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Project Runway All-Stars, Feb. 23 – United Nations of Fashion

Last week on Project Runway, the designers visited Broadway.  There they learned they would have to make a costume for a character in a Godspell revival.  Mondo won and Kara was sent home.

The following morning, Mila vows to “wow” the judges– which probably means she is going home.  Too often, when a designer makes such a vow, they end up in the bottom.  Austin, meantime, tells us that he thinks Kara deserved to stay over Mila or Jerrell.  He and Kenley then talk about how much they miss Kara.

The designers then meet Angela at the United Nations building.  Angela then rather condescendingly tells the designers (and any pre-teens in the audience) that the U.N. building is where diplomats from various countries get together to try to solve the world’s problems, like climate change.  Angie, honey, most of these designers are probably at least your age.  (Michael is the “baby” of the group– at around 27.)  I’m sure they know a little something about the U.N.

The camera then pans over to the table Angela is standing next to.  It has six flags on it, and Angela spells out the now-obvious challenge:  Make a dress inspired by one of the flags.  As the previous week’s winner, Mondo gets first pick and he chooses the Jamaica flag, which is green, yellow, and black.  Michael chooses the white and blue Greece flag, and informs us that he is of Greek descent.  (I presume that’s on his mother’s side of the family, as I’m fairly certain that “Costello” is an Italian name.)  Mila chooses the Papau New Guinea flag, which is black, gold, and red.  Jerrell gleefully chooses the green, red, and white India flag, since he loves ethnic clothing and culture.  Austin picks the Seychelles flag, which is striped like a rainbow, leaving Kenley with the Chile flag, which is red, white, and blue.

The designers will have a budget of $200.00.  They start sketching at the U.N. building.  They’ve apparently been given information about their respective countries, as Mila notes that Papau New Guinea has a “tribal” feel to it.  Austin comments that the Seychelles are in the tropics, so he will make something suitable for that climate.

At Mood, Michael decides to head for the trim section first.  Austin and Kenley chat, and Kenley chooses what looks like a polka dot fabric, prompting Michael to wonder what country has a polka dot flag.  He quickly answers his own question:  Kenley-land, of course.  Mondo comments that this is a difficult challenge.  On the one hand, you don’t want to be so literal as to be clichéd or offensive, but on the other hand, you don’t want to “miss the mark,” either.  The trick is going to be to make a dress that has some references to a given country, but isn’t a caricature.

Back at the workshop, Mila starts making an asymmetrical dress, while Austin is questioning his own wisdom in picking the Seychelles.  He’s not sure what to do with all the colors that he’s got.  Jerrell tells us that he thinks of embellishments when he thinks of India.  I can understand that, as the people there  do seem to like their jewelry, but Jerrell does have problems with editing.  If he goes overboard now, he could get sent home.

One or two of the designers joke that Michael is already finished.  He laughs and says that he’s only finished draping his dress; he still needs to sew it.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds.  She starts with Mondo and congratulates him on his win.  He tells her that he is doing Jamaica and will therefore use black, yellow, and green fabric.  She asks him if a woman could wear a bra with the dress, and he answers “No.”  Joanna is plainly unhappy.

She tells Jerrell that she thinks his dress looks like a costume and asks him if he’s being too literal.  He responds that he simply likes an ethnic look.

She is also unhappy with Michael who has made the very expected draped dress and asks him if he’s being ambitious enough.  She also notes that his dress is very low cut in the back and tells him that women want to be able to wear underwear with their clothes.

Austin has been having problems, but has settled on making a layered dress.  Mila tells Joanna all about the stylized gold bird of paradise on her flag and how it represents freedom.

Kenley is using a print with blue hearts.  Joanna asks her if she’s sure that she’ll stand out, since Kenley’s design (so far) looks similar to stuff she’s done before.  Kenley’s sure her dress will stand out.

The models then come in for their fitting.  Mondo finishes sewing a decoration he’s made for his dress and notes that he still has a lot to do.  Kenley also feels the time crunch.  On that note, it’s time to head home for the night.

The next morning, the designers get back to work.  Mila tells us that her sleek black and red dress must be perfect.  Mondo and Austin both bemoan the amount of work they have left to do.  The models come in for hair and make-up, leading to the usual montage of them getting ready for the show.

On the runway, Angela introduces the guest judge, Catherine Malandrino.  She’s a French designer who had made a collection inspired by the U.S. flag.  She sounds like the perfect judge for this challenge.

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