The first “Runway” of Season 8 is finally here! All 90 minutes of it! So what’s new? (You really have no excuse to not watch it right now if you don’t already know, by the way. Full episodes of “Project Runway” are now available on Fridays! Rejoice!)
First off, there are 17 designers the most in any season of the show. And it will only last … for an episode. The first challenge is being told that you have not actually been cast on the show! So not only will you go down in history as the first person to go home for the season, like the other Daniel Francos of the universe, but you didn’t even make it. Dag. They do not make greeting cards for that one, y’all.
Second, there’s a new set and a new shiny runway. I have no idea what the catwalk is made of, but it looks like it would make an über-stylish Slip-n-Slide.
Let’s just dive right into it and move on to the workroom …
Poor Casanova is in mourning over his Dolce & Gabbana $1,007 pants, which I swore made their debut on the show as costing $1,070, but I could be wrong. This economy is killing everything, even designer pants prices in 90 minutes. Distracting him from Valerie’s seam ripping of his precious pantalones is his need to dress his model in as little clothing as possible. If anyone is still giving Season 7’s Emilio Sosa a hard time for his infamous string bikini, you should really give the guy a break now. Really.
To continue the “boobs” theme happening here, there’s Peach, using tulle to stuff her model’s dress and fill out the bust, and Jason, who, while making a kimono out of a kimono, became so distracted by his model’s heaving bosom that he couldn’t even finish his fitting. If he’s with the same model next week, this is going to be a recurring theme.
On to the runway and the judging …
I don’t know about you, but I really didn’t find McKell’s design so offensive. Jason stapled a kimono backwards on his model and called it a new garment. Stapled. Like what I used to do with my school uniform after I stepped on the hem in the playground and didn’t want a nun to give me detention. Nuns, like Michael Kors, may wear the same “uniform” every day, but Mr. Kors knows a jacked-up sewing job when he sees one! Then there’s Ivy, who may have made pants out of pants, but fought with every inch of her 5'1" frame to stay in the game and prove herself as a legitimate contender.
A standout moment is when La Señora Nina Garcia helps Heidi translate her thoughts to Casanova, the kind of sight I haven’t seen since Heidi broke out some German for Uli’s mother in Season 3! Languages and fashion come together once again.
Poor Nicholas. I wanted to hit “pause” and buy that man a shot or five. He is probably one of the most nervous contestants I’ve ever seen during judging on the runway, as opposed to, say, Andrae Gonzalo, who at least let it all pour out … of his eyes. But the judges let him stay!
The most awkward part of the whole episode was when McKell walked back into the designers’ area backstage and was cheered and then hugged goodbye. Hasn’t this girl been through enough?!
Tune in next week, when Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles reveals whatever the “huge!” next challenge will be, and we see which of the remaining 16 designers makes the cut!
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Kristin Haskins Simms is a professor but not in the type of design many of the other contestants have been schooled in. With no formal fashion training, this Philly-based graphic designer got bit by the fashion bug when she started creating T-shirts. One tee led to a jacket, which led to a collection. Check it all out in the photo gallery of her past work!
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Jason Troisi has good taste. When asked to name his favorite designer, this "Project Runway" contestant calls on his own nautical-influenced creations made in his Greenwich, Connecticut, basement. This landscaper is ready to trade in the perennials and potting soil for good with his second attempt at "Project Runway" glory on Season 8.
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Christopher Collins is a detail-oriented man of fashion something that he worries might end up being his kryptonite on the show. Tim Gunn and the other judges in the casting session seem to have faith in his work, calling the San Francisco designer and his arsenal of tailored pieces "a breath of fresh air."
Check out the designer's photo gallery of past work and judge his pre-"Runway" collection for yourself, then cruise on over to pics of Christopher Collins throughout the years to see one contestant who made a good Peter Pan back in the day.
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Sarah Trost describes the pieces in her own personal wardrobe as any combination of "hideous," "terrible" and "ugly," but we’d call the use of "workout bunny" fabric in fashion pretty ingenious! Watch Sarah’s casting session to see what you think about her cat dress complete with bow.
Who doesn’t love them a designing cat lady? We sure do! Check out Sarah Trost’s use of fun fabrics including a curtain her mom found in an alley in her colorful closet tour, and flip through her portfolio to see her superhero designs.
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Michael Costello is hoping the fourth time’s the charm after auditioning for the show thrice before! The designer definitely hasn’t been bored in the meantime, with celebrities like Toni Braxton and "Baywatch" star Traci Bingham keeping him and his sewing machine busy. View Michael’s designer portfolio and his photo gallery of past work to see his daring (and often cleavage-baring) designs.
We’ll see whether this is the season for Michael Costello, but the real question is: Are Michael Costello and Tim Gunn related?! Find the answer to all that and more, in the designer’s casting session.
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Andy South got his first taste of designing when he was gluing and stapling together Halloween creations. Today the young designer from Waipahu, Hawaii, has traded in the glue gun for a sewing machine and transformed his Hawaiian home into a designer’s paradise: draping room, a place to custom-dye fabrics and more than enough space for him to model his own designs.
View Andy South’s portfolio for sketches and more glimpses of his past collections, and to see which former "Project Runway" designer he (not so surprisingly) relates to. Then, check out a tour of his room-size closet jealous, party of me! to see if a typical Hawaiian shirt survives among the designer’s "Asian, punky, Goth-kid" garb.
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer Gretchen Jones will change the way you think of "organic" goods and soy. This Portland, Oregonlivin’ fashionista personally hand-dyes (that’s where the soy comes in) organic fabrics for her own clothing line. Watch Gretchen model one of her pieces in her casting session, where Tim Gunn and "Project Runway" Season 7 winner Seth Aaron fall "madly in love."
Although she’s been creating fashion portfolios since she was in second grade, don’t miss the chance to peruse Gretchen Jones’ current portfolio here, filled with her designs and influences! And watch the video of her closet tour for the inspiration to get your own sew on (read: clothing swap).
"Project Runway" Season 8 Designer McKell Maddox may have perplexed Tim Gunn in her casting session, but this new mama is super in tune with what the modern woman wants: style and comfort, of course! The Utah-based designer is bringing her love of functional, feminine fashion (and her disdain for menswear) to this season of "Project Runway."
Meet McKell Maddox's family and look out for some of her hidden designs around the house when she gives "Project Runway" a tour of her Layton, Utah, home. Then peruse the designer's portfolio for more of her past designs.