'Project Runway: All Stars' – Few To Be Found
Project Runway: All Stars hits primetime once again for its second season, but with many alterations to the garments featured in the show. As we know since season one producers did away with the placid Tim Gunn, German runway beauty Heidi Klum, sass talking Michael Kors and the sour-faced Nina Garcia are nowhere to be found. How can it be Project Runway: All Stars if the stars are missing? Rest assured TV execs didn’t leave their viewers in want, replacing Heidi with another stunning super model, Carolyn Murphy, along with designers Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi. Gunn’s mentorship has long been passed on to Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo. These formidable judges are left to evaluate the capabilities of our reinstated designers as they undergo more difficult challenges than ever this season.
The fact of the matter is that the real stars and focus are the contestants. This time around, some real tough guys from seasons past grace the designer lineup, including the villainous Wendy Pepper from season one, firecracker Ivy Higa (season eight) and privileged Barbie Laura Kathleen (season nine). While Ivy voices her displeasure at her past infamous conduct and explained it was the result of a momentary rough patch in her life, Wendy doesn’t seem to be as interested in making nice — offering no apologies to her cut-throat attitude. Other all-stars include season seven’s first runner up Emilio Sosa, Latin romance inspired Casanova (season eight), southern mama Peach Carr (season eight) and, currently donning blue hair, the infamous Suede from season five. These stars came with something to prove, and are unmistakably determined to win.
The challenges are fashioned to be tougher but the prizes are much sweeter — allowing for a much more worthwhile victory. A cash prize of $150,000, along with a sewing studio provided by Brother, a year-long guest editorship at Marie Claire and also a fashion spread with the publication, will all be for the winner's taking. Fans may also notice that the accessories wall is no longer provided by Bluefly but Neiman Marcus, Parsons is no more and sadly there is no immunity for challenge winners. We are to assume that, if they are truly the best, all these miscellaneous changes shouldn’t deter them from successful defeat of their designer opponents.
Mainly, everyone tries to play nice and even goes as far as toasting the brute of the bunch Wendy in what seems to be some kind of homage to her being on the very first season of Project Runway as she paves the way for other temperamental designers. We’re not sure if this was a good idea: it’s almost like toasting the evil Queen Grimhilda for being the first Disney movie villain. We appreciate the attempt of the designers to put up a united front, but fans know all too well this will not last too long. In the meantime, we’ll go along with Joshua McKinley as he raises an imaginary glass and with overwhelming pride on his face exclaims: “From one bitch to another, [here’s to] Wendy Pepper!”
The point of All Stars is to place the best of best in competition against each other and see who comes out on top. With this said, some contested choices remain questionable — case in point, Peach and Andrea Gonzalo. For some designers we are to assume were incorporated into the roster not because their skills were necessarily matching the caliber of other opponents, but because they are simply fan favorites. Nevertheless, the undeniably talented thirteen designers are equipped with infinite amounts of creativity and produce quite interesting garments in their first challenge. As previously mentioned, they are here to prove their unique individual talents, but the premiering episode highlights a group challenge — go figure. Though all raise qualms about it, they all flock off into two groups in which they have to choose their overall style statement. Though we can’t help but love her because she’s the mother of the group, the first to be sent home is Peach. This was to be expected as we can all sense, including Peach herself, that she is way out of her league. Last season’s All Star winner Mondo Guerra comes back as a guest judge and expresses the need to let go of the mothering quality when competing.
The all stars featured this season are all innovative designers in their own right, but some seem to be better suited for this competition than others, leaving the true essence of the show lacking in sportsmanship. Though it’s fair to say that they have all made great strides in accomplishments, more than most struggling designers can say, viewers are still waiting for the “wow” factor that we know some can deliver. As a spin off from the original Project Runway, this show allows the filtering of all the other blasé designers, and stands to undergo further filtering before final casting. This season we were promised a “fierce” competition. Regrettably, this statement can only be unfalsified after a few more are sent home.