"Hi, everybody. It's Season 9," cooed our favorite fraulein, Ms. Heidi Klum, and it feels oh so good to have Project Runway back in our lives!
As predicted, the sheer volume of designers and garments at this stage of the game is pretty overwhelming, but it also meant that the episode moved along briskly—I hardly had time to remember how much I typically dislike the 90-minute format! Even nine seasons in, this show figures out a way to mix things up, keep things fresh and always entertain me.
There's so much ground to cover after last night's season premiere, so let's not waste anymore time celebrating the show's return like a bunch of fussy fanboys. There are judgments to be made and harsh criticisms to dole out!
- Twist: Well, it wasn't really a twist since we knew about it beforehand, but we had our first auf'ing only 15 minutes into the first episode! Twenty designers made it through the "Road to the Runway" casting special, but their first task was to present their work to Michael, Nina, Heidi and Tim, after which four of them were instantly eliminated. They didn't even get to move in to the Atlas Apartments. As Heidi said, "because we're a little bit mean that way." And you know what? I loved it. I didn't pay too much attention during this section because, let's be honest, there are so many designers and 4 of them were about to be completely irrelevant anyway. So after their 15 minutes of fame dried out we bid farewell to David my hometown Boston boy, Amanda who hates rompers but designs them anyway, Serena who foolishly cancelled her Icelandic wedding and Gunner Deatherage who has the the best name in reality TV history. Ta ta!
- Challenge: The designers got an early wake-up call from Tim at 5am and were told to leave with just the clothes on their backs—no time to put on a bra!—and one bed sheet. Those materials were the only ones they were allowed to use for the challenge (except for a few trimmings from the Mood discount bin). Time to make it work!
- Top Three:
- Anthony - I have to admit that I wasn't blown away by Anthony's tank top and skirt combination, especially with that "pubic patch" of lace smacked in the front and back of the skirt, which was also a bit too short. The top was the real highlight—he didn't overdo the trimmings and I can see a lot of women running right toward that tank top on a rack.
- Anya - Miss Trinidad who "can't sew" turned out a pretty killer look. I loved the colors and the racer back of the top. The pants were a great idea, and for never sewing pants before she did a decent job, but the judges totally blew her craftsmanship out of proportion. There needed be a lot of tweaking with the fit of those pants to make them as perfect as they were made out to be.
- Bert - All hail Bert, the sassy old queen of Season 9! Have we ever had someone the likes of Bert on Project Runway? And if you say Vincent, I'll slap you. I loved the integration of the orange checkered boxer shorts into the bodice, but I wasn't too crazy about the taupe-y colors. Still, it was stylish, sexy, elegant and interesting. Now if he can just figure out how to style his model to not look like she's one of Charlie's Angels, we'll be good to go.
- Bottom Three:
- Josh - Oh dear. Oh my. Oh, Lord. This looked completely unfinished and miserably constructed. And even if it was finished, who would want to wear this housewife sportswear? The shrug was a glimmer of a good idea, but that's as far as it went. His design was unimaginative and horribly made. Not the way you want to start out on Project Runway.
- Julie - The snowboard chick with the awesome outerwear fell flat on her face last night. The idea of having a bold, colorful graphic top was great, but the print and the way it was executed was all wrong. And don't even get me started on those pants. When Michael Kors tells you the only purpose for a pocket you've made is for girls to masturbate, that's a serious (and disturbing) problem.
- Rafael - The worst offender of the evening by far was Rafael, who almost didn't use the most interesting fabric he had because he was having a bad hair day. Ugh. The pants were too tight, too high and generally heinous. The top was incredibly unflattering. Put them together and you have quite a disaster on your hands. Honestly, who would wear that?! This elicited the best line of the night from Michael, who called the weak use of the leopard print scarf a "Flinstone disco patch." Amazing.
- Honorable Mention: At this stage of the game, many designers who are deserving of the Top Three are mixed in with the Middle Crowd. I absolutely adored Fallene's dress, complete with a clown puking rainbows into a toilet. It would've been worth it just to hear the judges' reaction to that patch.
- Dishonorable Mention: Miss Kimberly should be thanking her lucky stars that the Bottom Three were as bad as they were, because her backless top looked like a pair of deflated lungs. And I would love to know why Olivier designs things that are so drab and depressing. Cheer up, boy with a British accent! You're on TV!
- And the winner is: Sassy Old Gay Bert! Hooray! He's definitely one of my favorites so far personality-wise (especially when he said he was 102 years old), and once he gets his styling under control he'll be a force to be reckoned with. Of course, by the looks of the "coming up this season" preview, he'll be involved in quite a bit of drama as well. Don't let those young whippersnappers take you down, Queen Bert!
- Auf Wiedersehen to: Rafael, who I will barely remember when it's time for the reunion special. Sayonara!