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It's Week Nine of Project Runway All Stars, and with a snap of her fingers, Faux Heidi Lindvall dims the overhead lights and illuminates rows of light fixtures attached to her skirt. This introduces the week's challenge. Our five remaining designers must each make an avant-garde dress using lighting which will look good under black light. We immediately flash back to preteen visits to Spencer's Gifts.
The designers get supplies at Mood and Barbizon—the latter of which is not the modeling school, but a lighting store. Much to our surprise Kenley doesn't go for lights resembling polka dots, but rather creates a fabulous plaid out of neon masking tape. Michael decides that he too will do something different this week, possibly because lights don't lend themselves well to togas. He ends up changing his look more times than Lady Gaga, eventually choosing one where the neon tape decoration is poorly applied. Mondo also can't decide what to do design-wise, but his way of dealing with it is to not come up with anything until the last minute, and then create something fabulous.
Joining Isaac Mizrahi and his fellow judge Georgina Chapman is our guest judge, Pharrell Williams. Pharrell is introduced as a musician, rapper, singer, composer, producer, designer, "the best dressed man in the world," and—well, we didn't catch all of his other credits, but we're pretty sure they included geisha, brain surgeon, and roller derby champ. Pharrell is a decent judge, but we can tell from the start that his choice for the winner is different than ours—and possibly different than that of the other judges. Since the prize this week is to have your outfit worn by one of Pharrell's artists, we deduce pretty quickly whom our winner is going to be.
Our top designers for the week are Mondo, whose Gaultier/Madonna cone-breast dress isn't very avant-garde, but does incorporate lighting well; Austin, who makes a beautiful, sheer black hoop dress, with lighting all over it—which he says simulates a starry sky, but which we think simulates a Christmas tree; and Kenley, whose neon plaid dress and plaid jacket really pop. It's our favorite. Despite the All Stars' comments to the contrary, it does not look like every other dress she's done before. Austin gets the win, although Pharrell seems like the only one who chose him. (Later, on the new Lifetime show After the Runway, we learn that like us, Isaac wanted Kenley to win. When this season kicked off, we never imagined we'd be rooting for Kenley.)
Our bottom two this week, (because there are now only five designers), are Michael, with his Mortal Combat meets Grace Jones meets Ewok ensemble, which Pharrell suggests is more appropriate for Comic Con; and Jerrell, whose outfit looks like something Judy Jetson would wear to do a hula. This week we say "Good bye" to Jerrell. As he makes a gracious exit, Faux Heidi sweetly demands a hug from him. This week, Faux Heidi seems to be exhibiting a bit of personality and is more articulate than usual. If she keeps this up, we may be forced to start calling her by her real name. Whatever that is.
Note: If you watch the previews for next week, you'll see that Nanette Lepore is the guest judge. And if you've bought as much of her clothing over the years as we have, you may also notice that the All Stars seem to be working on designs using fabrics from her past and current collections. Well, excitingly, next Friday, along with our regular recap coverage, we'll be reporting on a special viewing party we're attending with Nanette and the All Stars. Be sure to join us then for all the inside scoop!
And now, for the Top Ten Moments of Project Runway All Stars Greatness...
10. Austin explains, "The avant-garde inspires me because you can take it all to another level." Austin's level is Madonna circa, 1990.
9. Jerrell says his design is, "Going to have that ethnic flare to it." Right, because many cultures' native costumes are trimmed in fiber optics.
8. The All Stars explain that they can use LCD lights, LED lights, tube lighting, and something called Mississippi Pearl lighting. That last is called Minnie Pearl lighting if the price tags are still attached.
7. Michael confides, "I have severe commitment issues when it comes to fashion." At home many viewers think, "I've dated your brother."
6. After finishing his starry skies ensemble, Austin shares, "Now I know what God must have felt when he was creating the heavens." Yes, but when God hung his stars, you couldn't see the wiring.
5. Joanna exclaims that the challenge is, "electrifying," but surprisingly doesn't follow it by singing to her pet, Mondo, "You're the one that I want."
4. Isaac finds the light in Jerrell's model's mouth "weirdly sexy." We wonder if he was also turned on by the placement of the cocoons in Silence of the Lambs.
3. Georgina says that Michael's dress looks good when it moves, adding, "But you saw the problems when it just stood out there." The same could be said about Faux Heidi.
2. After Joanna tells Jerrell his print, "Looks a lot like Kenley's only much, much smaller," We see Kenley glaring and fear she'll revert back to her awful Season Five-like behavior. Fortunately, there are no cats around.
1. Isaac Mizrahi says, Teletubbies are his "favorite thing on earth."
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