Hey, everybody! Allison Pittman here, and so excited to get to take the lead on the post about the first unconventional challenge. It’s not only a favorite of mine, but a fan favorite, according to Alyssa—it’s like she’s in my head.
We open with a shot of street construction, and the designers pounding on a giant roller door, which opens to reveal, according to Benjamin, a “massive vacuous warehouse.” But, this isn’t any ol’ vacuous warehouse. It’s Skylight at Moynihan Station. Someday, this will be a cutting edge fashion show venue. Right now it’s a hot mess of building supplies and nervous construction workers.
Jay and Sam both won their season’s unconventional challenge. OK. Helen and Kate were the sombrero dress dream team. So it’s Unconventional All Stars within Project Runway All Stars.
The designers are told they can take anything in the warehouse back with them to the work room. Shot to construction workers, followed by Jay launching into a song that includes lyrics about a “work bus.” I don’t know what that means, but if Michelle is worried about losing a finger, those workers seem to be worried about losing so much more.
Anyhoo, craziness ensues, as our fearless designers throw caution, manners, and hard hats to the floor and wheel-barrow over each other in a race to get the most of the masculine materials in order to create the most feminine of dresses. Not surprisingly, Alexandria von Bromssen (a name that doesn’t sound at all like a good choice for an unforgiving, cruel matron in a secluded Victorian girls’ school) is unapologetic for her reckless pursuit of goods.
“Hey this is Project Runway All Stars. This isn’t kiddie camp.” And she should know, because she runs a children’s fashion camp. Camp Couture. Let’s just hold on that image a little longer. Alexandria von Bromssen’s fashion camp for children. So much black.
Hillary: I’m always taken about when her Camp Couture comes up. The internet informs me that part of the Camp Couture offerings include Birthday Parties. Alexandria: always the festive choice for your special day.
Let’s pause for just a moment to reflect on two of my favorite garments and accessories of the episode. I mean, of course, Dmitry’s cat t-shirt, and Bens tiny-scissors pin, which kind of looks like a Hunger Games Mockingjay.
Hillary: I do enjoy them both, the scissor pin in particular. Is there a ceremonial whistle for fallen designers?
Before we continue, I’d like to give an honorable mention to the criminal genius who dressed the exceedingly pregnant Alyssa Milano in a denim jumpsuit. Well played, you sly sartorialist. She does indeed look like a couture teletubby. Carry on.
In the workroom, Kate is making (shocker!) a wedding dress; Benjamin and Justin are working with similar fabrics and quite possibly similar concepts. Jay tears into some blue tarp—literally, shredding it in a way to make a “blue feathery thing.” Gunnar declares the noise of this action to be the most obnoxious sound he’s ever heard, which I find hard to believe, unless Gunnar is immune to the sound of his own voice.
Hillary: I am without comment.
Michelle and Sonjia launch into a fabulous Tina Turner routine in honor of Michelle’s chevron-patterned dress, and Chris looks ready to go all Ike on Dmitry for stealing his bungee-boob dress idea.
Zanna comes in for critique, and we learn that she loves a corset and hates mummies, trash bags, and those curtains that separate a room in a cheap bar. Now I officially want to hang out with Zanna. People are knitting, people are quilting, people are ignoring the CAUTION warning on their yellow dresses.
Zanna: Aren’t you worried it’s a bit “sporty?” (pronounced “spoh-ty”)
Michelle: I’m a bit (pause) “spoh-ty.”
Hillary: My girl-crush on Michelle continues. Will Michelle ever worry about any of her pieces being too sporty? No. She will not.
Work, work, work. Hair. Make-up. Accessories?
On the runway, Alyssa comes out looking like she’s wearing every doily your grandmother ever created, then molded around a ginormous lampshade and plopped over her head. Really, I appreciate the fruitful beauty of a pregnant woman, but this is even too much of La Mess for Lamaze. Hillary, I echo your plea for a stylist intervention. Elizabella Dylan deserves better.
Hillary: For the uninitiated, Elizabella Dylan is the moniker given to the bun in Alyssa’s oven. Alyssa’s dress - somewhere, her stylist is clinking a champagne glass over a job well done and an (apparent) revenge completed. This goes beyond “can’t dress a pregnant woman,” oh no. Someone decided she should pay.
Georgina is wearing another bird dress. Are we sensing a theme? Alyssa is nesting, and Georgina’s the nest?
Hillary: I got “festive yeti” from Georgina’s dress. I’m not convinced it was “considered.” But I am prepared to accept your nest metaphor.
Iconic Isaac says, “Hello kids,” oblivious to the fact that Alexandria von Brossem has declared this not to be a kiddie camp.
Hillary: And never mind they’re all of voting age. Isaac wears me out.
Our first two guest judges have simply become pop culture phenomena, according to our pop-n-fresh host. “From the Jersey Shore to the Red Carpets of Hollywood, both have taken their popularity and turned them into major brands.” Um, OK. They have their show names and their real names and I refuse to give over any of my brain cells to faithfully recording them here, so we’re just going to go with Snoocole and Jennywow.
And, while I’m sure we’ll never see this exact moment, I’m pretty sure when Elie Tahari settled down in his little judge’s chair, he looked to his left and wondered just what fashion gods he’d offended to bring him to this unholy place where his opinion is valued less than that of two girls known for pantiless puking. Stay tuned: we might see him get his revenge by designing Alyssa’s dress next week.
Hillary: Oh Elie, you are the kindest, the most gracious, and the most long-suffering. There was never a moment when Snoocole and Jennywow were talking and it wasn’t a complete embarrassment for everyone involved. P.S. Alyssa needs feathers, don't you think?
Along with the usual self-congratulatory gushing, a few phrases stand out: Geisha warrior. Perfect. The Hard; The Soft. It doesn’t look like tarp. Absolutely adorable. Supercool and futuristic. Walking like Beyonce. Chains are slappin’ the floor.
Benjamin and Sonjia are guarded, with Benjamin saying, “I feel like my chances could be good,” and Sonjia just “hoping that I’m safe.” Those attitudes will never win blue ribbons at Alexandria von Brossem’s Couture Camp, kids.
However we cannot ignore the fact that Chris and Dmitry sent down nearly identical dresses. Dmitry’s dress literally fell apart, causing him to mutter “Butt cheek,” as said cheek earned its cellulite-free close-up on national television.
Hillary: I’m going to dispute this. Dmitry sent down a dress that, yes, had some left cheek hanging out, but the whole dress was made of rope and actually looked quite cool.
(In all senses, I suppose, because: breeze).
Chris’s dress - he made a top and a suggestion of a skirt. Literally - it suggested the idea of a skirt. Never mind Dmitry’s accidental exploration of Left Cheek, if it weren’t for the model’s tights, Chris’s look would have been breezier still.
Allison: True, but Chris’ breeziness was intentional. I admit, I like Chris’ look more for an avant garde challenge, rather than “feminine.” And, I did like Dmitry’s dress--very happy he was “safe” and that the judge’s didn’t penalize him for the malfunction.
In a fun twist, Chris chose to express his disappointment with his final look by saying he was “bummed out.”
Turns out he should be, because his look lands him on the bottom (see? See what happened there?), along with Michelle and Alexandria von Bromssen. I have declared Michelle’s dress too boring to warrant a photograph.
Hillary: Michelle made stripes. It wasn’t her most ambitious work, and frankly something black and fringey at the bottom might have helped. But I rather liked her chevron dress, and it didn’t deserve a slot at the bottom.
Allison: I don’t think it deserved the bottom, either. It was miles better than Sonjia’s Caution Tape dress. Michelle should have been perfectly safe.
On the top are Kate (who, according to Isaac, used the back of what tiles are on to make a soufflé? Hillary, you must explain this to me…).
Hillary: I...just...no. But Snoocole wants to wear it, so clearly into the wastebin it must go.
Elie doesn’t like it, but what does he know? He probably won’t even be invited to Snoocole’s wedding.
Hillary: Pity, that.
Justin, who has created perfection despite the boob fat.
And Jay, who made a fabulous garbage bag dress. Alyssa loves the necklace, and I’m terrified she’s going to wear it sometime, bend over, and little Elizabella Dylan will be transported from a cozy uterus to some medieval torture device.
Hillary: I love when Georgina declared the tarp looked not like tarp, but of “lacquered tweed.”
There’s a lot of mixed reviews, so the judges have a lot to talk about. During the conversation, we get a beautiful reminder of why Thanksgiving Dinners come with kiddie tables, where Uncle Isaac and Auntie Georgiana pretended to be interested in lil’ J-Wow and Snookie’s school projects.
Finally, justice comes to Project Runway as Justin wins his first challenge. Ever. And I think we all join him in saying, “Finally.” Here you can see that he, too, is picturing Jennifer Lawrence wearing his dress, and tripping on the Red Carpet.
Hillary: Why was everyone fixated on Jennifer tripping in his dress? In her defense, she tripped in a HUGE, floor-length pink Dior that ought to have been hemmed. I think she’d be safe in Justin’s dress.
And, in a stunning move nobody saw coming, especially since she clearly said she intended to win the competition, Alexandria is sent home. That’s right. Alexandria von Bromssen is now free to resume her role as counselor at Camp Couture. Hold your babies a little tighter, because I’m pretty sure she’s bringing that cage of a dress with her.
Hillary: Auf wiedersehen, Alexandria. Be kind to the little children, and do not lead them to the ways of the tarp.
That's it for this week! You can find last week's installment here, if you missed it or want to indulge in the goodness all over again. What do you think next week will bring? I'm going on a limb and saying "Kate's going to make another dress, and it'll probably be white." Check back in Monday for next week's recap!