• Category: Episodic Recaps
  • Written by Rick Ellis

'Project Runway' - 07/18/2013

After eleven seasons any show has to mix things up a bit. This season Project Runway alters the way the judging takes place, including giving longtime mentor Tim Gunn a special power. But some things haven't changed, including the normal mix of talented and delusional designers.

"Project Runway" starring Tim GunnĀ  and Heidi Klum airs on Lifetime on Thursdays at 9:00 pm ET.

It All Comes Together With a Wing and Sixteen Designers

By now the Project Runway formula is pretty familiar, so any attempt by the producers to mix things up a bit is appreciated. This time around, the contestants are introduced to each other as they walk towards a spot on a small airfield in upstate New York. There's the typical bits of contestant bluster, but it's still way too early to get a sense of anyone. They gather and are introduced to Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, and are informed that the fans have voted and chosen a former contestant to return to the show for a second chance. It's Kate from season eleven and she's most notable for appearing to be extremely difficult at the same time she's arguing that she's really just a softie. Tim also brings to their attention that their group also includes an interpreter for contestant Justin, who is deaf. Just then the contestants notice that skydivers are exiting a plane overhead and once they land, Heidi informs them their first challenge will be to make an outfit out of the parachute material. They head to Parsons Design and after Tim introduces what seems to be an endless procession of sponsors, he tells them that they won't be going shopping for this challenge, that while there is some extra white and black fabric, the parachute fabric should be key. We're introduced to the backgrounds of some of the designers: one of them is a former model, another a former modern dancer and yet another spent nearly a decade in the military as a mechanic. And then there are the two designers from Milwaukee, who apparently don't like each other.

I Can't Believe No One Decided to Create Parachute Pants

The designers are back at Parsons for their second day of the challenge and it's still hard to get a handle on anyone. There are sixteen designers and even as they talk about their lives, it's difficult to remember which designer belongs to which story. But that's always the case this early in the season. But a couple of designer already stand out, including Kate, who doesn't know how to run a sewing machine. Timothy also is memorable, but mostly because he seems to drone on endlessly about "sustainable" fashion. At midday Tim shows up and while he loves some of what he sees, there are a few disasters. Miranda's design is only perhaps 20 percent parachute fabric, which breaks the guidelines he gave the designers. And then there is the already annoying former Russian designer Sandro, who has so far only managed to sew a pair of sort of ugly shorts. We may only be halfway through episode one, but I wouldn't mind if this guy gets the boot.

It Looks Like a Parachuting Accident

The designers prepare for their first runway and so far the most memorable design is Sandro's, which is so short that his model's lady parts are visible. Heidi introduces the judges and there are a couple of changes this season. Tim Gunn will be there for runway presentation and while he won't be judging, he will have an opportunity once during the season to step in and save a designer the judges have decided to send home. Heidi also tells the contestants that this season the judges won't know which designer is responsible for a specific design, although she doesn't explain how that will work. The runway presentation begins and the first few designs are decent, but also what you would expect to see from a challenge that involves a lot of parachute material. Then Sandro's design shows up and despite his model's best efforts, the producers have to black out the bottom, since you can apparently easily see her private parts as she walks. More than anything, I feel sorry for the model who has to wear this embarrassment. Karen's design shows up and while she calls it "fierce," that word is apparently shorthand for "frumpy." Timothy's performance piece design shows up and he has his model bound by parachute cord around her wrists. The design looks like a fraternity prank, but he blames the model's inability to act out her part. Miranda's dress looks nice, but it is comprised almost entirely of the black supplemental material. She should be in the bottom for that reason alone.

And Now It's Hammer Time

Ah, so the difference is that Heidi and the judges don't know which designers have created which dress until after they have voted. She begins separating the designers and the ones in trouble are some of the ones viewers would have also chosen: Sandro, Miranda, Timothy and . She send the designers who are safe backstage and now it's time for the interrogation. The six remaining designers represent the highest and the lowest scores of the week. At this point, I have no idea who is headed home, but there are certainly several worthy choices. Heidi brings out the models and Timothy explains his design and backstory, which is a mess. He decided that he wouldn't have his model wear makeup in support of his "sustainable" look. But judge Zac Posen notes that creating a design that involves burning plastic fabric goes against what he claims to believe in. Kate is up next and the judges love her look. Zac Posen even compliments Kate on the outfit she's wearing, so she should be in good shape. The judges also love Miranda's dress although they are disappointed that she didn't use more of the material. In particular Heidi has a problem with the issue and argues that it isn't fair to other designers. Angela's design just sort of hangs over her model and Nina describes the result as looking like a "disposable poncho." Bradon's design had the flowing back and the judges raved about the results. Sandro is up next and his explanation of the design is impossible to follow. Zac Posen describes the results as looking like a "slutty cat toy." The judges then begin to make their decision and another change this season is that they get to see the designs up close. The designers return to the runway and the winner is Bradon and he has immunity for the next challenge. Sue is safe and Heidi tells Miranda that she is in danger because of her breaking of the rules. She warns her that she won't get another chance. Amazingly Sandro is also safe and it's down to Timothy and Angela is headed home.