full reactions to the runway!