Project Runway All-Stars: S2, E2

Last week, I mentioned that I was a bit fatigued by Project Runway, but this week it occurred to me that this season is actually off to a promising start. The All-Stars episodes are one hour, instead of an hour and a half like Season 10, and I think the brisk pace suits the show – less workroom drama, more focus on the fashion. I’m also finding most of the cast appealing (and, when not appealing, at least interesting), and the fashions the designers turned out this week were solid overall. All in all, I’d say the second round of All-Stars is off to a much better start than the first edition.

The Challenge: Carolyn and some random executive for the Jones Group (who?) tasked the designers with creating a party look for a night on the town, inspired both by disco and a Nine West shoe (product placement alert!) of their choosing. Maybe it’s just me, but disco seems like one of the more random inspiration points for a challenge – of every era and style you could choose, you choose that? Plus, the word “disco” doesn’t exactly scream fashion-forward to me. But I guess that was the challenge?

My Top Three:

  • Joshua: This was a striking look, and I absolutely loved the vibrant turquoise fabric Joshua chose. I also thought the pantsuit was a nice choice – it evoked the ’70s but still looked wearable today. Joshua also include lots of nice details: the shiny lapels, the cute belt, and the cutout in the back. Joshua may be ridiculous, but I’m liking his work this season.
  • Laura Kathleen: She said her look was meant to evoke Diane von Furstenberg in the ’70s, and since I love DVF, I loved this look. The jacket was cute, but I loved the outfit even more without it since you could really see how striking (and fun!) the jumpsuit was.
  • Emilio: I just loved Emilio’s dress; he somehow made hot pink and hot yellow shiny fabric look sleek and chic. I thought this did a great job of fusing together the disco aesthetic with a ballgown – which is an odd combination, but I think Emilio pulled it off.

My Bottom Three:

  • Wendy: Oh, dear Lord. I don’t think I got the full effect of this outfit’s atrociousness from glimpses in the workroom, but I sure did when it walked down the runway. First, the bell-bottom pants? They were way too flared, and the material Wendy used for them was flat-out tacky. Second, this look was way overdone, particularly the metal chains hanging off the pants and the black gloves. The top was okay, but not good enough to save the outfit (or Wendy herself).
  • Suede: I hated Suede’s dress – it looked like a bulky, lumpy, wrinkled sheet. Wait, not just a wrinkled sheet, a wrinkled sparkly gold sheet. There was way too much fabric and way too little design in this garment. I cannot believe this wasn’t in the judges’ bottom three.
  • Andrae: My first thought was that it literally looked like Andrae’s model had a raw piece of purple tulle wrapped around her – what the hell? Also, once she took off her “coat,” there was nothing to the look; you were left with a simple pencil skirt and rather plain top.

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “Laura Kathleen is a sweet girl, but she can be a little annoying at times. I’m more interested in being in the mix with more of the real designers, like Emilio and Uli. Those are people I feel like are more designing on my level.” (I’m sorry, but was Althea this big of a bitch in her original season? I don’t remember her being this catty).
  • “If you want to make a costume for the ’70s, Wendy is killing this challenge.” (Laura Kathleen on Wendy. Guys, Laura Kathleen wants you to know that she’s mean, she has no friends in this competition, and she’s in it to win it).
  • “It’s like Mad Max. ‘Welcome to Thunderdome!'” (Joshua on Wendy Pepper’s look. Please note that the way he pronounced “Thunderdome” was fabulous).
  • “Just the word ‘blazer’ makes me shrivel up a little.” (Joanna to Laura Kathleen. Girl, what do you have against a good blazer?!)
  • “So, I’m feeling a bit of white man’s overbite when I look at this.” (Every week, there’s a moment that reaffirms my love for Joanna Coles, and this exchange with Suede was that moment. One, Joanna demonstrated the white man’s overbite dance. Two, she reminded me of Billy Crystal in my all-time favorite movie).
  • “I see these Mamma Mia inspired bell-bottom pants and I’m like…puuuke.” (Joshua on Wendy Pepper. He may be overly bitchy at times, but at least you can count on him for a good soundbite).
  • “And then there’s Suede’s. I’m not gonna dance in that dress. It’s like you’re stuck in a golden refrigerator.” (Uli on Suede. His dress was solid gold, but I’m a little lost on the refrigerator part of the analogy).
  • “That outfit belongs on the streets, in some back road at five in the morning.” (Uli on Wendy Pepper. Uli was a bit sassy – albeit in the sweetest way possible – this episode, no?)
  • “Talk to me about how this is referencing the ’70s…I mean, perhaps this was a couple of years in the ’70s where I was asleep.” (Joanna to Uli. Oh, Joanna. We know you weren’t sleeping during the ’70s, but rather raving at Studio 54).

Random Bits + Pieces:

  • “I immediately gravitated toward the orange heel. It just kind of spoke to me.” I don’t think I even need to tell you that it was Kayne who spoke these words.
  • “To create a look in a day, that’s no time at all. So if you see a glue gun coming out…honey, that’s okay.” Honey, it’s not okay. In saying this, Anthony Ryan summed up my basic problem with this show: they simply don’t give the designers enough time. C’mon, producers. Get with the program.
  • “You know what I like about this challenge? Nightlife. Slutty. Casanova.” I’m not sure why it’s a plus to associate yourself with “slutty” designs, Casanova, but whatever. Also, note that he put air quotes around all three words, a la Joey Tribiani.
  • Okay, Suede and Wendy Pepper? That’s like the weird friendship EVER. Maybe Wendy can use her new-found influence over Suede to make him stop talking in the third person. Forever.
  • Moment #2 that reaffirmed my love for Joanna Coles, from her exchange with Casanova: “Excellent. I like the word ‘comfort.’ It’s so important in fashion, but no one ever talks about it.” Preach, sister.
  • Kayne led the group in a disco dance party at the end of the workday (pictured above). Of course he did. Also note how joyfully Wendy Pepper joined in; she appears to have become totally zen since her season. I was curious to see how long that would last but, sadly, after her elimination, I guess we will never know.
  • This week’s guest judge? Rafe Totengco, who designs handbags for Nine West. I knew he was an appropriate choice for this challenge, but my gut reaction was that I wanted to see a more “name” designer in the guest chair. However, Totengo offered very thoughtful critiques and won me over – he was a solid guest judge overall.

The Results: The judges named Uli the winner. Her look was not my favorite, but I like Uli so much that I couldn’t help but be pleased with her win. Wendy Pepper was sent home, which surprised me – I thought the producers would keep her around for the potential drama factor alone.

What did you think of last night’s PR All-Stars? Will you miss Wendy? Will Andrae ever put down the tulle and make a good design? And will Suede ever stop referring to himself in the third person, for the love of all that is good and holy?

(All photos via Lifetime)

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