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Friday, January 25, 2013

Project Runway Wrap Up!

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

The first few episodes of a new Project Runway season are always a blurry and crowded. There are the contestants who stand out to you right away (in good and bad ways) and there are a whole lotta "meh" people in the background who it will take you a few episodes to register.

Now, being the first one kicked off the show is the ultimate humiliation. It's like, just go crawl in the corner and die, as one of my co-viewers put it. Luckily what transpired on last night's premiere was all about just desserts.

Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklins first look for the runway.
  • Barbara Nitke
  • Portland contestant Michelle Lesniak Franklin's first look for the runway.

Spoilers after the cut!

The standouts in a good way:

—Daniel Esquivel. Flamboyant, original personality but not annoying. Awe-inspiring taste in jackets, that mustache, so far looks to be far and away the best tailor.

—Joseph Aaron Segal. "Looks like a serial killer," observed a friend. However is also a cat lady, does really fun, unique prints, in general way into his clubby sassy colorful style.

—Patricia Michaels. A little strange (war cry on the Hudson, anyone?), very talented. Great prints, meticulous. So smart to pair all that hand work with a simple silhouette.

—Tu Suthiwat Nakchat. The most adorable. His runway look was okay, showed a lot of promise.

In a bad way:

—Amanda Valentine. Has she mentioned to you yet that her brother is in Maroon 5?

—Kate Pankoke. Likened herself to an "angry chihuahua." Trying really hard to be aggressive and over-confident. I like chihuahuas.

—Emily Pollard. Similarly smack talking. And apparently spoke way too soon. It was fun to watch her fall on her face in spectacular fashion. Where's your big mouth now? I cannot even imagine how embarrassed she is for having spit all that ego now.

As for the team dynamic, I imagine they will refine this as the pool of contestants gets smaller. In this first instance what they've done is maintain the individual competition, but forced them to help each other. I don't know what I was envisioning exactly as for how the team thing was going to play out, but one thing I know from experience is that this show is not shy about throwing a wrench in the works. I'm guessing people will have to vote their teammates off at some point, that they will be forced to trade teams, you name it. I do hope that eventually designers' skills are parsed out to the extent that they can delegate/take on specific roles within the team with the result of a better product when they're all pitching in on the same look. But who knows In the meantime, let's rejoice that Esquivel won, with Michaels a close second. I want to see lots more from both of them.

Isn't he delightful?

As for our girl Michelle, I think this episode bodes good things. Ignoring her runway look as not among the worst nor the best was appropriate of the judges, but she definitely came across as one of the stronger personalities, often taking on the beginnings of a leadership role. And while her weird whimsical net hat looked a little silly-sad when her team overall came out the loser, I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more of her winning on this show. Tim Gunn only comes to town for finalists.

On the Michaels Kors-for-Zac Posen swap: Posen is amazingly talented and frigging adorable, but he needs to grow some teeth to fill Kors' volley of witty insults, which were sorely missed last night. You could see Nina and Heidi nipping him into place at points, like bitches training a new puppy. All in all he was behaving like a guest judge rather than one of the Big Three. Get mean or go home, Zac!

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