Project Runway: All Stars “Oh Look, A Finale!”

We’ve reached the finale of this season’s PR:AS, and for the occasion, the show has rented out a space in One World Trade Center in order to promote the view, and probably tourism to New York City. The challenge is also New York City based–they are to make a mini collection in four days time based on their experience of the Big Apple.

Did I say mini collection? Because the show certainly thinking its going to be quite a few pieces based on the army of models they’ve hired for the finale to join Alyssa and the designers in the observatory. Twenty four models, to be exact, twenty-one women and three men. So eight looks each, seven women’s looks and one male look, in four days, with $3000.

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Sketching and model casting all takes place at the Observatory, the better for the show to showcase the view some more. They get a full hour to shop at Mood–turns out one can do $3000 worth of damage at Mood in a single hour. While they were out, the show also rearranged the workroom so that they all have eight dummies and tons of room to work. Dom’s going to need it, since she’s painting her own fabrics–an idea that looks good until the heavy ass leather falls over while drying. Kini boasts with four whole days he’ll probably make two collections.

Zanna arrives on Day Two, which may be the earliest she’s ever checked in with anyone ever.

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  • Dom: Zanna makes freaked out noises when she hears how much fabric painting Dom’s been doing. She pooh-poohs Dom’s blobby silhouettes.
  • Kini: He has lots of pieces to show off–all of them the women’s ones. Zanna is very worried that he’ll go too gimmicky.
  • Ken: Our only designer to ever make the All Stars finale who never showed at least a dummy runway collection at NYFW, Ken is clearly the underdog, and Zanna treats him like an afterthought.

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Once Zanna has torn them down, she tells them they will be getting assistants for the rest of today and for Day Three. They are, of course, the eliminated contestants. Though Ken wanted Jesus, he gets Layana. Dom gets Alexander, Kini gets Asha. Dom definitely lucked out since Alexander is the most menwear focused of the assistants.

Day three is dominated by model fittings–they have eight models to go through each. And then it’s the end of Day three and the assistant’s time is up–the show isn’t going to pay them for another minute! That leaves the designers to finish on their own on Day Four, in between skype phone calls home.

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Ken points out at the end of Day Four that they really did all finish though–at the end of the day there are 24 finished looks around the room. That’s pretty damn impressive.

Let’s see if the judges are as impressed.

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After four seasons of the show fighting to make the finale of All Stars somehow special on par with presenting at New York Fashion Week, including renting out high-end spaces from Gotham Hall in the first two season, the UN in Season 3 and a Burlesque space last year, they’ve given up completely. Instead we will be celebrating Georgina Chapman showing up for every single episode for the first time right here at home in the regular runway studio, which has been outfitted with a few cheap LED decorations and some rented cocktail tables and champagne glasses in order to seat the families and some All Stars alumni who have been asked to show up. On hand to judge along with Isaac and Georgina are ProjRun superfan Debra Messing, and Nina Garcia’s boss at Marie Clare, Anne Fulenwider.

Alyssa makes sure to point out the designers only had four days to do this so “pleeeease, give them a lot of support.” Clearly the production doesn’t think the looks are up to snuff, at any rate. Let’s see who wins anyway.

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Dom: Coming in, Dom was the shoo in to win tonight, but has she pulled it off? Walking the runway, the painted pieces range from feeling overworked to the opening outfit, which literally looks like a model wearing an oil painting. Lined up above though, one can’t help but notice that the striped painted piece kind of look like Tibetan prayer flags, and I don’t mean that as a complement. They are the star of the show though–everything else is just supporting them or outright filler.

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Ken: Coming in tonight, Ken is the complete underdog. His meltdown that left him not showing his dummy collection is infamous among the ProjRun faithful, and I doubt anyone thought he was going to make it to the finale in the first place. But wow his stuff is polished. And high-end. And even his little black dress (which is a big nothing of a design) feels expensive and fresh. Keeping the yellow was the right thing to do too. It’s complete redemption for him. Even if the judges don’t give him the win, he’s won.

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Kini: Probably seen as the biggest competition to Dom, his candy colored palette is certainly a head turner, and his 1989 by way of 2016 is on trend. It’s not fashion forward, it’s fashion now. But of the three his certainly has the biggest wow moments, from the freakish sculptural ruffle to the wrapping paper bubble dress cape thing. Zanna, who is backstage doing the Tim mentor thing, gives him an A+ for drama. He earned it.

Alyssa points out before declaring the winner that each has earned an outside prize during their run, from Dom designing phone cases, to ken designing something for Georgina Chapman’s demi line to Kini designing something for Alyssa’s athleisurewear line. I suppose this is a sop to all of them since, for one, it’s hard to say who deserves the win most. Dom, for being consistent? Ken, for coming the farthest? Or Kini, for the biggest wow collection?

Ken sadly is out in third, as originally assumed. So does Kini take it over her? Or does he stay, as always, second place?

Always second it is. The judges clearly made up their mind before the show today. Not that Dom doesn’t deserve it–she has been consistent, and consistently good. But if it had been me I would have reversed this order completely and given the win to Ken or Kini.

With that, ProjRun goes on break until the flagship show returns this summer. We’ll be back then with more recaps.

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