On last night’s episode of Project Runway All Stars, the designers competed to make their debut on the Great White Way in a challenge to design a costume, befitting of a Broadway stage. Since many of these designers are naturally theatrical–here’s looking at you Austin STARlet–it was a pretty good challenge with room to really push the crazy ideas.
*Full Disclaimer: I’ve never seen Godspell, and I don’t know the plot save for the fact that it takes place in the seventies and is about Catholicism.
The designers meet Angela on stage at the Rising Circle Theater. Did Kenley go out with her curlers on? I was so distracted trying to figure it out, I wasn’t even paying attention to the challenge and had to rewind twice. Clearly that is an important detail!
Angela introduces the designers to Stephen Schwartz, award winning composer and writer. The designers learn they will be designing a stage costume for the 40th anniversary revival of Stephen’s award winning hit, Godspell. They will design a rich bitch outfit for one of the lead actresses. It’s a separates challenge, because the other actors have to dress her on stage during the performance. Eeks. per-ressure! They are instructed to think thrift store, vintage, hand me downs, but luxury as this is a character who steals from the poor to furnish her riches and wears them with pride.
The winning design will be featured in Godspell, and the designer will have their bio in the program. Austin is so excited because he’s never met a costume opportunity he didn’t love. Kenley Curlers Collins is also a huge Broadway fan.
The designers are given 30 minutes to sketch at the Rising Circle Theater, then it’s off to Mood where everyone grabs anything that sparkles. Kara starts off by having some sort of panic attack and Austin steps in to administer the Xanax in the form of a reassuring pat from a delicate porcelain doll hand. Oh, Austin – you really are a Madame Alexander Doll come to life. Candy Spelling would have swooped you right up!
Returning to the workroom everyone conceptualizes their version of an uber rich wicked queen. Austin immediately gravitates towards Marie Antoinette and Kenley somehow thinks giant feathers = millionairess. Mila is annoyed by the buddy buddy-friendsy friendsy relationship between Kenley and Kara, who she believes, overly rely on each other for advice, confidence boosters, and juvenile entertainment. She muses that if one of them goes home the other is in trouble… #foreshadowing
The real Kenley started rearing her curlered head when she started talking about how amazing she is in the interview outtakes. Oh, Kenley – we have not missed you!
Joanna Coles arrives to school the designers on how they’re messing up. She is intrigued by Austin‘s concept of Baroque opulence, which makes total sense to me given the character. Austin’s look was sort of appropriately stereotypically rich, and he sought to modernize the Victorian era. Is he designing for Madame Alexander yet?
I think Joanna gave a lot of insightful critique and I really enjoy her portion of the show. I think she reserves judgement and asks really interesting questions about the process, and the line of reasoning behind certain choices.
She is concerned about Kara not pushing herself, and acting as an all star; which has been her problem all season. She’s been coasting on bland and dated looks that aren’t with the times or the innovation level the challenges require. Joanna also has some concerns about Mila who decided (sort of) to step out of her box and into NEON! Not just neon, but a printed neon – is this a rich woman in the throes of an acid trip? That fabric is garish, frightening, and liable to cause seizures. Even worse she has envisioned a dirndl skirt. Joanna wisely steers her towards a pencil skirt.
Mondo is having a lot of difficulty. Although his idea is good and gets the vote of approval from Joanna, he starts second guessing himself and wondering what the eff he is thinking mixing all those discordant hippie gypsy prints. It actually looked more like a Jerell ensemble. Eventually Mondo makes himself push through and finds a way to incorporate all his ideas.
Austin has issues with time, per the usual, because he lives in a My Little Pony dream land. The best scene of this entire episode was Austin storming around in the midst of a hissy fit demanding a screw driver. What he wanted to do with it is a mystery I’m desperate to solve!
The guest judge, Sutton Foster – Broadway Leading Lady and Tony Award Winner. I thought she was a pretty decent judge who seemed to be having fun instead of taking herself too seriously.
trash discuss some looks!
Jerell: I was surprised this didn’t get more of a reaction from the judges. For some reason I thought they would love it. It was Jerell without it being Jerell – meaning that for once he didn’t over-design and he edited. I really liked the jacket and I thought the skirt, while standard, was theatrically expected but not ridiculous. I think the muted color scheme and the rather sedate approach is what stopped him from going to the top. I know – Jerell and sedate don’t usually go together!
Congratulations Mondo! When I initially saw this it wouldn’t have been my pick for the win – it seemed a little silly. And truthfully it didn’t seem like a Mondo look at all, which may have been why it got so much attention from the judges. Still, the jacket was beautiful, artistic, and cray-cray without being dumb or tacky, and he actually incorporated the boho prints pretty well. That being said, she looks pretty bat-sh$t crazy, but maybe she is, since this is supposed to be the early seventies! The judges were gaga over how he hit all the notes and listened to all the instructions – it should be refined yet bohemain, etc. I think they also liked the story he gave behind why he did the jacket. One issue I have is that he made a dress, when it was supposed to be a separates challenge. Or maybe it wasn’t a dress?
Austin – is it Starlet or Scarlett?: This would have been, hands-down, my pick for the win. I loved every nuance and I loved that he really thought about what the character exemplified. I thought the material and the cloche hat were spot on and I really appreciated the Marie Antoinette reference – “Let her them wear Austin Scarlett!” Ok, my second favorite part of this episode was the exchange between Isaac and Austin over his name – and that Isaac actually seemed to believe it was Austin Starlet! PERFECT! Ahhh… The Starlet letter. The judges thought this was a bit too young for the character – and I could see that – but I think with some tweaking it would be pitch perfect. It’s big, it’s vibrant, it tells a story, and it truly looks like stage wear.
Michael: It’s interesting that Michael used the exact same skirt shape as Austin, particularly coming off last week’s issue with shape sniping, and considering that none of his sketches incorporated the flouncy skirt. Austin either didn’t notice becuase he’s in Scarlet dreamland, or didn’t care because he’s Austin. Regardless, this is a good, if not uninspired look. I loved the color combo of the super pop purple shoes with the chartreuse, and I think chartreuse was a great color choice. The judges were right to comment that the accessories carried the look more than the clothes, and without them, this could easily pass for regular clothing instead of stage wear. I think that was likely the problem – this didn’t go far enough into the wackadoo category and was a little too safe. Just like Jerell’s.
Good-bye Kara! Kara’s been a wreck all season and the judges have been itching to send her home the last couple weeks. If Austin hadn’t made straight up ‘granny goes the library’ wear last week, she would have surely been in the bottom and sent off on her merry way. Kara’s head hasn’t been in the game, and she’s needed constant redirection and reassurance. Much like Michael, she made ordinary clothes and thought a few zhu-zhu tricks would save them. A big faux fur vest with a Christmas bow was not going to get this on Broadway. She was probably hoping it would skate by, but the judges have been unimpressed with her all season, and so she got the axe. Furthermore, tons of fit issues. What was that skirt? Any designer should be able to get a pencil skirt together and Kara usually has great craftsmanship - the execution of that skirt just shows how scatterbrained she was.
Mila: Unlike Kara, Mila has been impressing all season, but this was horrible. I have no idea what she was thinking! This does not fit the challenge at all. This is not wacky (which is clearly the character they were designing for) – this is Paris Hilton stumbling out of 10ak at 3 am. The skirt was a mess. I don’t understand, especially after Joanna tried to steer her away from such a weird skirt shape (the judges even commented that she should have done a pencil skirt). The top was pretty interesting, but for the skirt she should have definitely gone with a fabric that was better incorporated to the theme above the waist. Also, the skirt fabric looked cheap and flashy. Ahhh… mullet dressing at its finest!
Kenley: Once again Kenley ignored the challenge and designed for herself. The judges are clearly on to her, as evidenced by Angela’s comment that Kenley gloamed onto the “vintage” aspect of this challenge and ignored all the other directives. The jacket was cut beautifully, but the addition of the feathers was foolish, silly, and one detail too many, on an already incredibly busy outfit. Same thing with the polka dot top which had no relationship to the other two incredibly loud pieces. She said she was going for west village circa the fifties, and great she achieved it, but this was just a straight up stereotype or cheesy costume instead of stagewear. Kenley better watch her back, the judges have their eyes on her!
In the end Mondo wins by a hair, and Austin visibly deflated on the runway. I really wish we could have seen the look on the stage.
Next week: Kenley continues to annoy her co-stars and I have absolutely no clue what the challenge is about!
THOUGHTS ON THE RESULTS? MONDO OR AUSTIN? WAS KARA THE RIGHT CHOICE TO GO HOME?