Huzzah! It has finally arrived. After an ownership court battle, a dramatic network change, and tepid last season in Los Angeles, and what seems like countless hours of waiting and waiting, our Project pilgrimage ends here. Season 7 of Project Runway is back in New York, back to the tried and true formula that originally drew millions of viewers, and back to the showcasing of some seriously eccentric characters and their ideas of fashion (though that part never really left.)
The season opened with the 16 chosen designers finding their various apartment and roommates within New York's Atlas building, the original Project Runway housing facility. They each brought with them a varying degree of luggage, but all seemed to have that giddy sense of anticipation as they boasted of their design background and how they got into fashion. 37-year old Seth Aaron from Vancouver is the first to arrive, with his laidback, rock n' roll vibe, his bed-head hair, and his guyliner. He says he loves the silhouette of vintage pieces, but reinvents them to be more sophisticated yet edgy. 33-year old Ping from Chicago, born in China, explained how her occupation as a physical therapist allows her to know the true movements of the body and therefore design clothing that will enhance that.
Bespectacled Jonathon from Providence, RI says his specialty is creating artistic elements to his pieces like hand-painted patterns and splatter paint. And 27-year old Janeane from Portland, OR is just grateful she's there, she starts to tear up—and as we find out later doesn't stop. Probably the most charismatic designer would have to be the kooky and oft-quotable Anthony from Atlanta. Right off the bat he lays his story down by saying, "It is hell to be black, gay, and in the ghetto." We can only imagine. But Anthony's humor and fabulosity quickly made him the most interesting to follow for me. As far as is design forte? Pageant dresses. Well, maybe he'll grow out of that.
After the designers meet their roommates they climb to the Atlas building's roof for the traditional welcome ceremony with Heidi and Tim. They bid them good luck as they sip their champagne (pregnant Heidi sips cider) and get the designers geared up for their first challenge. As it turns out, their first challenge is all about creating a garment that represents themselves and their personal style. Meeting up in Central Park the next day, the designers have to first grab as many fabrics as they can from a makeshift Mood store set up in the park. Thinking their armloads are what they'll be working with, they all find out to their dismay that they can only choose five fabrics to create their one of a kind look. What resulted was a spectrum of fashions as eclectic as the designers themselves, as each one tried to add elements that described their personal design style.
In the workroom, fabrics are ripped, rolled, and unfurled and some contestants start to have trouble with time management. Emilio, 43, from New York is still pinning the fabric of his purple patterned dress when most of the designers are in the sewing room. Tim Gunn arrives for critiques and put the kibosh of Janeane's simple black sheath and Anthony's concept of using too different fabrics. It's not long before the designers can see they truly have their work cut out for them.
Before you can say "Make it work!" the first runway show is upon them and despite some obstacles with zippers, hemlines, and fit, the designers all seem confident that their first display for the judges will end up bumping them up to the top. Guest judge Nicole Richie, resplendent in a ankle length boho chic dress, looked friendly and poised as the show began. Many of the looks, like 21-year old Maya's mini with the fabric flower at the shoulder or actor Jesse's three piece herringbone skirt suit, were innovative enough to keep the majority of the designers safe. But the six looks that skimmed the top and the bottom of the pile were a testament to the diverse styles, and experience levels, of the overall group.
Emilio's design – the winner!
The top three looks belonged to Emilio, who initially felt he would not finish in time. Nicole Richie gushed about the fun, flirty nature of the full skirt while judge Nina Garcia commended him on the apparent work that shone through the layered ribbons of fabric. Seth Aaron was also lauded for the meticulous elements of his rock chick design, as well as the wearability the judges thought the piece had. Ping's heavily draped fabrics earned Kudos from Richie, who said the pieces were her favorite in the bunch. Garcia agreed, saying the clothes did have a certain degree of hanger appeal, and looked great on the body, while judge Michael Kors approved of the artful, avant-g
Christiane's design – 'You're out!"
The bottom three looks came compliments of Anthony, 21-year old Jesus, and 29-year old Christiane. The judges thought Anthony's cocktail dress had questionable construction, especially in the back, and the fabric did not blend well with the shape of the dress. Also, Michael Kors was not a fan of the big fold on the side of the skirt. Jesus' evening gown, his apparent specialty, was also frowned upon for the blah, allover snakeskin fabric, and the awkward hemline that cut off the skirt above the new. And poor Christiane, a couture veteran who claimed her pieces had been recently worn on the red carpet, did not win praise for her piecey, mismatched, one-shouldered dress that overlapped two different fabrics. The judges said the dress looked cheap, not well made, and messy. Ouch.
In the end, Emilio took the first challenge crown for his fun and flippy minidress while Christiane was bid Auf Weidersehen for disappointing design. Interestingly enough, the pieces of the winning and losing designer were not that different, both being one-shouldered dresses using two different fabrics. This made the contrast between the two that much more apparent since Emilio's was an example of the right way of manipulating the fabrics and shape, while Christiane just ended coming up short. But as the first episode to kick off the new season, your heartstrings aren't tugging quite yet. There are still many adventures to look forward to as we accompany the remaining designers on their journey. See you next week!
"It's hell being black, gay, and in the ghetto!" -Anthony
"I want to discover the place where gritty meets pretty." -Jonathon
"I'm thinking 'Lord have mercy! It looks like Mood fabrics have come out here and lay their fabrics to dry.'"-Anthony – seeing the Fabrics out in Central Park.
"Tim says 'go" and we are like fat people at an open buffet in Vegas." -Emilio, on the designers grabbing their fabrics.
"It doesn't wrap!" -Ping, waving her roll of fabric like a flag
"It's time to make it work!" (In Tim Gunn's voice) -Ben
"Let's talk about the important stuff. What are you wearing to the runway show? (I'm wearing Something I can look dignified going home in." Jonathon, on what he'll wear to the first runway show
"Ping?" "Yes?" "Are you cold? "No." "You're all enshrouded!" – Tim Gunn and Ping on her curious manner of using herself as a model to drape her design
"I just introduced her to you, but you just decided you don't want to meet her so I'm just gonna put her out." -Anthony to Tim Gunn, when Tim disapproves of the use of a second fabric
"The tension I have…I'm sweating like a Baptist preacher!" -Anthony
"It looks like you glued a few different dresses together….Frankly not a lot of women are going to wan to wear the3ta appendage on their hips…she could go to a garden party and steal champagne bottles." -Michael Kors on Anthony's dress
"She looks like a Hershey's chocolate bar." -Nina Garcia on Jesus' dress
"The hem from hell.." -Michael Kors on Jesus' dress
"She looks like a huge crocodile trunk exploded on an evening gown." -Michael Kors on Jesus' dress
"In a lounge in Vegas in 1972 that would have been glamorous, but not now!" -Michael Kors on Jesus' dress
"In said you are "in" before I change my mind…auf weidersehen leave the runway!" -Heidi Klum to Anthony as he stood stunned.
Photo Source: Lifetime TV
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Tags: "Make it work!", "Project Runway", Alia Rajput, Anthony, Atlas Building, back in New York, Christiane', competition, Emilio, episode 1, Heidi Klum, Jesus, judges, memorable quotes, Michael Kors, Nicole Richie, Nina Garcia, reality TV, Season 7, Seth, Tim Gunn, TV