Project Runway All-Stars Recap: Episode 8

Managing Editor

We’re back once again my darlings, and there are only six designers left. My darling Kara is gone, and I love how much Kenley and Austin miss Kara. I miss her, too. Without Kenley, it would just be mean Auntie Mila making sure know one had fun. I don’t know that Jerrel deserved to go instead, but certainly Mila’s hooker with a heart of gold was more offensive than Kara’s “safe” look. Whatever.

And just so you know, and so your children will one day know, tonight was the night I tweeted back and forth with Rami. Yes – Miss – Honey.

The designers are, for some reason, on the lawn at the UN. Presumably there are a number of armed guards just off screen in case they decide to start shouting epithets at Boutros-Boutros Ghali. Or whoever the mayor of the UN is these days.

StraightColin says: The mayor? It’s like FourSquare now? If I visit Japan enough, I’ll be emperor?

Each designer is selecting a flag, whose colors and culture must influence their design. Mondo chooses Jamaica for the colors, Michael is really short and chooses Greece, Mila chooses Papau New Guinea because it’s a color-blocked, Jerrel chooses India because the flag is “embellished and ethnic,” Leather Daddy Austin chooses the Seychelles, and Kenley chooses Texas. I mean Chile. Then the designers get some time to sketch on the UN lawn.

We’re off to Mood, where Michael is of course going to drape some sheets onto someone. But the colors will be Greek, so that’s ok. Then Austin is all about elegance, and we get a glimpse of his extremely gestural, somewhat ephemeral concept. That kind of looks like Michael’s, if you squint. The last thing we need is another mystery about who stole what from whom.

Cut to Mila complaining once again that the designers are sharing input and opinions. “I’d give somebody help, but I’d only go so far.” Should we go back and review how much you wouldn’t help? Because you’ve said this every week. “It’s a competition, people are crazy, blargh.” Whatever.

StraightColin says: I’d help, but I’d only go so far. I’d stop when I was actually helping. Other than that, I’d totally help.

“I’ve never seen a polka dot flag before.” Good news, Michael. You aren’t making a flag dress. Well, maybe you are. But maybe Kenley is actually going to design something a little more interpretive. While you go steal coats.

Mila is taking this opportunity to do the exact same thing she always does (when she’s not dressing hookers) so that it’s very her. And I’m bored already. It looks like one of those outfits Cruella De Vil wears outside the Magic Kingdom. You know, it’s not the Magic Kingdom so it doesn’t have to be the look from the movie, but it’s still iconic? Did my Disney nerd just show too much? Screw it, you know what I’m talking about. For me, this drawing screams, “Bring me ALL OF THE PUPPIES!”

StraightColin says: When you have the proper balance, asymmetry can be incredibly compelling. But when you don’t do it right, it looks like you’re wearing the garment upside down. “Check out my avant-garde asymmetrical skirt.” Sorry lady, it looks like you’re wearing an inside out t-shirt for pants. I’m not buyin’ it.

Holy crap! Cut to Austin without his John-Waters-of-Fashion-Stacheion! He looks great without his little lip caterpillars! Aww, maybe they cocooned and flew away. Where’d that Upperliperfly go?

Wow, that was terrible.

In the other room, Kenley can’t decide whether she wants to eat or talk. So she does both. Meanwhile, Austin can’t handle primary colors. After the commercial, it looks like Jerrel is doing a sheer body stocking that’s embellished.

I can’t choose a single joke for Michael’s look, so I’ll let you decide:

StraightColin says: Poor Kenley’s just looking for a new friend.

Mondo’s goal is not to run his dress up a flag pole. I think that’s commendable. Also, yes, let’s not get too literal. Joanna enters and proclaims that this room is the most talented room in the history of Project Runway. Maybe I’m just a bitch, but I’d have to disagree solely because none of them have won. Meanwhile, Joanna doesn’t recognize Jamaica, but Mondo is stealing colorblocking. Oh no!

Quote of the night goes to Joanna: “It’s sometimes nice to have something special going on in the back.” Amen.

Joanna thinks Jerrel’s looks like a national costume, which I feel they were potentially warned against off-screen or maybe in their dossier. On to Michael, we’re shown a hula-hoop changing rooms on a dress form… much like the one we saw when Anthony (aww I miss Anthony) was talking the pants off of people a few episodes ago. Or that crappy “I’m in a shower” Halloween costume. Or a full-body bib. Or… nah, you get it. Mila thinks it looks pagenty, I say sure, if it was the Miss Stay-Puft pageant. HEY-O!

Jerrel’s just tearing fabric in the background, and all I can think is, “SHE HATED IT! SHE HATED IT! FINE! I’LL START FROM SCRATCH! NO BIG DEAL!”

StraightColin says: Joanna is really, really fixated on bras. What the hell happened with bras today? Did an ad exec from Playtex slap her across the face prior to filiming? “You stuff shirts over at Project Runway. Not good enough for our bras, eh? Nuts to you, lady! You’ll get no more support from us!”

I like the sound of Austin’s dress. We’ll see if it comes out okay. The colors are pretty amazing, but he’s had issues with execution in the past. We’re on to Mila, who is trying really hard to pronounce Papua New Guinea correctly. It reminds me of that scene from Wayne’s World where he’s trying to learn Cantonese. “The bird of paradise represents freedom, so I’m making a form fitted color blocked dress.” WHAT?

Hold the phone – Michael thinks primary colors are “totally off.” Austin is making a blue, yellow, white, and red dress… but the colors are “totally off?” Look, just because she doesn’t look like she’s about to inspire someone to write an epic poem or open a roller disco doesn’t mean it’s “totally off,” Megara.

Side note – I know this is only the second time we’ve seen Mondo this deep in the competition, but can I say how much I LOVE BitchyMondo? He comes out when it’s getting real, and delivers some of the absolute best lines of the season. “She could win… Miss World 2011.” GOLD.

And then Jerrel’s model has to leave the workroom to finish learning the choreography for Jai-ho. On to the runway!


Jerrel – Seriously. I’m waiting for her to serve me some naan and curry. Maybe some samosas. This is ridiculously literal. And it’s kind of sad.


Kenley – I love the cut, I love the design, I love the concept. It’s rough – the patterns are visually disruptive – but I think there’s definitely something here worth appreciating. And it absolutely does not look like a replication of anything she’s done before. She took an amazing risk with a new conglomeration… and you know what? It still looks like Kenley.

Austin – Not your best work, buddy. The concept had really amazing potential, but the bodice just came off a little sad. It moves really quite well, but there’s not enough holding things together to make it a workable look. Sure, you’re going for epehemeral, but you have to have an element that holds everything together. I mean, speaking of Aida, I’m pretty sure this is a community theatre version of her look in My Strongest Suit.


Mondo – It’s really, really elegant. There’s something alluringly 30s about it. The lines, the cut, the up-do, and the color panes in the back hint at something very deco that’s downright gorgeous. It hints at Jamaica just enough, with a nod to the colors of the flag that works. I’m sold.


Mila – Why is it that I want to reference Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye again? It’s like some kooky writer at DC Comics tried to combine Harley Quinn and Two-Face. What woman in her right mind would wear a long red asymmetrical dress, and in her left mind wear an LBD… at the same time? The lines are nice, there’s some fine design work in the neck, but there’s no way these two pieces actually, coherently combine. It’s a frankendress.


Michael – Speaking of Aida…

The judges start with Kenely, and Georgina likes the attitude. That French bitch thinks it’s beautiful, and she appreciates that she didn’t go too Spanish. One thing I’m noticing on further inspection is the raw edges on the ruffles. It looks like some sort of linen, which really would need a roll hem or something to keep from fraying. Isaac loves the spirit of it, and Angela wanted to see a poncho.

Jerrel loves Indian culture… clearly. Angela loves the white stripe down the arm… and that seems to be all she can say about it. Catherine says the idea may have started out well, but then it went to crap. Georgina think there might be too many ideas and that it’s veering into costume a bit. I think they’re all holding back.

Sidenote – StraightColin and I are just coming to the realization that Michael is downright liliputian. How did we never notice how short he was?

Georgina and Catherine think Michael’s dress is too pageant. Angela is bothered by the blue bow. I’m bothered by the whole thing. Tortured, by the way, is a great word for Austin’s bodice. And I like the colors, I don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone says. The cording is crap and the execution leaves a little to be desired, but I want a flowy dress in these colors. And at least it’s not the worst dress that Angela’s seen on the show.

Everyone loves Mondo’s slinky black dress, but Catherine hates the hair and Isaac hates the color panes. Angela is apparently going to have a contest with Mila for who says Papau New Guinea the weirdest. And then maybe they’ll forgive Mila for her crimes against textiles. Because they look confused as hell about her explanation. Isaac gets Communist Russia from Mila’s dress. Everyone is clear that this couldn’t be anyone’s dress but Mila’s. They’re equally clear that it’s simultaneously confusing and terrifying. It’s a Lovecraftian dress.

StraightColin says: “IA! IA! It’s the yawning maw of a new world! I see things in it! It’s full of stars! Cthulu fhtagn!”

The likes are muddled with buts, and the dislikes are muddled with hope. It’s a little difficult to say who’s in which seat just by watching this commentary. Mila was schizo, Jerrel was silly mixed up costume… it really is all over the place. Michael’s safe, but no surprise there. Mondo takes another win, and I don’t know that I agree entirely. I just feel like it’s Kenley’s turn. But oh well, at least she’s safe. They offer a distinct warning about comfort zone, thought. Austin’s safe, which means that Mila and Jerrel are on the chopping block. I mean, I like Jerrel more as a person, but I’m equally nonplussed by both designers’ output.

Aaaaand it’s Mila. Bless. Kenley is the last lady standing. I’ve liked Mila’s work in the past, but I really wasn’t too impressed this season. She fell into her colorblocking trap again, and it just got tired. Or something. I’ll improve this part of the blog when I actually post it. It will be worth wondering in what way she has grown as a designer because I sure as shit don’t see it.

What do you think? Should Jerrel have been sent back to Bollywood? Should Mila have even been in this long? Let me know in the comments!

  • 19yearslater

    Kenley doesn’t interpret anything. She makes a ’50s dress with some vaguely modern twist week in and week out. Mondo is right. She shouldn’t be there. But she should be there more than Mila should, so huzzah! Also Mondo is king of fashion and deserves every win ever.

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