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Project Runway All-Stars 2: The Art of Androgyny

Last week, on Project Runway All-Stars…. the designers apparently celebrated Thanksgiving, as there was no new episode.  The week before that, they had faced an “interactive challenge,” in which the producers had invited fans of the show to send in photographs via Twitter.  The designers then had to make a look inspired by a photograph.  The winning design would be featured on USA Today.  Anthony Ryan won and Andrae was sent home.

On the runway, Carolyn explains the next challenge:  They have to make an avant-garde look with an androgynous theme.  It has to be something that could be worn by a man or a woman and it has to combine masculine and feminine aesthetics.  The designers would have $150.00 to spend at Mood.

Back in the workroom, the designers take the traditional 30 minutes to sketch.  Kayne thinks of androgynous performers like Adam Lambert and David Bowie and uses them as inspiration.  Emilio decides to make a woman’s look out of fabrics typically associated with men’s clothing.  Uli isn’t quite sure what to do, as she specializes in very feminine women’s clothing.

Then it’s off to Mood.  There, Kayne tells us that he plans to make a jacket while Emilio plans to make a suit.

Back at Parson’s the designers get to work, only to be interrupted by Georgina.  She has come to announce a twist.  No sooner does she say this, then a group of male models troop in.  Everybody’s horrified, as they’d assumed their looks were for women.  Altering their clothes to fit men would take some doing.  Not to worry, though.  They don’t have to do that.  The designers do have to make a look for the male model assigned to them.  The two looks have to be complementary since the male and female models will be walking the runway together.  The designers will get another $150.00 to spend at Mood and an extra day to complete the challenge.

In the meantime, they have to take their guys’ measurements.  Anthony Ryan decides to make a dress for his man. Kayne has his model try on the women’s jacket he’d been working on– and discovers that it fits him perfectly.  Kayne therefore decides to make a matching black and white houndstooth jacket for him.  After the men leave, the women come in for their fitting.  After that, it’s time for the designers to go back to the apartment and get some sleep.

The following morning, the designers go to Mood to buy fabric for their men’s looks.  When they get back, they find men’s dummies waiting for them; at least one designer comments about how large they are.  Joshua tries on Anthony Ryan’s dress and likes it.  Laura DR’s about how this challenge is hard for her, since she’s used to making traditionally feminine clothing.

Joanna comes to make her rounds and starts with Uli, who is making a strong shoulder for her women’s look.  Joanna likes the detail in her looks. Joanna then stops by Anthony Ryan and reminds him that the judges don’t want him to play it safe.  (Especially not during an avant-garde challenge.)  Althea shows off the coats she’s making, which are both purple.  Joanna is pleased with Emilio, noting that she couldn’t tell which of his looks was for a man and which was for a woman.

Joanna then checks out Casanova’s work and notes that one of his piece looks like a gladiator’s breastplate.  She then warns Laura to watch her details.  Kayne shows off his looks and Joanna thinks the smiley face on the yellow shirt is a bit much.  He wisely gets rid of it.

After Joanna leaves, the female models come in for their fitting.  During this, Casanova has problems with the pants he’s working on, so Ivy helps him.  The male models come in for their fitting, and one guy tries on high heels.  After that, it’s time for everybody to go home.

The next day is the day of the runway show, so the designers get back to work.  Anthony Ryan and Laura have noticed that Ivy and Casanova keep helping each other.  Ivy opines that it’s not fair; as All-Stars, they should be working independently, while Anthony Ryan notes that there can only be one winner.

Both sets of models come in for their final fitting, and for hair and make-up.  Ivy asks for Kabuki mask-like make-up, while Uli wants a tribal look for her duo.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces the guest judges, Jason Wu and Robert Rodriguez, who are both fashion designers.  Then it’s time to start the show, with Joshua going first.  He made ridged white pants, a black top and a loose black jacket for his male model.  He made white knickers and a black and white shirt for his female model.

Uli made black and silver outfits for her models.  The man wore silver pants and a black shirt with short, feathery sleeves.  The woman wore shiny black leggings, a black top and a silver jacket with mid-length sleeves.  Althea made matching purple outfits with pants and leather jackets.

Laura had her male model wear pale grey pants and a sleeveless, sheer gray top with cut-outs in the front. The shirt also has a panel of solid black fabric in the back. Laura put her female model in skinny black pants with cut-outs down the sides.  She also made a black top and a silver and black jacket with large gold buttons.

Emilio made matching dark red outfits.  He put both models in pants, fedoras, and striped red and gray cravats.  He put the woman in a vest with a good portion of the back cut out.  He out the man in a vest-like top that has an exaggeratedly large collar on the right side.  The man’s vest appears to be wholly backless.

Kayne made a black and white houndstooth jacket and matching shorts for his male model, who also got a maroon tie.  Kayne made a matching jacket for his female model, and also put her in a lemon yellow shirt and dark copper pants.

Casanova made matching gold outfits for his models.  He put the man in pants and a long-sleeved gold and white shirt with scorpion cut-outs in the front.  He put the woman in knickers with cut-outs just above the knees.  The sleeveless shirt has pleats down the front, making it look like armor.  Both the top and the knickers have a scorpion design cut into them.

Ivy made sheer black pants for both her models.  She also made black shorts for the man, in order to preserve decency, and made a black jacket, too.  No shirt, though.  He got to walk the runway barechested.  Ivy made a black leotard and a sheer black jacket for the woman.

Anthony Ryan did indeed put his guy in a dress– sort of.  It’s actually more like a sleeveless black tunic with a train.  He also made black and white leggings.  He put his female model in a miniskirt made of the same material as the guy’s leggings.  He also made a long-sleeved, sheer, gray and white top, that isn’t so sheer across the model’s breasts.  He also gave her solid black stockings.

Carolyn then calls Althea, Ivy, and Joshua and informs they’re all safe.  Backstage, Joshua complains about being dismissed as merely safe and snipes at Ivy, telling her she has an attitude problem.  Welcome back, Joshua.  I haven’t missed you at all.

The other six designers have to face the judges, who start with Uli.  She tells then she wanted to make a “tribal” look.  Isaac loves the looks, and Carolyn likes how the outfits are interchangeable.  Robert likes the texture of the fabrics used, but Georgina dislikes the leggings.

Laura talks about how she’d mixed elements of men’s and women’s clothing in her looks.  Isaac doesn’t like the results, as he thinks the fabrics used look cheap.  He adds that he could tell this was a hard challenge for her, as he knows she’s used to making very feminine clothing.  Jason thinks the looks show too many ideas, and Robert deems the looks to be over the top.  Carolyn doesn’t like the gold buttons or the cut-outs.

Emilio tells the judges that he’d used menswear fabric for both his looks.  Georgina appreciates his attention to detail, but advises against putting semi-circles on the woman’s side, since they obscure the waist.  Robert loves the design, and says he couldn’t tell the models’ genders– which was what the challenge was all about.  Jason calls the design “fabulous,” and Carolyn says the male model is “painfully gorgeous.”

Kayne simply says that he’d fallen in love with the houndstooth and had to use it.  Isaac doesn’t like the combination of houndstooth and leather.  He also thought the yellow top made the woman’s outfit look cheap.  Carolyn adds that she’d have preferred to see the female model without a shirt, as that would have been sexy.  Kayne explains that he wanted to switch gender roles somewhat and have the man be the one showing a lot of skin.  Georgina says that Kayne needs to edit himself.

Casanova wanted to make both his models look like warriors, so he put them in outfits that resembled armor.  Georgina doesn’t think the looks are particularly androgynous.  Isaac likes the female model’s look, but thinks the man looks like her accessory.  Jason doesn’t think the looks are androgynous or avant-garde.

Last up is Anthony Ryan.  Isaac loves his outfits, saying they look “fresh” and “new.  Jason adds that they are well-made.

The judges then have their chat, starting with the designers they’d liked.  Emilio scores points for his clever use of fabric.  Uli’s looks are sophisticated, and Anthony Ryan has a high taste level.

As for the designers they didn’t like, Laura’s look was over the top.  Kayne used a bad combination of fabrics and colors.  Casanova’s “armor” was a good idea, but the results looked like costumes.

Carolyn then announces the judges’ decision.  Anthony Ryan is safe, while Emilio is the winner.  Uli and Casanova are safe, leaving Kayne and Laura in the bottom two.  Laura is safe, so Kayne is out.

Next week:  The designers face a green challenge, and Diane von Furstenberg turns up.