Project Runway All-Stars is back, one last time on Lifetime, and this go round, the show decided to pull out all of the stops. This is the first ever all winners season, with winners from the US version of the show, but also winners from across the world, from the global counterparts of the Project Runway franchise. Let’s call it as the show is, a World Championship!!
Alyssa Milano is back as the host, with Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman joining again as the judges. JC Penney will be sponsoring this season’s accessory wall. Additionally, the winning design for each week, will be sold in a limited edition online thru JC Penney. Another perk for the weekly winner, a $5000 cash prize, courtesy of Southwest Airlines.
Alyssa met with the designers on Governor’s Island, looking right at the Statue of Liberty. Their first task, to let us discover more about each designer, specifically their roots. Each designer would create a high fashion look inspired by the culture of the designer’s country of origin. Lyft was providing travel services to Mood, where the budget this week was $200. And there would not be much downtime as this was a 1-day challenge.
With not much time to spare, the designers were eager to begin work in their very impressive workroom, and of course the even more impressive Brother sewing room. The designers were also looking forward to their first mentor sessions with returning mentor, Anne Fulenwider, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire. Anne was not holding back! She urged designers to step it up, and to not go for a disney princess or school marm.
Anne also brought in a special guest, Anne Wojcicki, CEO & Co-Founder of 23 & Me. This was a fun surprise for the designers, where they each received kits to learn more about their DNA history. But no time for too much surprise fun, as looks were being quickly created, and the first runway was right around the corner.
Sponsors for the runway day will include Butter London, makeup & nail studio, and then for hair, Umberto Beverly Hills salon. This is of course worth repeating closer to the end of the show, but here are the very amazing prizes for this season’s winner —
- Creation of a JC Penney capsule collection
- Photospread in Marie Claire
- Guest editor position for 1 year with Marie Claire
- Inspiring trip for 2 to London, courtesty of Butter London, as well as the chance to create a signature nail color for the brand
- A selection of Brother sewing machines, valued at $40,000
- And for further brand development, a $100,000 cash prize
This week’s guest judge was the phenomenal actress Debra Messing. This was a standout first runway. Choosing a top and bottom 3 I found to be very difficult. With a couple of exceptions, for the most part I agreed with the judges. I do have a few quick mentions. For Jasper, this was a pretty look, but it read very much off the rack for me. I think Seth Aaron focused a bit too much on styling, versus the creation of his look. Styling should compliment or amplify the look, but not overtake or overshadow it. For Michelle, I loved the sparkle, but the look didn’t go anywhere for me, the rest kind of fell flat. And then for Django, this seemed like a hodge podge of fabrics that lacked a connective thread.
I thought Christina did a great job on a modern blazer creation. This look was sexy, but also chic, with lots of great design elements, including a pop of surprise on the back.
I also really loved Sunny’s black dress, a well-made, quality LBD, but with that pop of gold on the neckline, I was in love!
For the judges, let’s start with the top 3. I wasn’t super clear that Biddell was even in the top 3, but the judges eventually noted some positives. I didn’t get top 3 here. Other than volume, the look didn’t offer much. It was too on the nose for the inspiration and bordered costume more than a high fashion look.
I was happy Irina made the top 3. She didn’t rest on her laurels, and put forth so much effort with this first look. I don’t know that the hood was needed, but I loved the detail, the volume, the bold color — the look definitely read for a bold, confident woman.
And finally, the well-deserved winner, Dmitry. The cultural inspiration was immensely present. There was a lot to grab the eye here, prints, silhouette, and sheer areas, but it was not too much, and it all connected. As a maxidress fan, I would wear this in a heartbeat.
For the bottom 3, let’s start with Cynthia. I don’t believe this was a bottom-worthy creation. She styled the look perfectly. And yes, the lace felt a bit mismatched to me as the judges pointed out, but if this had been executed a tad better, this look would have been awesome.
As we later found out, no elimination occurred this week. Had there been one though, it would have been Anthony Ryan or Anya cut. My gut is saying it would have been Anthony Ryan though. He clearly wasn’t in the best headspace with his grandmother recently passing. He knew it too though, this was a very bad look. I can’t think of much to say that would be super positive. I didn’t see direction or concept, but what I couldn’t get past the most were the technical issues.
I was surprised that Anya was in the bottom 3, not so much because of her look, but just because she received such rave reviews the season she won, and I don’t recall her creating much more than what she did here. I get that she has a great eye for prints, and can create a very wearable dress. But this is a design competition, where each week, you have to create and sew incredible looks. For someone who can’t sew, Project Runway is not the show for them. She skated by her season and didn’t deserve the win if you ask me. We will see if the criticism here calls for her to step it up somehow, or breakdown.
Even though there was no elimination, the end of the show did hold a surprise. Two new designers would be joining the group, Sean Kelly & Juli Grbac. I guess since there was no elimination this week, it’s not too unfair these designers got to skip the first task! I’m guessing we will be in for a couple of double eliminations. And we of course saw a preview of the season, which looks dramatic, with lots of great guest judges and a few top models who might be walking on some of the runways?