Sunday, March 6, 2016

Project Runway All Stars Episode 4

I'm warning you in advance - I didn't have any really strong feelings about this episode one way or the other. That's a lie. I thought it was boring. I was sleepy, and in the end, I wasn't even rewarded for my efforts to keep my eyes open.

I love the unconventional materials challenge, but I feel that they are getting easier and easier. Remember the very first unconventional materials challenge? When Austin Scarlett made a dress from cornhusks? All of the materials came from a supermarket. In season two, the unconventional materials came from a florist. This time, the designers use fire and EMT supplies cadged from a NY firehouse. There are plenty of bandages and hoses, which are actual fabric-type materials that make it all too easy for the designers to be lazy rather than creative. This is All Stars, people! Why aren't these designers being forced to make high-end clothing from parts from an electrical supply store? or scavenged from a dumpster behind a pizza shop or a homeless person's shopping cart?

You can do better, Lifetime. Or not. I've seen your movies.


The designers meet Alyssa at a fire house in Chinatown, which really isn't a fire house anymore but the headquarters of Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) for media arts training. She arrives in an ambulance, which prompts Ken to remark that she "shut everyone down with that entrance, even Beyonce." Not sure Beyonce would wear a baggy denim coverall with lacing up the sleeves. Definitely not those ugly shoes. (Chinese Laundry?)

The designers have five minutes to ransack the firehouse, which is loaded with the aforementioned bandages and hoses, plus loads of catheters, latex gloves, and bottles of pills. Yes, bottles of pills, presumably non-prescription and street-legal. They load up their bags under the watchful eyes of Smoky Eye EMT, Hunky Fireman, and a member of the NYPD that Ken tells us he'd let handcuff him any time (though he usually avoids cops).

Back at the workroom, as the designers root through the piles of multicolored bandages and whatnot, Kini reminds us that he's still bitter that the judges loved Sam's look so much last week. Meanwhile, he did all the important work on it and got no credit! That's what you get for being nice, Kini. It's ok to be helpful, but not so helpful that you end up resenting someone. Should Sam have turned down your help? Of course not, you were partners, and it was important that both halves of the team present something that would keep the team on the top of the heap. But you didn't need to help him so much. A damn good thing Sam didn't win the challenge.

Stella decides she's going to go the sci-fi route, making a coat with a pile of baby blue plastic tubes. Did I mention that I had a premonition earlier in the day that Stella was going home this week? I just so happened to remember that PRAS was on that night, thought of Ms Zotis, and shook my head. I felt it in my bones that it was her night, and not in a good way. Sorry for the spoiler, folks, but if you're reading a recap, you should know that you're going to be spoiled if you haven't yet watched the episode.

Stella happened to fixate on the wrong hoses. Had she grabbed piles of regular firehose, she would have found out, as Ken did, that when it was cut apart, it revealed a shiny black patent-leathuh-like inside. Fabric made from strips of hose sewn together was better looking than the cheap tablecloth vinyl Stella purchased from Mood in last week's episode. Ken hit the jackpot with this particular material and set to making a dress that would evoke a straight jacket. And be "fabolos."

Zanna comes in her for her weekly sneer. Once again, she looks pretty good, and I have to think that she and Alyssa switched stylists this season. (I can so see Zanna in that denim coverall.) She declares, rather uncleverly, that "this is Project Runway, not Project Craftway," when she sees Valerie's use of cotton-tipped swabs. She's not entirely convinced that Stella's "coat" of oxygen tubes is anything other than a bunch of oxygen tubes strung together.

And Alexander's idea of adding a black rubber glove climbing up his dress, as a "surreal" element, is just plain creepy.

The next day, Stella is struggling with an entirely new look. Without her customary leathuh, she's making a simple skirt and t-shirt-like top embellished with x-ray film, in uncharacteristic pastel tones of yellow and blue. Asha, whose dress looks remarkably like Valerie's, sans giant q-tips, is struggling as well.

Now, let's pause a moment to take a brief look at some of the designer's sketches. The first is of Stella's Coat of Many Tubes. It doesn't look like a coat, but it does somewhat resemble the earliest versions of the Michelin Man (click here to see what I mean). It also looks like a tornado, or a spiral, perhaps foreshadowing her season on PRAS rapidly going down the toilet. Alexander's sketch appears to signify his struggle with attempting to reconcile his irreconcilable concepts of "surrealism" and "60s" with his very boring and unimaginative dress of multicolored bandage strips. Finally, Valerie's sketch of a masked woman with stubby wings, wearing green boots and a chevron skirt, seems to indicate that she's just straight up nuts.

After a trip to the Available at Hair and Makeup Salons and selecting from the Somewhat Tacky Accessories Wall, the designers and multicolored bandage-wrapped models make their way to the runway.

Kini thinks that Sam's jacket looks "horrible," or at least that's what he's trying to tell himself.

Alyssa is wearing a floral-embellished dress that looks sorta Marchesa, sorta like someone glued the tops from a hundred Marc Jacobs Daisy bottles all over it. It's not horrible, but seems like sitting could be uncomfortable.

She introduces the "iconic" Isaac Mizrahi and Mrs Weinstein as well as guest judge, Johnny Wujek. (Semi-Fun Language Lesson: "wujek" means "uncle" in Polish, and is properly pronounced "voo-yek.".) Wujek created some of Katy Perry's less-insane looks, like metallic Hershey's Kiss boobs and an upside-down popcorn bucket skirt. Alyssa calls them "iconic," but then she hasn't ever used that word correctly.

Ken, Sam, and Valerie are on top, Last week's winners Alexander and Asha are on the bottom along with - surprise! - Stella.

The judges are pleased with Ken's look. Isaac calls the length of his dress the "freshest" on the runway. However, the stiff fabric, coupled with a lack of structure, makes the top look oddly sunken. A "crushed" boob, rather than a "monoboob," according to Georgina. Still, it's a pretty good look, and perhaps deserving of the win.

Valerie's look was also pretty cute. Did you catch the strong similarity between the cotton swab panels on this week's skirt and the lacy petals on last week's jumpsuit?

Sam's look--which he created entirely without Kini's help, and despite all of the shade Kini threw his direction--was not without its problems. The middle front was a little bulky, but that was worth overlooking. He also whipped up a turtleneck bandage dress in about the same time it took some of the designers to get their models in hair and make-up. Georgina felt it was "very London." The styling made it feel a bit Gareth Pugh, IMHO.

Over on the loser end of things, Alexander and Asha turned in very boring designs. Asha used a half dozen or so of the pills on her dress, but not particularly creatively, and certainly not enough. Alexander's dress fit nicely, but the only thing that it had going for it was the degradé effect of the colors.

Stella's look was called very "Forever 21," which pretty much hit the nail on the head. We've seen far worse on Project Runway in the past, of course, but again, this is All Stars, and stars are supposed to shine. The skyline of x-rays was a fun idea, and doubtless had Stella a few more days and some of that hose fabric, she could have done something better. But I'm not sure her heart was really in it this time around. She never seemed like she was enjoying herself, and was always on the defensive, especially with Zanna.

Sam is the winner and Stella is out.

Posted by theminx on
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