Project Runway All Stars Recap: Out With the Old Clothes, In With the New Ones

Mondo’s winning look. Photo: David M. Russell/Lifetime

This week’s episode starts with host Angela getting the designers together in Central Park to reveal their new challenge: finding a muse among the many parkgoers, and then creating a “fashion forward” look inspired by them. There’s a very clever catch, as is the Runway way: These muses must be convinced to give up (some of) the clothes they’re wearing to be used as raw materials for this week’s designs. More specifically, at least 50 percent of each designer’s new look must come from muse-sourced, pre-worn garments. (Their $150 budget can be used, in part, to help bribe would-be muses into participating, but must also cover their Mood purchases.) Angela gives them 30 minutes to find their new muse, but presumably none of them could — let’s blame tourists, like always — because the next thing you know, they’re in Union Square.

Most of the designers realize quickly that they’ll need to stretch the criteria of “muse” to mean more along the lines of “willing to take part; not wearing velour,” and they all finally manage to find subjects in their time frame. (One crazy old man offers to undress for Jerell, just because.) Michael picks up crochet knits, Austin lands fingerless leather gloves (with studs!) and Anthony collects a thrift store’s worth of offerings and revels in getting hot guys undressed. More power to him, really, because who didn’t lose their train of thought when poor, confused foreigner Diego removed his shirt? And more power to Austin, who may have even gotten the hottie’s phone number.

As the the designers were given a whole two days for this challenge, they all have pretty realized looks by the time Joanna Coles comes around for critiques. (Also, it seems Joanna has finally found her mentor style — a dose of Tim Gunn’s design-minded questioning mixed with a more personal approach that seems to really resonate). But she’s concerned with many outfits this week: Jerell’s forever-mismatched prints, Michael’s draped doilies, and Anthony’s complete lack of direction. After his crit, Michael puts his faster-than-light-speed sewing skills to work and starts his look over from scratch; Anthony starts over (and over), too, but with much less of a plan in mind. Clearly someone (else) can’t get that tanned, bulging six-pack off their mind.

Next, we’re treated to a fun little montage of Kenley being obnoxious, which suggests that she could be a diva again after all, if only the show’s editors would let her. She also causes a bit of a workroom uproar when she finishes Kara’s pants — Michael and Mila are especially outraged, though they keep their bitching session private. Then it’s off to the runway. 

This week, hockey player and former Vogue intern Sean Avery — decked out in cherry-tinted glasses — joins the judging panel, making maximum use of his chair by sitting with his legs splayed so wide it looks like he’s prepping to give birth (that’s sporty alpha-male dominance for you). He goes on to offer laid-back criticisms and nonsensical witticisms. (“Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani on acid at Burning Man” … say what?) Earlier, the ladies had acknowledged it’s been a bad run for them in the challenges so far, but this time all three of the remaining females are deemed safe. While this makes five weeks in a row in which a man has won the challenge, it also means the first male elimination of the season.

It turns out Joanna’s prediction that Mondo would dominate this challenge, given his street-style-friendly sensibility, comes true: He beats out Austin for the win with an outfit the judges literally criticize for being too chic. The bottom two dishonors go to Michael (on quite the comedown from his back-to-back wins) and Anthony. In the end, Anthony is auf’ed for not meeting the challenge’s requirements — his look didn’t reflected his quirky flower-selling muse, nor was it constructed out of the requisite half’s worth of fabric sourced from people in the park. While Michael cried and gasped and made a scene in another bout of forced theatrics, Anthony took the elimination with aplomb. He was wearing nice shoes, you see — velvet loafers can make even the toughest break feel just fine.

Added bonus: the best of Sean Avery on the judging panel last night!

Runway Recap: Out With Old Clothes, In With New