Project Runway Recap: Leave Your Eating Shirt at Home

July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Victor's Jackie-O inspired dress should have been in the top 3, photo via MyLifetime

In the TV wasteland somewhere between cycles of America’s Next Top Model and legitimately-good-shows on summer hiatus, I have been in desperate need for my reality tv fix. So I have been continually pressing refresh at for the premier of Season 9 (yes, we’ve come that far) of Project Runway. And in further indication that Project Runway is the only reason why people watch Lifetime, the first episode maintains its 1.5 hour format and introduces 20 contestants. This is particularly cruel considering that most people only have enough room in their brains for 10 reality television contestants. But, Heidi tells us that 4 of them will be cut. ONLY 4?

Heidi and Tim herd the designers at Astor Wine & Spirits near Union Square, because obviously, some of them will be needing a stiff martini after their “audition” in front of Heidi, Tim, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. We still can’t really tell who anybody is because there are just too damn many of them. Danielle seems to be positioning herself as the asshole of the season, sniffing, “I’m pretty confident in my work compared to the other designers… From what I’ve seen, I think I’m okay.” Bert, the oldest contestant ever on Project Runway, talks about how he abandoned fashion and resorted to alcoholism after two of his friends died of HIV. The most memorable contestant though, is Anya who looks like a supermodel. And she is! Well, sort of. She is Ms. Trinidad and Tobago and apparently, learned how to sew only 4 months ago. Michael is worried that she won’t have the sewing skills to do well, but Heidi likes her because they have that rapport that only super-attractive people have. In the end, Heidi prevails and Anya is through to the next round. Otherwise, the auditions and the subsequent “eliminations” are kind of awkward because we’re forced to watch strangers have their dreams unceremoniously crushed on national television. The other also contestants seem pretty uncomfortable about it. Anyway, on to the challenge!

Tim Gunn rouses the contestants at some ungodly hour for their first challenge, which is to “come as they are.” The designers are understandably bewildered, and resident funny lady Becky wails, “Can I at least put a bra on?” The designers have to make an outfit out of their sleepwear, a twist off of the Season  2 challenge, “The clothes off your back.” The producers throw the contestants a lifeline though and say they can use one a bedsheet.

Heidi opens the runway presentation looking particularly chic in a dark teal dress with a long slit to show off her leg, Klum-style. She introduces the judges and a bulbous looking Christina Ricci, who seems more than a little out of place. On to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the episode.

The Good

Bert wins! He turns his orange boxers (which Nina calls “adorable”) into an elegant, youthful dress with nice layering details. Michael calls the dress “the most interesting garment in terms of design.” The win gives Bert immunity, but more importantly sets him apart from the heap of designers. The first episode is also a fairly good predictor for future success. 50% of the winners of the first episode have gone on to the finale – Santino of season 2, Rami of season 4, Emilio of season 7, and Gretchen of season 8. (Austin Scarlett from season 1 lost his place in the finale to villainess Wendy Pepper).

Is Anya a wizard? We seriously doubt that she has only learned to sew four months ago, but in either case, her inexperience was not evident in her clothes. Her voluminous, grey pants are on trend, and impeccably made. The judges all take a moment to admire the fit on the model’s butt. There are also the gorgeous voluminous pants from Laura, whose look we liked a lot.

Victor’s tailored black-and-white number though, is our favorite. It’s chic, styled well, and doesn’t look like it was slept in.

Also, while we weren’t blown away by Olivier’s secretary look, we think his accent will charm the judges for sure. He’s our dark horse pick from the episode.

We also want to give a shout-out to Heidi who is acquitting herself well as a judge. Yes, she seems to be channeling Tyra at times, but overall she’s been funny, opinionated, and looking super sexy.

The Bad

So in keeping with her role as the mean girl of the season (she seems to be the Ivy of this season), Danielle, after hearing that she is safe, complains, “I am not in the right spot. What the hell.” Apparently she thought shorts in a sallow blue color could land her in the top 3.

The models are looking a little sad. Many of them look like slightly hungover hipsters in desperate need of some sun. Can’t Anya just model her outfits?

We’re also not fans of Anthony Ryan’s overall look, which also seems to be channeling hipster with a can of PBR. The top is cute enough, but the skirt is dangerously close to a Miley Cyrus upskirt photo disaster. Also, the weird fur running down the skirt looks like a skunk got run over by a truck.

The Ugly

Rafael deservedly gets the boot. His tights/sweatpants look like they would give a girl a serious case of camel toe. Christina Ricci says they are “off-putting” but that the shirt saves the outfit a bit. “Right?” she asks with doey eyes? Michael says no, “It looks like she went out to eat, ate too much, and had to unsnap her shirt.” Snap! Nina continues, “I don’t think Rafael understands that there is a problem. I think he thinks this tight stuff looks good.”

At least Julie knew her outfit was ugly from the get-go. As her pajama top-parachute pant combo walked down the runway, she says, “I was pretty confident that look was not going to fly.” Nina hates the pants, which have elastic on the sides. Michael thinks the pocket looks like a “I like myself kind of pocket.” *Wink, wink. Julie wasn’t in danger of leaving though, as Heidi openly declared she was trying to decide if she hated Josh’s look more than Rafael’s.

Josh has some serious fit problems. His clothes had little room for error and when he realized his model was bigger than the given measurements, he ended up plugging in fabric on both the white short shorts and in a stripe down the front of the tank top. His model ends up looking like an overweight tennis player.

Upcoming episodes: the designers go to Petland! Models on stilts! And tears, tears, TEARS.


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