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.
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”?
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!)
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!