Project Runway All Stars Recap: Putting Lipstick, Louboutins, and a Cocktail Gown on a Pig

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Project Runway All Stars, Michael Photo: null/Lifetime/Lifetime

Last night, the Paley Center for Media kindly held a special Project Runway viewing party. They screened this week’s episode a few precious hours early, and followed the show with a panel discussion featuring five of the all-star lineup — Austin, Kara, Kenley, Michael, and Mondo —  along with all three judges and mentor Joanna Coles acting as moderator. Watching the episode here meant we were enjoying all the cast's bitchiness and quips from guest judge, the honorable Miss Piggy, to the tune Kenley’s raucous laugh. More importantly, Miss Piggy doubled as the designers’ client in a challenge that required the contestants to create a “headline-making” cocktail dress for her to wear in promoting the new Muppets movie. The terror in most of the designers’ eyes at this prospect mollifies when host Angela explains they’ll get to present their designs on a regular model body. Goodness knows these designers hate curves more than the show’s curveballs.

With neither Gordana nor Mila receiving much of an edit in this season’s prior two episodes, the immediate focus on their designs after returning from Mood doesn’t seem to bode well (at the end of this recap, you’ll realize why). Gordana’s floaty pink fabrics read more pre-teen than Piggy; Mila’s reluctance to deviate from her sixties aesthetic seems very much at odds with the task at hand. Of course, as Austin notes, it’s difficult to infuse humor in your designs when you come across as wholly humorless.

The first spat in the All Stars workroom occurs over elbow-length gloves. Very “apropos,” as guest judge Eric Daman might well say, but why was everyone so into them this week? The almost-fighting happened twice: First, both Mondo and Kara tried claim the same hot-pink pair, but Mondo (even with some passive-aggressive gum chewing) loses; later, Kara manages to lose the gloves, as well as her chosen heels and pearls, to Austin, only to whine until she got them back — but not without with harsh words and a glare from Austin so withering it killed a potted plant in our offices. Silly drama between Mila and giggly BFF duo Karley (that's Kenley and Kara, whose names are naturally ripe for blending) also seems to be brewing. Mila finds their co-dependance cloying and outlandish. After the panel, we asked Kenley where she thought the tension came from and she said: "jealousy."

Joanna Coles talked a lot with her hands this week — perhaps to try to add some gravitas to critiquing designs for a pig puppet. It’s surely not easy to ask, “how does a pig feel about wearing a giraffe-print?” with a straight face, but she manages; though, sadly, the question is never answered. Miss Piggy does like the print, though, enough to propel Kenley into the top three. Alongside her were Rami (who knew Rami could have so much over-the-top, flouncy fun?) and Michael, who wins the challenge for his sophisticated, eighties-tinged glam look that, in true Miss Piggy style, read as “keep the Mai Tais coming or I’ll set your lapels on fire, Mr. Waiter.” Indeed, Piggy’s attitude permeated the entire judging session just delightfully, from her long, prying head-to-toe stares to the Kung Fu beating she inflicted on her fellow guest judge, Gossip Girl stylist Eric Daman — he’d made wisecracks (cracklings!) about her ears one too many times. Poor Eric had also forgotten to button his shirt up for the cameras, or tie his kerchief for that matter.

In other styling mistakes, Austin’s oversize bows and overworked bodice saw him fall to the bottom three, with, yes, surprise, Gordana and Mila! And though Mila’d clearly made no effort to incorporate Piggy-chic into her baggy ice-hockey player’s jersey of a look, Gordana got the boot. Someone give the lady a break, please — because it's certainly not going to be the Project Runway team.