Conflict is what makes any TV series great — without it, there’s no drama. After this season of Project Runway All Stars, I think we can all agree conflict is also what can make a reality TV series terrible. Thankfully, it seems that the biggest fights of the season are past us, everyone has made up, and we have our final three designers heading into the finale. Here’s how we got there…
Alyssa wears a dress that lights up as she greets the designers to assign their next challenge. All I can think — and I’m sure all the designers can think — is “Please, please, do not make them incorporate technology into a garment.” Thankfully that’s not the challenge. But it does have a technology angle, and the one and only Nina Garcia comes out to tell them about it. (Miss you, Nina!)
Nina introduces a representative for OtterBox, the
sponsor inspiration for the challenge. Apparently the company works with designers to create fashionable phone cases. And with that in mind, the designers must create their own print for a print-on-print challenge. (The winning designer will get to design a phone case for OtterBox.)
Dom, of course, is thrilled — this challenge was custom-made for her. “This is a setup,” Ken jokes when Nina and Alyssa explain the challenge. Ken is not a fan of prints; he hates them actually. “The only ‘prints’ I really want to work with is the one who wants to party like it’s 1999,” Ken says in a sound bite that was probably hilarious when he said it months ago in filming but now just makes me sad.
But print fans or not, the designers must create their own textile. Kini wants to do something deconstructed, so he plays with leave shapes in a black-and-white print. Ken would rather work with a texture, so he creates a print that looks just like that. Dom gets a bit crazier and uses red and pink and geometric shapes; and Sam probably goes the most crazy and uses a bright blue color on pixelated flowers. Later someone says it’s almost Hawaiian, and Sam jokes that Kini was his inspiration. Kini does not appreciate it.
After designing their prints in the workroom, the designers go to Mood…to sketch. I really don’t understand the logistics of that. But anyway, once they’ve decided on looks, they start shopping. Sam goes straight to the neoprene mesh section. Nooooooooo. Sam, I want to save you from yourself.
Once they get back to the workroom, Ken asks if he can chat with Sam. Ken apologizes for being hard on Sam; he just has to say what he’s feeling, but he didn’t want to hurt Sam’s feelings. (Could have fooled me!) Sam takes it in stride and says if anything, it makes him want to push more. “Don’t push your way in my damn spot,” Ken says while laughing. (I love watching Ken on TV, but I would be terrified to be friends with him in real life.)
With everyone friends again, the final four get to work on their designs. Sam is doing a mesh neoprene coat in his print over a jumpsuit. Noooooo. Dom is using her print into a loose-fitting wrap dress with a painted leather jacket over the top. Kini is doing a feminine tuxedo jacket with giant sleeves, and Ken is doing something with his print and brocade.
Before the designers can achieve too much, they’re visited by the ghosts of Project Runway All Stars past. The four season winners — Mondo, Anthony Ryan, Seth Aaron, and Dmitry — enter the workroom. The designers start to panic about what kind of twist they could be bringing, but instead, they’re just there for encouragement. The winners have seen the designers’ work from the whole season, so they give individual critiques.
Anthony Ryan tells Kini to sex things up and be less prim and proper. Seth Aaron tells Dom to stick to who she is, which is similar to what Dmitry says to Ken. The most heartfelt talk is from Mondo, who was Sam’s mentor on Under the Gunn, so he has a vested interest. He tells Sam that he’s had good ideas, but his execution hasn’t been as strong — which sounds familiar to what the judges have been saying all season.
Seth Aaron tells the remaining four, “Do not bore Nina” before the winners leave and the designers can get back to sewing … except not for long because Zanna comes in for critiques next. Nothing she says makes the designers reconsider their looks too much, so it should be a smooth night … except it’s not. For some reason, all the designers are struggling to get their looks done on time … except for Kini because he’s Kini.
NEXT: Do NOT bore Nina[pagebreak]
As Ken says, “Jesus playing with the time,” and before you know it, it’s the next morning. Alyssa, Isaac, Georgina, and Nina judge the looks as the models walk the runway, and Sam is really ready to have Nina judge him for the first time.
Kini says he designed his print-on-print look for a red carpet girl. Georgina thinks it’s wonderful. She says that the model looks 10 feet tall and everyone woman wants to be 10 feet tall (I do not). She thinks that he needs to edit himself, and Nina agrees with this. She said if he got rid of the pockets and spent more time on detailing, it would have made the look more expensive. Isaac has “funny notes”: The cut of the skirt is great, and he wished the print Kini made wasn’t outshone by the bought print.
Sam was going for something modern with his print and look, and the judges do applaud him for that but have issues with it overall. Alyssa thinks the two don’t work well together; Georgina doesn’t love the print, but she likes the fresh ideas (it’s like a broken record). Isaac has a problem the neoprene net — he goes so far to say that he’s worried Sam is being paid by the Neoprene Net Council to continue using it. And the season-long mystery is finally answered!
Dom was designing for a hip downtown girl, which Nina says is really fabulous. She loves the stripes on the coat and the print, but she’s confused by the length of the dress. Alyssa says the coat is like a piece of art — and Georgina loves it as well. Isaac likes both pieces separately, but he doesn’t think they go well.
Ken explains that he isn’t a fan of print, but he created the brushstrokes look on the top and incorporated the brocade on the bottom for a woman to wear to an event. Georgina doesn’t think the two gel and that he should have pushed it more (funny that that was his critique to Sam!). Nina likes it but says it feels a bit dated. Alyssa likes the silhouette, but she worries this isn’t going to get him into the finale.
Speaking of those final three…
NEXT: It’s not over[pagebreak]
Out: The judges need more time.
Kini is safe, but Ken and Sam are sent back to the lounge for the judges to think more. They bring them out again.
Out: The judges need more info.
In what’s becoming a Project Runway All Stars tradition, Alyssa tells Sam and Ken that they’ll have an hour to design a new look on the runway. They’re each given a winning and losing look that they must remake into something of their own. Sam looks like he wants to vomit.
Ken is given the baroque challenge looks, which means he gets his own winning look and Alex’s losing look. Sam gets the fairy tale challenge, which means he has to rip up his friend Asha’s winning look and Mitchell’s losing look. I have no idea how they do it, but in an hour, they both have looks on their models.
The judges say a lot about both looks, but it comes down to: They like the creativity of Sam’s, but the execution of Ken’s. This is nothing new. It’s what we’ve been seeing all season long. And finally…
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Which means that next week we’ll have the finale with our final three: Dom, Kini, and Ken. Are you happy? Or are you just ready for this to be over? Sound off below, or find me on Twitter @realdalener.