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Project Runway All Stars recap: 'The Art of Construction'

The designers use construction supplies in the designer dreaded/audience loved unconventional challenge.

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Project Runway All Stars 402
Pawel Kaminski/Lifetime

Project Runway All Stars

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
5
broadcaster:
Lifetime
genre:
Reality TV

“So this is your challenge: It’s the one Runway fans love, but all the designers fear… It’s the unconventional challenge.” —Alyssa Milano, who proceeded to cackle with delight

She’s right: This is it Runway fans. The one we wait for everyone season—I won’t lie, I think I get more excited about this episode than the finale. And it did not disappoint.

The all-stars started at Skylight at Moynihan Station, which for the uninformed (like me) is “one of New York’s most cutting-edge Fashion Week venues.” Except right now, it’s under construction, which means it’s a perfect excuse for the designers to raid and make fashionable designs with their loot. Who wouldn’t want a dress made out of a construction workers’ vest and rubber tubing?

The best part about the unconventional challenge on All Stars is that these designers should already know what they’re doing. In Jay’s season, he won with trash bags. Sam won the season 11 unconventional challenge, where they were taken to a hardware store and a flower shop. And of course Kate has “been down the unconventional block a time or two.”

This season, their challenge is to take the masculine materials and make a feminine look. They can take anything they can carry—not the construction workers, but the clothes they are wearing is allowed; and as soon as time is called, things get crazy. As Michelle says, “Miss Alexandria gets a little possessed by the construction demons.” She runs around like a mad woman, but ends up with the same thing as everyone else: junk.

They haul it all back in the workroom and somehow get it all into that tiny space and begin their crazy, kooky designs. (Sidenote: They show the exterior of Parsons, so I assume that’s where they work, but why is that room so small? Did the filming overlap with season 13? They all seemed so crammed in there—last week Patricia had to climb under the table to get space to work.)

Kate starts working on a wedding dress (surprise!), Jay starts ripping tarp and driving everyone mad with the sounds; and Dmitry scraps his original design and starts working on a wholly unoriginal one instead. We’ve seen this before: Two designers working on the same style look. It’s a problem, and I’m not sure what the solution is. Based on the edit we saw, it seemed pretty obvious Dmitry saw Chris’ work and then started something similar. Obviously not cool, but Chris would have been better continuing with his design and not worrying about what Dmitry was doing. Instead, he basically gave up.

Zanna comes in to do her critique and gives voice to what all of us are thinking: Dmitry and Chris’ looks are too similar, Kate needs to get out of her wheelhouse, and Alexandria’s design is too Goth. Zanna also tells Sonjia that she doesn’t think her look is feminine enough—you know, the whole point of the challenge. So Sonjia scraps it and works some magic with caution tape.

The next day on the runway, the designers get introduced to the guest designers: Snooki Nicole Polizzi and JWoww Jenni Farley for the color commentary and Elie Tahari for his actual fashion knowledge. I’m the first one to hate on the uninformed guest judges (last season’s Youtube “star,” young starlets, etc.), but I kind of loved this. Nicole and Jenni gave voice to the audience—they said all those crazy things we think about the designs from the other side of the screen.

You know who else also had great things to say about the looks? The fellow designers. There were so many good sound bites this episode that half of my notes were just quotes. Let’s get to them…

NEXT: Project Construction