11 December 2005

Project Runway is back!

There are two kinds of reality shows. There are those whose primary focus is the drama that unfolds when you put dissimiliar people in difficult situations. Then there are the other shows that feature the same drama but it is only a backdrop to the tasks that the participants must complete. I prefer the latter, and Project Runway definitely belongs in this category. Unlike Survivor, a contestant will not get ahead on Project Runway by cheating or backstabbing others. It is one of my favorite reality shows and I am glad to see that it is back.

The first 30 minutes of the two-hour season premiere was the usual fare: some footage of the auditions in various major cites with extra focus on those who would end up being the 16 semi-finalists. Four contestants from the first season were brought back to help as judges. Also returning to compete again was Daniel Franco, the first designer cut from season one.

After the judges found 16 designers, Tim Gunn (from Parsons School for Design) gave all of them a challenge to complete before returning to New York. They were each given six yards of muslin and $20 for notions to create a garment that best represented their fashion sensibility. This competition would result is two people being eliminated.

Comments on the first runway show:

--John from LA looked like he was out of his league. I thought his dress was cute but too simple. Looking at his portfolio on the show's website, I could see that he has talent. He just didn't step up his game.

--Poor Diana from FL and all that business with the magnets. Why didn't she just tack the skirt up when she saw that the magnets weren't going to work?

--The judges gave Heidi from Atlanta a bit of a hard time in my opinion by calling her dress "all trim". A lot of the stuff I see in the stores would be nothing without the trim. Maybe I just didn't want to see them pick on the southern girl :-).

Santino was announced as the winner of the first runway challenge. Daniel F. was chastised because the bodice of his dress didn't fit (the same problem he had in season one) but he was allowed to stay. John was eliminated because he didn't spend enough time on his design. Heidi was also cut because they felt she didn't have enough vision.

After having models assigned to them for the preliminary challenge, the designers got a chance to pick their own models at the top of the second hour. Even though this is also a competition for the models, the show doesn't focus on them enough for you to care who wins. I think the show's creators realized this because this season they had the designers choose one model to use for the whole run rather than picking a different one for every challenge. Of course, the designers weren't told this beforehand so those who chose someone other than their favorite just to try something new looked a little shocked.

The second challenge was for each designer to take the clothes they wore to the party the night before and create a new outfit from them. Each person had dressed to impress so some of them were a little upset at the thought of deconstructing their favorite clothing items. They were given nine hours to complete their garments, but many of them were still sewing as they fitted the models the next day.

Comments on second runway show:

--Santino and Guadalupe's dresses both reminded me of the bag-lady fashion that we all wore in the '80s. I know that couture can be a little "out there", but on my personal score card I give high marks for wearability. Both of those outfits had too many fiddly bits.

--I didn't like Emmett's jacket made from pants, but his dress was great. The jacket looked like it was choking the model.

--Raymundo and Daniel F. created outfits that looked totally different than their original pieces without bringing Frankenstein to mind.

--Daniel V.'s skirt buttoned up the front and it was gaping open right at the model's crotch. A big no-no!

--Diana, the little tech girl, was wearing an ugly outfit to the party and she actually turned it into something better. Thank goodness she cut that original coat up so she couldn't wear it again!

--Zulema created a dress out of a short cardigan. Why on earth didn't she use the jeans she was wearing, too? The poor model's butt cheeks were hanging out in the back. When questioned, Zulema blamed it on the model's body instead of her design. That's just wrong.

Chloe was the ultimate winner of the challenge. I didn't like her dress; it was reminiscent of the jersey dresses I wore in the early '90s. Still, it was impressive that she could be creative with so little. Kirsten, the attorney, was eliminated because her trashy t-shirt just didn't cut it. She didn't have the skill to use her family heirloom scarf without cutting it.

Other thoughts:

People who ramble on these shows drive me nuts. When Andrae was asked about his inspiration for his garment, he went on and on. The only thing worse is when the contestants cry. If you shed a couple tears when you win the whole shebang, that's fine. There are some people, though, who cry on every episode (like Suzy and Matt on The Biggest Loser). Thank goodness for the mute and fast-forward buttons.

As much as I dislike contestants crying, however, I didn't think it showed good sportsmanship for Santino to stand on stage and laugh at Andrae. Every time the camera cut to him, he had this look on his face that said, "This guy is digging a hole for himself and making it easier for me to win!" He derived too much enjoyment from Andrae's self-destruction.

What is it with the lawyers who want to be fashion designers? They had a lawyer from Charlotte on the first season, and now they have a lawyer/swimsuit designer this season. Law and fashion design seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I can tell from the previews that there is going to be more rambling, more crying, and more outrageous designs. I can't wait!
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