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