Monday, November 24, 2014

Project Runway All Stars: Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve (Episode 4.4)

Hey, everybody! Allison Pittman here with a confession: I watched this episode backwards, tuning in to see the runway show, and then watching the entire episode later. And, I must say, the jaded English teacher in me was ready to cry bull-schnauzer at their stories of Love as represented in their garments. 

Hillary here: bull-schnauzer is my new favorite term, and I am grateful for Allison bringing it into my life. 

Maybe I’ve just been subjected to far to many bad, bad student papers--thousands of words dedicated to analyzing every scrap of marlin in The Old Man and the Sea. But, after hearing their narratives while the work was in progress, I saw it. The heartache, the longing, the desire for long-lasting security and happiness. Except for Kate, who continues to be vapid and annoying. Luckily, though, she has life-long support at home, just in case her whole Project Runway relationship doesn’t work out.’s Nina! I loves me some NIna Garcia, and as an additional boost to my ego, Dmitry reaffirms my affections with this quotable: You know who doesn’t love Nina? People who suck.
Does Alyssa love Nina? You decide.


Oh my goodness, I was so relieved to see Nina and her Faces. Also: if I were to indulge in an Animal Print of Ambiguous Species, I wouldn’t do it near Nina. Also, I hope Nina puts this picture on her mantle.

So, having fully embraced the idea--that our fashion choices can speak our Love vocabulary, let me just say: I am wearing a brown corduroy skirt, the grooves in the fabric representing the many (OK, not many…) relationships, all leading in a straight path to my hubby. Brown tights with a tiny-diamond pattern, representing a the little jewels of blessings in my life, and brown, sturdy boots, because my love life is stable right now. A blue shirt, because Mikey’s eyes are blue, and I love him, and a scarf with sparkles, because every love story ends in sparkles.’ve caught me in my loungewear this afternoon, but here we go: I’m wearing heather grey sweatpants, which represent the fact that while we met in - and have returned to - the grey state of Oregon, our love is fleecy and warm. My v-necked tee is the color of a sunset, which reminds me of our sunset walks along the Columbia river when we lived in Washington. And my navy and white marled knit sweatshirt, with its moto-inspired cut and snap-closures, is a cozy (yet stylish) metaphor for our travels and how we always return to each other.


But enough about us. What about them?
Gunnar is coping with a recent break-up, thus his dress is chaotic.
Ben has a love tattoo to remind him that he will fall in love again.
Dmitry is “as single as it gets,” but he’s ready for the special person in his life. His dress is choices and roads, with a big exciting ruffle to represent a big, exciting future!

Now Zanna’s here, to bridge that gap between Nina and Love.
To Gunnar:  blah, blah, fashion forward.
To Ben: How about a confusing network of shiny straps?
To Sonjia: Looking a bit Mother of the Bride.
To Helen: “Someone’s in love!” Awkward.
To Kate: “Oh! Kate’s pregnant.” Awkward x 10. (or, as Michelle puts it: The Golden Girls). Remember that episode when Blanche thought she was pregnant? And it ended up being menopause? Good times.

But all of these vapid consultation/conversations come to a halt with Justin, who didn’t think he was capable of love, who didn’t want to be a burden. But he has found love. So he painted his fingers and created a print that spells “I love you.” Zanna listens with tears in her eyes, and if you didn’t get a little choked up, I dub thee Gunnar.

ily print.jpg

Sorry, I guess that makes me Gunnar. I liked the print well enough, though - it reminded me of Anthony Ryan’s ink blot collection.

Jay: Been together for 10 years, thus symmetry.
Fabio: Non-monogamous commitment. Thus, solid pastel and patterns. So, ok.

That section was...awkward.

Samantha: her relationship roughly as boring as her dress. With sparkle. (see?)

Zanna warns everyone to be vulnerable, advice Dmitry will probably ignore. Unless he wants to admit to being cheap. But he is anything but cheap.

Sonjia challenges Kate to make a “sexellent” dress. Always good advice, and opens her eyes to the “bondage-y” appeal of Dmitry’s dress. So, like, a shade-and-a-half of grey.

Fitting, make-up, hair...messy high pony-tails. Modern Gothic. A shoe! A clutch! A husband! (oh, Benjamin…)

So, last week we had Ariel Winter, who plays Alex on Modern Family as a guest judge. The week before that, the “ladies” from The Jersey Shore. This week, they finally got their act together. Somebody must have said, “Hey, aren’t we, like, a fashion show?” Because, rather than bringing in, say, Hayley Orrantia from ABC’s The Goldbergs (who is probably a very nice person), the producers came through. Like a watchful parent checking in on the babysitter, we have Nina Garcia. And, to show that the judged will some day judge, Project Runway winner Seth Aaron. Finally, with a nod to keeping fashion fresh and relatable, Danielle Bernstein--fashion blogger. (My son is in the room with me as I write this re-cap. “Is that what you are, mom? A fashion blogger?” No, no, son. I am not.)

For a while, Seth Aaron was recapping the show on the Marie Claire website, and either he stopped because he’s a wee bit too ADD for consistency, or Marie Claire didn’t care for how hilariously unfiltered he was - either way, it was great while it lasted.

Also: we are recapping a fashion show. On a blog. So...we’re kinda fashion bloggers now.

Yay! I meant No, purely in the sense that I’m in no way in the place to blog about my own fashion. If you want to instagram my day-to-day outfits, just go to the JCPenney website. Clearance Page.

Hey, if Georgina can judge and send this down the runway (never mind that yeti she was wearing the other week), I think we’re both in the clear.

Also, side note--how awesome would it be to have Dmitry as a judge some season? Imagine the quips!

I’d be in heaven. He’s my favorite of the Silk Chiffonzies. What I really want - if we’re taking a stroll down Wishful Thinking Lane - is for the producers to come up with a thin reason for Elena to pop in.


The Runway:


Dmitry’s “Ferrari” of a dress will win him a spot in the top 3.

Dmitry’s was one of my favorites - a well-edited use of vinyl.

I loved it, too. I always appreciate a dress that can show skin tastefully.


As will Sonjia’s fun little number. I couldn't get a decent shot of it in motion, but it’s a super cute dress.

I think Sonjia’s got a gift for making fabrics work for her, rather than the other way around.


Benjamin, who will need this handkerchief skirt when he lands in the bottom. It’s a Disco moment.

Don’t hate me, but I liked it coming down the runway. I liked the gold - wish he’d chosen a different contrast fabric and edited down the straps in the back.


Jay made a dress.

It was fine?



Fabio...according to Michelle, “Every girl wants to be her.” Which is cool, since Fabio is in an open relationship… Also evidenced by all the cut-outs in the dress. Open back, open waist, open neck. I kid, though. I really liked this dress. I’d like it more without the story, though. He’s safe.

I actually really liked the dress, but the story made me cringe for Fabio. That won’t end well.

I liked the dress, too. I almost always like his stuff, even though he himself doesn’t do much for me.

There’s an ease to his designs. It’s like what Stella McCartney’s clothes would look like if they were flattering.


Kate. I echo NIna’s question: What’s with the appendage?

Oof, and Kate trying to explain that she was aiming for “edgy.” Edgy does not mean half-hearted and unfinished.


“Cheeky!” There was the “wow” factor Zanna requested. Pity, Justin won’t be able to tell the judges the story behind the print, because he’s just safe. He’s just-in. To me, that’s an injustice. An injustin, I tell ya.

I wasn’t sure that the print read well from the runway, as much as I liked the idea behind it. Also: underwear.


Michelle: Despite a beautifully constructed, romantic dress, she’s safe, too. I like this dress, but all those belts might turn me into a little Michelin Man.

I quite liked the dress, but agree the belts could be tricky.

Question: Did she actually make the belts? Or are those something she bought at Mood? Surely they’re not from the accessory wall.

I’m thinking she bought the fastenings at Mood and the rest is trim - grosgrain ribbon or something. I love how she edged the sleeves in black, too. Really love those sleeves.


Gunnar’s look landed him, appropriately, in the bottom.


I honestly think they meant to put Samantha’s dress in the bottom, but were so overcome with ennui, they forgot. Then, when looking over their notes, they were, like, Hey, did someone wear yellow? bleh

It’s yellow. It happened. I like Samantha but “notable” hasn’t been her strong suit so far, with the exception of last week’s sequin dress.


And, Helen. Again, I somehow didn’t get a shot of the whole dress, but the real story is this neckline, which is beautiful.

The neckline was super pretty, with the floral design at the top. The judges were talking about how “new” it was, but we’ve seen similar lines in Zac Posen’s last few collections.

The judges listen to the stories, and the judges are visibly trying to stay alert during Kate’s sad ocean tale. Her rambling, truly, from here to eternity. Unfortunately, it earns the NIna Garcia declaration of doom. The dress is, in a word, “Sad. Especially standing next to the Ferari.” Know who else is sad? Kate, because her dress is sending her home. Where her pre-school hubby is waiting to comfort her. I’ll bet you a Zales pendant one of them was a paste-eater.

I’m sure you’re right. For me, the winning moment was Nina and Isaac arguing, and Nina having NONE of his counter-arguments. Isaac found himself handled and it made for delightful television.

The winner? Not the Ferrari, but the Frown--turned upside-down for Helen into victory! Like Isaac said, “No matter what happened in those past relationships, at least you got a good dress out of it.” So, listen up, you newly-jilted. Put down that Haagen Dazs, delete his number, and get out your shears. Resist the urge to sneak over to his place and use them to shred the shirt he was wearing on your first date. Instead, make yourself a fabulous dress. With sparkles.

Confession: this might have been my favorite episode so far! Join us next time to find out if Justin has a break-out moment, if Sonjia picks another terrific fabric, or if Dmitry says something catty and delightful.

Also! Debra Messing is guest judging next week! Here's hoping she wears a scarf.

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