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'Project Runway' premiere: Lifetime, make it work!

"Project Runway" is in Los Angeles, and my TV is tuned to Lifetime. This seems just wrong. But it's time for the season premiere, and I'm ready for fashion (that I cannot afford). I apologize that I'm not going to recap the all-star challenge (former contestants came back to compete), I didn't know it was on. Reality TV watching failure.

The show looks just like it did on Bravo. Phew. First, we meet the cast. It includes a guy who says he didn't make the third and fourth seasons because he had a crystal-meth addition; a woman born in Yugoslavia; a woman who has designed for plus-size women; a guy known in New York City as the feather prince; a woman who makes "pixie-meets-cocktail-party" dresses; the single-named "Epperson," etc. Looks like some good personalities.

Once the designers meet one another, they head up to their loft's roof to meet with hosts Heidi Klum (love) and Tim Gunn (really love). The designers will work at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) instead of New York's Parsons The New School of Design. It's where Lauren Conrad went to school, and Heidi Montag-now-Pratt dropped out of.


The cast heads to the red carpet at the Emmys. The first challenge is announced: To create a red-carpet look that displays innovation and reflects them as a designer. The look can range from Grammy-like (punky, a bit edgy) to Oscar glam (classy, long ballgown). The contestants head to the workroom, and Tim says the group will go shopping at Mood (same fabric-store chain as the one the show used in New York) after the designers sketch their ideas. One woman decides to instead do a handstand. Will she be this season's Elisa?

The designers chat as they make their garments. It's not that exciting. No drama yet. Johnny, 29, the former crystal-meth addict, already wants to throw in the towel. He's reached his limits, he says, and he starts crying. Tim comforts him and urges him to go on. Awww.

Tim comes around to critique the outfits. He thinks Ari's dress is going to look like a halter diaper. Hehe! The models then come in for their fitting. By the way, the models have their own reality show after this one; not sure I can rally and stay awake. But it should be interesting to see what they have to say. Mitchell complains that his model's measurements didn't match the card he was given with said measurements. At this point, it seems as if his model will be A) naked or B) going down the runway with her dress taped on.

It's the morning of the runway show, and people are stressing out. Especially aforementioned Mitchell. I think he's a potential goner. I'm pretty sure I could have made that disaster of a dress, and the only thing I've ever sewn is a button.

However, there are some other eyesores. Namely, Lindsay Lohan. Apparently, Lindsay, has her own line (6126 Lindsay Lohan), so she's the guest judge. Regular judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors return. My favorite dresses are Gordana's, Christopher's (great textures, romantic!), and Ra'mon's (pretty shapes, looks expensive). Epperson's is nice, too. Least favorites are Logan's, Ari's and Mitchell's; Linsday scowls at Ari's space-suit design. And perhaps Tilda Swinton would wear Mitchell's?

The judges tell several designers they are safe; they leave the runway. The top three and bottom three remain. Top three: Christopher, Ra'mon, Jonathan. Bottom three: Qristyl, Ari, Mitchell. The winner? Christopher. Elegant, sharp and yet still has some bite to it, says Michael Kors.

It's one thing to aim outside of the box; it's another to miss it completely, Heidi says about Ari's dress. She tells Mitchell that his looked like a sheer nightdown, and that on Project Runway, there are no excuses. But Mitchell Ari is out. Ari Mitchell is in.

What did you think of the first episode? I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed. Hopefully the designers are just getting warmed up.



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