July 13, 2006

The best source material

Hooray! Another season of Project Runway is officially underway. It made me all tingly with excitement, and delivered really well. I loved it! I've decided to move to a format of the 1-page mini-recap like I did for Top Model, so for those who miss an episode you'll get more details and plenty of snarky commentary. This first one will be a bit longer, as we have to introduce all the contestants. So here we go!

Preceding the episode there was a casting special, and there isn't a whole lot to say about what happened there. They met some "designers," narrowed it to 40 semi-finalists, and then Tim and the judges picked 15 finalists from that pool. Helping along the way were Chloe, Santino, Danny V and Nick from last season. Their lives of late can be summed up as - "I can charge more now!" "I'm working on a collection." "I'm taking my time." (?) "I showed a collection, was on NBC and I'm still teaching!" Nick is still my boyfriend 4evah.

Also they interspersed some follow-up on a few season 1 folks - Jay, Austin, Kara Saun and Wendy. Their lives are like this - "I'm doing a collection, stop bitching at me!" "I am doing gorgeous bridal gowns." "I am so busy, everyone wants me to do things for them." "I have a collection that actually might not suck." Bravo clearly still thinks Wendy is evil incarnate.

So from there we move seamlessly (pun intended) into the premiere. We see all the contestants arrive, and recap the backgrounds we heard during the casting special. Here's your season 3 cast, including my snap judgements of them at this point:

Vincent used to be a designer, gave it all up, and now is trying to do it all over again. He cashed in his retirement savings to do this, and he will remind you of it incessantly. Also, he is unattractive and crazy.

Alison is a little pixie blonde who created a pseudo-line, and then photographed herself in the outfits as a sort of pictorial storyline. She's cute, but I wonder if she should be a model instead? Granted, she's too short, but there has to be a market out there for that, right?

Kayne (bless his heart) owns a shop that caters to pageant girls and prom dresses. So his life is one giant sequin! In his bio video he does a brief Mommy Dearest bit which almost endears me to him.

Laura is a stylish architect (age 61!) who has 5 kids but thinks that's no excuse for not looking good. She sews all her own clothes. I have a feeling if I met her at a party (without the kids) we'd have a great conversation.

Jeffrey has a line of clothes that cater to rock star types, and he is more than willing to rattle off the list to tell you who. (One of them is J-Lo, which is not impressive to me.) He has a huge tattoo across the FRONT of his neck which makes it very hard to look at him.

Bradley is granola earthy-crunchy. Sadly from his bio and the whole show I have no sense of who he is other than he's a bit...off.

Robert has the most interesting background, as he worked for Isaac Mizrahi, and now designs clothes for Barbie. Just like Nick! I think he's kinda cute, but I'm continually distracted by the sizeable mole on his right forehead.

Angela lives on a farm in Ohio, and you can tell she's quite sick of that. Her design style appears to be a modern derivative of quilting. She may also be a bit granola herself.

Uli was born and raised in Germany which means she fulfills our cool accent quotient for the season. I instantly get an "I like her" vibe.

Katherine (the youngest, at 25) is a snowboarder, so her design style is of course pretty sporty. Considering there's a real market for that, I'm sure she can do well commercially, but I'm not confident she'll do well all season.

Keith is immensely pretentious and self-absorbed. He's a menswear designer that has never even made a dress before. Tim likes something about him, but I can't imagine what (unless it's a physical attractiveness thing).

Malan auditioned twice before, has a manical laugh and ridiculously fake English accent. I instantly hate him.

Bonnie is a spunky California girl whose main experience is in althetic footwear. She seems nice, but destined to get eaten alive by Nina. (I hope.)

Stacey is the producers' attempt to get another Wendy Pepper, although they couldn't be more different. Stacey is Ivy League-educated, but doesn't have much design experience.

Michael is perhaps the most anachronistic person in the cast, as his designs have mostly been in the street fashion/hip hop realm. Still, his personality is pretty strong, and he gets in on the strength of Chloe's gut feeling.

All the designers meet Tim and Heidi on the roof for a champagne toast, and then Heidi gives the details for the first challenge. They need to race back to their rooms and pull any source material from the room itself - curtains, rugs, you name it. They need to create a design that shows "who [they] are as a designer." And they do just that - but to the nth degree. These people leave NOTHING but a few bed frames and springs. Scary!

The designers all get to work, and this part is hard to recap. There is sewing, there is cutting, there is holding up material on a dress form. In fact, going forward this season we'll call that "F1". Tim expresses concern with Stacey's design by doing the "stare for awhile and say nothing" patented Tim Gunn move. They break for the night at 1 a.m. They are disraught to find that the apartments have not been refurbished, so they have to sleep in the spartan settings they left that morning.

The next day F1. It is revealed that Stacey can't figure out the sewing machines, so she is hand sewing everything, which seems foolhardy at best. Shouldn't there by like a typing test equivalent for this show? ("Only 56 stiches per minute - sorry, you're out.") Tim lets them know that the models will be arriving soon for fittings. So we don't get to really meet the models this time, as they are quickly dressed, hair done, makeup done. It is notable here that Vincent has made the unfortunate choice to add a hat for his outfit, made from a small wicker basket. Which he's adorning with small metal chains. Ick. Also of note, the Banana Republic accessory wall has become the Macy's accessory wall. Curious...

At the runway, Heidi strides out in a lovely black dress that hangs nicely. Now I remember what she looks like not pregnant! She announces the prizes, and again I note that the Banana Republic mentorship is no more. Where did things go wrong, my wonderful Banana? The judges are also there - Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge Kate Spade (!). The show begins and I'm so excited I almost jump off the couch!

I'm sure I'll get the order wrong, so I'll just tell you in the order I see them on the website (alphabetical). Click here to see all the fashions. First up is Angela, and I right away have to apologize that I don't know all the right fashion terms, so you'll have to bear with me. Angela appears to have taken the ruffles from a blanket and used it to make a two-strip top bound by a belt made of something metal. It's hard to notice because we're distracted by this enormous bunch of fake flowers she's carrying. Not working for me.

Allison kept it simple, using some linens to make a well-constructed mini-dress with cap sleeves, but made a more complicated gold chain accessory that covers the front. It's fine, and I know she'll be put through.

Bonnie's dress makes no sense to me. It's rather patchwork, but the worst part is the bodice which is about a foot out in front of the model's actual chest. Bonnie voiceovers that she "hoped she wouldn't pop out of the top." I'd be more worried that she slips out of the whole damn dress! I assume Bonnie is bottom 3.

Brandon I guess wanted the homeless look, as the dress is just a comforter wrapped around her with a shawl made of one of the natty wool blankets they give you in dormitory guest housing. It looks awful, and I assume he's bottom 3.

Jeffrey's model struts out with a small mohawk and throws feathers up in the air from her giant oversized sleeves. She's wearing a jacket that doesn't match the dress beneath. Also she may have once been a "he", if you know what I mean, and I think that you do.

I like Katherine's because it matches her sportiness - the dress is a layered aqua shower curtain but over that is a large hooded coat made from a comforter. It's innovative.

On the way out I like Kayne's dress. The bodice is made from a bright orange rug, below that is some black leather at the midriff, and it has a medium length beneath it from a simple sheet. But when she turns around there's some kind of giant hook thing on the back that makes no sense to me at all.

Keith found a navy bedsheet, and just used that to make a medium length sleeveless cocktail dress. It's certainly lovely, but really just looks like a dress, so it's not really innovative.

Laura's is excellent - a coat dress that has a high fur collar and fur around the sleeves that she got from a rug. The bottom is adorned with some metal drops that came from a chandelier.

I think Malan was on the right track - he took a chenille throw blanket and made a high-collared jacket and matching bag. Unfortunately the fit is pretty bad, and it makes his model look like an old woman.

Michael shocked me by creating my favorite dress - it's layers of frilly coffe filters! It's so simple, but very cute and innovative. Of course ScottE points out that if she gets wet, all is lost!

Robert's dress coming down is pretty dull - a simple white dress with a red sash, and metal chains covering the chest like necklaces. But when she turns around you see that the red continues into straps that form two bows. It's not bad, but I'm definitely not a bow person.

Stacey's is just layers of sheer white fabric, which is tied with a large gold link chain. Apparently the bottom is so sheer, Stacey created a small pair of boy shorts underneath.

Uli's dress is a simple long sun dress, but she's adorned it with a bright yellow-green beaded curtain that ties around the neck and waist. It's fun.

And then...oh lord...it's Vincent's outfit. This is a mauve-grey dress with gaudy pockets, but you'd barely notice because of the hideous hat and the ginormous sunglasses she has on. Hideous!

The judges deliberate. First Heidi pulls out those that are neither top 3 nor bottom 3 - Angela, Allison, Bonnie, Brandon, Katherine, Kayne, Malan, Michael and Uli. This is surprising, as I assumed that Michael would do better and Bonnie was in trouble! The models for the remaining few come back out, and there is discussion. They make Vincent's model take off the hat, and suddenly you notice the dress isn't totally awful. They love Keith and don't even mention his lack of innovation. Stacey gets ripped on for the little fake underwear and that the top doesn't fit well.

The judges talk again, and then it's time to face the music. The big drumbeat of DOOM! First Laura is in. I thought she'd win, so I was surprised. No, instead Keith wins, for the first dress he's ever made. I guess that's good? Robert (obviously the runner-up) is in.

So we're left with Jeffrey, Stacey and Vincent. And then Vincent is in. What?!?!? But the basket hat! It sucked so bad! Maybe Michael Kors is getting senile. Thus it comes down to Jeffrey who did too much, and Stacey who didn't do enough (covering up). Quite rightly, Stacey is eliminated. Although her dress was fine, I can not abide by her lack of sewing ability. Jeffrey and his freakish neck tattoo lives to see another day. Auf wiedersehen, Stacey!

Coming up this season - drama! Yay! And Tim says someone is "in clear violations of the rules." Scandal!

See you next week!


joyous said...

Yay, J-Lo commentary is back! I totally agree, Michael's dress was my favorite. I was incredibly impressed with his innovation. But I have to admit I did like the winning dress, too. You could have worn it out and no one would have known it was a sheet.

ScottE. said...

I loved Keith's dress...and I loved that the judges pointed out the little red buttons...I didn't notice them and once I saw them it was just the pop the dress needed. The icy architect's dress/coat was really stunning...!

I also loved the coffee filter dress and the thing with the red bow/chain in the back.

I didn't have as much of a problem with the women who was elimated and her dress...it was simple...I had more of problem with tattoo neck man and his messy pile of steamy poo. ENOUGH with the Santino worship.

Lady Brandenburg said...

LOVED Laura's coat - sassy!
Hated Bonnie's dress.
Thought Michael's was pretty damn innovative and they didn't even comment on his. Bummer.
I like Malan's evil laugh and his horrible accent. I'm facinated!

Lady Brandenburg said...

Oh, and I thought Laura should have one. And I think I need two lern how to spel "fascinated."

Lady Brandenburg said...

Sorry, one more comment, I agree with everything Tim says in his blog on the PR website. Love him.

Anonymous said...

Laura is 42 NOT 61 - there's an enormous difference there. It lists her age very clearly on the Bravo website.

Dancer in DC said...

Indeed, that was a major miscalculation in my math!

Brunette said...

Angela wears bubble skirts, which should automatically disqualify her. And she had the worst model! The chick walked like a Clydesdale.

I also loved Michael's dress, and was surprised he didn't get more love from the judges.