OK, this is weird, I mean, “unique.” The designers have to use technology to make an avant garde look. Like, lights and stuff. The guest judge is Pharrell Williams! I'm OBSESSED with this guy's style, so that's really freaking cool. I also have a story that I will tell later. About him. Mondo, of the constant quips, informs us that Austin has become a high-maintenance prima donna. I'm not sure how much I trust his opinion. They go to a special effects showroom to choose their lighting. How does Austin grow a mustache this quickly? He was clean-faced during the last challenge, right? Is it fake? Oh God, if he's wearing a fake mustache I will never stop loving him. He looks like a cross between Claudette Colbert and Errol Flynn.
Michael is really out of his element for this challenge. Both Jerell and Mondo give Kenley a hard time about using the same silhouette as before. I guess Isaac (who I saw last night at the premiere of the Mark Morris piece that he costumed -- costumes: meh/ dance: MEH) opened the door to criticize her in that way. That said, Mondo actually compliments her design during his interview. Austin Skypes with his mother and she tells him that her house in foreclosure, which is seriously horrible. He tells her that he won't let her down. So, there's proof that Austin was actually born and didn't spring fully formed from the forest morning dew. Mondo has a lot of technical problems during his fitting. Austin comments that Mondo's look doesn't really say avant garde, which is interesting because his natural style is usually pretty cutting edge.
Pharrell is awesome. The show is interesting. Mondo's look is indeed pretty simple. Jerell's look is certainly him, but I wouldn't say that's a great thing. Kenley made this lattice jacket that is different than anything she's done. It's really cool. Austin made this dreamy thing that he's in love with. I think it's swell. Michael made this samurai glowing thing. Seriously. I mean, who can argue with that? The girl's face is covered. Isaac commends Kenley for stretching herself. Isaac compares Mondo's look to Teletubbies, which he reveals is his favorite, favorite thing. Georgina is enchAHnted by Austin's dress and I've never heard a word so delightfully pronounced. Pharrell thinks that Michael's look is better suited for Comic Con than a runway. Heh.
Mondo is safe. The winner is either Austin or Kenley. And, Austin wins! Seriously, he's awesome but shouldn't Kenley have won SOMETHING by now. But, in light of what is going on with his family, this is nice to see. So, we're down to Jerell and Michael. Jerell is...out. The only thing that's surprising about that is that Michael is still there. But, that ninja shit was sick.
The designers created looks based on flags from around the world. Mondo won the challenge with his completely non-Jamaican inspired look, while Mila couldn't decide between a long dress and a short number and got the boot.
It seems that since the designers are more familiar to us and to each other, the preferred jab in interviews is to talk about how they're repeating themselves. There's a lot of, "Oh here's blank making his same ol' blank again." Stands to reason that everyone kind of makes the same thing a lot of the time (especially under pressure) and maybe everyone should just lay off that insult and just talk about each others' personalities. Or personal style. Or hair.
So, Angela, whose personal charms are not diminishing for me at all, comes onstage and tells the designers that the next challenge will test their skills like nothing before. Michael and Jerell are like, "???" She says that fashion is just as much about technology as it is about thread and fabric. She says that they'll be using both as they light up the runway with their designs. Bonfire? She snaps her fingers and the lights go down and we see that there is something illuminated in her skirt. This is helpful when you can't find the remote control in the dark. Austin is thrilled. Michael says that he's never worked with electricity before. She snaps again and the lights come up. Grab your glow sticks ravers, the runway is going to black lit for this challenge. Their challenge is to use technology to create an avant garde look. Austin says that he's psyched because he is often inspired by the avant garde, because you can take stuff to another level. She goes ahead and tells us that the guest judge is style icon Pharrell Williams! That guy is such a badass. It's funny, when he was first coming on the scene, he stayed at a hotel where I was working. I remember witnessing this flirty exchange that he had with my co-worker. She sort of poked fun at him about how nice his luggage was (it was really nice) and he was really cute about it. Anyway. Now, he's the best-dressed man in the world and guest judging Project Runway! He's going to incorporate the winning design into a project with one of his artists. They'll go to a special effects store, then to Mood. Kenley says that she has never worked with lighting either.
They head to the lighting store. Michael seems confounded by all of the different names for the lighting. I admit that I'm right there with him. Jerell goes for some fiber optic stuff that he says reminds him of what he used to get from the ice cream truck. Austin grabs some fairy lights and the coincidence is not lost on him. He's very excited to be in the lighting store and Mondo, the freaking dark prince of reality fashion, says that Austin has become very high-maintenance. Maybe that's stuff that we don't see. He says that he's a prima donna. Austin interviews that he is smitten by the fantasy in fashion -- he likes to create with drama and imagination and whimsy. This confession is accompanied by the plunky music that's supposed to indicate that what the person is saying is silly, but I think that's a beautiful sentiment. I think Mondo's a really fantastic problem-solver and does some extraordinary work, but I frankly prefer the joy that you can see in Austin's work. Fine, the atomizer that he employs while at Mood may be a bit much, but I think it's clear that his process, however precious it may be, is effective. I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that Mondo can go fuck a duck. Seriously, he's going to talk about someone being a prima donna when he sulks harder than Angela Chase? Kenley has to think creatively because her initial idea is too expensive. She decides to make a plaid out of glow tape. At Mood, Michael grabs some stiff fabric, which worries him. Mondo is going to trust his instincts. Jerell goes with an unexpected mix of prints, or so he says.