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Mila Hermanovski Blog

No Pressure! It's Only Times Square!

By kim_messina Fri., Jul. 20, 2012 ,4:41 am EDT

Well it’s the 10th anniversary of "Project Runway" and they are certainly going big! It doesn’t get much bigger than Times Square. I can only imagine how the designers felt when they found out their very first runway show would be in one of the most famous, most visited places on earth! It’s already nerve-wracking as a fresh-faced contestant to have to go before the judges and present your designs, without an audience of thousands of screaming fans!

As we are introduced to the designers, we have our typical "Project Runway" cast of "characters," from the wackadoo foreign guy and the bitchy queen to the strong-and-silent type and the California girl. One thing that strikes me though is the diversity of the designers’ points-of-view. I am already intrigued by a few of them (as Melissa said post-Tim Gunn critique, "Intriguing is good.").

The designers were asked to bring a look from home which best encapsulates their aesthetic. The first challenge is then to create a second look which complements the original one, in one day with a $100 Mood budget. This shouldn’t be too difficult, right? After all, it’s just creating another design from what would be the designer’s collection. To me, any designer who is worth their salt should be able to execute — the bottom line then is about talent and taste. Oh, and then there’s that pesky little thing called time.

"Sixteen Candles" and Long-Lost Twins

In the workroom, Buffi won’t stop talking (and her outfit won’t stop screaming). Gunnar and Christopher (separated at birth?) are the producers’ dream as they are having a perpetual bitchfest about each other. Kooan is giving me flashbacks to Ping (and I’m waiting for a one-liner a la "Sixteen Candles"). Raul is not thinking about women’s undergarments (We had a big conversation with Joanna Coles when I was on "All Stars" about how male designers generally forget about them). Many designers are already impressed and intimidated by Ven. Beatrice is struggling sewing a t-shirt (Really?).

It’s runway time! But can we just talk about the new and improved prize package? Hello: LEXUS (Yes, please)! And the opportunity to sell at Lord & Taylor is definitely a step up from Bluefly or Piperlime. The designers show both looks so the judges can see how they relate and have a better sense of each person’s point of view. There are two guest judges, who could not be more different: actress Lauren Graham and queen of NYC clubwear (and “Sex and the City” costume designer) Patricia Field. Read my rundown and some thoughts on the designers after the jump.

Ven

Clearly excels at construction. Definitely impressive, albeit a bit "mature" in style and color. While in the workroom, he observed that a lot of his opponents’ work looks novice or at school level. I think I might have to agree with him on that one. I like his no-BS attitude. He ends up in the top three, with the judges recognizing his technical skills.

Beatrice

Oh Beatrice. This is not what wins a challenge on "Project Runway." I knew when she was struggling to sew a simple jersey silhouette that she was doomed. I will say that I found her original design an interesting shape. But then she ruined it with a Santa Fe-style heavy fur-trimmed shawl. And then to make those fabric choices with all of Mood at your fingertips! As Kors said, "Who is her customer?" I can tell you right now as a designer based in Los Angeles, she may be able to sell in Southern Cali. But knitwear designers here are a dime a dozen. The judges made the right decision in eliminating her. If she struggled so much to make something in her wheelhouse, how the heck would she fare in a red carpet challenge?

Lantie

I have no words. Just no bueno. Again who is her customer? Nina called it "horrifying," Field said she was "one step below a fashion designer" (OUCH) and Lantie was in the bottom, but in the end was spared.

Andrea

Now many of you might think I would like her looks because they are black and white striped. Not so much. The original look wasn’t bad but the second one gave me Beetlejuice maternity dress. I guess you could say they look like they are from the same collection though!

Christopher

Very cohesive. The original dress is stunning. Definitely the standout piece from the entire show. I like that it’s sexy, sophisticated and modern. As Heidi said, a lot of starlets would want to wear that on the red carpet. I appreciate the technical prowess he used in creating a new textile from all the strips of silk and matching up his chevron! However I was not impressed by his companion look. It was a LBD and had major fit issues in both the bust and center back; the zipper was a roller coaster. Nevertheless, Christopher was named the winner of the first challenge.

Alicia

Fantastic forward sportswear. She would have been my alternate to Ven as a top scorer. Her original jumpsuit was fresh, young and modern. Her second look was impressive: drop-crotch trousers that FIT and look great, made in one day! I loved the asymmetric top she paired with the pants and all together I knew who she was as a designer, who her customer is and I can totally see her clothes in the stores right now.

Elena

I loved her portfolio (very Gareth Pugh meets Claude Montana), but the two looks ended up looking a bit too much like costumes from a sci-fi movie. That said, I like that she thinks edgy, forward and editorial. She just needs to edit a bit more and think about what is flattering.

Buffi

Cheap and costumey. Buffi didn’t get a critique as she was safe.

Kooan

"They’re all screaming for MY OUTFIT!!!!" Yes, Kooan, because it’s wackadoo. Kooan was in the bottom three, but was spared. Kooan is trying to be a “Fruit” (fabulous Japanese colorfully chaotic fashion), but falling short and hence looking silly and cartoonish in a bad way. I have a feeling though, Pat Field had a soft spot for his kookiness. I can’t help but wonder how much of his personality is an act though.

Gunnar

The lime and black look cheap to me, but overall the clothes fit well. They just look very department store and pedestrian.

Nathan

Didn’t leave me with much of an impression at all. And he was hardly given any airtime at all, so honestly I’m still waiting to know more about him.

Sonjia

Not a bad entry... seen it before.

Melissa

Of course I relate very much to her aesthetic. I love that her point of view is distinct; she knows who she is and there are a lot of women who would buy and wear her clothes. The two looks were very cohesive and I like that she made a dress as a companion to the heavier, more covered outfit. Melissa was a top scorer and frankly I think her work is more contemporary than Ven’s. However I know all too well that the judges frown upon the use of too much black. She has made it very clear she rarely uses color, so it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds for her.

Raul

I’m not a big fan of lace, but I do like that he mixed the masculine and feminine in the haberdashery suit with lace blouse. But the companion dress had a lot of problems and was ill-fitting and unflattering.

Fabio

Loving his style. Very Helmut Lang, urban and modern. I’m looking forward to seeing more from him!

I think we can already tell who some of the weaker and stronger players are. Overall Season 10 is definitely “intriguing.” Now let’s just cut through the “characters” and get to the “talent”!