"Project Runway All Stars" Season 2 is back with 13 prior contestants competing for a huge prize. The designers are Althea Harper (Season 6, runner-up), Andrae Gonzalo (Season 2, sixth place), Anthony Ryan Auld (Season 9, seventh place), Casanova (Season 8, 10th place), Emilio Sosa (Season 7, runner-up), Ivy Higa (Season 8, eighth place), Joshua McKinley (Season 9, runner-up), Kayne Gillaspie (Season 3, fifth place), Laura Kathleen (Season 9, fifth place), Suede (Season 5, fifth place), Uli Herzner (Season 3, runner-up) and Wendy Pepper (Season 1, third place). Peach Carr (Season 8, eleventh place) was out in the season premiere.
Carolyn Murphy is appearing as the new host, but Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman return as judges, and Joanna Coles will once again be mentor to the contestants. While the faces are familiar and the format is the same, in a recent conference call interview, Coles discussed how things will differ from the first season of "All Stars."
Joanna Coles is the Tim Gunn of "All Stars"
As in Season 1, Coles will perform the mentor role on the show. Like Tim Gunn in the regular seasons of "Runway," Coles job is to go to the workroom and advise the designers on ways to improve their pieces before they hit the catwalk.
Last year, the Marie Claire editor did not have a lot of face time, but that is going to change. Coles said, "I insisted on a bit more airtime because I felt that the mentoring process is so important and I spent more time with each designer. I got a bit more involved emotionally with the designers this year."
The talent is better in Season 2
While the first season of "All-Stars" was a lot of fun to watch and turned out some impressive designs, it really was more about the personalities of the breakout stars of the series, like Mondo and Austin Scarlett. Coles recalled that after that season ended, other contestants were "clamoring" to be on the show again. She stated, "So I feel confident that the talent is actually much greater. It was pretty good the first time around, but second time around, it's really excellent. It really feels like a post-graduate program."
Since these designers aren't perhaps as well known as the Season 1 contestants, the series will focus more on the clothing. Plus they are coming back for redemption. Coles pointed out, "We have four people in this series who were runners-up, and they were all very upset they hadn't won their season, and they really came back very focused, indeed, on making it happen."
The designers are more focused
The designers also had the opportunity to watch their seasons and see how they looked on camera, as well as to critique their own mistakes, like a sports team analyzing the game tapes. Coles noted, "Having understood what went wrong, they come back determined to focus less on the other people in the room and more on the execution of their garments. So you have this incredible level of focus that was missing the first time."
While she couldn't name names, she revealed that the last five people standing barely spoke in the workroom. "They were so focused on getting that prize. And it really is a life-changing prize for any one of those designers."
Watch "Project Runway All Stars" on Thursday nights at 9 PM EST on Lifetime.
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