Friday, April 29, 2016

Project Runway All Stars Season 5 Episode 12, or Everybody Hugs Sam

I must really love you guys. I missed Manny Machado's grand slam last night because I was watching PRAS instead of the Orioles/White Sox game. My allergies are killing me right now, so forgive me if I am less than coherent this week. But, as they say, the show must go on!

There are four designers left, which means only one more week of missed baseball! Those final four--Kini, Dom, Sam, and Ken--meet Alyssa at the runway where she unnecessarily involves two other people in order to introduce a relatively straightforward and very familiar challenge. This week's guest judge and regular Project Runway critic, Meana Nina Garcia, is trotted out (rocking a fabolos jumpsuit pretty hard, I might say), as is some poor bland girl named Barbara Meyer (who isn't wearing anything particularly memorable, in fact she's got no business standing anywhere near a runway in that Drab Debbie outfit) in order to convince the designers that cellphones are a fashion accessory.

In the past, HP has been involved in the design-your-own-fabric challenge, which is what this penultimate contest is all about. The All-Stars twist, to fancy up an ordinary Project Runway Mothership challenge, is that the designers have to use more than one print! Omigod! How creative! How novel! How isn't this what Dom does every week? For a perk, such as it is, the winning designer will have his or her pattern printed on an Otterbox, which is where Blandina Meyer comes in. She's the PR director for Otter Products, makers of Otterbox, a protective case for cell phones. The PR director! That's the best they can do? Not the owner, or another designer? The least they could have done is tarted her up in some bizarre sparkly dress with built-in digital technology, like Alyssa's dress by Cutecircuit. (Personally, I think it's gimmicky to have lettering flash across one's chest like a human Times Square marquee, but I'm no Katy Perry.)

After watching her for two seasons, we know this whole pattern mixing thing is right up Dom's alley. She is amazing with prints, and is the Print Goddess, as Ken calls her later in the episode. Ken, on the other hand, is terrified of prints. They haunt his darkest nightmares, so he doesn't use them. He tells us that the only prints he wants to work with is the one that wants to party like it's 1999. Which is scarily timely, being that he passed on to that big Purple Rain cloud in the sky a week ago.

So the designers head to the workroom to play with their own prints, then take $150 to Mood to sketch and buy more prints. Once there, Sam announces that not only does he want to make a jumpsuit, he also wants to work with the same white neoprene mesh that he's used in the past 467 challenges. And lest you think he's joking - he's not.

Back in the workroom, Sam and Ken have a little chat. They both mention something that happened "last night," and if we go by the usual PR convention of speaking about challenges being a week apart, we might wonder if something else happened between Sam and Ken. But no, it's the whole, "you're a snake," "no I'm not" green room encounter from the end of the last episode in which Ken expresses his displeasure in Sam's seemingly lackadaisical method of design and fabrication.

Ken, who shows us every week how he's grown as a person, tells Sam he didn't mean to hurt his feelings, but meant his words more as a push. Sam says he definitely feels pushed off a ledge and the two hug it out.

The designers haven't received their printed fabrics yet and expect Alyssa to come in with the Head Sanitation Engineer from We Print Ur Fabrix, Inc., any minute now. Instead, they get the four former winners of PRAS, Mondo, Anthony Ryan, Seth Aaron, and Dmitry. They bring not only the fabric, but also words of advice for the Final Four.

Mondo, who was Sam's mentor on Under the Gunn, tells him that he believes he can win it all, provided his craftsmanship improves. Sam is happy for the advice, and he and Mondo embrace.

The most important advice given to the group comes from Seth Aaron, who admonishes them all not to bore Nina.

Let's pause to take a look at the designers' fabrics now. Veddy interesting. Would love to know how long they had to create them.




...and Kini's. What do you think of any or all of them?

Not long after the previous winners finish wasting the designer's precious little time, Zanna comes in, right after a sound bite of Ken saying, "can Zanna come tomorrow?"

She starts her critique at Kini's station. He tells her about dramatic shoulders, and she warns him to make it interesting in a good way, not gimmicky.

Sam then dismays her with his concept. He says he thinks the mesh is "different and weird and cool," but Zanna doesn't think it's all that different since he's used it for several challenges in the past (and Kini has used it, too).

She runs screaming over to Ken, where it's not all that much better. His Mood print is better than the one he created, and she's not seeing them working together.

Finally, Dom's painted pleather gives Zanna pause. Not really, but she has to say something bad, and she knows Dom's got this challenge in the bag.

Models come in for a fitting, but the designers don't really have all that much done. By the end of the day, Ken is worried about time management, as he's just got sleeves and nothing else. Dom has a whole jacket to create, and Sam hasn't even started on his jumpsuit.

The next day, they manage to get all the 10,000 things completed and send their models for hair and makeup. The makeup artist, Mr Crazy Moustache, suddenly gets all creepy on Dom. After they decide to put a nude lip on her model, he declares that Dom would herself look pretty nude. She seems slightly taken aback. He must be one of those gay guys with a boobie fetish.

They toss cheap accessories and shoes on their models and send them down to the runway where Meana awaits.

They start with Kini. They think his girl looks "10-feet tall," partly because she is that tall, but also that skirt gives the illusion of height. Isaac prefers the print Kini bought to the one he made. Nina said she recognized the work as being Kini's immediately, and Alyssa thinks his print deserves to be on a phone case. Not sure that was a compliment?

Sam is next. Georgina doesn't like the prints and thinks the jumpsuit is just bad. Nina likes the coat, but doesn't like the slouchiness of the jumpsuit (which I do like).

Isaac thinks the Neoprene Net Council must be paying Sam to use their product so much.

Nina thinks Dom's is both fabulous and fresh, which of course it is. And the contrast between the two pieces is "phenomenal." (One of Nina's favorite words; a shame she doesn't know what it really means.) The sideways high-low length is a bit weird though. Alyssa thinks the coat is a piece of art, and while Isaac likes both the coat and the dress, he think he prefers them more apart than together.

Finally, Ken's prints don't gel together. Georgina thinks there's a lack of polish. With the high waist on the skirt, the neckline should be lower, and the hem should be shorter. Ken's print is taking a back seat to the Mood print, rather than vice versa. Isaac said if that print were on his iPhone case, he'd cry every time he called his mother, which is no different from what already happens.

Back in the green room, Dom remarks that seeing Nina was a bit like encountering the ghost of Christmas past. Sam says to him it was like meeting Santa Claus, which is pretty cute.

The judges are deliberating. Dom and Kini are on top, Sam and Ken are on the bottom. They come to a winning decision, but can't seem to decide who should go this week. They bring the designers out and announce Dom as the winner (of course). However, "for the first time this season" they can't decide who to send home. Which of course is absolute bullshit, because the same thing happened twice already this season. In episode 1, they couldn't decide whether Mitchell or Danielfranco should go home, and in episode 5, whether Valerie or Sam should be escorted to the door. In both cases, both designers were allowed to stay. This time, however, either Ken or Sam would have to leave. Or, they could fuck with us and allow both to stay.

Fuck with us they did, not by allowing both to stay, but by tacking another half hour onto the episode, half of which was commercials. They make the potential losers battle each other right there on the runway, not with maces and swords (which would be fun) but with sewing machines.

How was it that the prop department happened to have large cardboard boxes with question marks printed on them? Were these left over from a Lifetime movie of the week about the secret forbidden romance between Batman and the Riddler? Or was this whole thing planned? In any case, the boxes each contained two looks--one winning and one losing--from the season. Sam and Ken have to use components from each look to create a third look. Let me remind you that we've seen this before not all that long ago: Korinna and Char faced a sudden death challenge in episode 11 of season 13.

Ken gets his own winning and Mitchell's losing look from the baroque challenge. Sam gets Asha's winning and Alexander's losing looks from the fairytale challenge. They slice and dice and the judges return. Sam's made a wonky jacket from the bodices of both dresses over a dress made from Alexander's lining. Ken crops his dress, makes a collar for it, and only uses a bit of fabric from Mitchell's as trim. The judges hem and haw and finally send Sam home.

You read that right. Sam is out. Despite the entire season seeming rigged to allow Sam to win, he gets eliminated. And you know what? I feel bad for him. I want to see an entire 8-look collection from him. I want to see him do something that doesn't involve neoprene mesh and jumpsuits.

Big hugs from Alyssa before Sam goes to clean up his workspace.

Next week: no jumpsuits, no neoprene mesh. Fingers crossed!

Posted by theminx on
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