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It's Week Eight of Project Runway All Stars and déjà vu, things are looking all too familiar. Laura Kathleen makes another pair of palazzo pants, Uli creates another white dress with feathers, and yes, once again, Anthony Ryan is over-praised by the judges. But we'll get to all that shortly...
Things kick off with Carolyn informing the designers that their challenge for the week is to create a Twenties-inspired look for a modern woman. Our host then offers the designers six envelopes. Each holds a card listing one of three events the All Stars must design for: an afternoon garden party, a social soiree or an afterhours speakeasy. The choices don't include The Backroom at Loehmann's, but judging by this episode's designs, it should have.
Since there are only three scenarios for six designers, this means there will be three head-to-head fashion face-offs, with each pair's winner and loser making up the top and bottom three for the week. It's Joshua vs. Emilio for the garden party, Ivy vs. Anthony Ryan for the speakeasy and Uli vs. Laura Kathleen in a social soiree battle of the bleach.
The kitties are coughing up even more hairballs than usual this week. Laura Kathleen trashes Uli for relying on embellishments instead of construction, but then rushes to buy fur for her own design. Anthony Ryan tells mentor Joanna Coles that he'd rate Ivy's garment a seven or an eight, while Ivy only gives him a five. And Emilio tells Joanna "My lady owns the estate, Josh's lady is a guest." Josh counters by implying that his lady is really running things by having an affair with the estate's owner. This makes for an interesting segue to this week's judges...
This week, we have our two regular judges, the "Famous" Isaac and Georgina, who for some reason, has been downgraded in her description from "Beautiful" to "Lovely." Joining them are two guest judges, Boardwalk Empire's villainess, Gretchen Mol and British designer, Jenny Packham. Jenny's evening wear is a favorite of movie stars and the Duchess of Windsor. Both guest judges do a decent job. Their critiques are intelligent enough that they don't embarrass themselves or annoy us, but unfortunately, aren't very memorable. We wish that Gretchen had judged as her Boardwalk character "Gillian," with the character's scathing barbs. But unfortunately, All Stars would have needed to bring in Terence Winter for that.
Anythony Ryan's Design
In the top position this week, with his third win, is Anthony Ryan with a fringed flapper dress and a feathered Black Swan-like capelet. The judges love it because it's so "modern," "young" and "fresh," but once again we're left saying, "Huh?" The neckline of the dress is very unflattering and the fringe is so long it reminds Ivy of curtains and us of the wipers at a car wash. The sexy dropped back, however, is really good. We loved a couple of Anthony Ryan's designs from his first season, particularly the birdseed dress, but we have yet to join the judges on their Anthony Ryan love train this year.
In second place, with what we consider the best dress of the week, is Uli. Although the judges don't mention it on camera, the fact that she shows yet another white and silver embellished dress may have been what kept her from getting the win. Or maybe it's because she won last week. Or maybe it's because her name isn't Anthony Ryan.
Emilio is in third place, with a sexy floral garden party dress with lace on the back. Georgina feels that it doesn't capture enough of Emilio's style, but Gretchen loves the gown's longer length, confessing that she sometimes prefers that. Meanwhile, Isaac points out that Emilio's design is more Thirties than Twenties. Emilio squirms his way out of the bottom three by pointing out that his design is "Late 1920s." Yes, December 31, 1929, to be exact.
Third from the bottom this week is Joshua. The judges actually like his design a lot and rate it just a hair below Emilio's. Josh creates a draped, dropped waist, eggplant and gray dress with a neon lime green slash of material across the back. After witnessing Josh's complete lack of knowledge of what constitutes an Eighties design during his original season, we're more than a little concerned that he won't have a clue about what the Twenties look like. Fortunately, the cut of this dress is Twenties-enough, although, as with many of Joshua's designs, it still has a bit of a Body Glove aesthetic.
Second from the bottom, thanks to whatever miracle keeps her from going home each week, is Ivy. She picks a beautiful light beaded material to work with, but then somehow turns into a heavy looking dress. This is Ivy's third consecutive week surviving the bottom three. We're starting to think that she and Anthony Ryan have incriminating photos of the judges. Perhaps Isaac with a woman or Georgina wearing sweats.
Laura Kathleen's Design
Our loser for the week is Laura Kathleen, who makes a shiny burgundy pantsuit and short fur vest. Isaac thinks the vest look is more "Caveman" than Twenties, Carolyn complains that Laura Kathleen creates the same palazzo pants look week after week, and Georgina points out that the pants widen the model's hips and don't lay smooth in the crotch.
While we can't say we're sorry to see Laura Kathleen depart, we do think this "aufing" should have been Ivy's. Princess Laura Kathleen leaves the show with an almost gracious exit, but manages to work in how lucky she is to have such a wonderful life.