Lifetime shakes things up for “Project Runway All Stars”

For those who complain that their favorite shows run out of steam due to over-exposure, Lifetime might have come up with a suitable solution by bringing back some designers from previous seasons of Project Runway but with a new host, mentor and judges.

Fans who tune in to Project Runway All Stars tonight at 9pm ET will see some of the favorite and least favorite contestants from the past several years, but what they won’t see is host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn or judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia.

Stepping in for this series will be model Angela Lindvall (host), designers Isaac Mizrahi and Georgina Chapman (judges), and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles (mentor, pictured).

I have documented here in the past that I watch this show mainly to appease my wife, so a big part of the reason I enjoy it is more for the personalities than the fashion. With that in mind, I have to admit that having a new cast of characters working with the all-stars offers a breath of fresh air for me.

Nobody can replace Tim Gunn on Project Runway, but it will be interesting to see how Coles handles the designers and the kind of advice she offers them. Gunn knows when to be direct with the men and women, but he also has a gentle side that allows him to coddle them when he sees they are in a vulnerable state. Time will tell if Coles has the ability to be hard when it’s called for and soft when necessary.

It will also be fun to see how Lindvall handles the hosting duties, especially since she obviously won’t be able to use Klum’s catch phrase “Auf Wiedersehen” to ousted contestants. Perhaps most intriguing, though, will be watching how the designers respond to the new judges. Because they have no track record with Mizrahi and Chapman, they might be more inclined to push the envelope instead of dwelling on the advice they received in the past from Kors and Garcia.

For more on tonight’s premiere, check out  my colleague Athena’s rundown and our photo gallery.