Friday, June 3, 2011

Project Runway All-Stars: My Dream Cast

Project Runway Season 9 will be gracing our televisions later this summer, hopefully helping us forget about Gretchen Jones' baffling victory over Mondo Guerra in Season 8 (and, yes, I'm still bitter).

While I'm eager for the upcoming ninth season to begin, the thing that has me truly excited is the recently announced Project Runway All-Stars, which will bring back some of our favorite designers from past seasons to compete.

Before Season 6, Lifetime had a one-hour version of this concept, the Project Runway: All Star Challenge, which was won by Season 2 designer Daniel Vosovic. And while the network has yet to release the names of the returning designers, my mind has already been churning with the endless possibilities. The series will only have eight episodes so it's likely to be a small cast, but I decided to create my ultimate dream cast as if it were a full, 16-designer season. And, taking a note from Top Chef All-Stars, I tried to favor talent instead of drama (sorry, Wendy Pepper and Anthony) and excluded all eight previous winners (sorry, Christian and Seth Aaron).

So who made the cut in Please Welcome Your Judges' Project Runway All-Stars Dream Cast? Check out the roster below...

Kara Saun, Season 1
Kara Saun dominated most of the inaugural season of the show, only to end up as runner-up to Jay McCarroll in the finale. She set the bar for future contestants (remember that Post Office uniform?!) and would be a definite front-runner if she came back.
Andrae Gonzalo, Season 2
He may be most remembered for his outlandishly dramatic breakdown on the runway, but I remember Andrae for being a wonderfully talented designer. Remember that gown inspired by gutter water? Gorgeous! Plus, I would love to hear Tim Gunn say, "What happened to Andrae?" all season long.
Daniel Vosovic, Season 2
Season 2's resident wunderkind, Daniel dazzled us with his mastery at such a young age; his orchid dress and garden party ensemble were both impeccably tailored and inspired. He came up short in the finale with some questionable bags and accessories, but had a victorious return in the aforementioned Project Runway: All Star Challenge. Will he return to protect his throne?
Nick Verreos, Season 2
Uncle Nick is one of my all-time favorite Project Runway designers and I will be crushed if he doesn't return for All-Stars. I miss his grand stories about women in Greece, the way he would (accurately) read everyone in his interviews and the songs he created with Santino. And that's all before we get to his fantastic designs, including that amazing Barbie dress.
Alison Kelly, Season 3
A front-runner in her season until her shocking early auf-ing, Alison was quiet and sweet but also a master designer. Her designs for the dog and iconic inspiration challenges showed early signs of greatness. Now can someone remind me how Vincent and Angela outlasted her...?
Laura Bennett, Season 3
She'll always be known as Bad Mommy, but I adored Ms. Bennett. She had a penchant to create clothes she'd wear, but let's be honest, she was always dressed to nines. Just take one look at her Fashion Week collection: all that beading and feather detailing was unbelievable.
Uli Herzner, Season 3
In case it wasn't clear, Uli loves Miami—the warm weather, the people, the parties. It pretty much inspired every look she did. And ya know what? I loved every single piece. She's a master of color and prints and, in my opinion, was robbed of the crown.
Jack Mackenroth, Season 4
Due to a contagious staph infection, Jack had to withdraw early from Season 4. He was lovable, not so bad on the eyes and had already won a challenge before he departed. All-Stars would be the perfect opportunity for him to come back and show us what we missed!
Jillian Lewis, Season 4
In most other seasons, Jillian would've walked away victorious with one hand tied behind her back. Unfortunately, she was up against Mr. Fierce himself, Christian Siriano. With a background working for Ralph Lauren, Jillian brought creativity and incredible craftsmanship. She made a dress completely out of Twizzlers, for crying out loud!
Jerrell Scott, Season 5
At the time of his crushing elimination at the beginning of Fashion Week, Jerrell had more wins under his belt than any of the remaining designers. I would've definitely preferred to see his collection rather than Kenley's, but this gives him the perfect opportunity to attend to some unfinished business.
Korto Momolu, Season 5
Loving mother Korto made a name for herself during Season 5 as an exquisite outerwear designer—remember that fantastic coat made entirely out of seatbelts?! She ended up as runner-up to Leanne and was none too pleased about it. She returned to the All Star Challenge ready to redeem herself, but once again finished as runner-up. Perhaps the third time is the charm?
Carol Hannah, Season 6
The Southern Belle was the only one who had even the slightest chance of defeating Season 6 champion Mean-a Irina, so I'd definitely bring Miss Carol Hannah back for another round. She brought a wonderfully feminine point of view to the table and has made quite a name for herself in her post-Project Runway career doing magnificent bridal designs.
Gordana Gehlhausen, Season 6
I wasn't always a fan of Gordana's—like most of the contestants on her season, she started out as a bit of a snooze—but I grew to love her and was rooting for her to make it into the finale. Unfortunately, she ended up in fourth, but I'd love to see her come back and show off her fantastic dying skills and unique silhouettes.
Mila Hermanovski, Season 7
I was often critical of Mila's constant use of color blocking, but I couldn't deny that she was a very talented designer. I'd be interested to see how she has expanded her aesthetic since Season 7. And, fine, she was always good for a bitchy sound bite.
April Johnston, Season 8
I lovvvvvvved me some April Johnston last season (except for, you know, that resortwear diaper...). Even at her young age, she was able to bring such a unique voice and spirit to her clothing. Even after this short amount of time, I'd bet her craft has improved and matured and it'd be great to see her go up against some of the greats from earlier seasons.
Mondo Guerra, Season 8
Mondo had an unbelievable mastery of mixing colors and prints to create clothes that had a sense of joy and whimsy we'd never seen on the show. No list for Project Runway All-Stars is complete without him, especially since his loss to Gretchen in the Season 8 finale was one of the biggest upsets in the series' history.

Now that you've seen my picks, who would you cast in Project Runway All-Stars? Would you let former winners return? Would you throw in a few dramatic designers to spice things up? Does the thought of Mondo and Uli having a Battle of Prints take your breath away? And are you finding it difficult to resist the urge to say "Just bring back all of Season 2"?? (I did.)

[Image Credits: Bravo, Lifetime]
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