Recap: Project Runway Season 8, Episode 1

Check out yesterday’s liveblog of the premiere for my at-the-moment thoughts on all 90 minutes of the episode. Already read it? Well, get ready for the bitchiness that comes with a) seeing things a second time and b) seeing close-up photos. And don’t forget – click on the photos themselves. They’ll take you to the Lifetime website where you can see way more details on the garments. Here we go!

AJ's design, front

AJ's design, side

AJ's design, back

Overview: This was my personal favorite look of the night, which should come as no surprise to my most faithful readers. What do I love more than tight bodices with poofy, erratically draped crinoline skirts? Sure, AJ took quite a few pages out of the Marchesa/Vera Wang cocktail dress books in creating this design, but it’s nonetheless eye-catching and intriguing.

Styling: The hair is a bit too lopsided on top for my tastes, but still wild and ferocious. Perfect make-up, good shoes, and an absolutely killer necklace make this dress look more high fashion.

Idea vs. Execution: The back of the skirt is a big sloppy mess, but what more can you really expect in five hours? I think the fact that the bodice fits her well and the proportions are working is impressive, given the constraints.

Judges’ Vote: AJ was one of many middle-of-the-road entries this week, according to the PR judges.

Andy's design, front

Andy's design, back

Overview: It’s certainly daring and risky; the drama of Andy’s design reminds me of Christian Siriano. The outfit sort of works when the cape is on, but when it comes off, we run into some serious problems.

Styling: The dramatic hair, hair accessories, and eye make-up reinforce Andy’s message that this is SOMETHING TO LOOK AT. But whoever this woman is, I don’t see her wearing those cuffed boots.

Idea vs. Execution: Most designers can’t make pants in two days, let alone five hours. I think Andy deserves some probs just for making so many different pieces. But the fabric of the pants stretches oddly over the model’s crotch, and from behind, the effect is even worse. The pants are too tight and don’t flatter her butt, and I hate that little peek of flesh between the bottom of the shirt and the top of the pants; it’s incredibly distracting. And clearly the sloping hems of the back of the shirt were meant to look more symmetrical.

Judges’ Vote: In.

April's design, front

April's design, side

Overview: A near disaster, from styling to concept to implementation.

Styling: The hair (and, to a lesser degree, the makeup) scream 1986. Also, the side pony is not the best hairstyle for a model with the biggest ears since Dumbo. Seriously, those things are HUGE!

Idea vs. Execution: I don’t support anyone who thinks they can just turn a jacket inside out, cut off the sleeves, and say they designed something. I think the idea was lazy at best, and the execution was clearly a nightmare. Heidi said it best when she questioned whether the unfinished look is actually what April was aiming for, or if she just can’t sew. But even if you’re going for a deconstructed look, you have to construct something. This outfit has a slanted hem; that same hem is unfinished and stringy. The shoulders are frayed and unfinished, as is the neckline of both the dress and the jacket/vest. From the side view, we see that the bottom of the jacket/vest is also unfinished. So tell us, April… What did you finish?

Judges’ Vote: 6th from the bottom – Heidi called this look “a hot mess.” Bad enough to be in the bottom of the barrel, but the first one of the pack to be told, “you’re in.”

Casanova's design, front

Casanova's design, side

Casanova's design, back

Overview: Hello sideboob, my old friend. We’ve seen a lot of naked on the runway before, but outside of bathing suit, lingerie, and female wrestling costume challenges, this may be the most scantily clad model in Project Runway history.

Styling: Excellent hair and make-up – wild and natural, like the queen of the jungle this sexy woman must be.

Idea vs. Execution: If Casanova’s idea was to make a dress that no woman could possibly feel comfortable wearing in public, then he executed that terrible idea perfectly. In the episode, it seemed as if Casanova knew that this dress would be quite revealing – at least, he refuted Tim’s comment about it possibly being vulgar, which is exactly what it turned out to be. But putting aside the question of taste, I hate the way that fabric is draped in the back. There’s something very toga/diaper about it, and while the print of the bottom layer of the skirt is fabulous, the dirty, washed-out colors of the other fabrics are just ugly.

Judges’ Vote: Bottom 3. After kicking off the loser, the judges kept Casanova and Ivy on to torture them just a bit more, but eventually let them stay.

Christopher's design

Overview: Christopher was giving a good piece of clothing to start with (basically the entire patterned fabric of the dress), but dolled it up and edited it with a keen eye for detail.

Styling: Not loving the gold bag when the fabric on the dress is tan, and I think a summery shoe would have worked better. But none of it distracted from the look itself.

Idea vs. Execution: The top is a bit lopsided and not quite symmetrical, but the rouching of the collar was pretty nicely done and the belted element is well-made and flattering.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Gretchen's design, front

Gretchen's design, back

Overview: Simple but beautiful, elegant, conservative evening wear.

Styling: The lips and cheeks are far too bright, bordering on whorish. And those shoes definitely throw off the proportion of the outfit.

Idea vs. Execution: The fit is pretty excellent. When fittings are hurried, loose garments like this can just look baggy and saggy, but Gretchen did an excellent job. And the back of the skirt is very nicely constructed. The shoulder appliques look a little amateurish, but overall, Gretchen’s execution was very strong.

Judges’ Vote: Gretchen is the winner! Congratulations, darling.

Ivy's design, front

Ivy's design, back

Overview: Every year, there’s a loudmouth bitch I can’t stand, and this season the award already goes to Ivy. I hated her before I saw her lack of design skills, but once I realized that she, as Heidi repeatedly said, “made pants out of pants,” I was done.

Styling: Ivory purse, nude shoes, and white pants? No, no, no.

Idea vs. Execution: What idea? She made pants out of pants. You can rouch them all you like, but don’t pretend you actually designed any of that. In fact, the only part of the look Ivy did design was that God-awful top, which clearly has some serious construction issues. The front is just completely unflattering and poorly fitted. The bow in the back could be nice, if the hanging pieces of fabric were actually the same length. And what an unforgiving choice of fabric – it just puckers and wrinkles all over the place, particularly from the back.

Judges’ Vote: Bottom 3, but ultimately safe, along with Casanova. But in my opinion, Ivy deserved to go home.

Jason's design, front

Jason's design, back

Overview: Escaped mental patient goes to the hair salon? What was Jason thinking?!

Styling: Hard to say, since the outfit itself is so nonsensical. That over-the-top punk/whore look may work with some outfits, but it couldn’t save this train wreck.

Idea vs. Execution: Failure on both parts. Look at the second picture – doesn’t it just look like she’s wearing a kimono backwards? THAT’S BECAUSE SHE IS. If that’s not laziness, I don’t know what is. And the construction is even worse. Pins everywhere, awful seams, accidental asymmetry, and no shape to it whatsoever.

Judges’ Vote: 4th from the bottom. Saved by the bowler hat.

Kristin's design

Overview: Boring. Cute scarf, though.

Styling: Again, pretty boring. Not a fan of those clog-like heels or the Princess Leia hair.

Idea vs. Execution: Simple idea, fine execution. This is an example of how to best use deconstruction without looking sloppy – the scarf is frayed and unfinished, but the rest of the dress is much more tailored.

Judges’ Vote: In. You can leave the runway.

McKell's design, front

McKell's design, back

Overview: Tacky, tacky, tacky. One wrong choice after another, this dress is a textbook Monet. (Props to those who caught the Clueless reference.)

Styling: So bad, it was basically the reason McKell was eliminated. That hair is awful from the front and downright disastrous from the back. The pink purse is awful – the judges were right to call McKell out for her inability to style her model.

Idea vs. Execution: The idea was precious – even Tim agreed – but the execution was where she failed. The fit is wrong, the proportions are terrible, the front is much shorter than the back, we’ve got some sideboob issues… do I really need more?

Judges’ Vote: Auf wiedersehen, McKell. Enjoy Utah and your new baby.

Michael C's design, front

Michael C's design, back

Overview: It’s borderline prostitute wear, but it’s bold and has a point of view all the same. And just a general note – why do so many of these models have tattoos? Ladies, isn’t it your job to be a blank canvas? Isn’t it expensive for magazines and such to airbrush those tattoos out? I’m just surprised so many of them are donning ink; I’d think it would be more taboo.

Styling: Basic black accessories were a good choice, as was the simple and chic hair. Modern, funky, cool.

Idea vs. Execution: A tight black miniskirt isn’t exactly a novel idea, but it serves its purpose (though the seam in back is problematic). The shirt is okay from the front, but has some fit issues with the straps in the back. Not particularly well-made and not particularly innovative, but not a completely fuck-up, either.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Michael D's design, front

Michael D's design, back

Overview: I’m not sure who’s wearing this, but it’s certainly interesting and fairly well-made. At first glance, I had a strong distaste for it, but it’s one of those dresses where the more you look at it, the more you like it.

Styling: Minimalist in a good way.

Idea vs. Execution: I think this dress is executed quite well, particularly the hood/cowl piece in the back. I like that someone is utilizing such a strong Native American perspective – the beadwork, the colors, and the general effect is unique and quite lovely. The big, baggy sleeves are not my cup of tea, but otherwise, it’s a job well done.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Mondo's design

Overview: Unique fabric choice – I like the combination of the pattern with a surprising solid color. It holds my interest, even though the silhouette of the dress is quite simple.

Styling: Who still does pin-straight hair? But it does work for this outfit. The orange purse is a nice touch, but I’d have gone a little more low-key on the shoes.

Idea vs. Execution: Clearly, this has some execution issues. There’s puckering everywhere, and it seems uncomfortably tight in some areas and fairly loose in others. But everybody needs a basic dress in a funky color and print; with more time, I think this could have been something really interesting.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Nicholas's design, front

Nicholas's design, back

Overview: Oy. A hot disaster if there ever was one, I can’t get behind any part of this dress. To me, this is what the most evil brides in the world reserve for their bridesmaids – a dress no one, no matter how hot, will look good in.

Styling: Minimalist. Should’ve done a bit more – it’s quite empty.

Idea vs. Execution: The idea was brilliant: sportswear meets formal wear. But the execution was a total nightmare. From fit to fabric choice to proportions, this is just one sad sack of a dress. The only piece that works is the neckline; all the little sportswear features look far too craftsy and amateurish for the runway. And that length? A nightmare.

Judges’ Vote: 5th from the bottom. Saved from a worse fate because his ideas were strong and creative, even if he couldn’t implement them.

Peach's design, front

Peach's design, side

Overview: Hated it at first, but I’m coming around. Another cute, simple dress with nothing particularly interesting going on. Let’s just say these bitches better bring their A-game next week, because I’m not about to stand for any more simply little sundresses. But there’s not glaring problems with this garment. Except the model, who looks about 45. Seriously, Project Runway, how hard is it to find good models? Half these bitches couldn’t even walk. I’m five feet tall and I can stomp harder than them. Get it together.

Styling: The hair is simple, almost dated. I’d have gone a little more adventurous.

Idea vs. Execution: From the front, the execution looks pretty damn good, save for a few rough edges in the hemline. But the side angle shows that the red piping stops a little bit before the rest of the dress actually stops, which is a pretty glaring mishap. But the fit is nice, and the halter top is pretty great.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Sarah's design, front

Sarah's design, side

Overview: Another design that I hated at first glance, but am coming around to. Definitely a unique concept and silhouette with intriguing color choices. Like it or not, it certainly stood out on the runway.

Styling: Great. Casual but sexy hair, and I love the way the purple lipstick matches the purple shoes. Very nice touch.

Idea vs. Execution: You know how I feel about rompers, jumpers, and any kind of one-piece items, but this really is adorable. The short-shorts are super-flatting, and I love the flash of bright blue we see when the model turns to the side. The buttons on the sides of the shorts are super-cute, the jacket is well-made, and I’m really enjoying the proportions of it all, even though it’s so shrunken. But I think it’s definitely one of the better-made pieces of the bunch.

Judges’ Vote: In.

Valerie's design, front

Overview: It feels very art-school to me, which is basically the worst insult Tim Gunn can hurl at any given designer. Everything from the boob swatches to the color blocking feels a bit contrived and immature to me, but it’s definitely not hopeless.

Styling: Very basic, understated. A good choice, considering this is a busy dress.

Idea vs. Execution: There are definitely some glaring construction issues. The hem is quite uneven, the belt area is puckering, and the little boob-shields are distracting and not particularly body-conscious. But I do admire her use of color – not just color, but three different and unusual colors that we don’t often see together. And the zippers in the skirt are a very cute touch. This is another garment that I honestly believe could have been excellent, had the designers been given more time.

Judges’ Vote: In.


And there you have it, folks! Don’t forget to check back in on Saturday afternoon/evening for the weekly fashion recap. And follow me on twitter @democracydiva!

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5 responses to Recap: Project Runway Season 8, Episode 1

  1. Benjamin Pollack

    I think my favorite part is how almost every contestant sat talking to a camera and said “I don’t even know if I’ll make it on the show…”. Kind of hilarious

    • democracydiva – Author

      That was the BEST. “I’m not on the show! I’m not on the show!” Um, really? Because I’m pretty sure I’m watching you on the show right now.

  2. Rebecca

    what the eefff jason’s and Casanova’s seemed so muuuuuch worse than the once that went home….

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