My truest reality show love (obsession) is Project Runway, so I am ready to dive right in to this season! However, the first person to utter "fierce" will be placed on a very bad list.

We start the show by meeting all our new designers with very short montages – but for brevity’s sake, I will be including that information with the runway review on each designer’s final creation. But as per tradition, once everyone arrives, they are asked to meet Tim and Heidi on the roof. Oh Tim! How I have missed you! You may want to stand behind Heidi though, her micro-micro-mini is making me nervous. Tim tells them that they are the most diverse group ever, but he thinks any one of them could win it all. Heidi asks if they are ready for their first challenge and they all eagerly nod, only to be met with her first "HAA!" They’ll find out tomorrow. In the meantime – champagne!

The next morning, Tim comes to rouse the designers. I don’t know about you guys, but were I to know that it was possible that Tim Gunn might be knocking on my door in the AM, I would make damn sure to be up, showered, dressed, coiffed, and made up before the bell rang. Instead, he gets a bleary eyed stares and to see Jennifer in a towel. I would be mortified. But they all are told to convene downstairs. I want to state for the record, tight black Bermuda shorts are a ‘no’, designers. Inform your cohort.

I have already admitted that PR is my reality TV passion. I have never missed an episode and have faithfully watched every season. However, my all time favorite episode was the very start of season 1 – the grocery store. Thus, when it was revealed that they are going back to their roots, I literally squealed with no small amount of glee. Let’s force some innovation!  The challenge is introduced by our beloved Austin Scarlett, who has not changed a BIT, and who will be our guest judge. They all get 30 minutes and $75 to make their fashion purchases.

It’s clear right away that there is a pretty uneven split between those willing to go outside their comfort zone and those who are decidedly not. In fact, most designers played it so safe as to go for the only fabrics available in the store. Which means we will be seeing a lot of table cloth dresses. I only realize how sadly traditional some of the designers are when Leanne actually says "I wanted to be different and use a table cloth…" Um. What’s different about using fabric, even if it is ugly fabric?

Suede, who talks in the third person way too often, calls the challenge "whack-a-doodle". I can’t help but imagine him with a red mohawk instead of blue, and saying "cock-a-doodle". Yes, I’m 4. Stella realizes too late that the trash bags she bought are not hip, edgy, vinyl looking bags, but rather, thin, plastic, easily torn (cheap) bags. She spends the rest of the next 2 segments whining about how she has nothing to work with while accomplishing nothing. The best moment of the evening is when Tim comes in, sees all the table cloth and shower curtain dresses and calls everyone "slackers" in disgust.

Runway Review!

Emily – She launched a fledgling design team called Smoke & Mirrors. Was she wearing spats? Her dress, made of table-cloths and napkins I believe, seemed to echo an aesthetic we’ve seen before. Short skirt, couture-styled, overwhelming collar. It’s OK, but not as edgy as she thinks.

Jerell – He started life as a model, jumped to fashion when he decided to make the clothes he couldn’t afford. His outfit isn’t bad, made of lawn chairs and such, but neither is it terrifically memorable. This is mainly because it doesn’t scream that it was made of a unique material. But it seems well constructed and forward thinking, so I am sure he’s safe.

Leanne – She launched a line called "Leannimal", and describes herself as a "silent fashion assassin". Her dress started as little more then a pink table cloth dress, but after Tim came down on everyone for that, she furiously began gluing things to her dress. Some of it is good – like pink candies that give it a cute, faintly beaded air. Some of it is not – like the napkin explosion on the skirt that looks like nothing so much as used Kleenex.

Korto – she’s from Little Rock, Arkansas, by way of Canada, by way of Liberia. She says she’s been "in every magazine in Little Rock". So that’s, what – one? Two? Her dress is a kimono styled, bright yellow table cloth, with kale and cherry tomato trim. It’s actually quite lovely as an overall look, though it doesn’t offer much in the way of innovation. It is impeccably styled and well constructed, though, so she’s not going anywhere tonight.

Jennifer – She describes her style as Holly Golightly attends a Salvador Dali exhibit. I am not sure what to think of that, and her paper towel dress with random lipstick presses doesn’t give me much insight either. It washes out under the lights, so I really don’t have much to say about it. I don’t think it was terrible, but neither was it very interesting.

Daniel – If her weren’t making clothing, he’s be a zoologist. Which is a first, I believe. He took the biggest risk in this challenge, making his dress entirely out of melted and reformed plastic cups. The dress itself is a pretty classic strapless silhouette, but he also put it together in an innovative manner. As such, the dress looks like it was carefully stitched rather then being a pretty solid piece of wearable sculpture. All in all, every interesting.

Terri – she claims her biggest advantage is that she can make a three-piece suit in under 8 hours. We’ll see if that’s the case when we get to the menswear challenge, Terri! In the meantime, tonight she made a crocheted top using mop-heads , paired with a mini skirt made of pot holders, I believe. Not terrible, and the top was interesting, so she’s bound to be safe.

Suede – He specializes in jeans and tells us "Suede was tired of making millions for other people. Suede needs to make millions for Suede". For reals. He gives a table clothe dress made of country gingham and doggy bags. The doggy bags were an after thought, to avoid it just being another tablecloth dress. But it looks like all he did was cot out blue squares and glue them on. Which is not very innovative at all.

Stella – She is this season’s rock and roll designer. He garment is a drop waisted dress that looks like exactly what it is. She unrolled the garbage bags, but didn’t unfold then, stitched them together with white thread, draped some around her model’s neck to hide her breasts and called it a day. It’s yawn inducing.

Joe – He designs to show his 9 and 5 year old daughters that they can be what they want. If they want to wear dried pasta, they are in luck, because that is what his table cloth skirt is covered in. This is matched with a top made of an over mitt, so at least he was thinking a little out of the box.

Kenley – She’s from Pompano Beach, Fl – which is not far from where I am from. I realize I love her just a little when she tells Jerry that his dress is straight out of American Psycho – and she is 100% correct, and funny. She also rocks a Bettie Page look, which I love. Her dress is pretty good, though I am not sure what it was made of. Her skirt is impressively sculptural though.

Jerry – He comes off stuck up right away to me, by announcing that he’s already very successful, with a fashion line that is on the verge of become a huge force in the business. Then why are you here? He continues by saying the other designers are "putting crap on top of crap". Meanwhile, his outfit is a dreadful mess. He made a dress that Michael Kors later described as a "handie wipe gone wrong", and matched it with a white plastic shower curtain drape that he called a "raincoat" and yellow rubber gloves. It IS straight out of American Psycho.

Wesley – He interned at Marc Jacobs, and it shows. Not in his shorts. His dress, made of a yellow table cloth with yellow cups and fly-swatter accents, is constructed like a dream. but the yellow on yellow on yellow drowns out most of the design elements.

Blayne – He’s an urban wear designing barista with a mad-on for tanning beds. I don’t know that they will be allowed to tan while on the show, so we may see him grow more orange as the season and the self-tanners wear on. That’s assuming he’ll be on long. His…thing…is beyond description really. It’s a collection of black cupboard liners and jump rope, and Heidi says it’s "Playboy bunny gone grunge". But not in a good way. It actually looks like there’s a diaper going between her legs. Austin has one word – "hideous". It’s much more accurate than Blayne’s own "girlicious".

Kelli – She would like to believe that she is the love child of Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson. She not only takes risk with her materials, but she uses them all in interesting ways. Her skirt is made of vacuum cleaner bags that she bleached and dyed to create marble patterns on, her waistline it accented by grommet like gold push pins, the bust is layers of burned coffee filters and the back closure is made of hook-and-eye clasps she fashioned out of a spiral notebook. That is some crazy attention to detail and far beyond what the other designers put into their looks!

Keith – He sucks up right away by telling Heidi that he designs for her, because if she would wear it, it’s acceptable – otherwise it’s garbage. Apparently, he thinks Heidi would wear a gingham table cloth covered in white netting. It’s well made, and an interesting design, but doesn’t follow the spirit of the challenge very much at all.

Daniel, Jerry, Korto, Stella, Kelli and Blayne are all kept on the runway while the others are told they are all in. It’s glaringly obvious which designers did well and which didn’t. But in the end, there can be only one winner and that is Kelli – very deservedly so. The loser? Pride comes before the fall, and Jerry has fallen all the way to the bottom. Only Christian Bale with a chrome ax can pull off his look.

With this sort of challenge, it’s hard to guess who will be strong and who won’t be, but I can tell you that next week I will have my eyes on Kelli and Kenley. What do you guys think of our new batch of fashion-hopefuls?

Discuss this show on Zap2it’s ‘Project Runway’ Forum.

Posted by:Jessica Paff