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Episode 1 Recap

By CaitlinBergmann Thu., Jul. 28, 2011 ,4:06 pm EDT

Ladies and gentlemen, start your sewing machines and get ready!!!!!!! "Project Runway" is changing it up for Season 9. Exciting twist number one is that 20 designers are preliminarily cast from the open call auditions and then flown to New York to audition again for the celebrity judges and Tim.

I truly loved seeing the energy, nerves, passion and excitement each of the designer hopefuls shared within the few moments of watching. I can honestly say that for the first time since I was on Season 3, I started to get nervous for the designers. The whole process of opening yourself up to public praise and humility on an international level and displaying your talent only for it to be judged is a feeling I will never forget. The judges quickly eliminated four designers and sent them packing. Kudos to "Project Runway" for capturing these raw feelings and everyone involved in casting because I predict this season will be one of the most fascinating.

The 16 anxious cast members were able to let their hair down, only for a bit. Just enough time to get acquainted with the other designers and sip down some bubbly. Next was getting all settled into the Atlas apartments. Sure enough, within hours of hitting the hay, Tim wakes the designers at 5 am and asks them to come with him, wearing their pajamas and bringing one bed sheet. (This kind of reminded me of my first challenge where we tore our apartments apart using any materials we could find!)

The first tear was shed by “Han Solo," I like to call him, who shared his story of only having one testicle. Anthony Ryan is a color blind, 28-year-old that battled cancer, leaving him with only one ball. Luckily, this young lad did not lose his talent. I felt he did a splendid job transforming his fluorescent striped pajamas and white sheet into a grey, black, and green flattering ensemble.

A clear favorite of mine for this first episode is, of course, Miss Trinidad and Tobago. I am such a sucker for a pretty former pageant girl with an accent and a wicked sexy hairstyle. Anya Ayoung-Chee had to prove to the judges that she could truly sew after the interview round. She sure did, transforming her kimono sleepwear and bed linen into a sexy, fitted top with amazing back interest. She dyed her white she a steel grey and draped a pretty impressive pair of trouser pants for her model. My only problem with the pants was the bagginess in the crotch area that the judges seemed to overlook.

Now let’s discuss some of the downright awful fits that the judges did NOT overlook. Julie Tierney, a 35-year-old from Colorado, wowed the judges during the interview round with her really cool outerwear, but not so much with her underwear/pajama piece. The pants she made from her sheet were probably some of the worst fitting I have ever seen. She made them fit at the waist with these weird elastic gathered parts. And then there was the one shoulder top that just looked like a kindergartner might wear.

I would have to agree with the judges on this one: Rafael Cox fell far too short on this challenge, sending him home on challenge numero uno. He seemed like a little bit of an odd character. He had a fab leopard print turban that he practically refused using until Tim pointed out to him it was the most exciting textile he had to work with. Then he makes it into nothing, but a “Flintstones Disco Pouch” … is what Michael Kors called it. LMFAO. Michael, you so crazy with your adjectives, but your accessories are killing it in the stores right now, so props to you.

Mega props tonight has to go out to Bert. Bert Keeter is a 57-year-old recovering alcoholic that is making his way back into fashion after a 19-year hiatus. He has an impressive background, working for Bill Blass and Halston in their prime. Bert took his orange and white check boxer shorts and taupe t-shirt, along with his dyed sheet, and made a smart and sophisticated look. I could tell that Heidi, Nina, and Christina Ricci all wanted to get in Bert’s boxers. Hell, Michael Kors loved it so much, he probably wanted to try to squeeze into it as well … as long as he didn’t have to be styled like Bert’s model. The only negative comment for Bert was that his styling was dated. The design was truly exquisite.

There are so many designers and designs that I didn’t get to touch on, from Mormons to bronzed babes and Barbies, but I am sure next week will not disappoint. I will also be waiting on pins and needles to see when the emotions rise and we see the serious competition begin!