Crafty Manolo » Wrap it Up, Quick!

Wrap it Up, Quick!

By Twistie

Imagine, if you will, being asked to make a fabulous designer outfit in just six hours from concept to runway show.

Yes, this week’s Project Runway All Stars asks just that of the remaining designers. But wait! There’s more! They have to show these to guest judge Diane Von Furstenberg, design icon and all around weirdly wonderful lady. I always love it when she guest judges because her mind is a fascinating place I enjoy rooting around in.

But wait! There’s still more! The designers need to base their designs on…

… delicious gelato!

Yes, each designer in turn got to choose a flavor of gelato whose color and taste would inspire their design.

And there’s just one more twist to the challenge: the winning design will be worn by Australian supermodel and Mrs. Orlando ‘Still the Prettiest’ Bloom, Miranda Kerr at an upcoming industry event.

But wait! There’s… no, there isn’t really more. I’m just yanking your chains. I think that’s quite enough to be getting on with, don’t you?

Since he won the last challenge, Michael got to choose his flavor/color of gelato first. He headed straight for grapefruit. Then he got to choose who went next, and – no surprise here – chose Mondo who went for cantaloupe. Then Mondo got to choose and so on down the line. By the end, every single designer had gotten just the scoop they most wanted… except last kid picked Kara, who was miserable to be stuck with chocolate and cayenne. Ironically enough, had I been a contestant, that’s the scoop I would have snatched up first given half an opportunity. Chocolate and cayenne are very me colors and very me flavors. Still, Rami was thrilled to have kiwi, Anthony was relieved nobody picked green tea before he got there, Austin was happy as a clam with Madagascar vanilla, April couldn’t believe nobody else picked blueberry before she got there, Mila snagged the oddly appropriate vanilla and sour cherry, Jerell practically tripped himself in his mad dash to get fruits of the forest, and Kenley was all about passionfruit because she’s so passionate. Well okay, then. But Kara was channeling Charlie Brown’s Halloween lament of “I got a rock.”

With only six hours from trying out the ice cream to sending models down the runway, it was decided that there was no time to take the designers to Mood, so Mood was brought to them. Of course all of Mood wouldn’t fit in the designers’ lounge, so there wasn’t quite the choice usually presented. And right here we begin to see who is going to have time to complete their challenge and who is going to have time management issues. April has to rethink her entire design because there isn’t the black jersey she wanted for a bolero, Kara is distressed at having to work with chocolate brown and keeps hunting for paler colors to get across her chocolate and cayenne flavor statement… it’s kind of sad already. On the other end of the scale, Michael finds exactly what he’s looking for immediately, Mondo takes mere minutes to put together a set of fabrics to do what he wants, and it looks as though Jerell and Kenley each took the first piece of fabric they saw. I’m kind of surprised. Kenley is usually the queen of time management issues.

Still, pandemonium reigns supreme in the workroom and the sewing room. Austin has trouble with a sewing machine bobbin that threaten to make him break out in a… somehow I can’t imaging him actually sweating. He did look as though he might begin to glisten at the drop of a hat, though. He did resort to using a hot glue gun on his dress. The good news? He did not put it close enough to the garment after use to risk another burn. Safety first!

Considering the time limitation, most of the designers went for fairly quick and dirty lines they knew they could execute efficiently while adding designer twists to keep them in the running. But there are a couple people in that room (Anthony, April, and Mila, I’m looking at you!) who just don’t seem to know how to do that.

When the models are sent in for their fitting, April discovers another problem: she’s made the dress too small for her model and has to come up with two more panels in the width of the bodice, but she has no more fabric. This just isn’t her day. Still, I have to love her for being the very first designer to channel Tim Gunn all season long and declare she’s in the middle of a ‘make it work moment.’ Call me, Tim! I miss you!

At last the moment arrives and the designs are frogmarched down the runway to the wondering eyes of the regular panel of judges, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Miranda Kerr.

On the top are Michael for his grapefruit masterpiece, Mondo for his literal yet whimsical slice of cantaloup caftan, and Mila for her colorblocked, seventies inspired red and white vanilla and sour cherry dress. I actually would have worn two of those dresses. Mondo’s and Mila’s both appealed strongly to me. Michael’s was incredibly elegantly draped and looked great on the model, but the line and the color would both have done something less than nothing for my coloring and shape. Still, great dress beautifully made in no time at all.

On the bottom… well, I was unsurprised to see Kara, April, and Anthony down there. Anthony’s green tea dress was a cute idea he didn’t really have enough time to execute well, so it wound up looking kind of tortured and messy. April’s dress was a hot mess of purple chiffon over royal blue satin with a skirt that would make Daisy Duke blush. As for Kara, her chocolate and cayenne dress consisted mostly of floaty cream and ecru and pale pink ruffles with one of chocolate brown and one of cayenne red right at the bottom. Not really getting the flavors across with that. To make matters worse, she managed to get the proportions off to the point where she created the first multiple birth maternity dress for women who are not pregnant. Every time her model was shown from the side in that dress, she looked as though she was about to give birth to quintuplets right there on the runway.

During the discussion with the designers, Diane Von Furstenberg told Michael his draping was brilliant, following the comment with an offhand ‘call me after the show.’ I thought he was going to faint right there on the runway. Diane is his favorite designer of all time. I was delighted for him.

As the judges confabbed, there was a moment that made me snigger quite a bit. Moments after the judges (except for Isaac Mizrahi) agreed that while Mila’s dress was very nice and a refreshing change from her usual work the real question came down to Mondo and Michael,  Isaac complained about the fact that Mondo’s cantaloup dress was (gasp! consternation!) bright orange. Who would ever want to wear bright orange? Diane pointedly noted that his shirt was bright orange. So, incidentally, were his shoes. And looking at Miranda Kerr’s coloring, which is actually pretty similar overall to mine, I think she’d look great in bright orange. I know it’s one of the best colors you can put on me.


And the winner is Michael! So, to sum up, that’s two wins in a row, Miranda Kerr is going to wear his dress in public, and Diane Von Furstenberg seems ready to bring him into her fold. Whatever happens from here on in, I would say he’s set for a potentially fabulous career. Now it’s mostly a matter of how well he plays the cards dealt him so far.

When it comes time to dole out the bad news, Anthony is given the immediate reprieve. I wasn’t in any way wild about his dress, but I do think his were the least egregious mistakes.

It’s down to Kara and April… and April’s luck runs out. Frankly, I would have been hard pressed to decide who did the absolute worst job of the two, and I do not envy the judges having to make that call.

Farewell, April, Queen of Darkness. I was always eager to see what you would produce next, but I honestly don’t think these challenges do you any favors. Go forth and hone your skills. Oh, and let’s make a date for Halloween!

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