Project Runway All-Stars Season 2 Episode 3: Up Your Aerosol

Didja ever just want to cry because something incredibly wonderful got fucked up by idiots?

Here’s what shoulda happened:

5Pointz Aerosol Art Center is this amazing place in Long Island City, NY (in Queens) that features a 200,000-square-foot factory building as a canvas for graffiti artists, who come from all over the world to show off mad skillz. And if you have any doubt that this is art, check out this time-lapse video of the creation of “Fire Marshall Bill” by 5Pointz Curator Meres One (aka Jonathan Cohen). I promise, during the last minute, you’ll swear tree stumps just sprang up out of the cracked ice.

Or check out some of the art created by Sen2, owner of graffiti-supply store Da Bakery in the Bronx. Or this video interview with graffiti artist (and Sotheby’s art handler) Zimad.

These three artists meet the Project Runway All Stars to introduce them to the techniques (like these) they’ll need to create their own art on white fabric, either cotton or chiffon, which they’ll then design and construct into wearable art.

And what we got instead:

Blondie #1 sprains an eyelid doing her sing-song “Your challenge is to create WEARABLE art but instead of using canvas or walls you’ll be creating your own patterns using this …” with a Price-is-Right reveal of crates of spray paint. And she had a helluva lotta nerve taking credit for the logo, even in jest, even for a second.
Suede and Joshua read scripts that prove no one’s ever used the phrase “aerosol art” in a spontaneous sentence.
Blondie #2 (Laura) explores new depths of idiocy with: “I’m not a graffiti artist but I like to spraypaint old furniture.”
Ivy: “This challenge is really exciting for me because it makes me think (pause…what was that phrase again? Oh, yes – ) out of the box.”
Suede: “Suede has NEVER in his entire life held a can of spray paint.”

Lest you think this is an impossible situation in which to say anything remotely intelligent, Althea manages (she does her own prints so she’s excited to be creative) and Emilio hits it out of the park (“the people who do [graffiti] well, do it really well, and if you try to do an imitation of it, I think it just comes out looking amateurish” so he’s going to be inspired by graffiti, not try to imitate it). So it can be done. Of course, if you’re Laura, you’re worried about your expensive clothes, and who’s helping whom, and who’s using the same colors as you. And if you’re Ivy, you’re worried about Laura bragging about how rich her family is and how good she had it growing up. And if Suede is Suede, Suede is Suede.

This made me sad.

So I watched the Fire Marshall Bill video again, and I felt a little better. [addendum: to feel even better, watch the NYT slide show of the development of subway art in the 80s and 90s by Henry Chalfant. Real graffiti, the way it was meant to be]

Then the Lumberjacks arrived, and I felt downright giddy.

These particular lumberjacks just so happen to be Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, actual fashion designers. And their clothing line has nothing to do with plaid flannel. And2, they’re really nice, really thoughtful judges.

So the hell with those Lifetime morons…

Let’s do clothes:

Kings and Queens:

Emilio has drips, but he turns them so they’re dripping up, which is so cool I could scream. When his model comes out on the runway, I could scream again, this time from the colors drilling into my brain. I’m not a big fan of super-bright colors, and I hate orange, but once I put on sunglasses, I have to say, it’s amazing workmanship, and decent use of the graffiti idea, as well as print placement. The problem is: it’s too big. The model looks like a linebacker. Some of that is deliberate – he specifically used the way the fabric was stiffened by the paint. But the jacket sleeves have too much fabric, don’t they? None of the judges have my issues, though. Georgina sees a divine silhouette; Isaac loves the marble top and graffiti bottom, and the Lumberjacks think it feels honest though they’d prefer a brass zipper for the back of the skirt to the black one; they aren’t crazy about the belt either. But they’re all salivating over it. I’m surprisingly ok with that, first because I’m glad Emilio is finally getting some love, and second because the parts I don’t like are about my personal preferences. But come on, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be in the Top Three, I’m just wondering, isn’t it a little huge?

Ivy goes with a suit for the meeting between girl power, superhero, and pop art. She tells Joanna she’s thinking of Lichtenstein (presumably the artist, not the country) and superheros which is why she spraypainted words (like “Passion” and “Tenacity”) on her clothes. Joanna asks her, “Looking around the room, how important is taste?” Ivy says you’re born with it, or you’re not. I wonder if Joanna’s trying to tell her something. Georgina thinks it’s modern and sensual, with a juxtaposition of flirty and feminist. Isaac doesn’t like the word choice, but he likes how the front is pristine and the cutout back is a surprise. The Lumberjacks wish the white skirt was a color rather than white. These guys are good, y’know, because they’re right. Georgina does notice it’s the same jacket Ivy’s made before.

Anthony Ryan makes a fabric I’m sure he (or someone on PR) has made before, or used before – three horizontal, three vertical, I’m sure of it, but I’m overwhelmed with work so I can’t be bothered to go search for it. If you know what I’m talking about, please tell me (never mind – found it). He used to be a graphic designer, so this is a good challenge for him. His dress is adorable. Georgina loves the proportion and the cutout in back, as does Isaac, but thinks it ‘s a little safe. The Lumberjacks (forgive me for lumping them together; there’s no way I’m going to be able to distinguish between two Lumberjacks sitting next to each other on Project Runway) love the print and that it’s young; they aren’t sure it’s art gallery, but hey, what on the runway is?


Althea makes a graffiti giraffe print; Joanna notices it looks very much like the print she’s wearing at that moment. Which is also a print Althea designed, so no surprise. She makes a very pretty dress but she herself figures it doesn’t stand out.

Casanova also makes a very pretty dress. In fact, it’s possibly my favorite thing Casanova has ever made on any PR episode. I even like the touches of sparkle. But the graffiti aspect is minimal. I like the placement of skyline stencils, but at first, I thought they were price tags, and I was so excited by that concept, I was disappointed when I found out they weren’t.

Uli makes – wait for it – a very pretty Star Trek dress – hah, fooled you there, didn’t I. Joanna asks about graffiti on the Wall in East Germany (isn’t that the sort of thing that would get you killed at one time?) but we don’t really hear much about that; we do find out Uli took off like a bat out of hell as soon as the Wall came down, because no one believed it would last long. It’s the kind of conversation I wish they’d have more often on this show, instead of the lunchroom sniping.

Joshua tries to convince Joanna his hairstyling technique makes him an aerosol artist. Oh, do shut up. His design isn’t as bad as I was expecting – I actually like the highway around the waist – but it doesn’t fit, it isn’t made well, the peplum looks disgusting, and the skirt belongs to another outfit. I would’ve put him in the bottom instead of Suede, in fact.

Andrae made a joke for his model to be in on. That isn’t fair – our little lamb caught the spirit of the challenge pretty well, but I don’t get the green panels reaching around the sides from the back, gaping open on the bodice. The bow, well, obviously we could do without that, but it does have some element of graffiti, with a solid center and netting blowing outward. In fact, if he neatened up the bodice, he’d have something, with the explosions of sheerness mimicking the fade of spray paint.


Laura annoyed me so much this episode, I just wanted her to go away, but I don’t completely hate her dress. It’s more tie-dye than graffiti (a common issue on this runway), it’s way too short, and the horizontal bands in the back don’t work – I get that they’re structurally necessary, but part of the work of design is to accomplish what’s necessary in an aesthetically pleasing way. I don’t hate the fringe as much as I hate the netting that goes with it. I;m kind of surprised she’s in the bottom, actually. Georgina loves the top, but the bottom cheapens it. The Lumberjacks like the spatter effect, but it’s too short.

Suede kisses up to Joanna by designing for a bra-wearing woman. She asks if he can win this challenge; he should’ve listened to that. And here’s where I get myself in trouble: I like it. Let me clarify that: I like it for a graffiti challenge; I think it very cleverly captures a lot of graffiti elements. The grayness of the skirt speaks to an urban vibe, the chiffon is spray-painted, and since tagging is a subset of graffiti, I love all the “tags” on the bodice, tapering off and sprinkling down the skirt (though I have no idea if that’s what he was thinking). Also, graffiti is the art of putting artsy stuff on practical stuff, and that’s what the circles do. And I think it’s kind of pretty (though who knows what it looked like in person). And when they did their six-pack critique, I didn’t realize Suede was in the bottom. Georgina loved the feminine approach, but felt the circles lost the spray paint feel. Isaac doesn’t think it’s wearable, and the pailletes are costumey. As opposed to having words painted on a jacket? The Lumberjacks love the softness of the handkerchief hem, but not the waistline.

Kayne – no, I’m not going to address his dinnertime cattiness – tells Joanna he’s using velvet ribbon as brush strokes. Joanna tells him it’s a fine line between hideous and fabulous, which should tell him something. But he thinks his model looks like Kate Middleton. Maybe in some weird alternative universe only he can see, she does. I don’t know much about Kate Middleton, but my impression is she’s got way too much class to wear a plunge-to-the-neckline halter or a kindergarten project (for the record: Kayne sent a tweet during the broadcast that this comment was a technical foul: “BTW! Editing nightmare! I said the Kate Middleton comment about next weeks dress. Stay tuned. #imnotstupid”). Poor Kayne, it’s a replay of his Recycled craft project. But you know what? Tidy up the plunge, get rid of the mermaid tail, and it’s not a bad look. He thinks the black ribbon is like the outlining of graffiti letters. Isaac acknowledges it’s dramatic, and he loves the top, but there’s a disconnect. The Lumberjacks don’t like the stripe across the knee creating the illusion of girth, stopping the flow. Georgina lost the fun in too many ideas. Isaac brings out the word “tacky.” “Almost tacky,” to be exact.


Emilio gets his first gold star.

Even the worst looks weren’t bad this week, but someone’s got to go, and Suede gets his airkiss goodbye. He’s just too creative, see. His last words: “Make daddy cat proud. Suede out.” Oh, Suede, I was all set to defend you, throw Joshua to the wolves, but that, no, that did it. Buh Bye Hon.

Next Week:

In Blondie’s words: “The first… … … … interactive … … … … … challenge … … … … EVER!” What the hell is an interactive challenge? Don’t worry, I’m sure… … … she’ll … … … … EXPLAIN it!

6 responses to “Project Runway All-Stars Season 2 Episode 3: Up Your Aerosol

  1. The host is….

    AWFUL. I hate….

    her because she makes ….


    write like poetry.

    I also dislike Ivy with a passion…those words looked like crap. If you ;re going to do words, do them well, don;t make it look like you just spray painted dumb ideas on canvas,. Laura Kathleen talks too much and the problem with her dress is that the big panel in the front was mud colored. She used various vibrant colors and ended up with mud and it was gross.

    I loved Casanova’s, thought AntRy was too safe (although adorable) and Emilios was Da Bomb (yes big, but I think that’s okay in graffitiland).

    Oh, and no one has ever said the phrase aerosol art.

    How can Suede never have picked up a spray paint can?

    I hate the catty chatties, you;re so right, Uli’s 40 seconds about the Wall were better television than anything in the epsiode. Why does the show have to go lowest common denominator all the time? Gah!

    I suppose we know the top three already right? I fear that Ivy will be in it. damn her.

    • I wonder if they’re deliberately using these awful model-hosts to make Heidi look good. We passed fingernails-on-chalkboard last week; now she’s getting into unwatchable territory. The William Shatner pause plus the Kindergarten Teacher timbre is driving me crazy.

      Yeah, I’m thinking it’s in Ivy’s contract that she gets the image-rehab edit, so now she’s the victim, and she’s going to the end.

  2. Noooo! Please don’t make that Ivy thing a possibility.. I despise her even more
    than the Gretch. At this point; I am seeing Emilio-Uli-Althea. Maybe even Josh
    once again, instead of Althea?… nah. But I would most wholeheartedly love to see
    Ivy auf’d prior to Casanova (rubs hands together gleefully!) since he is her employee.
    Agree about Emilio’s design, it was a definite win even if it was crazy-loud and
    a silhouette that appeared a bit larger than life (just like a graphic/cartoon
    character might). For me; Suede’s was the most craft-projecty.
    Also with you about the short exchange between Uli and Joanna; for a moment
    it looked like we could have had a truly interesting conversation; something more
    worthwhile than the Kayne/Ivy lunch room drivel.

    • Hiya – hey, no one would be happier than me to see Ivy (and Laura, they’re a matched set at this point) go immediately. Retroactively. But Ivy’s been in the top all three episodes now (once justifiably, once inexplicably, and once questionably), so for whatever reason (image rehab? Drama?) they’re fans. I’ve liked Althea’s work, and she’s low-drama, so I’m fine with her sticking around. Josh, not so much, though his work seems a little better this season.

      I’ve been looking at the Emilio pic, and I think he didn’t have time to finish the sleeves of the jacket as he wanted to – it looks like he’d put the black ribbon where there’d be a slit for connecting the cuffs, and it’s the sleeves that took it over the top for me. But, I’m biased, so I’m likely looking for excuses. 😉

      Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Hi, Karen! Great recap this week! I just had to laugh because when you said that you had seen that pattern before I thought – yes, she’s totally right! But I thought it was going to be that one challenge where he made paintbrush strokes and all of the judges went wild and gave him first place. I can’t find it because it is really hard, but it was a sheath and it had blue and black strokes over it and everyone was all – that’s amazing, because he’s colorblind! I swear, it was the same pattern as he used this week. OK, wait, just found it from episode 6, but can’t find a good link to post. On looking at it it’s a little different, but it is just brushstrokes again. Over it.

    • Hi Reli – thanks – yes, I know the dress you mean, it would’ve made sense since it was brush strokes and an art challenge. I comletely forgot he’s color blind, he hasn’t mentioned it this season – maybe that’s why he used such a limited palette. Or maybe he forgot he’s color blind, too. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.