Project Runway 4: Episode 1 - The Train Wreck

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All right, the first episode is over, and boy were there some surprises--both good and bad! For tonight's rundown, we're going to work through each designer and give our impressions of them and their work, amending my earlier estimates as we go.

Rami: Wow. I expected him to win, and he did. His dress was elegant and yet simple, and the only flaw any of the judges mentioned was the floral embellishment at the top--which didn't bother us. (Wendi thinks it would have been better without it.) Wendi also loved the way the belt wrapped.

Jillian: Pockets are always a nice touch. Nice silhouette, nice color--we thought it was one of the better dresses in the competition.

Elisa: Boy oh boy, did I misrank this one. Her dress literally and figuratively was a train wreck, as that multi-colored, multi-fabric train was a disaster. Add to that her quirky design methods, her unwillingness to listen to Tim, and her inability to see when her design is completely unworkable, and you've got a contestant who could have gone out--perhaps should have gone out--and will soon. How I ranked her as high as I did is beyond me. Wendi points out there is a little Santino in her, and she's certainly a designer who will take chances. But anyone who starts talking about haiku in defending her work is too full of crap to go all the way.

Carmen: Pants. We like pants. That's going out on a limb, and pants are hard to pull off. Well, not literally, but you know what I'm saying. Otherwise, we thought the rest was somewhat forgettable.

Christian: Well, the lad's as annoying as we thought he would be. Perhaps worse. He is this season's Santino, arrogant, and perhaps inspired, but definitely insufferable. And why must he be the only person we need subtitles for? Can the guy not speak up, or speak clearly? Come on. His silhouette was nice, but neither of us were impressed with his dress. The back was beautiful, but we agreed with Tim that symmetrical would have been better. And what's up with those colors? Blah. If we could have picked one designer to take his place in the final three or four this episode, both Wendi and I agree it should have been Chris.

Kit: If hers was the "sack dress," and we think it was, color us unimpressed. Neither of us is a big fan of sacks as dresses.

Victorya: She came through on my higher assessment of her--I put her in the Contenders category--but Wendi thought Jillian's dress had a similar vibe and was better. I too wasn't very impressed, and was frankly surprised that she was among the best held back for praise. Still, a strong showing from someone with some design chops.

Jack: One of the few--if only?--prints we saw. One of the few casual outfits, and the color combination was fresh and modern. Wendi calls the ensemble "crisp."

Kevin: Not bad, but not memorable.

Ricky: I thought it was a bad decision to go with lingerie. Yes, he playing to his strengths, but I think for this competition it was important to come out and say, "yes, I can design other things, and here's what I've got." Wendi thinks it was cool for him to do lingerie this time because the challenge was to create something that represented you as a designer, but she felt it felt too off-the-rack. The colors, the fabric--everything was too safe. If Ricky wants to hang around, he's going to have to take it up a notch.

Marion: Sadly, we don't remember anything about his outfit. That means it didn't impress, and didn't horrify.

Simone: Well, Simone went out, so that says a lot about her dress. She tried to excuse her poor sewing on the time--but seriously, this was not a complicated dress. What was she doing the whole time? The colors were drab, the design was poor, the execution was atrocious. The only way Elisa didn't get canned this episode was because Simone's dress was a failure on all levels. I was worried about Simone in advance, and put her in my Dark Horses. She proved to be our first fashion casualty.

Sweet P: Too funky for me. Wendi says, "eh." A little too amateurish, but she was in the great passable middle this time and went through.

Chris: Chris, I owe you an apology. If you're reading this, I'm sorry I ranked you so low. I honestly worry about the costuming factor, and just hope you stay away from costumey outfits, but wow, that dress tonight was fantastic. We loved the color, the way the top finished in a big bow tied in back (even though we're normally not in favor of "The Big Bow,") and just the overall look and feel of that outfit. How that wasn't one of the top three or four dresses is beyond us. Well done, and here's hoping you go far. I'm certainly bumping him way up in my rankings--and he has a great personality to boot. Let's hope he sticks around.

Steven: My prediction for who would go out didn't. He was in the great passable middle that got safely sent off the stage. His was the sharp business suit, which certainly seems to be a reflection of his personality. But what will his designs look like when the challenge is not to reflect themselves?

Overall thoughts: A very talented group. Good first challenge to let them show their stuff. And I also have to apologize to Marion for voting him--somewhat arbitrarily--to be my pick for this season's "villain." He seems, to all appearances, to be a nice guy. New vote for villain, based on the previews of new episodes: Jillian. Though much can be done with purposeful editing . . .

Bold predictions for next week:

Next to go: Elisa (new)
Most entertaining: Chris (new)
Most annoying: Christian (2 weeks running)
Villain: Jillian? (new)
Favorite I'll hate to see go: Chris (new)
Final Three: Rami (2 weeks running), Jillian (2 weeks running), Chris! (new)
Alan's Winner: Rami (2 weeks running)
Wendi's Winner: Jillian (2 weeks running)


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