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It's Week Five of Project Runway All Stars, and according to our host, Carolyn Murphy, this week's challenge is yet another one that has never been done before in the history of Project Runway. The designers are all tasked with creating androgynous, avant-garde outfits for their models. Thankfully, unlike in past seasons' avant-garde challenges, most of the All Star understand that "avant-garde" doesn't just mean "weirdly ugly." Ironically, it's the androgynous part of this week's challenge that many of them find daunting.
Initially the designers are told that they'll just be creating looks for their female models. But then Georgina Chapman surprises them in the workroom with an unwelcome twist. She drops the bomb that they'll each have to design a matching androgynous outfit for a male model as well. The two models' looks must complement each other because the models will walk down the runway together. Since most of the contestants don't normally design for men, this surprise twist doesn't go over well. It also briefly makes us wonder how red carpet-designer Georgina would do if she were given the challenge of designing an androgynous ensemble for a man like, say, her husband Harvey Weinstein. We quickly realize that is a look that is best not contemplated.
Despite much panic and griping, these are All Stars, so once again, things go fairly smoothly in the workroom. The producers don't even include one of their now standard "Laura Kathleen is a bitch," segments. They make up for that later, however, with some "the bitch is back" footage of Joshua.
Joshua initially thinks he is going to win this challenge because he loves androgyny. But when the judges merely declare him "safe," his internal rage monster of seasons' past makes a bold return. The angry Joshua needs someone to lash out at, so he starts attacking Ivy, who is within verbal shooting distance. Despite his cruel trashing of her personality and her talent, Ivy just stares at Joshua passively. She refuses to be dragged into one of his infamous knock-down, drag-out fights, which causes Joshua to pout. Point: Ivy!
Carolyn introduces our regular judges this week with her now standard, "The famous" Isaac Mizrahi and "The beautiful Georgina Chapman." Not only are these intros starting to become boringly repetitive, but they're a little condescending. Anyone looking at Georgina knows she's beautiful, so perhaps she could be described as "talented" instead.
Joining Mrs. Beautiful and Mr. Famous are two guest judges, designers Jason Wu and Robert Rodriguez. Either one is a big enough name to be the sole guest judge of an episode, so we're not sure why they're both here. Robert doesn't say much, or at least not many of his comments made it to the final edit, whereas Jason is shown contributing a lot more. He's a good judge.
Emilio's Designs. Too reliant on the hat?
Our winner this week is Emilio, who focuses on the androgyny part of the assignment. His models both wear backless vests with matching pants—all designed from menswear suiting fabrics. The judges adore the looks, although Georgina takes issue with the fabric fins which Emilio has sewn on the sides of his vests. She dislikes that they hide the female model's waist. Meanwhile Isaac worries that the looks may be "too reliant on the hat." Carolyn could care less about the hats or the fins. She is too busy drooling over Emilio's male model to notice the clothing he is wearing.
In second place, with outfits that we like more than Emilio's, is Uli. The designer, known for her long, flowing women's wear, is initially very nervous about this challenge. Uli has no need to worry. Her models' complementing outfits give off a futuristic androgynous rocker vibe. Her female model's trouser look includes a fabulous silver jacket and a black top accented with hundreds of safety pins, while Uli's male model wears pants with a very short feathered vest. Isaac describes her designs as "sick in a good way." We suspect Adam Lambert would probably love to wear all of her pieces—both the men's and the women's—and frankly so would we.
Anthony Ryan's Designs
In third place, is judges' pet Anthony Ryan. Anthony Ryan designs two complementary sheer tops with coordinating pants. Inspired by women's evening wear, he gives the men's shirt a long train-like back. Joshua, who models the top in the workroom, loves it so much he wants to put in an order for one.
Getting a lot less love from the judges this week is Casanova, who comes in third to last place with his golden sci-fi looking pants outfits with python cut outs. Jason Wu really dislikes the looks, saying that they seem too costumey and aren't androgynous. While we can't argue with either of these critiques, we actually like Casanova's striking women's top (which films better than it looks in the above photo). Even with this week's bottom three showing, Casanova has proven on All Stars that he's come a long way as a designer since his original Project Runway season.
Laura Kathleen's Designs
Laura Kathleen ends up second from the bottom, with the most hideous outfits of the week. From the moment the challenge is announced she is rightfully concerned that she won't do well because of her feminine design aesthetic. She decides to deal with this by incorporating all the elements she likes about menswear into her designs. This turns out to be a lot of elements. She ends up making a sheer pants outfit with tons of cut outs for her male model and an ugly blazer outfit for her female model. Unlike Casanova's well-planned Python cut outs, these are random, sloppy and hideous. Although the judges tell Laura Kathleen she needs to edit, she gets to stay, because fortunately for her there is someone else in the bottom three who has a far worse track record...
Good Bye Kayne, We Like Your Hat
Our losing designer for the week is Kayne, who makes outfits with matching houndstooth jackets. The judges like his mens' look, where the blazer is worn with shorts and a jaunty 1970s Ken-doll scarf tied at the neck. But they hate the women's outfit with its clown-like neck ruffle and cheap looking top. Isaac calls it "atrocious," insisting that this is the first time he's said the word "atrocious" all season. (We can think of quite a few times he should have used it.) The judges decide that Kayne has no feel for women's clothing, which is ironic, since his background is as a pageant gown designer. Then again, no one has ever mistaken a pageant gown for haute couture. And so Kayne leaves us. What he lacks in taste, he more than makes up for in charm, and his fellow designers seem disappointed to see him go. Judging by the tepid applauds they give Laura Kathleen for her save, they obviously would have preferred a different outcome.
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