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Project Runway All Stars recap: Once Upon a Runway

The designers must create modern gowns for fictional characters

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Pawel Kaminski/Lifetime

Project Runway All Stars

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Reality TV

You know how on The Bachelor there’s a scene every season where there’s one bachelorette who uses her alone time with the bachelor to talk bad about the other women? And how everyone at home screams at the TV, “Use that time for yourself!” Tonight we got the Project Runway All Stars version of that. I was yelling: “WHO CARES what someone made or didn’t make five weeks ago? Who cares what the judges say about other people’s work? Focus on yourself and your work.” No one listened to me.

One of the most unfortunate things about All Stars season 5 isn’t the level of cattiness, but that it comes from a somewhat unexpected source. Kini was one of my favorites on his season, but this incessant drama is getting old. I’ve said it almost every week, and I’ll say it again: I miss the tweens on Project Runway Junior. And the fact that these adults are acting like tweens doesn’t count.

Anyway, let’s talk about the other, better aspects of the episode: The designers meet Alyssa at a bookshop. Ken is “praying to baby Jesus” that it isn’t a conventional challenge — and his prayer is answered. Alyssa brings out Laura Michelle Kelly, the star of Finding Neverland. After Laura Michelle explains the story behind her hit musical (in case you forgot it from the times we heard about it on Project Runway regular and Project Runway Junior), Alyssa explains the challenge. The designers will each be given a classic woman in literature for whom they’ll make a modern runway look. Laura Michelle reads out the descriptions and assigns each designer with his or her “client”…

Dom: Tinkerbell

Sam: The Little Mermaid

Kini: Alice

Asha: Rapunzel

Emily: The Snow Queen

Ken: Snow White

Layana: Belle

Alexander: Cinderella (which is perfect because “we’re both princesses and I’m a gorgeous tall blonde,” Alexander says)

After shopping at Mood with $200, the designers set to work…but sadly do not sing a song about it. Alexander is making a gown for Cinderella, Kini is creating a denim look for Alice. Asha wants to make something Rapunzel will be comfortable in, so she designs a jumpsuit with a detachable overskirt (she really thought through her character). Sam is using netting for the Little Mermaid, who I guess we aren’t allowed to call Ariel? And Layana wants to do a feminine dress with a print for Belle.

The edit spends the most time on Layana: It doesn’t seem like she has a clear-cut inspiration right away, but eventually it evolves to “Beast is taking Belle to Argentina, where they’re going to a polo match.” That seems…complicated. When Zanna comes for her critiques, she tells Layana that they’ve seen something like this from her before. This causes the designer to struggle even more, but she wants to make something she’s proud of — especially if that’s what sends her home.

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As for the rest of Zanna’s critiques, she gives generic-ish advice to the rest of the room: Make it modern! Don’t be dull! Don’t be an old lady! Model fittings go off without a hitch — and, if you can’t tell, I’m avoiding the big drama of the workroom: lunch. But I guess we have to talk about it…

When the designers are all in the kitchen eating, Ken points out that it could be only six designers now if there hadn’t been two safe weeks. And Kini just happens to point out that the only person left from those saves is Sam. That could be chalked up to a simple observation, but then he says, “Bye, girl.”

That sets Sam off and he says, “I’ve also won two challenges. How many have you won, Kini?” Then it essentially devolves into them comparing their wieners wins. Kini throws down that he won three on his season of Project Runway (emphasis Kini added, I assume because Sam was on Under the Gunn?) and went to the final runway. Then he says something about how Sam should stop talking unless he wants to keep getting shut down. “I’ll just keep shutting you down on the runway,” Sam counters.

Everyone in the room is clearly uncomfortable and laughing because they don’t know what else to say, but Layana finally does say that they’re making everyone awkward. The room disperses, but Layana and Ken are still in there. Ken says that Kini and Sam have been at each other’s throats since the group challenge — and Layana says it’s probably because Sam is embarrassed that Kini created part of his look. Sam overhears this — and although I was waiting for a blowup — he just calmly says, “Yeah, Kini did the flounce.” There. He said it. CAN THIS BE OVER NOW?

NEXT: No, it’s not over