| Fashion |

Project Runway All-Stars: The Grandest Finale of All

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This week on PRAS: Final three Michael Costello, Austin Scarlett, and Mondo are ready to face judgment day. The three boys dress in their Sunday finest--Austin rocks a Liza Minelli-style black sequined jacket, while Mondo and Michael settle for button down shirts and ties--and head out to meet their fate. The show is being held at Gotham Hall, but before the models hit the runway there are notions to be sewn and snark to be snarked as the designers get a peek at each other's final collections. In addition to Angela Lindvall, Georgina Chapman, and Isaac Mizrahi, Tommy Hilfiger and Ken Downing (fashion director, Neiman Marcus) join the judges panel.

Mondo thinks Austin is choking, after biting off more than he can chew. Once the models come in, last minute fittings begin and Michael realizes one of his garments is totally wonkified--the zipper is wrong, and one sleeve is super tight while the other is as baggy as M.C. Hammer pants. Mondo's biggest problem seems to be a pair of sheer tights that should be opaque--he remains unfazed. After hair and makeup Michael realizes one of his gowns is a full six inches too large, requiring him to remove the entire lining to make the adjustment. When Joanna Coles visits Mondo backstage his collection is in good shape, but Coles determines Mondo needs a once-over with the lint roller which makes Mondo adorably uncomfortable. "It's a little uncomfortable. It's like your aunt rolling you down," says Mondo.

Now, let's hit the runway!


Austin welcomes the crowd, and describes his collection (called "Austin Scarlett," naturally) as, "The story of a vampire from the 18th century who has lived many hundreds of years and now resides in Williamsburg, and occasionally borrows clothes from her Hasidic dandy friends." The color palette is bright pink and black, with lots of shine (leather, sequins); the final look is a huge, gorgeous wedding dress.

What the Judges Said: Tommy Hilfiger calls Austin's ability to put together this collection is just four days "masterful" while Georgina Chapman enthuses, "I think you've got some really special pieces here." Isaac says Austin did a great job, but that rather than a collection it looks like a "best-of, someone's work, over a number of years." The judges love the youthful, glamorous woman for whom Austin designs. Even though all of the judges love the wedding dress, they agree that it's a little out of place with the rest of the rock-and-roll inspired pieces. While the judges agree that Austin is "an ideas machine," and one of the most talented and original designers, they want him to edit his ideas for a more focused collection.


Mondo's collection is called "Therapy" and is meant to reflect his struggle to find inspiration. The color palatte is bold black-and-white with hints of red, and Mondo's signature mixing of patterns is ever-present.

What the Judges Said: Georgina says "as always you are masterful in your use of print." Mizrahi calls Mondo's collection the most cohesive, while Hilfiger gushes over Mondo's separates. Ken Downing loves the Rorschach-print dress Mondo created, calling the print "professional, like it came from a fabric house." Downing admires Mondo's attention to detail, especially since he had only four days to complete the entire collection. As usual, Mondo's workmanship and ability to mix prints are universally praised among the judges. The judges would like to see more restraint from Mondo, to make his strengths (details, mixed textiles) more impactful.


Michael's collection was inspired by and named after the Serengeti, a place he has presumably never been since he hasn't mentioned ever visiting as he made this collection. Then again, Austin isn't really a 300-year-old female semi-Hasidic vampire, so maybe Michael has some leeway here.

What the Judges Said: Georgina Chapman calls the collection "exceptional"; Hilfiger thinks the pieces are ready to be sold in stores as-is, while Downing admires the cohesiveness of the collection. Mizrahi likes that Michael followed his inspiration, but feels that his use of print wasn't as interesting as it could have been. There is discussion of how well Michael uses fabric-vs-flesh in his designs, and the judges compliment his ability to balance the two for maximum sex appeal. Hilfiger called the collection "commercial, but cohesive." The judges love Michael's draping, and construction.

WINNER: Mondo!

Michael is third runner up, winning a trip to Paris. Oh-la-la! Austin comes in second, and also wins a trip to Paris.

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