By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filled Thursday, May 5, 2016
Atlanta designer Ken Laurence entered the final three of "Project Runway All Stars" tonight as the underdog and the person who had the most to prove after his tumultuous season 12 outing.
Despite a collection the judges found chic, cohesive and commercial, he lost out to Dom Streater yet again, finishing third this time, far better than during his first round when he came in eighth.
Dom, who also won season 12, brought artistry and vision the judges couldn't help but embrace. She took home $100,000. Kini Zamora, who came in third season 13, had to settle for runner up this time with a collection that captured his wacky sense of style and impeccable tailoring.
Ken, despite not taking home the crown, left the show with a smile on his face, feeling he had redeemed himself as a person and a designer. In his collection, inspired by New York City architecture, he worked with leather and black but also used bright yellow for two of his looks.
"I am so proud of myself," Ken said on the show. "I know I've come far as a self-taught fashion designer."
Guest judge Debra Messing ("Will & Grace," "Mysteries of Laura") was especially taken by what he did.
"I responded to this collection," she said as the judges deliberated. "It's incredibly cohesive. The cream suit is exquisite. She's strong and she's confident. I think the yellow is so fresh. The second to last outfit: she's a cool girl. That last gown is effortless. It's chic. I know who this woman is."
Anne Fulenwide, editor of Marie Claire, was least impressed. "This looks like a successful commercial collection," she said, as if that was a bad thing. "But there is no wow factor."
This challenge was pure craziness, to say the least.
During the regular "Project Runway" series, the finalists are usually given two months to finish ten pieces. For "All Stars," the producers provided them a mere four days to put together a whopping eight pieces. They were provided some help from former contestants but the task would be daunting for any designer.
In the end, the three finalists managed to keep their heads on straight. Nobody wigged out. They were all able to complete eight outfits without any major hiccups.
Dom, who came across as a sweet, no-drama person throughout the season, did a happy dance after she was named the winner.
"I have such high high hopes for you," said Isaac Mizhari. "The sky's the limit!"
"You're an artist and you make us think and that's really really exciting," Messing said.
"This win is a huge, huge, huge deal for me, "Dom said. "It's like the best type of validation."