Project Runway All Stars Recap: When I get my dress in lights
Mar 01 2012 10:30 pm CET

Last Week: A challenge with so much potential for channeling culture ended up being a flop as the All Stars tried to create dresses inspired by flags. Even though Jerell made an outfit that was borderline offensive, Mila was eliminated because of her lack of creativity. Oh and Kenley made the same dress, but this time with frills.

The contestants met with Angela at Parsons with a very interesting dress. She explained that this week was going to be the contestant's biggest test, apparently topping flags and Broadway because they would have to incorporate innovation and technology. The contestants were tasked to literally "light up" the runway. As Angela demonstrated with some lights, I'm reminded of Team iLuminate from America's Got Talent. The catwalk would be black lit and the contestants were instructed to be Avant Garde; this information made Austin squeal in excitement. The guest judge this week was Pharrell Williams and apparently the connection to this challenge was that he's going to incorporate the design with "one of his artists." I'm not sure exactly who this poor woman actually would be, but she must be desperate if she's wearing lit clothing. The contestants had a budget of $300 at a lighting store plus $300 at mood. The challenge was still a one day challenge, which was a shame because two days would have been amazing; it would have allowed the contestants to go even further.

The contestants arrived at The Barbizon and it seemed like the proprietors had the available lights sprawled out on a few tables ranging from lights, pearls, tubes, and fiber optics. Austin was hoping to transform something called "fairy lights" into a cloud. Austin had to create a fantasy world using what seemed like hair spray to get ideas. I'm pretty sure that meant that he was sniffing hair spray to re-enter Austin's World. Because of the budget, Kenley decided to ditch the bulbs and decided to depend more on neon tape. The contestants still had their 30 minutes to shop at Mood, Michael starting with a stiff felt fabric. Mondo decided to test his fabrics with his black light. Kenley wanted black fabric for her neon tape. Austin wanted a dramatic ball gown with "stardust" and decided to get a lot of black tulle. Jerell wanted to mix a lot of prints with crazy amounts of trim and feathers.

The contestants had some time to sketch and Austin had a vague pencil sketch that looked like swirls. To help the contestants, the producers created a black light room for the contestants to check how their outfits were turning out. Jerell was excited because he got to see all his trim and feathers glowing. Austin explained that he wanted "gorgeousity" while Michael wanted a structured coat-dress. Well, for about five minutes or so. Mondo was at a mental block because he was worried about being too gimmicky. Kenley created stripes with her tape and wanted to make a plaid ball gown. Michael's jacket started to waver so he started to work with the electrical tape; he decided to ditch his original idea and brainstormed in the black light room.

The designers continued to work as Austin called Michael's dress (at that point) "Judy Jetson." Michael then changed his dress again. Joanna luckily showed up for her critiques and started with Kenley. She had an interesting white fabric that she was going to turn into a jacket. Apparently the jacket was what would tell Isaac that she was listening to criticism. Jerell had a whole ton of lights that were magnetic and wanted an ethnic undertone. Joanna's critique of Austin's dress was that the dress may have been too dramatic and not fit the client. Joanna arrived in the black-light room for Michael's critique. He pointed out part of his first two tests with the jacket and structured dress and Joanna pointed out the puckering of the fabric was a bit of an issue. Obviously, Michael didn't keep those designs either. Mondo wanted to make a coat with panels; Joanna suggested that this was an Avant Garde challenge and he needed to push himself. Mondo needed to have more focus.

Jerell's dress had very interesting fiber-optic lights. The models arrived for fittings and Mondo had nothing for his model. Out of nowhere, Michael had another look done for his model. Austin decided to Skype his mother, Debra. Her house was being foreclosed and the news brought him down. It was probably not the best move to motivate him.

Mondo finally got inspiration and went crazy as he had a real idea, but by that time he was sewing it was the end of day one. The contestants returned and had a glass of wine while they discussed what they had to do with their fleeting hours of the next day. The contestants returned to the workroom and Kenley had to weave lights into her jacket. Michael was worried about the boning of his dress and had to figure out incorporating lights. Austin resorted to having to hot glue his lights to the dress. Mondo was having trouble getting his lights to turn on. After hair and makeup, Mondo still wasn't getting his outfit to light up. Michael was confident about his ninja. Austin was happy that he didn't work with neon.

Angela welcomed the contestants and with Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi was the aforementioned Pharrell Williams.

Mondo - Not as Avant Garde, but I really liked the lighting of the outfit. I really wished that Mondo would have gone a lot further, but at least he didn't look like a gimmick.
Jerell - I hated the pencil skirt on the bottom. Why didn't he just make leggings or even get his model to wear thick black pantyhose? The tribal designs looked okay, but I felt like it needed another day of development.
Kenley - The Nicki Minaj hair was a great touch to the outfit. I really liked how the jacket turned out. I guess I can forgive Kenley for making the same exact dress because she can make an interesting jacket.
Austin - Even without neon, the dress looks a lot better when the room was dark. There was something very Disney about the outfit that can be fantastic.
Michael - The outfit looked like a weird ninja turtle. The sword would have been an amazing accessory. Pharrell called the outfit "Comic Con" and it makes so much sense.

The top contestants were Kenley (great proportions, nice jacket), Mondo (Nice tracks, questionably not Avant Garde enough), and Austin (Romantic, needed more layers). Of the three, while I thought that Kenley should have won, Pharrell announced that Austin was the winner. Of the bottom two contestants Jerell had great movement, but his model looked a bit too old because of the skirt. Michael's concept was strong but the execution was weak. Jerell was eliminated, leaving a stunned Michael to walk away.

Next Week: It's the semi-finals and only three will make it to the epic finale. Joanna continues to ask questions about bras.

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