Project Runway All-Stars: Send in the Gowns

Fashion commandments were broken as blithely as Kardashian wedding vows on this week’s Project Runway All-Stars: Thou shalt not take the name of courture in vain. Honor thy Badgley and thy Mischka. Thou shall not commit fuggery. Thou shall not widen the hips of thy neighbor.

And yet a few truly lovely designs emerged in the midst of the ridiculous challenge parameters: Designers had only one day to create “show-stopping ballgowns for a night at the opera,” complete with “true couture touches,” a task that human quote machine Anthony noted was an insult to the meaning of the word couture. Why not just be honest and ask them to produce “really, really, really pumped-up prom dresses,” he wondered. (Maybe because Nina Garcia signed an edict back in 2009 that results in the fashion police arresting any plebeian who dares to utter the words “pumped-up,” “prom,” “flannel, “Crocs,” or “Anna Wintour” on the Project Runway set.)

Anyhow, let’s dive deeper into the judges’ three favorite and least-favorite looks, and also determine who got robbed from a “best of the week” slot, and who was lucky to escape the critical eye of Georgina Chapman.

Judges’ Faves
Austin: I couldn’t argue with Isaac Mizrahi that the curiously coiffed front-runner made a very tasteful gown — and that’s no small accomplishment considering he used gold lamé! (What’s next, making a four-star meal using bologna and Velveeta?) That said, I thought Austin’s piece lacked the necessary drama and innovation for a first-place finish. Maybe they were rewarding Austin for prompting the quote of the week from hilariously grim Gordana, who observed his panic over the judges’ high expectations and remarked, “It shouldn’t be a big deal. Just make it. That’s that.”

Michael (pictured, center): Georgina was right that Michael’s choice of a matte jersey fabric gave his gown an added pop of sex appeal — “she’s not going home alone in that dress,” the Marchesa designer remarked — and the exquisite fit elevated it beyond the mere gimmick of feathers and stones. So how did it place second behind Austin? I’m blaming Isaac for invoking the most dreaded name in reality TV — “Kim Kardashian at the opera!” he squawked — for keeping Michael from his rightful victory.

Anthony: The cut of his gown was equal parts unexpected and racy, and the juxtaposition of fitted and flowy was refreshing in a week where we were subjected to too many bulky silhouettes that seemed to feature every last inch of fabric that a $350 budget could buy. Still, there was perhaps a bit too much boobage for a night at the opera, with the end result bridging the gap between couture and Frederick’s of Hollywood nightgown. Maybe that’s what “the Anthony Williams Experience” is about, though?

On the Chopping Block
Sweet P (pictured, left): The judges tried to be kind — “No one uses color like you do,” said host Angela Lindvall, mercifully leaving out the implied, “and thank God for that!” — but the cut of Sweet P’s skirt was more appropriate for a Texas polygamist cult than a night at the opera. Combined with a ye-old-timey bathing suit bodice, Sweet P’s idea of a “modern-day Cinderella” garb wasn’t fit for sweeping out a chimney.

April: You knew April was in trouble the minute she heard “couture,” “opera,” and “gown,” and began excitedly uttering words like “ox-blood” and “corpse-bride.” But as the judges pointed out, while her dress wound up looking like it came from The Walking Dead night on Dancing With the Stars, it certainly had a point of view! Plus, what would the season be without five or six more weeks of April’s delightful sailor mouth? “Who f****** cares? If you want to do red, do f****** red! Like, who cares?” she asked incredulously, after Michael changed his color palette to avoid conflicting with hers.

Kara: Alas, Kara never remedied the core issue that mentor Joanna Coles raised: How could she get her heavy floral-print fabric to spell “evening,” not “bridesmaid”?

Totally Robbed
Mila (pictured, right): Maybe this hot black number with a sequined zig-zag was a little too slick and sexy for the opera theme, but it was flawlessly constructed, and it moved like a deadly snake through a pool of champagne. (OK, that was the worst sentence I’ve written in 2012, but I’m just annoyed by the way that Mila always gets the short end of the yardstick on this show. Color blocking for the win!)

Totally Lucky
Jerell: His sack/skirt could’ve held just as many oats as Sweet P’s, it just happened to be constructed from a nicer fabric is all.

What did you think of this week’s Project Runway? Would you have given the win to Austin, Michael, or someone else? Did Sweet P deserve to go home? Did you think anyone in particular got robbed or managed to dodge a bullet? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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16 Comments
  1. Vivi says:

    Michael wuz robbed! His dress was just glamorous. Straight Hollywood. Hmm…maybe that’s why he didn’t win. And funny enough, Austin pointed that out during his confessional. But still, Michael was the clear winner here. Austin was just alright. I was surprised to see Anthony in the Top 3. For sure, I thought Mondo’s stunner should’ve been up there.

    Sweet Pea had to go. Just like how last week SP had the uglier dress but Elisa was booted because SP is more talented than Elisa, SP got booted because she was in the Bottom 2 back to back. Despite April having the worst gown of the week. It is what it is.

  2. Lyndsey says:

    So glad Anthony & Michael were in the top 3 as evening gowns is where those two truly shine (I’m still in love with that black & white gown Anthony did his season). I don’t know how Austin beat them though. I like his flamboyant personality but I’ve rarely ever liked his designs that much.

    Mila was robbed??!! Seriously??!!! There’s someone who’s personality & design aesthetic are both turn-offs!!!

  3. Tiffany T says:

    Mondo! His dress was absolutely gorgeous, and I’d wear it in a heartbeat! I thought it should have at least been Top 3.

    • AngieD says:

      Totally agree. He should’ve been top 3 for the dress by itself. I think he might not have made top 3 because it was not a ‘wear it to opening of opera’ night dress, but it was definitly a great red carpet dress.

  4. Jaye Ames says:

    Mondo and Gordana both had better dresses than Austin, in my opinion. I was at he Met last Saturday, by the way, and nobody wears anything like that unless it’s opening night. And I sat in an $1100 parterre box, so I know my opera style.

  5. tina says:

    I agree, Michael should have won and was surprised to see Anthony in the top three. I was happy for him since I like him, bu I thought Gordana’s dress was better than his and should have been in the top three. It’s too bad that some of the designers could have brought so much more to this challenge and yet we ended up with at least three dress with the same bulbous, umpire waist silhouette, as if they were designing for pregnant women, who themselves wouldn’t wear those dresses.

  6. Lauren says:

    Totally agree that Michael should have won. His look was so much more finished than Austin’s. i think he was bordering on the costume. I also think that Gordana was robbed. Anthony’s dress looked like he was going to make a Lord of the Rings porno not an Opera dress.

  7. Sheila says:

    Loved Michael Costello’s look, and while I really liked Austin Scarlett’s Goldfinger look it was Michael’s design that blew me away. Anthony’s white thrown together dress must have looked better in person because it looked awful to me. Sweet P’s had another disastrous night for sure. Didn’t like April’s tie-dyed job and thought it looked more like she had an accident and dropped some kind of black bleach on the bottom of her dress, and the top was a hideous hot mess too. Kara’s really did look like a bridesmaid dress from days of yore. Hey Kara 1990 called and they want that look back.

  8. Goat Girl says:

    Michael was robbed! Austin’s was beautiful but like you said, no wow factor. I thought Anthony’s was too much Frederick’s of Hollywood but it moved like no one’s business. Mondo was robbed too. His creation was over the top, fun, sexy, impeccablel made and sooooo Mondo. Love me some Michael and Mondo!

  9. D says:

    I am just noticing here that style of the top of Mila’s dress looks like the Jason Wu dress for the inauguration ball. I thought the dress was boring too.

  10. junebug says:

    The particality shown to some designers over others to add to the drama of the show is one reason I quit watching project runway. I won’t watch another episode of project all stars either. Michael and mondo were both robbed.

  11. Tracey says:

    I think Michael should have won. I was not impressed with Austin’s gown: it looked wrinkly and was too short.
    Also, while I’m loving the all-stars, I miss Heidi, Tim, Nina and Michael Kors. And I’m sure Angela is a supermodel, but she has the most uncomfortable-looking walk. Every time she walks on the runway for the challenge briefing, she looks like she’s afraid she’s going to fall. Even while pregnant, Heidi made it look flawless.