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‘Project Runway All-Stars’ Recap + Review: ‘Made in the USA Today’

Project Runway
Lifetime

This week’s episode of ‘Project Runway: All-Stars‘ lets the fans choose the imagery that will inspire the designers for a special challenge brought to you by old-timey newspaper.

The Challenge

USA Today has “pioneered” visual storytelling, apparently, so let’s just forget about cavemen and artists and cable television, okay? For this week’s challenge, ‘Project Runway’ fans were asked to tweet pictures, and of the thousands they received, the designers will choose one photo to inspire a look for the runway. But, um, where are all the penis pictures? Because you know that happened.

The winning designer and look will be featured with a photo and editorial piece in USA Today, and White Kanye is super excited that people might see his photo peering out from under their continental breakfast coffee stains at the local Days Inn. Althea makes it about her, of course, choosing a photo of a train station because her husband proposed to her in one. Ivy chooses a butterfly because she’s a 13-year-old girl, but also like, always evolving or something.

Laura Kathleen continues to do herself no favors by declaring, “They want me to talk to them like we came from the same place, but that’s not gonna happen.” Laura Kathleen comes from a mountain of money where she rides a white pony in circles around the top, breathing only the finest imported air. It’s Josh’s turn to try and politely explain that no one likes her because she’s a snob, but she can’t hear him way up on Privileged Brat Mountain.

Joanna pops by with Alison Maxwell, the style editor from USA Today, to see what everyone is up to. Andrae is up to something that Joanna describes as “bonkers,” but Emilio is up to something even more worthy of that descriptor when he calls his dress, inspired by a little girl, “Sophie’s Choice.” And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry for a week.

White Kayne is putting a black lace window on the back of a red dress, continuing his upscale ’80s hooker approach to designing.

Not content to cheer up the room after all of that, Anthony Ryan has to pull a Debbie Downer and remind everyone that he had cancer.

The Runway

Kayne — A simple, elegant red cocktail dress, but that black lace cut-out in the back still screams “Do me on your piano and make an honest woman out of me, Richard Gere!”

Laura Kathleen — Yeah, she’s a snob, but this is a beautiful dress. Flowing, effortless, and the print looks like the cover of a journal you say you’re going to write in, but then it just sits on top of your coffee table as a fancy Diet Coke holder. So what I’m saying is: That print is so pretty, you guys, and kudos to LK for dyeing that ivory fabric herself because daaaamn, girl.

Andrae — I’m kind of into the retro vibe of this sporty top and skirt two-piece with the green, orange, and yellow color story. And it looks like something that the girl in his picture might actually want to wear, but that’s not really the goal of the challenge.

Casanova — He really classes it up this week with a silky pant and sleeveless blouse combo, but it’s all a bit too boring and old for what he usually churns out. I might not always agree with his designs, but there’s no youth this week in the pearl-colored grandma resort wear.

Althea — Her tan take on a suit has some interesting ideas, and I’m a sucker for those harem-style pants, though these might have worked better if the tapered leg were longer. I’m not sure a modern harem capri pant works. I do like the train on the jacket, but the color scheme is just so blah blah oatmeal where’s my dentures.

Joshua — The orange, yellow, and red color-blocked vest calls to mind Emilio’s aesthetic from last week, and paired with a bright blue silk skirt, it’s like the ’80s mated with the ’70s and had a Rainbow Brite cocaine baby with expensive taste.

Ulli — Christ on a cracker, this lady’s dress is insane. INSANE. And I mean that like I love it. A beautiful, flowing, light beige gown that delicately hangs off the model’s body and evokes a sense of fragility. It’s like a dress made of air and really speaks to the photo of the sky that Ulli chose for her inspiration.

Ivy — It’s well-constructed, as usual, but the peach-colored vest with the long tie-dyed skirt just says “flower child,” and come on — she chose butterflies as her inspiration.

Anthony Ryan — Another sleek look from AR here, with the white fitted skirt and a blue and black top that feels very geometrically-inspired. I’m not sure that you can make the connection to his inspiration photo or to him having cancer, but okay, it looks nice.

Emilio — Emilio has taken a more literal approach, mimicking the gray and yellow dress the little girl wears in his photo and creating an over-sized garment that looks like his model is a little girl playing dress-up. It’s sort of avant-garde, which mostly translates to, “It looks cool but you can’t wear it anywhere and it’s totally impractical.” (Go ahead, look it up.)

The Judging

Ulli, Ivy, Casanova, and Kayne are all safe this week

In the bottom are Althea for her confusing pants and boring color scheme, Joshua for his overbearing use of color (and he nods so passive-aggressively to the 16 year old judge — oh, right, there’s a 16 year old blogger in the guest judge’s chair), and Andrae for his poor construction and inability to translate his ideas.

On top are Anthony Ryan, Laura Kathleen, and Emilio, who I just knew would impress the judges with his avant-garde design. Here’s the thing: outside of a typical avant-garde challenge, if you do avant-garde, the judges never know what to make of it and usually just think it’s amazing because it’s so impractical and weird.

The winner of this week’s challenge is — no surprise — Anthony Ryan. I was thinking this might be the season engineered to let Joshua win, but I guess I forgot that Anthony Ryan also almost won the season he was on, and Joshy isn’t doing so well, you guys.

Unfortunately, Andrae is going home this week, but fortunately for us, Joshua gets to stay.

See you next week.

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