Last week on Project Runway, the first All-Stars season began with the designers returning to New York for a shot at a prize package worth roughly a half-million dollars. They also encountered a new host (Angela Lindval), new judges (Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi), and a new mentor (Joanna Cole, who has some very big shoes to fill).
As the designers began sizing each other up, they quickly had to prove their mettle in the ever-popular “unconventional materials” challenge. This time, they had to use items found in a dollar store. Rami won and Elisa was sent home.
Unlike previous seasons, we aren’t shown the designers getting up, having breakfast, or brushing their teeth. Instead, we go straight to the runway, where Angela greets them. She also tells them what their next challenge will be: make a ball gown. She then introduces the guest judges, designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who elaborate on the challenge. They want a couture ball gown fit for a night at the opera. The designers will have a budget of $350.00 and a single day to make their ball gown. Mondo and Kara are both very nervous, as this type of challenge is not their strong point. Austin, on the other hand, thinks he could have this challenge in the bag.
As the designers sketch, both April and Michael decide to make red dresses. Sweet P tells us that she doesn’t want to be in the bottom again, which makes me suspect she will be. Besides, Sweet P isn’t exactly the ball gown type. Mondo tells us that he doesn’t really plan his outfits until after he’s seen what’s available at Mood.
At Mood, Kenley falls in love with some pink fabric that has black polka dots on it. She also chooses some plain pink fabric to go with it. April has found some red fabric she likes. Upon seeing that April has red fabric and feathers, Michael decides to shift gears and get black fabric instead. He ruefully comments about how he and April are gravitating to the same things: last week it was mopheads, this week it’s red cloth.
Back at the workshop, the designers organize their purchases. April begins dying her red fabric black, telling us she’s going for a “Corpse Bride” look. One, I’m not sure that’s a good look for the opera, and two, I’m not sure any of the judges are Tim Burton fans. Austin thinks dying fabric any color is a poor idea given the time constraints. (I agree; you do have to wait for it to dry, after all.) Mila considers it self-sabotage, and Mondo believes it could be a big enough mistake to get her sent home.
Sweet P tells us that she thinks Austin has an edge in this challenge. Michael tells us that he considers couture “special.” He has completed looks quickly, but not couture. He stitches together a complicated piece involving crystals and feathers that looks really pretty. Mila notes that he sews fasts and had the wit to do the most complicated item first.
Joanna comes in to make her rounds and starts with Rami. He shows her his design, which includes a bodice made with triangular pieces of fabric. He tells her that he considers Austin his chief competition. Austin over hears this and coyly asks, “Did somebody mention my name?”
Joanna then checks in with Austin and asks him how he plans to surprise the judges. Austin admits the high expectations are making him nervous. He then explains that he plans to make a sheath dress with dramatic volume over the sheath. Joanna likes the black and gold color scheme.
Next up is April. Joanna is astonished that April hand-dyed her look, and April explains that ombre dying is a technique she’s used many times and feels comfortable with. Later, April admits that her design is ambitious– and that she doesn’t have a “Plan B.”
Michael shows Joanna his feathery beaded garment. She asks if he’s going to put cups in his dress. When he answers “no,” Joanna comments that when she looks at clothing she wonders how her body would look in it– and adds that designers don’t seem to give that much thought. Michael admits this is probably true. “Shock, horror,” Joanna responds sarcastically.
Kara shows Joanna a print taffeta fabric and Joanna thinks it’s a little pastel. April agrees, saying it looks like picnic wear. Kara looks devastated by these criticisms.
Sweet P shows off a very colorful dress, and Jerrell comments it has the same silhouette as last week’s dress– which had landed her in the bottom. Whoops. Another trip to the bottom will almost certainly finish Sweet P.
Anthony tells Joanna that he loves his cream-colored dress, and Joanna worries that it might look too bridal. Anthony assures Joanna that the plunging back and neckline of the dress will help prevent that.
As Sweet P works on her bodice, she says the dress is a lot of work, but that she’s happy with the way it’s coming together. Mondo tells us that he thinks Kara is the weakest contender and spends too much time doubting herself. Austin thinks Michael’s dress is beautiful, but “a little too celebrity, and not enough socialite.”
On that note, the designers head home for the night. There, Austin tells them that real couture involves months of preparation. Anthony agrees, calling their looks “really, really pumped-up prom dresses.”