Project Runway recap
How convenient: Just as America's Next Top Model ends, a new season of Project Runway begins. And I finally got around to watching this season's two premiere episodes last night. The first episode was a bit American Idol meets America's Next Top Model, combining the "look at all these crazy rejects" aesthetic of the former (also featuring guest judges from the first season) with the "we've narrowed it down to semifinalists, but we're only getting rid of two of them" mindset of the latter. The 16 semifinalists were sent 6 yards of muslin (a really lightweight, boring cotton that's primarily used for draping, experimenting, and testing patterns) in the mail, and they had a week (plus $20 for trim) to create something fabulous. There were varying degrees of what I would call fabulous, but I definitely agreed with the choices: Santino Rice, an L.A. designer who reminds me of Miguel Adrover in both looks and disposition, created this gorgeous party dress with handmade floral-looking trim; I'd say even this early in the game, he's a frontrunner. Heidi, a Southern girl who made a dress consisting mostly of trim, and John, who appeared to dye his dress with Rit and call it a day, were the semifinalists who didn't make it to the finals. Also, I should mention that Daniel Franco, the obnoxious designer who was the first to go in the first season, is back for more, and almost didn't make it to the finals (his dress, while gorgeous, had not been fitted to the model). While I think it's interesting that he's back, I think the "Oh my god, will Daniel get kicked off this week?" storyline is going to get boring after awhile. Also, he's still obnoxious.

The next episode started with the designers all going to a cocktail party together...and finding out their next challenge is to design an outfit based on the clothes they're wearing at that very moment. Some designers, as one might imagine, handled this better than others. Emmet (the older, wiser menswear designer), for example, didn't hesitate for a moment about cutting up what was probably a $300 pair of True Relgion jeans; whereas Andrae (the crazy intellectual artist guy) almost lost his sewing needles over cutting up his favorite vintage denim jacket. Chloe, the non-dorky Asian girl, created this gorgeous, minimalist minidress out of her jacket and dress to win the challenge, although the judges also liked Daniel's jacket and skirt (made from his jacket and jeans) and Santino's deconstructed leather jacket/skirt combo (very Rick Owens). Kirsten, the lawywer-cum-swimwear designer, made an outfit that was, in a word, trashy, and got the auf wiedersehen from Heidi Klum.

Several items of note, so far in the series:
*Nina Garcia is as icy as ever and Michael Kors is as bitchy as ever, god love 'em both.

*The designers are stuck with one model for the entire season. I suppose this eliminates the whole humiliation factor felt by the model who, in effect, gets voted off by the final designer who didn't choose her. Interesting.

*Already there are complaints about 1) the forms and 2) the sewing machines. Zulema (the crazy woman who won't share closet space) blamed her super-short dress on the fact that her dress form didn't have an ass; Kara, the (talented) South African, was complaining about the sewing machines, and couldn't figure out how to thread it. As a Parsons graduate, I can tell you that none of the dress forms have asses, so you have to pad them with cotton batting. And, yes, the sewing machines are, as I once remarked to one of my classmates, designed to sew 100 pairs of trousers a day in a sweatshop. They're fast. Get over it.

*Speaking of Zulema, I think she's going to be the Wendy Pepper of this season. No, I take that back--I know she's going to be the Wendy Pepper of this season.

*I think I'm going to start a Project Runway drinking game; e.g., when Tim Gunn says, "Make it work," you get to chug!

Next week (er, this week): The designers have to create something for one of fashion's most stylish icons. Hmm...

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