For those already sick of networks’ Thursday night comedy blocks, Project Runway: All Stars returns to Lifetime tomorrow night at 9 p.m. with a handful of new things to keep the competition interesting. Because bringing eleven previous Project Runway competitors — each from different seasons and full of regrets — to churn out top-notch designs made out of school supplies in under ten hours isn’t entertaining enough, here are the five pieces of shiny newness to watch for in season three:
- The cast includes three Project Runway winners. The past two season of All Stars were filled with designers who probably should have won their seasons, but didn’t (thank goodness Mondo Guerra and Anthony Ryan Auld came back!), and are usually filled with resentment about it. But this time, winners Jeffrey Sebelia, Seth Aaron Henderson and Irina Shabayeva are back in the game, just because. If they did it once, they can do it again, right? Well, Mychael Knight is particularly unhappy to see Jeffrey again, that’s for sure.
- The show’s host isn’t a model this time. First, it was Angela Lindvall, and then it was Carolyn Murphy. For season three, Lifetime proves they know people who aren’t models by recruiting actress Alyssa Milano. But she’s not that random of a choice: she has her own clothing and jewelry line, Touch by Alyssa Milano, featuring pro-sports-themed apparel for women.
- There’s also a new workroom mentor. When Joanna Coles made the jump as editor-in-chief of All Stars sponsor Marie Claire to Cosmopolitan, the magazine world was overjoyed while television people wondered, who the heck would mentor the designers on Project Runway: All Stars?! Leave it to Zanna Roberts Rassi, Marie Claire’s senior fashion editor to play the Tim Gunn role this season. She has sat in as guest judge on Project Runway and hosted previews and aftershows over the years; plus, Coles was her boss at the magazine for years.
- One guest judge is a cartoon. Remember when the designers gave Miss Piggy a new frock? At least she was a puppet — this season, Marge Simpson of The Simpsons gets the designer treatment. The designers probably sew something in real life that would look interesting as a cartoon. I already feel bad for whoever gets eliminated as a result of failing from this challenge.
- The first challenge has unusual production circumstances. As the designers return to New York, they’re first challenged to design an outfit inspired by the punk movement, using Debbie Harry’s new music as a soundtrack for sketching. Then they go to Mood, the show’s signature fabric warehouse, to buy supplies. Then they stay there. Because punk was an organic movement when you made art with whatever you had. Not sure if this was a move to finish upgrading the workroom with those Brother sewing machines, but either way, it doesn’t make for a great start for some designers, who haven’t cut their own patterns in years.
Tune in to Lifetime on Thursday at 9 p.m. for the season three premiere of Project Runway: All Stars. Jeffrey Sebelia and his unforgettable demeanor will be there, complete with a brand new mustache.
— Ashley L.