Fashion Tribe

Kini watch: No fairy tale ending

March 31st, 2016


The designers receive their assignment on the latest episode of "Project Runway All Stars."

Episode 8 recap: "Once Upon a Runway"

At New York's Drama Book Shop, the designers meet up with host Alyssa Milano and Laura Michelle Kelly, star of the theater production, "Finding Neverland."

They are assigned to design for various fictional heroines from children's stories, using the character's back story to bring her to life in a modern runway look.

Hawaii designer Kini Zamora said he's always wanted to design for a modern fairy tale, so he said hearing the challenge is like a dream come true. He's assigned "Alice in Wonderland" and opts to use denim, with a couture denim ruffle in back, a look fit for a fantasy tea party, and adorable in execution.

Kini's modern take on "Alice in Wonderland" heading to a tea party.

With a background in costume, Alexander Pope would seem to have an advantage in the competition. He's assigned one of the easiest characters to dress to impress, Cinderella. But instead of being creative, he comes up with what is essentially a boring bridesmaid dress.

Things heat up while the designers are in the lunchroom, when Ken Laurence points out there could be only six designers left instead of eight, because there have been two saves during the season.

It's a sore point with Kini because he created a top during the season's only team challenge, that kept Sam Donovan in the competition, and the two get into a tiff.

Sam's updated "Little Mermaid" ensemble.

Sam is making a mesh crop top and pencil skirt for "The Little Mermaid," with applique patches of blue and shimmery sequins reflecting the sea. Alexander reminds Kini that it's the same sort of junior look that got Stella Zotis eliminated from the competition.

Sure enough, Kini ends up in the top three with Dom Streater and Asha Daniels, and Sam ends up on the bottom with Alexander and Layana Aguilar.

I'm certain the win will be between Kini and Dom. I love Dom's idea of a Tinker Bell straight off Carnaby Street. Hers is a garment I might not notice on a rack, but it looks fabulous on her model, with bold prints and cut-out negative space "wings."

I'm shocked when Asha wins. Her jumpsuit with tail design is borderline old lady, Eastern European tacky, on par with Alexander's gown.

As for the bottom, it's a toss-up. Layana's look reads more ready-to-wear than designer. Alexander's look is old, and Sam's is too simple. But I'm feeling the judges had to keep Sam, because the Kini-Sam rivalry is the only interesting storyline of the season. So, no fairy tale ending for Kini.

Layana has been on the bottom several times, so she seems like the one to go home, but in the end, going too "old lady" is the worst offense for a designer, and Alexander is sent home.

I didn't care for Asha's winning design, which looks old and tacky.

The old lady gown that got Alexander sent home.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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