Welcome to Project Runway’s first All-Stars season. I say that because there was a Project Runway All-Stars Challenge back in 2009, which reunited people like Santino and Chris March for all of one episode. Daniel Vosovic of Season 2 won. This All-Stars show will be an actual season.
Naturally, we get the usual shots of New York City and we see the designers arriving. The first arrival is Mondo Guerra, who had finished second in Season 8. He quickly meets Michael Costello, also from Season 8. He’d placed fourth.
We then see Mila Hermanovski, the third place finisher from Season 7. She has ditched the severe black hair she had back then and now has brown hair in a softer style. She is soon joined by Anthony Williams, the fifth place finisher from Season 7. We then meet up with Jerrell Scott, the fourth place finisher from Season 5. Elisa Jiminez, the tenth place finisher from Season 4 is next. Um, what? So far, everybody else had made the finals or just missed them. I’m guessing that the producers cast her after being turned down by someone like Chris March. On the other hand, Season 4 took place in 2007– which wasn’t exactly yesterday. Elisa could have picked up some new techniques since then.
Austin Scarlett, the fourth place finisher from Season 1 is the next to arrive. Kenley Collins, the second place finisher from Season 5 quickly locates Jerrell, her fellow Season 5 alum and begins talking to him. By now, the designers have gathered in a group outside what looks like a chapel. Other All-Stars include Kara Janx, the fourth place finisher from Season 2, Rami Kashou, the runner-up of Season 4, Sweet P Vaughn, the fifth place finisher from Season 4, Gordana Gelhausen, the fourth place finisher from Season 6, and April Johnston, the fifth place finisher from Season 8. Someone should tell her that silver hair only works on a young person if they’re an anime character. Of course, as each designer arrives, they DR about their determination to win this time.
The All-Stars are then greeted by their host, Angela Lindval, a supermodel. Many of them seem impressed. The first thing she tells them is that there will be no immunity– ever. Winning a challenge will only keep them safe for that round– not that round plus the next one. This means they have to deliver the goods every time and not coast on past victories. She then describes the massive prize package that will go to the victor. It will include a designer’s boutique in Nieman Marcus stores, a feature spread and one-year stint as a guest editor at Marie Claire magazine, $100,000 from L’Oreal Paris, $100,000 worth of technology and office equipment from HP and Intel, and fully equipped workrooms provided by Brother International. This prize package is worth at least a half-million dollars.
After that, Angela then introduces the judges, Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi, who are fashion designers in their own right. Isaac also hosted Bravo’s The Fashion Show. (Here’s hoping Isaac isn’t as annoying as he was on The Fashion Show.) She then tells the designers that everybody is curious to see how they’ve developed since their last appearance on Project Runway. It’s a good question, particularly for somebody like Austin, who was on the first season, way back in 2004. She therefore tells the designers that they have a half hour to choose an outfit from a recent collection and dress their model in it.
As the designers pick out their looks, they size each other up. Sweet P, for instance, considers Kara a threat, but also admires her skill. Then they show off their wares to the judges. Most people showed off dresses, but Kara made a black suit, while Elisa made a top with winged sleeves. Rami, who had a made a name for himself as a master draper on Season 4, made a structured black and white print dress. Good move, showing the judges right off the bat, that he wasn’t go to rely on the same old tricks that he’d used in Season 4. Angela and the judges are all pleased by what they see and look forward to seeing what else the designers will make this season.
Angela then sends the designers to their penthouse at the Flatotel, where they will be staying throughout the competition. Elisa claims one of the beds by marking it with lipstick, which I guess is the custom on her homeworld. The designers then find a videotape on which two other designers, Giancarlo Giametti and his partner Valentino, have sent their best wishes. Then it’s time for the traditional champagne toast.
The following morning, the designers meet up with Angela, who gives them their very first challenge: the unconventional materials challenge, which has been a staple of the show since the beginning. In fact, the first episode of the first season involved an unconventional materials challenge, and Austin had been the winner. Today, the designers will have to use items from a 99-cent store to make a look inspired by last night’s outfits. They will have a budget of $100 and 20 minutes to shop.
Kenley regrets showing her royal blue dress last night, as she’s not sure if she can make something comparable out of stuff from a 99-cent store. Michael is distressed to see that he and April have both bought mop heads, while Mondo vows not to use expected items like wash cloths or tablecloths. Sweet P, on the other hand, does pick wash cloths.
Then Angela escorts the designers to their workroom, which boasts HP tablets on every worktable and a Nieman Marcus accessory wall. She also tells them that Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, will be their mentor. Joanna has some big shoes to fill, as I can’t think of any Project Runway fan who doesn’t also like Tim Gunn, while plenty have often disagreed with or been annoyed by Heidi, Michael, and Nina. (I’m wondering if any of the newbies will become permanent replacements. Heidi, Michael, Nina, and Tim have all been with Project Runway since the first season. Some of them may want to move on to other things.) Elisa decides to work on the floor, while everybody else sits at their tables. The designers have until 10:00 that night to complete their outfits.
Joanna comes in to make her rounds, and she starts with Sweet P, who is making a color-blocked dress. Joanna advises her to surprise the judges. Gordana tells Joanna she wants to make a dress with a lot of movement. Joanna finds Mondo’s look fascinating. Joanna then advises Elisa to surprise the judges and Elisa responds that she intends to surprise herself. After Joanna’s gone, Austin suffers the first crisis of the season: he has carelessly left a hot glue gun on his plastic dress– which now has a hole in the front. As it’s almost 10:00, he can’t do anything about it now. He’ll have to try to fix it the next morning.