Mondo Guerra Recaps 'Project Runway: All Stars' Season 2, Episode 1: Familiar Faces, Higher Stakes
The spinoff's first champion recaps Lifetime's reality competition for THR and shares his thoughts on the competitors' creations.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen Thursday's episode.]
They’re baaack…! Thirteen of the most talented and unforgettable designers from Project Runways past have returned for the second season of All Stars on Lifetime. Each of these competitors has something to prove, and the stakes have never been higher.
I’m Mondo, winner of Project Runway: All Stars season one. Each week, I’ll be dishing on the designs and drama from the new generation of all-stars. It’s cut or be cut, so they better sharpen their scissors.
New supermodel host Carolyn Murphy tells the designers to brace themselves for the toughest season yet, but with great challenge comes great rewards. They are competing for a prize package worth a jaw-dropping $750,000 -- the biggest in Project Runway history!
The sublime Joanna Coles returns as mentor and reveals the first challenge. The designers must split into two teams and create an attitude-themed mini collection. Here are the teams:
Joshua McKinley – season 9
Peach Carr – season 8
Laura Kathleen – season 9
Emilio Sosa – season 7
Andrae Gonzalo – season 2
Suede – season 5
Kayne Gillaspie – season 3
Uli Herzner – season 3
Casanova – season 8
Ivy Higa – season 8
Althea Harper – season 6
Anthony Ryan – season 9
Wendy Pepper – season 1
I love how the designers waste no time reminding us what made them memorable: Suede’s third-person rants, Joshua’s cocky self-assurance, “where’s Andrae,” and who could forget the irrepressible Wendy Pepper?!
And, of course, it’s awesome to see fellow season eight greats Ivy, Peach and Casanova -- I love these guys! Let’s see how much they’ve all grown as people and designers since we last saw them.
Team Bold chose a black and blue color story while Team Confident paired leather and lace. Not the most original ideas in my opinion, but it does give the designers a chance to reinterpret something fresh.
In the workroom, Ivy’s reputation makes even Joanna nervous to approach her. Andrae’s lack of focus and poor time management leave him scrambling. And Joanna calls Kayne’s look Catwoman meets Lady Gaga. Oh, the shade!
The next day, the designers send their models to hair and the Laura Mercier makeup room as they rush to finish their looks. The Nine West accessory wall offers the perfect finishing touches, then it’s show time!
On the Runway
Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi are joined this week by guest judges Rachel Roy and yours truly! Here’s what I thought about the looks:
Emilio: While fit beautifully, this dress walked the tightrope on taste for me. The plunging neckline and bandeau were daring to say the least. This look would definitely require a bold lady to pull it off.
Peach: This wasn’t Peach’s best work, but I didn’t think it was as bad as the other judges made it out to be. Since it was a simple silhouette, the dress needed to be finished impeccably. I just wish she would have embodied more boldness with her look.
Andrae: We judges all scratched our heads with this ensemble. The look didn’t seem like a complete thought. The hero piece was supposed to be the sheer outerwear but it just didn’t make sense to me. For me, the worst look this week.
Suede: I would have understood the need to manipulate materials if this was an unconventional challenge -- but it wasn’t. This dress’ skirt reminded me of Valerie Mayan’s napkin dress from season 8. I can’t believe this cost $250.
Laura Kathleen: Overall, this was a strong look. I liked the counterpoint of the structured peplum top with the sheer-paneled draped skirt. I agreed with my fellow judges that Laura Kathleen was the best of the worst.
Joshua: His girl is cool and in control, but there was something off about the proportion of the cropped top paired with such a voluminous pant. The S&M straps of the top’s back and the gloves were overkill for me.
Ivy: I loved this look. The placement of the lace cutouts on the blazer was unexpected and did great things for her model’s body. This design is both editorial and wearable. And I personally liked the leather short -- I thought it was modern. My favorite of the week!
Althea: Another flattering look from Team Confident -- from the front, at least. The lace gave her an hourglass shape from the front, but the way the lace cascaded down her butt in the back was distracting.
Casanova: Like I said in my critique, I give him credit for taking a risk with his use of tone on tone but his dress was just ok for me. More innovation, please! Still, he coped well with Joanna’s feedback of making his girl confident without being slutty.
Anthony Ryan: I’m a little surprised the other judges didn’t rake him over the coals more for the crazy crotch of those pants. But I liked the graphic contrast of the black and cream overall and the top’s lace back was a nice surprise. Despite that, there were some special details in this LBD.
Wendy: Did anyone else think the placement of the lace near her model’s lady-bits was odd? She looked edgy but still feminine and polished.
Kayne: This was a lot of look. I appreciate Kayne’s ambition, but this sequined lace bodysuit with a train crossed over into costume territory for me. He needs to translate his romantic aesthetic into modern times.
Uli: Was this the new Uli? Seemed pretty signature Uli to me. The high-low hem and loose drape fought with all the fussy bib and neckline details. But her look had impact and moved beautifully on the runway.
The Judges’ Decisions
Anthony Ryan’s crisp, modern separates earned him the win! Congratulations. With his first All Stars challenge victory under his belt, he has set the bar for this competition. But with no immunity, there is no room for error and all of the designers will have to prove themselves every week.
At the end of the day, not even I could save Peach from being out. It sucks to see one of my most beloved people go home, but I know that everyone’s favorite fairy dragmother will have continued success. Love you, Peach!
Who did you think should have won? Was the right designer sent home? Speak your mind in the comments below!
Denver fashion designer Mondo Guerra earned a runner-up finish on Project Runway season eight then went on to claim victory on the debut season of Project Runway All Stars. In addition to an upcoming guest editor position at Marie Claire, Mondo has also launched I Design, a new HIV/AIDS education campaign with Merck. To learn more about Mondo, visit mondoguerra.com.