Project Runway All-Stars Recap: Rushin' Dresses

michael costelloMondo whipped himself into an epically foul mood on Part 1 of the Project Runway All-Stars season finale, and I can kinda understand why. Whereas Project Runway Regular Edition gives its finalists more than a month — and a sweet budget — to concoct their full collections, host Angela Lindvall delivered the bad news that Mondo, Michael, and Austin would only have four days and a $3,000 budget to come up with five looks (plus an extra garment patched together using discarded fabric scraps from previous weeks’ challenges).

The rush-rush nature of the season’s final challenge only served to highlight the overarching feeling that All-Stars has been little more than an afterthought to Lifetime and to Project Runway‘s producers. I mean, at the end of the day, is there a single fan of this show who wouldn’t have preferred seeing fully realized collections from the Final 3, as opposed to a sextet of scattershot garments designed with an hour of planning and a patina of sleep deprivation? Project Runway is only as delightful as the clothes it produces: What good is it to drive the contestants to the brink of emotional collapse if it doesn’t result in their most imaginative, fanciful, inspired designs? What good is interpersonal rivalry if what goes down on the runway isn’t equally dramatic?

Okay, okay…enough nitpicking from me — except, does Angela’s heightened pronunciation of “embroidery” in the All-Stars intro drive anyone else bonkers? — let’s hit the highlights of what definitely felt like a placeholder episode to carry us into next week’s finale:

* Joanna Coles’ yellow zip-back dress and those deathly heels would definitely crack my list of Top 10 All-Stars outfits. Agree?

* I wish the show had lingered  a little longer on the early versions of designs whipped up by Michael (resort wear in safari prints), Mondo (a “therapy” theme in black, red, and silver — with a trememndous hand-painted Rorschach test print), and Austin (¡a Fragonard painting meets a modern day rock star meets a Hasidic gentlemen!). As it stands, I honestly have no idea who’s likeliest to take home the All-Stars crown, or form an opinion about who I think deserves it most.

* The Mondo-Austin rivalry? Unbelievably tiresome. Although in spite of my unabashed love for the Season 8 runner-up, he did kind of come off like a whiny monster this week.

* Each member of the Top 3 got to select a previously booted finalist to assist them for 24 hours, and while I’m sure the extra hands came in handy, let’s be honest: The respective returns of Anthony, April, and Mila mainly served to inject the episode with doses of humor, profanity, and color-blocked memories. My favorite bits from the ousted designers? Anthony howling at the absurdity of Austin’s inspirations, and then declaring, “Oh honey, honey, honey. Hun-nee!” And then, later, telling Austin the hideous white-lace overlay on one of his designs was very “dead white lady.” April noting to Michael that she supposed she could be his bitch for 24 hours. (Such a sailor-mouth on that gal!) And this exchange between Mila and Mondo over the idea of pairing up conflicting black-and-white patterns.

Mila: “You wouldn’t think that it would work.”
Mondo: “Oh, I would.”

What did you think of Part 1 of the All-Stars finale? Have you been disappointed with the season as a whole? And who do you think will and should win? Sound off in the comments!

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. Jimmy says:

    While I agree that the all-stars finale should top the prestige of showing at NY fashion week, I did enjoy last nights episode a lot more than the usual home-visits episode we usually get at the 2nd last episode. And in last seasons finale, most of the winners outfits were whipped together on the last day anyway.

  2. Laurel says:

    It’s offical I’m OVER Mondo.
    OMG , Mondo turned into a whiny, soul sucking black hole in last night’s episode.
    Yes it is a quick turn around for them to do a show but that’s Project Runway. You have to roll with the punches on PR to get a Half Million dollar Opportunity .

    Austin & Michael seem to handle it with grace, manage to be civil to one another and come up with a line all while trying to avoid the nasty comments being hurled by Mondo in his ball of funk.

    Mondo did get the shaft when Gretchen won a few seasons ago however Austin got the shaft when Wendy Pepper was picked to go to the finale over him. Both equally egregious errors by the PR Judges.

    • kimberly says:

      I know! So many people seem to comment that this whole season was for Mondo. How many of them actually watched project runway when it first aired on Bravo? They would know that Austin didn’t even get into the final, although the dress he made was the best one out of everyone’s designs. Because of that challenge, I can’t even look at Nancy O’dell.

      On another note, I really love the judges this season. They give really great constructive criticism. I stopped watching PR when it moved to Lifetime because I couldn’t stand Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. They were so mean, that even my love for Tim Gunn couldn’t save the show for me.

    • Eleanor says:

      Mondo was much more pleasant in his regular season when he had good reason to be upset after having HIS win given to that whiney, self-important Gretchen.

  3. the real wendy says:

    Anthony FTW!!!!!!

  4. Jan says:

    I don’t understand the (supposed) Mondo-Austin feud. I was a little disappointed in Mondo, last night, but STILL love him. Agree that the producers seem to have thrown All-Stars together as sort of an afterthought. I really like Joanna Coles; wish she could replace Nina Garcia in “regular” PR!

    • Melissa says:

      I don’t understand the feud either. If Mondo and Austin were really feuding it didn’t register for me as that bad during the whole season. Personally I think this episode should have been paired down (especially since they do the aftershow), and part 1 and 2 should have been combined to make it an hour and a half. To me there was really no payoff this week. I almost feel I could have skipped it and just watched the second part.

      On a positive note – I <3 Joanna Coles. My gosh, that woman oozes class out of every pore, and that yellow dress looked amazing on her. Overall I think this has been generally fun to watch, and did not miss Nina or Michael. Personally I think Tim Gun and Joanna should have their own show.

  5. RD says:

    I’m enjoying this about as much as I enjoyed the last regular season,which means nowhere near as much as the previous seasons.The whole ‘make an outfit for thirty bucks in twenty minutes’ stuff has worn very thin.Just once i’d like to see them take their time over things.
    And I miss Tim Gunn and Heide Klum A LOT. Although Georgina is a real sweetheart.
    Joanna’s not bad but she never goes with them to Mood like Tim does….

  6. Juliana says:

    I’m soooo underwhelmed with the whole All-Stars thing! The challenges were terrible, just awful, really. The 6 piece collection in the finale just confirms that. About the finalists: I really like Mondo’s aesthetic, everything seems very cool and modern. Michael’s theme for me is not very original, but i think the resort vibe really suits his aesthetic and the theme. I think Austin’s collection it’s tacky. I don’t like any of it! Those pink shorts are the worst! Really not flattering at all.

  7. Richard says:

    I much prefer Timm Gunn to Joanna Coles, partly because it looks like her hair was styled with a weed-wacker.

    One pet peeve have about all the fashion design shows is that no credit is given to the person(s) who designs the fabric. For example, Michael’s win last had more to do with his fabric choice than the garment design. That was also what was so infuriating about Anya’s win last season – her real skill was picking out fabrics with great patterns.

    • Melissa says:

      I disagree I think Timm and Joanna are equally great. But I do agree, fabric choice is what makes or breaks the look. I would love to see a show that would incorporate 10 real fabric designers who each design a fabric, and then 10 dress designers would pick a name of a fabric designer out of a hat, who would have to design an outfit for that fabric.

  8. susela says:

    Creating six looks in four days is not fashion, it’s speed-sewing. It forces the designers to think of things that can be done quickly rather than things that can be done lovingly and well. All in all, a disappointing season—and, I expect, we’re probably in for a disappointing runway show as well. However, I’ve come to adore Joanna Cole, so the season hasn’t been a complete waste. Also, I forgive Mondo for his moodiness and still hope he gets the win.

  9. Lynn V says:

    Mondo should win. Austin will have a career, as will Michael. Mondo needs this ’cause he was robbed two seasons ago. I vowed when they gave it to Gretchen that I would not ever watch again — I’m back ’cause of him. I vowed to never buy anything related to Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, L’Oreal, and so forth.
    I forgive Mondo for his moods — he is a tortured soul that produces great work. I think he wants it too much ’cause that doubt creeps in. Every time he talks about not fitting in growing up, trying to make it in NY, having troubled personal relationships, you see a deep vulnerability. I think we need to cut him some slack.
    I also think the editors are cutting this show to create heightened drama and show Mondo at his worst. Could this be because when he lost Season 8 there was such an outcry over it — hundreds of message boards, protests, lots of outrage. So they want to make him out to be a brat. Granted, with sunnier guys like Austin (he is hilarious) and Michael, who is misunderstood quite a bit, Mondo looks like the grumpy Gus. But he is under tremendous pressure — what if he doesn’t win? His outfits are head and shoulders over the others — truly inspired looks.
    The show’s producers are creating all this faux conflict so we have doubts about Mondo winning. They want to create more drama, more negativity or they don’t have a show if it’s all sunshine and lollipops.

  10. Ashley says:

    My love for mondo pretty much completely died on thursday. He did not used to be such a brat! And him and michael have been teaming up against austin all season they both suck! Austin FTW!!

  11. seattlejohn449 says:

    Mondo for the win! I think some of his moodiness is selective editing to throw us off, plus the challenges and deadlines have got to work a nerve. This reminds me of Anya always freaking out about pulling something together at the last minute – and then winning (as I believe Mondo will do). Plus the last look being about using bits and pieces of previous challenges is right up Mondo’s alley since he thrives on mixing mismatched fabrics.

  12. Brigitte says:

    I can partially understand Mondo’s moodiness. Je is the only one of them to make to to the final so he knows what it is like to have time to really put a collection together. I really think they should have let them have the freedom to go to Mood as often as needed instead of one rushed trip. And, by the way, I love how they rush the designers yet still drag the finale into 2 episodes. I think they could have done a 90 minute and called it a season.

  13. Lynn V says:

    I like the Final Three, but Mondo is the most inspired of the designers. Austin’s season was hit and miss. Mondo’s was usually right up there for the win.
    Austin had his own show — he and Santino went around the country saving fashion disasters. It’s not like he hasn’t had a shot. He’ll be very in demand for red-carpet looks.
    Mondo needs this win for validation and he deserves it.

  14. linda gerard says:

    My vote goes to Michael. What a fabulous designer! He has all the talent to become one of the best in the field. His clothes are daring sophisticated, comfortable and I can’t wait until they are made available to the public. He is is a favorite among guest judges and has an excellent and profitable career in his future.His choice of fabrics in each segment was by far the most imaginative and creative.
    Good luck Michael!

  15. Tomeka says:

    I love this show, I am glad they came up with this All Star season…..But enough about that I want to know where Joanna Cole got those BEAUTIFUL black shoes she had on in the season 1 finale with that yellow dress.

  16. Nancy says:

    Mondo and Christian Siriano have been the best designers this show has ever had.