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Category: "season 9"

15
THU

Men Are From Mars...

Posted By Antonia L. 5:32pm GMT

Growing up in a household full of women definitely would have helped me in this week’s challenge, mainly because I had to listen to them bitch about men not understanding them. Typically, men just do not pay attention to what women wear, more what they are not wearing. Luckily, the designers were given the measurements of their client. I can only imagine how many models wouldn’t have had a garment to wear down the runway if their significant other had to describe or guess their sizes.

 I was actually quite proud of how much these men knew about their girlfriends' or wives' wardrobes. Was this luck? It poses some interesting questions for me. I wonder if these women gave their beaus a little fashion boot camp on their personal style before the show so that they wouldn’t look like idiots on national television. Let’s face it: Everyone wants to win, even if a little cheating is involved. Can we say “patternmaking books”? Even if these men had a little coaching, that didn’t keep some ugly from walking down the runway, and I’m not talking about the models.

The least of the beasts would have to be Bert’s minidress. This V-neck hoochie-mama cocktail dress was exactly what both clients wanted, and that clearly showed. I am just uninspired by Bert’s work here lately. He is going to have to really pull something out of his bag of tricks if he is going to last.

Anthony Ryan’s frock left me saying, “What the #$%*?” How can he have such great taste one week and then do what he produced this week? While the model was pleased with his creation, it was not pleasing to look at. Even the color palette was all wrong. He could have made a really cute modernized fifties pinup-inspired dress, but chose to make such a simple ugly dress. The ugliest dress of all had to have been Bryce’s pink pocket dress. The fit was horrible as well as the design. The stress really got to him this week. At least he gets to go home to his boyfriend now.

 Joshua and Viktor clearly had the best designs this week. I personally would have chosen Viktor as the winner, because his outfit was so perfect for the client, and it was so incredibly well tailored and was so many separate pieces. The color palette was very fresh and different. Joshua did a great job on editing and manipulated the lace beautifully, but the construction of his dress was quite simple. I was surprised to see Anya in the top again, though. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, but this week’s dress was a miss for me. She used beautiful fabrics, but the dress reminded me of a “Lion King” costume.

Speaking of theater, where is the drama? I am talking about the emotion and feeling from the garments on the runway the past few episodes. These designers are going to have to really step it up. I am waiting for something to blow me away. There has been a little drama amongst the cast this season, but only with the queens really. I am surprised that there hasn’t been any model drama. Even this week, all of the models ended up pleased with their garments. There are still several weeks left, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

09
FRI

Prayer Circle or Circle of Jerks?

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Team Nuts and Bolts cancel, delayed HP fabricLet me set the stage for you on how this week's drama unfolds. Heidi informs the 10 designers that they will be in two teams of five. Before bitter Bert can even join his team onstage, he is mumbling negative comments under his breath and not owning up to it when Heidi asks. Not only are Joshua McKinley and Bert on a team together, but you throw in a little Becky and you have a match made in hell. Luckily, Laura and Kimberly are on this team to help keep the insanity to a minimum. The bedbugs definitely crawled in Joshua McKinley's pants this week as his attitude and temper was unleashed on Bert. The true colors of these characters are really starting to show. Joshua flew off the handle and caused a big dramatic gay scene in the workroom when Bert said something under his breath about his clock print not printing. Bert's comment was not even directed at anyone on his team, yet Joshua made it his business like he was the team captain or something. I haven't seen a tantrum like that since "Toddlers and Tiaras," both equally a train wreck that I just couldn't stop watching. Everyone's mouth in the workroom was open in awe of such irrational, childish behavior. This negative energy completely set the tone for Team Nuts and Bolts.

Viktor's gown in the HP fabric challengeThe energy was so bad that even Tim felt the tension and made the designers hold hands in a little prayer circle, completely humiliating on national television for this circle of jerks. Tim's prayer did put the designers on the right track, and a little teamwork and synergy surfaced. Unfortunately, this was a little too late, because Team Chaos had nothing but harmony.

Anya, Anthony Ryan, Viktor, Bryce and Olivier were professional and focused on what the challenge was all about. From the beginning, the entire team meshed and began feeding off of each other's creativity. I learned a long time ago that the absolute best quality to have in a stressful environment is a good attitude. Anthony Ryan had the first idea that spawned this creative think tank, which was to use the inspiration of an inkblot test. This inspired each of the designer's chaotic prints. In fashion, it is a designer's job to tell a story through clothing. The video that this team filmed was so perfect for the story they were telling about their mini collection. Anya had a brilliant idea of mirroring the video image to tie in the "chaos" to the video, which created a very unique end product. I feel every designer on this team also stepped out of their comfort zone by creating something challenging or different for them. Olivier got rave reviews on his tailored jacket, which is one of the hardest garments to make. Anya created a little cocktail dress, which was different for her, and Viktor made an exquisite evening gown that left me wanting to see more.

The judges had no trouble at all seeing the evident differences between the two collections and how the egos affected their outcomes. With Team Chaos offering Anya her first win, I thought this was well deserved, even though I thought Olivier might win for his mad tailoring skills. The terrifying last moments when Joshua and Becky were left standing on the runway ultimately sent Becky packing. I hope this close call taught Joshua a life lesson to be nicer to people. My grandmother used to always say, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," but sometimes vinegar makes for better TV.

12
FRI

A VERY Tall Order

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 12:23am GMT

Every designer loves a tall model, but this challenge takes this to a whole other level. Pun intended. When Heidi walks the runway and is 10 feet tall, the designers look overwhelmingly puzzled. A supermodel rocking stilts is not a normal sight. The designers immediately thought this was a circus challenge. Heidi informs these designer hopefuls that they will be working with stilt-walking models and instructs them to create an eye-catching, imaginative, larger-than-life outfit. She explains that this challenge will also be the first in "Project Runway" history to be held outside with a LIVE audience and press. My hat goes off to the producers for always keeping us on our toes. I think the hardest part of this challenge would be deciding whether to design a more ready-to-wear look or a costume.

Heidi paired the designers into seven teams, and immediately the drama began to unfold. The first team announced was Viktor and Ber. Viktor was quite vocal that he was not excited about being paired with Bert. This set the tone for how their next 24 hours would unfold. I couldn't help but cringe watching the train wreck between the two designers. Bert seemed a little harder to work with, honestly, and had no couth in talking to Viktor. Bert belittled Viktor several times. The Elizabethan costume they created was extremely costume-y and poorly made. None of the judges liked their fabric choices, saying they looked like old curtains.

Julie and Joshua McKinley were not really a match made in heaven, either. The banter between these two was a little easier to watch than that between Bert and Viktor. Julie and Joshua have completely different styles, but at least they were pretty kind to each other. They also created a quite costume-y, over-the-top matador ensemble that frightened the judges. My least favorite part of their look was the cheap metallic red Lycra they used for the leotard top. This really cheapened the look and made it very confusing to the eye.

The biggest disaster pairing was definitely between Bryce and Fallene. She did not even know how to cut pattern pieces out on grain. This is rule one of pattern making. I fault Bryce a little for not teaching Fallene how to cut out her bustier on grain when he first learned she was clueless. Fallene completely fell apart in this challenge and basically only made a headband. Bryce constructed all of the other lackluster pieces for the model. This "Black Swan"–inspired ballerina costume turned out to be the ugly duckling and ultimately sent Fallene home this week.

Danielle and Cecilia as well as Olivier and Anya all created ready-to-wear looks that the judges complimented. These two towering garments looked very well made and flattering on the runway. These two teams worked well together for the most part and were safe to the next round.

Kimberly and Becky made a very tailored ready-to-wear look that the judges raved over. The pants were so beautiful that I thought Nina was going to book them for a photo shoot for the next issue of Marie Claire. The jacket was also quite stunning, even though the judges and I thought the collar was a little too theatrical. Yes, I am saying something was too much. This was definitely my second favorite look, though.

The most striking garment by far, in my opinion, was made by Anthony Ryan and Laura. This stunning red flyaway pantsuit was truly couture-looking, with petal shoulder detailing and shirred silk bodice. The flowing silk charmeuse train captured the natural breeze from being outdoors. Kim Kardashian and this live, press-filled setting vaulted the excitement. Laura deservingly won immunity with this gorgeous ensemble. The great teamwork between these two designers had to have played a little part in their victory.

I found it very interesting that all of the teams that chose to create more of a costume had the lowest scores. I mean, it is quite understandable, given Heidi's instruction of an "imaginative, truly larger-than-life outfit" for a stilt walker. Stilts are typically worn by clowns in circuses and carnivals!!!! This is what makes this show so tricky. When in doubt, make ready-to-wear, kids.

05
FRI

Fish Tank or Tank Top? BOTH!!!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 7:50pm GMT

I would first like to mention none of the animals of the pet store were harmed during the filming of this episode. How fabulous would it have been to have a little Chinchilla fur to work with? Even a little python belt could have been fierce. Sorry, PETA. This southern boy loves his fur and leather. Some of these designers soared to the top while the rest just went cuckoo.

The hardest part of a challenge like this is to pick the materials that you are going to work with. On this show, you have such little time to plan how you are going to construct a garment. It is virtually impossible to know how puppy pee pads will sew or if aquarium rocks will glue onto fabric and withstand the runway strut. A challenge like this is an awesome platform for designers to show their creative genius by manipulating such unconventional materials ... on a budget ... in a time crunch ... while being sleep deprived ... on national television. Not quite the zen design environment we hope for.

Every year "Project Runway" pushes the limits of these designers by adding a challenge like this and you always hear don't choose products that are or look like fabric. History has shown though that it is not completely taboo to use fabric items. I remember in our first challenge on Season 3, Keith won with a blue halter dress made from curtains. And of course Olivier excelled last night using dog bedding fabric. Not surprising Nina loved this design, it's so her style. My main complaint was that it was unflattering on the model, the top was made from fabric, and the skirt was more of a glue gun craft project. Just look back at the Rate the Runway pictures and I think you will agree.

There was a lot of hot gluing going on this week. Anthony Ryan's dress was also all glued-on birdseed. The judges and I agree that it was one of our favorites because of the striking silhouette and "bead-like" pattern. Lord knows I love my beads. Who knew birdseed could look so chic? The design of the dress was pretty simple, but effective. The way that he used the sunflower kernels was exquisite.

Another great hot-glued creation was the flirty neon number by my boyfriend, Joshua McKinley. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm sure after reading my blog he will call me. His sparkling aquarium gravel tank top truly came from the tank, and was brilliantly paired with a simple black skirt. I have to agree with the judges that the look was over-accessorized, but we forgive you, Joshua. The biggest trend of the night was belts!!! 10 out of the 15 designers had belts on their designs! I found this very interesting.


Two designers I felt were overlooked were Kimberly and Viktor. Both of these designs were very sexy and definitely didn't look like they came out of a pet shop. Their cocktail dresses fit beautifully and looked expensive. I would definitely keep an eye out for them as the season progresses.

A few dogs were released on the runway as well, starting with Bryce's blue puppy pee pad dress. Heidi commented that she wanted to "pee all over those wee wee pads." I slightly wish she would have hiked her German drumstick and just peed on it. I honestly thought he was a goner after seeing it on the runway. Bert underwhelmed me on this challenge as well. His little black and pink dress looked like something on a dollar store Barbie and didn't really make sense. He should feel very lucky that he won immunity last week. This saddened me because I am a Bert fan. I will give him another week to wow me.


As bad as these outfits were, I was truly surprised when our Mormon man Joshua Christensen was eliminated. I mean, no one wanted to pee on this one! I wasn't really excited about his use of materials, but it did fit well and I thought was pretty wearable. The pop of green in the belt also was a complimentary touch to the purple halter. Several designers (including the winner) used fabric materials, so it couldn't be that Joshua C. used the umbrella fabric for the bodice. Perhaps the judge's decision was based on what he had shown them collectively. I guess my hopes of a "Project Runway" "tape" scandal starring the Joshuas will have to wait. Boo.

28
THU

Episode 1 Recap

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:06pm GMT

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!