Project Runway, Ep. 1 — Stunned, Shocked, & Speechless!!

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aka Dazed & Confused! Of course, as a blogger, we know I’m not speechless, but I’m certainly all of the other alliterative “S” adjectives I mentioned above, along with a few others in fact! Despite the shock value, it was still a great Project Runway premiere night. I enjoyed watching the full 2 and a 1/2 hours. I hadn’t watched the “meet the designer” videos on Lifetime’s website so I really enjoyed the intro episode prior to the Season 13 premiere. It was great seeing that so many designers had really persevered to get where they are today and to make it on PR, whether it was from repeat auditions or a “rags to stitches” tale. And just as I mentioned in my own introductory PR post, it was hard to tell who would leave during this 1st episode. I had some hunches, but this was just one of the many shockers I was in store for during this premiere!

pr13-ep1-episode12                                      pr13-ep1-episode13So of the 18 new designers, sadly, 3 were quickly eliminated. Each designer presented a few pieces to the firing squad, aka “the judges”, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, & Zac Posen. I’m assuming the designers presented their audition pieces, basically showcasing who they are as a designer. So my first shock of the night came from who went home right off the bat!

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You could definitely tell there were some early judges’ faves. But personally, I was very surprised that both Emmanuel & Tim were cut. Maybe one, but both?? Heck, when I wrote my intro post, two of the six images I used were from them. I wouldn’t say I pegged them as potential winners, but something about their previous work did catch my eye! I wasn’t quite as shocked by Nzinga’s elimination, but I still applaud a designer who has a clear POV; it just wasn’t the judges’ POV.

pr13-ep1-episode8                   pr13-ep1-episode5                   pr13-ep1-episode9But we are still very early on in the PR process and that is how the PR cookie crumbles — each week, one designer must go. We just started this season off a bit differently, with 4 gone by the 1st episode’s end. But as we bidded adieu to three designers, one was “welcomed” to the fold. America casted their votes for the Runway Redemption candidates, Ken Laurence (Season 12), Alexander Pope (Season 12), and Amanda Valentine (Season 11). I’m generally not a fan of mixing new cast members with old ones, and this is for any competitive reality show. But I always considered Season 11 a bit unfair; it was very different than every other season. And I think if the designers weren’t forced to work in groups the entire season and further, were not eliminated based on those groupings, the season might have turned out differently. So just as I rooted for Katelyn Pankoke to come back last season, my choice this year was Amanda Valentine, and it was for the same reason. So I was very happy Amanda was the one chosen! With 16 designers ready to go, it was time for them to get their 1st challenge!

The designers were to create one piece this week that would give the judges a glimpse of what their Spring 2015 collection might look like. There was of course a huge twist though, “a trunk of doom!” Each designer was given a trunk with 5 fabric options, not likely their 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd choices! The designers didn’t have the same fabrics so they were left to just create or get to bartering! I think the other designers didn’t want to give the vet much help though, so it seemed as if Amanda wasn’t able to play the trade-game. And as per PR usual, the challenge only allowed for one day so the designers were off to quickly work! Tim was also back to his norm PR mentor status, giving a great mix of helpful advice.

pr13-ep1-episode15                       pr13-ep1-episode23Back in the workroom we were already seeing a few gossip sessions going on, mainly Mitchell & Korina — highly doubt they will be the only ones though! Mitchell redeemed himself somewhat, very nice of him to help out Sandhya when he finished his look. There were very interesting moments during the model fittings this week — many designers not ready and making some determinations as to what could be hanging out a little (side-boob, etc.)! The most stress and time management issues came from Angela & Sandhya this week, but no worries, no naked models went down the runway! Sooner rather than later it was time for the runway show. Heidi announced the Tim Gunn save would be back this season and that the prize package this year was over $300K. The judges were joined this week by Emmy award winning “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen. With so many designers presenting this week, it had to be tough naming a top and bottom 3. It was no surprise that this was where even more shockers came to fruition.

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There were certainly a lot of safe looks this week. Many will have to step it up — I will hold off on names for now! But two looks I thought stood out and I was surprised weren’t given any top contention, were Korina’s tomato red look & Sean’s chic knee-length dress, pure minimalism at its best. I guess that is what happens though when you have 4 different judges scoring 16 designers!

pr13-rr-ep1-sk-f     PR1301-Korina-Emmerich-1-900x1350The bottom 3 wasn’t so surprising, but because of its unpredictability with so many designers, I was going to be shocked no matter who went home. Angela’s 2-piece look certainly had some mistakes, but I saw some other mistakes go down the runway too. There was a lot going on in this look, and with how much airtime she got this week, you could definitely see her bottom 3 placement coming! But I wouldn’t peg her as a repeat offender quite yet. I think she can bounce back!

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Mitchell was another bottom 3 placement I wasn’t so surprised by. Tim wasn’t a fan of this look either. I think he mixed his fabric choices well, but the look was very basic, definitely not a show-stopper. It also seemed very “junior” and for this show, that is not what the judges are looking for.

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The big surprise of the bottom 3 was not Jefferson’s placement, but that he went home. I was not a fan of his prior work because I’m not a fan of drop crotch pants. The main issue with this look was exactly what Nina said — proportions, mainly, the shorts were toooooooo short! I don’t think he should have gone home though. But Heidi seemed to not dislike Mitchell’s look quite as much as the others so I’m guessing Heidi had the final say-so on this one!

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While the bottom was not so jaw-dropping, the top 3 was a completely different story. I, like pretty much every other designer, thought Sandhya was for sure in the bottom. I didn’t think she would go home, but to find out she was in the top, needless to say I was stunned. However, later finding out she was the night’s winner, I kind of went from shocked to disappointed. In certain PR seasons, the judges hang onto a fave (Patricia Michaels, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Alexandria von Bromssen). America is not always on the same page! I’m hoping Sandhya is not that token fave this season that will get by with work such as this just because the judges have drank some crazy Kool-aid and are in a love-fest! The judges said Angela’s look had far too much going on, well what the heck do they think this is — frayed edges, capped sleeves, dyes, prints, etc. Based off of Sandhya’s prior work, I also don’t think anything in her collection would look like this. And also, with this floral curtain-like print, the dye, the color chosen, it just looks like a stained old piece of drapery. I am still completely baffled by this decision, but that’s PR for you!

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I think based on the task at hand and with who the judges picked for the top 3, Char should have won. This looked like a piece Char would actually have in her collection and it also read “Spring!”

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But Amanda too had a very chic and well put together look. If this is the new Amanda aesthetic, I can’t wait to see more. I’m not sure if it screamed “Spring”, but I could see it being in Amanda’s wheelhouse. And I disagree with Julie on the use of the pattern. A basic top and pants would have been a yawner! But the print made the pants pop and I was also impressed by the great fit they had.

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And finally, just like my UTG posts, I will name a stand-out for Aldo accessories, Mary-Kay beauty looks, and Philip B. hair looks!

pr13-rr-ep1-fzg-f     For my stand-out Aldo accessories look, I pick  fäde zu grau — statement jewelry pieces (bracelet & necklace), but not over-the-top or overshadowing the look, & simple, elegant black heels. I also think he did a great job of intermixing his printed fabrics for the skirt portion of his dress.

pr13-rr-ep1-hl-f    For my standout Philip B. hair & Mary Kay make-up look, it’s one in the same — Hernan Lander — chic ponytail & clean, fresh beauty look/

Did the PRAS Designers Id a New Trend for 2014?!?

Ahhhhh……No! I mean in reality, nobody could, in just 1 day, on the spot, find some big, new fashion trend for next year. It just isn’t possible. I was eager to see what the designers would come up with though. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. My first thoughts when I heard the challenge was okay, no sheer effects, cut-outs, lace, or peplum. So when I saw a couple of those aspects, I was left SMH! I only loved 1 look, but I don’t think any fully met the challenge.

So this week’s challenge was given by PR judge & creative director of Marie Claire Nina Garcia. The designers were to pair up with some influential fashion bloggers to identify a new trend for 2014. I loved the pairing with the fashion bloggers because what people like us do is just so great. It’s always great hearing what people from all over the world have to say. Blogging is a great platform, even if NYFW doesn’t agree!

But back to the challenge — so Pantone’s color of the year, for 2014, is radiant orchid, or wild orchid. The designer’s look had to incorporate this color. The prizes for this week were also great. The winning look would be personally endorsed by Nina Garcia so we know what that really meant, she would pretty much decide the winning look! But that look would then be shot in a video for the home page of StyleHaul, which could be seen by over 50 million subscribers. Pantone also joined in on the giving — $10,000 prize and a chance to visit Brussels, Belgium and stay in the Pantone Hotel there.

mainpage_slider_blog                                     pantone-color-of-the-year-2014-radiant-orchidSo StyleHaul played a huge role this week as the StyleHaul bloggers worked with the designers to create this fresh, new, trendy look. PR brought back the tradition of the winning designer from last week picking first. And then each designer thereafter would pick which designer would select next. I’m not sure how necessary that was since all of these bloggers were amazing! You can’t deny that, I mean altogether, they have over 6 and a 1/2 million Twitter followers, CRAZY!

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The designers had a $200 budget this week. Some funny tidbits for me this week — Elena having chainsaw fun and driving the other designers crazy!; Elena picking on Chris’ trend yet she was really just focusing on a peplum-style jacket, not that much more innovative!; finally, Viktor talking about Chris’ use of the olive green, ummmmm did he forget his dress from just last week??

This week’s guest judges were of course Nina, but she was also joined by Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and one of my fave PR alums, the most successful ever, Christian Siriano. Zanna came by for her usual weekly visit and made sure to encourage the designers’ work processes and to think bigger. So how did that all work out?

pras03-ep8-episode7                                                                                                pras03-ep8-episode12I had no clue what would happen this week, who would win, who would go home? I didn’t think any look was that forward-thinking, but I did like 1 look nonetheless. I thought Seth’s fitted knee-length dress was very chic. I thought he incorporated the radiant orchid color well. I also liked the leather capped-sleeves, nice touch. Color-blocking, it’s not something I see as some big new trend for 2014, but I thought the look had such clean lines. I’m not a designer so maybe the color-blocking with the in-seams was at least pushing the boundary somewhat.

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The judges disagreed as Seth was in the bottom 3. But no designer this week got full praise. Although the judges did seem to really love Korto’s white vested-suit look. I actually didn’t like the use of the orchid color. For me, having to fight to figure out how something is featured isn’t doing the color justice. In fact, at first, I had no clue where the color even was. It was clever, but for me, the point should have been to feature the color and I didn’t see that here. I didn’t really see anything new or innovative for a trend either, a white suit?? But the judges ultimately declared Korto as the winner.

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Elena’s focus this week was surprise surprise, on another jacket, and working on texture. She created a peplum-style shape to the jacket and incorporated the orchid color as part of a textured print. I think had this print been a bit darker, not so bright white, it might have worked better. The judges took issue with some proportions, but really disagreed on if it was a winning look. A couple of the judges were a fan, while Alyssa and Nina were just not sold. Again, Nina was the deciding factor this week, so without her full support, there was no way you could win.

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I’m a fan of Chris, but the bottom 2 made sense this week. I know he can bounce back so I’m not worried! Lace is such a big trend right now that it really couldn’t be something much more innovative next year. I do think it’s more of even a staple trend and I’m sure we will see it for many years to come. The military aspect I guess was the twist, but if I’m not mistaken, I think even on PR a few seasons back, lace and military was a trend used for a challenge. Of course after my lengthy venting from last week, I am still not a huge fan of this olive green color, but I don’t think it looked like the swamp thing! I also wish he had done something a bit more with the color than the orchid clutch. But I’m so glad he was safe. I couldn’t take him going home since Irina was eliminated last week.

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It was sad to see Viktor go, but that is the tough part with a season such as this one, too many great designers! I really didn’t see a clear trend from his look this week. I think his vision was just a bit hazy. Of course the leather moto jacket was awesome, but it really didn’t work with this black babydoll dress. I think a jumper would have worked way better and if he could have done the splattered orchid print on the jumper, the look probably would have been outstanding!

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What will happen next week?? I can’t wait!!