So, there was no PR recap last week because there was no three months off, and no thousands of dollars to create a twelve-piece collection, and, sadly enough, no Tim Gunn home visit.
See, this is all-Stars, dammit, and because they're all-stars, they are given twenty minutes and $1.89 to create a five-piece runway show for the finale. I kid; it was a few hundred dollars and four days, but still....
And then the monkeywrench: create a sixth look using discarded fabric scraps from any challenge of the season and make it fit into their finale catwalk. That was a good one. I think it pushed the Final Three to really get creative.
Which made me think: since I've been doing all the recapping this season, I thought I'd shake it up a bit, and let the designers do the recap.
"I am really confident with the way dat everything looks. I feel really good about the collection and dere's nothing more dat I can do. I'm done."
Cue ominous drumming.
At Gotham Hall, Michael goes all wide-eyed and fish-mouthed: "Wow! You feel so blessed to be here."
And I think, Don't get too comfortable, Mike.
See, Michael's clothes don't fit the models.
One dress has a baggy right sleeve and a too-tight left sleeve--which he is seen trying to yank onto the model, and for a moment, I feared her skinny arm would pretzel snap.
He also has a wonky zipper, and a Typical Michael flowy, drapey dress that's way too big for the model and needs to be cut down....in like two minutes.
Michael shows last: "Hi everybody, my name is Michael. My collection is inspired by the Serengeti and I want to take you on a wonderful adventure. Enjoy the show."
Austin could take a page out of Michael's book, and try editing his intro.
Georgina found his collection exceptional, and very well-made, which I'm sure pisses off The Ivy Show and Gretchen Granny Pants from his season. Tommy Hilfiger muttered the word "saleable" and Georgina worried that the collection, with the sort of not-great prints, might be too "commercial".
I never thought of commercial as a four-letter word, but I guess it is.
Ken Downing, SVP of Neiman Marcus, loved the cohesive attitude of the collection and felt the prints played well off each other. His favorite look was dress 2; he loved the warrior princess-ness of it.
But Isaac felt that the prints didn't mix in the most interesting way, though he loves the way Michael exposes skin on his models, but not in a trashy way. Sensual, not slutty.
Angela thinks his collection will appeal to the biggest clientele, but I think we all know how this is ending.
Michael: "I felt like it was a really positive critique. This is the main guy from Neiman Marcus and this is Tommy Hilfiger talking about my pieces selling. This is great."
Until.....Michael, while Auf'd first, gets a trip for two to Paris.
I like to think that Michael was glad to show, but really knew he didn't have a chance against Mondo, and a slight edge, perhaps, over Austin. His clothes are beautiful, if a little one-note.
And that note was flat.
With curlers in her hair, Miss Scarlett says, "I am a rock star. This is my chance to, just, like, deliver my message about who Austin Scarlett is and, just, rock it like an all-star."
I'm thinking of a new Lifetime show called Austin Scarlett: Cliche Star.
Austin sits in the car, as they cruise the streets of New York: "I'm, like, really having a fashion orgasm right now.....so we arrive at Gotham Hall [emphasis, Austin's] for the finale, which is a glooooooooooorious event space int the heart of Manhattan.....ooh, gorgeous....ooh, heaven."
He scrambles and floats and frantically runs around the backstage area, finishing his red carpet look....with safety pins. He tells Joanna Coles he'll cover them with a sash, and just hopes the judges don't see them.
The Mad Couturier hasn't quite finished his look.
And then he's on the runway: "Hello everyone! Thank you for coming to view my collection. It's called Austin Scarlett and it's a story of a vampire from the eighteenth century who has lived many hundreds of years and now resides in Williamsburg and occasionally borrows clothes from her Hasidic dandy friends. I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed creating it."
And with that long, laborious intro, the show starts. I'm hoping it isn't as confusing as the set-up. Vampires and Hasidic Jews?
Guest Judge, and introduced as a fashion icon, which flummoxed me somewhat, is Tommy Hilfiger, who thought Austin had done great things, considering the time constraints.
He was, however, puzzled at the rocks star pieces, mixed in with a non-rock star wedding dress and non-rock-star red carpet gown.
Georgina Chapman--and let me say I j'adore La Chapman, she's a class act--liked the special pieces and felt Austin had some good ideas. She loved the wedding dress, as did Angela, but thought the red carpet dress was a little ill-proportioned.
Isaac Mizrahi said, "I think you did a good job. Congratulations, man."
Congratulations man? Isaac sounded a little longshoreman-esque for just a moment, but then added, "I don't see this as a collection, but more of a Best of'' show after years of work." But he and Georgina loved the feminine youthfulness of the collection.
Austin: "I think the judges loved the collection. They loved that I brought definite youthfulness to a couture collection [sidenote: Pins? In couture? Oh, Honey, no.] and that is a really wonderful critique....I can't even think at this point. Honestly. My every emotion, every thought, is just racing through my mind like a crazy pinwheel, a kaleidoscope."
And therein lies my issue with Austin.
Like his wordage, his designs are sometimes too much. And he's a bit scattered. Was he rock-and-roll or was he red carpet and fairy princess bride?
In the end, that's why I think he got second place. He has good ideas, grand ideas, but he needs to rein in the Mad Couturier.
Austin, upon receiving the Second Place prize of a trip for two to Paris: "Thank you for this wonderful consolation...[and then, interview] I should have won."
Once more, Oh honey, no............no.
"I absolutely adore Michael and he deserves to be here. I know he wants it more than anybody, but I have wanted it so much. I deserve this. I feel like I deserve this. I've worked so hard."
One word: GretchenGate.
But then he drops in this, what I call the line of the night, said to Austin as he slips into a sequined lady jacket: "Does Liza Minnelli know that you went through her wardrobe, girl?"
At Gotham Hall, Mondo tells us that when you visualize something, truthfully, it's all the more special, and, "I am visualizing myself on the runway, winning."
He seems to be the only designer who has finished his collection, even after last weeks melt-down and subsequent late start. In fact, as Joanna Coles shows up, he's just pressing his clothes and allows Auntie Joanna to De-Lint him.
It seemed kind of awkward, yet also seemed kind of sweet at the same time, and I think it was a wee glimpse at who is Joanna's favorite designer.
"Hi everybody, I'm Mondo and my collection is called Therapy. It was really hard for me to find inspiration and really struggling through all these challenges. I needed some therapy, so i put all my passion into my work. I hope you enjoy it. Good night!"
Georgina loved Mondo's masterful use of print, color and graphic, while Isaac thought Mondo's was the most cohesive collection, in terms of wit--a Mondo trademark--and pattern--also a Mondo trademark.
Tommy Hilfiger--and why is this sixty-something-year-old man still being called 'Tommy'?--loved the first dress, but felt the second had too much detail, in it's big pockets and buttons. He loved The Pant, but also felt the pockets should have been smaller.
That made me think, That's your style, Tom. Mondo's aesthetic is more fun than that.
Ken Downing loved the Rorschach print, especially given that Mondo created it himself, and he loved Mondo's attention to detail.
Isaac was mad for the appliques on the dress--and I was mad for Isaac stopping with the butch-speak--but Angela didn't think the dress fit with the rest of the collection.
Mondo left the stage saying, "I think it's really cool that the judges all picked something different that they liked. That means, as a collection, it makes sense."
And what made even more sense was that Mondo won; especially given that he should have won back in Season Eight over Granny Pants Gretchen.
Redemption, I say. REDEMPTION!
I actually liked the season. I wasn't a fan of Angela because she seemed to be trying too hard to be Heidi instead of being Angela. I lovelovelove Georgina Chapman. I want to sit in a room with her and just stare at her and listen to her speak.
I also lovelovelove Isaac Mizrahi. I love his joy for design and designers and his snark. Go figure.
I also, while totally missing Tim, loved Joanna Coles. Again, that accent.
That said, however, let's wait a few years before we have another All-Stars. I mean, if they try this again too soon, we'll find ourselves with a show filled with nothing but the First Auf'd of each season.
And that isn't all-stars.
So, what did you think?