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"This Isn't Just a Game, It's My Life": A New Season of "Project Runway" Kicks Off

Ah, Project Runway, how I've missed you.

The sartorial showdown launched last night on Bravo and I for one was absolutely glued to my television. As usual, production company Magical Elves did an amazing job at casting, editing, and producing this slick, sleek, and stylish competition series, invigorating the elimination process of professions (whether they be fashion designers or chefs) and turning a spotlight onto their creative process. In a word: bravo.

Last night's episode of Project Runway ("Sew Me What You Got") introduced us to the fifteen new designers who, unlike previous seasons, seem to be a wacky, slightly more out there, motley crew consisting of avant-garde marionette designers, over-the-top theatrical costume designers, and lingerie designers. It's a cluttered playing field and one that's filled with promise, even though I was pretty disappointed with several of the offerings on hand.

For the first challenge, the designers had 10 minutes to raid three tents in New York City's Bryant Park that were loaded with $50,000 worth of high-end fabrics and then assemble an ensemble back at the design studio that best exemplified their identities as designers. A pretty tough challenge on the one hand (how to sum up yourself and skills in one garment) but rather easy on the other hand (luxe fabrics instead of recycled materials).

Immediately, there were some standouts from among the pack. I was really impressed with the skills of 21-year-old Christian, who presented a gorgeous combination of a patterned voluminous jacket which showed off his construction skills and a draped skirt. The effect was stunning, bringing immense creativity and charm to fabrics that could have been rather dowdy; instead it was elegant, chic, and memorable, showing a creativity far beyond his years (and clearly showing the influence of McQueen and Westwood on his designs). Also loved the gorgeous smoke-colored dress that Rami designed, which was polished and extremely well-constructed, showing off his draping skills in a graceful and sophisticated design; it was absolutely stunning and I wasn't at all bothered by the rosette to which Michael Kors made an objection. It wasn't at all "M.O.B." (Mother of the Bride) to me at all and it was only fitting that he was named the winner of the first challenge, making the Jerusalem-born designer the one to beat.

Who else stood out? I like Kit (not just for the fact that she gave herself the moniker and alter ego of Pistol); her design--an asymmetrical patterned black dress with a crimson shouldered overlay and beaded finishings was stylish and funky. Just like Kit. I would have liked Victorya's design a hell of a lot more if she didn't have those bondage straps binding her model's arms at the shoulders; it spoilt a 1920's-inspired black cocktail dress that popped with a metallic silver flower motif. I also liked Steven's black tailored suit, which benefited from an eye-catching crimson deconstructed necktie and collar and sleeves that were seemingly lined in an iridescent red fabric. Very different than everything else out on the runway. Another good design: Jack's black-and-white patterned dress, accented with a pale blue. Reminded me slightly of last season's Uli, in a good way.

So who stood out in a bad way? I had no doubts of who would end up in the bottom two. Elisa's dress really was a train wreck. Yes, it showed immense creativity and a willingness to work outside the constraints of, well, reality but Heidi said it best when she said that her model looked like she was "pooing fabric." The train on the electric blue dress (evocative enough on its own without the embellishment) was about seven feet long and looked like a big pile of torn fabric had been glued onto the bottom of the gown. Her model literally tripped over it on the runway. (Ouch.) Not the best way to start this competition, but Elisa does seem WAY out there. Too much wow factor and not enough construction and skill to back it up. And I had no doubt that Simone would be the one going home. Her dress was amateurish at best and really did look like the model dressed in the dark (as Michael Kors offered); the pieces were extremely mismatched and not in an intentionally conflicting way. The just did not go together in any way, shape, or form. Worse was the terrible construction of the garment (she literally sewed her model into it at the last second), a major no-no in Runway Land. So in the end, it was fitting that we bid auf wiedersehen to Simone.

Next week on Project Runway ("Money Changes Everything"), the designers meet a fashion icon who becomes the focus of their next challenge. Make it work, people!


Anonymous said…
Even though I knew Elisa would stay because she is better tv, and Simone would go (cause her design was awful), there was something I liked, personally, about Simone from the start, so I was sorry to see her go in favor of someone who is clearly there just to be different. Also, I really liked what they showed of Simone's designs when they intro'd her, so I was looking forward to seeing what she could do.

I am usually in the minority on things like this, because i don't get high fashion, but I didn't care for the winning design. I thought it made the model look like she weighed about 50 more poinds than she did, and found the design clunky. Ditto Christian's design. Just didn't get it.

So glad it's back!
Yay! Very happy that Project Runway is back and that Heidi and Tim are looking as fabulous as ever.

I was a little worried with all the "alternative" designers they brought on this season (marionette's?) but it seems like a good mix.

Simone's dress was really disappointing. I was expecting more from her and wonder if it was just nerves.

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