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Episode 7: An Unconventional Nightmare Before Christmas

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Week Seven of Project Runway All Stars kicks off with the designers meeting Carolyn at The South Street Seaport—but thankfully it's not a cruise wear or tourist wear challenge. Instead, the designers are sent to a Christmas store in the Seaport's shopping center and told to buy materials to make an outfit that doesn't look like it's made from Christmas trimmings. Yes, it's time for this season's unconventional materials challenge! That's where the designers have to make clothing out of things one wouldn't normally make clothing out of. Carolyn says that it's the challenge most of the designers hate, but the fans love. For once we agree with her.

Caroline then informs the designers that the winner of this challenge will get a watch made by Fawaz Gruosi, "Jewelry designer to the stars," whom she then proceeds to introduce. We wonder just how much this product placement is costing Mr. Gruosi—because he's definitely not there based on his name recognition with the Lifetime audience. Laura Kathleen immediately yelps, "I want that watch!" Um, if any filmmaker is doing a third version of Willie Wonka, we've got your Veruca.

Our Judges
This week, joining the "Beautiful" Georgina and the "Famous" Isaac in the judging chairs are two guest judges. The first is LaLa Anthony, who is described as an actor/producer but whose Wiki page is mostly filled with hosting credits for VH1 and MTV shows like Ricki Lake's Charm School.

The second judge is international pop star Kylie Minogue, who Anthony Ryan gushes "is probably the biggest judge in Project Runway history." We don't know if we'd go that far, but she is quite famous. In fact, perhaps the producers thought Kylie was too famous to have as a solo judge, so they paired her with someone most people have never heard of to lower the excitement factor.

Uli's Design

This week, our winner is Uli, with a silver and gold embellished dress that is fairly similar to the one she did for the Seventies Challenge. After DVF told Uli last week not to hold back on the embellishments, Uli plunges in head first. Most Christmas trees are less decorated.

The judges and designers all comment on how the dress is "so Uli." This strikes us as odd, since during her original season, Uli's look was completely different—a lot of long, sleeveless, brightly printed summery dresses, much like those Anya became known for.

Photo credit: Anthony Ryan's Design

In second place is the judge's pet Anthony Ryan, who creates a white and silver beaded dress which looks suspiciously like Uli's. For some reason, LaLa gets stuck on the fact that she can still tell that some of the embellishments are Christmas ornaments and complains about this repeatedly—until she eventually announces that she wants to wear the dress.

Laura Kathleen's Design

And speaking of complaining, in third place is Laura Kathleen, who whines that Uli and Anthony Ryan's dresses both use the same color palette. She then proceeds to make a dress that also uses the same color palette. Yes, a third white and silver embellished cocktail dress, only Laura Kathleen's is not as flattering as that of either of her competitors—Isaac thinks it makes her model look "fat."

Laura Kathleen dubs her dress "innovative—because all the stuff came from Christmas stores." Note to Laura: this would only make it "innovative" if it wasn't your assignment.

Joshua's Design

Third from the bottom this week is Joshua with a bustier and shorts set. The bustier, made using mirrored parts of ornaments and toy trains, looks pretty cool, if you're the sort of person who would wear a bustier made of mirrored parts of ornaments and toy trains—which, of course, Kylie is. The shorts are another story. As Georgina says, "No one wants to look fatter, have their privates showing, and have a tail flapping in the back."

Our favorite part of Joshua's storyline is when he tries to unfurl what he thinks is a roll of blue fabric, but which turns out to just be a small blue sleeve covering a white sign that says "Happy Hanukkah." If he'd have made that into hot pants, it might have been a Macabees-worthy miracle.

Ivy's Design

Second from the bottom is Ivy, who makes another golden dress, because last week's gold-dress-driven trip to the bottom wasn't enough for her. This time around, it's a flapper-mini dress, which Georgina describes as "Sixties," but which Isaac corrects to "Junior Sixties." The dress has fringe and isn't fitted enough. It's not bad, but it's kind of dull, to the point where Anthony Ryan says, "It has that forty to death demographic." Ivy thinks that showing restraint in the bling department might buy her the win, but if the judges had wanted restraint, they probably wouldn't have sent the contestants to a store that sells Christmas ornaments.

Good Bye Casanova

Our loser for the week is Casanova. He has no idea what direction to go in while shopping at the Christmas store, and never really figures one out later. Casanova makes three different dresses but is unhappy with the results each time. By the time he gets to the third dress, he is literally scavenging materials from the floor and from other designers to finish it. This results in a golden dress with interesting espadrille-like braiding on the bust, but a skirt which fits horrendously.

Casanova is obviously very popular with the other designers, who are sorry to see him go. When most of them leave the stage after being dubbed safe, they pat or hug him as they walk by. Ivy, whom Casanova works for in real life, is so upset, that she cries. She even says—with what seems to be genuine sincerity—that she likes him so much, she wishes she were the one who was going instead.

Since Ivy is the only one crying when the three bottom designers go backstage, Laura Kathleen immediately goes over to hug and console her. Laura Kathleen's seeming kindness, however, quickly turns to a look of horror when she learns that it's Casanova, and not her nemesis Ivy, who is going home.

On Casanova's original Project Runway season, he was hilarious but his taste level hit some pretty low levels on some of the challenges. However, we were incredibly impressed with how much his work has advanced since then and really liked most his designs this season. We're going to miss Casanova. As we bid him good bye, we leave you with a Buyer's Remorse story Casanova gave us earlier this year.
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