Project Runway All-Stars – Episode 1

One-Sentence Summary: It’s an all-star cast back to win the ultimate in Fashion Reality Awards.

Mondo does his best Buster Brown impersonation.

My Thoughts:  

Rachel:  Time for Project Runway All-Stars.  I think I’m going to love this more than the Top Model All-Stars.  Maybe it’s just me, but these ladies and gents seem to really have the goods.  I felt like ANTM was just sorta thrown-together with the biggest personalities, not talent.  But I digress… Just putting these designers’ egos in one room is going to be a whole lotta genius.  Personally, I’m rooting for Mondo which means he’s now jinxed. So, I apologize to the Mondo fans out there now.  But who knows, new judges may mean new juju… Right?  On the other end of my spectrum is Austin.  It’s not that I don’t like Austin (although I don’t particularly love him), it’s that mustache.  It’s horrid and he looks like some reject from a Zorro movie.  I can’t look at it all season, and for that he must go.  Is that shallow?   Probably but we’re talking about contestants on a reality show, not contestants for the Nobel Peace Prize… Although I’d probably have to reconsider voting in that category as well should someone come in with a horrible mustache.  That’s just how I roll.

They’re Baaaack…

The best of the best that didn't win are back. This season's All-Stars include: Austin Scarlett (Season 1), Kara Janx (Season 2), Elisa Jimenez (Season 4), Rami Kashou (Season 4), Kathleen "Sweet P" Vaughn (Season 4), Jerell Scott (Season 5), Kenley Collins (Season 5), Gordana Gehlhausen (Season 6), Anthony Williams (Season 7), Mila Hermanovski (Season 7), April Johnston (Season 8), Michael Costello (Season 8). Michael, Mondo Guerra (Season 8).

Ok, let’s see who’s playing with us this season.  Mondo is first… as he should be.  Them there’s some short shorts, Mondo.  And Michael Costello’s back, which means tears.  I liked Michael, but I also felt like he was one of the ones that kept falling up.  We shall see what he’s learned in the time he’s been away.  Mila… I have no recollection of Mila.  Next up is Anthony whose mere presence cracks me up.  Add in a dash of Jerrell and there is going to be some diva up in the workroom.  Oh, I cannot wait for that.  This is fun… Who’s next… Oh Elisa.  I wanted to like her on her season but just couldn’t do it.  She says she more attached this season.  I can’t say the same.  And Austin… Oh that mustache… It’s nails on a chalkboard.  I was about to go on another tear about how he must go until I saw Kenley.  She drives me crazy so she goes first.  Rami is my runner-up favorite.  He can design me a flowy Grecian dress anytime he likes.  Kara, Gordana & Sweet P all sort of settle somewhere in the middle for me.  Who am I missing?  Apparently, someone who didn’t merit a welcome shot… Let’s see… Oh April… Yeah, middle of the road for me too.  It’s a Mondo world here.  Everyone else is just living in it.

The Scoop

This season's judges are Supermodel Angela Lindvall, Marchesa Co-Founder Georgina Chapman & Isaac Mizrahi. This season's winner gets a boutique in Neiman Marcus (aka: Needless Mark-Up) and a guest editor position at Marie Claire for a year. Plus, technology, equipment & money to the tune of $100k. Pretty cool.

Who is Angela Lindvall?  Apparently a supermodel that I missed along the way.  Then again, I haven’t paid attention to models since George Michael’s Freedom ’90 video. You know, the good ol’ days.  I don’t know Georgina but I do love Marchesa and Isaac is always a good time.  Good to see him back in the limelight.  I think he’ll do Michael Kors proud.

Their first job as judges is to review designs that the designers brought with them that is supposed show their style viewpoint at this stage in their career.  I couldn’t find any pix so I’ll walk you through the best I can…

Ok cameramen…. What’s up with not giving us a good solid shot of the outfits.  It’s not an action movie.  It’s fashion.  Calm down.

Jerell – Hmm… It’s ok.  It’s a yellow & black tribal print maxi dress.  I feel like this dress has been done.  Don’t know this is the strongest first look.  Mila – She shows a funky dress that is half short sleeve plain shift and half striped shift.  I like but it’s not super exciting construction-wise.  Kenley –  Wow, so don’t like it.  Royal blue strapless gown with white ruffled front popping out from underneath.  Prom 1994 in the house.  Austin – All I see is a teal pageant dress.  Blech.  But it’s well-constructed though.  Elisa – It’s very Elisa but I kinda dig it… It’s a white fitted mini with print and giant bell sleeves.  Rami –  No soft draping from Rami!  It’s a black with black & white polka dot fabric constructed with giant folds. Fun dress.  Looks like a Mondo creation.  Gordana – Interesting.  I’m not the hugest fan of the uneven hemline and I can’t decide if i love or hate the red croc shoulders on the stark white flowing dress.  April – Finally, something that’s less runway and more real world.  A black and grey fitted dress with great tailoring to give it interest.  Anthony – He picked a green that is hard to wear but the jeweled safety pin is a fun touch.  Michael – Down the runway comes a resort-wear maxi dress that could have been right out of last season’s winner Anya’s collection.   Mondo – Thank you Mondo for bringing something unique and fab!  Love it!  It’s like Victorian era meets Clockwork Orange.  Let your brains stew on that.  OK, not great descriptions but I’m being lazy and want to watch the rest of the show.

Um wait, Sweet P & Kara?  I went through this twice and they didn’t show Sweet P’s or Kara’s outfits?  What up?

First Up: The Unconventional Challenge

As the designers settle into their new digs, Valentino & his partner welcome the contestants to the new show and wish them luck, which brings a tear to many an eye. Yes, that spray tan is quite awe-inspiring. But before the designers can get too comfortable, they find out that they are hitting the ground running with the always-fun Unconventional Challenge at the 99¢ Store. There is a twist, however. The new design has to be reminiscent of the design they brought with them that they showed at yesterday's runway show. They get $100 to spend, which really could buy the whole store.

I’m loving watching them run around the 99¢ Store grabbing everything they can find.  I also love that they only have little hand baskets to use as well.  Most people are going to grab the towels and the crafts so it’ll be interesting to see who gets creative and grabs Chicken Biscuit Crackers.  I mean I would… I may need a snack for later.  All that work can make a girl hungry.  Ooh, and some peanut butter pretzels too.  Those are delish…  Wait, what were we talking about… Oh yeah, clothes.  April & Michael both grab a bunch of mops and he is worried because April is super talented.  I see Michael’s been working on that self-esteem issue since we last saw him.

There’s a New Sheriff In The Workroom

The new Tim Gunn is in the workroom and it's Marie Claire Editor, Joanna Coles. She takes a look at what the designers are up to and gives them her advice.

Joanna Coles is in the role of Tim Gunn… Hmmm…  Yeah, don’t know about that one.  Tim has a certain charm that Joanna certainly does not.  She wasn’t exactly the sunshine of our lives when she was guest judging for Nina.  Oh well, we shall see.  Elisa is working on the floor and Anthony, who shares space with her, says he’s OK with it because his grandma was committed to the crazy house too.   Ha!  He’s got to stay on because he cracks me up.  And Elisa is a cuckoo banana but she’s not a jerk about it so I’ll let it slide.  Michael & April are making the same dress essentially and need a make it work moment, but first Joanna… Let’s see how this goes.  She reminds Sweet P to surprise the judges, pushes Mondo to get in the competitive spirit, is just confused by Elisa and is overall rather pleasant.  OK, Joanna, I’m not mad at you.  Meanwhile, first crisis is at hand… Austin melted his dress.  Didn’t this happen last season?  Watch the hot glue guns people!

The Runway Week 1

Time for our first runway (where they don’t show us their original design to compare to the new iteration of said design… Uh, what’s going on with this show?)…


I just don't get designers that put giant poufs at waistlines. It's a teal shower curtain... but goes with the first dress he showed.


I think this looks great. Materials don't look cheap. We have no idea what her original design looked like so your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not is works.


This is really pretty. Sheer but pretty. I like it better than his dress yesterday.


This kind of a cool interpretation of yesterday's dress. Don't know where I'd wear it but I like.


Love it! That's amazing construction on that jacket.

Sweet P

She made a dress out of towels that looks like a dress out of towels. Pretty sure I could have come up with that.


Awesome manipulation of trash bags. Great job. Totally works.


Yikes. She looks like she got gift wrapped. Two bad dresses in a row.


Meh. Looks like cheap material to me.


Interesting interpretation of his first dress. Keeping with jewel tones. Middle of the road for me.


Super dig the top. The leggings are funky but a bit court jester.


Looks heavy but i like it. It's a leap to see the connection to yesterday's dress but ok.


Also a cool mop dress. I actually like Michael's better. You can't help comparing the two... especially since they purposely sent them down the runway one after the other.

Good News/Bad News

The first All-Star Top 3 goes to Jerell, Mondo & Rami. Less awesome a first week goes to Elisa, Gordana & Sweet P who all land in the Bottom 3.

Let’s see what our new judges, and guest judge Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus, have to say…

Rami – Georgina – Great silhouette.  Isaac – You have an edge with execution.  You mastered these materials and made them your bitch.  Ken – You could photograph this and put it in an editorial in a magazine.  Angela – She’s a girl straight off the paris runway.  Job well done.

Sweet P – Isaac – It looks ragged & unfinished.  It’s especially unresovled in the back… looks like a chew-out not a cut-out.  Ken – Women never come to me and ask for something that will make them look bigger.  Georgina – If you go for something graphic or color blocked, it does have to be precise.

Jerell – Georgina – It moved beautifully.  It’s a very wearable look.  Isaac – I like the color a lot.  Ken – I like that you’ve taken the high-low hemline and exploited it in a great way.

Elisa – Georgina – It’s not a look I immediately respond to but want to know more about the writing.  Elisa says she likes to keep sacred  geometry going and babbles about 180 degrees and telling whole stories.  No one has any idea what that means.  Isaac – I do love the spirit of it.  Ken – I love clothes that tell the whole story right away.

Mondo – Georgina – It’s fun and it’s nice.  Ken – It’s flawlessly executed and in Mondo’s spirit.  I would love to see this dress made out of a real fabric.  Isaac – You have great sense of proportion.  The whole thing is snappy.

Gordana – Isaac – I like the steel wool.  The texture looks so divine.  Georgina – I wonder if there are too many ideas going on.  Spread the ideas out throughout the collection.

And The Winner Is…

The All-Star Season's first challenge winner is: Rami. Totally deserved. He did a great job. Great win but no immunity this season!

So, let’s be honest, Sweet P is going home because she is the only one they out and out ripped.  Although I don’t think the judges have their “bitchy” chops yet and they didn’t even mention their first outfits that were supposed to be inspirations for these designs.  Why bother mandating it if you’re going to ignore it?  Jerell is safe.  Rami wins the first competition.  Mondo comes in second.

And the season’s first loser is Elisa.. Wait, wait, wait… Elisa is out???  That makes no sense.  It really doesn’t.  Her outfit was cuckoo but it was WAY better than Sweet P’s.  What in the world… I guess no one wants to see Sweet P go in Week 1.  Lame.

Bottom Line:

Well, this wasn’t the most inspired of premiers.  We didn’t get to see all the first outfits which were all but forgotten during the judging.  The judging was boring and not especially inspired.  For a cast of all-stars, this was pretty much a snooze.  Here’s hoping it was just first week jitters…


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