Project Runway All-Stars: Episode 11

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On last night’s Project Runway, the final three designers learned that their last challenge would be to put five looks together in four days. I was extremely confused by this – at this point in the competition, the designers are typically sent home, getting several months to work on their collections before showing at New York Fashion Week. But with this turn of events, it doesn’t look like the designers will get to show at Fashion Week – nor will they have the time and the budget to create truly “wow” looks. I suppose a lackluster final challenge is roughly on par with this lackluster season, but I was seriously bummed by this turn of events.

Also in typical Project Runway fashion, there was a “surprise” last-minute addition to the challenge, which of course was not a “surprise” at all because the producers insist upon doing it every season. Robo-Joanna informed the designers they would have to create a sixth look out of old scraps from past challenges. The use of old materials seemed like a crazy requirement – the judges always complain when final collections aren’t “cohesive,” so why force the designers to work with fabrics that potentially don’t fit with the collections they had already conceptualized and begun developing? Yet another head-scratching element of Project Runway All-Stars.

Since the final runway show won’t be until next week, I can offer no fashion commentary and critique here (which is a shame, really, because that’s pretty much the reason I started recapping the show). In any case, here are a few more scattered observations:

  • Austin’s mustache is gone! Hurray! All is right with the world again.
  • When the designers went to the Marie Claire office for their consultations/pep talk session, Joanna’s yellow dress was fabulous.
  • Is it just me, or does Mondo complain every single week that he’s “not feeling it” and “not inspired”? It almost seems like part of his process at this point – complain about how horribly he’s doing, and then ultimately create the winning look. This week, however, he took it to new extremes – he wasted his entire first day “lounging around the workroom” (in his own words). He came off like a huge jerk this episode, and I’m finding myself rooting against him.
  • How much do the models really matter? The designers always make a big deal out of selecting them, and this episode’s model casting was no exception (leading to a mini-catfight between Austin and Mondo). In a sense I understand it, but I also know that in all my years of watching Project Runway, I can’t remember ever noticing a model. It’s a fashion competition, and I’m always focused on the clothes.
  • I loved having Anthony back, as Austin’s temporary “helper” this episode. He’s solid as a designer, but more importantly, he’s a comedic-quote-generating-machine. What a gem.
  • Michael described his collection’s aesthetic as an “African safari.” Does anyone remember (the far-superior) Michael Knight from Season 3? He also described his final collection in similar terms and the judges hated it. I’m just sayin’…

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “He went from Errol Flynn to Kermit the Frog” (Mondo on Austin, post-mustache shaving)
  • “I love Austin and I hope he does well. But I think Austin’s collection most definitely requires the hands of Anthony L. Williams.” (Anthony on Austin. Welcome back, Anthony. I missed your utter fabulosity. Also, this line was not particularly bitchy; mostly I just wanted to quote Anthony.)

What did you think of the final challenge? Are you rooting for any of the designers, or are you simply ready for “All-Stars” to be over?

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