Designer Dom Streater discusses the first female 'All Star' win and how she avoided this season's drama
Another season of Project Runway All Stars is in the books, and (among other things) it will go down as the season with the first female winner.
Dom Streater, the season 12 victor, entered All Stars season 5 with determination to win, but it seemed the judges didn’t take notice at first. She continually was safe throughout the first half of the season; although she was in the bottom during week 10, she became a judges and fan favorite by the end. And on Thursday’s finale, she was named the top winner.
Here, Streater sat down with EW to chat about her win, her favorite (and least favorite) moments throughout the season, and what we can expect from her next.
Congratulations! How does it feel to be an All Star winner — the first female All Star winner?
Pretty cool! I’m so excited. I’m just glad everyone is finally going to know! And I’m super happy and proud to be the first woman to win All Stars — finally. It’s nice to break up the boys club they had going on.
How did you approach this season differently than when you were on season 12?
I just really wanted to make a point of what my aesthetic was in the designs each week. I wanted to make sure that my work was consistent throughout the entire season and that the judges would see that. So that’s really what I focused on: doing complete garments that were visually very appealing, but also completely my aesthetic so that they would know who I was as a designer immediately.
And you were very consistent throughout the season, but in the beginning of the season you were kind of…
Under the radar? [Laughs] It was so, so frustrating. Every week I was safe, I was like like, “Oh, come on! You gotta be kidding me!” But I guess it worked out. [Laughs]
What was your favorite look from the season?
I loved the print-on-print challenge and then also the unconventional challenge; those two looks were really successful and I was proud of what I accomplished in such a short amount of time. I thought they were so visually interesting. It’s probably the most interesting work I did the entire season, with the exception of the finale.
This might be the same answer, but did you have a favorite challenge?
I did like the idea of the baroque challenge. It was just so all over the place. We had inspiration from the medieval place, but it was supposed to be haute couture and baroque inspired, and it was just insane.
Yeah! Was it hard to sketch at Medieval Times?
Yes! It was weirdly frustrating because I remember while we were sketching for that challenge, the actors at Medieval Times were also performing a thing on the floor, so it was us trying to sketch and we’re watching an episode of Game of Thrones at the same time. It was very inspiring, but there was so much going on.
What’s the one look from the season you wish you could redo?
Probably the wind challenge. I don’t know why I chose all black for that particular challenge … [Actually] I remember why. There was so much color already happening with all the other designers and I really wanted the look to stand out, so I decided to go to a darker direction. I wish I had done a more exciting print or color for that challenge. Even though I did love what I made, it wasn’t my favorite.
When you’re shopping at Mood, do you try and keep an eye on what other people are buying?
I don’t walk around looking to see what they’re getting, but … for that particular challenge, the wind challenge, I noticed as soon as time was called, everyone ran to the colorful chiffon and georgette section. I was like, “Okay, so let me avoid that section because that’s what the runway is going to look like and I need to look different.” So sometimes that will happen depending on the challenge.
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There was a lot of drama this season, but you seemed to stay out of it all. Was it as contentious in the workroom as it seemed?
It’s so weird! I was talking to my husband about this the other day: I was so unaware about a lot of the drama for the majority of the season while we were filming. It’s interesting the way it’s edited you see a lot of the drama happen in the confessionals when some designers talk about other designers. I had no idea people were saying those kinds of things and that people had that much beef with each other. I thought it was just playful banter because that’s how it came across in the workroom. I had no idea it was so much deeper than that. I was watching the show like I was a fan who didn’t know what was going on because I had no idea any of that stuff even happened. It was just so dramatic as the episodes were airing!
I feel like every time someone said something catty to someone else, they’d always cut to you looking shocked.
[Laughs] Exactly! Because it always came out of nowhere because I had no idea that it was a part of something bigger. Whenever something would happen, I’m like, “Wait what is happening?” I thought we were just making clothes and then apparently these two people are arguing today. Every time something like that happened I was always in the corner just shaking my head. To me it was so entertaining because I had no idea.
It seems like you just focused on the challenges and the work, which is probably what everyone should do.
Yeah. [Laughs] I mean personalities … you know, it’s fashion.
What was the biggest lesson you learned this season?
I kind of learned this lesson on the regular Project Runway: to follow with my gut, and ran with that all through All Stars. … In the beginning of All Stars, when I was safe for like five or six challenges in a row, I got really frustrated. But I thought, “I’m just going to keep following my gut and keep making things that I’m really proud of and let’s just see how the judges react to it.” Eventually, they did react to something enough to keep me on the runway. It validated that idea of sticking to my gut enough that they finally reacted to something that was 100 percent me.
What can we expect from you next?
Well, besides this baby…
Oh, wait. You’re pregnant!?
Yes! I keep forgetting to tell people. Yeah, I’m super pregnant; I’m eight months pregnant right now. As soon as this one is out and in the world, I’ll be releasing a collection of dresses and caftans on my website, so I’m working on the new collection, and you’ll see some really cool new prints and things like that.