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Ep 8: In Which The Designers Go To The United Nations And Make Some Ugly Dresses

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It's Week Eight of Project Runway All Stars and Faux Heidi Lindvall meets with the designers on the lawn outside the United Nations. Much to our surprise, Mila doesn't ponder, "Why do the nations want to get along? It's co-dependent the way they help each other." At the UN, the designers are told they must each pick one country and use both the flag's colors and "elements of its culture" as the inspiration to create a beautiful dress. For some reason, most of the designers seem to ignore the directive "beautiful."
Mondo picks Jamaica because he likes its flag's colors, Michael picks Greece, because he says that he's half Greek. We're guessing Spartan. Austin picks the Seychelles because he knows nothing about them. Mila chooses Papua New Guinea because she likes the color blocking on their flag—and because the Union Jack she saw in Quadrophenia was not an option. Kenley picks Chile because no one else wants it. And Jerell chooses India, explaining, "When I think India, I think embellishment." Of course, even when Jerell thinks "Quaker," he thinks embellishment.


In the workroom, mentor Joanna Coles comes in to give her weekly advice to the All Stars. Designers take note: When the Marie Claire editor asks, "Do you think...?" or "Are you convinced...?" what she really means is "I think..." and "I'm convinced..." and you should probably listen. This week, Joanna takes particular issue with Mondo and Michael creating gowns that women can't wear bras under. The guys don't care what real women want, as long as it looks good on their freakishly perfect models. Later, judge Isaac Mizrahi also angers the show's estrogen contingent, critiquing that some female designers only want to make clothing that they'd wear themselves, while male designers make everything.
Joining Isaac and fellow judge Georgina Chapman is a guest judge who we're told once designed an entire collection based on the American flag. Could it be? Yes, one of our favorites, French designer Catherine Malandrino is back! Catherine first was a judge on Project Runway back when Jeffrey Sebelia created his winning Vivienne Westwood-like tartan couture gown during Season Three's trip to France. Full disclosure: We feel a particular kinship with Catherine because we've chatted with her husband Bernard at the brand's sample sales. It's safe to say this feeling of kinship is probably one sided.
Our top designers for the week are Michael, with his toga pageant dress—complete with velvet blue ribbons straight out of a horse jumping competition; Kenley, who breaks new ground doing polka dots, unlike her previous work—doing polka dots; and Mondo, who makes an atypical (for him) black jersey evening gown with a color blocked green and yellow design strip down the back. Mondo wins, demonstrating, once again, just how visionary he is as a designer. We hope the "selected Neiman Marcus stores" tapped to showcase the winner's wares have fairly spacious areas set aside for this season's winner—because if it's Mondo, a lot of us are going shopping...
Our bottom three for the week are Austin, whose multi-colored chiffon dress looks like bedraggled scarves pulled from a magician's sleeve; Jerell, who destroys a cute golden mini dress by covering it with a baggy green silk sari; and Mila, whose red and black space-age half cocktail length, half evening gown length dress we really like—it's actually our favorite Mila gown of the season. Unfortunately, the judges don't agree. So Faux Heidi bids farewell to Mila, leaving one-note, (make that "one-dot") Kenley as the last surviving female designer. Bet Vegas wasn't expecting that.
And now, for the Top Ten Moments of Project Runway All Stars Greatness...
10. Faux Heidi says, "There are six of you, and after tonight there will only be five remaining." Proving that some models do know math—or at least some people speaking into their earpieces do.
9. When the designers arrive at the UN, Michael excitedly shares, "I've never been here before." And really, he still hasn't, because the designers are forced to remain on the lawn.
8. Mondo tells Michael, "This is not Greased Lightning, this is Greece frightening."
7. Mila explains the people of Papua New Guinea, "Are extremely tribal looking. I didn't want to bring much of that to my look." If only there had been a country whose native garments were inspired by Mary Quant.
6. After dressing her model, Kenley says, "She looks like she could go to a party in Chile." Or more likely, a party at Chili's.
5. Jerell wishes he'd bought some elastic, saying, "It would have been sexy if I had at least one yard of elastic." True, there's nothing hotter than elastic waist stretch pants
4. After Faux Heidi introduces Georgina as "gorgeous," Isaac insists he be described the same way. Somehow we don't think it's enough to lure Harvey.
3. When Michael arrives at Mood he says, "The first direction I head into is the trim." We confess, we never thought we'd hear Michael say he wants to, "Get some trim."
2. Faux Heidi says, "When I think of Chile, I think of ponchos." We're sure she'd have also thought of the Frito Bandito, if she was old enough.
1. No one points out that Mondo made a long sleeve gown—for Jamaica.
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