Project Runway, Ep. 1 — Stunned, Shocked, & Speechless!!

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aka Dazed & Confused! Of course, as a blogger, we know I’m not speechless, but I’m certainly all of the other alliterative “S” adjectives I mentioned above, along with a few others in fact! Despite the shock value, it was still a great Project Runway premiere night. I enjoyed watching the full 2 and a 1/2 hours. I hadn’t watched the “meet the designer” videos on Lifetime’s website so I really enjoyed the intro episode prior to the Season 13 premiere. It was great seeing that so many designers had really persevered to get where they are today and to make it on PR, whether it was from repeat auditions or a “rags to stitches” tale. And just as I mentioned in my own introductory PR post, it was hard to tell who would leave during this 1st episode. I had some hunches, but this was just one of the many shockers I was in store for during this premiere!

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So of the 18 new designers, sadly, 3 were quickly eliminated. Each designer presented a few pieces to the firing squad, aka “the judges”, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, & Zac Posen. I’m assuming the designers presented their audition pieces, basically showcasing who they are as a designer. So my first shock of the night came from who went home right off the bat!

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You could definitely tell there were some early judges’ faves. But personally, I was very surprised that both Emmanuel & Tim were cut. Maybe one, but both?? Heck, when I wrote my intro post, two of the six images I used were from them. I wouldn’t say I pegged them as potential winners, but something about their previous work did catch my eye! I wasn’t quite as shocked by Nzinga’s elimination, but I still applaud a designer who has a clear POV; it just wasn’t the judges’ POV.

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But we are still very early on in the PR process and that is how the PR cookie crumbles — each week, one designer must go. We just started this season off a bit differently, with 4 gone by the 1st episode’s end. But as we bidded adieu to three designers, one was “welcomed” to the fold. America casted their votes for the Runway Redemption candidates, Ken Laurence (Season 12), Alexander Pope (Season 12), and Amanda Valentine (Season 11). I’m generally not a fan of mixing new cast members with old ones, and this is for any competitive reality show. But I always considered Season 11 a bit unfair; it was very different than every other season. And I think if the designers weren’t forced to work in groups the entire season and further, were not eliminated based on those groupings, the season might have turned out differently. So just as I rooted for Katelyn Pankoke to come back last season, my choice this year was Amanda Valentine, and it was for the same reason. So I was very happy Amanda was the one chosen! With 16 designers ready to go, it was time for them to get their 1st challenge!

The designers were to create one piece this week that would give the judges a glimpse of what their Spring 2015 collection might look like. There was of course a huge twist though, “a trunk of doom!” Each designer was given a trunk with 5 fabric options, not likely their 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd choices! The designers didn’t have the same fabrics so they were left to just create or get to bartering! I think the other designers didn’t want to give the vet much help though, so it seemed as if Amanda wasn’t able to play the trade-game. And as per PR usual, the challenge only allowed for one day so the designers were off to quickly work! Tim was also back to his norm PR mentor status, giving a great mix of helpful advice.

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Back in the workroom we were already seeing a few gossip sessions going on, mainly Mitchell & Korina — highly doubt they will be the only ones though! Mitchell redeemed himself somewhat, very nice of him to help out Sandhya when he finished his look. There were very interesting moments during the model fittings this week — many designers not ready and making some determinations as to what could be hanging out a little (side-boob, etc.)! The most stress and time management issues came from Angela & Sandhya this week, but no worries, no naked models went down the runway! Sooner rather than later it was time for the runway show. Heidi announced the Tim Gunn save would be back this season and that the prize package this year was over $300K. The judges were joined this week by Emmy award winning “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen. With so many designers presenting this week, it had to be tough naming a top and bottom 3. It was no surprise that this was where even more shockers came to fruition.

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There were certainly a lot of safe looks this week. Many will have to step it up — I will hold off on names for now! But two looks I thought stood out and I was surprised weren’t given any top contention, were Korina’s tomato red look & Sean’s chic knee-length dress, pure minimalism at its best. I guess that is what happens though when you have 4 different judges scoring 16 designers!

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The bottom 3 wasn’t so surprising, but because of its unpredictability with so many designers, I was going to be shocked no matter who went home. Angela’s 2-piece look certainly had some mistakes, but I saw some other mistakes go down the runway too. There was a lot going on in this look, and with how much airtime she got this week, you could definitely see her bottom 3 placement coming! But I wouldn’t peg her as a repeat offender quite yet. I think she can bounce back!

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Mitchell was another bottom 3 placement I wasn’t so surprised by. Tim wasn’t a fan of this look either. I think he mixed his fabric choices well, but the look was very basic, definitely not a show-stopper. It also seemed very “junior” and for this show, that is not what the judges are looking for.

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The big surprise of the bottom 3 was not Jefferson’s placement, but that he went home. I was not a fan of his prior work because I’m not a fan of drop crotch pants. The main issue with this look was exactly what Nina said — proportions, mainly, the shorts were toooooooo short! I don’t think he should have gone home though. But Heidi seemed to not dislike Mitchell’s look quite as much as the others so I’m guessing Heidi had the final say-so on this one!

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While the bottom was not so jaw-dropping, the top 3 was a completely different story. I, like pretty much every other designer, thought Sandhya was for sure in the bottom. I didn’t think she would go home, but to find out she was in the top, needless to say I was stunned. However, later finding out she was the night’s winner, I kind of went from shocked to disappointed. In certain PR seasons, the judges hang onto a fave (Patricia Michaels, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Alexandria von Bromssen). America is not always on the same page! I’m hoping Sandhya is not that token fave this season that will get by with work such as this just because the judges have drank some crazy Kool-aid and are in a love-fest! The judges said Angela’s look had far too much going on, well what the heck do they think this is — frayed edges, capped sleeves, dyes, prints, etc. Based off of Sandhya’s prior work, I also don’t think anything in her collection would look like this. And also, with this floral curtain-like print, the dye, the color chosen, it just looks like a stained old piece of drapery. I am still completely baffled by this decision, but that’s PR for you!

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I think based on the task at hand and with who the judges picked for the top 3, Char should have won. This looked like a piece Char would actually have in her collection and it also read “Spring!”

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But Amanda too had a very chic and well put together look. If this is the new Amanda aesthetic, I can’t wait to see more. I’m not sure if it screamed “Spring”, but I could see it being in Amanda’s wheelhouse. And I disagree with Julie on the use of the pattern. A basic top and pants would have been a yawner! But the print made the pants pop and I was also impressed by the great fit they had.

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And finally, just like my UTG posts, I will name a stand-out for Aldo accessories, Mary-Kay beauty looks, and Philip B. hair looks!

pr13-rr-ep1-fzg-f     For my stand-out Aldo accessories look, I pick  fäde zu grau — statement jewelry pieces (bracelet & necklace), but not over-the-top or overshadowing the look, & simple, elegant black heels. I also think he did a great job of intermixing his printed fabrics for the skirt portion of his dress.

pr13-rr-ep1-hl-f    For my standout Philip B. hair & Mary Kay make-up look, it’s one in the same — Hernan Lander — chic ponytail & clean, fresh beauty look/

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6 thoughts on “Project Runway, Ep. 1 — Stunned, Shocked, & Speechless!!

  1. I disagree with your thoughts on Sandhya but then I do have a bit of a “stake” in how well she does as a family member of hers works at the same place as I do in Birmingham. I have no inside news as he/she doesn’t speak of how she is doing (or did) in the competition.
    Was watching “24 Hour Catwalk” (Dimitri and Natalia were both on different episodes of this show) and was listening to the judges trying to decide on a winner. The judges were Cynthia Rowley, James LaForce and Derek Blasberg. They were at a deadlock. Blasberg asked, “Do we want to reward the guy who has the concepts or reward the girl who makes the clothes that people actually want to buy?” And Cynthia Rowley said, “You just stated the biggest controversy in fashion, really.” Who won? The guy with the concepts…..

    • It’s not that I’m totally saying I don’t care for Sandhya, it was just this one piece. I don’t think it deserved the win. If she goes back to work like she showed to get on the show, looks that I thought looked great, then I’m good to go w/ Sandhya. But this dress just looked so messy and unfinished. I think if someone were to wear this on the street, people truly might think the dip-dye was a stain & not dye. Maybe it read differently in person, but yea, I just wasn’t a fan of this look. I’m eager to see what else she can put down the runway. With the judges loving it as much as they clearly did, fine, have it in the top, but the actual winning look, I’m just not seeing the logic there.

      But definitely eager to see more from everyone!

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