Thursday, February 18, 2016

Project Runway All Stars Season 5

Project Runway All Stars started up last week. Normally I really look forward to this show, revisiting former contestants to see if any of them have improved, talent-wise. But after watching Project Runway Junior, with all of those lovely, well-behaved, smart, kind, and ego-free teens, I'm not sure I have the stomach for the "grown-up" version just yet.

(So why am I here? I'm trying to get this blog started again, and figured a good way would be to do a recap or three. I may not have time to get to every episode, and I might well get bored halfway through, but bear with me, folks.)

The show starts up with the various contestants getting out of various vehicles of conveyance (ok, mostly feet, some escalators) and greeting the designers from their own seasons. From Season 13, we have blue-haired Emily Payne, everyone's favorite Troll doll Kini Zamora, East German escapee Fäde zu Grau, and Mitchell Perry. Season 12 gives us Alexander Pope, he of no eyebrows, whose formerly Bozo orange hair is now white. He's joined by supreme Drama Queen Ken Laurence, who, shall we say, was not Mr Pope's bestest buddy. Dom Streater, the ultimate winner of Season 12 and one of my favorite all-time PR contestants, rounds out that season for us. Then there are two folks from the short-lived Under the Gunn (which always sounded like a low-budget gay porn movie to me), Asha Daniels and Sam Donovan. They cling to each other like lifeboats. Never having seen their show, I have no idea if either of them possess any talent, but that's never been the most important qualification for getting on TV. The annoying Layana Aguilar from the equally annoying "teams" season of Project Runway (11), Valerie Mayen from season 8, and good old Stella "Leathuh" Zotis from season 5 complete the cast. No, wait, there's one more. Daniel fucking Franco, two time loser from seasons 1 and 2, back for more torture. Not that he's a bad designer, by any stretch of the imagination. He's just not a good competitor. Obviously.

Once the designers have met and mingled, they meet host Alyssa Milano at the Hudson Hotel (a nightmarish place to stay if you're not spry, 20-something, and have good night vision). She must have a couple of pounds of baby weight to lose, otherwise why would producers punish her with such a frumpy, mumsy, outfit: high-waisted gaucho pants and a bow-neck blouse that looked to come straight out of Judith Light's Who's the Boss wardrobe.

Alyssa then lays the first challenge on the designers. They are to create something inspired by the moment they realized they were destined to become a designer. (For some, it could be their first poopy diaper. For others, well, let's say, maybe one or two of them never had that moment.) They have a budget of $200 and they get to do their sketching at Mood.

So they sketch, they run around and buy fabric and grommets and whathaveyou, and head off to their new studio space to work. Within what seems like seconds, Daniel Franco has already cut himself. It's like he hasn't used scissors in the 10 years since the last time he was on the show.

Considering how well he does this week, he may not have picked up a needle and thread in a decade.

After a while, Zanna Roberts Rassi comes in to do the mentor thing. She's dressed slightly less-crazy and somewhat more age-appropriate than her usual get-ups. She says that she's not seeing a lot of inspiration in the designs in the room so far. Considering they're designing based on a rather abstract concept, "the moment they knew they would become a designer," what does she expect?

Before she leaves, Zanna adds a plug for the Cheap Pleather shoe wall and the Overpriced Costume Jewelry accessory wall.

Shortly, the designers take a few moments to say catty things about each others' work before herding their models off to Germanic Hair Care and Monica's and Ross' Unknown Sibling Cosmetics studio for consultations.

The next day, a bit more shade is thrown before the models are prettied and sent down to the runway. Alyssa is still on someone's shit list, possibly for breast-feeding in public, because she's wearing an unflattering gathered black one-sleeved dress made from rejected upholstery fabric.

Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman return as judges and are joined by guest judge Dmitry Sholokhov, who won season 4 of All Stars and PR season 10. 

This year, the judging is blind, or the judges will wish they were blind, or something like that. In any case, they aren't supposed to know whose designs are whose coming down the runway, unless they pay attention to who is high-fiving who among the designers, or actually watched any of the previous seasons. In other words, it's pretty obvious which designer did what, in many cases at least.

Come on. This is pure Dom. And I love it. So well made. Would love to see the dress underneath.

Dom, Sam, Stella, Kini, Alexander, Emily, and Fäde are safe. Layana, Ken, and Valerie are on the top; Asha, Mitchell, and Daniel are on the bottom.

Valerie's romper, which is really cute, gets the win, despite the judges' dislike of the jacket thingy. I still prefer Dom's look.

While Asha's dress is completely meh and something we've all seen many times before, she's not bad enough to get eliminated just yet, much to her little buddy Sam's relief. The other two, however....

Personally, I thought Mitchell's was hideous, and loved Alyssa's observation that one boob looked higher than the other. With that hair, the look was hippie on the top, bridal on the bottom, and it just didn't work. Daniel's coat would actually have been pretty nice, had he finished it. Even sleeveless, had the armholes not looked so ratty.

To save both designers the embarrassment of being the first eliminated, Daniel and Mitchell were allowed to stay for another week. Signs point to one or both of them eliminated in the not-too-distant future, however. There are several strong designers this season, and competition will be--to borrow a word from season 4 winner Christian Siriano--fierce.

Stay tuned. I'm not promising there will be other recaps; I had forgotten how much work this all is. But maybe.

Posted by theminx on
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