"Project Runway" Is Back in the Saddle!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 21, 2009 ,1:25 pm EDT

Yee-haw, boys and girls, "Project Runway" is back! After a long, dark period I will only refer to as "the unpleasantness," "Project Runway" saddled up and moved on over to Lifetime seamlessly. What a joy to have all the regulars on hand for what is one of the best episodes of “PR” I have seen in a long time. Tim’s here! Yay! Heidi, looking beautiful while dishing out huge helpings of schadenfreude (delight at other people’s misfortune). Michael Kors, the ever-glowing tangerine God of Fashion, and Nina Garcia, now at Marie Claire and sharpening her claws on a new crop of diverse designers.

Tim Gunn on the Project Runway premiere of Season 6

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it is filmed in Los Angeles ... but so far that doesn’t seem to have affected a thing; in fact, the first challenge is pretty fabulous because of L.A.: The designers are taken to the red carpet of the Emmys, and given the challenge of designing a red-carpet gown of their choice with two days and $200. All the familiar fun ensues that makes us addicted to this stuff — sketching in the workroom (now at FIDM and bigger than ours!), a half hour to shop at Mood (yay! Mood!), and let the drama begin. All under the lilting tones of a certain Mr. Gunn, whom we have sorely missed.

Meet the designers: Ra’mon (the serious med student); Logan (the guy’s guy, letting us know in no uncertain terms that he is straight); Johnny (former drug addict who tried out for the show several times, but made it now that he is clean. Read: drama); Gordana (Yugoslavian tough-chick who will win even if she has to make her dress out of potatoes and corn); Malvin (one word: Sanjaya); Qristyl (oooh honey, step back, cuz Miss Q doesn’t mess around with skinny girls, she is size “plus-sexy”); Shirin (sweet to the point of diabetic coma); Nicolas (the self-acclaimed “Feather Prince” — Good Luck); Mitchell (every show has one, the all-American cutie); Ari (techno-chick who’s tragically into “Blade Runner” Chic); Louise (trapped-in-vintage-land Louise Brooks channeler); Irina (into leathah); Carol (this season’s Kenley? Pixie-couture airhead); Epperson (serious dreads and seems to be the oldest of the bunch); Althea (Cocky with a capital “C,” sure she is the next Christian, Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, blah blah blah); and finally, Christopher (self-taught and second runner-up in the cutie category). We met Christopher last — any predictions?

Qristyl Frazier on the Project Runway premiere of Season 6

Some workroom fun that was music to my ears: Ari saying “I don’t sketch” ... Johnny having a drug-free meltdown with Tim coming to save the day and dry his tears ... Mitchell may be our new cryer ... Malvin claiming his garments are “ineffable” and beyond description (Oh, I can describe them alright). The best moment of the show? Qristyl can’t find anyone to cut her fabric at Mood, so she buys a pair of scissors and CUTS IT HERSELF! Way to make it work, Miss Q! Reality-show gold!

The dresses are coming along, and there’s a joyous visit from Saint Tim (do I hear angels when he enters the workroom?), and we begin to see what these designers are all about. Johnny says he will use “spit and gum” to finish his hideous dress if he has to. Tim calls Christopher’s work a “cruise-line cocktail waitress,” Ari is tragically channeling Blayne by making a halter diaper dress and Mitchell is making some sort of Victorian caftan out of coffin lining. Miss Q has completely missed with her quasi–Carmen Miranda wedding dress, and on the morning of the runway show, Mitchell has to start over from scratch and decides to go for a Lady Godiva look and send his model down the runway nude.

Oh Rapture! The Runway! Another byproduct of the L.A. location ... Lindsay Lohan is the guest judge! Here come the dresses!

  • Althea: Silver, pretty, nice and safe.
  • Gordana: Short blue-green dress with origami floating device around the bust.
  • Malvin: Beige burlap scaly ugly boring dress fit for a prison wedding.
  • Mitchell: Sheer (butt cheeks on parade) caftan that would make a great maternity dress for JLo.
  • Louise: Dress made of drapes with a flowered growth on the shoulder.
  • Christopher: ’80s prom dress made of garbage bags and Kleenex.
  • Ra’mon: Fabulous eggplant taffeta gown that you could see on the most fabulous star on the Oscars red carpet.
    Shirin: Cutesy, short, safe.
  • Epperson: More purple, but this one is the wrong way to do it.
  • Irina: Literally drapes that the model keeps tripping over.
  • Ari: Ridiculous space suit that wouldn’t pass for fashion in any year in the future.
  • Johnny: This tragedy looks like a piece of fabric blew onto the model in a windstorm and was held in place by pieces of chewing gum.
  • Qristyl: Ouch. I love Q, but this is hideous. How hideous? Kenley would love it.
  • Logan: Silver, boring and monotone like his voice.
  • Nicolas: Short, black plastic/rubber body condom. No feathers, go figure.

 

Christopher Straub on Project Runway premiere of Season 6

The decisions are made, the delicious drama spills forth in classic PR fashion. Did I agree with their decisions on who they kept on the runway? Yes. But I seriously disagree with their commentary on the top and the bottom looks ... but that’s what makes the show addictive. You want to scream at Nina, pull Heidi’s hair out, wipe the orange off of Michael Kors, and force-feed Lindsay Lohan. We all agreed Miss Q was a wreck, but she’s too fun to get rid of: In. Johnny: In. Are you serious? This same dress has gotten many designers eliminated, but they obviously keep him for what they hope will be more drug-free drama. Ra’mon: In. They called this dress “safe,” even though it was obviously the most beautifully realized piece on the show. Mitchell: In. They gave him a break. Plus they know all the gay men watching the show would be mad if they eliminate the cutest designer. Ari: OUT. What glee to hear Michael Kors call this ugly piece of garbage a “disco soccer ball.” I am swooning with delight. The winner? Christopher. Oh my God. This dress is one pair of fingerless gloves away from the prom scene in any John Hughes movie. (See photo.)They would normally rake this thing over the coals, but to keep us talking about the controversy, they chose to reward the self-taught naive boy who now thinks he’s got a shot at winning. But that’s why we love the show. “Project Runway” is back in all its glory. We can’t get enough of the delicious punishment, drama, hopes and dashed dreams of “Project Runway.”

And, ultimately, of life. See ya soon, Chris

Posted in: episode 1

Season 13, Episode 5: Dress Heidi

By laurareineke Fri., Aug. 22, 2014 ,4:55 am EDT

Heidi Klum has been stomping runways and gliding down red carpets for long enough now that she knows what she likes to wear while doing it. That makes her both the ideal client for aspiring designers and a bit of a nightmare, because while she's game for a lot of variety -- lots of color, different prints, and necklines and hemlines of various heights have all clothed her at one time or another -- she's also very particular. A look either says HEIDI KLUM! or it doesn't. And it's time for our Season 13 designers to take a crack at impressing her.

Challenge: Design a red-carpet look for Heidi to wear to the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Parameters: One day to work, $250 to spend, plus one consultation with Heidi. Amanda has immunity.

(The Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held this past Sunday, which means that you might've been spoiled about the winner of this challenge a few days in advance. Hopefully it didn't ruin your viewing experience!)

What this challenge really boils down to is fabric choice. (And pleasing Heidi, obviously, but that's a huge chunk of "Project Runway" to begin with.) The gang heads off to Mood without the benefit of speaking with Heidi first about what she wants, which doesn't leave them a lot of room to change direction should Heidi dislike their initial design. That this turns out to be the case is not a surprise. During her first walkthrough, Heidi gives calm, flat "Not gonna happen" critiques to Korina, Kristine, Mitchell, and Sandhya, all related in some way to the materials they chose. After a bit more time passes, Tim and Heidi enter the workroom again, this time with a life raft, sort of: Because Heidi's gotta wear one of these looks, she wants the designers to have the opportunity to start over and make better decisions. She gives them the option of going back to Mood with an extra $100 a piece. They'd lose valuable workroom time, but gain a second chance to make something Heidi-worthy -- a second chance some of them desperately need.

Char, Sandhya, Mitchell, Samantha, Korina, and Kristine take the money and the second Mood trip. Sandhya takes the opportunity to ask her fellow designers for any money they won't be using, once again proving that she's tackling her time on the show with some measure of strategic thinking. She walks out of Mood with an armful of hella expensive fabric. Mitchell whines about Sandhya using extra cash to "selfishly" support herself but I am agog, frankly, that none of the other designers thought to do it. It's a COMPETITION show, y'all. If you're not doing everything you can to stack the deck in your favor, are you really even competing?

Unfortunately, having Heidi thumbs-down their initial plan really throws off Korina, Mitchell, and Kristine, who look creatively blocked and very, very tired. They scramble to throw together something, anything, that might catch Heidi's eye.

Our guest judge is Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, who despite a career spent in athleticwear has walked her fair share of red carpets. Let's talk runway:

TOP THREE
Sean: Sean's plan to give his fringe a haircut worked well, as they judges are totally delighted by the playful movement and elegance of this look. Nina likes that the bareness of the back nicely balances out the heaviness of the fringe in front, and the ombre effect at the bottom gets high marks. Sean gets the win, as we all already knew. Nice to see someone break into Amanda and Sandhya's winners' circle!

Kini: Heidi loves the drama of the open back, and Lindsey points out that while it can be difficult to create an open-back dress that still hugs the torso properly, Kini's dress shows no gaping or puckering. Zac gave Kini his highest score and has lots of good things to say about the fabrication. Kini is safe.

Amanda: Zac says the trim gives him an allergic reaction, and Nina seems less than thrilled with it too, but the whole panel agrees that the piece is unique and would allow Heidi to really stand out on the runway (though Lindsey isn't convinced that it would photograph well). For a top-three finisher, the response to this look is surprisingly tepid, but it does move Amanda to the next round.

BOTTOM THREE
Korina: Nina seems most annoyed by the ho-hum predictability of the design, while Zac calls out the mess of the back of the dress: "I can't tell what's intentional and what's not." He thinks that the details Korina chose to add were not well thought out. Heidi reiterates that she's no hater of the color green, but that she can't get behind the dour, drab shade Korina chose. She's safe, though.

Mitchell: Mitchell dubs this one the Hot Mess Express as it walks the runway, which is accurate. "I think a lot of things went wrong with your dress," Heidi sighs. From design to fit, construction to color -- Nina compares it to a Christmas ornament -- Mitchell's look is panned. "I can't see [Heidi] wearing this," Nina admits. "No one should be wearing this!" Heidi replies. Mitchell's out.

Kristine: Zac and Nina offer compliments on the side paneling, but that's the only thing going for this look, which is universally panned for being inappropriate for a runway and terribly put together. Zac flat-out says that the dress is unwearable and unacceptable. Because "Runway" is a fickle beast, Kristine is also out.

Kind of a bummer of an ending there, no? Mitchell and Kristine both saw the writing on the wall. It's never fun to watch designers get eliminated on looks they know are awful, especially after watching them struggle to put them together, and it's even worse after seeing them do quality work in the past. But you're only as strong as your last look, and these looks were weak. Onward and upward we go, with just ten designers left. Do you think Sean's look was better than Kini's? Did Mitchell and Kristine both deserve elimination over Korina? Have you started to root for anyone in particular? Let me know in the comments!

(Red carpet photo credit: David Livingston/Getty Images)

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