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Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 3

Posted By laurareineke 4:27am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Helen/Kate "Did a great job on their outfit."
BOTTOM Miranda/Timothy "Does not work well with others."

TOP Jeremy/Ken "Looks cool. Interesting."
BOTTOM Miranda/Timothy "He left his teammate halfway through the challenge."

TOP Sandro/Sue "Great technique."
BOTTOM Miranda/Timothy "Left his teammate; only made a vest."

TOP Helen/Kate "Great graphic use of sombreros."
BOTTOM Miranda/Timothy "Didn't work as a team. Bad design concept."


Season 12, Episode 2: Dripping With Diamonds

Posted By laurareineke 4:41am GMT

We're greeted this week by an armored truck full of burly men with guns, who escort a series of black suitcases into Parsons. Minutes later, the models take to the runway dripping in jewels ($30 million worth, according to Heidi) of all shapes and shades: necklaces, earrings, and bracelets adorned with diamonds, yellow diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and more.

The challenge: Create a look that's glamorous enough to walk the runway alongside jewelry of this caliber. The designers are chosen by the button bag to pick which jewelry they'll base their look around. "I'm not inspired by money," says Timothy, who has perhaps forgotten that he's participating in a competition with a prize package worth half a million dollars. "We have to pick the prettiest diamond, and I think that's very superficial." Again, that's big talk for a dude who's trying to make a career out of fashion design.

The designers will have one day to complete their looks. "My bowels just drop," Alexander announces. Okay!

During critiques, Tim tip-toes around the fact that Kahindo's silk charmeuse fabric is sort of hideous, and he tries to hint to Helen that she might not have time to properly complete her ambitious design. He asks Timothy, "Where's the design? Right now, this is one big hot mess." As the runway show will later prove, Tim's concerns are on point.

This is a weird episode for Sandro, who seems to be all over the place emotionally. He has a great moment at Mood when he nonchalantly asks Alexander ("Red Hair") why he's planning to go so couture with his garment. (Alexander: "Because it's a million-dollar necklace. What am I gonna use, plastic?" Sandro: "That's a good point, actually.") Sandro and Ken argue loudly in the workroom, but there's no real point to it other than a clash of ego. (It's so loud and so pointless that Justin disables his hearing aid to escape it.) Sandro makes a fuss later on when he can't figure out how to use the fabric steamer; he physically pulls a crew member out from behind the scenes to demand assistance, then pouts when the crew member leaves him to fend for himself. Even later, Sandro sweetly comes to Helen's defense on the runway, and in a moment of zen advises Timothy to focus less on explaining his gown and more on accepting the judges' feedback. I thought I had this guy pegged last week, but now I'm not so sure.

Runway time. Heidi, Zac, Nina, and Tim are joined by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Eric Daman (Gossip Girl, The Carrie Diaries) for a runway show that's halted midway through to allow for a weepfest from a distraught Helen. Fun stuff.

Top Three
Kate - A Marie Antoinette-inspired pale grey asymmetrical gown with a see-through boned bodice. Heidi says she knew it was Kate's work right away, and Kate also gets praise for her fabric choice and her model's styling. Zac: "This is the strongest work that I've seen you do." A solid win for her.

Dom - A casual, flowy, green-and-white-print gown. The judges love that it's youthful and that it complements the emerald necklace, but Zac and Nina both call out Dom's choice to style the model with a printed bandana. Eric says he "could see it on the red carpet in Cannes as well as on a beautiful young Southern debutante." Safe.

Sandro - A knee-length fishtail dress with an exposed midriff and black lace detailing that frankly looks like something a stereotypically Russian James Bond villain might've worn, but it somehow manages to land in the top. Eric thinks the lace is overdone, but Heidi admires the bust; Zac and Tim both voice concerns over Sandro's taste level, but Nina seems to dig it. Safe.

Bottom Three
Timothy - A blue velvet gown with white accents and a racerback detail on the front, this one befuddles the judges, who don't understand why Timothy chose to make a high-necked gown for a challenge based around a necklace.

Helen - This brown and beige gown suffers from poor construction, ratty-looking shredded detail at the hips, and sad bust cups. Nina thinks it's a case of a decent design gone wrong. While Heidi and Zac appear more critical, they all agree to keep Helen around for another week.

Kahindo - A sleeveless sheath dress made out of a fabric Zac compares to sand art. Nina thinks it's boring, Heidi thinks it looks too "off-the-rack," and Eric doesn't think it works with the jewelry at all. Kahindo says her intentional was to keep things simple. "Too simple?" Nina asks. Yep, too simple. Kahindo is out.

Which design do you think best matched the expensive jewelry that inspired it? Do you think Kate deserved the win? Was Kahindo's simple design really worse than Helen's poor construction? What was your favorite moment this week? Let me know in the comments.


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 2

Posted By kim_messina 4:32am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think had the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Sandro "The pleats are beautiful."
BOTTOM Timothy "Execution is lacking."

TOP Kate "Interesting and well made. Solid dress, very cool."
BOTTOM Miranda "Not glamorous. Construction wasn't strong."

TOP Kate "That much romance in a short amount of time is amazing."
BOTTOM Kahindo "Fabric and design are not right for jewels."

TOP Justin "Great use of materials that aren't typically bridal."
BOTTOM Timothy "He didn't use the material in a new or modern way."


Season 12 Premiere: Pretty Pretty Parachutes

Posted By laurareineke 4:33am GMT

We're back! And on the heels of some flattering Emmy nominations, no less. I'll be here each week to deliver recaps of each Season 12 episode, along with the occasional contestant interview. You can also check out episode reviews by former "Runway" contestants, including our new blogger Althea Harper, here.

Let's get to it. A number of important changes are being incorporated into this, the twelfth (TWELFTH!) season of "Runway." For one thing, the runway show will now be anonymous: the judges won't know to which designer each garment belongs until after the designs have been scored. Tim Gunn will join the panel during runway shows to offer the judges his perspective of the happenings in the workroom, and he'll also have one opportunity during the season to save a designer from elimination. I'm all about this! More Tim is always a good thing.

Tim and Heidi introduce this season's gaggle of designers at an actual airport runway (a visual gag I can't believe it took twelve seasons to make). There they meet Kate, who fans voted to bring back to the competition after her unjust elimination in Season 11. Then skydivers pop out of a plane high above to deliver the materials for the first challenge. The designers must turn the divers' parachutes into garments that represent their aesthetic and individual point-of-view. They receive extra black and white fabric, but Tim emphasizes that their design must be primarily made of the slippery, crinkly, bright-colored nylon parachutes. There's an enormous sigh of relief when Tim tells the designers they have two days to create their looks. Spoiler alert: No one makes parachute pants! What a bummer.

In the workroom, we start to get to know the gang. Justin is deaf, and points out that in some ways this is an advantage: if the other designers' outrageous personalities get on his nerves, he can just turn his hearing aid off. (Hah! I already like Justin a lot.) Miranda is dubbed "a real-life Rosie the Riveter" when she tells the group about her past as an Army mechanic. She has a less-than-happy reunion with a fellow Milwaukee designer Timothy, an earnest and frankly kind of annoying "sustainability-focused fiber artist." In his quest to be environmentally friendly he refuses hair and makeup for his model. Then he choreographs a bizarre "conceptual performance" for his model to do when she hits the runway. I didn't get a good look at the dance-thing because I was too busy rolling my eyes, and his model is clearly over it, too; she abandons the performance aspect during the actual runway show.

Returning judges Heidi, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen are joined for the runway show by guest judge Kate Bosworth and, as previously noted, Mr. Tim Gunn. (Be sure to check out all the looks from this episode in our Rate the Runway slideshow!)

Top Two
Bradon - A voluminous gown with a fitted bodice. The judges rave about the movement of this garment on the runway and the way Bradon constructed a clumsy fabric to look lighter than air. Zac notes that the various concepts—cording, strapless neckline, straps—were expertly combined.

Sue - A double-layered neon ruched gown with pin-tucked pleating details along both sides. Zac likes the sculptural quality of the dress, and Nina compliments the placement of the ruching. Tim says it could fit in a Bergdorf's display window.

Bottom Four
Miranda - Here's the thing: the judges might love your modern cut-out dress, but if you deviate from the challenge rules that require you to use a certain percentage of a given material, you will land in the bottom. Miranda learns her lesson here, hopefully.

Sandro - A one-piece pseudo-swimsuit fit for a '30s bathing beauty. The judges admire the impeccable fit but call out Sandro's heavy hand in accessorizing, which they feel notches down the taste level of the garment considerably. Also affecting the taste level: The model's vagina popping out mid-walk. Yeah, that definitely had something to do with it.

Timothy - Zac dubs this flowery butter-yellow dress "Tinker Bell at Burning Man." Heidi and Nina feel that the lack of hair, makeup and shoes don't help an already-muddled design. There's also a fair bit of dubious eyebrow-raising at Timothy's choice to burn the nylon fabric.

Angela - A sporty color-blocked hooded raincoat...thing. The judges agree it would have been greatly improved by the addition of pants. When they get a closer look, they find more to dislike, like the darting at the bust. Boring design + sloppy construction = an easy auf this early in the season.

Do you think Angela deserved to be the first eliminated designer of Season 12? Were you as impressed by Bradon's winning look as the judges were? On a scale of 1 to 10, how insufferable did you find Timothy's shenanigans? And most importantly, who do you have your eye on as the season gets rolling? Let me know in the comments!


Designers' Choice: Season 12, Episode 1

Posted By kim_messina 4:03am GMT

Exclusive! The Season 12 designers pick who they think were the Top and Bottom looks each week!

TOP Bradon "I liked cording detail in front."
BOTTOM Timothy "Execution wasn't up to par."

TOP Dom "Cute jacket."
BOTTOM Sandro "Too vulgar."

TOP Jeremy "Amazing pants—inspired by challenge."
BOTTOM Helen "Not enough of the parachute was used."

TOP Sue "Love the texture."


"Project Runway" Nominated for Five Emmys!

Posted By kim_messina 10:16am GMT

Project RunwayTalk about a big day, "Project Runway" fanatics! Not only does the 12th season premiere TONIGHT at 9/8c, but the 2013 Emmy Award nominations just came out and "Project Runway" received five nominations! They are:

-Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program - Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
-Outstanding Reality-Competition Program
-Outstanding Cinematography For Reality Programming - "A Times Square Anniversary Party" (Season 10, Episode 1)
-Outstanding Picture Editing For Reality Programming - "A Times Square Anniversary Party" (Season 10, Episode 1) and "Europe, Here We Come" (Season 11, Episode 12)

Congrats to everyone nominated! The 65th Emmys air on Sunday, September 22 at 8 pm ET on CBS.


Meet Season 1 Winner Jay McCarroll at Hamilton Mall

Posted By laurareineke 3:54pm GMT

Jay McCarroll named Fashion Ambassador of Hamilton MallThe original "Project Runway" champ, Jay McCarroll, has been named Fashion Ambassador for Hamilton Mall, the largest indoor mall in all of Atlantic and Cape May counties in New Jersey.

Jay will help the mall celebrate an extensive redesign and redevelopment program with a number of special events, including a back-to-school themed "Battle of the Runways" in August. He'll be designing a special T-shirt for the mall, as well as writing an interactive column for their monthly newsletter. And he's kicking it all off with a meet and greet this Friday, June 28, at Never Too Spoiled, the mall's exclusive carrier of Jay's design.

"This is an awesome opportunity for me," Jay says. "I am really looking forward to being a part of the mall's expansion and in taking the mall's image to the next level. It really is going to be a special shopping destination for the area."

For more info on how to meet Jay, check out shophamilton.com.


Introducing the Season 12 Cast!

Posted By laurareineke 10:15am GMT

Project Runway Season 12 Cast

It's time to gear up for another walk down the runway! "Project Runway" is headed back to your TV screen for its 12th season on Thursday, July 18 at 9/8c.

For the first time ever, fans will be able interact with viewers across the country in real time during each episode through the new interactive on-screen feature, PlayRunway, empowering fans to use their smartphones, tablets and computers to share their reactions to episode storylines, design challenges and decisions by judges Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Zac Posen, and mentor Tim Gunn.

Additional new fan integration elements include:
Runway Redemption (#RunwayRedemption) – A mystery contestant from a past season, chosen by fans on mylifetime.com, will be unveiled as the 16th designer for Season 12.
"Project Runway" Superfan Contest – Via video submissions, seven super fans will be chosen to be featured in an upcoming episode this season for a fashion makeover.
More Tim Gunn – Fans have asked and "Project Runway" has delivered. This season, Gunn will join Klum and the judges to watch the runway show, answer questions the judges have about what transpired in the workroom and give them an opportunity to physically examine the workmanship of each design. Also, for the first time in "Project Runway" history, Gunn will be able to "rescue" one designer during course of the season he feels deserves a second chance.

The roster of guest judges will include Kate Bosworth, Kelly Osbourne, Allison Williams, Sigourney Weaver, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kaley Cuoco, Stacy Keibler, and original judge Michael Kors.

Without further ado, here are your Season 12 designers:
Alexander Pope, 38 - Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; Resides in New York, NY
Alexandria von Bromssen, 38 - Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden; Resides in San Mateo, CA
Angela Bacskocky, 33 - Hometown: Richmond, VA; Resides in Richmond, VA
Bradon McDonald, 38 - Hometown: Lowville, NY; Resides in Los Angeles, CA
Dom Streater, 24 - Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Resides in Philadelphia, PA
Helen Castillo, 25 - Hometown: Weehawken, NJ; Resides in Union City, NJ
Jeremy Brandrick, 41 - Hometown: Birmingham, England; Resides in New York, NY
Justin LeBlanc, 27 - Hometown: Tampa, FL; Resides in Raleigh, NC
Kahindo Mateene, 34 - Hometown: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Resides in Chicago, IL
Karen Batts, 29 - Hometown: Boca Raton, FL; Resides in Queens, NY
Ken Laurence, 24 - Hometown: Birmingham, AL; Resides in Birmingham, AL
Miranda Kay Levy, 29 - Hometown: Wilton, WI; Resides in Milwaukee, WI
Sandro Masmanidi, 28 - Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia; Resides in New York, NY
Sue Waller, 45 - Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Timothy Westbrook, 24 - Hometown: Wanakena, NY; Resides in Milwaukee, WI


Runway Redemption: Bring Your Favorite Designer Back for Season 12!

Posted By kim_messina 12:00pm GMT

It's every "Project Runway" designer's dream come true—a second chance! For Season 12, three former contestants are competing for a chance at Runway Redemption: Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman (Season 6), Valerie Mayen (Season 8) and Kate Pankoke (Season 11). And it's up to you to decide who gets a spot on the Season 12 roster.

Starting today through June 3, fans can vote on myLifetime.com using the poll below, or on Twitter by using these hashtags: #RunwayRamon, #RunwayValerie or #RunwayKate. The winner will be revealed during the Season 12 premiere this summer.

Want to know what Ra'mon, Valerie and Kate have been up to since their days on "Runway"? Read our exclusive Q&A with the designers and see their recent designs:
-Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman
-Valerie Mayen
-Kate Pankoke


Runway Redemption: Vote for Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman, Season 6

Posted By kim_messina 12:00pm GMT

Ra'mon-Lawrence ColemanSeason 6's Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman got auf'd in Episode 6 after creating a sci-fi movie look that failed to impress the judges. He back to show everyone that he is, indeed, a strong designer!

1. Bring us up to speed! What have you been up to since you were eliminated?

Since my time on "Project Runway," I have definitely experienced some amazing milestones professionally as well as personally. After returning home, I was approached by Kohl's to help rebrand and relaunch the junior label Mudd as well as oversee the design direction of one of their most successful partnership brands LC Lauren Conrad. After spending a few years making each a success for the company, I decided to make the bold move and finally relocate to NYC with my boyfriend, Brent. Bold isn't an understatement given neither of us had secured a job. However, with a gut feeling and my life savings, something inside said that simply it was time.

Before leaving the Midwest, Brent (a modern dancer) and I went on a trip to London and Paris for some inspiration. While in Paris, to my surprise he actually proposed at a little cafe by the Eifel Tower, in story book fashion. We're currently planning our wedding for next summer! Since that moment, life was been more abundant than I could imagine.

Once we arrived to NYC, I decided to focus on establishing my own label and building a local customer base. This has proven to be a huge task, as stores and buyers have been very wary of on boarding new independent designers in the ongoing economic climate. Thankfully I've made a huge custom clientele that has held sustain me. Mostly due to the continuing "Project Runway" fan base that have been emailing me non-stop asking where they can find my clothing.

A little over a year ago I was approached by JCP, having heard how successful I made LC Lauren Conrad for Kohls' and Mossimo for Target prior, to join them to oversee the design direction for a new collaboration with Nanette Lepore called L'AMOUR. Since it's launch, it's been received with universal praise, socially and financially. I guess this brings me to my ongoing question, if my ideas can make millions for these retail giants, they should be able to do the same under my own name, no?

2. What garment from your season of "Runway" do fans compliment you on the most?
I constantly have people compliment the Electric Green Neoprene Dress that I won the Garnier Surf Challenge with. I think partialy due to the somewhat impossible situation of that challenge, specifically working with Mitchell. But more importantly, a lot of fans were just inspired by my use of the material and dying it by hand. The material has actually become a pseudo-signature for me since then. Funny enough, in the next collections after the show aired, during NYFW there was a huge influx of neoprene as a trend (Even Michael Kors featured it in his collection). So I guess I was ahead of trend on that one…just saying.

3. What are your strengths as a designer at this point in your career?
I know whom I’m marketing my clothing towards and I remain consistent in my perspective of what my brand stands for. So many designers struggle to figure out their "voice," so each collection sometimes can have the tendency to look like a different person designed it. I’ve gone through that stage, and grown because of it. Now, I am not only business minded (given my mass retail background), but also I’ve created a focused and unique design esthetic that is also accessible. That’s what’s really important to me in building a successful business. If it’s not accessible, then it might as well be a hobby.

4. How has your design aesthetic changed since your time on the show, if at all?
I think I’ve evolved more as a contemporary designer. I’m still inspired by architecture and minimalism, but now I approach it with less of a "fantasy" eye. Really I’m more focused on soft tailoring with a quirky spin to it and a sense of practicality. Before, I don’t know if I was as focused on making clothes that were actually wearable. I looked at it more as art as fashion.

5. Why do you think you deserve a second chance?
I've always felt I was dismissed from my season far too soon. Actually, I definitely know I should have made it to Fashion Week. I would have wowed the judges, the industry and the fans. Aside from what has been said, as there were a lot of opinions when I was auf'd, I can account for one thing. Tim was right when he said, "I think too much." I've learned in the last few years to trust my instincts more, and not allow humility to be confused with not having a point of view. The show made me stronger as a designer and an individual. And while life rarely gives you second chances, I think this time around I would be the one for everyone to watch out for if given the opportunity to come back for redemption. Correction, I know I would be.

View Ra'mon's recent work

Rate his "Project Runway" Season 6 designs

Watch Ra'mon's Season 6 Exit Interview:

More Ra'mon videos:
-Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman Video Blog, Episode 6
-Tim Critiques Ra’Mon-Lawrence Coleman: Episode 6
-Tim Critiques Ra’Mon-Lawrence Coleman: Episode 5
-Ra-mon-Lawrence Coleman’s Closet Tour
-Ra-Mon-Lawrence Coleman’s Home Visit
-Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman's Casting Session