Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 1

And so, after the long national nightmare that was Project Runway “All-Stars” (yes, the quotation marks are warranted), our beloved Project Runway is back. No longer do we have Angela Lindvall’s monotone voice or Isaac Mizrahi’s hyperbole to contend with. Welcome back, Nina, Michael, Tim, and – what the hell – even Frau Klum. My, how we have missed you. Order is restored.

Tonight, we met the 16 new designers who will vie for $100,000, a fashion spread in Marie Claire, a Lexus, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel, the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor, and – most important of all – my affection. It usually takes me several weeks to remember everyone’s name and to figure out the designers’ personalities, but do you think that will stop me from judging them at this stage anyway? Obviously not. Let’s get to it.

The Challenge: Each designer had to bring a garment to the competition with them that described their style as a designer. Then, they were each given $100 to make a companion piece for that look. This challenge concept was not particularly exciting. Don’t we always get the unconventional materials challenge in Episode 1? I’m a sucker for tradition and I missed that.

My Top Three: Ven, Nathan, and Dmitry

Ven: I would have given Ven the win – I loved both of his looks. His pantsuit was crazy good; I loved the pleats on his pants and the sculpted top was insanely well crafted. His dress was simple, but the fabric was layered in an interesting way and gave it that little extra something. And I adored the color combo – the bright pink with the white was striking.

Nathan: Both of Nathan’s dresses were nice, though I was partial to the first – its cut, color, and draping were perfection. I also loved the second dress’s color and flow (though I thought the back of this dress was a bit odd). These weren’t particularly daring garments, so I expected the judges to leave Nathan in the middle of the pack (which they did). Still, I could imagine people actually wearing these dresses at a party, which is more than I can say for most of what’s made on this show. Also, I thought these read much better on TV than they do in pictures here.

Dmitry: I loved his sequined gown with the non-sequined middle part; it was a striking and glamorous dress. I also thought his second piece was good (loved the asymmetry and the fabric he used), though I would argue it didn’t quite fit with his first.

My Bottom Three: Lantie, Fabio, and Kooan

Lantie: Her first look was a total WTF for me. The fabric and whatever was hanging off of it looked cheap, and the flimsy vest over top was unnecessary and a total throwaway item. Her second look was equally baffling. I mean, random pieces of tulle? It looked amateur. Finally, both pieces featured snakeskin accents. Snakeskin?!? Who wears that besides, like, ’80s metal rockers?

Fabio: Both of Fabio’s looks were “blah” to me. For the first, the skirt looked dirty and off-putting. For the second, the black dress was shapeless and matronly. Also, unlike Dmitry’s look, the asymmetry here felt arbitrary, rather than visually appealing.

Kooan: If Lantie’s look was “WTF” and Fabio’s was “blah,” then Kooan’s was CRAZY with all-caps. The first look seemed insane simply for the sake of being insane. I’m not even going to get into all the colors and crap that were going on here; it would take forever. The second look had a funny shape to it, though I sort of liked the fabric. I would have sent Kooan home, if only because I found him really annoying.

Bitchy Lines of the Night:

  • “He should be on Toddlers and Tiaras, not Project Runway” (Christoper on Gunnar. I dub this the “OH SNAP line of the night,” a super important award I made up just now).
  • “When I look at the romper, she’s borderline teletubby” (Michael Kors on Kooan. Outlandish analogies = classic MK tactic).
  • “And then I saw the second one and it was like…Oh my god, this is horrifying” (Nina on Lantie. Expressing horror/disgust/disdain = classic NG tactic).
  • “So she’s a Snuggie designer?” (Michael on Beatrice, in what was – unfortunately for Beatrice – a rather apt analysis)
  • “Buffi had all the colors, all the trends together. It was like diarrhea.” (from Dmitry, my new favorite Belarusian. Or, the only Belarusian I know).
  • “Kooan’s look kind of looks like Liberace threw up.” (Gunnar, describing Kooan’s first dress to a tee).

Random Bits + Pieces:

  • Michael Kors wore his sunglasses at night in Times Square. Of course he did. Honestly, I would have been disappointed had he not.
  • Lauren Graham was a guest judge! I thought she did a nice job, though she was perhaps a bit dull. Patricia Field was a guest judge too, but I don’t like her so much so she doesn’t get an exclamation point from me.
  • My early favorites: Ven (don’t you just want to yell “diagram!” every time someone says his name? Or is that just me?) and Melissa (who reminds me of Britta from Community and is from Michigan, what what!). Ven’s designs were spectacular tonight, and though Melissa’s didn’t blow me away, she seemed promising and I liked her personality.
  • Good thing Beatrice went home tonight, because she was threatening to become Anya 2.0 with her “sewing is tough!” schtick. That would have gotten tired quickly.
  • Gunnar annoyed me like whoa – dude is a total drama creator. Why was he being sassy to Christopher right off the bat? And was there real drama between the two or were the producers grasping at straws? I hate when PR delves into these little story lines – stick to the fashion, please.
  • I loved Joanna Coles in PR All-Stars, but I have to say, there is nobody like Tim Gunn in the workroom. Nobody. His plaid suit was particularly dapper tonight.
  • When Tim walked into the workroom on the last day and said, “How is everyone?,” there was a collective cry of anguish like I’ve never heard before. Really guys? It’s the first runway show. Get yourself together, because I’m pretty sure it’s about to get way worse.

Did you watch the Season 10 premiere last night? If so, who were your early favorites? And did you miss Michael, Nina, Tim, and Heidi as much as I did?

(Runway photos via Lifetime; Michael Kors’s face of brilliance via Entertainment Weekly)

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