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Project Runway All-Stars: The Copycat Challenge

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This week on PRAS: The show suffers from a serious lack of Anthony; Mondo reveals a hate-crush on Kenley; the designers are paired up to create sportswear for a weekend getaway FACE-OFF challenge. This week's guest judge is Cynthia Rowley.

At the beginning of the episode designers choose a bag, and each bag contains a card with a season written on it. Two designers are randomly assigned one of four seasons, and the looks they create will compete directly with one another on the runway. This is a one-day challenge with a $200 budget. The pairings are:

  • Spring: Austin vs. Kara
  • Summer: Kenley vs. Mondo
  • Autumn: Mila vs. Rami
  • Winter: Jerell vs. Michael

Kenley has the good sense to be intimidated by Mondo, but claims it's because "he just came off a win." She forgot "is a better designer" and "a more likeable person." Angela tells the designers to have a clear idea of who they are designing for, so Mila immediately tells us she's designing for a weekend outfit for a New Yorker who is going to Marfa, Texas, for an art festival. A quick Google reveals Mila is from Dallas, so that now seems a lot less random. Rami's lady is wine tasting with a friend, while Austin's is heading to the country to check up on her gardeners. BOWCHIKA-WOW-WOW, Austin's lady!

There's instant drama in the workroom when Michael scraps his first jacket design, a bolero, and begins constructing a long, draped jacket that looks suspiciously like the one Jerell is creating -- right down to the fabric colors. Jerell calls him out for it but Michael plays it off like it's a joke.

Joanna Coles enters the workroom and makes her way around the room in seasonal order, beginning with spring. Kara and Austin are both doing a high-waisted pant, but so far no accusations of copycatting are flying. Next up is summer, where Mondo and Kenley are both using a high-waisted short, and both are using polka dots. Do we see a pattern forming? (Get it? Pattern? Meh.) Joanna brings the designers together to discuss the ethics of idea-sharing in the workroom, and what the meaning of copying really is. Jerell is pretty clear that he thinks Michael copied him, while Michael insists that he didn't.

The best scene of the show is when Jerell walks in to eat dinner where Mondo and Michael are discussing the copycat controversy. Mondo says, "This feels just like dinner at my family's house," to which Michael asks, "Spaghetti?" Mondo says, "No. Awkward." HA!

Runway Day

Finishing touches are going on all of the garments, while designers size up their competition. Jerell's bad mood from the day before is taking on a life of its own, complaining because Mondo is helping Michael accessorize his look. The camera angles are only giving us glimpses at the models as they finish dressing, so we're really going to have to wait for the runway on this challenge.

Spring: Austin vs. Kara

Austin calls his look wearable and classic; however, the judges take issue with the design. Cynthia calls it "almost so dorky it's cool"; Isaac likes the look of the pant, calling it "the new khaki," but thinks on his model it looks "too moderate." Georgina doesn't think it's modern enough, while Angela thinks it looks "small town going to church." THIS IS A CASUAL SPORTSWEAR CHALLENGE. Isn't that what small-town people wear to church?

Kara hopes the judges notice a simple chic aesthetic and strong color sensibility. Angela calls the drapey separates wearable and comfortable; Cynthia doesn't think anything is original at all; Isaac says he doesn't feel it and says it's good for running to the store (obviously Isaac Mizrahi hasn't been to the store in awhile, because very few women look this good buying milk anymore); Georgina likes the color choices.

High Score: Kara

Summer : Mondo vs. Kenley

Kenley creates a shorts jumpsuit in polka dots she calls "young" and "fresh." Cynthia calls it simple and chic and likes that it's not overly accessorized; they do criticize the polka dot pattern not being lined up, but they love that she only accessorized with a bright shoe and let the piece shine.

Mondo's look is his signature bold graphic-on-graphic. The judges hate it. They pan his styling and Cynthia Rowley hates the back, cringing when the model turns around. Isaac Mizrahi calls it "very 'Desperately Seeking Susan'" and suddenly the Isaac Mizrahi we've all been waiting for appears! You are supposed to be the hilarious, Michael Kors All-Stars counterpart -- bust out the crazy references and zany turns of phrase!

High Score: Kenley

Winter: Jerell vs. Michael

Jerell use of two graphic prints gives his jacket a lot of energy, especially when the model is walking down the runway. The judges love the coat and see his design aesthetic clearly in the work. There is some discussion about why the coats are so similar, but Jerell dances around the word "copy" and shrugs it off.

Michael's jacket looks identical to Jerell's jacket, but calls Jerell's design something Moses would wear and his something Jackie O would wear. Michael is so stupid sometimes. The judges find the look polished and sophisticated, although Isaac takes issue with the model's leggings being paired with a six-inch platform pump; the leggings are slouched over the top of the shoe and it looks pretty cheap.

Fall: Rami vs. Mila

Rami's look is bold, electric blue on chartreuse over a skinny pant; the jacket is clearly the best piece and the judges know it. They love the blue jacket, but take issue with the color, cut and construction of the chartreuse top.

Mila's cape is very Mila, in all of its color-blocked glory. The judges see Mila in the design, but the word "boring" is bandied about. They do like the cut and color blocking of the cape, and the pop of color from the red blouse underneath. Isaac thinks the fabrics look cheap; Georgina wants the jeans to be tighter.

High Score: Mila

WINNER: Jerell, who feels vindicated when his coat is seen side-by-side with Michael's on the runway. A true face-off victory!

OUT: Rami, whose chartreuse green shirt sank him like a neon anchor.

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