It’s official – it’s baaack. After a dismal stint in LA, the Project Runway ensemble is back in New York for a seventh season, complete with contestants shacking up at the spiffy Atlas apartments, sewing their hearts out at Parsons School of Design and hitting Manhattan Mood for fabrics.
The first episode underscores the New York, New York vibe as designers meet for a Champagne toast atop the Atlas (Heidi has cider, because at this point she is quite preggers and, for the record, even more gorgeous than ever) and a few of the out-of-towners swoon when they recognize – ta-dah—the Empire State Building.
The challenge is set in Central Park (what could be New Yorkier?) with rolls of fabric strewn over benches. The gang has to do a fabric supermarket sweepstakes, loading up as much as they can so they can create a garment that best represents “you as a designer,” Tim Gunn says. It’s a mad scramble provoking the best line of the night from costume designer Emilio Sosa, who says of the scene, “We’re like fat people at an open buffet in Vegas.” He wins the challenge with a flirty, feminine cocktail dress in a silver and plum print that fits like a dream and shows off his excellent sewing skills.
We’re not sure if Christiane King’s frock of bright blue with abstract floral draping was the absolute worst – there were contenders. But the judges (Michael Kors and Nina Garcia … together at last) and guest judge Nicole Richie (very decent, but perhaps a touch too much from the “I would wear it,” school) deemed it so. Kors said it had “the hem from hell.” Christiane’s portfolio looked much better than this dud, so we’re sorry to see her go.
Of note: Anthony Williams, from Atlanta, who originally hails from Alabama and has this velvet Southern accent and funny take on everything, including almost being eliminated. As he readied his model for the stage and her zipper burst, he said, “I’m sweating like a Baptist preacher.” And he becomes so excited not to be eliminated that he hems and haws too long for Heidi’s liking. “Before I change my mind, auf Wiedersehen. Leave the runway,” she commands.
Expect weirdness from Chicagoan Ping Wu, originally from China, who might be a genius or a kook, we don't know which yet.
Finally, a suggestion for the fellows: Perhaps they can chip in as a group for the hair goo they are almost all liberally dumping on their heads. It will save some serious dough. Faux hawks and spikes and flips, oh my!
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