Of course the first order of business is to get the designers all moved in to their new digs, the Gotham (something or other not important). Hmm…the new apartments look just like the old Atlas ones, right down to the number plates on the doors. Did they rename the Atlas? Are we sure they even moved? Or is it a red herring, because the producers did not want people stalking the designers during filming?
Wherever they are, during move-in time, the designers need to make good first impressions on not only their fellow designers, but on the viewers. What have we got here? First the men. I have absolutely no opinion, good or bad, about Rami at this point. He’s just…there. Chris, I love
already. He seems like such a genuine person and I just want to hug him. However, the same cannot be said for Christian, whom I already want to smack into next week the next time he uses the words “like, kinda…” Plus, even more annoying is the fact that he is an ‘uptalker’. Ricky rounds out that set of roommates. In the next apartment we meet Kevin and Jack, who are very rugged in two completely different ways. Steven arrives and I think, "When did Tommy Smothers
take up fashion designing?" Then Marion sneaks in, looking like a Victorian street waif, so I hope they have the kitchen stocked with some nice thin gruel for him.
On to the women. For someone who is a former model and should know better, Carmen is wearing a god-awful T-shirt that is slashed across the chest. What horrible thing did her breasts do to warrant being strapped up like that? Curly-haired Jillian informs us that she is not going home, ever - so I guess after the show wraps she’s just going to be a squatter in the apartment. The two of them gleefully try and get their toiletries into the tiny bathroom before anyone else arrives. I guess Kit (very blonde) and Sweet P (very tattooed) will have to find somewhere else to keep their toothpaste. The second female apartment contains Victorya, Elisa (who labels herself an ‘accidental designer’ and that scares me a lot), and Simone. It’s good there’s only three of them in there because Elisa needs room to do her yoga.
During this first act we can clearly see the Project Runway notecards sitting on the counters, and everyone making a point to not notice them until instructed to, and then they act all surprised to see them. Of course, it is Heidi’s summons, and the designers are instructed to head over to Bryant Park to meet Mrs. Seal and Mr. Gunn.
Once they get there, the champagne starts flowing, because God forbid they start designing anything without being tipsy, and everyone mingles with varying degrees of success. We find out more about Jack, Victorya, Kit, Marion and Ricky (who is already going for the Andrae Gonzalo Project Runway Scholarship by crying, and we’re less than ten minutes into the show.)
But all too soon, Heidi and Tim show up to spoil the party. Heidi gives the designers a stern mommy look, tells them “the party is over”, and that it’s time for the first challenge. They will be making clothing out of the tents set up on the far side of the park. Christian haughtily sniffs that the tents look like they’re made out of cheap crappy plastic, but it actually turns out to be expensive fabric from Mood. Oodles
of dollars’ worth. (Shows what he knows – shouldn’t someone who’s a “kind of a big deal” designer be able to tell the difference between fabric and plastic, even at a distance?) Anyway, Tim explains that in other seasons the designers had to use crap to make fabulous expensive looking things. This time they get to use expensive fabric to make what could very likely be crap!
So it’s ready, set, go! The designers sprint across the lawn (except for Chris, who gets a rude edit while running slower than the others, but I prefer to think that he knows he can knock out something fabulous with whatever is left, so why hurry). Elisa shoves a sunflower at Heidi as she runs by. (Apparently it was Heidi’s birthday, and what else to get for the woman who has everything? A cheap silk flower, of course.) Christian runs the entire way with one hand on his hip, which looks really prissy but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt – maybe his battery pack was falling off.
The designers start grabbing for fabric like they’re little old ladies at a K-Mart blue light special on knee-high hosiery. Elisa puzzles everyone when she starts rubbing expensive silk in the grass, for “natural” color, and you just know everyone is thinking “what a nutjob!” When the dust clears, the only thing left on the tent frame is some fake fur. (Later in the show it shows up as a couch cover. Watch for it!)
They have thirteen hours to whip up their designs. I’m wondering what is going to happen to all that fabric – there’s no way any of them are going to use the obscene amounts they shoved into their bags. I hope Mood has a discount remnant section. (I doubt they’ll take back any of Elisa’s silk though.)
Everyone sorts out their fabric and gets started. Rami has his entire dress draped in less than five minutes. But what the hell is Elisa doing? She’s shredding her fabric – apparently continuing her grass theme by making it look as though she ran over the material with a lawn mower. Then she gets up on the table and starts using herself as a dress form. It looks like she’s sewing herself into a shroud! Could that be a bit of foreshadowing? (At this point, Christian makes a comment about her strangeness, but, um, Christian? When you are sitting there with that haircut you have NO room to call anyone’s anything strange.) And Jillian cannot seriously be putting a red-orange skirt onto a hot pink bodice. Can she? Please don’t.
Tim comes in to see how things are going. His first stop is Rami, and he proclaims the dress ‘stunning’. Yes, it looks nice, but why did he have to pick that cement color? Does that color look good on anyone? Tim goes to visit Christian next. Christian has made a puffy-sleeved brown plaid top that was really fashionable in the nineties… the 1890’s
. Simone’s dress is kind of bleh. It’s very pale with a yellow stripe around the middle, and a little shruggy jacket thing. And with only four hours left, she still has a lot of work to do. Not good.
And now we come back to Elisa. (If she sticks around past this episode I can foresee lots of time spent with Elisa in the future.) I was actually kind of surprised at what she’d made, at first, because it was a really nice form-fitting teal tube dress with an interesting collar. That was before she turned it around, and we see that she’s done a Santino - tacking a lot of shredded crap onto the back of it. After Tim frowns over it, she decides she’s finished and trots off to the lounge to sleep for 2 hours.
Everyone else scrambles. Sweet P voices a concern that her dress keeps shrinking – uh oh! Are we in for more sabotage conspiracy theories like last season? Is someone resizing her dress form every time she leaves the room? Hmm…
Chris looks at his watch, shrugs, and says, “Huh. Ten minutes.” From out of nowhere we hear Christian’s frantic voice: “Don’t go into the fear box, people!” I don’t know where the fear box IS, but it sounds like Christian’s already there. And with that, the night is over, and everyone trudges back to their apartments (well, except Elisa, who’s pretty bouncy after her nap).
Next morning – HELLO Jack’s underwear! Oh… my. And the guys from Chris’s apartment have apparently given themselves a name: Team Star! How cute and cheerleader-ish. But now it’s time to head back to Parson’s for final alterations and to meet the models. Chris completely lucked out with his model – not only is she gorgeous but the colors in his outfit looked amazing on her. And someone needs to give Carmen some static cling spray, because there are fabric scraps are stuck to the back of her jacket. Elisa weirds her model out by “hand measuring” her. (She’s not a horse, Elisa! What else are you going to do, look at her teeth?)
The models are fitted and hairstyled and makeup-ed, and it’s off to walk the plank! Oh wait, I mean the runway. After last season's, um, questionable styling choices, I'm half-dreading what Heidi's going to be wearing. She comes on wearing a heavy-looking gold dress that looks like it came straight out of Chloe’s final collection from season 2. She introduces the judges. Michael Kors is looking much less orange than in past seasons. Nina actually smiles. The guest judge for this week is designer Monique Lhuillier
So let’s take a look at each piece and what the judges had to say. Since this is the first episode, a lot of people are sent off the runway early and we don’t get to hear any comments from the judges.
The ‘safe’ designers:
- Chris – Gorgeous! Love the rich colors he used. But he wrongly is not selected as one of the three top designs. Boo!
- Kevin – Cute little dress in red, silver, and black. Might not have been the best outfit for his model, though, as she has very long legs and very long arms.
- Sweet P – She’s made a nice gold potato chip bag. She has a very beautiful model, though.
- Jillian – It’s a bubble skirt! Ack. At least she changed the bodice color to match the bottom better.
- Jack – Very classic, and it reminds me a bit of Robert’s first dress last season. It’s kind of off-the-rack looking but I’d wear it.
- Marion – Eek! He’s paired a flimsy lace top with a skirt made out of fabric that’s way too heavy and clunky – it looks like army tent canvas. You can almost hear it clunking as the model walks down the runway.
- Steven – A very nice black business suit with red accents.
- Carmen – Another eek! Put this genie outfit back in the bottle from whence it came, please. (And oh, you were looking for that donut you put down in the hair salon earlier? It’s stuck to the side of your model’s head.)
- Kit – This looks nice coming down the runway from the side, but when we get a front view it appears that she’s forgotten to sew on the other half of her jacket!
And who’s left on the runway?
- Rami – Yes, his dress is pretty, but ew, that color. And the model’s hair REALLY needs to be down. That bun is too severe with this dress. The judges coo all over him though, and the words “sophisticated” and “chic” are used. We know where this is going…
- Christian – This outfit, and the styling he chose, made his model look like she was in her forties. And did no one think to tell the poor girl that one side of the skirt was tucked up into her panty hose? Of course the judges ate this one up, because it was “quirky”. I will admit that it was well-constructed, just ugly.
- Victorya – She made a basic black dress with weird sleeves that looked like the model’s bra straps were falling down. Then to dress it up, she adds an ugly flower made of what appears to be foil from the baked potato she had at dinner. Of course the judges love it, because they were all hungry. (Her model also resembles a vampire with all that heavy black eye makeup.)
- Ricky – His black and silver striped babydoll dress is sweet but boring and safe. And we all know that neither of those is a good word on this show. The judges did admit that it was very well sewn, so that saves him.
- Elisa – Train wreck! Her model stumbles and trips all the way down the runway, and is wearing really ugly boots. While describing her design to the judges, Elisa uses a lot of sound effects. Michael likes the basic dress but not all the junk in the trunk, which Heidi so elegantly describes as ‘the dress looks like it’s pooing fabric.’ (Cut scene to Elisa in the waiting room, ripping the train off the dress.)
- Simone – From far away this doesn’t look bad… but it doesn’t look particularly good either. And what is up with her model’s hair? It’s rolled very strangely. She ends up getting criticized for poor construction and the fact that her jacket material is too random (Michael calls it “dressed in the dark”). Her model looks very worried.
In the end, Rami is the winner (Chris was robbed, I tell you!) and gets immunity for the next challenge. Simone is out. Poor construction will lose over freakish and safe any day. (I hope someone picks her model next week because she is cute.)
Next week promises to be Big! Huge!! With the surprise guest judge to end all surprise guest judges! (Oh, I hope it’s Kayne. That would be awesome.)