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Project Runway, Aug. 20 – All-Star Challenge

Finally!  After a months-long famine caused by legal spats between Bravo and Lifetime, we are finally being served a feast of Project Runway.  First up is the Project Runway All-Stars Challenge.  Then comes the premiere of the long-awaited sixth season, with Models of the Runway as dessert.

Frankly, I plan on skipping this last one.  No matter what Lifetime does to juice up the drama, the fact remains that the models, despite all the claims that they’re in a “competition” really aren’t.  It’s rather tough for them to effectively compete against each other when they have so little say over their fates.  Unlike the women in America’s Next Top Model or its clones, the Runway models aren’t judged on their own merits, but on those of the designer they’re working with – and they don’t get to pick the designer.  In fact, it’s the other way around.  So, no matter how professional or skilled a model is, if her designer screws up, she’s going to be sent home.

Enough about that.  On to the All-Stars Challenge, which is quite possibly the shortest reality show All-Stars on record.  It’s over and done with in two hours, while a Survivor All-Stars takes a whole season.  The All-Stars are Daniel Vosovic and Santino Rice, the second and third place finishers from Season 2; Jeffrey Sebelia, Uli Herzner, and Mychael Knight, the first, second, and fourth place finishers from Season 3; Chris March and Sweet P, the fourth and fifth place finishers from Season 4, and Korto Momolu, the second place finisher from Season 5.

This is a first as we don’t have an equal number of men and women like usual, but five men and three women.  Also, nearly everybody made it to Fashion Week during their respective seasons, so these are All-Stars who really deserve that title.  (I’m curious as to why nobody from Season 1 turned up, though; they all said, “No”?)  

As the All-Stars arrive in Los Angeles, we’re told a little about what they’ve been doing since their seasons.  Everybody is still a designer, natch.  Jeffrey is the first to arrive and he tells us it’s been three years since his season.  He is in a band with his girlfriend, a singer.  He has also grown a mustache.  Daniel has written a book called Fashion Inside-Out.  Korto has started a clothing and jewelry line.  Uli designs clothes for both private clients and high-end companies.

Chris is still a costume designer and is currently working for Beyonce.  Mychael has his own line and fragrance.  Sweet P has done a limited edition collection.  Santino tells us that he is the “breakout star” of his season and claims that he “made” Project Runway. I’m already hoping this idiot loses.  There wouldn’t have even been a second season if the the first one had tanked, after all!

After they arrive and meet each other, the designers find a note from Heidi inviting everybody to come to the roof, as it’s time to get the show on the road.  When they get there, she has news of her own:  She’s pregnant!  During the roof-top get-together, Chris tells us that he feels intimidated by his competitors, most of whom placed higher than he did in their seasons.  Korto tells people that she is wearing some of the jewelry from her line.

After letting people get caught up with each other, Heidi issues the challenge:  Make a “mini-collection” with three looks.  The winner of the challenge gets 100 grand from Garnier and L’Oreal– the same amount that the winner of a full-blown season gets.  Tim will give them the details in the morning.

The All-Stars go to Colt Studios, their workplace the next morning.  They admire the lounge, which has a large chandelier and are suitably impressed by their spacious workspace.  Each designer has their own table, complete with name plate.  The accessory wall has gear supplied by Halston.

Tim tells everyone that one of their looks has to be for a red carpet event, and they will have a budget of $1200.  He then leaves them to do their sketches.  Chris tells us that he doesn’t do detailed sketches – and ends up taking a cat nap instead.  His snoring amuses Santino.

The designers spend 45 minutes shopping in Mood.  Uli tells us that she’s not doing prints, as she did a lot of those during her season, and she (wisely) wants to show the judges something new.  She and Sweet P end up getting in a mild tiff over some fabric, and Uli notices that she and Sweet P like the same colors and fabrics.  Sweet P has noticed the same thing and calls Uli her chief competition.

Back at the studio, Santino annoys the other designers with his loudness and constant Tim Gunn impressions.  He does have Tim’s voice down, but dude, enough!  Korto tells us that Santino is a “fool”.  Have I mentioned that Korto was my favorite from her season?  Now you know.  Chris, meantime, is feeling the time crunch.  Daniel tells us that Uli, Jeffrey, and Korto are his biggest competitors.  Santino thinks Sweet P’s work looks like a pathetic home ec project.

Tim summons the designers and shows them a widescreen T.V..  He turns it on – and Nicole Kidman is on the screen.  The designers all flip, and Nicole tells them that she is a huge fan of the show.  She also tells them about her upcoming movie, Nine.  The designers’ red-carpet dress must be something that can be worn to the film’s premiere.  Daniel is thrilled, as this would mean tremendous exposure for his work.