Project Runway All Stars Season 2: Fatigued
…and then there were four, on an air craft carrier called “The Intrepid.” As our remaining contestants walk up to Carolyn, horrendously heroic music is playing, obviously written by somebody with a John Williams fetish. Carolyn is wearing a black leather jacket. It does not suit her, nor does it look at all military. It looks like it’s her idea of military–in other words, all wrong.
Welcome to the real women challenge. It’s about time–I was starting to wonder if they might skip it this season. But no, they decided to wait until there were only four left. Is this to avoid the embarrassment of an idiot who doesn’t know how to make clothes for those who are larger than a size four? No! It’s due to the concept. The real women are veterans, one from each branch–Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. (Each is helpful labelled via t-shirts so that the designers–none of whom have served a day in their life–will be able to properly identify which is which.) Noted that the Army vet has lost a leg and has a service dog.
Since this is the “real women challenge” they will walk the runway instead of the models. As for who gets who…this appears to have been preassigned. No one picks anyone. Carolyn just says “come meet your models!” and the four vets walk directly up to the four designers in the order they are standing. The pairs end up being:
- Josh–One Legged Army Captain with Dog
- Emilio–African American Navy Vet
- AnthonyRyan–Larger Woman Air Force Vet
- Uli–Vacant Eyed Marine Vet
Each designer sits down with their vet and we get a bit of back story on each. The one legged Army vet apparently lost her leg in Bosnia because of a blot clot, not because she was in Iraq or Afghanistan seeing combat. Wait, what? Lifetime wanted us to think they had a wounded vet from our ten year war…and they didn’t. Due to lack of sway? Due to inability to find someone who was willing to come on the show? Due to the continuing inability of our media to acknowledge we just sacrificed thousands of lives in a ten year war? The war in Bosnia was when I was in high school, for christssake. I know we leave our troops scattered around the globe after combat like so many toys we forgot to clean up, but this feels like a cop out.
The Air Force vet is a religious officer. The Navy vet is a jet engine mechanic. The Marine vet is 25 and has been out of the service for a year. Each of them has a different event to go to, ranging from birthday party to wedding guest. Wait, what? Did I just see what I thought I saw? Lifetime tries to make it out like they’re this channel that’s all pro military with their godawful Army Wives program, and yet they didn’t have a vet that (was willing to, on camera) represent the last ten years of war that’s been mostly invisible from civilians. This bugs. A lot.
$150 budget, one day challenge. 30 minutes at Mood, where Josh fails to find the fabric he wants, so he buys black and white fabric and green dye and then has meltdown that this is going to be a process that dirties his hands. AnthonyRyan is fretting because his larger woman wants her bust line minimized, and yet he bought fabric that has zero structure to it. Uli’s vet loved the dress Uli herself was sporting during their consultation, so the plan is to make her a nice “Uli Dress.” Emilio is very focused that his vet’s event is in Vegas.
Time for Joanna! She feels it is an honour to be dressing female veterans, and announces therefore she’s going to be extra tough. (Oh, goody!)
- AnthonyRyan: This is for the AirForce Vet’s 40 birthday party. She requested strapless and long. (A larger woman who wants strapless? Um, bad idea.) Joanna likes that AnthonyRyan is doing a dark to light gradation with his fabric, but thinks that he should ignore the “strapless” directive and make it at least one shoulder, as a large figured woman will appreciate the ability to have the support.
- Uli: This is for the Marine Vet’s best friend’s wedding. Joanna instantly notes that Uli has made the exact same dress she herself is wearing, just in a different print. Uli nods that this is exactly what she is going for.
- Emilio: His Navy vet is going to a bachlorette party in Vegas, and she said her favorite color is yellow. Currently it looks like he’s making a sexy big bird dress. Joanna worries that he’s not as familiar with designing for real woman. He defends himself as perfectly capable. Joanna’s tone says “We’ll see.”
- Josh: His one legged Army vet doesn’t seem to have an event–or if she does he’s not bothered to mention it. Joanna is all into how inspired Josh is by this challenge. Rather than talk about his outfit, Josh gets to talks about his brother who is in the Army serving in Afghanistan, and how his brother seeing him on TV helped them understand each other, or something. It boils down to his talk with Joanna being all about Josh. So much for tough.
Anthony Ryan plays consultant to Josh and his dyeing project, because apparently it’s natural for Josh to be begging AnthonyRyan for help. When the vets show up, Uli is nearly done and the flitting goes swimmingly. Emilio’s fitting doesn’t go quite as well, there are bodice issues. AnthonyRyan’s vet looks like she’s wearing a shower curtain when she first steps out. Josh doesn’t have anything ready, so there’s no fitting. He insists that his design process cannot be rushed. I pity his vet.
Day of runway, and AnthonyRyan is struggling with his shower curtain. Emilio is still sewing. Josh finally has something to put on his vet–and he even magically made something matching for the dog!
On that note, let’s go to the runway.
Hello, slow talking Carolyn. Apparently the program that decided to make this happen with ProjRun is called “Fatigues to Fabulous,” which Carolyn must have forgotten to mention earlier, because she’s all about it now. The first guest judge is Katie Holmes (introduced as one of America’s best actresses. I am proud that no one guffaws, considering that Holmes’ appearance here is to promote her turn on Broadway in Dead Accounts, which just closed early due to terrible reviews and piss poor ticket sales.) The other guest judge is designer Carmen Marc Valvo.
Uli: Fact–Uli dresses are not flattering on bigger girls–and by bigger girls I mean anyone over a size 2. That being said, Uli did a very good job in modifying the dress with lines around the bodice to help give it visual structure up top (I especially love the use of the illusion netting,) and the fabric choice does a lot of the work in keeping the girl from looking too pear shaped around the bottom. We will be kind about the fact that the poor girl can’t walk in heels, or the rather terrible cross tattooed on her back. It’s harder for me to be kind about the fact that the girl has dull cow eyes that looks shockingly vacant. Carolyn loves the way the bodice lines criss cross in the back. Georgina says the bodice is very smart and she likes the “high-low hemline.” Issac loves the bustline, but feels like the Uli embellishment at the breastbone were a last minute addition and wishes they weren’t there. Katie also hates the embellishments, and says maybe she should have used feathers, which causes laughter and groans from the judges and Uli, since they made her promise no more feathers a couple of weeks back. Isaac tries to explain this to Katie who insists she knew that as “she’s been watching the show.” (What? How can she be watching the show if this is taped back in the fall and the show hasn’t started airing yet? Katie Holmes, terrible liar.) Carmen loves that the fit is so perfect, but agrees the embellishments were like one extra flower on the cake too many.
Josh: Holy Crap it’s adorable. The matching dog is adorable. The little line of the dyed fabric (that’s all he used it for was trim?!) that floats just above the knee with the illusion is fabulous. The best part is he doesn’t try to hide her prosthetic. He just makes her look real cute. Of all four vets, she looks the happiest to be there. Isaac LOVES that the dog’s name turns out to be Isaac. It turns out she *does* have an event to attend, and the event this is going to a formal dinner honoring the nation’s veterans. (Why was this not mentioned before?) Carmen wants to know if the showing of the prosthetic is deliberate, and the answer is yes (She is “very proud to be a wounded warrior,” the fact that she was not actually wounded in combat nonwithstanding.) Carolyn says it’s very flattering. She and Katie both compliment the fact that the dress is practical. Isaac only critique is that the dog’s outfit should be more glamorous. Georgina has little nitpicks about the fit, and wishes is were more of a formal gown, but overall thinks it’s a great job. She is happy to see he found his elegance this week, and is proud he didn’t choose to go wild with the leopard print. And that’s how Josh finally not only found himself in the top for the first time all season, but gets his first win.
Emilio: Fact–His original bodice was more flattering. That being said, it is exactly what the client asked for, and it is pretty spot on for the event she supposed to go to. It’s sexy without being slutty, which is always preferable. I’m not big on the open square on the back though. It makes the sides feel oddly ill fitting (that’s why there’s that weird flare out to the side in the above picture) and it looks like he ran out of fabric. Katie loves the color. Georgina asks if it’s two different fabrics–the remade bodice was fused for structure, and the two different treatments are throwing her eye. (Mine too–the top is just a shade off from the bottom.) She says it looks like a mistake. (She’s not wrong.) Issac says the concept is perfect, but the execution is not. Carolyn insists it is perfect for the event in question, because she feels like they need to be positive for the clients. Carmen critiques the big open square in the back, saying that he should have cheated it a bit more, so it held tight and didn’t look so odd. Overall, his real issue is that the execution was just so poor, but he waits to say that until after the vet has left the runway. Georgina sighs that it just wasn’t committed enough, and grumps that it looked “home made.” Carolyn says in concern that Emilio will clean this up before her big night out.
AnthonyRyan: Fact–It looks like a shower curtain. The straps help, yes, but this is a woman with a large bust who needed a bodice with structure–a single ribbon tied around at the empire waist point is not structure. The result is just awful, and any woman with large breasts should slap AnthonyRyan for doing this to his poor vet. When Carolyn says she looks lovely, I want to slap her as well, for lying. Shockingly, his vet says that she feels “hidden” and this is what she wanted. Wow. Did she look in a mirror? Did she actually see herself as she actually looks in said mirror? Does she have body dysmorphia? Did she maybe not turn to the side to see how badly her enormous breasts flop over that godawful waist line? Carolyn (very carefully, we should note) says that the bustline “isn’t so flattering,” but the vet continues to cluelessly claim this is what she wanted. It’s a very weird exchange. Georgina is also very careful to say that there was a way to show off the curves that was “a little more conservative,” and notes that the straight across neckline is one half of the problem (the other being that godawful waist.) Katie’s useless suggestion is to bead the straps, which has nothing to do with improving the look for the shower curtain this poor woman is wearing. Isaac floors me by saying this dress is one of his favorites, even though it is not the most “figure flattering thing.” I am now convinced that he is contractually obligated to like everything AnthonyRyan does, because, Emilio’s bodice issues aside, this is the worst dress of the runway, hands down. Once they leave the runway, there is a sigh of relief that they can be candid. Katie shakes her head that even though the woman claimed to want her bust hidden, her eye went straight there. Georgina says that the dress made her very cross. Carmen finally speaks, and says that he was horrified. Isaac is very upset that his contractually obligated opinion is wrong. Line him up to get slapped too. Georgina says it was the wrong design, and SHE. IS. CORRECT.
The guest judges are too horrified by AnthonyRyan’s to ever consider sending Emilio home. But we know when it comes to someone going home, the main judges have the last word, and Isaac makes it clear he will lay down on that runway this week to keep AnthonyRyan from being sent anywhere–again, I assume because his contract demands it, because the dress is horrific. No one with eyes should be defending that dress. Up until now I have had issues with what AnthonyRyan has made, and only agreed with his being awarded the win once (and that was last week, when his was the best of a bad lot. Obviously Elie Tahari agreed with me, since after awarding AnthonyRyan the win, he then didn’t actually sell the winning dress in question, but a completely different one in hopes we didn’t notice.) But this is the first dress AnthonyRyan has sent down the runway that was actually offensive. Offensive like Ven’s real woman outfit was offensive. Here for a minute, I thought they held off on the real woman challenge to make sure that none of the designers would shit the bed and embarrass themselves with their inability to handle someone with curves. I should have known better.
Instead of demeaning themselves in front of the guest judges, the panel decides not to choose. EVERYONE IS SAFE! I am thankful because I would have been very upset to see Emilio cut over AnthonyRyan’s shower curtain, but I am disgusted because, seriously, AnthonyRyan should have gone home over that god awful shower curtain.
Next week: Lifetime decides to actually make the All Stars final four worth something by sending them all to Paris.