… “Oui! Oui! Oui!”
Ah, but to whom?
On last night’s Project Runway All Stars, the guest judge was the inimitable Miss Piggy on a truffle hunt for the perfect cocktail dress to wear to promote her latest cinematic triumph… The Muppets.
To learn more of what happened, follow the bouncing spoiler cut!
So, are we all comfy? Good. Then let’s begin.
First off, I have to talk a little about my history with Muppets. I was just a tyke myself when Sesame Street first aired, introducing me to these half puppet half marionette creatures known as Muppets. My first love as a child was Oscar the Grouch, closely followed by Ernie and Bert (which is how they were billed back then). I was a sloppy kid and even then I had a thing for rubber duckies. Oscar and Ernie were my heroes.
Eventually, the Muppets got their own TV variety show, and my family gathered on the couch every week to watch. I fell in love with Gonzo the Great, the Swedish Chef, and Animal. My father, though, he fell hard for Miss Piggy. In fact, we started referring to her as ‘Dad’s girlfriend,’ a title she shared with Glenda Jackson seen here as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth R.
As a family, we quickly began to rate how cool celebrities were on how they interacted with the Muppets. Beverly Sills and Rudolf Nureyev both passed the test with flying colors, treating Muppets just like people. Others, such as Steve Martin, failed by treating them like… well, like they didn’t believe hard enough. These were the naughty offspring of unmarried parents who would have let Tinkerbell die without a second thought. When Alice Cooper appeared, he made my father’s brain explode. He couldn’t deal with a man called Alice in all that makeup singing rock and/or roll… but the dude was clearly in the belief zone like few others.
I’m glad to report that the entire cast of Project Runway All Stars definitely passed the cool test. When the challenge was explained, I thought Austin was going to explode in a glittery fission of delight, and Mondo and Michael looked only a tiny margin less thrilled. This challenge even managed to coax a huge smile and actual laughter from the often dour Rami and queen of the gothic night April.
There were a lot of interesting takes in the workroom on what Miss Piggy might like to wear. April, for instance, thought she might like a black gown with a rather fabulous vertical trim of black feathers around the neckline. And if I were dressing Miss Piggy as the Evil Queen in Snow White… hers would have been the first design I picked.
This week revealed huge bickering about the accessories wall, as everybody fought over the hot pink opera gloves. In the end, Austin snagged them, even though an enraged Kara Janx said she’d already chosen them… and I know I heard Michael call them, and at least one other designer. But since Kara had failed to put any sort of notation on them and Austin had already put them on his work table and possession is nine points of designer gotcha!, Austin’s model was the one who wore them down the catwalk.
In the end, three potential winners and three potential losers stood on the catwalk for the crit. I am deeply saddened to have to report that my beloved Austin was in the doghouse on this one, and frankly would have been my pick to go home. I don’t know what he was thinking, drinking, or smoking when he came up with that weird pewter and magenta sausage casing of a dress with the two sad, flappy bows hanging off the hips. Miss Piggy was extremely kind when she said if what she’d been looking for was a new costume for Pigs In Space, she might take it for that.
As for the other two bottom runners, those would be Mila for her black and white color blocked, sixties-inspired….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … Oh! Sorry! Fell asleep there for a minute. Yeah, she does what she does extremely well, but she has such a very narrow niche, and she made no attempt to restyle it to fit the client. The other one on the bottom was Gordana for making an abbreviated pink babydoll muu muu that reminded me sadly of a couple nightgowns I wore in the seventies.
Austin was declared safe for reasons past all understanding, but I still heaved a sigh of relief because I love him unconditionally… unlike that dress. Gordana went home for making a dress that everyone agreed was pretty, but not Miss Piggy. Not quite sure how that happened when Austin laid such a horrible egg and Mila made the same dress she always makes while deliberately ignoring the client altogether, but that’s how it worked out.
Among the top three was Kenley (in her first appearance in either the top or the bottom this season) for her pink giraffe print stapless fifties-inspired dress and massive meringue of pink tulle on the head as a hat. She came in third because of the construction on the bodice of her dress and excessive decollatage. Miss Piggy declared she really liked the hat, and felt sure what once she’d worn it out for a night on the town it would be the perfect thing to scrub her kitchen.
The two who outgunned Kenley were Rami and Michael. Michael’s dress was glittery, strapless, short (to show off Piggy’s fabulous legs, he told her) dress featuring a stiffened vertical bow on the bodice as well as a co-ordinating hat. Rami got a lot of smack talk in the workroom for choosing hot pink and bright orange polka dots on a white background, but the judges loved his flamenco-inspired dress out of it. In fact, Miss Piggy declared that it was one of the most ridiculous dresses she’d ever seen… and she loved it! It looked like an explosion in a candy store. I’d say that about sums it up, and I was utterly with Miss Piggy on that, including the love. It certainly wasn’t a look for everybody, but it said ‘Miss Piggy’ loud and clear with obvious affection.
In the end, Michael was declared the winner. I probably would have voted the other way, but a lot of this comes down to how well the designer retains his/her own aesthetic while meeting the needs and tastes of the client. By that measure, yes, I think Michael did the better job. Rami’s dress, while awesomely perfect for a Muppet, wasn’t really Rami’s style. Michael’s dress fit both Miss Piggy and his own potential collection.
So congratulations, Michael, and we’ll miss you, Gordana.