Project Runway All-Stars Recap: Episode 5

Managing Editor

Well I was absent again last week, and I believe in transparency and honest – I was kidnapped by a rogue squadron of fashion ninjas.

Actually that’s not true at all. But I did have some oral surgery – all of my wisdom teeth out – and was laid up for most of the weekend. At least the part where I also wasn’t having to choreograph and teach a haka or host and work Geek Bowl VI – the largest pub trivia event in the country. It was awesome, but then I crashed hard on Sunday. And I’ve been in mild pain for most of the week. But the good news is my oral surgeon treated me well in the way of pain suppressants, so now I’m here with StraightColin and a fuscia elephant in a tutu ready to dish on some Project Runway goodness.

Minor recap for last week – April’s out, and Michael won again. What the what? Shenanigans. We’ll drink about it later.

The designers start out in Central Park. Of course it’s not for a break, it’s a trap! It’s another design where the designers go out into the world to find inspiration. This time they have to find their personal muse. Mila seems to think you can’t be inspired by the gentry. Sad times indeed. Let them eat tulle.

And they have to take the strangers’ clothes! Kara seems terrified, while Anthony is convinced he’ll charm the panties right of someone. Rami is concerned that he’ll have to beg someone for their clothes. I’m sorry, darling, have you looked in a mirror? I’m pretty sure boxer briefs leap off of passerby of their own accord simply when you’re near. My underwear are already on a plane to NYC.

The designers are also able to use their challenge money to bribe the hell out of the people, too. Really, this could be easy. “Hey, you want to be on TV? Give me your clothes.” Come on, now. And hey, look, Mila found some dude in a color-blocked t-shirt. Surprise. Everyone is trying to bully people out of their clothes, and Anthony did it right. “Say girl, you’re gorgeous, I’m on TV, let’s do this.” Meanwhile, Austin looks like the bastard child of Audrey Hepburn and Professor Harold Hill.

Mondo finds an adorable Asian girl, Austin finds a well-coiffed hipster, Kenley finds a really laid back woman. I can’t tell if the boy Kara is convincing is flirting because he’s straight or because gay men are just floored by accents.

StraightColin says: Chickens were hatching? CHICKENS WERE HATCHING? This is how he imagines spring. It’s like a cross between the Birth of Venus and Zippity-Do-Da.

Oh, hello nurse! Now Anthony is literally charming the pants off of some topless beefcake. Huminuh-huminuh-huminuh. I just rewound that four times while blushing and laughing like Hyacinth Bucket. “Hi, hot white guy, how are you?” I think I just peed myself. “Take ‘em off honey… back off bitches! This one’s mine!” Oh LORD. “And all I’ll give you in return is a smile.” Holy crap. And that was the time Anthony made the day of every single passerby in that damn park. Holy Jesus. I need a drink.

StraightColin says: That’s actually his name. Every Tuesday, corner of Union Square, Hott Whiteguy. The original Welsh spelling is Wytgyh.

We’re off to Mood, and really, does it matter? Everyone in here is clothed; no one is stripping down to their skivvies. I’m nearly losing interest. Nothing about this episode is worth watching unless Rami plans on getting down to his Diesels. Michael is sad and out of money because he threw it at people for their Anthropologie sweaters. And poor Kara needs three dollars. Can someone cut a girl the price of latte? Come on now. Oh, wait! Michael tossed Kara a dollar,  and Anthony gives her some change! Sharing is caring, kids. Love it!

Tangent – every time StraightColin and I see Kenley’s name on the screen, we start singing the song from this video.

Enter Joanna Coles on Day 2, and I want to snatch the jacket right off her back. It’s so Michael/Madonna chic. She thinks street style is in Mondo’s ball park, and I’d have to agree. He certainly throws his own looks together from seemingly arbitrary pieces. And then Jerrel… I don’t know if I should start singing We Are the World, or order some sopapillas.

StraightColin says: I don’t even know what to say here. It’s terrible that we’re kind of making a stereotyped generalization, but it’s like Coming to America and Frida Kahlo took a running start and smashed into each other. His accessory will be a horse tail flyswatter. Why not just go all the way? Is there one over there on the Neiman Marcus wall? Is there? It reminds me of the part of Trading Places where he’s like, “Merry New Year!” I mean, crap. “Let your sooooul glow.” For real. For real, man. Joanna just needs to come over and go, “Hell no. What are you doing? This isn’t collage.”

Mila makes the stunning observation that Austin’s look is overworked As if that’s news. Anthony seems to finally have a goal, though it appears that he disrobed half the park. Without, again, the slightest bit of bribery. Joanna is used to him being the gown guy, but thinks he can pull it together. Michael is giving off a wounded bird vibe when Joanna says his sweater looks like a doily. Which StraightColin and I definitely pegged. He could have balanced that out with a lighter brown/beige – maybe off-white – as opposed to that cocoa color he went with. As it is, he’s just highlighting the doily. Or seeing as how he’ll have had two days, he could have dyed the knit piece.

Honestly, if Jerrel lost the neck piece, the bunched tube top and sari bottom might be something you’d see on Venice Beach in the summer. The weird thing is that shoulder thing is interesting; it just needs a wholly different look. These are three pieces from three different looks, and that gold collar doesn’t help all.
I’m loving the ladies’ looks, and we just realized there’s been no time spent showing the ladies in this challenge. I’m actually very excited by all three of them, and the bits of Kara’s garment I’m seeing look fabulous.

Back to Michael’s look, and suddenly we’re met with a tablecloth top and a herringbone diaper. Every time someone does short shorts in the history of Project Runway, someone forgets to spray the model’s ass with Aqua Net and we get catwalk full of butt cheek. It never, ever works. And at least one judge says it looks like a diaper. Every time.

StraightColin says: What is he going to do on top of that? That’s it? The 40s swimsuit? It’s interesting, but it’s a swimming costume. With a belt.

Meanwhile, we’re treated (?) to some sideboob by the fashion school project that is Jerrel’s look. Kara is a much kinder soul than I am; she says there’s a lot of woman in one outfit and she can’t figure out who this woman is. I agree, but I’ll say it in a much more catty way.

And then, Michael – who has a really cute history of accusing people of copying him – goes to Mila and says that Kenley is finishing Kara’s pants. Now, the editing of this episode doesn’t necessarily lend any credence to that. Nor does it detract from the claim either. There’s a lack of evidence here. What I see is Kenley assisting with a potentially problematic seam or closure, and I don’t know that that’s ever been an issue on Project Runway. They encourage people to talk with each other. Or at least they seem to. And in more than one episode in seasons past, designers have rallied together to assist one another when the clock is ticking. Would Anya have won last season if there hadn’t been a number of episodes where someone assisted her with hems or alluded to her having no sewing skills at all? Seriously. If Kara gets thrown under the bus for this, I will be livid.

This is a bit of a tangent, but I have a real problem with people who accuse others of cheating in a competition. In almost every case, it’s a last-ditch attempt for the accuser to grasp some sense of security within the competition. If there was cheating, there would be evidence. We’ve seen people kicked off for having patterning books. The producers don’t just stand by and let people cheat. This smacks of Michael being terrified that he won’t win again. This is me liking Michael less and less. And Mila is right behind him. We get it – you’re in it for yourself and you don’t want to help anyone and you don’t want anyone else’s advice. That’s how you play. Fine. Why do you have to be so catty about it when others operate differently?

StraightColin says: Wow, that’s kind of petty. “Why are you trying to give advice? Don’t you want to win?” As if the two were mutually exclusive. Sometimes it’s not a stretch for people to show kindness.

We’re off to the runway, where a very sexy hockey player – Sean Avery – is apparently also a fashion industry expert. I’d be laughing if I weren’t so turned on.

And in the interest of consolidating my workload and keeping things a little more focused, I’m doing away with Breaking Down the Looks and just dumping the runway on here. I figure if you’re a big enough fan to be reading my recaps, you don’t mind if the post is a little long. Here we go!

Michael – The little bit of ombré  is neat, but that right boob is damn unfortunate, and the off-centered pattern on the diaper shorts makes it look like she’s trying to tuck some pipe. If ya know what I mean. It’s just sad, bland, and saggy.

Austin – It’s not bad, but it’s definitely overworked. There’s a little too much going on at the left shoulder. And there’s something weird about that piece in the middle. It’s off centered. Her left shoulder looks three inches longer than the right one… or like her head was put on in the wrong spot. Like a recalled Barbie.

Kara – Oh. Kay. We’ve reached our first mile marker. I’m kind of glad we didn’t see any of this prior to now, because it really makes up for the rest of the dross we’ve seen in the episode so far. The pants are amazing, the hodgepodge of the top is inspired, the styling is sexy, and the whole look is very Kara. It really comes together. My only concern is that there may not be a full 50% of the street clothing present.

Mila – It’s nice to see a lighter hand with the monochromatic color blocking. There’s still no color, but at least it doesn’t look like a walking Mondrian painting. The pants are actually sleek. It’s a masculine look on a woman, and it’s clearly inspired by the male muse. I really, really want them. Even the shapes are indicative of the original; these gestural elements really make the connection. The lapels on the vest are weird, but there you go.

Jerrel – StraightColin and I disagree now on who this woman is. He thinks she’s the cover of the Noisettes album, I say it’s Gwen Stefani. But really that’s the problem with this look, as Kara said – it’s not one woman. It’s not even every woman. Whitney Houston is crying somewhere. Though it’s probably not to do with fashion.

Rami – We didn’t see much of this throughout the episode either, and it’s similarly a pleasant surprise. It’s very Mary J. Blige. A masculine look with a feminine twist, but I feel like we’re missing parts of the original. Or we’re only seeing one photographic element and not the three or four other people he stole clothes from. His vesty coat is better than Mila’s. That’s my opinion. StraightColin thinks I just hate lapels. And he’s right. Ever since they mugged my mother.


Kenley – It’s a different silhouette than she usually sends down the runway, so that’s a start. And the stripes are patterned well within the garment, there’s just something about them that hurts my eyes. It’s too active – the high contrast patterning does that optical illusion thing that gives me a headache. And what the hell are those hip things? Those better be pockets.


Anthony – I’m shocked. In the best way possible. It’s like contempo Anything Goes. If she had a white cap instead of a red cap, it’d be something straight out of Busby Berkely or Vincente Minnelli. And I’m glad that whackadoodle top made it in somehow, even if it was just as a handbag. Again, though, this looks like less than 50% of the borrowed goods.


Mondo – I was impressed when I thought this was three pieces: skirt, denim zip top, tiny shoulder jacket. I literally exclaimed out loud when she unzipped to reveal the jacket was one piece with a cute bikini top underneath. And the styling is killer. And it’s a better use of that style top than Jerrel sent down the runway. Bravo.

StarightColin says: Mondo’s look is a chic, runway take on half the outfits in Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. And I mean that in the best possible way.

The ladies are all safe, and that’s as it should be. I feel like the producers didn’t show us much of their work throughout simply because it wasn’t going to be the focus of any drama. They all three did solid work this week. Nothing phenomenal, but certainly not terrible. Nice work, ladies.

The judges like Rami’s look, they understand the woman, and it’s overall rather effective. It would be better if Rami would lose the shirt. Not hers. His. Georgina would send her daughter to change if she tried to walk out in Michael’s outfit. Angela thought it was a swimsuit. Isaac thins it’s too saggy, and Sean thinks it needs a jacket. Or maybe a doily?

We go to Jerrel, for whom Isaac uses a much more PC Broadway reference than I did to describe the absurdity of this outfit. He calls it costumey. I say to StraightColin that it looks like Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani got high and decided to trade clothes, and then Sean says the exact same thing. Hand to God I did not write this before seeing that comment. Holy crap. Maybe Sean should be my boyfriend instead of Rami.

I love that Mondo knows his muses names. Angela is dying over the outfit, Georgina is thrilled over the detailing, Isaac loves how bare yet covered it is, and Sean can picture a lot of girls in various parts of town wearing this look. Really, it’s to die for.

Everyone likes Anthony’s look, but they feel like he doesn’t fit the 50% criteria. I’m really hoping that doesn’t get him tossed. With Austin, Georgina thinks it’s sweet yet tough. Sean is more and more coming out as the most sensible person on the panel tonight, saying it’s a bit much. Apparently he’d double back to check out women, so I guess stalking him for his number is out, but I’m really impressed by the insight brought by this heterosexual athlete. Tonight’s episode is a lesson in both confirming and destroying stereotypes.

Suddenly, Rami is too bland. I disagree that there’s any artistry in Jerrel’s look. I’m glad they realize Austin has construction problems, and I’m bothered that they think Mondo’s look is too fashionable. That’s just a weird comment. And Anthony is hardly lazy. Yes, I was worried he didn’t use enough street fabric, but still. Leave my boo alone. Seriously, if he’s chucked for that I’ll be really bothered considering the floppy mess Michael sent down the runway.

Rami’s safe, bless him. And Mondo wins! Fabulous. Really he knocked it out of the park. Austin, thus, is safe. Jerrel should NOT have been safe. Are you kidding? There were basic elements of design he entirely neglected.

I cannot believe this. This is ridiculous. And of course Michael tries to make it about himself. Damn it to hell, I wanted to see some amazing stuff out of him this season. I’m glad he’s taking it in stride, though. Bless.

What do you guys think? Was Anthony’s lack of borrowed clothing really worth kicking him out? Was Michael’s diaper really worth saving? Will Jerrel’s look end up in a Gaga video? Let me know in the comments!