Okay, let's do this! *claps hands together*
I'll be honest - I'm starting to lose my patience with All Stars. And it's not the designers - there's a lot of talent. But angels above - the judges. What I enjoy about Standard Issue Project Runway is that I don't doubt the taste or good sense of all of the judges all of the time. I might disagree with Ye Olde CFDA winning Michael Kors occasionally, or take issue with Zac Posen's championing of something I hate, or like something more than Fashion Editor Nina Garcia, or doubt that Heidi Klum really would wear something so nutty, even though she proclaims to love it on the runway, but usually it's kind of a two-outta-three sort of equation.
And then there's the fact that in recent seasons the judges have taken to actually examining the clothes close up - looking at the finishing so they can appreciate the craftsmanship - or lack thereof.
But All Stars judging feels like a perfunctory farce (and not just because of the jacket Isaac Mizrahi wore, though it didn't help). Georgina Chapman is...don't get me started on the level of whack that is Marchesa. And Alyssa Milano's fashion sense is none. All of this adds up to a lot of talented designers showing their creations to judges who might as well be choosing winners out of the button bag half of the time.
But, you know. that's just how I feel. How do you feel?
Totally with you, Hillary. Button bag and all. A frustration I’d add is this--I just feel like there should be higher standards, more challenging challenges. More that would answer to the real world of design, not just jumping through hoops from week-to-week. What about on-going brand or collection building? That way designs could be judged not only on did you meet the challenge, but did you meet the challenge with something that also is cohesive with that thing you met the challenge with last week.
Let's chat briefly about the last episode, in which Alyssa wore a lace sweatshirt with a leather skirt.
I swear she found that in the attic in a trunk of Who’s the Boss? wardrobe pieces. Awful.
This was the "real people" installment, this time featuring online dating couples embarking on a first date. So - menswear! This caused Michelle to have a stress and sickness-induced meltdown, but she carried on. It was fine.
Fabio made this nautical-priest-yacht outfit that the judges found fascinating and somehow sexy, and I thought looked like student work for a Star Trek Resortwear assignment.
This girl, I would like to note, told us that she admired the style of Kim Kardashian during this era of Kanye. I would like to have a sit-down conversation with her (actually - both of them. Kim could benefit from this) about dressing for your body type, but alas.
Jay made this jacket, which will only appeal to gentlemen of alternative persuasion. Actually, that's not true. I'm sure here are women looking for a Pink Lady jacket who'd be perfectly happy with this. Jay's solution to tone down the jacket was grey sleeves, which, whatever.
And I think it would be perfectly at home in the aforementioned WtB? trunk.
Fabio and his priestly yacht ensemble won.
The judges were not impressed by this look. They were unmoved by Justin's "Could have been Banana Republic" ensemble (their words, not mine) and Helen's blue shirtdress of unflattering profile.
But nothing was bad enough, in the end, for anyone to go home, so everyone stuck around for a Celebrating Life and Michelle's Birthday Brunch.
For some reason (i.e. very specific instructions from the producers), the designers go outside and "happen" upon this USA today issue featuring a pre-pregnancy Alyssa Milano "making a splash," as one does.
So the designers go to a rooftop pool (as directed by the producers) where they find Alyssa (not in swimwear) and the travel editor for USA Today. Do note the stuff in the pool. We'll get to that.
Also, the editor looks rather like Willie Garson's younger brother.
Sonjia and Michelle pay rapt attention the challenge is explained: at the bottom of the pool is swimwear fabric. The designers will each design a.) a swimsuit and b.) a resort look.
The retrieving of the swimwear fabric is performed by this handy collection of pool boys, who yes, do remove their shirts and outer-shorts to reveal the Speedos within, to the delight of all.
Close up of the fabric -
Close up of the Speedos….wait, what?
I'm just saying, getting a Safe for Work shot of a guy swimming for fabric is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. Also? I miss the Summer Olympics.
The swimmers present the fabric to the designers for their approval, and may wind up diving for more if they want something else.
I wasn't terribly impressed with the prints, but we'll see more of them later.
After the swimmers are allowed to depart and dry off, the designers sketch and head to Mood, with $150 to complete their two looks.
Zanna arrives at the workroom with the USA Today style editor, who...you know, I don't remember. Maybe Allison can fill me in. Something about how if they win, it'll wind up in USA Today and they get a vacation. I think that's right.
Yes--their design will appear on a newspaper strewn from end to end of hotel hallways across America.
Michelle makes this face about it.
Everybody sets to work. Michelle has made swimwear before, so she's practically crowing about how she's got the super good elastic that everybody should want, and if she has extra - which she's not going to be specific about - she might maybe share it. Maybe.
The looks come together, and eventually everyone is as runway ready as possible, considering the time constraints.
Fashion Photographer and America's Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker is this week's guest judge, and I'm in favor of this because he knows things. Isaac, Georgina, and Alyssa are also in attendance. Isaac is wearing a terrible jacket (we'll get to that).
Such a crush on Nigel Barker. I was a hardcore ANTM viewer for years.
We can add him to the list of "guest judges who should stay forever."
Justin's look comes down the runway, and it moves nicely.
I'm not over the moon about it, but it's nice.
The there's an edit to a miraculous moment in which the swimwear beneath is revealed - this happens with most of the models and it's a teeny bit odd, but so's the whole show.
Here's Michelle's dress - which is not great.
But the judges like her graphic one-piece.
I was obsessed with this suit. That little bit at the bottom of neckline was just a beautiful detail.
Agree - and so cool that it was simply the elastic that she’d used throughout!
Here's Sonjia's lace and denim ensemble, of which I am not a fan.
I'm indifferent to the swimwear.
Here's Jay's - beige and floaty. That's your takeaway.
It’s this week’s edition of Jaymadeadress.
His swimsuit is pretty junior, and the cameraman had a hard time getting it without it being a shot of BREASTAGE. Honestly - getting a screen capture was tricky because the cuts were so fast (this one actually came from the end
Here's Helen's look, which was essentially Lace Pajamas with Interior Swimwear:
And Fabio's who was sophisticated and black and white on the outside -
And a Brazilian party underneath. I didn't get a shot of the front, but you're not missing anything. Trust.
Also, that bikini bottom is not great, as it seems determined to make an ascension north.
Sam's jumpsuit - which she had a hard time with in the workroom when she sewed the top on funny - isn't terrible, but it's not great either, especially with the open sides.
However, her Baywatch-inspired swimsuit is a HOT MESS.
As is Isaac.
At this point, Dmitry's is a breath of asymmetrical fresh air.
I don't even hate the swimsuit, which is saying something because I'm not a fan of camo. But can't you see this in a catalog somewhere?
I liked it, but it doesn’t really say “resort” to me. That might be because I’ve never been to an actual resort, but this didn’t have a cool, casual air to me.
As the judges deliberate, Michelle's manic-pixie-dreamgirl energy will not be contained. In a truly What-The-Flipper moment, she flits around the room reminding everyone who the judges loved and hated, though it does serve to remind us that the judging isn't terribly well-considered, and might as well come from the Runway Fairies.
I think, too, she’s reinforcing the fact that nobody got a clear idea of where they stood with both garments. Everything was as divided as the cheeks on Sam’s model.
And that, I think, is partly what was so weird to me about these pieces - they didn’t read together at all - Fabio’s in particular (I hated that fabric).
I think we're going to blame exhaustion for that one. Or it's a deliberate commentary on the judging. Everybody's amused, so that's something. Dmitry's almost smiling.
HERE is that jacket I was telling you about. It looks like he got it at REI, on clearance, and it's biggest selling point is that awful snap in the center that also hangs fishing line and holds the thing when it folds into a disc.
Anyway, the judges love Justin's, have mixed feelings about Sonjia's mixed-textile look, love Dmitry's, love Michelle's swimsuit the best but hate her dress, don't say much about Jay's, Helen's, or Fabio's, and christen Sam's swimsuit with the term "moose knuckle."
Ooooooh!!! Moose knuckle. I thought they said Goose knuckle. Well, that makes much more sense.
Anywhoodle, Justin wins. He is both happy and featured in USA Today...some time ago.
Sam goes home, which is not the wrong move. As much as I harp on the judges, her swimsuit was really, truly terrible. I wish her well.
What did you guys think of the episode? Who would you pick to be judges? Share your thoughts in the comments below!