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Season 9 Premiere Episode Recap

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Jul. 29, 2011 ,12:33 am EDT

I'm baaaaack! This time as a spectator of this fascinating fashion menagerie of "Project Runway," I finally get a chance to be on the administering end of the comments, thoughts and constructive/creative critiques.

As a designer and veteran contestant, I understand the insecurities of creating under the extreme measures while trying to maintain your aesthetic as an artist. But as a viewer, I expect to be totally engaged and WOWED by the designer's creativity. I WANT TO SEE FASHION! Beautiful fashion! I care less about drama and kookiness, JUST SHOW ME THE GOODS. I want to give you MY REALITY of this season of "Project Runway"! I welcome you into my "Fashion Bar," where the insight is straight up, no chaser!

The Season 9 premiere episode opened with a "Project Runway" first: 20 designers are vying for the spot on the throne! If your thought process is like mine, I'm sure you thought, "How in the hell am I going to remember all these people?!" Well, no need to try. In true "Runway" form, four of the 20 designers are eliminated immediately. David Chum, Gunnar Deathrage, Amanda Perna, and Serena da Conceicao were the unfortunate souls to receive the axe. With the exception of David, I'm not mad at those who got the boot. I must say, I really was intrigued by David's navy frock that I got a quick glance of during the casting. It appeared to be super chic and sophisticated. But, that's how the cookie crumbles. Someone (or some FOUR) had to be the first to go.

So, NOW we're down to 20. Cheers and champagne ensue, not realizing they will literally be awaken later (well, early) that morning! The challenge: Create a look from the PJs off their backs and one of their bed linens! I like this challenge! It felt like my season's (Season 3) first challenge where we had 10 mins to grab everything out of our apartment to construct a garment with. (Shout-out to my coffee filter dress. ;-) Unfortunately, most of the designers didn't make me as excited as the actual challenge.

To be honest, I would love to chat about each of the 16 designers but it's just to damn many! LOL I was able to get a better sense of a FEW of their design aesthetics with their first experience in the Parsons workroom. Immediately, I wanted to see Anya in action. Being that she only has four month's experience sewing, I was interested to see how she was going to "make it work."

I loved that she ambitiously takes on constructing a pant. Not an easy feat for a beginner. Anthony Ryan caught my attention in the workroom as well. I can't really put my finger on it, but there something that intrigues me about him and really makes me want to see him create and view his creative process.

Initially, I'd already discounted Bert just because I figured he was going to give me something very vanilla. But, the peak of his piece being draped TOTALLY shut me up! One to watch? We'll have to see. Rafael caught my attention, not because of his design, but because of the dose of "Tim Gunn medicine."

I totally agreed with Tim. The silk headscarf was the most interesting of his textiles. I did feel Rafael for wanting to stick to his direction, but I do think you should always have an open ear, especially if you're teetering on being ousted! The rest of designers didn't strike my interest while looking at their process in the workroom. It's still very early yet, and the runway is where it counts the most!

The runway show was quite easy for me to sum up. When there are so many designers in one presentation, it's easy for the really good AND really bad designs to stand out. I was pleasantly surprised to see a garment that I didn't notice in the workroom previously: I genuinely liked Danielle Everine's look! I think her pieces were SUPER CUTE, very fresh and now!

Joshua McKinley's look also had a cool factor to it. I was impressed that Laura Kathleen created not a ONE, but a THREE-piece look. Very smart separates, clean and wearable. Anthony Ryan's pieces were great too, but as PIECES. I wish he would've maybe designed another separate for the tank or another piece for the mini.

My favorite look of them all was Bert Keeter's! FAN-EFFIN-TASTIC!!! Uber chic, super sexy! The frock definitely gave me a fashion moment.

There were a few designers on the other end of the spectrum who weren't as successful. Julie Tierney's look was just everywhere. I do appreciate her effort, but the look was CONFUSING. Josh Christensen and Cecilia Motwani's looks weren't necessarily bad (uninspiring, but not bad), but they had issues with the fit! If you are going to do a restrained and simple design, the fit should NEVER be an issue. The lines of the garments were easy. A little more attention to the details would have made a big difference.

The moment of truth finally has arrived: the "first" IN and OUT for a challenge! I was very pleased that Bert won this challenge. He did a fantastic job stepping out of his comfort zone and taking a risk. His design was absolutely amazing! A well deserved and worked-for win!

Julie, Rafael, and Josh C. were the three unlucky designers in the bottom. Just like my thoughts about the initial four designers eliminated at the top of the show, I also agreed with all chosen here, except for Rafael. Although his garment didn't WOW me, I will say that among the three, his pieces showed the most design effort. I mean, really. Josh C.'s shorts were horribly fitted, and Julie's look, in addition to the fit issues, was just not good…at all. But the fashion gods spoke, and Rafael was sent packing. Following your heart sometimes comes with sacrifices. I guess it's just the nature of the beast.

Before I part, I want to leave on a fun note! "Project Runway" is BUILT on quotes. From "You're either in, or you're out" to "Make it work," the show has been an incubator of catch phrases. So for every blog I post, I'll be leaving you with "NOTABLE QUOTABLES"! They will be all the little things said that made me chuckle during the week's episode. So, here they are!

"I see you gulping. I WANT YOU TO GULP!" - Tim Gunn (Hilarious!)
"Are you speaking foreign?" - Laura Kathleen (Huh? LOL!)

Auf Wiedersehen!