Friday, February 24, 2012

Project Runway All Stars, Episode 8: You're a Grand Old Flag

It was "Offend an Entire Culture by Highlighting All of Their Stereotypes" Week on Project Runway All Stars, or at least that's what it felt like while watching the runway show.

So slap on your sari, scream "opa!" and keep on reading for my review of last night's episode...

Challenge: The designers met up with Angela (yes, I finally learned New Heidi's name) outside the headquarters of the United Nations, where they each selected the flag of one of our world's great nations to serve as their inspiration for a beautiful runway look. Now, because this is Project Runway, everyone decided to go incredibly literal with their designs. "Did you pick India? Great! As long as you've seen Slumdog Millionaire, you're good to go!" I wish they had gone a bit deeper into the spirit of the nation and culture and used that as inspiration, but most of them (and the judges) only got as far as the colors on the flag. Oy.

In the Workroom:
  • "This is the most talented room in the history of Project Runway!" I mean, at this point we can just assume that Joanna is in on the " the history of Project Runway" joke, right? I really hope she is.
  • Jerell isn't concerned that he's making a costume, which should surprise no one.
  • Joanna makes a point to ask everyone if their model would be able to wear a bra. I understand the concern, but it would make much more sense if this was a ready-wear challenge or if there was a specific client in mind. Since these were simply looks for the runway, who cares if they are wearing proper underwear or not?

The Judges: New Heidi (ugh, fine, Angela), Georgina and Isaac were joined by the ever-fabulous Catherine Malandrino, who I could listen to talk all day long. Actually, I think my vision of heaven is sitting in a room listening to Heidi Klum, Catherine Malandrino and Diane von Furstenberg talk to each other. Accent heaven.

Top Three:
  • Kenley (Chile) - I understand the criticism that she always produces the same garment, but this week it worked perfectly for the challenge. Her model looked like a super cute cha cha diva without being so literal. The fabrics she chose mixed quite well together—not always a strength of hers—which gave the look a fun, youthful spirit. My one criticism is that it needed an accessory or two to bring it out of "ice skating costume" mode. 
  • Michael (Greece) - Nope. I just don't get it. I know that will come as a huge surprise, but I once again do not understand the praise of this garment. The model looked like a beauty pageant contestant (and not a winner, mind you), especially with that awful tacked-on blue bow. There was too much volume and heaviness, and the open back was so low it was vulgar.
  • Mondo (Jamaica) - I was a bit concerned that Mondo's look would be a little too simple for the judges, but it ended up being incredibly sleek and stylish. And while Isaac had an issue with the bright colored chevrons on the back, I thought it was the perfect pop the dress needed. I just wish he would've ditched the dreadlocks.

Bottom Three:
  • Austin (Seychelles) - Um, Austin? I love you to pieces, but you did this exact same dress a lot better in Season 1. I wasn't as concerned as the judges that the colors didn't precisely match the colors in the flag. Instead, I was worried about the obvious construction issues, the tortured ruching on the bodice, and the tacked-on chiffon capelet. And what did that dress have at all to do with the culture of Seychelles?
  • Jerell (India) - I mean, what is there to say about this? It was gaudy, costumey and way too much. The draped green fabric completely covered up what could've been a cool and chic cocktail dress. And, then, on top of everything, he added that stupid headband. This could be one of the worst entries of the entire season.
  • Mila (Papua New Guinea) - I'm surprised Mila ended up in the Bottom Three. The gown was beautiful and well-made (though I wish the sleeve was a bit tighter). There was a concept behind it beyond simply "these are the flag colors" and it was rendered in an interesting, unique silhouette. I thought all of Isaac's comments about it being disturbing and remind him of Communism were totally off.

And the winner is: Mondo. We really should just end the season now and hand him the win, but I suppose a few more episodes won't do much harm.

Auf Wiedersehen to: Mila. Um... what?! How did Jerell avoid elimination for that horrendous garment? I just don't understand.

Now we're down to five designers, and I cannot believe that Michael and Jerell are still in the game. Of course, they lasted longer in their original seasons than I care to remember, so I shouldn't be too surprised. With any luck, this will come down to a Mondo vs. Austin battle royale. That matchup would be a finale for the ages!

What did you think of this week's episodes? Do you think the designers were too literal? Were you shocked by Mila's auf'ing? And who do you think will make it to the finale? Sound off in the comments!

[Image Source: Lifetime]
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