Project Runway All-Stars 2: Green Designs for the Red Carpet

Last week, on Project Runway, the designers had to craft androgynous avant-garde looks that could literally be worn by either a man or a woman.  This meant they each had to make two outfits, one for a male model and one of a female model.  Emilio won and Kayne was sent home.

It’s the next morning and the designers meet Carolyn at The Highline, a park which used to be an elevated railway line (and still has visible railroad tracks.)  The railway had originally been slated for demolition, but it was converted to a park instead– an example of large-scale recycling.  Carolyn then introduces the designers to Joshua David and Robert Hammond, the park’s founders.

The three of them then describe the challenge:  Male a garment that is both environmentally friendly and suitable for a red carpet event.  The designers will all use AirDye fabric as the basis for their designs.  AirDye fabrics have been made with no water or power.  As the name suggests, air is used to help the dye penetrate the fabric.  (Conventional dying techniques can use several dozen gallons of water per pound of clothing.)

Carolyn has brought several swatches of cloth, and invites Emilio, last week’s winner, to take first pick.  He picks a scarlet cloth.  He then invites Casanova to choose next.  Althea is last and gets stuck with a reversible pink and blue fabric that doesn’t look particularly suitable for a red carpet look.

After the designers have made their selections, Carolyn explains the rest of the challenge.  In keeping with the green theme, the designers will recycle embellishments and trims from past challenges, so there will be no trip to Mood.  Diane von Furstenberg will be the guest judge, and Carolyn will wear the winning design to a red carpet event.

The designers then take the traditional thirty minutes to sketch.  Ivy plans to make a draped dress, and she’d picked the bright gold color because it reminded her of the sun.  Uli likes working with bright colors, and Althea plans to make a dress that is both form-fitted and draped.

Back at Parson’s, the designers find their chosen fabrics waiting for them, plus a collection of trims and embellishments.  Cue the mad dash as everybody tries to get something they can use for their look.  Everybody, that is, except Anthony Ryan, who believes a good red carpet dress should be able to stand on its own without a lot of razzle-dazzle.

As the designers work, Emilio notes that his pretty scarlet chiffon is flimsy, so he decides to make an undergarment.  Uli finds that her blue fabric is darker than it had appeared in the sunlight, and is glad she was able to get a lot of trim that she can use to liven it up.  Laura talks about how Diane is her idol, and how she plans to make wide-legged pants with her print.  Ivy is making an asymmetrical gown.  She’s worried about time constraints, because her failure to complete a look was the reason for her elimination during Season 8.

Joanna comes in to make her rounds, and she starts with Laura, who shows her a sketch of a look involving wide-legged pants.  Joanna applauds Emilio’s color choice, saying it’s perfect for the red carpet.  She also likes the bright blue that Anthony Ryan has picked for his look.  Althea is making something with exposed shoulders.  Joanna questions Joshua’s choice of colors.  She notes that Casanova is using a print and is impressed by Ivy’s “clear vision.”  She sees that Uli is adding trim to her look.

Ivy may have a “clear vision,” but she’s apparently bitten off more than she can chew, as she’s cutting pieces for her garment when the models come in for their fitting.  Ivy has nothing for her model to try on.  Uh-oh.  Althea and Emilio are also feeling the time crunch.  Later on, back at the apartment, the designers talk about their clients in the outside world, that have included people like the Kardashians.

On the day of the runway show, the designers get back to work.  Emilio and Ivy are both very far behind on their work and end up taking all kinds of short cuts so their models will have something to wear.  Ivy cuts her dress short, and Emilio skips hemming.  He knows it looks sloppy.  The models come in for their final fitting, followed by hair and make-up.

On the runway, Carolyn introduces Diane von Furstenberg, who is the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Joshua is up first.  He made an a one-shouldered dark green dress with an asymmetrical bottom.  Uli made a blue print mini-dress trimmed with blue feathers.  The feathers also serve as a shoulder piece holding the dress in place.

Althea’s pink and blue dress doesn’t look too bad from the front.  But from the back… what was she smoking?!  She cut the skirt very short in the back and then apparently sewed or pinned a bunch of cloths there.  She also draped a pink piece over her shoulders almost like a shawl.  The effect looks both cheap and bedraggled.

Casanova made a sleeveless, floor-length gown out of a pink and red print with a patchwork design.  He added a bright scarlet liner to the skirt.  Anthony Ryan made a draped, sleeveless blue dress.  It’s floor-length with a plunging back and a v-neck.  It is also very voluminous.

Ivy made a sleeveless gold mini-dress.  It’s got diagonal pleats down the front.  The back is exposed, and the fabric in the back looks ill-fitting:  too tight over the model’s rear and too loose around the back.  There’s also a train attached to one side

Laura used a salmon, blue, and cream print with an abstract pattern.  She made a jumpsuit with very wide-legged, billowing pants.  It has a plunging back and a narrow v-neck in the front.  Emilio made a scarlet, floor-length gown.  It’s shoulder-less, but has a silver strap holding it in place.  More silver trims the top.

Carolyn then calls Joshua and Casanova and tells them they are safe.  Everybody else has to face the judges.  They start with Anthony Ryan, who wanted to make a dress with a Southern flavor.  Diane likes the design and thinks it looks both comfortable and elegant.  Carolyn likes the color, but not the fact she could see the model’s bra peeking through.

Ivy talks about how she’d been inspired by the sun.  Isaac hates the look, going so far as to say it was the worst the fabric has ever looked.  Carolyn says it is definitely not something she’d wear.  Georgina says the dress looks heavy.  Diane thinks Ivy had a good idea– but the execution was lacking.

Emilio tells the judges that he was drawn by the bright scarlet color of his look.  Diane told him the lining of the dress was a problem.  She also doesn’t think the silver trim was necessary.

Uli shows off her design.  Isaac says he doesn’t usually like a dress if this type, but Uli’s dress is an exception.  He says it looks great.  Diane applauds her skill in manipulating the feathers.  Georgina thinks the back of the dress looks a bit unfinished.

When it’s Althea’s turn, Carolyn says the dress doesn’t make sense.  Diane says it looks like Marie Antoinette meets Frederick’s of Hollywood, but adds that Althea shows considerable skill.  Georgina says she could see that Althea had trouble with the fabric, which is a difficult one to use.

Last up is Laura, who says she likes long, flowy designs.  Diane calls the look a pajama palazzo and says it’s well done.  In fact, she loves it.  Isaac likes the print, and Georgina advises Laura to watch her proportions, as the look makers the model look a bit wide in the waist, and women generally don’t want that.

Afterwards, the judges have their chat.  Uli’s look was playful, while Anthony Ryan’s look was elegant.  Laura did a good job making her pajama palazzo.  As for the designers they didn’t like, Emilio’s gown looked unfinished, but the color was extraordinary.  Althea’s dress was well-made, but looked old.  Ivy had a good idea, but executed it poorly.

Carolyn then announces that Anthony Ryan is safe.  She then asks Diane to announce the winner– and it’s Laura.  Carolyn adds that she can’t wait to wear Laura’s design.  Uli and Emilio are safe, while Ivy and Althea are in the bottom.  Althea is out, so Ivy is in.

Next week:  The designers face the dreaded “unconventional materials” challenge and have to make clothes out of Christmas ornaments.

Top Chef: Seattle – Episode 5 – The One Where No One Could Cook

This episode goes to show you that even the best of the best have really bad days sometimes. You know those days in your job when nothing goes right and disaster seems to follow disaster? Well, our merry band of chefs had one of those days right there in Pike’s Place Market. It was so bad that Tom had to disgustedly march into the Stew Room and take the $10,000 prize off the table – no one made a dish worthy of victory. And in addition, instead of one elimination, both members of the losing pair would be sent packing. They were just that bad.

Now, I’ve made my share of terrible dishes before. Because, you know, I’m just not good. I also remember my mom accidentally seasoning her mushrooms with cinnamon. We all make mistakes. The interesting thing is that the chefs didn’t seem to think it was the same kind of disaster that the judges felt it was. Is that the arrogance that comes from being a great chef? Perhaps. But they had to know this wasn’t their best effort. Unless they were failing to taste as the food was being made, they had to know the taste just wasn’t right.

I think what made it worse for Tom and the judges was that the artisans who made the key ingredients were there for the tasting. It was like a parent being embarrassed by their usually well-behaved children during a public outing. The judges felt bad that the artisans did not have their creations properly respected, and they were pissed that they just had this happen on their show. The result was a nobody’s safe feeling as the Judges Table was delayed for a day.

When the dust settled, we had a case where someone cool or interesting was going to be sent knives a-packin. The duos of Thumb/Brooke, CJ/The Wiz, and OTV/Monkey were chosen as the worst of the worst. That meant that one of the returning chefs would go, good-looking Brooke, or the two hotheads who had garnered so much attention early on. Personally, I thought the hotheads were safe all along – I just couldn’t see that building rivalry being snuffed out so soon. The show had built up the Real Housewife early on before she was cut, I couldn’t see it happening again. So, I was resigned to the fact that we would lose a returnee, and stunningly the first one cut would not be Josie.

Where did it go wrong? The challenge was to take some unorthodox artisan snacks and incorporate them into a meal. Thumb and Brooke had rose petals to use – something very sweet and delicate. They chose to make duck and include cabbage – however, the sweetness of the cabbage, coupled with the sweet main ingredient, just made it too much. Thumb made the cabbage, and thus became the main reason the dish failed. That makes a few challenges so far where Thumb has faltered – a stark contrast to his season where he dominated more often than not.

CJ has played this season with far more confidence than he did in Season 3, and it has not served him well. He’s also found himself in the bottom more than the top. This time, when given the spicy dill pickle as his team’s ingredient, he totally misread the challenge. He thought Tom would ding him for not making a burger, because it is the traditionally best way to highlight a pickle’s flavor. Of course, everyone else – including The Wiz – saw the fallacy here. Tom would see it as a safe, copout dish. The Wiz had suggested making a soup – but CJ, and his burgeoning confidence, shot it down instantly. The Wiz let himself get walked over, so he is also at fault here. The result? Tom hated the decision to make the burger – “How freakin’ original!”

The battling boys of OTV and Monkey amusingly would up paired together during the pair-ups for the Quickfire, and thus had to continue working together during the Elimination. They both, independently of each other, decided to tone it down a bit and try to work together. They each deferred to one another; they each chose to back down from their instincts simply to avoid conflict. And as a result, their dish sucked. Monkey made some awful grits and served them to grit-expert Monobrow. OTV didn’t care for the cut of meat but didn’t speak up, and as a result, the meat wasn’t good. These two may annoy, they may yell and scream, but that’s who they are. It is that passion that makes them who they are, and in turn, what makes their food so good. Absent that passion, they have mediocrity.

In the end, CJ and The Wiz got the axe, and as much as I enjoy CJ’s wit, he really did have it coming. The Wiz seems as if he could have been fun over time, but we never really got a chance to get to know him. I am pleased for him that he is newly sober and hope for the best for him, but as far as good television is concerned, I’d rather keep the others. Even if it means more weeks of Monkey’s stupid forehead glasses.

What’s Hot on TV Friday and Saturday – Come Dance with Me

I apologize for the lateness of the list. UVerse has not been my friend this week. At any rate, there isn't a whole lot of Christmas programming on for Saturday, other than the weekend Hallmark movies. Tonight, Andrew McCarthy stars in Come Dance with Me, but I'm too stuck on St. Elmo's Fire and can only see him with Ally Sheedy. Catch up with your favorite shows you may have missed at TV-Links.

Friday

1. NBA Basketball. Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers. 6:00 PM CT ESPN

2. Undercover Boss. The CEO of PostNet goes undercover in his own company. 7:00 PM CT CBS

3. Last Man Standing. Mike is forced to explain the circle of life to Boyd after he brings home a duck he shot and wants to have it for dinner. 7:00 PM CT ABC

4. Nikita. Michael and Nikita nab an arms dealer and decide to use him as bait to get Amanda, Birkhoff closes in on Amanda's mole, and Alex starts to unravel. 7:00 PM CT CW

5. Kitchen Nightmares. Chef Gordon Ramsay lends his help to a Massachusetts restaurant. 7:00 PM CT Fox

6. Monsters Inside Me. An infection causes a man to suddenly develop a swollen face and yellow eyes and shuts down his organs. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

7. College Football. NCAA FCS Division I Quarterfinal. Sam Houston State at Montana State. 7:00 PM CT ESPN 2

8. Malibu Country. Reba works on getting dirt on Bobby's past from a former bandmate, and Cash ends up grounded for snaking out and helping his sister.. 7:30 PM CT ABC

9. CSI: NY. An owner of a speakeasy is murdered, and $10,000 disappears. Adam gets a day off. 8:00 PM CT CBS

10. Fringe. Olivia tries to locate an important piece of equipment for Walter, and Peter is in danger watching Windmark. 8:00 PM CT Fox

11. Killer Karaoke. Contestants sing while being sadistically manipulated, and amidst mystery boxes filled with unknown bugs. 8:00 PM CT truTV

12. Married to the Army: Alaska. In the first half hour, a suicide bombing, an accidental fire tests Traci and Blair's friendship, and Rynn breaks down. In the second half hour, Traci's friendship with Sara is ruined by bad behavior, Lindsey gets ready for the Army Ball, and Blair learns a difficult lesson. 8:00 PM CT OWN

13. Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids. In the first half hour, Kymberly sends one of her bridesmaids to the bathroom in tears, and another bride fights her mom/matron of honor over a sequined dress. In the second half hour, Courtney finds out family won't always be on her side, another bride has a difficult time getting her bridesmaids' opinions, and a bride tries to decide if a “fascinator” piece should stay on her bridesmaids' dresses. 8:00 PM CT TLC

14. Ghost Adventures. The “crazy water” in a Texas town could have led to a hotel becoming haunted. 8:00 PM CT Travel Channel

15. Restless. Based on award-winning British novelist William Boyd’s book and script, the series depicts the thrilling story of a daughter who discovers that her mother was recruited as a spy during World War II. 8:00 PM CT Sundance

16. NBA Basketball. Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder. 8:30 PM CT ESPN

17. Blue Bloods. Linda hears a shooting victim reveal who was behind the crime, and Jamie is gets very upset when Henry is mugged. 9:00 PM CT CBS

18. Dateline NBC. A newlywed's murder leads to an investigation that moves from the widow to a possible serial killer. 9:00 PM CT NBC

19. 20/20. Holiday survival guide. 9:00 PM CT ABC

20. Haven. Audrey awakens to find Haven deserted and the town’s residents asleep – except for one man. 9:00 PM CT Syfy

21. Brides of Beverly Hills. In the first half hour, A young widow and a bride who believes she looks like Angelina Jolie find their dream dresses. In the second half hour, a young bride brings her rich, older fiancé along to help choose a dress, and a bride brings her fiancé's ex. 9:00 PM CT TLC

22. The Dead Files. Volunteers fear for their safety at a North Carolina arts center. 9:00 PM CT Travel Channel

23. Hunted. Season finale. Sam fails to kill Jack Turner and is exposed as a spy. 9:00 PM CT Cinemax

24. Late Show with David Letterman. The guests are Dustin Hoffman and One Direction. 10:35 PM CT CBS

Saturday

1. College Basketball. Arkansas at Michigan. 11:00 AM CT CBS

2. College Football. NCAA FCS Division I Quarterfinal, Georgia Southern at Old Dominion. 11:00 AM CT ESPN

3. College Basketball. Portland at Kentucky. 11:00 AM CT ESPN 2

4. College Basketball. Colorado at Kansas. 1:00 PM CT ESPN2

5. College Football. From Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Army vs. Navy. 2:00 PM CT CBS

6. College Basketball. Duke vs. Temple. 2:15 PM CT ESPN

7. Golf. Second Round of Franklin Templeton Shootout from Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, FL 3:00 PM CT NBC

8. College Basketball. Virginia Tech at West Virginia. 3:00 PM CT ESPN 2

9. College Basketball. UCLA at Texas. 4:15 PM CT ESPN

10. College Basketball. Wisconsin at Marquette. 6:00 PM CT ESPN 2

11. Frosty the Snowman. The cartoon that tells the same story of the song, the original from 1969 with Jimmy Durante narrating. 7:00 PM CT CBS

12. American Giving Awards. Glenn Close receives the AGA Leadership award. Anthony Anderson, Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo, Jenna Elfman, Jenna Fischer, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Gary Sinise will be presenters, and Colbie Caillat, Darius Rucker, and Lifehouse with Natash Bedingfield will perform. 7:00 PM CT NBC

13. The Borrowers. A scientist tries to trap a miniature family that lives beneath a house's floorboards. 7:00 PM CT ABC

14. UFC: Henderson vs. Diaz. Bouts include Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz, Alexander Gustafsson vs. Muaricio Rua, Rory MacDonald vs. BJ Penn, Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick. 7:00 PM CT Fox

15. Come Dance with Me. Jack is trying to impress the firm’s president, Drew Clayton, in hopes of a promotion. However, Jack is dating Demi Clayton, who happens to be Drew’s daughter. Her mother doesn’t necessarily approve of Jack either, yet he still plans on proposing. Trying to create the perfect proposal, Jack signs up for dance lessons, hoping to propose at Drew's lavish annual Christmas Dance. But when sparks start to fly between Jack and his dance instructor, he needs to make some decisions. 7:00 PM CT Hallmark

16. Mario & Courtney's Wedding Fiesta. Mario Lopez and Courtney Mazza are caught on tape planning their wedding. 7:00 PM CT TLC

17. Too Cute! A pit bull puppy learning to walk, Chinese Crested puppies checking out a turtle, and a newborn Collie in need of overcoming her shyness. 7:00 PM CT Animal Planet

18. 2012 Heisman Trophy Presentation. Arizona at Clemson. 7:00 PM CT ESPN

19. College Basketball. Arizona at Clemson. 7:00 PM CT ESPN 2

20. Frosty Returns. It's a 1995 continuation from the earlier version, with Jonathan Winters hosting this time, and John Goodman providing the voice of Frosty. 7:30 PM CT CBS

21. The Flight Before Christmas. An animated special with a young reindeer having not met his father. He wants to follow in his footsteps, but suffers from vertigo. 8:00 PM CT CBS

22. Welcome to Sweetie Pie's. Charles wants to move in with Tim, Robbie finds out she needs surgery on her vocal chords, and Ike gets a surprise visitor. 8:00 PM CT OWN

23. My Fair Wedding with David Tutera: Unveiled. The mother of the bride threatens to leave, and it leads to a meltdown. 8:00 PM CT WE

24. Sinners and Saints. A greedy insurance salesman woks a con on an old farm, trying to con him out of a rare violin. Greg Kinnear and alarm Arkin star. 8:00 PM CT Starz

25. 48 Hours. A killer is harassed by his victim's mom. 9:00 PM CT CBS

26. Wedding Band. Tommy loses Courtney Love's instruments after a run-in with another band and has to find them. 9:00 PM CT TBS

27. Gary Gulman: In This Economy. 9:00 PM CT Comedy Central

28. Iyanla, Fix My Life. A friendship between popular bloggers ends thanks to jealousy and backstabbing. 9:00 PM CT OWN

29. College Basketball. Illinois at Gonzaga. 9:00 PM CT ESPN 2

30. Saturday Night Live. Jamie Foxx guest hosts, and Ne-Yo is the musical guest. 10:30 PM CT NBC