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Ep. 2: Designing Gowns for the Opera, Not the Opry

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It's Week Two of Project Runway All Stars, and our host, Angela Lindvall, aka "Faux Heidi," kicks things off by informing the designers that their latest challenge will be all about "high-end glamor." She brings out America's kings of evening wear, Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka. She then immediately asks the two, "Why don't you guys tell us all about this challenge?"—failing to add the obvious, "Because all those big words are too difficult for me to enunciate." The duo explains that the All Stars must each make a gown for a night at the opera. And by this they mean The Met, not the Marx Brothers movie nor the Queen song—although Mondo and April would probably have preferred the latter options. The designers head off for the first-ever unsupervised trip to Mood—we assume that Joanna Coles is too busy running her magazine and that Faux Heidi, who joined them there last week, finally realized that Real Heidi never has to go to Mood. This fabric shopping trip provides the episode's only bit of drama. Michael, who like April made a dress out of mops last week, learns that they now both plan to make red evening gowns. Horrified at the similarity, he goes into a meltdown, rejects his red fabric and buys black instead. An innovative choice, as no one's ever made a black evening gown before.

This is a straight forward challenge, with no teamwork or surprise twists, so we actually get to see the designer's unadulterated visions. Mondo creates our favorite gown, a short Judy Jetson meets Audrey Hepburn, silvery-white cocktail dress with an obi and a long train in the back. We expected Rami to use his legendary draping skills to triumph over the other designers. Instead he chooses to do a lot of intricate construction on a cheap looking fuchsia fabric, and ends up with a disappointing garment. Kenley creates a big, poufy, pink polka-dotted ball gown, which makes her model look like "My First Prom" Barbie.

Mr. Badgley and Mr. Mischka join Mr. Mizrahi and Mrs. Weinstein for the judging. But many of our guest judges' comments tend to be about their own tastes—for instance, we learn that neither likes to combine red with black. Georgina's commentary is more practical. The designer focuses on what qualities make a successful gown. Aiding them in the judging is Angela, who earns even more Faux Heidi stripes when she says she wants to wear one of the All Stars' outfits. Perhaps next week she'll introduce us to a soul singing husband named "Walrus."

Our top three designers for this week are Anthony, with an asymmetrically draped, clingy, low-cut white gown; Michael, who creates an embellished black gown, which "Kim Kardashian might wear to the opera;" and Austin, who makes a tasteful gold gown with netting. And our winner for the week is—Austin, who is extremely relieved that he triumphed in this challenge, since during his season he claims he was dubbed "The King of Couture."

Our bottom three designers are Kara, whose floral gown doesn't really show her personality; April, with a badly patch-worked red silk and black tie-dyed ombré gown; and Sweet P, whose giant, floral mess of a dress looks more Opry than opera. Faux Heidi bids "Goodbye" to Sweet P, because "auf Wiedersehen" is too difficult to pronounce.

And now our Top Ten Moments of Project Runway All Stars Greatness...

10. Badgley and Mischka are sure that Sweet P's skirt will appeal to "A lot of women." Yes, in maternity shops.

9. Isaac muses, "Tasteful is such a good word. I haven't heard that word in a very long time." Probably because he was hosting The Fashion Show.

8. Mila hopes the judges forget that they said the gowns should be "romantic and feminine." We're guessing they won't, since they've got producers, note cards, and footage.

7. Austin shares that he wants to pattern his career after Badgley Mischka. Perhaps he too will create a HSN line which is nothing like the tasteful evening clothes he is best known for.

6. Isaac raves to Anthony, "I like the new context for white that you created." Wait, wasn't that the Beastie Boys?

5. Faux Heidi tells Sweet P, "No one does color like you do." But fails to add, "Garishly."

4. Austin announces that he will be humiliated if he doesn't do well on this challenge. Save those worries for next week, when you might be yelled at by Miss Piggy.

3. Jerell says, "No one wants a nip slip, not at the opera. That's tacky." Much like using the term nip slip.

2. Sweet P discusses being in bottom two last week. "It makes it seem like I was some kind of loser." Anyone out there want to take this one?

1. The show is sponsored by the Special K Cereal—for those moments when you realize there's no way you'll fit in any of these dresses.

· The Best and Worst of Project Runway All Stars Album [Racked Facebook]
· All Project Runway Posts [Racked]
· Badgley Mischka [Official Site]