Ninety minutes, Lifetime? Ninety minutes!?! To take a show that’s about 60 percent filler, and then tack on another 30 minutes of filler — well, that’s just cruel. Think of the recappers, we say! Welcome back to Project Runway, now with more montages of designers and sewing machines, and strange, though not unwelcome, backstage commentary from Tim and Heidi. They’ve jazzed up the show a bit this season, adding more of the stuff that you don’t really care about (interviews with the designers, judges’ commentary), yet not any additional time to, you know, look at the clothes. And yet, it seems like there’s a good, drama-happy crowd this season, and so we won’t complain about the additional running time. Because we have nothing better to do on a Thursday night than watch a movie-length version of Project Runway. (Please leave your thoughts about the longer running time in the comments. Yay or nay?)
The first episode of any PR season is sort of tough. We can’t remember anyone’s name and there are so many dresses on the runway that they all blend together. This year’s notable contestants include: Peach from Lake Forest, a 50-year-old who designs for “ladies who lunch." Ivy, who people say resembles Vera Wang, and somewhat ominously declares, “I think Project Runway is the Ivy show!” Famous last words, sweetheart. McKell, from Utah, who has dreads and a baby, in that order. Jason, who decides it’s a good idea to wear a bowler hat, so that he can “throw the competition off.” (The last time we were intimidated by someone wearing a bowler hat, it was 1928 and we were being chased by Al Capone.) Mondo, who describes himself as “misunderstood,” but we think we understand him perfectly. April likes morgues, Gretchen is a hippie, and Casanova is kind of frightening. No one else made any sort of impression, but there are many 90-minute episodes in our future, and so we have a feeling everyone will get his or her moment to shine.
Heidi and Tim arrive at Lincoln Center (“the new home of Fashion Week!”) to inform the designers that they’re actually still in the process of auditioning, and one person will be sent home today without moving into the luxurious Atlas apartment buildings. Sad. They’re asked to take one item out of their suitcases to use in the challenge, and then — the twist! — they're told to pass it to the contestant to their right. They then have five hours to create a garment, which is apparently the shortest challenge in Project Runway history. On to the runway slideshow, to see how everyone did!
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Gretchen — The Winner!
Gretchen is a sustainable clothing designer from Portland, and she’s got that natural, hippie-chic aesthetic going for her. (Plus, she kind of looks like a Noxzema girl. Some people have all the luck.) For the challenge, Gretchen got April’s sparkly jacket thingy, and created this simple yet interesting black dress, using the sparkles on the shoulder area. “You had one of the worst materials to work with, and you turned it into something chic and fashionable,” says Heidi. Nina calls the dress “sophisticated,” and guest judge Selma Blair says it’s “simply elegant.” And for that, Gretchen is the winner!
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Hilariously, Valerie got Casanova’s $1,070 Dolce & Gabbana pants to work with, and it seemed she took perverse pleasure in ripping them up right in front of him. We weren’t huge fans of her khaki and neon strapless mini — why is the khaki eating the model’s breasts? — but it sent her through to the next round.
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Ivy — Bottom Six
Let’s face it: Ivy is irritating. She refers to herself as an “energizer bunny,” which pretty much tells you all you need to know. Her printed pedal pushers(made out of, yes, Peach’s printed pedal-pushers) and ruffled blouse combo fell flat with the judges. “It’s very confusing to me,” says Michael. “You took the pant and turned it into a caaaapri,” said Nina, whose emphasis on the “A” of capri shows her (very) high sophistication level. “When she came out I thought, Wow, she made pants out of pants! How interesting…not,” said Heidi, who must be forgiven for her use of “not,” about 20 years behind the curve. Language barrier, you see. The judges give Ivy another chance, but barely.
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Peach had to work with Michael’s poorly made scarf, which kept falling apart on her (Michael seemed tres offended at her assessment, but Peach got Tim to agree with her, so, one point Peach). Her country club halter dress used the scarf as a neckpiece, and was good enough to send her through.
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Nicholas — Bottom Six
Each season, there’s one quivering designer whose sensitive nature just isn’t cut out for the competition. Nicholas is this year’s wimp. Poor guy. The judges deemed his gown, which used the bottom of a jacket as the top piece, “boring.” “This is too quiet,” said Nina. After deciding that Nicolas does indeed know how to make clothes, the judges give him a pass (probably also to keep him from bawling his eyes out).
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Casanova — Bottom Six
It’s shocking that Casanova was allowed to stay in the game after he sent this piece of fabric down the runway. Michael, as usual, described it better than we ever could: “It’s odd, that’s the only word for it. She’s the mother of the bride who’s a belly dancer. She’s sexaholic, but conservative, I don’t know who she is. She’s a pole dancer in Dubai.” Nina whipped out the big guns. “It’s questionable in taste,” she sneered. Selma both loved it and loathed it. “It’s something you find in a weird store in the mall that’s called, like, Dazzles…That has, like, wigs and dresses,” she said, funnily. Casanova is safe, but not for long, we bet.
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April — Bottom Six
April’s untailored, inside-out tux jacket over a black dress did not impress the judges. Heidi called it “a hot mess,” and Nina said that the model looked like “an eighties street walker.” If you’re going to go trashy, April, at least keep it modern! Yet she’s going through to the next round, lucky girl.
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Jason *212; Bottom Six
Jason destroyed Andy’s kimono, cutting it up, and putting it on the model, backwards. Heidi nailed it with, “This to me looks exactly like my hair-dressing cape.” Nice one. You could see the staples holding the garment together, which Jason readily admitted, looking sheepish in his bowler. Selma, however, thinks there’s something interesting about it, so Jason gets to continue on his journey.
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Mondo’s barf-colored patterned mod dress was apparently good enough to send him through (despite the “wonky” hems). To his credit, the barf-colored fabric was the one he had to use. See you next week, Mondo!
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McKell — The Loser!
Poor McKell was misled by Tim, who admired her dress when he saw it in the workroom (it was crafted from a button-down shirt and used shiny fabric for the skirt). Nina liked that she mixed fabrics, but called the styling “a trainwreck.” “Side cleavage is a rare, thrilling moment for any woman,” snarked Michael about the ill-fitting top. Heidi, ever subtle, called it “butt-ugly.” McKell was the first designer given the axe, and in a sad final moment, the other designers clapped for her, thinking she’d made it through. Goodbye, McKell, the short-lived Crystal Bowersox of Project Runway.
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What is that strange hat, you say? Well, we have no idea! Andy is safe.
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Sarah’s cute, crotch-grazing romper is actually somewhat wearable, a cardinal PR sin, yet she made it through with no issues. There is something about Sarah that is personally off-putting, though we can’t put our finger on it yet. Leave thoughts in the comments, please.
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Kristin’s layered black dress used Mondo’s kilt as a collar. For that, it is funny. And good enough to get her onto episode two.
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Christopher is good-looking, and right now, that’s about all we know about him. Oh, and he enjoys collars that would look lovely on Queen Elizabeth.
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AJ’s clothes are loud, we’re told, and this poufy Madonna-inspired eighties prom dress did not disappoint. The bustier top, at least, is somewhat attractive. Otherwise…pouf!
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Michael’s D.s’ draped, silk dress is kind of weird, right? Especially if you look close and see that beaded back floral collar. What is that? But we don’t hate it at all.
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The only attractive part of this outfit is the Y-shape of the back. Otherwise, it’s a little working girl. But we’re rooting for Michael C., who we think they’re positioning as this year’s Anthony. Go Michael C.! Beat Michael D.!