Project Runway All Stars season 7 premiere review: Globally inspired


Project Runway All Stars’ season 7 premiere brought together previous Project Runway winners with the ultimate goal to find the world’s best designer.

The Project Runway All Stars season 7 premiere might have been the beginning of the final season but the designs were definitely raising the bar. With a season comprised of past winners, these designers can’t slack on any challenge. With the ultimate prize of global Project Runway winner on the line, which designer can prove that he is the best?

While Project Runway has brought back previous winners of other Project Runway All Stars seasons, this season is different. The designers are equally divided from previous U.S. winners and international winners. Although the U.S. winners might be familiar faces, the international winners should bring a little new life to the design competition. Looking at the first episode, this season should heat up to be quite competitive.

Returning to the judging panel are familiar faces. Alyssa Milano, Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman are providing their expert opinions on these creative designs walking the runway. While a new judge joins the panel each week, the three constant judges usually have very different views. These opinions often lead to a spirited debate.

Since Project Runway All Stars season 7 is the final season, the prizes for the designers are bigger. Each week, the designers receive a $5,000 prize. Additionally, a version of the weekly winning design will be available on

L to R: Designers Django Steenbakker, Christina Exie, Jasper Garvida, Evan Biddell, Sunny Fong, Cynthia Hayashi, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Anthony Ryan, Michelle Lesniak, Irina Shabayeva, Seth Aaron Henderson and Dmitry Sholokhov from the seventh season of Project Runway All Stars, premiering Wednesday, January 2 at 9/8c on Lifetime. Photo by Lifetime. Copyright 2019

With the first week having so many designers in the competition, only the top and bottom designs and designers were featured predominately. Like most reality competition shows, the first couple of weeks are focused on just a handful of looks.

The theme for the first challenge was a high fashion look inspired by the designer’s country of origin. For the international designers, this theme was a slam dunk. Unfortunately, the international designers seems to miss the high fashion cue. Many of the designs were lack luster and almost boring. Hopefully, this impression doesn’t last into more episodes.

The three top looks definitely had some drama. The top looks were Evan, Dmitry and Irina. These three looks were quite different and elicited varying opinions from the judges.

Personally, the most dramatic look was Irina’s red coat dress. The bold color choice was impressive on the runway, and the layers of petals offered intriguing detail. While some people might think that this look is a modern take on little red riding hood, the design did appeal to the drama on the runway. Although she was a top look, Irina did not win.

Evan really channeled his origin story with a play on the Canadian Mountie. The judges loved the proportion of this design. The dramatic sleeves played off the line of the pants. His inspiration was clear. Although the gold buttons verged on the borderline of costumey, this design made people take notice. Evan showed that the international designers shouldn’t be overlooked. Still, he did not win the first challenge.

Dmitry channeled a Bohemian look for his design. With a nod to Belarus, the design had elements of Bohemian yet still remained modern. The cut-outs added a slight sexy twist and a lot of felinity to the embroidery. Additionally, the use of velvet was an unusual twist that all the judges appreciated. Dmitry won the first challenge.

While a version of this design is available on, it could be a difficult look for the average person to wear. But, many of the designs on Project Runway All Stars are meant for the runway, not real life. Truthfully, a few aspects of this dress could be adapted easily. A nod of embroidery can easily update a traditional look.

The three bottom looks were quite disappointing. The bottom designers were Anthony Ryan, Anya and Cynthia. These designers missed the mark on many aspects. From boring design to poor execution, they might have been better served by staying home.

Debra Messing, Isaac Mizrahi, Georgina Chapman and Alyssa Milano judge the first challenge of Project Runway All Stars season seven, premiering Wednesday, January 2 at 9/8c on Lifetime.

Photo by Lifetime

Copyright 2019

Anthony Ryan wasn’t invested in this design from the start. Having lost his grandmother just before the competition started, his heart wasn’t in this challenge. Instead of channeling his emotions into the design, he broke down.

Overall, Anthony’s fabrics worked against each other. The length was odd. The fraying didn’t look intentional; rather, it looked unfinished. Leaving the eye unsure where to look, the design needed a lot of editing and help.

Cynthia, from Brazil, tried to employ a traditional Brazilian lace element into her design. Unfortunately, her color choice made the lace look muddied. Additionally, the volume of ruffles was reminiscent of designs used to cover a growing baby bump. Truthfully, her design wasn’t anything new, different or pushing the envelope. For her to continue in the competition, her future looks need to be more, so much more.

Lastly, Anya was another bottom look. If you thought that she just recreated a look from her winning season, you may not have been mistaken. While the flowy, mixed textile pieces might have earned her the win previously, these looks won’t work for Project Runway All Stars. For her to deserve her spot in this competition, the judges want more and she needs to push herself.

While Anya and Anthony were the last two designers left on the runway, Alyssa announced that no one was going home on episode one. It is an interesting twist for the first episode. Truthfully, both Anya and Anthony should have been shown the door.

Additionally, another twist was announced as the episode came to a close. Two additional designers joined the competition. Sean Kelly (U.S.) and Michelle Lesniak (Australia) were added to the competition. The only comment made was that the designers should expect the unexpected for this final season of Project Runway All Stars.

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What did you think of the Project Runway All Stars season 7 premiere? Do you think that a U.S. designer or an international designer has a better chance of winning?

Project Runway All Stars season 7 can be seen on Lifetime on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET. Check back for the weekly reviews after each episode airs.