Project Runway Season 13, Ep. 1 - The Judges Decide

Season 13 of Project Runway has come and gone and I am just now getting the chance to watch the episodes.  Fortunately, I do not know the outcome, so it will still be a journey of discovery. I always hate the personal drama, but love to see what the challenges bring out in terms of creativity. The hits are inspiring - the misses tragic.

This season they started with 18 finalists which they pared down to 15. Again, there is a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Then one designer was added from a previous season - selected in a fan redemption contest. Returning this season is Amanda from season 11. I think she'll be a great addition as her design work is strong. The successful 16 designers (see full list at the bottom) were moved into the luxurious, new Gotham West Apartments in New York City. Then it was off to the first challenge.

On entering the workroom, they noticed each station had a small chest on the table.  First Tim Gunn enters, welcomes them and then lets them know Amanda is the previous designer who will be returning. He then points out the Aldo Styling Wall and the Brother Sewing Room. Next he has them open the trunks. Each contains 5 fabrics in lengths of 3 yards each. Not all trunks have identical fabric.

The designers are challenged this week to use these fabrics - or fabric you have traded with other designers to get - to create ONE spring look to represent what they would show for Spring/Summer 2015. This challenge is designed to give the judges a chance to see what their collection might look like if they were chosen to show at New York Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in the finale. That's a lot of pressure on just one garment and the designers only have one day to complete it. Mayhem obviously ensued.

The judges for this week include - Heidi Klum, Fashion designer Zac Posen, Marie Clare's Creative Director Nina Garcia and star of hit show Modern Family, Emmy award winner Julie Bowen. Tim can again exercise 1 safe during the course of the show to save a designer that was eliminated. The runway show will also be anonymous. so each designer's work has to stand on it's own.

The prize package this season is worth over $300,000.
1.  $100,000 from Red Robin to launch their business and the opportunity to design a fashionable look for their servers.
2. A shoe and accessory collection from Aldo to help enhance their upcoming runway shows.
3. A premier home entertainment system from Samsung
4. An entire year's worth of beauty products from Mary Kay for their fashion shows and professional make-up artist services for their debut show.
5. A complete sewing and crafting studio from Brother
6. A 2015 Lexus NX F Sport
7. Travel and hotel accommodations to fashion capitals in inspiring locations around the world from Best Western International.
8. The winning designer and model will also receive a fashion spread in Marie Clare magazine

The judging this week was interesting. I actually really love winner Sandya's unique vision, but honestly wouldn't have picked this look as the winner or even in the top 3. Great concept - but not quite developed. That said, I am glad Sandhya is in this competition to bring her unique aesthetic. I'm looking forward to seeing what she has to offer in future challenges.

Char and Amanda (didn't agree with the judges that it was too plain) stood out for me, as did Carrie, Fade and Sean.  I would wear Amanda's look if the top was just slightly longer in front and Sean's if the overall length was just a few inches shorter. I do agree with the designer sent home.

Here are the judges comments.

Top 3 -

Sandya (Winner) - Char - Amanda
Sandya - 
Julie - I love the silhouette of this dress. I feel like for real life, the ripped off is a little like an amorous moment that was interrupted.
Heidi - I feel like that [the ripped edges] gives it the edginess. It's not something people actually would wear, but it is for a fashion show. I feel like that gives it that extra something special and I haven't seen something like that before. You surprised me.
Zac - And it feels personal - all those little details - and that makes clothing special.
Nina - I think with you, you took something and made it into a fantasy. I think this was very inventive. I like the way you manipulated the fabric, You dip dyed the top. I have full confidence that you have the creativity to make it in this show.

Char - 
Nina - I thought this was so charming.  I love the fact you took this cotton jersey and made it look so special.  You took an ordinary fabric and turned it into and extraordinary top.
Julie Bowen - I love this very much. I love a pocket. As a human who has had children the idea of a crop top makes my mind explode with fear but it works here.
Zac - Did you drape the top in the actual fabric? I think that helped because you worked through the volume of the fabric instead of a muslin first. Elegant and edgy - cool!
Heidi - I can also see more pieces you would create with this in a fashion show, because this is supposed to be one of your many looks.

Amanda - 
Nina - To do something that is interesting and commercial is very hard. And I think this is one of them. The pants look fabulous. The way you styled her looks groovy - she looks cool. I want to be that girl.
Zac - I thought the top was beautifully draped. It looked really professionally made. There was a sophistication.  It wasn't a wow runway piece. It was good.
Julie - I think those pants fit so well. I don't need the pattern because they are so well made need to have a lot of ??? going on.
Heidi - For me it didn't stand out enough. I think you have to bring us more fashion. For me it's almost too normal too wearable. I think if you want to win Project Runway you have to turn the volume up a little bit more.

Bottom 3 -

Angela - Mitchell - Jefferson (Sent Home)

Angela - 
Nina - [Talking about the pants] - Instead of calling those slits, I'm going to call them sluts. Plus if she turns around, when she was walking that was very, very low. IT's walking the line between too sexy and bad taste. 
Zac - I think there's a lot of skin and that fights the simplicity of this outfit.
Heidi - You have this neckline that is very unusual, then the slits in the pants and the tail on the side. You eye just doesn't know where to look because there is so much going on.  
Note - I did like the colour and shape of her shirt here, but the pants were a total disaster.

Mitchell - 
Nina - I had very little to write about this outfit. Why? Because I felt it didn't really say much. It's a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. It's just very basic and elementary.
Heidi - I thought this was actually very spring - a lot of fun. It is very junior, but I happen to like ensembles sometimes. 
Julie - the top feels a little DIY.. It just feels like it's not as polished as it could be.
Zac - You describe your woman as fun. We need to have more adjectives than fun. There has to be more than that.

Jefferson (sent home) - 
Heidi - I thought this was terrible.  The proportions of this - the short top, then you see the skin, then you see the high waisted....This looks super strange.
Nina - WTF! The crop top is so short and so angled it looks like a bib. And the shorts are so high up it looks like she's wearing some big diaper...The shorts are not flattering and the proportion is weird. I worried that you don't see there is a proportion problem.
Zac - These are not everyone's cup of tea.
Julie - This is an example of the way you right now are dressed and look pushes me towards having more faith in you, because you look GOOD! Like I want the whole thing. And it says to me that guy is cool. Maybe there's something cooler here that I'm not getting. I'm still not sure I'm getting it all the way.

Other designs shown on the runway - 
Alexander - Carrie - Emily - Fade

In this grouping - I loved Carrie's garment. The pocket details on the hips was wonderful and it ended up with an edgy Sci-Fi feel.  I also like Fade's. It was sophisticated and moved well and I like the blocking of the print fabric under the sleeves. It was definitely an older look, but the largest buying power right now is women in their 50's.  I could have seen either of them in the top 3.
Hernan - Kini - Korina

None of these really impressed me and Hernan's in particular was way too tight.
Kristine - Samantha - Sean

In this grouping I thought Sean's stood out. It was just a bit long but had a great graphic quality to it. Kristine was lucky as what she showed Tim during critique was truly horrible. She managed to take his advice and end up with a garment that had her safe this week.
Season 13 designers - 
Alexander Knox, 22 - Hometown: Kankakee, IL; Resides in Chicago, IL
Angela Sum, 32 - Hometown: Toronto, Canada; Resides in Torrance, CA
Carrie Sleutskaya, 24 - Hometown: San Diego, CA; Resides in Los Angeles, CA
Char Glover, 37 - Hometown: Detroit, MI; Resides in Detroit, MI
Emily Payne, 40 - Hometown: Temple, TX; Resides in San Francisco, CA
Emmanuel Tobias, 29 - Hometown: Dallas, TX; Resides in Dallas, TX
fäde zu grau, 45 - Hometown: Coral Gables, FL; Resides in Coral Gables, FL
Hernan Lander, 33 - Hometown: San Francisco De Macoris, Dominican Republic; Resides in New York, NY
Jefferson Musanda, 25 - Hometown: Lynn, MA; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Kini Zamora, 30 - Hometown: Kapolei, HI; Resides in Honolulu, HI
Korina Emmerich, 28 - Hometown: Eugene, OR; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Kristine Guico, 26 - Hometown: Naperville, Illinois; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Mitchell Perry, 25 - Hometown: Jacksonville, FL; Resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nzinga Knight, 33 - Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Samantha Plasencia, 27 - Hometown: Seguin, TX; Resides in San Antonio, TX
Sandhya Garg, 28 - Hometown: New Delhi, India; Resides in Birmingham, AL
Sean Kelly, 25 - Hometown: Wellington, New Zealand; Resides in Brooklyn, NY
Tim Navarro, 32 - Hometown: Rochester, MN; Resides in Minneapolis, MN