Project Runway All-Stars Recap: I Cant(aloupe) Believe It's Not Ice Cream!

This is a man’s world, or so James Brown once told us. And that 1966 lyric certainly seems apt in the current season of Project Runway All-Stars, where the judging tally after four episodes is as follows: Auf’d designers (4 out of 4 women); Bottom 2 finishers (8 out of 8 women); Bottom 3 (10 out of 12 women).

Apparently, two X chromosomes is not “on trend” for 2012!

Whether the lack of gender parity is a subconscious sexism on the part of the show, or a refreshing sign that contestants are being judged solely on the work they produce — and not on their reproductive organs — the lack of ladies’ luck has been hard to miss.

This week’s particularly impractical challenge? Design an outfit inspired by a particular flavor of gelato — and get it done in a mere six hours. Having scored the win last week, Michael got to choose first and went with grapefruit; he picked Mondo (canteloupe) to go second, while Mondo chose Mila (milk with sour cherries) to go third. And interestingly enough, that turned out to be the exact order of finish atop the judges’ leaderboard.

Perhaps because of the pressure of this week’s time constraints, joyous workroom moments were kept to a minimum. Anthony alone churned out the zippy bon mots. “Damn, I wish I had a cocktail,” he said during one exhausted moment. Later, observing Austin applying details to his dress with a glue gun, Anthony hollered, “That is liquid thread on that dress!” Oh, and of course, we also had April on hand to curse like a trucker with the gout. (Why are her f-bombs like Sour Patch Kids for my brain?)

Speaking of Young, Blonde, and Deliciously Surly, let’s jump right into a quick assessment of the judges’ three favorite and least-favorite looks, and also determine who was lucky to escape embarrassment in front of guest judges Diane Von Furstenberg and Miranda Kerr.

Judges’ Faves
Michael (pictured, right): High-fashion evening frock or glamorous bathrobe for a 1950s starlet? I’d lean more toward the latter, but Michael’s model definitely worked that garment like a 9-to-5. Georgina had a point that the color choice lacked a certain tartness, but the ruched sleeves and daring center slit earned this one a rightful spot in the Top 3.

Mondo (pictured, top): Isaac said he wished Mondo had shown more of his model’s body, but I wish Isaac had shown less of his wrongheadedness and allowed Mondo to take home the crown he so clearly earned. As Miranda noted, that plunging v in the back was “to die for,” the entire garment really flattered his model’s figure in a way caftans rarely do.

Mila: I cannot lie: This weekend I am going to forage like a caveman gatherer for “milk with sour cherries” gelato. Also: I’m delighted Mila is finally getting the respect that she’s entitled to. (Yes, I’m one of her fans.)

On the Chopping Block
April: Even though Diane was right that April’s wonky corset and “constructed with organza and an axe” skirt conjured up “a little piece of Halloween,” at least it had some interesting conceptual details. Was this really worse than Kara’s waistline-expanding catastrophe?

Kara: Everything that needs to be said about Kara’s dress can be summed up in this exchange from the judges:

Angela: “I also wrote down ‘pregnant.'”
Isaac: “The minute the word pregnant comes up, you know you’ve missed”

Anthony: The back of his dress looked like some kind of alien autopsy where the ribcage had been yanked open with a crowbar from the back. And while Isaac said the whole ice-cream dripping explanation made him like the garment more, I have to admit I just didn’t see it.

Totally Lucky
Austin: Save for that floral beaded strip down the front, this dour bridesmaid frock (pictured, bottom) pretty much embodied the flavor Austin selected: Vanilla.

What did you think of this week’s Project Runway? Would you have given the win to Mondo, Michael, or someone else? Did April deserve to go home, or did Kara get lucky? 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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  1. tuppy says:

    I’m not sorry to see April gone, but I have to say I was surprised by the top three. Is the shapeless/huge caftan/flappy sleeve 70s thing really that “in” right now? Will we not watch this back in a couple of years and think these looks are absurd?

    I thought Kenley, Jerell, and Austin had the chicest looks — I could much better imagine Miranda Kerr in those than in the dresses from the top 3. (And just for the record, I’m totally rooting for Mondo and Michael — and I think Jerell is the under-the-radar most unlikable all-star remaining — but this week was a miss for me.)

    • KevyB says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t have awarded a best outfit, because even the best ones weren’t all that fantastic. Michael’s was Krystle Carrington’s bathrobe and Mondo’s orange was just a crime against nature. Mila might have deserved the win had they not been given a ridiculous amount of time to finish. Let this be the last “Shortest Challenge Ever” ever!
      As for the women losing… the problem is they got a lot of the guys that people like and that did well; two of them were runners-up in their seasons. The women seem to be picked mostly for being characters: Sweet P came in 5th, as did April, and Elisa came in 10th and not a single runner-up! Where’s Kara Saun? Where’s Korto? Where’s Althea? Where’s Uli, who was completely robbed by the producers repeatedly breaking the rules to keep Jeffrey in the competition? And what of the many 3rd-place women we could have had: Laura Bennett, Carol Hannah, Jillian (seriously, who?) and even the delightful Wendy Pepper (admit it, she would’ve been more interesting than April!)
      But part of the problem here IS sexism. The “beeyotches” are always remembered which is part of the Gretchen hatred, whereas the “a-holes” (Mondo, I’m looking at you!) get free passes. Really, nobody that season deserved to win as there was questionable taste abounding, yet we have THREE designers from that season in the All-Stars? It’s not “All-Stars” unless everyone on it made it to Fashion Week.

  2. tuppy says:

    P.S. Props to Leslie, eighth place finisher on Top Model cycle 6, for making it as Michael’s model!

  3. Anna says:

    Kara was/is the worst. As I mentioned last week; her appearance on Joe Zee’s “All On The Line” proves that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

  4. Lana says:

    I loved Jerell’s dress the best and I feel that he is way underappreciated. I tend to find his attractive each week or at least several times. Between the ones that the judges picked I loved Mondo’s best and Michael’s(who I love)looked like something Liz Taylor wore during her fat days in the 80’s. They weren’t unattractive but they were not flattering. I really am not crazy about these judges and wish Nina and Michael were there. I just feel they are better than Isaac. I don’t care for him, he seems so fake and I didn’t care for him in the show on Bravo. These challenge’s are getting more and more ridiculous and wish this was back on Bravo.

    • Julie W says:

      I liked Jerell’s dress this week too. He also styled his model well to go with the Fruit of the Forest theme. I was surprised he wasn’t in the top three.

  5. Bobbi says:

    Kara should have gone home and Mondo should have won. I don’t know what he has to do. He’s now finished second to Michael and Rami and BOTH times should have won. He’s definitely been robbed.

  6. Annie says:

    I loved Mondo’s dress and definitely thought that he deserved the win! Maybe if he had shortened the hem to knee length and let the caftan-billowy sleeves fall slightly under the hem, Isaac would have like it more. It’s better than Michael’s because while it’s beautifully draped, I didn’t see the grapefruit either. I got more of a peaches and cream and the way he styled it definitely looked like a grand dame from the 50s who had nothing to do all day but lie on her fainting couch. Mila’s was ok conceptually, it looked sloppy (even grunge) to me but I guess that’s what she was going for?

    I agree with the out because April does seem to be a bit uninspired in the past few challenges. Kara’s not too far behind though. I can just hear Zulema yelling “if you’re going to cry, you better cry and cut” from their original season.

  7. Magically Suspicious says:

    When Diane Von Furstenburg told Michael he should call her, my heart nearly broke. This almost guarantees that I’ll need to get a second, and possibly third, job. I would love to see him end up somewhere that he had the resources to flourish. He and Mondo both are amazing.

  8. Ellen in NYC says:

    As much as I prefer Mondo and Michael C of all the designers personally, I did not care for their dresses this time around. I liked Jerrell’s and Rami’s most of all, for the few seconds that I saw them on the runway, Kara’s and Mila’s least. Colorblock was in the top 3? Really?

    I would have sent Kara home. That dress was hideous.

    Oh, and I think asking the designers to create something fabulous in a 6-hour time frame is abusive.

  9. Lauren says:

    Kara should have gone home! April’s dress had some issues but at least it didn’t look like maternity wear. I feel like April had more potential in the long run.

  10. Jeanrie says:

    MONDO!!! I’m starting to feel like I’m insane while watching this show. I do not get the overwhelming Michael C. love. Besides being the neediest man inmaybe not the universe, but definitely the room; he does not have the style or taste of my beloved Mondo.

  11. Chuckles says:

    I couldn’t believe Kara survived. That was the butt-ugliest thing I’ve seen on the show this whole season.

    As to why it’s been only women getting zapped so far, just look at the cast. Based on their past work, was anyone surprised Elisa, Sweet P, and Gordana were the first three gone? For whatever reason, they did not cast any of the women from the earlier seasons who had similar stature to people like Rami (who might have won every season other than the one he was in), Mondo, and Austin.

    • shksprsis says:

      I completely agree with you. The reason only women have gone home so far is that they picked some of the weakest women of the entire series. Elisa? Really? I know she was probably picked for her wacky potential, but then she got sent home the first episode. There are plenty of other female designers that were more worthy and could have provided just as much interest, if not more.

  12. bob says:

    judging on all stars has been all over the place. i thought april’s looked great, save for the obvious construction issues in the back. the design was much better than kara’s and anthony’s, and certainly better than austin’s imho. i was shocked they sent her home. speaking of austin, does anyone think that the producers are keeping him around because of fan admiration? his last couple of designs have been AWFUL.

    • Cookie Tookie says:

      Mondo was robbed in the finals of his first season. He’s one of the most creative desiners on the show. How Michael won the last two challenges is beyond me. His designs were OK, but is “OK” All Star quality? As for the gelato segnent, there should have been a double elimination: April AND Kara!

  13. chantooz says:

    Mondo wuz robbed! His choice of fabrics was just wonderful. He didn’t just do some draping in a nondescript color the way Michael did. I don’t get why the judges have been slighting Mondo every week.

  14. Deb says:

    Mondo and Michael are among my favorites, but as much as I was pleased they were the top 2, I was also nonplussed by this entire challenge. How does proving one is a fast seamstress/tailor, proving one is a good designer? I got the “think quick on your feet” aspect, but the rest of it resulted in uninspiring garmets for some people who are at the core good at designing but not qick construction. Given the choice between them, I too would have picked Mondo by a hair.

  15. Ana says:

    I like Kara as a person, but she should have gone home. I agree her work was a little bit more polished than April’s, but the concept and design of April’s dress was overall better.

  16. ems says:

    I’m a Kara fan! And her All on the Line clothes were great! She’s never handled the pressure well, but don’t anybody forget the glorious decoy collection she made for fashion week on PR2. She’s had some duds this season, and no way did that frock convey chocolate & cayenne, but at least she can construct better than April’s fashion school disasters.

    Mila’s was terrible, I couldn’t believe anyone liked it.

  17. D says:

    I didn’t like Austin’s dress when it came down the runway, but now that I look at the still shot there are details I didn’t appreciate before. Kind of nice.

  18. Liz says:

    Kara should have gone last night, especially considering her dress was almost an exact copy of the opening dress from her decoy collection on her season

  19. Jane says:

    I also felt like they brought back very weak female designers (except maybe Mila). Why not bring back Kara Saun, Carol Hannah, or give Mya Luz another chance? I’m still shocked she dropped out. She was my favorite of season 7. I could think of plenty more who really deserved another chance. None of the girls eliminated really read all-star to me. I beginning to believe the rumors I heard before the show aired that a lot of the designers didn’t want to come back and compete again and that these were they were left with.

  20. Terri says:

    I hadn’t noticed that the bottom had been so lopsided, bc they all deserved to be in the bottom. But if they’d cast Wendy Pepper, I couldn’t have enjoyed watching. She’s a vile creature.

  21. really? says:

    You remember Kara’s decoy collection? Then you should know that her dress this week was a retread of dresses in that collection. For that alone, she should have been eliminated.

  22. wooster182 says:

    What is your damage about Austin, Heather? That dress should have totally been in the top 3 rather than Mila’s cheap looking dress where the lines overlapped unattractively and the fit looked sloppy.

  23. Tim says:

    I’d love to see them judge blind, i.e. not know which dress goes with which contestant. You could have someone else come out and explain the dresses, that’s not that big a deal anyway. Bet we’d see much different (and fairer) results.

  24. Mara says:

    I do not understand the love for Mila’s dress. I seriously thought it was hideous. It looked like a billowy sheet that was stitched together by a colour blind 5 year old.

    Kara should have gone home! Wtf were they thinking?
    Didn’t really like any of the dresses, but Jerells was interesting.