Well, it’s week 5 of Project Runway All Stars, which means (in my completely subjective and arbitrary mind, which is the boss around here) that it’s GUT-CHECK TIME: Who are you rooting for? Are you even rooting for anyone? Is this season good or bad or kinda good but mostly boring or “fill in the blank”? Too much Michael? Not enough Mondo? Never enough Tim Gunn? Are you even still here with me? Helloooo?
I’ll let you handle those very important questions in the comments, while I recap the time that Project Runway forced regular folks on the street into giving their clothing to a bunch of fashion designers. Yep, it’s OPPOSITE DAY!
Angela greets the designers in the park and tells them that their challenge is to find “their muse” and design a look from that. Yep, because that’s how finding muses works. On TV, when a super model tells you to, and under insane time and location restraints. And always in the park. So in this case, “muse” = “a stranger you wouldn’t be scared to talk to.” Got it? Good. Anyway, the challenge is already a catch, but there’s a catch within the catch: They must convince their muse to give them the clothes off their back. Oh, but they can pay the muse for the clothes. And whatever money they don’t use paying off their muses (again, because that’s how muses work) they can use at Mood to buy fabric.
This is classic Project Runway nonsense. I love it and hate it all at once.
So the designers go around making strangers uncomfortable and asking them to donate their most cherished possessions so that they can be torn apart and sent down a runway for Isaac Mizrahi to snort at. In other words: FASHION! COUTURE! FABRIC DREAMSCAPES!
Austin finds a “punk, glam” artist girl to be his muse, and Kenley finds an unwashed American Apparel model to be her muse, and then Mondo finds an Asian college student with a cute dress to be his muse. Anthony’s muse just screams “MUSE.” Everywhere she goes, people are like, “Can I sculpt you? Can I paint you? Can I buy you diamonds and a dress and take you to a fancy state dinner as my date because by the way I am a prince?”
A stranger asking if I’ll be their muse? AGAIN? Ugh, fine.
Aww, I’m sorry, that was pretty mean. Anthony’s farmer’s market muse seems very nice, but she doesn’t exactly scream “fashion inspiration.” It is beyond my comprehension why Anthony saw that top and just HAD TO HAVE IT. Back to the challenge: Everyone uses the words “You are FABULOUS!” at least eight times. The Asian girl haggles with Mondo, which I LOVE. I bet she made her dress out of an $8 Ikea sheet, and she just sold it to him for $60. Get it, girl! Make sure to put “Project Runway Muse” on your grad school app!
Anthony convinces an unnaturally sexy man to strip down to his underwear, and all he pays the guy back with is a “smile”! And lots of screams. I guess it’s easy to be generous when you’re that hot.
“Ahhh, THERE’S my muse.” – Some creep looking at a picture of jam-packed underpants
Throughout the challenge nobody seems concerned that they are in public, offering to give people cash to take their clothes off. Unfortunately, there are no police officers around to arrest the designers for solicitation. That woulda kicked this show up a notch!
As if the first part of the challenge didn’t make them feel homeless enough, most of the designers are scrounging for cash at Mood to complete their materials. Kara literally has to beg for three dollars to get the fabric she wants/needs. Nobody wants to give Kara money, probably because they all know she should have gone home last week for that heinous ode to Neapolitan ice cream. But they do it anyway, and then everyone hugs, because God forbid there were a little drama on a REALITY COMPETITION TV SHOW.
My face exactly.
In the Workroom
Austin loves saying the word muse: “I love my muuuuse. She really is a muuuuuse, in the true sense of the word.”
Mondo says that the pressure seems to be getting to Michael, who’s coming off of two wins. It’s also getting to Anthony, who says he’s “not good at putting scraps together to get to beauty.” He can’t decide if his top should be a blouse or a vest or a cardigan. Based on the fabric, I think it should be lining the inside of a 70s jumpsuit. Or a garbage can.
Jerell’s muse is an older woman who looks like she could tie-dye your scarf and tell your future at the same time. But his look is all over the place, united by (as Anthony says) its unintentional homage to the movie Coming to America.
Then we learn Anthony’s adorable, frizzy-haired farmer’s market muse is named MAIVE. Oh, Maive! Maive, your name is perfect for you. Anthony’s smart enough to cover Maive’s busy print top with a jacket, but it’s still a mess, and Joanna is not impressed.
Michael’s design, so far, is all sorts of unflattering. It’s billowy and taupe with ugly doilies on the sleeves. After Joanna frowns at it, Michael smartly starts over and pieces together a more fitted peach sweetheart top. He might not be headed for a third win, but at least he’s not sending a clearance rack Forever 21 maternity top down the runway.
Jerell fits his look on his model, and it’s even worse on a human being. It looks so haphazard, yet so clearly intentional — intentionally offensive. But is she mocking people who perform in drum circles, or people who sell homemade candles out of their vans? It’s hard to say.
On the day of the runway show, we finally get a tiny iota of drama thanks to Kenley, whom we see in a montage being too loud, too bossy and too helpful to Kara. AKA being herself. Which enables Anthony to be Anthony (hilarious), regarding her: “If a black person says that you are loud, you are TOO LOUD.”
Michael and Mila gossip about how Kenley helped sew Kara’s pants, which they find both unfair and deeply pathetic. But then they don’t call her out on it! They just make mildly snide comments back and forth about it for a few minutes. Boooooooooo! If anyone deserves, and could rise to, getting ganged up on and patronized, it’s Kenley. Don’t be afraid to let her have it, designers! There are no cats for her to throw in the workroom, so you’re probably safe.
The guest judge tonight is Sean Avery, who is a professional hockey player who also interned at Vogue? What? A quick perusal of Wikipedia tells me he’s straight, yet loves women’s fashion, yet got in trouble for using a gay slur one time, yet supports same-sex marriage, yet are those tinted glasses? Who IS this guy?
Well, no time to unwrapped the enigma inside the riddle that is Sean Avery. We’ve got some fashions to instantly assess, covet and deride.
Michael: Michael is trying to convince us that those are shorts. Michael must be as high as his model’s wedgie if he thinks we’re gonna believe THAT one.
Austin: It’s girly yet dark, and pretty with just the right amount of goth. LOVE.
Kara: It’s clean and soft, but the pants concern me. Mostly because of how a normal-shaped human being could never wear them.
Mila: Black and white and stripes. From Mila? I think what I like most about Mila is how she always gives us something new and really pushes herself every week.
Jerell: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaa Puff, puff, PASS.
Rami: I love that Rami found a male muse, and that he turned it into a sexy yet professional women’s suit. The detailing on the shorts is perfect. But the hat, has got, TA GO!
Kenley: I sort of feel like Kenley missed her calling designing dresses for Barbie. This one in particular isn’t bad by any means, but it’s so busy, and there’s nothing that really ‘clicks’ and makes it more than a “hmm, that’s nice” for me.
Anthony: His jumpsuit has an interesting shape and the colors are fresh. And while it’s a huge improvement, it also has no correlation to his muse. Sorrrrry, Maive.
Mondo: LOVE IT! The inspiration is clear, but he went beyond it to create an entire look that is beautiful, fun, forward and yet sort of vintage.
Kenley, Kara and Mila are safe, leaving just the boys on the runway. Way to reach for the stars middle, ladies!
Critiques: The Highest and Lowest Scores
The Good: Rami. The judges love his shorts and their details, and how it’s “business,” but not boring. But they hate the hat. Sean calls it “forced.”
The Bad: Michael. Georgina thinks she looks like a tramp, basically. And those aren’t even shorts. It’s shaped like a swimsuit, and a saggy one at that. His model clearly doesn’t feel uncomfortable, and Michael doesn’t sound confident in his look.
The Bad: Jerell. Isaac says she looks like she should be in The Lion King on stage. Too much stomach! Sean Avery says he wrote down, “Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani at Burning Man on acid,” thereby fully validating his place here forever.
The Good: Mondo. Angela says she “would die for this outfit.” All the details are just perfect and flattering. Its both bare and covered at the same time. His model looks cool as all hell. The judges love how Mondo thinks about the overall look and the details, but Isaac thinks it’s so overstyled that the wearer couldn’t really add her own twist to it. I think he’s got a good point.
The Bad: Anthony. It turns out that Anthony only used the busy fabric for his clutch. They love the look, but they’re not happy with how much fabric he used from Mood. It didn’t “answer the challenge,” says Isaac. Anthony’s in trouble.
The Good: Austin. Georgina loves the proportions, and how it’s sweet and tough at once. Isaac doesn’t like the rip in the stocking, saying she looks “out of control,” but he likes it anyway.
The Winner: Rami is safe. And the winner is … MONDO! Finallyyyyyyyy.
You’re Out: Jerell is safe. So either Michael or Anthony will be out. OH NO! I think we know where this is going, since it’s a 2-time challenge winner up against a no-challenge winner who “didn’t embrace the spirit of the challenge.” And, yep: Anthony is out. Please don’t feel responsible, Maive the Muse.
Michael starts crying. He gives Anthony a hug and says, “I’m sorry.” Anthony tells Michael to buck up. “And I have cute shoes!” he declares. Oh, it’s so sweet I could die.
Anthony leaves with his head held high. I will miss his witticisms and chipper sweater vests. Now, if only Tim Gunn were here to lament Anthony’s too-early passing and tell him to go clean up his workspace. The end of the episode just feels useless without Tim. (The beginning and middle could arguably be placed in the same barrel, I suppose, since they’re also tragically Tim-less.)
Perhaps even more tragically: though he’s the most essential, Tim is just one of this season’s missing elements, whose collective absence have begun to fester and truly irritate my spirit as it goes. If next week doesn’t include at least one real, heated, longer-than-five-seconds interaction between some designers, SO HELP ME I WILL … complain? A lot? There’s not much else I can do in protest.
Next Week: It’s a “fashion face-off,” which I guess means that the designers will be pitted against each other in pairs. And Georgina will look away from one design like it literally makes her ill and say, “I wish I’d never seen that.”
(Images courtesy of Lifetime)