Project Runway All Stars: Season 5 “How Basic a Designer Can You Be?”

After the breath of fresh air that was Project Runway: Junior, it’s time to return to the adult version, now with extra cattiness. Yes, it’s Project Runway: All Stars, where all the contestants have been here before. Well most of them. A couple of them are from Under The Gunn, which was like Project Runway with training wheels. (Moreso even that Project Runway: Junior, which is saying something, considering the latter is actually for children.)

The majority of the designers are from Season 13, which is the season just past but one. We still have a refugees from the Project Runway: Teams season as well, looking for a chance to do Project Runway properly. We have one winner: Dom, from Season 12. We also have Alexander Pope and Ken, so that the production has a chance to replay the hotel drama that happened between them over and over. (Sadly, because of the continuing insistence that dummy collections don’t happen, they can’t play for us the real drama of that season, which was when Ken had a meltdown backstage at New York Fashion Week and literally refused to send his girls on the runway as the show began.) And we have three old school contestants who are in for a shock–Daniel Franco from the very first season, Stella the “leatha designa” from Season 5 and Valerie from the Wretched Gretchen Season. The former two are from the Bravo years, and I expect them to react as badly to this new “one day challenges only” as Chris March did last season. Valerie is from the early Lifetime period, when the show still wasn’t as cheap, she might adjust ok.


Alyssa is our host for the third season running, and sadly, since she’s not massively pregnant this time, the show has gone back to dressing her as they did in her first season–in things that only emphasize how short and round she is in comparison to Heidi Klum. The challenge is to create an outfit inspired by the moment they decided to become designers. $200 to spend at Mood (which is also where they will be sketching.) Hey, at least they don’t have to make their outfits at Mood. (After they did that the last time, I think Mood decided “never again.”)

Zanna Robert Rossi is our Tim Gunn for Project Runway: All Stars. Asha (from Under The Gunn) helpfully reminds us that at least she’s better at doing that than she was at being a Nina Garcia type on the judges panel.


  • Asha: She’s taking her “African heritage” and making a very basic black leather mini that looks like Taylor Swift would sport it.
  • Stella: She remind us she’s miss grommit and leather. Zanna therefore demands she add some leather or a grommit to her basic black mini.
  • Mitchell: In case you forgot that this poor man has zero taste, the camera shot makes sure to include his dummy, with three wildly clashing fabrics on it. Zanna looks genuinely perplexed.
  • fäde: He’s here to made sure all of us recappers still know the keyboard shortcut for ä. It’s about freedom.
  • Kini: He’s already got a finished dress. Of course he does.
  • Daniel: He cut his finger. That’s all that matters to him. It does not matter to Zanna


  • Emily: Her hair is still manic panic blue. Zanna looks like she’s trying to figure out how to cure that.
  • Sam: He tells us he’s gay, so he’s making something trashy from mesh. Oh wait, no. He’s making something trashy from mesh because he, like Mitchell, is taste deficient. That has zero to do with his sexuality.
  • Ken: He’s made something for a 50-year-old church lady, as one does. Zanna calls it 2005.
  • Alexander Pope: His outfit looks like Madonna circa 2004, when she was all married off to Guy Richie and trying to be British.
  • Layana: It’s purple. I love it. Zanna points out that it’s flimsier than something you buy at Hot Topic.
  • Dom: She’s still designing like selling in Belk’s online store is the grand prize.
  • Valerie: I love the ombre dress. She’s debating a jacket. Zanna nods.


Apparently the Whoever Is Sponsoring the Accessory Wall Now Wall has divided into sections: The BaubleBar Jewelry Wall and the Chinese Laundry Shoe Wall. Project Runway: Always Innovating New Ways To Get More Product Placement Money Where You Least Expect It.

The Product Displaying Make Up People will be represented by Laura Geller this season. The Name Dropping Hair People are being filled in by Schwarzkopf, which makes me feel like the hairdos will fighting the first Iraq War. No wonder Ken is yelling about every man for themselves. Let’s go see what sort of disasters these adults put out that will make Project Runway: Junior put them to shame.


Our judges this season are the same as they’ve always been. First up, Isaac Mizrahi, who is here to remind you all his clothing is sold at affordable prices at Target. Then there’s Georgina Chapman, who–the production will continue to omit to mention–is the wife of show executive producer Harvey Weinstein. This is why she will probably show up for work for only half the episodes at best. Our guest judge for this opening episode is last season’s Project Runway: All Stars winner, and one of only two designers who have won both Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars, Dmitry. Alyssa announces that the AnthonyRyan Rule is in effect. (You may remember, it came about due to the behavior of the Project Runway: All Stars‘ judges in Season 2.) She hints loudly that they need to make it obvious which outfit is there, so the judges can vote accordingly.

Mushy Middle


fäde: So Euro, so 80s.


Alexander: So USA, so 80s.


Sam: Basic and tacky.


Dom: A tube shaped coat over a long sleeved unitard mini.


Emily: It’s a goth outfit that got watered too much and grew funny.


Kini: I’m not feeling to too high collar, but the bodice is really cute.


Stella: The overall effect is a little ho hum work clothes, but the skirt is impeccable, and I love the lace up vest.



Ken: Michelle Obama would wear that… if she was trying to channel a dowdy church lady. Georgina and Dmitry both agree that it’s not original, but they praise how well it’s made. Isaac goes overboard by calling him ‘the one to beat,” which is utter nonsense.


Layana: She keeps saying “Warriors” and “armor” but all I see is flowy fabric and flimsy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It just had zero to do with what she is selling. Georgina and Isaac love it, despite her babbling about warriors that have nothing to do with it. Dmitry praises her draping.


Valerie: Omg, I’d buy it. (Full disclosure: I’ve met Valerie, and I own clothes she’s made.) Isaac likes it better without the jacket, and I agree that the dress doesn’t need the jacket. It stands perfectly fine on it’s own. Dmitry points out the jacket is gorgeous though. Valerie takes the win–as she points out, her first one in PR history.



Asha: Basic. Isaac calls it “off the rack.” Dmitry calls it cheap looking.


Mitchell: Tacky as hell, and falling apart. he has a story about video games. Perhaps he should have spent this time practicing sewing and designing instead. Dmitry straight up says there’s nothing positive to say about it.


Daniel: Unfinished. Like, not even passable unfinished. He uses the “I cut my finger” excuse up on the runway, which explicitly Zanna told him not to. The judge looks pretty horrified at the excuses. As Isaac points out, this is nothing.

The judges would clearly like to send Mitchell home because he’s a walking disaster. He’s the worst of the bunch, by a thousand miles, here as filler and drama maker. But they can’t because unfortunately there’s worse: Daniel. I mean, Daniel literally put out nothing on the runway. This is the same type of crash and burn as we saw with Chris March last season. The show would say it’s proof that All Stars is harder, but that’s BS. It’s because on Lifetime, Project Runway, and all spin offs therein, have become different shows. Those from the newer seasons had a round of training for this type of single day delivery. Daniel, who came from the Bravo years, when designers typically had two or three days, was not prepared for the Lifetime crunch down to mere hours, and he could not remanage his time on the fly.

But the show can’t really send Daniel home on the first week. So instead they send no one home, with some nonsense about “not seeing enough from anyone yet.” Uh huh. Sure.





One thought

  1. I was surprised Ken was back b/c of the meltdown at dummy collection runway time. And yeah, the two from earlier seasons adjusting to cheap-1 day-challenges. But I’m sorta looking forward to the show. I don’t know why.


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