Project Runway All Stars Recap: Crows on a Carcass

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Photo: Lifetime

Welcome back, All Stars fans! I spent my Thanksgiving getting unduly weepy while reading Nina Garcia’s Twitter feed, a holiday tradition I encourage you and yours to participate in. She just has so many feelings!

Carolyn comes out in a vest without a shirt underneath it and announces that it’s androgyny week! (She also has a tiny bit of trouble pronouncing “androgyny.”) The designers will have $150 and a single day to create an androgynous look that must also incorporate some avant-garde elements. This … does not seem like it will end well. After a brainstorming session where some super-questionable ideas are thrown out — oversize smoking jackets, etc. — it’s off to Mood! Sidebar: I haven’t spotted Swatch, the in-store dog at Mood, this season. Does his Project Runway contract not extend to All Stars

Just as the designers are getting settled back in the workroom, Georgina arrives to announce a twist: The designers’ models will be men. Uli’s immediate response is “Oh my God, that’s impossible,” while Laura says, “Thank goodness I left a massive amount of seam allowance!” It turns out that there’s a second twist: The designers will have to make a look for their male model and a second look for the female model that they normally work with. Fortunately, they’ll be given an extra day to work and a second trip to Mood. It’s not particularly interesting as Runway twists go, and I’m a little surprised at how incredulous some of the designers seem. Then again, it’s not their first time on the set of a reality show, so they might just be really good fakers.

Joanna comes to the workroom for critiques and announces that the judges really need to see the designers produce better work than they did in the previous week. Given that I can’t remember a single look from the last episode, I’m inclined to agree. Joanna praises the detail and trim of Uli’s look and is delighted when she refers to sewing shorts with plenty of “ball room.” She likes Anthony Ryan’s look but is worried that his model might look “like a wasp” — the insect, not the Protestant. Joanna categorizes Althea’s look as “costumes for a religious sect” and listens politely while Joshua explains that he wants the fur detailing on his garment to look like a pony’s mane, but she’s most impressed with Emilio’s look. She also warns the designers to make sure their detailing is impeccable, lest Georgina “swoop in on it like a crow on a carcass.”

The female models come in for fittings, and poor Cassanova, who’s working exclusively in gold leather, is out of material and has a garment that barely fits his girl. Ivy tells him that he can fix the problem, and once again, I’m touched by the way they’ve helped each other out. What’s the word for bromance if it’s between a man and a woman? After a great deal of debate about whether the male models should wear women’s shoes (consensus: no), it’s time to get ready for the runway. Everyone is more pressed for time than normal — Joshua says he’s “basically going to have to become Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker” in order to get anything done. (The follow-up jokes to that are all too easy.)

At the runway, the judges are joined by Jason Wu and Robert Rodriguez, and the whole affair is kind of a hot mess, since many of the designers have carried on the Runway tradition of not understanding that the terms “avant-garde” and “circus” aren’t universally interchangeable. There’s a brief scene of Ivy and Joshua — both safe — tearing into each other backstage because Joshua’s angry that he hasn’t won a challenge yet, and Ivy accuses him of having a huge ego. His response, which is perfect, is that you shouldn’t be in a competition if you don’t have enough of an ego to think you can win. More than anything, their exchange underscores how low on drama this season has been, and in this case, “low on drama” is quickly becoming the polite way of saying “boring.” In the end, Emilio’s near-matching suits get him the win, and Kayne’s houndstooth and leather fiasco sends him home.

Next week, Diane von Furstenberg guest-judges! Pre-Christmas miracle!