I have been hugely disappointed that the only viewing of this show in Canada is on a paid station. I have followed every season of Project Runway in the United States and both seasons it appeared in Canada. After complaining profusely about this, I was fortunate to have fellow writer Josh Langston of The Social Life guide me to a link. Although very slow to upload, I am finally getting to see the episodes. Thanks Josh!
To bring a note of surprise to Project Runway Season 11, it was announced in episode 1 that they would be working in 2 teams. I can't imagine anything being more disappointing to the designers. They are there to show what they can do, but instead have to try and connect with a team they may have nothing in common with artistically. The pasted on smiles were something to behold according to reviews and one designer said what they were all thinking, "Hell no. This can't be happening."
On the other hand, very few designers start out with their own label, they work in a collaborative environment to produce someone else's brand. And in the long run, only a small handful from that grouping manage to go on to offer their own private label. So perhaps this twist has something to recommend it. Tim certainly approves. "One of the things I am most excited about in season 11 is that you are working in teams. I love the whole concept. Remember, it's your design, but part of this challenge is to get to know your teammates and take advantage of their feedback and support." He also reminded them to remember, "You're only as strong as your weakest link."
Other changes this season include the replacement of Michael Kors with well-known designer Zac Posen. Returning are regulars Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn and the show will continue the practice of having a guest judge each week. Because of the new format, Tim's critiques are now done in a group session which could create some serious drama if there is dissension amongst the team members. The runway includes both the individual look as well as a second group presentation for the judges.
The challenge this episode? Create a garment that shows your personality inspired by a view of New York City, built with input from the rest of your team. Thankfully they didn't require a cohesive collection in this first collection - just that they use their team to help hone their design. The team was given $150 per designer - $1200 - but could chose to divide the money unequally if they wanted to. As always, the designers have to deal with time management which will limit their design work. Keeping It Real showed more interaction between the designers with those having better construction skills giving advice. Dream Team the designers chose to work mostly alone.
Team Keeping It Real - Stanley Hudson (45), Kate Pankoke (23), Richard Hallmarq (39),Patricia Michaels (46), Amanda Valentine (31), Layana Aguilar (28), Joseph Aaron Segal (30) and Daniel Esquivel (48) - took the the Hudson River on a boat for their inspiration. Their team won the challenge, so the top 3 were selected from their designs. Chosen were the looks from Daniel, Richard and Patricia with Daniel taking the win overall. It's very hard to evaluate Daniel's design on line because the black palette hides the peplum detail, but it is very well done. I loved the fact that Patricia painted her own fabric reminiscent of the windows in the skyscrapers, it really elevated the design in my eyes. What you can't see here is that all those printed pieces are individually applied on top of a cobalt blue under dress. It looks simple, but was incredibly complicated to construct.
|Winner Daniel left - Richard centre - Patricia right|
Here are 3 comments offered on the show's blog.
|Stanley - Kate - Amanda - Layana - Joseph Aaron|
Dream Team - Benjamin Mach (35), Cindy Marlatt (59), Emily Pollard (24), James Martinez (29), Matthew Arthur (30), Michelle Lesniak Franklin (34), Samantha Black (28), Tu Suthiwat Nakchat (26) - explored the view of New York from the roof of the Atlas. As their team lost the challenge, the bottom 3 were chosen from their designs - James, Cindy and Emily - with Emily going home. Emily's was truly the worst of both teams and even she knew it when she looked at it on the runway. I would have included Stanley's jumpsuit in the bottom 3, so he is lucky to be saved by being in the top group.
|James left - Cindy centre - Emily right|
Comments from the show's blog -
James - Yawn. Posen described it as "pedestrian," and that really sums it up: no one would protest this dress, and I've actually seen a number of people on my morning commute rocking the same basic ensemble, but there's nothing of substance or interest in it.
Cindy - A ho-hum but acceptable silhouette that's totally ruined by a mind-blowingly bizarre combination of prints.
Emily - Hot mess! Just a hot mess. A mishmash of silly pieces and poorly chosen fabrics, without even the benefit of smart construction to save it. I want to defend Emily (She's my age&3151;us eager early-twenty-somethings have to stick together), but she was way over her head here and got the boot because of it.
|Matthew - Sam - Tu - Benjamin - Michelle|
|Benjamin - Daniel - Matthew - Layana - Patricia|