‘Project Runway: All Stars’ recap: ‘An Unconventional Nightmare Before Christmas’

12.13.12 5 years ago 4 Comments

Another week, another wacky challenge, and this week is poised to be one of the wackier ones. The designers meet Carolyn at the South Street seaport “Hey, it could be a pirate challenge,” thinks Josh as he observes all the ships in the dock. Oh, that would be too easy, too fun. No, it’s time for the unconventional challenge, and they will be shopping at one dreadful little mall store that is not Mood. It’s not even Michael’s. Suffer, minions, suffer!

Fuwaz Gruozi is a jeweler to the stars and the founder of de Grisogono, and he joins Carolyn to announce the challenge. Of, and for the winner? He or she gets a watch! It’s not quite Oprah’s “You get a car!” but almost. These are really, really expensive watches, in case you’re wondering, so depending on what you’re driving, this may be exactly the same as a car. 

The challenge is very specific — the designers can only use the materials they purchase at this specific store, they have 30 minutes to shop, and $350 to spend. Also, the finished product shouldn’t look like the source material. Oh, and the guest judge is superstar Kylie Minogue. 

And the store? It’s a Christmas store! Mwahahahahaha! I’m still waiting for the day when the show drops the designers at the New York city landfill and tells them they can design anything they want, as long as it includes dirty diapers, used needles and a dead rat. You know that day is coming. 

Emilio wins for best comment of the week. “A big fat white man who crawls through your chimney at night would get shot in my neighborhood,” he says. “We call that a burglar.” 

People get some hella weird stuff at the Christmas store, but really, what else ARE you going to get at the Christmas store? I think the smart designers are going for neutrals and un-Christmasy colors. Anyone who picks red or green is a goner. 

Emilio is worried. He’s been dreading the unconventional challenge. I don’t get this, as Emilio started his career as a costume designer. This should be in his wheelhouse! Emilio hasn’t really stunk up the room yet, so if he doesn’t nail this one, he shouldn’t be too worried. 

The designers run around in increasing states of panic. Laura Kathleen thinks she can win. Uli feels confident, and so does Anthony Ryan. Emilio, Casanova and Josh are sweating like sides of beef in a barbecue pit. At least Casanova takes a little time to joke around with his bestie, Ivy. They love each other. Uli thinks they’re one person in two bodies, which would imply they share a brain, but Uli doesn’t think that way. I would argue that combined they might make one really great designer, as they’ve both had real winners this season, but a lot of head scratchers. If they ever do a couples version of “Project Runway,” I think they’d take it, hands down. 

Finally, Joanna Cole comes to visit. She sees Josh’s hard, pointy, painful ornaments making up a bra and winces. He thinks structured bralet with train epaulets, she thinks searing pain while moving. Tomato, tomahto. Joanna suggests he’s not making a considered outfit. “But they can’t do Josh the way I do Josh.” Thank God, really.

On to Casanova. He hates his outfit, but Joanna says it looks good — from a distance. Moving on, Joanna seems impressed by Emilio’s outfit thus far. She’s right — he was smart to go with purple, though it’s an awfully bright purple, I have to say. 

Anthony Ryan will be doing a stage dress with mirrors and snowflake pieces. Joanna thinks he was smart to stick to one color palette. Ivy points out that he’s ripping off Uli. It’s hard not to rip off Uli for this challenge, but yes, Anthony Ryan tends to get inspiration rather close to home sometimes. Speaking of Uli, Joanna thinks her dress is pretty spectacular. 

Laura Kathleen wants to win that WATCH. It’s DESIGNER! She just loves labels! Joanna thinks her dress is cool, and she adds that the girls are ahead on this challenge.

Oh, I’m not sure you can say the girls are ahead if you’ve seen Ivy’s outfit, though. Joanna likes the idea of what Ivy is doing. But the execution? No comment. I’m not as convinced. I’m not sure I even like the idea.

Casanova is in the weeds, as he keeps ripping up his dress, has to borrow leftovers from the other designers. This could be bad, though I’m not sure it can be as bad as Josh’s hot pants. 

Runway time! Our judges are Georgina Chapman, Isaac Mizrahi, La La Anthony and Kylie Minogue. 

Anthony Ryan

Garland, ornaments

I haven’t loved everything he’s done this season, but I do really like this. I can see some snowflakes, which I’d rather weren’t there, but the rest of it is chic and interesting. 


Garlands, tree skirt

This is a blah, really. I’m thinking old lady ice skating dress. Boring, boring, boring. 


Ornaments, toy train, ribbon

This isn’t as bad as I thought it might be. But the shorts are kind of a mess. Still, the top is a showstopper. 


Ornaments, mesh

This does look a lot like Anthony Ryan’s dress, but less shiny and more flattering. This is a winner, really. 



It looks uncomfortably stiff, like she’s wearing paper mache. Or, I guess, ribbon.


Ornaments, tree skirt

This isn’t terrible. It’s not great, sort of a simple sheath, but really, I was expecting a walking scrap heap. You can see some odd seams here and there, but it’s amazing he sent anything down the runway at all. 

Laura Kathleen

Ornaments, crystals, garland

This looks like something you could buy in a store, but it has problems. Why did she use dark stones in the middle? That makes it look cheap. Plus, she looks boxy. It’s such a simple silhouette, I don’t understand why she didn’t nail this.  

Casanova, Ivy and Emilio — one of you is safe! And that designer is… Emilio. Huh. 

Up first, Anthony Ryan. Isaac thinks the dress looks expensive. Georgina likes the pauses he talks with the embellishment. La La was blown away, though some things look Christmas to her. Kylie thinks you could see this from the bottom. She loves the hem.

On to Laura Kathleen. Kylie loves the pockets. La La thinks it looks like she had a plan. Carolyn loves the back. But Isaac thinks she looks fat. Georgina thinks she should have put the dark embellishment at the top and the lighter stuff in the middle. 

Georgina is so happy Casanova recycled, but she feels it’s heavy handed. Isaac thinks the bodice is very young and fresh, but it’s next to old lady. Kylie loves the top, but she hates the middle section. 

On to Josh. Isaac offers congratulations and a slap on the wrist. He loves the top, but the shorts are terrible. It doesn’t really work to show a woman’s privates on the runway. Georgina thinks the bottom looks like it’s coming off. Kylie wishes there was some badump in the hip.

Georgina loves the idea of Ivy’s look, but the keyhole doesn’t look expensive and the seams make her look boxy. Carolyn doesn’t find it innovative. Isaac doesn’t like the gold fabric. He thinks the waist is too high. 

Isaac can spot an Uli dress from across the room. His problem is the hem in the back is long. But Kylie thinks it’s stunning. Carolyn loves the side mesh. 

I’d like to point out that we hardly hear from La La until the judges talk privately. I thought she had a good point about Anthony Ryan’s dress, so not sure why they edited her out. Of course, when Kylie Minogue is the first chair, no one’s really listening to the chick whose primary claim to fame is her basketball player husband. 

Laura Kathleen is… safe. It’s down to Uli and Anthony Ryan. The winner is… Uli. Anthony Ryan is safe, of course, and I think this was the right choice. Uli gets her amazing watch, which probably retails for around $20,000. Uli says she will treasure it forever, but the good news is she can probably sell it for big bucks on eBay. 

Josh is… safe. Ivy is… in. Casanova is out. Ivy is heartbroken. It’s like losing a limb! Everyone else cries, too, which tells you how beloved Casanova is. Aw, shucks. I do like Casanova as a person, but he’s not my favorite in this horse race. That being said, he’s grown exponentially since his season, and I’m not too worried about him. I think, once Ivy gets eliminated, their line of conjoined twin clothing is going to rock the runways.

What did you think of the challenge? Were you surprised by the judges’ decision? And 

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