Never have I ever been so worried about the return of one of my favorite shows. The last season of Project Runway was such an abomination against God and Television that I wondered whether I would have to officially give it up if this season followed suit. For what was once the smartest, classiest, most fashionable reality show on television, it certainly lost some of its shine when moved a couple thousand miles to the west.

Instead of the soul-sucking freeways and fake tans of Los Angeles (apologies to anyone that lives there), this season is back to the grimy, glittering sidewalks of New York City, exactly where it belongs. Just in time, too – LA looked like it was starting to make Tim Gunn nervous. And I’m almost afraid to say this, because I think I might jinx things for everyone and then it would be all my fault when the show starts to suck again, but I think that this season might actually be pretty good! Even Heidi Klum’s wardrobe was significantly better!

The premiere certainly had a lot of the same character types as seasons in the past that have not sucked. Someone knock on wood for me while we talk about this a little more after the jump…

So, as much as I love you guys, I’m not going to go through what all 16 designers made, and most of you probably don’t want me to. In fact, I’d appreciate it if they’d do a couple of double elimination challenges and thin the herd a bit – 12 designers seems like a less unwieldy number, doesn’t it? Even so, a few personalities were able to break through the busy first episode, and that may already put the seventh season head and shoulders above the sixth.

1. The Cryer: Janeane Marie managed to cry about being in New York City (if it were me, I would have cried with glee that I lucked into one of the NYC seasons), cry about Tim Gunn’s critique of her dress, and cry about starting her look over with only a few hours left. See also: Andre, Season 2; Christopher, Season 6.

2. The Gayest Queen of Them All: I don’t think Anthony is much of a designer, but he’s the gayest thing that has ever gayed and I LOVE HIM. Admittedly, some of my affection for him is selfish: He is a title quote machine. But mostly, he’s just a loose cannon with no filter, and what last season so sorely lacked was interesting personalities and people that were thoroughly themselves. Se also: Austin Scarlett, Season 1; Kayne, Season 3; Christian Siriano, Season 4.

3. The One With the Severe Haircut: Actually, there are two! Both Mila and Maya have sharp black bobs with bangs, indicating that they are Serious Fashion People. I have to say that I’m partial to this category: it’s the one that I’d be in, were I to appear on Project Runway. At the moment, I’m rooting for Maya to win on the strength of her previous portfolio and her totally underrated first look. See also: Kenley, Season 5; Louise, Season 6.

4. The Old Lady: Overachiever Pamela has already conquered the advertising industry, and now it’s on to new challenges; namely, fashion. Except I absolutely hated her backless broadcloth pink dress. See also: Wendy, Season 1; Laura, Season 3; Gordana, Season 6.

5. The Designer That Thinks He’s a Rock Star: Crazy hair? Check. Tattoos, preferably in the neck area? Check. Tight pants? Check. A fondness for hardware? Check. Seth Aaron has been in a band in his life, I promise you. He might still be in one, actually. I think he wears guyliner, and at any given moment, he has more product in his hair than I do (and I flat iron, so that’s saying something). He wore a velvet jacket to judging, and it had a giant tassel. See also: Jeffrey Sebelia, Season 3; Stella, Season 5.

6. The Misunderstood Conceptualizer: Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ping didn’t actually CUT any fabric, did she? I don’t remember her doing it, anyway. She made a drapey, odd suspender’d sort of thing that actually struck me as sort of Scottish, for some reason, and that the judges seemed to sort of like. I didn’t really love it, but I’d rather that someone with odd ideas be kept and someone with poor construction skills go home instead, which is exactly what happened. See also: Malvin, Season 6; That Woman That Spat On Her Dress, Season Unknown.

There was, as is traditional, a top three and a bottom three. However, since this episode has now magically disappeared from my stupid DVR, I can’t go into great detail about who they were. I do know that an improbably nice Nicole Richie made kind of a boring judge, both Nina Garcia and Michael Kors showed up to judge, and Heidi Klum’s hair looked totally adorable, as did her maternity outfits

When there are 16 designers to consider, the top three and bottom three are sort of inconsequential. Our winner was Emilio, this year’s version of the gone-to-soon season sixer Epperson, and his sweet patterned cocktail dress was indeed pretty impressive. He got a lot of detail work done in a short amount of time, and he used pattern inventively and unexpectedly. The loser was Christiane, also a maker of a patterned cocktail dress, but hers was poorly sewn out of cheap-looking fabric.

What surprised me the most, however, was how strong the middle of the pack was. There were dresses that I would have worn all over that runway show, and when you compare that to last season when Mitchell, who sent a bolt of fabric with a collar down the runway DIDN’T LOSE in the first episode, I think we’ve made a substantial upgrade in our cast. But like I said before – knock on wood.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Chris

    I love your categories – very funny and very true.
    This season seems to be more promising than the previous – but hey, it very much depends on the designers. It is probably difficult enough to have 12 or 16 (sixteen? that’s too many) talented designers, but to find those who are also interesting for a TV show and presentable – it is not easy to find those.
    For some strange reason, I kind of liked Ping’s outfit. She chose beautiful (!) fabrics and the outfit looked interesting – I have not seen an outfit like this in any of the previous seasons, so it was really new. Obviously, not everybody can wear this. It was brave to do this and I thought she should be rewarded for that (after all, she did not win, but I thought she deserved to be in the top 3).
    Quick question: What has the title to do with the rest of the text?

    • Whenever I recap a show, I just pick my favorite (printable) quote from the episode to use as the title. I started doing it with Real Housewives of New Jersey, and it just sorta stuck.

  • Chris

    Lets put it like this:
    It remains to be seen if Ping can really sow. But she seems to have a concept, she seems to have a great understanding of colors. And at least she made the judges so curious that they want to see more of her work. And in the first round, this is what it is about.

  • susan

    I didn’t like Ping. I thought hers was horrible. I agree there should be a couple double eliminations.

  • Handbag Lover

    “The gayest queen of the all” lmao ….girl yes, i was thinking that same thing. LOLOL Too Funny! Right on the money! lolol

    I agree with Susan, Ping needs to go that was a HAM (Hot A$$ Mess).

  • Tracy

    I wish they showed more construction, that way we could see whether Ping cut anything or not. Also the shots of the runway show are getting shorter. They could skip cutaways to the designers so that we could see what the judges see. I mean either Michael or Nina said that when Ping’s model came onto the runway, he/she was amazed (or something). All we saw was a quick flashback of the model slipping the head piece down. I still don’t know if it was a cape or a hood!

    I’m all about the show being back in NYC. LA just didn’t feel right, wrong vibe etc. The test for me is whether I save the recording of the show. I didn’t save the premier even though this season looks better than last season, so I guess I’ll have to go to the website (almost said to see who Anthony was.

    • Mama M

      @Tracy –Anthony is the black dude who lives in Atlanta, but he said he was originally from Birmingham AL. In the intros, he said it was hell being gay in the ghetto (or words to that effect). He also was so happy to be safe, that he almost didn’t leave the runway, and Heidi told him to leave before she changed her mind!

      @Chris –Anthony’s dress (with the big bow thingy on the hip) is the one MK said could be worn to a cocktail party and steal champagne (because you could stick bottles in the loops of the bow).

      I, too, am glad that the show is back in NYC. This season looks promising.

  • mochababe73

    “It’s hard to be black, gay, and in the ghetto.” Yeah, I think that he will be here just for comedic value. He’s funny, and I hope that he designs long enough to be till the bitter end.

  • mary s

    thanks for the head up i might actually start watching this show again!!

  • JenG

    I watched the show because of the promos. I wanted to see what Anthony was going to do. This season looks promising.

  • Toni

    I am so happy that PR is back in NY. Here’s hoping that the show stays in the city where it belongs.
    I also agree that the designers are more talented this season. But on a side note, hands off of Christopher from Season 6! He’s my favorite designer partly because he’s a doppleganger for my son-in-law! ( Cody, you have a twin out there!)
    I’m looking forward to an interesting and great season!

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  • Elyse

    thank you for your great recaps! even if I dont get a chance to watch you always fill me in on all the important details (fb)