We’ve endured two successive seasons of lesser-than Project Runway iterations (Under the Gunn and All-Stars, which undermines the very premise of the show — that the winner of Project Runway will go on to be the next big American designer by bringing back previous winners who have gone on to do....um, nothing special enough enough that they don’t still need more prize money to pay the rent?).
But now Project Runway — the real one — is finally back (albeit without our favorite simile-spewing arbiter of all things mother-of-the-bride, Michael Kors).
So we sewers can spend the next 13 weeks dissecting fabric choice, drape, style and technique for both inspiration — and some schadenfreude. In the promo, Tim Gunn is shown calling this the “Season of the Vagina.” I can hardly wait to see what that even means. Let’s get started.
Lesson # 1: We like short shorts — unless they look like a diaper...or match your top
With so many designers from Brooklyn, it’s not surprising that short shorts featured prominently in this first round on Project Runway. What is shocking is that the two designers who based ensembles around this popular look were in the bottom (sorry, pun totally intended).
I know the heat of summer has many of you sewing shorts right now. And I'm aware that the trend is toward cervix-baring hem lengths. In fact, yesterday I saw two young women in short shorts taking selfies on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When they walked past us, my six-year-old looked up and said, “Whoa.”
|"Side butt's the new side boob"|
Mitchell's shorts, meanwhile, fit nicely and flattered. But the judges no likey the matchy-matchy:
Mitchell actually sewed the hem of his top into the waistband of these shorts, which had me yelling at the TV: "BUT HOW DO YOU PUT THIS GET-UP ON?!" (Seriously people, what would your point of entry be? I don't have the imagination to figure that puzzle out).
So what's the takeaway? Shorts seem like an easy piece, but they're no less tricky when it comes to planning the right proportions. And pairing them with a matching top is a little Lady-Foot-Locker-circa-1984 — all you need is one of those braided headbands with the beads. Am I the only one who remembers those things? I can't find a picture online so let's just look at this photo of Mitchell and use our imaginations:
Lesson 2: Skip the muslin
Raise your hand if you still can't believe Char didn't win with this lovely look:
It's hard to believe that you could pair two voluminous pieces like this circle skirt and blousey-sleeved top and not end up with a poufy disaster.
Judge Zac Posen credited the fact that Char skipped the muslin stage and went straight to draping with this yellow jersey. "That helps," he said, nodding with a knowing look.
(Zac Posen has grown on me, because of all the judges on Project Runway, he is the one who speaks most often of technique. Plus, he sees shades of gray where Nina and Heidi just wonder, “Would I wear that?”)
Anyway, don't be scared to work with your actual fabric. Muslin won't behave the same anyway.
Lesson 3: Know your slits from your sluts
Poor nervous Angela. You had to know from her bumbling around the workroom that this girl was in trouble. And then these hip slits...they look like something Sandro would have designed:
Zac and guest judge Julie Bowen were not down with the "easy access" pants. Nina said they were "sluts not slits." Tim questioned whether they should come with a gift certificate for a bikini wax (zing!). Heidi, meanwhile, liked Angela's pants — which is no surprise BECAUSE SHE WAS ACTUALLY WEARING A DRESS WITH A HIP SLIT:
|Heidi is no hip-ocrite|
To be fair, few women would need a wax to wear these pants. The slits aren't that low. They're still pretty trashy though, which means they would probably sell like slutty hotcakes. Also, aside from the back rise issue Angela had, these pants looked very well done. Hopefully this humbling experience early on will spur her onto great work throughout the rest of the season.
Now, you may be wondering why I have yet to address this dress, by Sandhya:
The other contestants were as stumped as I was that this dress won the week's challenge. It looks like a stained bedsheet sewn into a body-con dress that just barely made it through a natural disaster. But Sandhya has a good story for everything. She knows how to sell her vision. That went a long way with the judges this week. Will she be able to hold their interest? Though I think this dress was fugly, I cannot wait to see what she makes next. I doubt she will ever send something boring down the runway.
So what did you think of the season premiere? Did you learn anything? Who's your early favorite?