I suppose, after so many seasons, "Project Runway" felt the need to get gimmicky with the first episode. Bizarre is really the only word that comes to mind.
This season, they've already beefed up the show to 90 minutes (and after last night, the extra 30 seemed like uneeded fat). Then to top it off, the 17 designers brought to New York (yes 17!) were told they weren't even on the show yet. One or more of them would not even make it as contestants. Instead, all 17 had to vie for their spot on the show by designing a garment using an item from another contestant's suitcase in ... wait for it ... 5 HOURS. Just 5 hours for a challenge!
Now, granted, the challenge was kind of interesting. We've seen the crazy garb that some of these designers wear each season, so who knows what the poor normal-dressers would have to deal with in terms of fabric to work with. Plus, the 5-hour part of the challenge was pretty interesting because I couldn't sketch a pretty dress in 5 hours, let alone construct one out of fabric and thread.
Still, the whol thing seemed a little forced for ratings. I don't like stunts for the sake of stunts. I like them when they allow us to see some kind of extra ability each designer might have. Make a dress out of newspaper, for example, shows the creativity and construction skills of the designers. Forcing them to throw something together in 5 hours doesn't bring the best out of anyone. But I digress.
My main problem with the season kick-off was the girl who got sent home. Now, there was a designer named Casanova (no joke) who sent a model down the runway in hooker clothing. She was so naked, I thought for sure she would come falling out of that scarf-dress from all sides. Yet he made it onto the show. There was also a designer whose name I don't recall (and the Project Runway website won't load because of so much traffic) who A) wore a bowler hat, B) sent a model down the runway in a backward coat that he stapled up the back, and C) still made it onto the show. I take offense to all three. And the main reason I do is because the adorable designer who did get kicked off the show, McKell -- the only designer to get kicked off the show -- had a BEAUTIFUL dress. It was constructed well on time. It was creative. It was pretty. And it was FAR from the worst dress to get sent down the Runway. Tim even said he really liked it in the workroom!
Gretchen was the designer who won with a pretty black dress. She cut it beautifully and incorporated the fabric, which was really hard to work with, in a beautiful way. She deserved to win.
To see photos of all of these garments and get to know the new designers, visit the PR Web site.