‘Project Runway All Stars’ recap: An avant garde challenge gave the designers ‘A Kick in the Astro’ [UPDATING LIVE]

Two weeks after the elimination of Char Glover from “Project Runway All Stars” in the unique, cartoon-inspired challenge “Thrown for a Loop by Betty Boop,” the fashion design spin-off returned with its seventh episode of season six, “A Kick in the Astro.” And if the designers thought their distressed challenge and unconventional-materials challenge were tough, this time around they had to go for broke and unleash their unbridled creativity in an avant garde challenge judged by guest stars RuPaul Charles and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. So who thought outside of the box and who got, well, a swift kick in the astro? Scroll down for our complete minute-by-minute recap.

There were nine competitors left going into this week’s “Astro”-nomical event. Of those only Fabio Costa had won multiple previous challenges: he came out on top in “Perfect Pairings” (with Ken Laurence) and “Fashion’s New Superheroes.” Merline Labissiere won the very first challenge of the season but struggled in many subsequent weeks. Anthony Williams, Joshua McKinley, and Stanley Hudson also won challenges, leaving three who were still awaiting their first victory: Edmond Newton, Kimberly Goldson and Helen Castillo.

So who (if anyone) went home? Going into the episode our users thought Stanley would be in trouble despite his recent high-scoring streak; his only low score so far was in “Damsels in Distress,” where he just barely squeaked by after landing in the judges’ bottom two; Kelly Dempsey was sent home instead. Joshua was also considered to be at risk despite winning the most recent “Betty Boop” challenge. Were our users right? Find out below in our live blog. (All times listed are Eastern.)

9:00pm — I’m really looking forward to the avant garde challenge — the crazier the better!

9::01pm — The designers meet Alyssa Milano at the Hudson River Museum’s planetarium. Merline’s past designs have been compared to “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” before, so maybe this will be her week.

9:03pm — Ken won his season’s avant garde challenge, so he’s excited to tackle this one. And he and the other designers will all have two days and $300 to work with.

9:04pm — Anthony is inspired by the Milky Way, while Fabio is inspired by the coldness and darkness of Neptune. Kimberly says she’s not accustomed to avant garde fashion, but she’s “not intimidated” by it; she’s inspired by the neutron star in colors of orange, yellow and gold.

9:05pm — Ken is inspired by the black hole, so he’s making a cocoon coat. Joshua is going with Pluto: “hard and covered with nitrogen ice.” There will be chaps involved — naturally. That seems very Joshua.

9:06pm — Helen is inspired by a supernova. She’s nervous because she flopped in her first avant garde challenge when she was on the show for the first time. Her second time out went better, so this is her third chance at an avant garde win.

9:07pm — “I am nervous. I’ve been in the bottom for so long,” says Merline. You can do it Merline — go completely out of this world.

9:08pm — “I’m going back and forth between ideas,” says Kimberly.. She seems unsure of herself and her creative direction. She’s been doing so well this season so far that I hope she pulls it together.

9:09pm — The hot glue is dripping all over Joshua’s design so far. I have no idea what’s going on there yet, but it looks weird, and I think weird is good on an avant garde challenge.

9:14pm — Time for day two. “I know this look is going really far out there … why not have a little fun with it,” says Joshua.

9:14pm — Fabio is working on a complex fringe technique, so he needs to seriously focus.

9:15pm — Uh-oh, time for Anne Fulenwider‘s mentoring. Anthony’s Milky Way look needs to “watch the sparkle.” Kimberly’s neutron star makes Anne worry it will move on the model properly. Anne “loves” the inspiration of Fabio’s textile, but worries it won’t translate to the judges. Merline’s look may be too familiar to what she’s shown the judges before. Ken might be “repeating” himself with his latest look as well. Edmond needs to “push it” because he’s not avant garde enough. Joshua is inspired by bondage gear, and Anne just doesn’t get it — I usually don’t either. Stanley’s look doesn’t look avant garde enough to Anne either; he needs to step it up from the simplicity he’s going for.

9:18pm — Anthony is rebelling against Anne, he’s going to use as many crystals as he wants. And Joshua also seems to be rejecting her note that bondage has been done before.

9:19pm — “I own the glue, and I’m telling it what to do,” says Joshua, impressed by how well his super-glued look is coming together.

9:20pm — “I’m trying to figure out what the design is going to be,” says Kimberly, who is still having trouble figuring out her creative direction — on day two. Time’s running out for her to figure it out.

9:21pm — Fabio’s sleeves aren’t done. His fringe look isn’t coming out the way he hoped: “I’m not going to lie, this challenge is getting the best of me.” It’s not like Fabio to be overwhelming by a challenge. He’s been knocking it out of the park all season so far and making it look easy.

9:25pm — “I feel like I could just pass out. I’m so drained, and I have so much work to do,” says Fabio.

9:27pm — “It’s a lot, but I think it’s effective,” says Joshua, the most extra designer of “All Stars” season six.

9:28pm — “I absolutely love the finished product,” says Anthony about his own design. But Joshua counters, “We’ve seen the paint splatter three challenges ago. Get a new idea.”

9:29pm — “Battle of the street-walkers,” says Anthony about his fellow contestants’ looks. This is definitely going to be an interesting runway show.


9:34pm — Alyssa introduces guest judges RuPaul and Jesse Tyler Ferguson along with Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi. I’ve never been more excited to hear critiques.

9:35pm — “I am quite proud of this look,” says Anthony. Big weird pants — I’m digging it.

9:36pm — Fabio’s fringe textile looks great, but he might get dinged for not being avant garde enough.

9:37pm — “This is a true look coming down the runway,” says Joshua. I’ll admit, he pulled off something curious, unique, and even wearable.

9:38pm — Stanley’s black-and-white eclipse look looks a little disorganized to me. I have mixed feelings about Kimberly’s skimpy look. I have no idea how this challenge is going to turn out.

9:39pm — Ken, Helen and Edmond are safe. They’re advancing to the next round. That means Stanley, Fabio, Merline, Kimberly, Joshua and Anthony represent the highest and lowest scores, and I honestly couldn’t tell you which half will be which.


Fabio — “I absolutely adore it, I just wish the top were a little more resolved,” says Georgina. “It’s great, but it’s hideous,” says Isaac. “I think you did a fabulous job,” says RuPaul.

Anthony — “This was the design that kept on giving,” says Alyssa. “This was so much fun and such an original thought,” says Georgina. “I am very conflicted about the top,” said Jesse.

Merline — “It is divine,” says Isaac. “You can’t give us this dress every week from now on either,” warns Georgina. “Beautifully done,” says Jesse. “I think it’s exquisite,” says RuPaul.

Joshua — “This is next-level gay sh*t … It’s so wrong, it’s right,” says RuPaul. Isaac doesn’t like the color scheme, it reminds him of a motel he wants to leave. “I feel like you’re a little defensive,” says Alyssa to Joshua, who counters, “This is what you get today” and completely shuts the judges down.

Kimberly — “There are things about it I really like,” says Isaac. Georgina thought the look was “confused.” Jesse wants the dress for a “tree skirt.” “I’m getting a Quentin Tarantino villainess,” says RuPaul.

Stanley — “I think the proportions are just wonderful,” says Georgina. Isaac thinks it’s “incredibly witty” and “lighthearted.” Jesse thinks it’s even wearable and he can imagine Gwen Stefani going to brunch in it. Honestly, the judges loved this look, but it seemed so slapdash to me.

9:53pm — “She really looked like a space queen from a porno movie,” says RuPaul about Joshua’s look during deliberations. “The end of the scene,” Jesse adds. Ouch. For once I actually liked Joshua’s look better than the judges did.

9:55pm — It sounds like the elimination is between Kimberly and Joshua, and I don’t agree this week. I wasn’t a big fan of Kimberly’s look, but Joshua’s had a lot going for it that I don’t feel he’s getting enough credit for.


9:59pm — Anthony is safe with his design. So the winner is … Stanley, which means Merline is the runner-up. Honestly, Stanley had possibly my least favorite look this week. I like Stanley, but I think this was a curious choice by the judges.

10:00pm — Fabio had a low score, but is called safe. So it is between Joshua and Kimberly. The designer going home is … Kimberly. Joshua was in the bottom-two but safe.

10:04pm — Kimberly never had a low score before this week’s show, and now she is the seventh woman in a row eliminated from the competition. And this is the sixth straight challenge won by a man or men. This is really odd. I don’t think the man have been outperforming the women nearly as much as we’ve seen from these results.


Who was eliminated? Kimberly Goldson

Who will be in the bottom two, but safe? Joshua McKinley

Who will win the challenge? Stanley Hudson

Who will be the challenge’s runner-up? Merline Labissiere

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