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Welcome to Season Two of Project Runway All Stars, "Return of the Villains." Okay, that's not its official title, but it might as well be. The cast includes a lot of designers whom we've loved to hate: Season Nine's Bedazzler Joshua McKinley, Season Eight's Ivy Higa, Season Seven's Emilio Sosa, Season Nine's Laura Kathleen, and Season One's infamous Wendy Pepper. Even the other villains are intimidated by evil queen Pepper's presence. But Joshua goes out of his way to give her a welcoming toast, "Bitch to bitch."
Things kick off with the introduction of a new host, model Carolyn Murphy. Yes, Ding Dong, Faux Heidi is gone—it seems the show's producers do pay attention to their fans' protests. Carolyn is definitely an improvement, but she's got a long way to go before she reaches Real Heidi's skill level—both in her hosting (why is Heidi's delivery of English better than both of these American-born model hosts?) and in her judging. Carolyn tells the designers, "I'll be your host for the toughest All Stars season yet." Since there's only been one previous season, this threat doesn't carry much weight.
New Host, Carolyn Murphy
After the designers meet Carolyn, they're off to see "Marie Claire's Joanna Coles," who is actually now Cosmopolitan's Joanna Coles. (This is a particularly interesting job change, considering Joanna's feelings last season about dresses which models can't wear bras under.) Joanna has the designers divide themselves into two teams. Each designer must create a look which will be part of their team's mini collection. Wendy Pepper is hurt that she's the last designer picked. Obviously Wendy sucks at kickball.
Each team must choose an attitude that their mini collection will represent. One team picks "Confident." The other picks "Bold." Surprisingly, neither picks "Desperate." The teams work together surprisingly well. Or maybe it's just that All Stars is a half an hour shorter than Project Runway, so there isn't time to show them acting out. The only drama comes when Ivy starts crying after Joanna tells her, "I was terrified to meet you, because I remember you being such a bitch on your season." Ivy claims that she behaved badly back then because she was going through a very tough time. She shares that she even volunteered in a soup kitchen, because she was hungry. Considering that the designers on the show are all fed, we're not sure how Ivy's hunger managed to reach Ethiopian levels during filming, but it must have, because she was incredibly nasty to her fellow designers.
Our permanent judges are both back this season: fashion reality stalwart Isaac Mizrahi and Marchesa designer and co-founder, Georgina Chapman. Although Georgina doesn't bring the bitchy humor of Mizrahi or Kors, we tend to enjoy Mrs. Weinstein's critiques—she really knows her stuff. Joining Mizrahi and Chapman are two guest judges who are no strangers to the Runway family: designer Rachel Roy and All Stars One winner, Mondo Guerra. Mondo, who now seems to spend most of his time guest judging on Project Runway, is insightful but tough. We get the feeling that somewhere in the back of his head he's thinking, "I got beat up by guest judges, and now it's your turn..."
Anthony Ryan's Design
Our winning team this week, and rightfully so, is Team Confident, with a collection of black and white garments incorporating leather and lace. The winning designer from the team is Season Nine's Anthony Ryan Auld. He creates a casual black and white pants outfit, which the judges like much more than we do. The front of the top is casual and unflattering, but its back includes a pretty scalloped lace cut-out that the judges love. The matching pants have an ill-fitting crotch.
Coming in second for the challenge, is Ivy, who creates a white blazer and black leather shorts ensemble. What we love about the outfit is that the jacket has impeccably placed black lace sections on the sleeves and arms. They're beautiful, and their placement creates the illusion of a wasp like waist. Only shorts-fanatic Mondo likes the leather shorts, but all the judges love the jacket—aside for our new host, who says she wishes the lace was either on the arms or the body but not on both. As we said, Carolyn is no Heidi.
Coming in third is the hilarious Casanova, who came in tenth on Season Eight. Although Casanova had major "taste issues" during his original season, he kicks off All Stars with a black leather and lace dress which the judges all find impressive. Their only critique is that they wish the skirt were a few inches longer to make it more contemporary. We learn that since his season, Casanova has been working as an assistant to Ivy, who came in eighth the same season. Shouldn't an appearance on Project Runway earn a designer a better assistant's job than that?
Team Bold is our bottom team. Their collection's "theme" is to combine black and what appears to be International Klein Blue in their garments. Season Nine's Laura Kathleen is told that her garment is the best from their collection, and that had her team won, she would have been this week's winner. But they didn't.
Third from the bottom is Season Five's Suede. Suede makes a dress with layered bra pads taking the place of shoulder pads. Suede's skirt looks like it was made of layered hankies, and is reminiscent of a winning garment Suede created during Season Five. Suede still likes to talk about Suede in the third person, which is incredibly annoying for those of us who are not Suede. Unfortunately Suede doesn't go this week, so we'll have to keep hearing Suede talk about what Suede is doing.
Second from the bottom is Season Two's Andrae. Yes, the legendary Andrae from Santino's "Andrae and Tim Gunn go to Red Lobster" fantasy. (The funniest segment in Project Runway history). Andrae does a crisscross dress which confuses the judges. On top of that, Rachel is appalled that the wearer can't reach the garment's zipper. Although Andrae's dress doesn't work, we find it interesting, and like it a lot better than Suede's giant Swifter Duster.
Sadly, our losing designer this week is Season Eight's Peach Carr. Since her time on Project Runway, Peach has become a tennis clothing designer, but those skills don't seem to translate here. She creates a stylish but badly made dress. Peach's bottom three placement does not come as a complete surprise. Of all this season's designers, she was the one to have been booted the earliest from her original season. We're sorry to see her go, but having once taught Peach how to pose for Red Carpets, and having subsequently found ourselves on her family's Christmas Card list, we're relieved that at least we won't be forced into a position where we might have to insult her work week after week. She's as sweet as she seems on television.
We're not sure who will win this season, but we're guessing Emilio Sosa, Season Six's Althea Harper or Season Three's Uli Herzner each have a decent shot. Uli says that although people know her for her long flowy resort dresses, her design style has changed dramatically since her season. She can now make more urban designs. Judging by this week's gown, however, the new Uli looks suspiciously like the old Uli. Piña Colada anyone?
Uli is Still Uli
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