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‘Project Runway All-Stars’ Recap + Review: ‘You’ve Got Male’

Lifetime

This week’s ‘Project Runway All-Stars‘ brings androgyny to the workroom in the not-so-subtly titled ‘You’ve Got Male.’

OMG do you guys get it?! Because they’ve got male models! Puns!

The Challenge

This week the designers are tasked with creating an avant garde androgynous look that can be worn by a man or a woman. Everyone gets to work sketching and buying fabrics for what they assume will be female models, but then! A twist! The models are men. (Sexy, sexy mens.)

And that’s not all! Another twist! There will have to be a separate matching look for their female models to show that their pieces are actually compatible with both the male and female forms.

And then Josh is like, “Hey, I want to make a skirt with assless chaps.” That’s the Joshua I know and love.

The designers head back to Mood for some extra supplies before getting back to work on their designs. Back in the workroom, Josh puts on a fashion show with Anthony Ryan’s garment and I start writing Josh and Anthony Ryan fan fiction. Spoiler: they adopt a Shih Tzu and name her Puppa Middleton.

Joanna stops by to make everyone second-guess themselves, starting with Ulli, whom she correctly determines isn’t really into the challenge and we’re given the phrase “ball room,” which means, you know, room for dude junk. And now I will start staring at men’s crotches in my day-to-day and wondering about this. Joanna is also terrified by Ivy’s leathery banana hammock, which she assures Joanna will be covered up. I hope it’s by a fanny pack.

It looks like Casanova has made a leather daddy gladiator version of Ryan Gosling’s ‘Drive’ jacket, with scorpions cut out of the gold leather. And just like the ‘Drive’ jacket, the only way this outfit will be acceptable is on the back of Ryan Gosling.

The Runway

Joshua — I am so into the clean, tailored look of this two-piece white ensemble with knee-length pants and checkered detailing, but goodness gracious, that arm fabric looks like his model wants to get freak-ay with some Furries. (Google it. I don’t even have patience to explain this to you.)

I can forgive the arms, but then she turns around and has this weird corset/straight-jacket lacing up the back — yikes. His male model fares better with a black striped sheer tank underneath a black sheer duster with white pants. It looks like something Josh would wear — success!

Uli — Her models are clearly on some space-age narcotics. The purple, stripe-y metallic fabric isn’t very appealing, but her construction and details are engaging. The mixture of sheer fabrics with more harsh ones creates real depth in her designs, giving the appearance of many more parts than there actually are. It’s quite a feat to make something look like it took a week to make rather than two days.

The safety pin detail down the front of her lady model’s top is absolutely exquisite. But man, with those feathery shoulder pads and that tall hair, her male model looks like Rufio from ‘Hook.’

Althea — She was clearly designing with ‘Aeon Flux’ in mind. Her big, exaggerated deep purple jackets appeal to me, though, with their leather jacket-meets-jersey vibe, but I think a lot of the work gets lost in the monochromatic scheme, and that red pop of material on the male model isn’t quite enough.

Laura Kathleen — She complained that this wasn’t her wheelhouse, and I do believe the lady is correct. What is with this space-age theme? Did everyone hear androgyny and immediately jump to David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust? Where is the ‘Labyrinth’ crotch-bulge inspiration here?! When I think David Bowie, that’s where my mind goes, anyway.

Oh yes, so LK’s looks: there’s a lot of fussy cut-outs that don’t serve any compelling aesthetic purpose. It looks like she was desperate for something that felt edgy and engaging, like, if all else fails, start making cut-outs and call it “provocative”! Really, the designers just keep sending these male/female pairs out in matching clothes like they’re parading new uniforms for cult members.

Emilio — His matching gangster-influenced pinstripe outfits are quite slick. The combination of red and brown with the exaggerated vests and silk ascots looks sharp, though I’m not sure I see any real feminine influence. Is the silk supposed to be it? Are they carrying tampons in their pockets?

Kayne — I like the shiny black leggings on his female model, but the houndstooth clown jacket complete with giant ruffles and a flower that I’m hoping squirts gin and tonics (I’m tired) is a major miss. The pop of bright yellow does nothing to hide the obvious clown influence here, either. The male model looks like a Hitler youth interning at Vogue for the summer with his houndstooth shorts and suit jacket.

Casanova — ‘Brokeback Mountain’ meets ‘Gladiator’ at a night club, but I commend his craftsmanship with the scorpion cut-outs in the gold leather. But it’s just so gold. These looks could be sold in a gay dancewear boutique. And they probably are.

Ivy — My girl Ivy keeps it classy with smart tailoring, as usual. Her female model’s navy jacket has divine movement and details, and I like the layering idea on both models, with sheer printed fabric over tight dark undergarments. There’s a sexiness to her looks that we haven’t seen with the other designs.

Anthony Ryan — I feel like a lot of what we see from him involves strapping bands of fabric across his models to create structure, but it’s not working for me here because it’s feeling redundant now. While I do like the shorts and pants on his models, and I think the outfits are designed well, I’m not really over the moon with the sheer jackets. Again, this is personal taste, and I think he could very well end up in the top again this week.

The Judging

Althea, Ivy, and Joshua are all safe this week, which is great because I was super concerned with Josh’s furry fabric. He’s pretty cranky about it though, lashing out at Ivy backstage over her repeated use of box jackets in every challenge. And between his cattiness and his earlier comment about assless chaps, I really think we’re starting to see the Joshua that made us love him a couple of seasons back and I could not be happier about this.

Uli, Emilio, and Anthony Ryan are all obviously on top for really nailing the androgynous concept, while Laura Kathleen, Kayne, and Casanova are in the bottom for completely missing the mark with their lackluster efforts.

The winner this week is Emilio for his spot-on androgynous fashions, and it looks like Kayne is out — bye, White Kanye!

See you next week.

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