Project Runway Takes Over Times Square for Season 10

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Alright, people, Season 10 of Project Runway is here, and I know I'm excited!

Preceded by a fluffy Road to the Runway special that let you briefly meet this season's 16 designers (and see Nick V. and Mondo bicker and flirt like they were on a third date), the season opener featured a live runway show in the middle of Times Square.

Season 10 contestants courtesy of Lifetime

But let's back up a little. Exactly one day earlier.

This season the designers were asked to send a look that expressed their design aesthetic. Upon arrival on day one they learn their challenge is to create a companion piece for that look in one day with $100, and show both on the runway.

I am happy to report that in our first trip to Mood of the season, my Swatch Watch was successful within seconds...Swatch!!! Now, let's hope they keep up showing the adorable little Mood mascot every single week. Otherwise, I worry. 

We start to learn about the contestants:

  • Beatrice can't sew. She's all knits all the time. That does not bode well.
  • Raul needs to lose his Squiggy curl, OMG.
  • I don't remember Gunnar from Season 9. Which probably means I blocked him out. He likes to design for older Southern woman. And is is convincingly confident. And seems to be channeling Josh.
  • Fabio's grandmother's sewing machine was his lullaby at night. And now he's a freegan. I'm not saying they're related, but would a little "Baby Mine" have killed her?
  • Lantie looks like Chelsea Handler. And likes vintage a lot. Mostly seeming to mean she works with old lace. This does not bode well.
  • Christopher pulls the line of the night, saying Gunnar belongs on Toddlers & Tiaras, not Project Runway...throwing in a Brittany Murphy "You're a virgin who can't drive" sneer at the end. Kudos.
  • Kooan is Kooky. (And Japanese.)
  • Buffi is Brassy. 
  • Ven Budhu is young but talks an extremely experienced game.
  • Andrea is a take-no-shit New Yorker.
  • Alicia is a lebsian with dreads and cute tomboyish clothes. (Is this Project Runway's first lesbian designer?)
  • Elena is super-cool and edgy. She'll spend a lot fo time making sure oyu know that.
  • Dmitry was a ballroom dancer. But now he makes "real fashion".
  • Melissa is a cute little blonde goth.
  • Sonjia and Nathan get very little air time at all. 

Nobody expects the Tim Gunn Inquisition! (As though they never watched the show.) And no one gets a very good critique out of it either. They're already panicking and it's only week one. This does not bode well.

But let's move on to the runway, with Heidi, MK and Nina Garcia joined by guest judges Lauren Graham and Patricia Field (although if you closed your eyes you probably thought it was Harvey Fierstein).

As always, I've included links to each look.

1. Ven Budhu

Original: A white suite featuring pleated palazzo pants, a white jacket with pleated sleeves, and a fuchsia bustier draped to look like a rose in her cleavage. Everyone was raving about the workmanship, but it looked old lady to me. And overworked

Companion: Fuchsia sleeveless dress with flat pleat skirt. The idea of this was fine, if unremarkable but I actually didn't think the execution was awesome.The sleeves looks like they were cutting into her, and the back hem was rough. He's gotten a lot of praise, and I can't say I'm on the Venwagon.

2. Beatrice Guapo

Original: Gray knit short sleeve dress with sheer shoulders, pleated back, and patterned aztec-print throw. The gray knot dress wasn't bad...simple, easy, didn't look cheap. But the Aztec throw reminded me of a poncho I had when I was a kid, and it didn't elevate the design. And this is the one they had more time to work on.

Companion: Gary knit skirt. Red sheer tee, big wide belt. Really plain and uninspired. Of course, she cut a hole in her top at the last moment and had to improvise that red tee, and the lack of interest or intent showed.

3. Lantie Foster

Original: Lace dress with bolero, apparently made of doilies. With weird waist and neck snakeskin embellishment. It's all very fussy. Just below knee length…not flattering. This didn't read vintage, like the 50s, but more like the turn of the century!

Companion: Ack, disaster!! Taupe shift dress with brown tulle over it and a weird snake breastplate. Add in the matchy matchy snake purse, the bump-it hairdo, and the overall poor fit, this was frumpy and sad to the max.

4. Andrea Katz

Original: Simple white dress with geometric horizontal stripes in the front, with spaghetti straps. And a longer slim skirt underneath. Kind of slutty Gibson Girl-y. Which was OK. Simple, slightly comic strip, but OK.

Companion: Short dress with a black top and big black and white stripe hoop skirt. No, you don't normally see short hoop skirts. Yes, there's a reason why. Beyond the unflattering possibilities, there's also the little problem of how the hoops ride up as you walk. This was awkward.

5. Christopher Palu

Original: A dark gown, with many small pleats. I was surprised no on mentioned that he could have edited down exactly how much skin he was showing. With a mostly backless back and a very high slit, this struck me as on the edge of vulgar.

Companion: Black strapless cocktail dress. A LOT of working with the fabric. Lots of pleating and seaming all over the place. Which was fine, if hard to see on TV. But I'm shocked he wasn't dinged more for this. First of all the big exposed zipper up the back only emphasized that the dress was riding up in the back. Plus there were strings along hem. I thought it was pretty weak, and he could have sacrificed some pleating for some polish. 

6. Alicia Hardesty

Original: Red capri jumpsuit with hood. I actually liked this. It looked casual, hip, fun, but it was a bit plain and simple. I get that her style may be unadorned, but how will she show versatility, and how will she look like fashion, not clothes?

Companion: Red/Rust sleeveless top with striped top portion, brown jodphurs-y type pants with exposed buttons. This had a little more to it, although I still think her styling approach is so low key as to be non-existent. I'm not a huge fan of pants with big dragging saggy crotches (because doesn't that sound appealing?) But again...I get her look. I can appreciate its place.

7. Elena Slivnyak

Original: Black quilted coat dress. The quilted concept is cool, and it was overall well-executed, however, she includes these very wide boxy hips, and the end result is making this tiny model look big and boxy. Not flattering.

Companion: This dress was sort of a anime take on edgy. The dress was black jersey with a white center inset of a curvy figure. It looked like a silhouette of Jessica Rabbit was printed on the front of her dress, if you get my drift. There were structured shoulders, and the styling included gloves, and knee socks. I think it went a little over the top.

8. Buffi Jashanmal

Original: Black pleather pants with a hot pink one-shouldered top. The top had a chartreuse band peeking out of the top hem. Again, for the piece they had time to work on it was pretty simplistic...could have been bought at Contempo Casuals in the 80s.

Companion: Black mini dress with hot pink neck piece. The dress looked life a Hefty bag. The styling was Working Girl Staten Island 80s girl. Pretty much a hot mess.

9. Dmitry Sholokov

Original: Long black sequin gown with puffy elbow-length sleeves, sheer torso panels and plunging Vs in front and back. The sleeve length was dowdy, and overall this had a Joan Collins on Dynasty feel. But it did look well made.

Companion: Gray one-shoulder knit dress with cutout at waist and sequin-y belt. The fabric seemed like day wear. The styling (and the choice to do a cut-out and show some skin) seemed out of place. I guess I didn't completely get it.

10. Kooan Kosuke

Original: Romper onesie shorts with big turquoise circles and pink shoulders. You know, what can you say? This screams Japanese street fashion to me...or perhaps gamer/anime culture. I'm positive it has a place out there in the world. But you know, not my cuppa tea, and I'm doubting it's going to be the judges' cuppa either, long term.

Companion: And then after all the whimsy and drama of his first piece, the second is a silver metallic short sleeved dress with wide portrait collar. Very quiet in comparison. I guess it could be his way of showing versatility, or restraint, but it's definitely less interesting. 

11. Gunnar Deatherage

Original: White jacket, Mustard halter blouse with black collar, waist, placket. Nice floral print skirt with yellow and gray. This was pretty nice, if not original. Very Ann Taylor. 

Companion: Mustard mini-dress with black waist and striped black runway from neck to hem, front and back. Meh. Color blocking 101, who cares?

12. Nathan Paul

Original: Hot pink long drapey gown with short sleeves, which is unusual. Cowl neck. backless. There's a lot going on, and a vague sense of deja vu, but it did flow well and look beautiful on the runway. 

Companion: Teal dress. Gathered in front. Draping in back, and in fact the back is most interesting part. I'm not sure this is original...I do feel like we've seen it before, but it was pretty and well-done.

13. Sonjia Williams

Original: Leopard-y pants with a drape-y over skirt-y part..made them look like maternity pants. Brown leathery jacket. Not sure if there was a top underneath, so the jacket seemed to be clipped closed at strategic places. Kind of haphazard looking. Especially considering this was the homework piece. Not my cuppa.

Companion: Short dress with citron and leopard explosions from underneath a brown leathery vest. Again, her style seems kind of slapdash and thrown together.

14. Melissa Fleis

Original: Black matte leather jacket with asymmetric hook & eye closure and long, long black skirt. All in  black. I'm reminded of former winner Irina. It's definitely marketable. Not sure it's innovative.

Companion: Black mini dress with one-shoulder/short sleeve and tail in the back. Nice bride-of-frankenstein styling. Overall, a simple, clean aesthetic that worked.

15. Raul Osorio

Original: I really didn't like this. It was a gray pants suit, neither piece of which was particularly original or even well-fitted. But it was the old lady bowed blouse that you could see her golden bra through that really kind of killed me. Bleh.

Companion: Then he copied Lantie's doily dress approach and made a lace pouf-y halter short dress. In blush. With another very dated brooch at the neck. I'm shocked he wasn't in the bottom, honestly.

16. Fabio Costa

Original: Frumpy black dress with buttons down the front, and no sense of her figure underneath. Lots of weird asymmetry and bagginess. Overall effect=bag lady.

Companion: Dyed ombre short skirt with minimalist short sleeve striped top. Has a very spare but elegant feeling. Not sure all his dyeing worked exactly right, though. I wouldn't call the end result beautiful.

The judges likee:

Ven: Two pieces worked well together.
Melissa: They know who she is. It's current.
Christopher: Fabric manipulation is well-done. (But MK no likee the styling: too "wedding party".)

The judges no likee: 

Lantie: Poor construction. Sad. More styling than design to re-work vintage.
Beatrice: Sad. Too easy, not enough.
Kooan: Don't be a joke, don't be outrageous for its own sake.

I was convinced they'd give Ven the win, and Lantie the AUF (and she TOTALLY deserved the AUF), but...

In the end:

Christopher is the winner.

Beatrice is AUF'ED.

Did you agree? Because I could handle Christopher as the win, but Lantie should have been auf'ed. 

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