Monday, January 18, 2010

Project Runway, Season 7 - Episode 1

The seventh season of Project Runway could not have come sooner. Literally. If it had come sooner, it would've been before the Season 6 finale. But, let's be honest, if there were ever a season to quickly brush under the rug and forget about, it was Season 6. Do you even remember who won? Me neither. Luckily, Season 7 is bringing us back to good ol' New York City, Atlas Apartments and Parsons School of Design. Feels like home again.

The beginning of a season always seems so stressful - you don't want to get too attached to anyone in the first episode, because chances are they'll end up being terrible and getting sent home. It's bad enough their dreams are being crushed, I don't need to put my emotions in danger. So in these first few reviews I'll just highlight the designers that stood out.

Let's start with the obvious: Miss Ping. Ohhhhhh, Ping. She is a reality TV producer's dream; coo-coo crazy doesn't even begin to do her justice. Though, as Elisa taught us in Season 4, sometimes designers from another planet can bring a few pleasant surprises with them to Earth (and, hey, at least Ping didn't spit on her fabric yet). Her design was a little too "free" for my taste - and I think unless that changes, the judges are going to start calling her out for her lack of structure and tailoring.

Another designer that quickly jumped to the spotlight for things other than actual design was Anthony, who had me at "And I'm thirsty." He is incredibly self-aware, almost to the point of obnoxious. Take note, Project Runway designers: you can only be the "Christian Siriano" if you have the goods to back it up, and you tone it down in front of the judges. I may enjoy your gay gasps and over-the-top facial expressions, but Heidi Klum will only tolerate them for so long, especially if you have ugly, hip-expanding dresses going down the runway.

Speaking of ugly garments, let's talk about Jesus and whatshername (oh, right...Christiane...not that anyone will need to ever remember that). Jesus' brown alligator gown suffered from the rookie mistake of thinking the judges wouldn't notice that horizontal seam the skirt-to-dress change created. Sorry, Jesus, they see all. Christiane, on the other hand, was incredibly confident in her design. Unfortunately, it gave me flashbacks (nightmares?) of Qrystil's design aesthetic from last season (see? I did remember something!) and, on top of that, was poorly constructed. That is never a good combination on PRun, and she was auf'd.

But never fear. There were actually some wonderful garments on that runway! Emilio, though he struggled with time, created a wonderful dress (pictured above) that wove appliqued fabric across the bodice and down into the skirt. This is the kind of innovation and creativity the challenge called for - using quickly-collected fabrics to express your point of view. Instead of just sewing together a dress, Emilio really thought about how to manipulate the materials to create something new and exciting.

Other designers I am keeping my eye on for greatness: Seth Aaron (runner-up, plaid and zippers), Jonathan ("gritty meets pretty")

And other designers I'm not keeping my hopes up for: Janeane (aka The Crier), Pamela (hot pink, backless grossness)

This cast seems to be a good blend of personality and talent, and thankfully these designers seem to embrace color! So far, I think we're off to a good start.
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