It's a strong indicator of how far the new Project Runway spinoff Under the Gunn has to go to build a following anywhere near as strong as the franchise's original anchor, that I had to dig a little to find even one blog recap of the show this morning. This will make at least two!
I had more than one option for seating at last night's screening at the Back Stage Bar, but local PR alums Michelle Lesniak and Bryce Black were among those who came out to support local competitors Brady Lange and Amy Sim. The show itself is a touch convoluted. There are the designers' challenges themselves, and then there is a sub-competition between three mentors—PR formers Anya Ayoung-Chee, Mondo Guerra, and Nick Verreos. For the first outing, only half the designers even participated (Lange among them), doing a standard "create a look in six hours that expresses who you are as a designer" challenge, in order to give the mentors an idea of who they would prefer to work with, much like kids picking teammates for a recess-hour scrimmage:
All three mentors cooed with enthusiasm over Brady's portfolio, perusal of which marked their first review for mentoree consideration. This was somewhat lessened by their visit to the studio, where his in-progress signature sportswear look (finished off with the zero-hour flourish of "BL" initials stitched across the front) caused some mild consternation. As the mentors made their selections, Brady was made to languish on the bench a bit uncomfortably long, until Anya and Nick came forward with their desire to work with him—Brady chose to join Team Anya. One designer was eliminated, the Southern Melissa Grimes, who failed to impress with an all-polka dot ensemble that was cute enough, but not fashion forward.
Personality-wise, recent SCAD graduate Blake Smith seems like the first to be shaping into a real character—his astonishment when Brady told him he was wearing not only a top of his own design but his jeans as well was particularly precious. Brady comes off fairly true to life—modest and funny with a little whiff of diva just under the surface—which is refreshing for these often misleadingly edited affairs.
Aaaand, that's pretty much all we know. Presumably the other half of the designers (Sim included) will be put through the same wringer next week. Then we'll start to see if the show, and our local competitors with it, can wind up some good momentum... things still feel a little wooden at this point.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!