Project Runway Season 10 Recap- Episode 1

Season 10 Project Runway is Here!!!

Oh how I've missed you, regular Project Runway!  Cause let's face it, Project Runway All-Stars wasn't the same.  It reminded us why none of those people won Project Runway to begin with.  And the femme-bot with gams they had hosting it didn't even say "auf wiedersehen."  And Isaac Mizrahi ain't no Michael Kors.  No one can tell someone they look like Joan Crawford at a St. Patrick's Day party like MK.

The episode starts off in high gear as we see the whole gang standing in the middle of Times Square- New York City's tourist central.  Nina Garcia tries to put on a brave face, but she's still shell-shocked from her proximity to the unbathed masses, and if you look closely you can see the sheen from the anti-bacterial lotion she has applied liberally to all exposed skin.  Michael Kors exclaims that PR now has more seasons than I Love Lucy, which is a pretty big deal considering I Love Lucy is over 50 years old and absolutely nothing like Project Runway in content or format.  But that's MK for you.

It's all party party up there in Times Square as we see the nameless 16 designers clinking glasses of champagne and flashing smiles of the Chosen Ones.  We all know this can't last.

And of course it doesn't... we flashback to a couple days earlier and it's this point that I realize that Times Square is the location of the runway show and now we're back to when the designers are first arriving in New York and receiving their challenge instructions from Tim Gunn.

With 16 contestants, it's really tough to keep them all straight and most of the episode is dedicated to introducing them and trying to impart some sort of memorable trait to all of them.  Here's what I remember:

First we meet Buffi Jashanmal-  She's half Indian, half Australian and likes to dress up girls for parties they're not invited to, most likely because they have terrible taste in clothing.  I already can tell I'm going to like her personality but hate her designs.  My cynical production side wonders if she's a "Producer's Choice" contestant.

Then there's Gunnar Deatherage, who made it to the top 20 last year but was cut right before making the show.  He knows what went wrong last time; he had all brown hair.  Now he has half brown hair, half blonde.  Oh and a point of view, or something like that.  He says he likes to picture his client is Cruella Deville.  Smart move Gunnar, Disney references will tooootally convince us all you've grown up from last year.

Next we meet Lanti Foster who is liar.  That is all.

Elena Slivnyak (if that's her real name) has Russian accent.  Elena designs for edgy vooman.  Elena eez not spy.

And then there's Kooan Kosuke, who looks like a Japanese Richard Simmons.  I really can't understand anything he's saying, but evidently it's funny.  Based on the footage, I can see he's got that Japanime-vibe going on.  Looks like an uphill battle to me.

Melissa Fleis is next.  She loves black.  The pictures of her designs look promising, though I'm worried because she loves black like Bubba loves shrimp: black pants, black shirts, black and white photos, black hats, black shoes, black boyfriends, black earrings, black shoulderpads....

In order to break up the monotony, we cut to Tim Gunn now, who meets with the designers in our familiar workspace at the New School to give them their very first assignment.  Tim is like an old chunky cardigan: perhaps a tad frumpy and moth-eaten, but comfortable, forgiving and surprisingly still holding shape.  Everyone loves Tim, we all know that.  He's TV magic.

Tim tells the designers that their first challenge is the biggest runway presentation in the history of PR, being held in the "center of the universe;" Times Square.  They'll show two looks: one they have brought with them as a representation of their design point-of-view, and a second look, which they will make in two days and should be a companion piece to their original design.

We hear a lot of name dropping now: Mood Fabrics, Brother Sewing Room, HP, Lord & Taylor, L’Oréal Paris... Folks, get used to these words.  These are your sponsors for the remainder of the season.  If they say magazine you say Marie Claire.  If they say accessory wall, you say Lord & Taylor.  If they say silk charmeuse you say 'Thaaanks Mood.' Got it?  And don't even think of mentioning Apple- designers on THIS show use PCs, namely a technology suite by HP and Intel.  Apples grow on trees.

I'm really happy with straightforward first challenge.  We get to measure a designers taste, construction skills and ability to create cohesive looks all in one runway challenge.  Excellent.

Now back to the designers:  Christopher Palu is a cute college-dropout who can "sew like a fucker."  Or was it motherfucker?  Cause that would make so much more sense.

Alicia Hardesty is a lesbian with dreadlocks.  She's this season's token granola.  I've never seen a granola make it far in this competition, so I'm immediately worried.

Then there's Beatrice Guapo.  I don't remember a damn thing about Beatrice.

Raul Osario does ultra-feminine designs and draping.  His pics look good.

And then we get to Andrea Katz, the self-proclaimed "Grandma" of Project Runway.  She has a BA, an MA, an MFA, an AMA, an ADA, an NCAA, NAACP, an AARP and an A&P club card.  But she's 58, which is like 3 times the age of most of the contestants and therefore negates all of her credentials.

By now I think the editors are getting tired of all these damn designers because the camera time is getting shorter and shorter:

 Sonjia has blue hair and ADD.  In honor of her ADD, I immediately stopped paying attention to her.   

Fabio Costa is a freegan, which means he eats food from dumpsters but he's not homeless.  Technically.

And Dmitry Sholokhov likes clean, architectural, soft designs.  I really like the looks of his garments but anyone who says "I have a passion for fashion" gets a "Dmerit" from me.

Somehow I missed two designers:  Nathan Paul and Ven Budhu.  I could go back to the episode, but really why bother?  I'll have plenty of time to get to know them if they stick around.

"I'm concerned"

Freegan my ass

Should I bother learning your name?

And with that we frantically run through the Project Runway formalities of Tim Gunn critiques and model fittings.  Because there are so many designers and we needed to hear from all of them, there's really not a lot of focus on the usual workroom drams.  Plus, the contestants don't know each other well enough to hate each other.  Boooring.

SO- let's just get on to the runway. And just like that we're back in Times Square!

Our guest judges for tonight are Lauren Graham, aka Gilmore Girl, and Patricia Field, costume designer, stylist and first ever Project Runway guest judge.  I couldn't help but think how far the show has come in guest judging since then.

The TOP:

Melissa's new look (right) was straight from fashion school with the asymmetrical hemline and a generally amateurish design.  However her original look showed talent with a really modern-looking black maxi dress topped with a leather high-collared vest.  Michael Kors said he "knew her vibe," and then sobbed softly. Heidi thought the dresses were both current, wearable and sexy.

Ven showed his original look first, an intricate fuchsia rose blossom top with a white pleated palazzo pant suit.  It could not have looked less current if Hillary Clinton herself came out in it.  However the judges went apeshit over the construction.  His new look, a fuchsia shift dress, was much more modern and also very well-constructed.  Heidi liked how the two looks worked together.  MK was amazed by the construction of the original look, Nina said the suit looked "expensive" and Lauren, in her greatest guest judging contribution said she loves a white suit.  Granted, not THAT white suit.

Christopher started with his new look, an LBD with a pretty unremarkable silhouette.  His original look, however, had great movement on the runway with its silk flowy panels.  During the judging panel, you could see more details of the black dress, which was much more interesting up close, however everyone agreed black was the wrong color choice.  But Heidi raved over Christopher's gown.  Michael Kors said the fabric manipulation looked effortless but that the styling looked wedding-party. He was so right.


Kooan is this season's Crasian, following the likes of former contestants Olivier Green (Season 9) and Ping Wu (Season 7).  His original design (left) was straight-up costume but daring and kinda fun.  His new look, however, needed to be strapped to the top of Times Square until New Year's Eve.  The crowd, naturally, loved it.  Heidi wa intrigued and wondered if she wants to see more.  MK said it was "borderline Teletubby" and warned that he shouldn't make fashion a joke 'or else the whole world will stop buying my goddamn sunglasses and bags!'  OK maybe MK didn't say that, but it was certainly implied. Then Kooan, undeterred by the criticism, smiled and said something no one understood.

Beatrice forgot it was show time and sent her model down the runway in pajamas and a blanket.  Oh what, you say?  That was her original look?  Uh oh.  Maybe her second look will..... fuuhhhh.  It's an 80's off-the-shoulder top made out of fruit-rollup fabric.  This is a disaster.  Heidi said it was "t-shirt meets sack dress" but that it's better than the cape.  MK says comfort is not enough and Patricia said it doesn't catch her eye in any special way.  Kinda like Beatrice in general.

Lantie's first look, a white floral dress with tulle embellishment is OK.  It's got a pretty, ethereal quality to it.  However, her second dress looks like the excrement of her first model, in unflattering brown tulle with snakeskin detailing.  Heidi wonders if she always puts ugly front embellishments on her dresses.  To which Lantie, in a dress with an ugly front embellishment replies, "No."  MK says it looks like muddy mosquito netting, which is actually kinder than what I thought it looked like.  Patricia deals the final, most cutting, blow when she sums up Lantie's efforts of reworking vintage clothing as "one step below design."  Oh-my-Lantie shall be her new name.

In the end, Christopher is the winner and Beatrice gets the Auf.  Next week is the unconventional materials challenge at Dylan's Candy Bar, so perhaps Beatrice's fruit roll-up top was simply ahead of its time?  Alas, one day you're out and the next day you're in.

It's still early, but I always feel like the best designers stand out early, so I'll say it here:  these are my Ones To Watch:

I really thought Nathan's dresses were both gorgeous, as well as Dmitry's sequin gown.  I totally would have had either one of them in the top instead of Ven's Dorothy-Zbornak-goes-to-Neiman's look.  Remember, this is not Project Seamstress, it's Project Runway.

Until next week!

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