Posted Friday, Aug. 21, 2009, at 10:45 AM
After a long wait, Project Runway is back on a new network (Lifetime), in a new city (Los Angeles), at a new time (10 p.m., which, as Hanna Rosin points out on Double X , is too late for the show's younger fans). Has the shift westward changed the show's sensibility? (A little.) Has the move to Lifetime matronized its aesthetics? (No, but there are way more bladder-related commercials.) And are the contestants any good? (It's too early to tell.)
In the early weeks of the season, so many garments fly down the runway that it's tough to judge the work. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to say.
In Week 1, we met the
and watched them fashion a "red carpet look showing innovation and point of view." Unschooled Minnesotan Christopher Straub
the first challenge with a champagne-colored dress with lots of texture and movement, while Samantha Ronson lookalike Ari Gold was sent home after she used "weird, bulbous hexagonal tesselation forms" to fashion a
garment for the Video Music Awards "in, like, 2080
Most cunning contestant: Johnny, addicted to mentioning his "addiction problem," had a crisis of confidence that earned an on-camera out-of-the-workroom mentoring session from Tim Gunn and pep talks from several other designers.
Most boring contestant: Anthea. Her introductory anecdote in full, "The best thing was when my boss came up to me and said, 'Althea, you're the best,' and I was like, 'OK!' "
WTF statement of the week:
Malvin's "I don't watch the red carpet. I don't differentiate between different colored carpets."
Tim Gunn's cattiest caution: "Not styled correctly, this could go cruise-line-cocktail-waitress."
Guest judge's obsession: Lindsay Lohan singled out the back of a garment for praise three times—apparently she's an ass woman.
Michael Kors critique that could most easily apply to cheese: "It was elegant and sharp but still had some bite to it."
Most unconvincing review: Nina Garcia on Mitchell's mess, "Even though it is completely sheer and completely unwearable, there is an attitude about this that I liked, that makes me wonder what else you could do."
Number of crying contestants: 3
Number of times Tim Gunn said, "Make it work!": 2
Should Christopher have won? It wasn't a complete travesty.
Should Ari have been eliminated? No. Her garment was a nightmare, but at least it was a garment, which is more than can be said for Mitchell's chokingly high-necked, colorless, shapeless slab of pantyhose .
Bold prediction for who'll be auf 'd next week: Qristyl. The judges are already muttering about her "taste level."
Project Runway photograph courtesy of Charley Gallay/Getty Images .