'Project Runway' Dull Stars

The premiere of Lifetime's new "All Star" edition of its design competition show failed to thrill. 

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Last night Lifetime unveiled their latest alteration of the Project Runway franchise they stole from Bravo, a Project Runway: All Stars featuring contestants from seasons past (Sweet P! Mondo! Kenley! Elisa?) sewing like mad in some kind of battle royale-type situation. Sounds exciting right? We certainly thought so. And yet its debut last night was sort of anything but.

OK, let's just put it out there right now: Though professionalism and thoroughness is our attempted name of the game, sometimes due diligence is not always done and salient details like "Oh hey, Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum have nothing to do with Project Runway: All Stars" get missed. Yes, even by us. So it was quite the depressing surprise last night to find Heidi's addled teutonic perk replaced with some piece of wood in a wig and Tim's professor purr swapped out for the Tilda Swinton-as-Anna Wintour (but not in an exciting way) stylings of Marie Claire's Joanna Coles. The changes sort of denuded the entire show, somehow suddenly made the lighting seem overly bright and garish, the sets flimsy, the challenge (go to a 99¢ store, make something out of mops and whatever, blah) uninspired. That Heidi and Tim didn't want to do this show, whether it was for scheduling reasons or otherwise, makes it feel less-than, a little cheap.

And the "all star" cast members didn't quite help the situation. Like, sure, Austin Scarlett. Absolutely. Mondo? Yeah, everyone thought he should have won his season. Kenley? Obviously you need a villain on a vain attempt to redeem herself. Those folks make sense. So do master draper (almost sounds dirty) Rami and well-liked fan favorite Sweet P. But, uh, Jerell? Gordana? April who? There are a lot of randoms on this piece, people who really don't feel like "all stars." Where's Uli, where's Santino, where's crazy Joshua from last season, where's Kara Saun, hell where's Wendy Pepper?? You want to call it All Stars, make it freaking All Stars. Top Chef's alumni season did that well, so it's unclear why Project Runway couldn't. Sure, yes, of course, they likely made offers to a lot of people and a lot of people said no, but dammit try harder! Sweeten the pot! Because this group of randos and sadsacks? Nunh uh. Oh, and bringing back tenth-place finisher Elisa the Strange just to boot her right back off after one episode felt like a mean waste of time, guys. Poorly done.

That said! That said of course we'll watch this entire season because it is still fun to see people make things — Rami and Mondo and a couple others did crazy good work last night — and there's the obvious hope that Kenley will throw a cat at someone. Ken darling, if you can't find a cat, just throw Joanna Coles. We're sure she won't mind. But yeah, anyone else find this a little underwhelming, a little lacking in the taste level (miss you Nina gurl!) department?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.