And as always for the 1st episode, there is lots to report! Lots of designers. Lots of looks to grace the 1st runway. And lots of other show details from designer intros to workroom beginnings. So let’s get right to it with the 1st challenge of season 14!
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn met the group of 16 designers at Madison Square Garden to give them their challenge details. It was nothing out of the ordinary, very typical for a PR 1st challenge. The designers had 1 day to create any garment of their choosing, as long as it represented their designer POV. There were a few tiny catches — limited fabrics (courtesy of Mood) and only 3 minutes to shop, and by shop I mean to run around Madison Square Garden as the fabrics were scattered over the arena, draped over the seats. Each designer could only take 4 textiles. And since the designers were only provided with a limited number of fabrics, these choices could be ones the designers would not typically work with or might not be familiar with using.
The designers got a little crazed running around the arena, lots of snatching and definitely some aggressive behavior. But it was then off to the workroom where everyone got settled into their workstations with some friendly hellos and getting to know each other a little better. The mood of the room came down quite a bit though with some of the designers questioning their fabric choices and a major PR first!
Three designers, David, Swapnil, and Merline, did not bring their designer kits. Needless to say, Tim was shocked as this had never happened before on PR. Those designers were left to the kindness of their fellow castmates. I’m assuming everyone was given a helping hand as nobody seemed to have any further issues. A bit of other drama from this 1st episode, #projectmusical. Merline was singing about the workroom, definitely being dubbed as the season chatterbox. All fellow designers seemed quite annoyed to say the least!
The fun and laughter came to a quick end as Tim Time came around. There was a mixture of nervous designers, questions from Tim, and even some praise. Notably Tim had a disconnect with Edmond and some disagreements with Hanmiao. But overall, Tim left the designers with some firm notes. He was very disappointed and wanted the designers to turn their lumps of coal into diamonds!
As time for the first runway rolled around, it was also time for some of the season’s intros. The entire runway and set for the runway had been re-invented. Accessories this year were provided by JustFab. Mary Kay Cosmetics were back to provide makeup services. And new for this year, Sally Beauty was on board to work as the hair team.
As in previous seasons, the runway was being judged “anonymously” and the Tim Gunn save would return. The 1st guest judge of the season to join Heidi, Nina, and Zac was Hannah Davis, model and soon to be host of PR Junior.
With regard to the massive 1st runway, I was not in total agreement with Heidi’s statement that it was so spectacular. There was definitely some highlights, but I kind of agreed with Tim’s earlier sentiment of disappointment. Many of the safe designers were just that, lucky to be safe. The bottom 3 I couldn’t say I disagreed with, but I believe a few other designers could have easily found themselves to be in the bottom. I will give one honorable mention that was in my top, but forgotten by the judges, and that was Swapnil’s sassy royal blue frock. I love this color choice and the bodice was intricately created and detailed. In the midst of mediocrity, Swapnil certainly stood out for me.
Another quick honorable mention, Amanda. The more and more I look at her design, the more and more I like it. But what I wanted to point out was a shout-out for her work with Mary Kay and Sally Beauty. We see a lot of updos on PR, so to see a fresh, gorgeous hair look that is down, I had to give some props here. But also, I thought the sunkist, bronzed beauty look was a great pairing with her flirty, girly, fun look.
Ashley was the clear winner though this week. This look was so chic, very fashionable. I can’t imagine any young fashionista wouldn’t be over the moon to wear this piece!
Ashley not only created a rave look, but she stood out with hair and makeup as well. This lovely chignon updo by Sally Beauty was spot on. And the bold burgundy lip by Mary Kay was a great touch.
I was 100% in agreement with the judges here, top 3 placement and winning look. I loved that Nina pointed out the texture. This was so impressive for a 1st look and I’m happy Ashley was given immunity for next week. But I would hope she doesn’t need it!
The other 2 designers in the top I was more on the fence about. Edmond’s black tube dress with a train, showcasing a bright neon color, was very much a turnaround from Tim time. But I’m not sure about the neon fabric on the train as Hannah pointed out as well. In fact, several of the designers made use of a yellow under-fabric so I’m guessing it might have been the most prevalent of the fabric choices at Madison Square Garden. Clearly Mood was trying to get rid of this busy color! I believe it was Nina that was quick to remind her fellow judges that this was not overly innovative, a tube dress with a train. I might have responded differently without the neon color, maybe a royal purple or cobalt blue, but I get that Edmond was working with what he had. I appreciate his ability to “make it work”!
Merline rounded out the top 3 this week, but I was not so gaga over this one. I loved the use of color. And there were some nice details, but I just wasn’t over the moon here. Just as with Edmond though, I know Merline did a lot to make this work. I would just hope for the future we see less chat and more work. It will only serve to improve her work.
Nobody wants to be the first to go, but this is PR and each week there is a bottom 3 and one must go. Of the bottom 3, I was so surprised to see Blake become a part of this, so I’m happy he was saved. I loved Blake’s audition pieces, so I certainly didn’t want him axed first. This print could be a lot to take, but I think it was a bold, daring choice, which I applaud him for. However, there was a lot going on here and with such a busy print, too much wasn’t going to work. And again, we see this god awful yellow color as part of an under-fabric, which really didn’t make much sense. So I don’t disagree with the judges on this one, but I’m hopeful we will see better from Blake in the future!
This left Hanmiao and Duncan in the bottom 2. The judges felt Duncan didn’t do enough and when it comes down to designers not doing enough versus doing too much, the one who doesn’t do enough generally goes home. What saved Hanmiao was the judges did get her aesthetic, which was not a vibe they received from Duncan. I actually believe if Hanmiao had ditched the jacket she would have been safe. The dress on it’s own wasn’t altogether terrible, but with the matchy-matchy coat, it was too much. The dress still had some issues, but I’m guessing with sole focus on the dress, it might have been better. I know she demonstrated a stubborn side with Tim, but Duncan firmly stood by his design with the judges. On top of doing too little, it just wasn’t going to clearly work out in saving Duncan.
Duncan selected a stunning bun updo, which I loved for this look. I also liked the back. But other than that, this gown was a hot mess. If you are going to just drape, you have to do so superbly. And this wasn’t it. Duncan accepted his elimination well though; he left with his head held high.