|Welcome to the eighth season of Project Runway. As usual, we start off by meeting our seventeen contestants, as they make their way from their various homes. As you may have heard, the tedious Models of the Runway was canceled, and Project Runway is now an hour and a half long. It also starts at nine, rather than 10 p.m. Amongst other things, we’re supposed to get some DR’s from Tim Gunn as well as the contestants, and an extended look at the judging.
This year’s crop of wannabes include 33-year-old Casanova, who is from Puerto Rico. Ivy Higa hails from Hawaii and assures us this season will be the “Ivy Show.” Ugh. A female version of Survivor’s Russell is not something I need or want. Jason Troisi sports a bowler hat and hopes for the best. Peach Carr is 50 years old and tells us she designs for “ladies who lunch,” which makes me fear for her longevity on this show. Matronly, conservative clothes generally do not earn the judges’ favor. Throughout the whole show, we’re shown clips from people’s casting videos, photos from their portfolios, etc. We also hear people’s backstories. Anybody who thinks who I’m going to recap seventeen backstories can think again.
When the contestants meet Tim and Heidi, the latter drop a bombshell: They are still auditioning to be on the show, so one person is being sent home tonight. Only sixteen of them will actually stay in Atlas Apartments. The designers are then told to take one item from their suitcases. The challenge will be to use said item to make a new look. Actually, the challenge will be to use somebody else’s clothes in the look, as the designers all have to pass their item to the person on the right. Casanova is crushed when he hears this, as he has just had to pass his thousand dollar pants to Valerie Mayen, a 28-year-old from Texas. That’s right. He’d spent a thousand dollars on pants.
In the workroom, the designers find they now have computers to go with their sewing machines. The accessory wall is now supplied by a company called Piperlime, rather than Bluefly.com. It also turns out that Mood has outfitted a supply closet for them as well, which means no more mad dashes across the street and running around in a store. Good thing, as they have only five hours to slap something together. The designers then get to work, sketching, cutting material, etc. Actually, only sixteen of them get to work; Casanova bitches about his pricey pants, instead.
Tim comes in to make his rounds – with just three hours left before the designers have to face the judges. He starts with McKell, who sports blonde dreadlocks and is making a royal blue halter dress with a print top. Tim likes it so far. He moves onto Nicholas, who is making a dress out of sportswear. He does not like Casanova’s outfit, saying it crosses the line from sexy to vulgar. (I agree; the top is just barely decent, as it consists of little more than strips of cloth covering the breasts.) He worries about whether April will finish her look, which is supposedly inspired by a tuxedo. Gretchen is using a cape to make a dress, while Peach is distressed because her knitwear is unraveling.
Afterwards, the models are sent in, and Jason, this season’s straight guy, finds his model … distracting. As in, he can’t stop checking out her breasts. Real professional, Dude. I’d expect that behavior in a college frat boy, but Jason’s 30. He should have grown some decorum by now.
Then it’s off to the show. The regular judges, of course, are Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Michael Kors. This season’s first guest judge is Selma Blair. Heidi tells the designers about this season’s prizes: one hundred grand from L’Oreal Paris to start their own line, fifty grand worth of technology from HP and Intel, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, and the opportunity to design and sell a collection on Piperlime.com.
Valerie is first up. She made a brown and red minidress. Peach made a sleeveless white print minidress with red trim on the halter. McKell sent down a royal blue halter with a short print skirt. She also made the mistake of having the model carry a large pink handbag that doesn’t go with the outfit at all.
Andy made an all-black outfit consisting of leggings, a baggy tunic, and a weird headpiece. Sarah made a gray romper that appears to be a short-sleeved shirt and shorts made into a single article of clothing. Nicholas made an ill-fitting evening gown out of some shiny blue material.
Mondo made a green minidress with a print going across the front and down the sides. Ivy had taken some black and white pants and made black and white capris out of them. She added a sleeveless grey top with a random piece of fabric coming down from the neck.
Michael Drummond made a multicolored silk print wrap dress. Jason made a baggy black dress that looks like a smock. A. J. sent down a mini-prom dress with a back tulle skirt and a two-toned grey bustier. Casanova apparently doesn’t really believe in dressing women, as his look is two steps away from being indecent, with a flimsy skirt and a “top” that looks like part of a swimsuit and shows a lot of skin. The model’s breasts are covered but not much else is.
Heidi calls ten designers and tells them they are safe, while Gretchen is the winner. Instead of the traditional bottom three, there is a bottom six: Ivy, McKell, Casanova, Nicholas, Jason, and April.