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Couture catastrophes hit the catwalk on 'Runway'

Jan. 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM ET

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The "Project Runway All Stars" are down another designer after Thursday night's competition.

Now that we have the horrid "turn random junk into a dress" challenge over with, it's time for our intrepid designers to actually make something nice. I'm sure they're just as relieved as we are, as it can't be fun to bypass Mood for a bag of extra large black plastic garbage bags or a roll of Dixie cups, and I'm not sure what such a challenge really proves, except that some of our designers are more committed to recycling than others. 

Speaking of recycling, model-turned-"Runway" hostess and gung-ho environmentalist Angela Lindvall seems to be the biggest bust, at least with viewers, of the season. I'm not ready to turn on Angela just yet, though. She looks a little scared and not quite sure what to do (check out Molly Sims' Heidi/not Heidi flip-flopping on "Project Accessory" for another example), and I'm hoping she finds an individual voice sooner rather than later. If I had to single out anyone who's really a disappointment, I'd have to say Joanna Coles. As good as she was as a judge, those same tough love qualities make her a harsh mentor. What made Tim Gunn so special was his ability to be both honest and compassionate. I can't see Coles doling out hugs anytime soon, honestly. 

This week is all about high end glamour, according to Angela. To underscore that fact, the guest judges will be Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who make pretty fabulous evening wear and wedding dresses (and, of course, the usual perfume/shoes/handbags/sunglasses wherein true profits lie). The challenge? A night at the opera! Indulge your fantasies, designers! Mark and James want couture; they want feminine; they want soft. The designers get $350 and one day to do it. Austin is appalled. You need weeks, months! This is couture we're talking about! Yes, Austin, but it's also "Project Runway," and if they ever gave everyone the time they needed, no one would get eliminated.  

There's some sketching, then it's off to Mood. April wants to use red. So does Michael. What is up with these two? It's like they have some weird psychic connection neither one particularly wants, which is what I imagine it's like for the Olsen twins on a daily basis. It's driving Michael insane! April doesn't care that they're both going to use red, but he does. Michael makes a quick change to a black matte jersey. Oh, Michael! Do what you want to do, for crying out loud!   

Even if their mop dresses were a little similar, I doubt their designs for this challenge would have had anything in common. April is hand-dyeing her dress. Mila thinks April is stupid to be wasting time on a dye job, but she doesn't care. If she screws up, it's only good for Mila. I wish Mila would apply her color blocking aesthetic to her hair so that she could more fully embrace her inner Cruella de Vil. I mean, she has the overplucked eyebrows and harsh make-up down already.   

Joanna Coles is in the house to "mentor." Yay. She asks Rami who his competition is, and he picks (of course) Austin. She wants to know how Austin will surprise the judges. He'll have a lame sheath with a black tulle overlay. Joanna likes the color scheme. She wonders if April is wasting her time dyeing fabric. Joanna doesn't seem to be mentoring much, just thinking. She worries that Michael isn't worried enough about how the dress will fit. Joanna thinks Kara's dress is a little bridesmaid. Kara makes the kind of fearful expression only seen on small children and people being photographed on the flume ride at Disneyland.  

Sweet P talks about her dress, but I can't pay attention because I think I might be going blind. My eyes! Aaack! This looks like a horribly frumpy outfit someone's grandmother might wear to a picnic. Oddly enough, Joanna doesn't "mentor" Sweet P into burning it and starting over. Joanna asks how Anthony's dress isn't a bridal gown, as it's white. He says it's too sexy for a bride. Good answer, really. Rami says that he feels validated by Joanna, though I'm not sure why. Joanna may be offering good advice and heartwarming reassurance, but we're certainly not seeing it on television.   

Mondo declares Kara's design the weakest in the room. I can't disagree (though I'd give that honor to Sweet P by a hair). Kara's fabric is so '80s juniors department it hurts.

Read the full recap at HitFix.com.

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