The Good, the Bad, and... oh heck, a whole bunch of other people!
Oh Project Runway, how I’ve missed thee! Let me count the ways…
On second thought, let’s skip that part and just jump right in to this week’s episode. Since this is the first one, we have to watch everyone move in to the Atlas (I guess the Gotham of last season was too Batman-ish or… something. Whatever. It looked just like the Atlas anyway.) Here’s how this season’s roommates break down.
Guys’ apartments: In one we have Jerell, who likes to wear fedoras and reminds me a lot of Ben Vereen; Joe, this season’s dark-haired bearded straight guy, who strongly resembles last season’s dark-haired bearded straight guy; Blayne, a tanorexic street-wear designer, and Wesley, who is wearing what is possibly the most unflattering pair of shorts in existence. In the other apartment we have Jerry, who already has his own relatively successful design company and always looks apprehensive about everything; Suede, who sports a blue-tipped fauxhawk and enjoys talking about himself in the third person; Keith, a tattooed buff guy; and Daniel, who… um… looks like a Daniel.
Gals’ apartments: Sharing one tiny bathroom are Stella, who can’t decide if she wants to be Cher or the guy from A Clockwork Orange; Jennifer, who seems much too shy to be on this show; Kelli, owner of a cool store about 20 minutes from my house (yay!); and Terri, a self-proclaimed speed-sewer. Sharing the other tiny bathroom are Korto, who hails from Africa but somehow ended up in Arkansas; Kenley, a WWII pinup girl wannabe who likes loud prints; Leanne, the “silent fashion assassin” with 1950’s science lab safety glasses; and Emily, who has a clothing company in LA.
After getting all settled, it’s time for rooftop champagne with Heidi and Tim! Everyone’s anxious to get this show on the road - except Jerry, who looks like he might pass out. After Tim probably kills an unsuspecting pedestrian by launching a champagne cork off the roof, everyone chit-chats until the bubbly runs out, and they all stumble downstairs.
Before you know it, it’s four am. Most people are asleep, but a few of the designers have come ready for anything, knowing that it’s entirely possible that Tim Gunn might come over at an obscene hour, and he does. Jennifer actually answers the door while wearing only a towel and is embarrassed (he’s gay, dear, don’t be). Tim wants everyone to meet him in the lobby ASAP, hangovers be damned, and they’ll be on their way!
They take a little stroll through downtown New York and end up at: a grocery store! But not just ANY grocery store; this is Gristedes, the site of the very first Project Runway challenge evah!And what better person to appear and explain the challenge than Austin Scarlett, the designer who won that challenge. Doesn't he look dapper?
Now, some people might have a problem with them re-using old challenges. I say, “bring it on”! I know there were several times in the last two seasons where I thought, “Gee, I wonder what Kayne would have done in the wedding dress challenge” or “I bet Chris would have been blown everyone away in the live plant challenge” or even “I’m so glad Vincent didn’t do the lingerie challenge.” So hopefully, they will be doing more old challenges and we can get some fresh takes.
Everyone gets their money from Austin and sprints across the intersection to the store. (At this point I have to explain to my eight-year-old that police probably stopped the traffic because she is yelling “THEY DIDN’T LOOK BOTH WAYS!!” at the television.) People are buying interesting items – Daniel has filled his entire cart with blue plastic frat party beer cups, Wes has a giant yellow rubber ball, and Korto checks out the produce. Unfortunately a large number of the designers grab fabric-like items, such as plastic tablecloths and trash bags. (That’s not the POINT, people!! Sheesh.)
Back at Parson’s, people unload their stuff and get started. Jerry sniffs in disgust at other people’s items, commenting that it’s all “stuff that I would throw away”. And what did he pick up? A shower curtain. And a tablecloth. To make April Showers Bring blahblahblah. Yawn!
Let’s see what other people are doing. Joe has lined up boxes of multi-colored noodles, that looks interesting… Kelli is doing a neat bleach and dye job on some vacuum bags… Daniel is ironing his cut-up cups so they’ll mold onto his dress form (Now THAT’S seriously cool, I hope it works!)… Terri is braiding pieces of mop head. Leanne is disappointed that so many people got tablecloths, because she wanted to be different with HER tablecloth. *insert eye roll here* And Clockwork Stella’s freaking out. Instead of the nice Glad trash bags we saw her picking up in the store, she now has cheapo ones that disintegrate if you breathe on them. (Don’t you know you can’t use Glad? They sponsor Top Chef, not Project Runway.)
It’s time for the inaugural Visit From Tim! He starts with Blayne, who introduces him to his garment, which is called “Girlicious” and is basically a grownup onesie made of black shelf liner with a giant maxi pad made of jumprope attached to the front. Blayne states that he wants to be obnoxious and I think he’s doing quite a good job. It’s also obvious to me that Blayne aspires to be another Michael Kors – not in fashion design, but in skin tone. He’s quite orange. Let’s see where he lands on the scale.Not bad, you’re getting there, Blayne!
After making the rounds, Tim is exasperated by the number of tablecloths being used and chews everyone out! He rightly predicts that the judges will say, “You guys are a bunch of slackers!” This freaks the tablecloth (and shower curtain) people out, and they start trying to do things to their garments to make them look less like tablecloths, with varying degrees of success.
The next morning, Kelli does what I believe might be the first Nina Garcia impression ever on PR. (It's much better than Jerell's weak attempt at a Tim impression earlier in the show.) It’s runway day, and most people are nervous as they hurry to finish their garments. Tim sends in the models. Blayne’s onesie doesn’t fit (somebody didn’t make sure their dress form was set to the model’s measurements, hmm?) so he has to sew her into it. Jerry, who has made – gasp – a raincoat out of a shower curtain (oh! The innovation!), decides to put his model in rain boots. Poor girl. She has this look on her face that says “I am soooo going to be air-kissing Heidi goodbye.” Just then, Tim returns to usher them out to the runway, and Korto realizes she’s forgotten to eat lunch so she rushes to the refrigerator to get her salad. No, wait, that’s part of her dress!
In the spirit of the challenge, Heidi strolls out onto the runway wearing a minidress made out of a damask tablecloth. (Nice hair, though!) Joining Heidi, Michael and Nina in the judges’ chairs this week is dear Austin, looking very businesslike in horn-rimmed glasses and a suit. Let’s start the show!
The safe designers:Emily – It looks like someone smashed a piñata over her head and left it there.
Jerell – Interesting use of umbrellas, both cocktail and patio. And the sleeve-thing is a koosh ball. I think his tablecloth skirt got caught in a shredder though.
Leanne – It’s a giant bag covered in candy and coffee filters! Nina is NOT impressed.
Jennifer – Ingenious use of paper towels for the entire garment. And she put little lipstick kisses all over it, which is a nice idea, but they don’t show up very well.
Terri – The braided top is amazing, but she just phoned that skirt in.
Suede – Those tiny squares don’t do it for me. And it still looks like a tablecloth.
Joe – Wow, that pasta skirt is very cool. From far away it doesn’t even look like pasta, just a neat patterned material.
Kenley – Nice use of a dodge ball as a bodice, but that skirt fits weird.
Wes – This makes me think of Big Bird. He cut up plastic cups and flyswatters for the shoulder piece but they’re all the same shade of yellow so they don’t stand out enough.
Keith – I like how he used the dark netting to make it look shaded, but it still looks like a tablecloth.
(Geez, these pics from Bravo.com are horrible! Eww. Sorry!)
Who’s left on the runway?Korto – Yes, she used a tablecloth, and it looks like one, but the vegetables saved her by adding a visual kick. The judges throw out words like “impeccable” and “chic”. They conclude that she has good taste (almost literally - nice salad, made me hungry).
Daniel – This is amazing and the model looks great in it. It kind of reminds me of the costumes in the movie Metropolis. The judges all like it, although MK can’t leave well enough alone and says he should have taken the silhouette further. Blah.
Stella – This is quite sad. Yeah, she sewed it all by hand, but I could do the same thing with NO sewing, AND I’d be sure and use Glad or Hefty. Heidi actually refers to this garment as “butt-ugly” and I wholeheartedly agree.
Jerry – Look! On the runway! It’s a bride! It’s a nun! It’s a… what the heck is it? The judges are just as confused, and can hardly find the words to describe its freakishness. They finally get around to deciding that this is what all the well-dressed psychopathic killer nurses will be wearing this season.
Blayne – Whatever this is, it’s certainly not boring anyone! Or impressing anyone! His wish to be obnoxious has come true. Heidi calls it a grunge Playboy bunny outfit.
Kelli – This is my favorite outfit. The treatment she did on the skirt looks great, and her use of spiral notebook to MAKE hook-and-eye closures on the back is bordering on genius. The waist is made of thumbtacks (which I hope she hammered flat because man, would that hurt). The only part I’m not too crazy about are the coffee filter boobs. Maybe she ran out of time, I don’t know. The judges are unanimous in their praise of her creativity.
It’s obvious who the two front-runners are: Kelli and Daniel. It could go either way, but the winner is Kelli! Way to go, fellow central Ohioan! (See, the Midwest isn’t a swirling void of ill-fitting sweatsuits and Angela’s fleurchons!) Kelli gets immunity next week.
Not surprisingly, the two left standing on the runway are Stella and Jerry. This could also go either way (and I’m secretly hoping that they do a double elimination, these were so bad). But in the end it’s Jerry who is sent to pack up his things. But he’ll be okay, he’s got his own company already anyway.
Next week: well, apparently Bravo has already listed every challenge and guest judge for the entire season (what is the deal with that??), so you can go look there. But I’m not going to look. I like to be surprised.