We’re 80% Excited for Project Runway All-Stars

August 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

The contestants of Project Runway All-Stars, via MyLifetime.com

Project Runway follows the lead of other reality television shows like Top Chef and America’s Next Top Model and has announced an “all-stars” season, bringing back the best (and worst?) contestants from past seasons for another grab at the title. But, in typical Lifetime fashion, Project Runway’s all-stars version is leaving us wishing the show were still at Bravo. Unlike Top Chef or ANTM, Project Runway is opting for an entirely new panel, meaning Heidi Klum is out, and less-famous, but very high-fashion model, Angela Lindvall is in. And while Lindvall has an amazing oeuvre, you get the sense that someone will need to introduce her during the premier episode. Also on the judging panel is Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, who it should be noted is the wife of Harvey Weinstein, the producer for PR. Chapman, a former Project Runway guest judge, is a promising pick, but one wonders if Diane von Furstenberg or Vera Wang (both former guest judges) or Marc Jacobs couldn’t make out the time. Also joining her is Isaac Mizrahi who seems like the B-list version of Michael Kors. He’s just not as witty, sharp, or reputable as Kors. You just get the sense that he’s trying SO hard to make it as a reality tv personality. We wish the panel included an editor, as we think an editor can provide a different critique from a designer. Joanna Coles, editor of Marie Claire, will be on the show, but as the mentor for the designers.

Similar to the judging overhaul, we think the contestant pool is solid, but not quite what we would have hoped for. The contestants are, by season: Austin Scarlett (1), Kara Janx (2), Elisa Jimenez (4), Rami Kashou (4), Sweet P Vaughn (4), Jerell Scott (5), Kenley Collins (5), Gordana Gehlhausen (6), Anthony Williams (7), Mila Hermanovski (7), April Johnston (8), Michael Costello (8), and Mondo Guerra (8).

We appreciate the restraint of the number of contestants – 13 rather than the bloated 18 of Top Chef All-Stars – but you just don’t get the sense that this is anybody’s game. (Also, does anyone have a creeping feeling that this leaves the door open for another All-Stars season?) While we appreciate Elisa’s aesthetic (we still remember that drapey teal number she made with Sweet P), she was hardly a contender – or a fan favorite – in what was arguably one of the most crowded fields of PR history. We would have easily swapped Elisa and Sweet P out for Jillian Lewis, Victorya Hong, Jack Mackenroth, or Chris March. Also, instead of overdrawing from the most recent season, we probably would have taken more also-rans from Season 2 like Daniel Vosovic, Rupaul’s Drag Race judge Santino Rice, and André Gonzalo. We also wish there were someone from Season 3 representing, i.e. Uli Herzner. Simply put, there needs to be more heft. Wherefore art thou Kara Saun?!

This isn’t to say though, that we aren’t still psyched to see some of our favorite designers. Unlike ANTM where there is a very real time constraint on doing an all-stars season, it will be good to see how designers’ aesthetics have evolved. Looking at the contestants’ work from their respective seasons, the frontrunner has got to be Rami, who made a solid go at upsetting wunderkind Christian Siriano. The sentimental favorite is probably Mondo, who not only warmed our hearts, but inflamed them with his tragic loss to Gretchen in what was probably the most contentious judging panel to date. We think the stealth player might be Jerell, whose final collection probably would have won him the title were it not for his wedding dress and 11th hour bridesmaids dress (admittedly his weakest pieces) that kept him from the final 3. Mila Hermanovski from season 7 and Kara Janx from season 2 are also ones to watch. Both come from architectural backgrounds and have a simple, but refined sensibility.

Our totally pointless prediction for Fashion Week: Rami, Jerell, Mila

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