Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Episode 12, the finale, of Lifetime's "Project Runway All Stars."
Ladies and gentleman, this is the moment you've all been waiting for: It's the season finale of "Project Runway All Stars"!
Who will win? Who will lose? Who will wear the weirdest outfit to the big day?
We open on Mondo (which has become a habit), who ominously says, "Today is Judgement Day." That's otherwise known as the show's final fashion show. (Look out for my interview with the winner later today!)
Anyway, the boys are getting ready (though I use the term "boys" loosely, as Austin is literally rocking rollers). He says, "I'm like nervous. I'm gonna throw up." But then, cut to his talking head and he gets excited: "I'm a rock star. This is my chance to ... deliver my message about who Austin Scarlett is." A man in lipstick! What else? Okay, okay. And a talented designer.
No, but it is pretty cute that they're all so excited. About his collection, Michael happily reports, "There's nothing more I can do. I'm done." He's always done first, so that's not news.
Mondo says, "I feel like I deserve this." As he tells the camera about how much he knows Michael wants this, but that he wants it too, he wells up. And I start to wonder: Did these guys just become close friends or is it more than that? They just seem so tight!
Mondo recovers his sass around the other designers though, quipping to Austin, "Does Liza Minnelli know that you went through her wardrobe?" This seems better spirited than Mondo's gripes about Austin last week. He's in better spirits. Plus, Austin is wearing a sequined black blazer with a pink mesh scarf/cravat situation, so the comment is earned.
They head to NYC's Gotham Hall, where the show will take place. "It's so beautiful that you feel so blessed to be in there," says Michael. I like that he's so gracious.
Austin turns to Michael and Mondo and exclaims, "We made it, boys!" Why do I feel like he's their mom?
Everyone is hustling to get stuff done. Mondo says, "I'm visualizing myself on the runway and winning." He thinks Austin is choking a bit on the evening gown because he bit off more than he could chew.
But he's not right: Austin manages to plug Neiman Marcus accessories, even without the wall to acknowledge. A feat!
Michael is not as done as he thought. One sleeve of a dress is too tight; the other is too loose. He's a bit panicked.
One Hour To Show Time
They head to "The Land of L'Oreal" for makeup and hair. Austin asks for "fat curls." Michael says, "70's hair." Mondo's only instruction is, "Shock therapy," which I think means "make it look like they stuck their fingers in sockets."
Joanna Coles show up to lend support and ends up lint rolling Mondo, which I think is sweet, but he says is a little awkward. I have to say, she has really grown on me. I love me some JC.
Suddenly, the runway show is about to begin. Michael says, "In those last few minutes, it's not adrenalin, it's fear [that's driving them]." Whatever it is, it seems to get the job done.
Angela Lindvall introduces the show and also the judges, but she lapses into some weird performed voice that reminds me of "The Hunger Games" and suddenly I feel like I'm watching a fashion show in The Capitol. I love that! Where is President Snow? He's so mean!
(Note: Angela ended up being fine as host, just sort of benign ... like tofu, but not annoying.)
The judges, per usual, include Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman, but also guest judges Tommy Hilfiger and the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing.
(Sidenote: Does anyone else only ever think of the weird antisemitic/racist rumors from like 15 years ago when they see Tommy Hilfiger? I feel bad. He denies having said anything of the sort. But it's sort of like Richard Gere and the gerbil. You just can't get it out of your head! Truth has nothing to do with it.)
That's the name of Austin's collection. Apparently, it's eponymous and he's first up. He describes his collection's inspiration involving a vampire in Williamsburg "who borrows clothes from her Hasidic dandy friends." And, when the show begins, I notice two things pretty quickly:
1) The model is wearing a sequined black jacket that matches his.
2) Several of the models have curled hair that looks like Hasidic peyos.
No. Way. HILARIOUS.
Austin is blown away by his own collection: "I feel I'm watching some gorgeous haute couture fashion show." And, I have to say, I'm pretty impressed too. He made this in four days? I mean, c'mon. He says, "This is who I am as an artist. This is everything I believe in."
It's very pink and black and a little more modern than I expected. I think it's mostly good. I'm not a fan of the floral ballgown, but you know, you can't win 'em all. I do like a geometric pink dress at the beginning and I love the lacquered lace number.
Mondo's show is called "Therapy" and is inspired by him losing his mind. For some reason, it starts in slow-mo! Backstage, JC tells him he has a "strong opening look." I agree. It's pretty awesome, all patterned and black and white. But it makes the next dress seem sort of "Juniors" to me.
"Therapy," says JC. "You're cured." They laugh. "Very high level of applause," she notes at the end. The last flowing look doesn't immediately evoke his style, which I like because I feel like he stepped out of the box.
Next up is Michael, who I feel like is like a ditzy blonde, who plays spacier than she is. He seems kind of sweet and unassuming, but I think there's real drive under there. Anyway, his collection is animal patterned resort wear and it's also nice. I'm pretty amazed by these guys. Maybe it's better to only have four days, so you don't over think things? Or maybe these guys are better than usual because it's "All Stars."
Anyway, it's a bit on the nose with all the animal prints and the obvious theme, but there's some nice stuff. Michael says he stepped out of his comfort zone: "I'm an evening wear designer at heart."
"Savor these moments," says JC. "Well done." Good advice!
Nina Garcia watched the show and comments about the designers, "It's nice to see how they've evolved."
Nanette Lepore says she's rooting for someone, but sadly we don't get to know who. Maybe Michael?
Michael is crying. It's hard to understand him. I think he says he's happy?
Austin goes first. He literally matches his collection. "Congratulations, man," says Isaac. It sounds weird in this context.
Angela loves the wedding dress. Georgina questions the ball gown. They all love the lacquered lace (duh!) and Georgina says there's youth to his glamour. Isaac says it doesn't quite feel like a collection. But, overall, they're impressed.
Mondo is next and Georgina launches right in with, "As always, you're so masterful with your patterns." He's the pattern guy, for sure.
"Your collection is the most cohesive in the wit of it, in the mixing of the fabrics," says Isaac.
I mean, it's hard to get better feedback than that. They feel that some of the over-sized elements are cartoonish, but that's the only real negative.
Michael is last, but not least. "It's exceptional. It really is," says Georgina about his collection. Ken Downing says he could put the pieces in Neiman Marcus tomorrow, which I always think is the kiss of death -- commercial looks. Maybe not in this economy though.
They like a lot of the pieces, but Isaac says the patterns don't look expensive.
Georgina closes with a positive, "This white Grecian dress is gorgeous. It's sensual. It was just divine."
Well, they obviously had to fill space because the deliberation goes on for-ev-er. Why relive it? Suffice it to say that the designers are finally at peace with their collections, but they still want to win, and the judges are having trouble deciding. Even Mondo is now Buddha on the mountain top.
"To do this in four days, I mean it's amazing," says Tommy Hilfiger. See? He's nice.
Meanwhile, all I can think about is Ken Downing's hair. It's blonde, it's high and it's intense. It reminds me of someone.
Michael says, "My heart is pounding because I have this feeling that it is me." Don't jinx yourself, dude!
The designers return to the runway and we relive some of the past challenges in montage. (Hello, Miss Piggy.)
Angela Lindvall says, "One of you will win the biggest prize in 'Project Runway' history." Suddenly, I'm thinking that JC should have a say, since this person is going to be her guest editor for a year!
Suddenly, I want all three to win. I'm sort of wishing there was a second and third cash prize!
And then my wish comes true. Angela says that there are no losers (except the two who don't win): "Both runners up will receive an incredible getaway to Paris!" They actually did go high-end with the trips too because they're staying at Plaza Athenee and Le Meurice.
Um. Can't a recapper get a prize too?
Angela begins waxing poetic about Michael's talent and it's like "The Bachelor." She talks him up and then tells him he didn't win. Poor Michael!
And then she makes the big announcement: "The winner of 'Project Runway All Stars' is ... drum roll please ...
Duh. Wasn't it always him? In our hearts, didn't we always know?
Austin looks very unhappy, but he manages a gracious and theatrical, "Thank you. This is a wonderful consolation. Farewell."
Mondo is thrilled and crying. He says, "This was leaps and bounds beyond difficult!" And we know he did struggle.
In the end, he is hugging Michael. "I love you so much," he says and you can tell he means it, as either a super close friend or else, something more.
And I don't know about everyone else, but I'm super excited to see what's next for all these guys at Neiman Marcus (even I plug by accident!) and beyond.