Saturday, February 25, 2012

Project Runway All Stars episode eight: Oy vey, can you see?

We start the episode with the designers standing on the lawn of the United Federation of Planets headquarters in New York:

Isaac: "Isn't this inspiring?"

Is it? It just looks like a lawn to me.

Issac: "Yes, but this grass represents the efforts to work together to solve shared problems, such as galactic climate change, tribble over-population, and peace."

Peace is a problem we are trying to solve?

Isaac: "Peace is so boring."

Anyway, why don't you explain this week's completely nonsensical challenge?

Isaac: "It would be my pleasure. This challenge is to create a dress inspired by the colors of a flag, just like Catherine Malandrino did."

I hate to be a contrarian, but that's not so much "inspired" by a flag as it is made out of fabric printed with the image of a flag.

Isaac: "Right. The designers are supposed to be inspired by the colors of their flags. Does that mean they have to use the exact colors? Who knows? Let's wait for the judging to see whether the designers are criticized for using the exact colors or for not using the exact colors. Also, the designers are supposed to be inspired by the people represented by their flags but they can't make anything that looks like the actual clothes worn by those people."


Isaac: "Well, for instance, they shouldn't do this:"

Isaac: "Because that looks too much like a costume. Instead, they should do something like this:"

Isaac: "See? That's an example of how you could take a look worn by real women in Brazil and just update it for a young, modern, sophisticated woman."

So the secret is subtlety?

Isaac: "Now you've got it!"

Anyway, the designers have to make garments inspired by the flags and inhabitants of members of the Federation of Planets:

Austin gets the planet of Betazed.

Austin: "It's very feminine and soft and you can tell the woman who wears this is very emotional and loves chocolate."

That neckline is so NOT regulation!

Jerell gets the Vulcan empire. He loves how ethnic and Vulcany they are:

As usual, Jerell needs a little editing.

Kenley gets the Borg:

Hot, but not the right Borg. Let's try that again:

OK, again, it's totally cute, but she makes the same thing for every challenge.

Kenley: "That's what I wear every day and I only design for myself. Resistance is futile."

Mondo gets the Ferengi Alliance:

It's a surprising use of color. The judges love it. Mondo wins! Congratulations, Mondo! And Joanna appreciates that the model can wear a bra. You know what they say about women with big ears.

Michael just doesn't get it:


Michael: "What? My model looks so sexy, she's making me question my pon farr!"

Oh, shut up.

Mila gets the Klingon Empire. She loves how tribal-looking and independent they are:

Isaac: "It reminds me of communism. She's just hard to look at."

Well, that's rude. I think she's lovely. Anyway, Mila is out and Isaac feels the wrath of the Klingon bat'leth:

Isaac: "Aaaah, my spleen!"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Episode Seven: Jesus Christ Superstar, it's a musical!

First, I have to tell you that I just watched Godspell on Youtube, so don't ever say I haven't suffered for my art. I was not feeling this episode, so I apologize for this pathetic post.

The story: a bunch of overly-dramatic hippies wander the city of New York making outfits out of garbage. But enough about Project Runway All Stars, let's get to the Godspell challenge:

The Parable of the Challenge that Made no Sense:
Therefore whosoever heareth this challenge and understand it, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock, because, frankly, I don't get it at all. The designers are told to make an outfit for a rich bitch who both hoards her money and also spends it conspicuously at the same time. But the character isn't even rich; it's actually a poor woman who sings one song where she puts on a feather boa and talks like Mae West to dramatise the fact that you shouldn't worship money. So the costume is really supposed to be made up of props that poor people would find in the trash and use to pretend to be rich. Like maybe a ratty fur coat or a tiara made out of tinfoil.

Anyway, the challenge starts with the designers dancing around in a fountain in Central Park while Austin does Kenley's hair and then someone gets baptised and they go to a junk yard to pick out fabric.

Joanna comes in and tells them that it is easier for a camel to enter the kingdom of heaven than for these designers to figure out how to thread a needle. Or something like that.

Then Kenley has her first musical number:

Kenley: "I feel pretty and witty and gay! And I pity anyone who isn't me today!"

Mila: "That is the wrong musical, Kenley. You are so annoying."

And now the parable of the designer who has no friends:

Mila: "Hey! I have friends! I just don't flaunt it, like some people."

Then Austin gets all pissed off at Jerell for stealing his sewing machine:

Austin: "It's like I've been slapped in the face!"

Jerell: "Austin, you should turn the other cheek."

Austin: "Oh, alright."

Jerell slaps him on the other cheek. Then they have a laugh and hug it out.

Time for the runway:

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Designers:
Then shall the Kingdom of Project Runway be likened unto seven designers, which took their garments and went forth to meet the judges. And verily I say unto you, three of those designers didst maketh garments that sucketh, and three of those designers didst maketh garments that didst not totally sucketh, and Jerell was in the middle.

Austin and Mondo are the top two:

The Parable of the Prodigal Designer:
So there was this rich guy and he had two sons, Mondo and Austin, and they both got their inheritance of some money and two days to make an outfit. Mondo freaked out and wasted all his time crying about not being able to make anything, while Austin worked steadily on his Marie Antoinette costume. Finally, when Mondo couldn't go on any longer, he made something and sent it down the runway. And his father was so happy about it, he slaughtered a fattened calf and made him the winner of the challenge. And Austin said unto his father, "This blows." And his father said unto him that he had lost a son and now he is returned and they should rejoice. And Austin said, "OK, I'll turn the other cheek." And then Jerell slapped him again.

Kara and Mila are the bottom two designers:

The Parable of the Designer Taken in Adultery:
So there was this grumpy designer named Mila who tried to make an outfit for a rich woman but accidentally made an outfit for a hooker. And the other designers arrested her for adultery because they didn't really know what that meant and then Isaac said unto them, "Let the designer who has not made a garment for a hooker cast the first stone." And the designers saw that he was right and Mila was saved.

So, after a last supper, Kara dies for our sins. Sorry Kara. Even though I didn't like her garments this season, I still thought crucifying her on a chain link fence was a little harsh. Maybe she will be resurrected for another Project Runway series.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Project Runway All Stars: Face/Off!

To destroy your enemy you must find him, face him, and then ... become him.

This week, thanks to a revolutionary medical breakthrough, the designers have their faces surgically removed and exchanged with another designer's. It's the only way to accurately judge the best design and prevent a bomb from killing millions of innocent people.

Isaac: "Well, technically, it's not the only way. But it is the most practical."

Good enough for me. So, after the designers pick giant handbags for absolutely no reason at all, they go to the Brother Sewing and Face Transplant Center and get prepped for surgery:

Austin and Kara swap faces and create spring looks.
Michael and Jerell swap faces and create winter looks.
Mondo and Kenley swap faces and create summer looks.
And Rami and Mila swap faces and create autumn looks.

They get $200 and only one day to create looks for a weekend getaway. They get 30 minutes to recover from surgery and for sketching.

In addition to sharing faces, the designers also seem to be sharing brains this week. Mila and Kenley are both making looks for girls attending art festivals. Mondo and Kenley are both using polka dots. Jerell and Michael are making the same coat. Austin and Kara are both making painfully dull outfits. Austin's girl is gardening and Michael's girl is planning to murder her and bury her in her own garden. I'm not exactly sure how that last one is a design concept, but I'm not an expert.

Joanna can sense some tension in the design room:

Joanna: "We're going to do what we do at Marie Claire when there is a tense situation: I invite everyone to complain about one person and then I fire the guest editor. Go."

OK, well, here's what happened: Jerell made a coat and then Michael threw out his first design and made almost the same coat as Jerell. Then he pretended to be shocked when it was pointed out to him, as though he had never noticed the coat being made right next to him.

Joanna: "There. Now doesn't everyone feel better?"

Michael: "No."

Joanna: "Terrific. Good luck on the runway."

Michael and Jerell have an awkward meal together:

Jerell: "I am loving this Greek yogurt."

Michael: "I prefer Yoplait."

Jerell: "It is Yoplait."

Michael: "But you said it was Greek."

Jerell: "Right."

Michael: "So is it Greek or is it Yoplait?"

Jerell: "Exactly."

Michael: "I have never been so confused by yogurt."

Mondo: "This reminds me of family meals at my house."

Michael is mad because Jerell is gossiping about him:

Michael: "Oh, you want to play like that, bitch? OK, we can play like that."

Yeah, we already know you can play like that, dummy. You played like that last week when you were gossiping about Kenley helping Kara.

On to the runway with guest judge Cynthia Rowley:

Austin and Kara both made boring high-waisted pant outfits. Both looks are really awful, but Kara is on the top and Austin is on the bottom.

Kenley and Mondo both made outfits with short-shorts and polka dots. Kenley's was a little baby-blue polka dot jumper and it was super cute, though I'm not convinced anyone would actually wear it. Mondo's look was also nice, but the top was not great and the shorts, while cute, looked like the same shorts he does all the time. The judges' complaint about mixing fifties and eighties references was ridiculous, but I agree that Kenley's was better. Kenley is on the top and Mondo is on the bottom.

Rami and Mila actually made very different looks. I guess they didn't get the memo. Rami made a neon-blue knit jacket with tons of draping and volume in front. Apparently his model got breast augmentation since he last worked with her. That is the only explanation for how he could not have known how awful that would look. But, in case you didn't think she looked top heavy enough already, he also included a second draped sweater in chartreuse under the first one. For the same low, low price. The second sweater had the added benefit of making the model's breasts look droopy and lopsided. Really, the jacket by itself on the mannequin was quite nice. But the combination of two draped sweaters in clashing neon colors on a large-breasted model was really bad. Mila made a color-blocked cape and a skinny pant. It was nice. Mila is on the top and Rami is on the bottom.

Jerell and Michael both made big drapy herringbone coats. They are styled differently, but the silhouettes are very close. Michael's look is very polished and sophisticated, as the judges point out. In fact, it's beautiful. However, it's also kind of boring and predictable. Like most of Michael's designs, it looks like a cliched television version of what a rich woman would wear. Jerell's is much more interesting. Yes, the buttons are insane, but it's a great look. Jerell is on the top and Michael is on the bottom.

Jerell wins. Congratulations, Jerell.

Rami and Austin are the bottom two and Rami is out. I really disagreed with this decision at first. I thought Austin's look was much worse and I thought the judges were just keeping him because he's Austin. But the more I look at Rami's outfit the more I hate it. At least you could wear Austin's outfit while you're gardening. At night. When nobody's looking.

Mondo is crying because he disappointed his mother on her 60th birthday by not making a winning outfit or giving her grandchildren. Kenley cheers him up:

Kenley: "Mondo, sure you suck, but not as bad as Austin. HAHAHAHAHAHA."

Mondo: "Kenley, you always know exactly what to say to make me feel better."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Project Runway All Stars Episode Five: What Not to Wear!
First of all, I have to apologize because my computer is dying, so I’m going to try to make this quick. It’s that time again, when I have to convince Other Eric that he needs a brand new computer so I can inherit his hand-me-down. Wish me luck.
We start the episode with the designers accosting people in Union Square, which has been magically transported to the middle of Central Park (don’t ask). The designers offer strangers a credit card with their name on it and five thousand dollars to buy a new wardrobe. But there’s an All Stars catch. They have to throw out their entire existing wardrobe and learn to shop by our rules. What do you say? Is it a deal?
Oh, alright. That’s not the challenge. But when I explain the real challenge you are going to wish it were. The designers have to find a muse to use as inspiration for a fashion forward look. During judging we are told that they were supposed to update the muse’s look, which is slightly different, but whatever. Make sense so far? Well, no; there’s already a problem. If you find a muse with a sense of style you really love, you shouldn’t need to update the person’s look, right? They’re looking for a muse with an outdated look? I don’t get it. Anyway, it gets worse. They are first told to buy the clothes from their muse. But then apparently they can get clothes from as many people as they like, so the clothes don’t have to be from their muse? Again, I don’t get it.
There are two or three fun challenges conflicting with each other here. There are just too many elements that don’t work together.
Jerell: “Too many elements that don’t work together is my middle name!”
Seriously. This challenge is perfect for Jerell.
The two designers who actually find muses are Mondo and Austin. They are also, coincidentally, the top two designers for this challenge. The other designers just find some fabric they like.
Anthony tells us he has personality so he knows how to get a man:
Anthony: “You go to a park, find a hustler, and offer him money to take off his pants. You’re welcome.”
Yeah, that is not the first time that guy has taken off his clothes for a stranger in a park. Just saying.
So, the designers have $150 for this challenge. But, since they spend most of the money in the park, they are almost penniless when they get to the fabric store.
In the next scene we see Kara standing at a freeway off ramp with a sign reading: “Unemployed All Star. Need $3 for thread. Please help.”
Oh, these poor designers!
Mitt Romney: “Well, I don’t care about poor designers.”
How can you say such a horrible thing?
Mitt Romney: “You took my statement out of context. Typical liberal media. If you had let me finish, you would have understood that what I meant is I don’t care about them because they are whiney and annoying.”
Actually, I can’t argue with him on that one.
Mitt Romney: “Let them eat cake!”
You should stop talking now.
Back in the design room, most of the designers seem to know what they are doing, but Michael and Anthony are having problems:
Anthony: “I have a brain storm.”
Austin: “You mean you are brainstorming ideas?”
Anthony: “No, my doctor actually gave me the diagnosis. I’m suffering from a brain storm. It’s fatal. My only option is to go to a tropical island and jump into an active volcano to appease the gods and save the native people.”
Austin: “Oh, I think you mean you have a brain cloud.”
Anthony: “Right. That’s it. A brain cloud.”
Meg Ryan: “You were diagnosed with a brain cloud and you didn’t get a second opinion?”
Anthony: “I asked for a second opinion so the doctor also told me my shoes were ridiculous.”
Now it’s time for the segment of the program we call, Well, that went nowhere:
Michael: “So, Mila, you aren’t going to believe this, but Kenley created Kara’s entire outfit while Kara just slept and ate Doritos for two days!”
Mila: “What?! God! Kenley is such a bitch!”
Michael: “Yeah! What are we gonna do about it?”
Mila: “Nothing!”
Michael: “OK!”
Well, that went nowhere.
Time for the runway, with guest judge Some Hockey Player:
Michael created sort of a swimsuit, which wasn’t really the challenge. The peach lace fabric is nice but it looked better as the original shorts, so he did nothing to improve it.
Austin thinks he made a high fashion version of a punk goth look. What he actually made is a sad costume for an Aeon Flux sequel. The judges think his muse would love it, but I can tell you she would not be caught dead in it. Or alive, for that matter.
Kara (or Kenley) turned a blue maxi skirt into some great-looking pants. It’s definitely a better version of what her muse was wearing.
Mila made a cool pair of jeans and a top. 

Jerell made something practically indescribable. The closest thing I can think of is a beach cover-up. But then it had a jacket-less jacket on top. You wouldn’t wear it to the beach. So it isn’t made to be worn at all. That’s fine. So, is it a work of art? Unfortunately, no.
Rami made a decent outfit with a cool striped top and shorts that were not as amazing as the judges made them out to be.
Kenley made a cute dress that was different from her usual cute dresses. But it looked like the original striped fabric was only used for the yoke of the dress and the majority of the striped fabric came from Mood. Am I wrong?
Anthony made a nice red jumpsuit that was turned into geriatric wear by the addition of a turban. Most of the fabric was bought at Mood and it really had nothing to do with his muse.
Mondo turned his muse’s cool patterned dress into some shorts and made a nice jacket out of some jeans and another jacket. It’s obviously more stylish than Austin’s fake goth look.
Mondo wins! Congratulations, Mondo!
Isaac and Georgina start arguing:
Isaac: “Nobody loves a jumpsuit as much as I do.”
Georgina: “No, I love them more.”
Oh, please. You two can’t even come close to my love of jumpsuits. Don’t try to compete with me.
Anyway, as much as we all love jumpsuits (and I love them the most), Anthony just didn’t meet the requirements of the challenge and he is out. Sorry, Anthony.
OK, off to the Apple Store. If you don’t hear from me in a week, please send a search party.