Crafty Manolo » Excuse Me, Sir, May I Have Your Shorts?

Excuse Me, Sir, May I Have Your Shorts?

By Twistie

Yes, this is an actual image from last nights’ episode of Project Runway All Stars. No, I am not making this up.

And no, Anthony is not making a pass at Muscular Shirtless Guy. He’s just asking the guy for his shorts.

Here, let me put in a cut for spoilerphobes and those who don’t care about Project Runway, the poor, benighted souls.


In seasons past, designers have been asked to use the clothes off their own backs, and even one anothers’ backs to create fashion. This time, they were released into the wilds of Central Park to hunt down passers by and talk them out of the clothes on their backs. Each designer was given a hundred smackers and a couple plain, white tee shirts to offer in exchange for these peoples’ clothes. Any money they had left over would be theirs to spend as they chose at MOOD and they would have two days to remake what they’d begged off of people to turn into fashion based on their chosen street muse. The clothes they got in the park had to make up at least 50% of the finished look.

Anthony was pretty much the designer most secure in his ability to talk people out of their clothing right in the middle of Central Park. Why? Because he has personality, don’t you know. And yes, he was successful in getting several people to hand over clothes to him. There was a woman (who he chose as his muse) in an eyeball-searing polyester print top, several people in plain tee shirts, and the fellow above in his denim jams. But as Austin observed, Anthony may have gotten his shorts, but he (Austin) got the guy’s phone number!

Interestingly enough, the guy seemed more than happy to remove pretty much the only piece of clothing that stood between him and indecent exposure without a second thought. And he did seem to think Austin was pretty hot stuff.


Everyone managed to get something from someone and they all headed back to the workroom to sketch, then MOOD to get the goodies they needed to complete their looks. Of course, most of them had spent most of their money getting people to strip down in public, so budgets ran really tight this week. Austin had one penny left over, Kara had to borrow three dollars from other designers… it was not pretty. My second favorite moment of the entire episode was Mondo deadpanning that he needed another four cents. Just as Austin looked like he was going to lose it, Mondo says he’s just kidding and keeps walking. Boy knows how to push a button.

Back in the workroom, there’s a lot of buyers’ remorse going on in some corners. Anthony realizes the print he loved so much in the park is a really cheap piece of polyester that isn’t doing what he wanted and virtually everything else he has is plain tee shirts. Michael found inspiration in a woman wearing a delicate, crocheted top over a plain shirt… and now can’t figure out how to use that crocheted piece without making it look like doilies.

At the other end of the scale, Austin, Mondo, Rami, and Jerell are all delighted with their fabric and their muses. Kara spent most of her time in an increasingly annoying twitter of nerves, and Kenley mostly wandered around giving unsolicited opinions and generally sticking her fingers into everyone else’s work. Keep to your own dress form, Kenley. These are big boys and girls who don’t need you to teach them how to suck eggs… and if they do, they shouldn’t be in the workroom anymore.

In fact, at one point Michael goes over to Mila and points out that Kenley is actually sewing part of Kara’s pants. Okay, Project Runway has no rules against one designer helping out another with advice or even actual sewing. There have been several pieces over the seasons that wouldn’t have made it down the runway if someone hadn’t given a helping hand… but usually it’s a case of someone asking a question that someone else volunteers to answer, or someone who’s done sees another designer struggling and asks what they can do to help. Kenley just kind of wandered over to Kara, started giving advice, and wound up sewing part of the pants while seemingly giving Kara a sewing lesson. This was kind of weird. It’s particularly odd given that Kenley usually has time management issues. Is this kind of behavior where they stem from?

Joanna Coles does her rounds and pronounces Michael’s use of the crocheted fabric to be doilies. She’s right. With more than half the time gone, Michael entirely scraps his design and ditches the doily fabric, which he ought to have done about an hour into the project, in my not so humble opinion. With so little time to go, there’s no question he’s not making it three wins in a row. It’s now a question of survival to the next round.

Then again, he does have some serious competition in this regard. I think someone saw Jerell’s design at Woodstock and swore off acid forever. And Anthony is definitely struggling to come up with something fashion forward out of plain tee shirts. He isn’t even using those shorts. It’s a good thing Austin got that guy’s number or his strip tease act would have been for absolutely naught!

Eventually the runway show begins and except for the three I’ve already mentioned, people did really well. In fact, I would absolutely have worn Mila’s outfit (Did I really just type those words?) if only the jacket had been a color other than black. In fact, I would wear that outfit all the time. It looked fabulous and comfortable and easy to play with.

The top three were Rami, Austin, and Mondo. I was unsurprised by this result. All three turned out really great clothes. Rami took a man’s suit jacket and cut it down to a woman’s vest, paired it with beige shorts with a strip of black and white print at the top of the cuffs, and added a rather spectacular drapey blouse in a brown print cascading down her front. He finished the look with a jaunty blue high-crowned fedora. I coveted the look.

Austin took his look from a rather fabulous artist he found who had an extremely punk edge to her look. He turned her clothes into… let me see… how to put this? Ah! I have it! If about twenty years ago John Waters cast Joan Jett to play the lead in a warped remake of a Rock Hudson/Doris Day romance, this is what Joan would have worn. The black skirt was short and very full and pleated like ribbon candy. The black denim jacket came precisely to the waistband of the skirt and featured epaulettes made from the girl’s studded leather gloves. He paired the look with ripped fishnets. All in all, it was punk girl next door, and I kind of adored it, mildly costumey though it was.

Mondo took the fabric from a woman’s dress, a print of broad black and white stripes with a border of bright yellow arcs, to make a really great pair of shorts. The stripes were pieced to make chevrons, and he placed the yellow arcs on the outer sides of the legs. The woman’s olive drab jacket and some blue jeans were pieced into a short jacket with wide lapels and three-quarter sleeves. When the model walked down the runway, she unzipped the jacket to reveal a bikini top in the chevrons. Awesome, and more grown up than Mondo’s work sometimes looks.

On the bottom were Michael, Jerell, and Anthony. Again, not a surprise. All three looked cheaper than the prize at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jack.

Michael finally stopped trying to use the doilies, and wound up using a pair of pink lace(!) shorts to make a bustier top… which he failed to build support into. On the bottom, he took a tee shirt in pastel rick rack stripes and made a pair of shorts that frankly looked like a pair of granny panties. Dismal. Beyond. Expression.

Anthony kind of copped out on the challenge. He wound up making a jumpsuit of wide red palazzo pants (from fabric he’d bought at MOOD)featuring a bizarre waterfall of the same fabric down the right hip and thigh, with a plunging, sleeveless top out of a blue tee shirt. To this, he added a tee shirt turban and a tiny clutch in the green polyester print. It fit correctly and looked decently sewn, but there wasn’t a whole lot of there there and easily more than half of the fabric was what he bought at MOOD.

Jerell cannot be accused of failing to work at his piece… but that’s about what you could say in its favor. He started off with a tie-dye muu muu and a dashiki, which were actually good choices since they gave him quite a bit of fabric to work with. Alas! he entirely failed to take the color wheel into consideration or come up with anything that pulled those fabric choices together in any meaningful way… or, you know, pick one and go with it. So the ankle-length, very low slung (as in I’m betting the model was glad she picked that week to get a bikini wax level) mostly ink blue tie-dye skirt was topped with an oddly angular peplum of green and yellow dashiki. The model was then bare up to the breast level. The breasts (and that’s it!) were covered with a black and white horizontal stripe halter bikini top, the line of which was oddly interrupted by a stiff, bright red dashiki spencer with a funnel neckline and amazingly angular cap sleeves. In short, it was overworked, and clashed with itself constantly in both color and shape.

So the judges discuss things, decide that Rami’s outfit is costumey because he put a hat on the model(!), but somehow Austin’s isn’t. Clearly we are not using the same pharmaceutical aids to come to this conclusion. The judges got the bad batch. And while all three bottom looks are heinous, Jerell’s at least shows a few ideas. I’ll give them that one. Most of the ideas were bad and all were chaotically carried out, but it did show some imagination and every horrible part of it was beautifully made.

So, the winner is declared and it’s Mondo in his first win of the season! As much as I love Austin and what he wrought, I think the judges did call this one correctly. Mondo’s was far more generally wearable and believable. As Mondo leaves the runway, he gives Austin’s arm a squeeze, and Michael a little kiss on the cheek. Austin is told he did a great job and released from the runway. Jerell is given the go ahead to go back to the green room, and he leaves pretty quickly.

And so it’s down to Michael, who fulfilled the challenge but made a horrible, unwearable, badly sewn outfit, and Anthony who sewed his pieces well but completely punted the challenge by failing to use all that fabric he talked people out of, relate the piece in any way to his muse, or make anything that took more than absolute basic sewing skills.

Bye bye, Anthony.

Again, I’m going to agree with the judges. As bad as Michael’s outfit was – and it’s hard to overstate just how bad that was – he did fulfill the challenge, at least one part of the outfit (the bustier top) did show some effort, and he did relate it to his muse on at least a vestigal level. Anthony’s, while sewn better and more likely to be actually wearable in the streets, showed zero imagination or effort.

Still, it was a mighty squeaky squeaker and Michael darn well knows this. In fact, he burst into tears and went and hugged Anthony saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. Anthony hugs him back and tells him “I’m smiling, so you shouldn’t be crying.” As much as Anthony can annoy the snot out of me – and that’s quite a bit, actually – I have to say I admire his attitude at being eliminated. His smile never wavered and he said confidently that he felt he’d done what he set out to do, even if he didn’t win the competition. He had a good word for everyone as he left, and didn’t say anything about rotten judging or someone else having been given a huge pass… even though in this case I doubt that there are many who would have disagreed too strongly with him if he had. Even I couldn’t have disagreed very strongly, and I usually love Michael’s designs… and I often hate Anthony’s. If it had gone the other way, I wouldn’t have complained a lot about it in this case. They both sucked right out loud, and it would be painfully easy to make the case for either one being eliminated.

Tune in next time when Michael and Jerell are apparently brain twins and come up with nearly the same design!

2 Responses to “Excuse Me, Sir, May I Have Your Shorts?”

  1. ZaftigWendy Says:

    I actually love Anthony so much! Maybe it’s living in the South, but he’s just such a sweet southern gentleman!

    I agree that he should have gone because he didn’t follow the rules, but Michael’s thing was WAY uglier! It was horrible!

    I think if he’d known anything about crochet, he could have used that piece in a creative way – unraveling the outer rounds and using the center as focal medallion somewhere, then using the unraveled threads to create a trim. Even the doily-ish thing he was working on before was much more attractive.

  2. Twistie Says:

    And I absolutely agree that Michael’s was by far the uglier thing. The doily look was much better than the drab, saggy hooker look he finished up with.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

  • Subscribe!



    Manolo the Shoeblogger

    Quirks of Art - Scrapbook & Rubber Stamping Supplies


  • Archives:

  • August 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010