Quite belated, I know, so I won't waste any time with an introduction. Let's get right to reviewing the latest episode of Project Runway All Stars...
Challenge: After each selecting a luxury weekend bag (which never amounted to anything other than an alternative to the Velvet Button Bag of Death), the designers were paired up against each other for a FASHION FACE OFF! Each pairing was assigned a season and all were tasked with creating sportswear look for a weekend getaway during their season.
Spring = Austin vs. Kara
Summer = Mondo vs. Kenley
Fall = Rami vs. Mila
Winter = Michael vs. Jerell
For a challenge that could've easily been a boring "make a pretty look inspired by the seasons," this battle royale deathmatch-style twist was a great way to keep things interesting and wring a little drama out of this (relatively) drama-free season.
In the Workroom: When I said "wring a little drama," the emphasis should've been on little, because for the most part this was a fairly dull episode. The most airtime was given to Jerell accusing Michael of plagiarism and the Joanna Coles intervention that followed. To be honest, I think the general consensus was that Michael was indeed inspired by Jerell's look. After the entire workroom and Joanna sided with Jerell, Michael definitely did some tweaking and changing to make his outfit different enough from Jerell's to avoid any major comparisons.
The Judges: Joining Georgina, Isaac and New Heidi this week was Cynthia Rowley, who is certainly no stranger to Project Runway, having been a guest judge in four previous seasons: the Season 7 circus challenge, the Season 6 Getty Center challenge, the Season 5 college graduate makeover challenge, and the Season 2 lingerie challenge.
The Top Four:
- Kara (Spring) - I absolutely loved Kara's look. It was a bit simple, yes, but the colors were bold and fresh, the effect was incredibly chic, and the model looked absolutely ready for a fun weekend getaway in April.
- Kenley (Summer) - I mean, Kenley did a baby blue polka dot romper. Of course she did! She's nothing if not consistent, and it was perfect for the challenge, but the look was just a bit too twee for my taste and I really wish these designers would line up their polka dots!
- Mila (Fall) - This is exactly what I imagine Mila wearing for a autumnal retreat. It was super chic and high fashion, though I wish there was a bit less volume in the cape and perhaps a more vivid color pop in there.
- Jerell (Winter) - I understand that the winter season calls for layers and heavy fabrics, but I also know that women typically do not want to look 17 times their original size just because it's cold outside. Jerell's look used gorgeous fabrics and beautifully mixed prints, but the teased hair and extreme volume made the model look uncomfortable.
The Bottom Four:
- Austin (Spring) - Austin's look was absolutely inspired by spring, but unfortunately it was inspired by an 80 year-old grandmother going to the church bake sale in springtime. Everything was impeccably made, but I could not support those high-waisted pleated plants.
- Mondo (Summer) - Mondo spent too much time worrying about what the judges expected of him instead of what he wanted to make. I preferred his use of polka dots over Kenley's, but this certainly wasn't his best use of a print and the clothes by themselves were a little dull.
- Rami (Fall) - I just wanted to rip that turtleneck off the model and burn it because all it did was distract from that gorgeous blue jacket. From the back, that jacket was totally to die for, but that horrid pea soup green top and the poorly constructed pants just ruined the look.
- Michael (Winter) - Jerell 2.0 looked like a costume from Cats. The major pieces separately were nice, but when combined there was a serious lack of contrast and those forearm warmer were just bizarre. The judges called it sophisticated, but I just didn't see it.
And the winner is: Jerell, garnering a lackluster "meh" from me. Irina Shabayeva made at least three winter-inspired looks during Season 6 that were better than what Jerell produced this week. I thought Kara should've absolutely been awarded the win for her easy, breezy spring look.
Auf Wiedersehen to: Rami, who after wow-ing us in the first challenge seemed to just lose his way. He was definitely floundering these past few episodes, but I will always remember him for his beautiful Season 4 draping. I think he'd want it that way.
So despite an interesting twist, not the most interesting of episodes. I wish they could bring Anthony back just to comment on everything that was going on. Can he replaced New Heidi as the host?! Someone get Bunim-Murray on the line!
[Image Source: Lifetime]