Project Runway All Stars: Sketching with Sharks
January 16, 2015 1:20 PM - Season 4, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The avant-garde challenge, which reinforced my belief that I know absolutely nothing about fashion.

How did that monstrosity created by Helen end up in the top? HOW? Dear God it was terrible. Not as bad as Michelle's unspeakable creation, which I thought was hideous.

But my darling Dmitry's outfit was lovely (although showing worrying signs of 'one-way-monkeyism') and deserved the win. I also really liked Sonija's outfit and was sorry I didn't get to see it in more detail in a runway critique.

This episode also showed what a kind man Isaac Mizrahi seems to be. His critiques were generous and he clearly knows the technical side of fashion inside-out.

I like Justin and didn't think his outfit was the worst. It was ... odd, but then this was meant to be avant-garde. Whenever there's an a-g challenge on Project Runway, the designers who make the really 'out there' clothes (to fulfil the brief) always end up on the bottom. The judges seem to be scared of anything too different. That said, I think Fabio had already decided what he was going to make in an avant-garde challenge and just found something at the aquarium to fit in with his idea.
posted by essexjan (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For those who haven't seen it yet, here is Isaac Mizrahi on QVC not knowing what the moon is and selling some butt ugly shirts.
posted by phunniemee at 1:28 PM on January 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

This was the first time I had the judges-smoking-crack feeling when the judges gushed over Helen's dress and when Mizrahi said this was the best runway all season. Not that it's been a spectacular season, but I was really disappointed in this episode. Avant garde is supposed to be conceptual, not wearable. Since they all know this will be one of the challenges, they should come prepared with ideas--but not with ideas they've already used in their previous season (Dmitry, Helen).

Sonjia's was gorgeous, also not avant garde. I also really like Fabio's minimalist silhouettes.

The bottom two should've been Justin and Jay, that halter dress was just too safe and the jacket was stiff and bulky. Justin's was an overworked mess; the only part I liked was the shoulders.

The producers should retire this challenge because it never lives up to the brief. Or at least hold it earlier in the season when they aren't all exhausted.

I could've sworn that Dimitry had already won a couple challenges early on. He, Fabio, and Sonjia have been my top three all along.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 7:21 PM on January 16, 2015

ahahahahahh phunniemee that is amazing. The moon is a planet, darling. (New MeFi sockpuppet?)

Speaking of not knowing things, I don't even know what the fuck is a clock anymore with this judging. I liked Fabio's and Jay's, I thought Helen was toast for sure, and I thought Dimitry's was completely safe. I also thought Justin's Bjork-y coral was cool-looking - more interesting than Helen's, anyway.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:30 PM on January 16, 2015

All the looks side by side.

I'm still a fan of Fabio, but I was hoping for more from him. This reminded me way too much of that look he did for the good vs evil challenge, with the top piece that was really long in front and short in the back with those straps and pants under it. The same challenge where Helen did the ugly ruffle dress, which got recycled for this challenge. And then Dmitry doing his cut outs... although it wasn't too bad seeing how easy he could have gone from sea horse to sea whores.
posted by bjrn at 6:28 AM on January 17, 2015

So Dmitri has discovered how to win his second season in a row...just recycle the looks from your winning Fashion Week collection, without any regard to the challenge whatsoever! Seriously, Fabio pointed it out, and it's bleeding obvious that this was the story the producers/judges wanted, Dmitri getting out of his "slump" and bursting forth with netting panels arranged in geometric patterns, just like he did a couple of years ago! Because that's...avant garde! Somehow!

I don't know why Dmitri's pretty yet 100% wearable, ready to be sold in an upscale boutique frock won this particular challenge, except it works for some sort of storyline. Helen's loofah of beige intestines shouldn't have been in the top, either. Avant garde hasn't been done well on this show ever, but they keep pushing for it and rewarding things that don't push the envelope at all.

Bye, Justin! I think you probably are more talented than most of the designers left, but your arc was done. I don't know why Jay is still there. He has less story than talent at this point.
posted by xingcat at 6:41 AM on January 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

The moon is a satellite of the earth.
posted by pearlybob at 10:16 AM on January 17, 2015

This was one of those episodes where I wondered if I need to get my eyes examined, because yeah, the looks were uninspiring and lazy and derivative of their earlier work. Their favorite dresses were my least favorite. I really didn't know what to make of any of the critiques, though I agree Justin's look was probably the weakest.
posted by mathowie at 11:07 AM on January 17, 2015

Justin's dress looks like it was designed for someone to have an alien burst out of their chest and not muss their clothing.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:19 PM on January 17, 2015

My favorite part of that clip is when he says in that condescending Uncle Mizrahi voice that the moon is a planet, only to deny he ever said it 30 seconds later.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:00 PM on January 17, 2015

Wait, I misheard! He doubles down on it!
posted by en forme de poire at 1:01 PM on January 17, 2015

This show kind of bores me but I totally want to BE these designers. I want Michelle's hair and Fabio's tattoos and Sonjia's style and Justin's sweet nature and Dmitry's bitchiness, all together. They are so cool.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:13 PM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah I am def a little infatuated with Fabio's glamorous ragamuffin wastrel chic.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:28 PM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh. Boy. For a challenge where they got to go to the aquarium with such amazing sea life and so much color and texture - the runway was just so boring!! Where's the color and the flow? Man, I miss color and prints.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:18 PM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have we not yet passed through this collective delusion wherein "anyone can be an artist" and "art is whatever you want it to be"? Because you eat food does not make you a gourmet, living in a building does not make you an architect, and wearing clothes does not mean you know anything about fashion. That's not a judgment, that is just a fact. And knowing a house is a feat of design doesn't mean you want to live in it either. It's like buying a rare, complex, expensive wine because it's suppose to be great when you don't like wine.

None of that means I think these clothes are any good or fashion forward or that the show is, but odds are that most people who could wear great fashion would not choose to, but 50% of the human population at any given time are wearing jeans, not from conscious choice but because they exist.

That said, wtf with these clothes. I maintain everyone is phoning it in. And, good god, Isaac, those shirts are more of a miscomprehension than your understandings of planets. I can hear him saying, "Pluto is a dog. No, Pluto is god. No, god is the cut of those tuxedo pants."

Right now I'm in favor of anything that avoids sheer, body con or Dior New Look, because not only have they been done to D.E.A.T.H., it's all male gaze pandering crap which is the least fashion forward thing by definition, so those things I could see working with some modifications.

What would be great is if they had fashion unconscious people give their opinions on clothes and then had the judges react to that. I would like to see Nina and Isaac just making sounds of frustrated horror.
posted by provoliminal at 9:27 PM on January 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Why has it not yet made the entertainment news sites that Alyssa Milano gave birth--possibly to a penguin--on this episode of Project Runway? Her outfits--and Zanna's--are often some of the most interesting sartorial choices of the shows, but the dress Alyssa wears to introduce this week's challenge is among the most interesting. Why would a 93-week pregnant woman choose a dress that makes it look like a baby is descending from her birth canal? I'm wondering if a stylist got fired after this episode aired.

There is a really clear shot of the dress at the 2:31 second mark in this video [Sorry--you'll have to find your way to that timestamp. I couldn't figure out how to start the clip there or just cut a frame from it].
posted by QuakerMel at 8:37 AM on January 18, 2015

Oh goodness me, QuakerMel, I see what you mean! (image grab)
posted by essexjan at 11:38 AM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Zanna's outfits. Holy cow. Even the designers sometimes look surprised. This time, horrible dark pink lace top over bra plus wide white capris (?) with fake rips in them? No. Seriously. I am not at all a fashion person, but it seems SO ODD.

Meanwhile, I have to agree this was all SO underwhelming. I though Sonjia's was the most interesting. I am a fan of Fabio but not this outfit. As for Dmitry, yeah, so SO similar to several previous things. I don't get it. He must think the overall shape is very different with each one.
posted by Glinn at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh boy, yeah on zanna's outfits. It's like on first glance they'll seem cute, then I see the whole thing and I'm like whaaaaa?? She's so sdorable too. Most of the stuff is too baggy for her shape and cut weirdly short for her height.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:31 PM on January 19, 2015

Yeah I am def a little infatuated with Fabio's glamorous ragamuffin wastrel chic.

OK, so I have not watched PR in years and just happened to catch this episode and, honestly, when the judges mentioned that Fabio seemed really into pink; this (muscled, hairy, tattooed, deep-voiced) guy placidly responds "I guess I'm just a big sissy" ...and I heard wedding bells.
posted by psoas at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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