Project Runway All Stars Recap: ‘Everyone’s Last Gay Nerve’

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Now that the election is over, I think it's time for us, as a nation, to begin identifying and eliminating any roadblocks that prohibit Michelle Obama from appearing on an episode of Project Runway. Doesn't reelection give her a mandate for one teeny, frivolous reality-television appearance? Please?

The designers meet Carolyn at what she calls "the world's largest collection of legal aerosol art" — 5Pointz, in Long Island City — where three renowned graffiti artists (Zimad, Sen 2, and Meres One, who's the curator of 5Pointz) are hard at work. I wish that instead of telling viewers which celebrities the artists have collaborated with in the past, All Stars could've dedicated a quick sound bite or two to the history of 5Pointz, which is pretty fascinating.

Laura chirps, "I'm not a graffiti artist, but I like to spray-paint old furniture!" in a way that reminds me of that video of Lauren Conrad destroying books from earlier this year. (I love Lauren Conrad, but please note that this is not a favorable comparison.) Carolyn tells the designers they'll be creating "wearable art" using a crate of spray paint, seven yards of white fabric, and $50 worth of extras from Mood. It's an odd challenge, for sure, and one dependent on a skill (spray-painting) that isn't essential for designers, but it seems like it'll be fun to watch, at least? This is All Stars; cautious optimism is the name of the game. Kayne starts off by interviewing the three artists for inspiration, which is adorable, while Ivy talks about her plans to reference "girl power" and rely heavily on comic-book-style text. The three artists give the designers a series of spray-paint tutorials, and most of the designers are legitimately excited to learn the techniques and apply them, which they immediately start doing, with varying levels of success.

After a quick trip to Mood and a night's sleep, it's off to the workroom, but before getting down to business, Ivy and Kayne eat a quick lunch while venting about Laura, who — as Kayne puts it — is "getting on everyone's last gay nerve." Laura walks in partway through, and there's some petty bickering, and while I don't care for Laura either, I'd rather see more of the artists at 5Pointz or the designers' techniques than watch people complain about her. Joanna shows up for critiques and starts off by telling Althea that she’s concerned that the sheer parts of Althea's fabric are "letting the body do the work and not letting the dress do the work," and I spend an inordinate length of time trying to figure out whether or not I also think this is a problem. (Verdict: maybe?) Joanna is dismayed to find as much rainbow sparkle as she does, but seems really impressed with the work completed so far by Anthony Ryan (who's leaning heavily on his graphic-design background), Casanova, and Uli, with whom she has a brief, touching interlude about how little exposure Uli had to art as a child in East Germany.

There aren’t any notable J. Coles Zingers to speak of, but she does declare her love for a dress one can wear with a bra, and has a perfectly placed meaningful silence after Suede tells her his look was inspired by "earth and sky and stars." " ... Right."

What’s interesting about the way All Stars has been shot so far is that it seems like the designers' work is a bit in the workroom so that there's more of a "reveal" moment on the runway. I'm guessing that this is less of an intentional decision and more a result of having a smaller workplace to shoot in, but it does add a bit of suspense, which is always appreciated. The judges are joined this week by Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapetra, and it's an uneven runway, largely because — as always on Runway and All Stars — everyone's idea of "wearable art" seemed to differ. But strangely, the judges are very complimentary; they even go so far as to congratulate this week's safe designers before sending them offstage, since apparently they loved everything so much? Weird.

Still, someone has to go, and after Emilo is proclaimed the (very deserving) winner, Suede is told he's out. While I won't miss his determination to discuss himself in the third person, but it's still a little sad to see him leave the competition this early.

Next week, the challenge has an "interactive" element with viewers at home. No good can come of this.

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