It’s time for the fourth installment of Project Runway All-Stars, which premiered last night. While I’m not thrilled with all of the contestants they’ve chosen to bring back (cough-Kate-Pankoke-cough) it’s exciting to see some of the best designers return for another round of competition. After a very pregnant Alyssa Milano welcomes the initial twelve contestants to Grand Central Terminal, she brings out two Project Runway winners of the past: Dmitry Sholokhov (season 10) and Michelle Lesniak (season 11). Naturally, no one wants to see them – especially their runners-up, Fabio Costa and Patricia Michaels, respectively. Is it fair to bring back past winners? I say no, just simply because I think they’ve already been given a pile of money and prizes and if they couldn’t do anything with that, it’s their bad. But I guess it does make the show a little more interesting. I’m mostly just happy that the show is back to an hour in length.
The challenge this week is simple: the men and women are split evenly into two teams and given opposite inspirations of classic New York style – which will unfortunately get a Billy Joel song in your head for the rest of the day. The men are to create a collection for the “downtown” girl, while the women will create a collection for – you guessed it – the “uptown girl.” Sorry. One collection will win, and an individual from this team will be the week’s winner – but there’s no immunity on All-Stars, so it’s basically just for bragging rights. One contestant from the losing collection will go home.
Because it’s the first week, there’s not a lot of new drama happening. Instead, we get a lovely overview of everyone’s past beef. For instance, Kate Pankoke still annoys the sh*t out of everyone and no one thinks she should be there for a third time. Amen! No one understands Patricia Michaels’ designs and she’s still a total weirdo. Gunnar Deatherage describes himself as the villain of season 10, but I think that’s more how he’d like to see himself in his own mind. I don’t remember him being anything more than typically catty – but maybe I’m just remembering him wrong? Oh, and no one is happy to see Helen Castillo, because Helen is an effing b*tch. Once the challenge gets underway, there’s a lot of concern over Benjamin Mach’s look being too uptown, but he feels very strongly that “downtown” doesn’t always mean “grunge” or “punk.” Will he work it out? (Spoiler alert: yes, he will)
The best looks
Chris March makes a comment toward the end of the episode that he’s confident the guys’ team will win, because the entire “uptown” collection looks the same. It’s just a row of boring tube dresses plus one A-line horror-show from Patricia. I have to agree with him – with the exception of Alexandria’s look, which I really liked – and so do the judges. The “downtown” collection easily wins, placing Fabio, Benjamin and Chris in the top three.
Benjamin: Despite the initial worry that his look was too uptown, the judges think it’s perfect for this collection. They love the shape and graphic elements. I love it, too – and I’m really digging the color palette. Who says pink can’t be downtown? Benjamin is safe.
Chris: I wanted Chris to win, just because I love him to death – and I love everything about this look. He says that he was inspired by a homeless man who was wearing a kilt out of the garbage or something, but leave it to Chris March to turn that into something fun and stylish. It’s such a 1990s throwback – the safety pin! – that guest judge Ivanka Trump thinks it’s a little too gimmicky, but I think her dad is one of the worst human beings in America, so there you go. Chris is safe.
Fabio: Despite the initial mishap of leaving his fabric at Mood (sheesh!) Fabio really pulls off a winner. His jumpsuit is unique and looks expensive as hell – and everyone loves what he does with the colors on the back. Alyssa Milano is like, “I want this on my body,” which I think is a nice endorsement. Ivanka Trump decides she will wear the winning look, which is probably why Chris doesn’t win – not that Fabio doesn’t deserve it. I just really like Chris March, okay? But yes, Fabio’s uptown jumpsuit becomes the first winning look of the season.
The worst looks
I’ve always considered season 11 of Project Runway to be one of the weakest in the show’s history, so it amuses me when all three bottom designers are from that season.
Michelle: I am not a Michelle fan, so it was vindicating to see the former winner in the bottom. Her dress is made of a very expensive suede, which she mentions about ten bazillion times, but Alyssa Milano thinks it looks like car upholstry. I can’t entirely disagree. Mostly, I just think the dress is boring. However, it’s nothing compared to the horrors of Kate and Patricia, so Michelle is safe.
Kate: Oh God, what is Kate doing here? Fair warning, readers: I am going to whine about this every week until she goes home. Her dress is supposedly for a girl going to a rooftop garden party, but I prefer Benjamin’s description: “It’s like the Little Mermaid came out of the sea and started living uptown and now she’s going to a cocktail party.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Isaac Mizrahi likes the sea shell cups (really?) but the fit of the dress is too tight. However, Kate is safe.
Patricia: Patricia is known for her intricate fabric work, so it’s really weird to me when she makes the most boring, tent-like A-line dress ever. What happened to the leatherwork we see her cutting at the beginning of the episode? I don’t know. Judge Georgina Chapman is the first to state the obvious: her darting on the bust is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. They poke out like those James Bond laser boob cups, you know? Like, I expect lasers to shoot out from them?
I was really rooting for Kate to go home first – third time is not a charm for this girl – but Patricia’s horrible sci-fi boob darts get her sent home. I have to admit, that’s not a bad decision on the judges’ part. It’s surprising to me that she’s the first one to go, though – but totally worth it for Isaac Mizrahi’s face when she leaves with a battle cry. He’s like, “Woooooow,” and I know how he feels, since that’s how I’ve felt about everything Patricia has ever done or said.
What do you think – did the right person go home?