The Challenge: The All Stars are locked in the basement of Mood and starved until they can finish creating a “punk” look. (This is only a mild exaggeration – all of the work and fittings are taking place in a cramped, tiny work space in Mood’s basement, watched over only by Swatch. And cameras. And the production team. And all of us.)
Guest Judge: The incomparable Debbie Harry. Infinite points to Project Runway All Stars for snagging Blondie as the guest judge for the premiere, because she was as awe-inspiring as ever. And like a true diva, she waited until after the runway show was over before she decided to wear the winning look. (A wise choice, because as any dedicated viewer knows, not all winning looks are winners.)
ARI SOUTH, Eliminated
Season 8: Third place
I thought Ari had some potential throughout the episode, especially when she cut the legs off her pants, converted them to shorts, and used the pant legs as the sleeves for her jacket. That struck me as exactly the kind of on-the-spot creative thinking that wins challenges. Sadly, the final result that walked down the runway wasn’t nearly as inspired as Ari’s creative process. The shrug-like jacket is cute, and the shorts are chic and wearable, although that top is a little on the droopy side. But there wasn’t a modicum of punk to be found in this look, which is why it (rightfully) received the auf.
Season 10: Fourth place
This felt more Halloween costume-y than punk, per se, and I’m prone to hate anything with this many tassels, but this was actually a decent entry from Christopher. It at least had some edge to it, which surprised me. And despite the fact that he’s still a walking soundbite machine and every word out of his mouth sounds painfully rehearsed, he made me giggle more that once during this episode. So I suppose that means he’s allowed to stay.
Season 11: Fourth place
Who among us wasn’t happy to see Daniel’s mustache again? Whatever your feelings on the designer, I missed that glorious piece of facial hair. I didn’t expect him to nail the punk theme – his work sometimes tends towards the 80s, but definitely not the punk parts of the 80s. And although a punk suit is kind of an oxy moron, I actually thought that shocking fuchsia color against the tailored black ensemble made for a dramatic, fun runway moment.
ELENA SLIVNYAK, Winner
Season 10: Sixth place
Elena’s lucky her model likes to chat about her own fashion style, or she never would have had the brilliant idea to turn this jacket around. It’s an absolutely stunning piece that was well worth the praise it received, but she clearly exhausted all her time and energy on the jacket and had nothing left to give for that boring little skirt. As far as I’m concerned, she only made half an outfit, and while that half was excellent, I’m not sure half an outfit is ever deserving of a win. True to form, Elena was her usual dramatic self on the runway. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a crier, but she started crying when they were still announcing the prize package, for God’s sake. That was a bit much.
Season 6: Winner
As soon as this hit the runway, my boyfriend said, “She’s got tefillin on!” Sorry, Irina, but all us Jewish viewers are going to see the black wrappings on the model’s arm as Orthodox, not punk. I like the pattern she created with the different stripes, but I don’t think the silhouette of this dress is particularly flattering. And for the love of God, haven’t we seen enough exposed zippers on this show?
JEFFREY SEBELIA, Top 3
Season 3: Winner
I thought this was very interesting and beautiful, if not particularly punk. And that surprised me, because I assumed that if anyone was going to nail the punk theme besides Seth Aaron, it would be Jeffrey. This definitely has some edge to it, but I don’t think it’s a particularly punk edge. I loved it enough to keep it in my personal top three, though. However, it does seem a little bit insane that former Project Runway winners Irina, Seth Aaron, and Jeffrey are on this season of All Stars. It’s kind of depressing, because it reminds the viewer that winning Project Runway doesn’t guarantee success in the fashion world. And it doesn’t seem particularly fair to the Kortos of the world, the extremely talented designers who almost-but-not-quite won their seasons.
Season 5: Runner-up
I didn’t understand the punk sensibility until I saw the chains in the back. They weren’t quite enough to bump this into the top three for me, especially once I saw the dreaded exposed zipper. But zipper aside, I absolutely adore this dress. I’m definitely on Team Korto, who has always been one of my favorite PR alum. Not only is she a fantastic designer with a unique point of view, but she has always refused to play to the cameras the way the drama queens like Christopher do, which makes her infinitely more enjoyable to watch.
MELISSA FLEIS, Bottom 3
Season 10: Third place
I think this might be the only outfit Melissa ever made when she was on this show. This girl loves a crooked vest more than anyone ever should. This look didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me – the pieces felt disjointed and a little bit sloppy. I have to say, though, the hair is fan-freaking-tastic.
Season 3: Fourth place
I liked this look better in the jacket, probably because she’s basically wearing a hand towel without it. But there wasn’t a lot of punk to be found, and the styling was almost decidedly un-punk, which didn’t make much sense to me. Mychael has a lot of talent, but he doesn’t have a huge amount of range, which I think makes him more likely to be eliminated during specific style-based challenges like this one.
SETH AARON HENDERSON, Top 3
Season 7: Winner
By far my favorite look on this runway. I always enjoyed the pop-punk sensibility Seth Aaron brought to his designs, and it seems to have only gotten more refined since he was crowned the winner of Season 7. And is it just me, or has he de-aged at least 15 years since the last time he was on television? Boy looks fantastic.
VIKTOR LUNA, Bottom 3
Season 9: Third place
The jacket was fantastic, and the pants were actually quite cool, but they didn’t work particularly well together. And nothing says “I don’t know what ‘punk’ means!” like that responsible, working woman’s overnight bag she’s carrying.
Judges’ Top 3: Elena, Jeffrey, Seth Aaron
Diva’s Top 3: Seth Aaron, Elena, Jeffrey
Judges’ Bottom 3: Melissa, Viktor, Ari
Diva’s Bottom 3: Melissa, Viktor, Ari