Surprisingly enough, I find myself without much to say about this first episode of Project Runway.
This challenge -- to make a red carpet dress out of $200 of fabric, for no specific wearer or event -- was boring. There was no twist to make it really difficult. They didn't have to make a dress out of banana peels or trash bags or napkins from Arby's, just nice, ordinary fabric from Mood. BORING. I'm grateful I read an interview with Tim Gunn in which he said that the first challenge was originally supposed to be something different, but they had to switch at the last minute because of legal issues relating to the change of network. Thank goodness, because if I didn't know that, I'd be afraid that every challenge would be so dull.
My biggest issue with the judging this week (other than the fact that one of the judges was wearing leggings with an inset lace panel, who could it be, LOHAN?) was that my favorite dress was completely overlooked. I thought for certain that Irina would be top three, if not the winner. If the guest judge had been a celebrity stylist instead of a celebrity skank, Irina might have gotten more notice. According to everything I know from watching The Rachel Zoe Project, Irina's dress was perfect for the red carpet. The fitted lace top with the deep V would look fantastic in photos from any angle, and the skirt moved so beautifully. Red carpets aren't just photographed; for the big ones like the Oscars, they're televised, and so it's crucial that a gown look gorgeous as its wearer walks. As Irina's dress came down the runway, the skirt fluttered and flowed and managed to look both interesting and graceful. I think what killed her chances was the color. The nude lace wound up looking a bit too boudoir, although I could definitely see certain very fair actresses wearing this dress and looking amazing in it. For instance, if Nicole Kidman had been the intended wearer for the dresses in this episode (rather than being a vague reference in the preceeding Project Runway All-Stars) I bet she would have chosen Irina's as one of the top designs.
I completely agreed with the dresses that made it into the bottom two, but I would have kept Ari (at least for another week) and sent Mitchell home. Why? For one thing, Ari is a more interesting character than Mitchell -- it's a good sign, actually, that the judging went this way, because it indicates that the specter of Producer Manipulation will be little felt in this series. But the more important reason is that I can imagine someone wearing Ari's creation on the red carpet. Admittedly, I can only imagine one person wearing it: Bai Ling. She might have to modify it to show a little bit more side-boob, but surely one of Bai Ling's eight miniskirt-wearing-panda spirits would like this outer space halter top. Even the way Ari styled the runway look reminded me of Bai Ling. The tiny shorts and hooker boots are definitely something Bai would wear. She'd rock it, too, and manage to look sexy while everyone shakes their head and says, "oh, Bai Ling. You so crazy. Don't ever change." Don't believe me? Look at Bai Ling's archives on Go Fug Yourself and tell me I'm wrong.
Mitchell's "dress," on the other hand, NO ONE would wear. What he sent down the runway was a disgrace, but ultimately I think he was lucky that his model didn't fit in the dress he made. I suspect that the judges, hearing that he had to remake his dress in the last hour, gave him the benefit of the doubt. They didn't get to see what we saw, the original dress in the workroom, which was even worse. Who was he designing for? An 80 year old Olsen twin? NO.
That is all.