Project Runway All Stars Heads Into The Finale With Inspiration From American Fashion History

The designers take a field trip to the Smithsonian as preparation for their finale collections, before a surprise on the runway changes the course of human events.

Our Players

Hello, I'm West Coast Editor Tara Ariano.
Hello, I'm East Coast Editor Sarah D. Bunting.

The Talk

The thing about a "surprise" Project Runway challenge is that it's really never a surprise at all: when critiques wrap up and there's still another twenty minutes to go in the episode, we can make a pretty educated guess as to what's about to happen. So in this penultimate episode, when the designers are challenged to earn their place in the finale by whipping up another garment in an hour using leftover fabric from eliminated designers' past looks, it's not a huge shock; the issue is that then when the judges are deciding who goes forward and half of them say straight up their basing their rulings on the runway show proper, WHAT WAS THE POINT?


I guess hoping one of the final four would crap it up and make their decisions easier? I really wonder how far in advance the second challenge of the episode was planned; I would suspect not far at all, and production only kept it in their hip pockets in case the first runway was very close. But what the hell do I know: I found Stanley's initial look costume-ish and poorly finished, but apparently it was judge-nip -- especially to one of the guest judges, Dita Von Teese, whom I could not possibly do without more.


It seemed like the designers didn't care about her either, judging by the smattering of applause that greeted her introduction, which producers didn't bother to sweeten for broadcast, which: shady. And I agree with you that the second runway was an afterthought if only because we never got a proper head-to-toe look at any of them. Anyway, Stanley: I liked the simple elegance of his first look, and the black underskirt was a cute touch, but it did seem very restrained for a finale audition; his one-hour look had a lot more sass and personality, even if it wasn't especially in character for him. But speaking of the contrast between the considered look (of a whole day, eye-roll) and the one dashed off: why were they all going crazy for Fabio's weird mismatched shorts situation? That top and bottom were pulling in different directions and I didn't want to follow either of them wherever they were going.

I have no idea why the shorts didn't get dragged, because they...look like they were dragged, behind a truck through the dust. I adored the top, though. How rich and cool the fabric looked, the detailing at the neck, the was like a wearable white rose. Well, only for models, but still. Despite my affinity for his work -- even his first runway look, which, listen, he put a bunch of birds on it and I'm pretty sure one of them was a paradise bunting; I can only be who I am -- I was very surprised he made the final. I agree with Alyssa Milano that he's the artist of the group, and I think we can explain it on that basis. I would also posit that Ken's work in this episode was, overall, on the boring side, albeit well made. But I thought surely Fabio was out.


I thought Fabio's look was a bit sporty given where they started -- you to to the Smithsonian, you kind of expect everyone to come out channeling their inner Olegs Cassini -- but I thought that was in line with his aesthetic this season. One might also say the same of Anthony's first look -- also the only one that had any kind of a colour story AND YOU KNOW YA GIRL LOVED THAT RICH ROYAL BLUE (I can only be who I am too). I expected him to win for that one.


He would have if the nature of the fabric hadn't meant things got a little bunchy and dragged off-center around the model's torso. I can't argue with that drapey side train, though, and won't try. Were you concerned at all that the wrinkles he couldn't quite get out of his second look would get him sent home? The editing of the second judging session made it sound like they were going to seize on that as a basis to auf him. And maybe they should have, since Ken's ouster had him in such a state that literally everyone else started crying too. Including me.

Sarah! Poor thing. You and Anthony took it harder than Ken did. I didn't think Anthony was in danger for not having pressed his garment -- he did only have an hour, after all, and I figured they didn't have steamers back there -- but it seemed like he thought he might, based on the relief mixed in with his heartbreak at Ken's elimination. It's only my memories of Kens Past that made me think, when he went to the green room and announced that he was going to sit before delivering his final remarks to his fellow designers, that he was going to go off on them -- even though this season's Ken has been perfectly temperate and pleasant. Is it weird to say I'm proud of him? For...being better at being on a reality show, I guess?

I had the same concern! Fleeting, but...yeah, it was not completely impossible that those remarks would consist of his announcing that he'd had a hex put on all of them I SAID GOOD DAY SIRS. Ken really did have a much happier season than he has to date, in my opinion because it's rull tough to stay salty when you work/are friends with Anthony.

And the worst part of it all is that I think this week's look was a sharper and more successful version of the one that won him the challenge two episodes ago.


Well, I will hurl an iron to the ground in his honor. A little one, like from a Monopoly board. ...So has your sense of who's going to win Season 6 changed since we last discussed it?

Sure hasn't! I still think Anthony will win -- and now, more than ever, I think he should. You?

I love him personally -- but I get the sense they're looking for a reason to give it to Stanley.


Maybe because they're...Stanley Stans? Okay we had a good run goodbye forever.

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