Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Episode 7 of Lifetime's "Project Runway All Stars."
There are only seven designers left on "Project Runway All Stars" and the pressure is building ... or at least they keep telling us that.
This week's episode begins with Jerell's deep thoughts about Rami's elimination the week before (or for him probably the night before): "The fact that he's gone is a bit of a game changer," says Jerell, who quickly recovers. "Can't be mad at that because eventually they all have to go, so I can get my check." Always with the sass, that guy.
The designers meet their lovely host Angela Lindvall at Circle in the Square theater, which Austin describes as representing "the pulse of New York in Times Square." Sure. If you think the city's biggest tourist trap is its heart and soul then Time Square is definitely it.
But who can blame Austin, who seems to experience this challenge through the world's most wonderful rose colored glasses? He describes "the world of theater" as full of illusion and fantasy. He adds, "And that excites me." We know Austin. We can tell. And it's sort of cute.
Famous composer Stephen Schwartz arrives on the scene next to Angela to describe the challenge: It's a "'Project Runway' First!" per usual. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the musical "Godspell," the designers will create separates for a very ostentatious wealthy female character who steals from the poor to show off her wealth. There should be a quirky feel because the items come from the other characters, but basically she should look rich and a little evil.
"The winner ... will have his or her design featured in the new Broadway production of 'Godspell' and a bio in the program," Schwartz explains. The designers ooh and ahh, but I'm not really buying the enthusiasm from them. Maybe they're just a little burnt out.
"To have your bio in a playbill on Broadway is pretty major," raves Mondo. I feel like the producers made him say that. He also adds, "Everyone thinks about Broadway -- lights and sequins and fringe, but it's difficult."
They're given $200 and 30 minutes to sketch in the theater. Austin says he appreciates the time to "absorb the magic of the room." He's like freaking out with excitement, which makes up for everyone else's mellow response.
"Break a leg!" calls Angela, as they leave for Mood. Because that's what they say in the theater.
In The Mood!
Austin enthuses, "I want to go for some fabric that will just speak ... opulence, conspicuous consumption, richness, so I'm thinking a fabulous brocade."
Kara is making a fur stole, but she's sort of freaking out.
"I love Kara so much and part of what I love about her is her emotional roller coaster," comments Austin.
Then, suddenly, this is the first time I realize that they don't have a mentor at Mood on this series. On the regular show, Tim comes along, but there's no Joanna Coles here. Interesting. Oh well.
Back at The Workroom
Kenley is also using brocade for a jacket that "ties all the separates in." She's debating silver versus red.
Jerell says he's using silver and gold lamé.
Kara says, "I'm hoping the judges notice the clean lines. It's going to be a sort of simple chic aesthetic." Wait. Is it me or is that almost exactly what she said last week when she bombed and they compared her outfit to mall wear?
As usual, Mila is grumpy about the love fest going on around her. "I've noticed a lot of this sort of unnecessarily over-complimentary love for each other's designs and now it's like crazy between Kara and Kenley," she says. "If one gets eliminated, they might have a breakdown."
Back to Austin, where there's nothing but blue skies and sunshine: "I'm excited about the sheer possibility of having a Broadway debut!" he says. He's so thrilled that he actually uses the word "ensemble." I'm loving him!
Next, Mondo gives the producers this episode's mandatory Neiman Marcus plug: "The Neiman Marcus accessory wall has everything you can think of!" We know. It's amaaaaazing. (That's me virtually rolling my eyes again.)
Joanna Coles ("JC" to us) comes in for critiques and though they make her say, once again, that this is the most exciting challenge yet, she's really starting to grow on me. I like how she comes in all friendly, then makes some super cutting, but usually correct assessment and then walks away before the designers have time to realize what's happened. It's sort of brilliant.
First, she approaches our theater crazed contestant: "Austin, it looks like you robbed a bank with all this gold and silver," she remarks. He says that he immediately thought of Marie Antoinette. She nods and continues, "I love it because ... right now it's hideous, but you're going to turn it into something fabulous. Right, Austin?" See? It seemed like they were on the same page, but then suddenly they're not. He's flustered. She's amazing.
To Kara she says, "This is not necessarily as ambitious as you need to be to be an 'All Star.'" To the camera, the emotional designer cries: "We're pushing ourselves so hard everyday."
Mila is considering various kind of skirts with JC. About one idea, she says, "It's not very Mila." Uh oh. We've started talking in the third person. They decide that a pencil skirt might work.
Mondo is inspired by this idea of the character's father's old smoking jacket. Says JC, "The deceitful character is played out brilliantly in this. I just hope it's dramatic enough from a distance." Lots of cool patterns, as usual.
Jerell is making a coat that stops at the waste with an over-sized cuff. "In this case, the jacket is a piece of jewelry," he explains. At least Michael isn't making the same one this week.
To Kenley, JC comments, "I'm in shock. Is this the first week we don't have polka dots?" I love this woman. "These are like signature thrift store pieces," says Kenley. I'm confused -- did she not understand the challenge? They said it should look expensive ... not used.
"Break a leg!" JC calls out, as she leaves the workroom. Because that's what they say in the theater.
Mondo isn't liking his look; he thinks it looks heavy and overworked, but I think it looks kind of on point. He's just feeling insecure because he kinda tanked the last challenge. "Cynthia Rowley was so disgusted with my look that she didn't even know what to say," he laments. "It's hard for me to put my heart on the line again." Suddenly, I feel like I'm watching "The Bachelor." Are you ready to find love again, Mondo? I know you've been hurt before. But I digress. I still think Mondo will probably win this whole thing.
Kenley has all the overblown confidence that Mondo lacks: "I don't make mediocre half-ass pieces," she says. "It must be so annoying for those other designers." It is annoying to be around her, I imagine. But not for the reasons she thinks.
Austin doesn't have time to finish the way that he needs to and he freaks out at Jerell a little for stealing his sewing machine.
"Jerell did not take your machine," says Jerell. What is with the third person stuff this week?
Mondo thinks "Kara's look looked like her model was a tube of lipstick. She pushed it all the way to the edge, but she didn't push it over."
Austin says Michael's look is almost mother of the bride. (It's kind of a short skirt for MOB, but whatev.)
About Mila's oufit, Jerell says, "It's kinda like a girl who can't get into the club." Ruh roh.
Let The Show Begin
The usual judges (Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi) are joined by the star of Tony Award winning musical "Anything Goes," Sutton Foster.
Jerell says, "She's adorable." She does look nice.
Down the runway, things are looking pretty good. This week there is really nothing so awful that it's a definite tank. Kenley and Michael both have headpieces to match their outfits. Austin describes his look as, "Decadent aristocrat with rocker flea market glamour." I don't know if his enthusiasm is just infectious, but I kind of love that description.
"Job well done, Jerell," says JERELL. OMG. Stop it with the third person!
I'm TOTALLY into Mondo's outfit. It's so cool. It's awesome and over-the-top and gold sparkly and amazing. It's costume, it's fashion, it's bohemian -- to me it's everything in one!
Mila says her piece has a sense of humor. I am not liking the weird asymmetrical skirt. Even through the lens of TV, it looks cheap. Mila says she pushed outside her box. (That's low hanging fruit, but I won't even make the dirty joke.)
Jerell is safe, but everyone else has the highest and lowest scores.
For Michael, Georgina says, "I wish it was slightly more eccentric." Isaac adds, "Congratulations to you. That color to me is ... very difficult."
Kenley's outfit is not a flop, but they think she missed the mark on the challenge, as evidenced by her earlier quote about thrift stores. Angela says she didn't listen, which doesn't surprise me. I feel like that could be a common problem with her. Isaac says, "You are really flying in our faces right here." But then he adds, "The black shoe goes like too East Village to me. Like she doesn't live in the East Village; she lives in a doorway in the East Village." Georgina says the jacket is cut beautifully. Sutton says, "The patterns muddle it. On stage it would blend as opposed to pop."
Starstruck Austin gets s mercifully good review. "You managed to keep it modern," says Georgina. (I feel like I often agree with her.) Isaac says it borders on being a little too young for the "Austin Starlet" customer.
"It's 'Austin Scarlett' not 'starlet,'" the designer corrects. Awkwaaaard.
Anyway, Mila's outfit doesn't go over. Isaac says he likes the top and "I sort of like the bottom, but together for me it doesn't work." Sutton agrees, saying sheepishly, "It feels a little gaudy." (They get snarkier during the private deliberation. Isaac says, "She looks like she uses drugs this girl." Adds Sutton, "I keep thinking of "Pretty Woman" before she gets pretty.")
Mondo says his woman's secret is this idea of this old smoking jacket that she has from her dad and that she pulls everything else from the places she's been. "What's so great is the layering of the fabrics," says Georgina. The judges all gasp in pleasure when the jacket is removed. Georgina says he needs to "refine the length," but they clearly love it. (In fact, Isaac later says that it looks like it took two weeks instead of one day.)
To Kara, Angela says, "I love the red pop, however the silver bow in the front gets very bulky." I suddenly feel like she's "active listening" like in therapy. Lead with a compliment, then get honest! "For me this is the best you've done," says Isaac. "It needs to be developed a bit." That's not good news. During deliberation Isaac says, "I thought this was her best challenge to date, but I didn't like it."
Um. I guess that sort of seals the deal. I mean, if you don't like her best work, then where can you go from there?
With the designers back on the runway, Angela says, "Your looks were very theatrical, but were they big enough for Broadway?" Good question, Angie.
The Winner: It's between Mondo and Austin and Mondo wins. I'm almost sad for Austin because he wanted this so badly, but I guess Mondo has his mojo back, which is good. Now I feel like Austin's dream is to be a costume designer. Do it, man!
Going Home: It's between Mila and Kara, but we know what's to come. Kara is sent home. They say they're proud of her, but it seems sort of in a sad kind of way.
"I don't know that this was the best challenge for me," Kara says in the talking head afterward. Um, yeah, Kara. You got sent home. I think not.
"Project Runway All Stars" airs Thursdays, 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.