Project Runway All-Stars: The Business of Boring

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Project Runway All-Stars S01E10: "Let's Get Down to Business"

We'll, we're down to four, and in the last pre-finals challenge (note: not pre-Fashion Week, because this is farm-league Project Runway All-Stars), we were faced with a snoozer of task. Something about price-points and yardage and sensible ready-to-wear-wear and Nanette Lepore, who was all business in the front, and more business in the back. Nanette just isn't the mullet type.

Sigh. Where is the fabulous? This is Project Runway! (All-Stars, but whatever, they're technically related.) Couldn’t we have had a “Kill and Skin Your Own Furs” challenge? Just airlift Austin, Kenley, Mondo, and Michael to the Andes, give each one a parka and a spear, and send them on their way? I guess PETA would be pissed. But then the blood splatter would make an amazing polka-dot pattern and Kenley would be thrilled and win it all! *Everything goes wavy as I imagine it all playing out in my head.*

Where was I? Oh yeah, spreadsheets and boring clothes. Pffffhblllt. Boring. Interestingly, Mondo was tripped up the moment he heard the directive to “sketch.” Apparently Mondo can’t draw, and never, ever sketches any of his designs. They just spring fully formed out of his little, pomaded head! That didn’t impress Nanette, or Kenley, who got into a pissing match with him at the showroom over the skills every designer should have. Anyway, Mondo presented a sad little drawing to Nanette, who said it looked like a tin can with a string hanging out of it (because she was too polite to say, “a Crayola Tampon”).

In the workroom, Mondo is still stewing when Joanna shows up with Nanette, who’s disappointed to see Kenley’s dress looking looser than what she presented. Joanna is still obsessing over bras while looking at Michael’s low-plunging caftan. (Austin says it’s hard to wear them unless you’re a model, which I am, and that is why I’m wearing a Michael Costello low-plunging caftan as a I type this.) Michael says he doesn’t get what the judges see in Austin’s clothes, and Austin says he prides himself on making things look expensive. Everyone else designs for a meth addict who would burn down a 3,500-year-old tree, is what Austin is implying. Mondo is having a lot of problems and has never “felt so wishy-washy” as he does now with his Life Savers dress. Bad time to feel wishy-washy, Mondo!

Sew, stitch, accrue, cost-basis analysis, hem, gross sales, pleat, imputed interest, market index, bedazzle....RUNWAY!

Austin sends down a tent-like, plum-colored raincoat. Kind of hard to get excited about that. Angela thinks it’s a “really beautiful product,” then bites her lower lip for emphasis. Nanette is left cold by his choice of fabric.

Michael sends down a big green tablecloth, though it’s a sexy tablecloth. Angela is confused as to why it's cut for an WNBA player. Issac says the strap along the back of the neck makes it feel “Canal Street.” (I think by that he means, "like a dead duck hanging in a window.") Nanette is pleasantly surprised, and Isaac is happy to see Michael “temper his edge.” I have to say, I feel like I’ve seen that dress dozens of times on Project Runway, from many designers. Are we really going to reward it again?

Mondo sends down a flapper frock, bright colors and mixed prints stacked in thick horizontal stripes. Isaac likes it but thinks the waist could be brought in to make it “less like a potato sack.” Someone wonders why the model is wearing high heels and not flats, and someone else agrees! (Do you see what I mean about this being the most boring episode of the season?) Nanette is impressed with his ability to mix and match fabrics.

Kenley sends down the same dress as always, except this time instead of polka dots it's got peacock feathers. Nanette is disappointed to see the keyhole is not there, because she felt that was the element that would have made it more commercial. Isaac thinks it’s a good dress, but kept waiting for it to “change into something more exciting on the runway.” Like what, Isaac? An F16? A boombox? Dressformers: More than meets the eye. Isaac also finds the dress “a little frumpy.” Nanette had called Kenley “haughty” in the work room. (Nanette kind of gets on my nerves, if we’re being completely honest here.)

Okay, final three. Here we go: Austin is safe. Mondo is... the winner?! What?! I’m sorry, that’s just wrong. He sent a Crayola Tampon down the catwalk! He can’t even draw!!! He should be put in designer jail. This outcome was about as legit as the Russian elections. Bottom two were Michael, who needs a point of view or something (whatever), and Kenley, whose “stubbornness can get in the way of becoming a great designer.” Kenley got the axe, which kind of bugs me. I’d rather see her stuff in the finale than Michael’s. He designs for god-knows-who, some spray-tanned cougar in Palm Desert.

See you here next week to crown the winner!

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