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Running with 'Runway'

And so, it's begun ... a third season of Project Runway. *squees* What will these creative maniacs do next?

Oh, but before we start, a question. I saw the "Road to the Runway" special, and one thing jumped out at me, and that was footage of a contestant named "Nicole" trying to charm the judges into picking her for the show, standing before them with massive amounts of her chest hanging out of her shirt. I am quite certain this was the same woman shown trying out for So You Think You Can Dance doing a weird burlesque routine while wearing a gray leotard that was sopping with unfortunate sweat stains. Yuck. On both accounts.

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So, here are some impressions from "Road to the Runway" and the first episode, which asked the contestants to create an outfit made from materials in their apartment. (Yes, it's impression day over here at Reality Check.):

Vincent Libretti: This 49-year-old is returning to design after a number of years away from the craft because, he says, he couldn't handle the stress. So he's going on this show, with its crazy time limits and weird challenges? Interesting choice. He also seems like a total nutjob, especially after making this bizarre hat out of a basket and some chain in the first challenge.

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Kayne Gillaspie: This Oklahoma designer is most known for creating pageant and dance-contest dresses. The PR judges seem to enjoy a more sophisticated look than your average seqined pageant gown, so it will be interesting to see how this goes down. His first dress, which was partially made from a rubber mat, seemed like a departure for him -- and that's a good thing. (Also, I keep wanting to type Kanye.)

Robert Best: He's worked with Isaac Mizrahi (whom he described candidly on the show as testing his patience) and has spent the past several years on a well-known line of Barbie dresses. His dress for the first challenge had some bits of cutesiness to it, but it was quite lovely, considering the materials they had to work with.

Uli Herzner: Mostly what I remember about Uli is that she is German, and she had on a lovely printed dress of her own making in her photo shoot. I'm sure we'll get to know her better later.

Stacey Estrella: I thought she was going to be out as soon as 1) it became clear that she couldn't work the industrial sewing machine and 2) she didn't really finish her ultra-sheer dress. And I was right. Plus, all she seemed to say about herself was that she graduated from Stanford and got an MBA at Harvard and then started pursuing fashion. That's nice, but the Ivy League education is pretty much immaterial here. Bye, Stacey.

Katherine Gerdes: This recent fashion school graduate seems to have a sporty style (she loves snowboarding). She didn't otherwise make a huge impression on last night's show, although if I recall correctly, she did make a dress out of blue plastic.

Angela Keslar: She's the "artsy-craftsy" one who lives in the middle of nowhere in Ohio. She had on a poofy skirt in the rooftop toast part of the program. Her dress doesn't jump out at me.

Laura Bennett: This is the always impeccable mother of five who isn't formally educated in fashion but makes a lot of her own clothes. She says it's a slippery slope into sweatpants and a minivan, so she make sure she always looks great. Different strokes for different folks -- I love me some jeans, a comfy T and some sandals. But despite this difference of opinion, she seems really quite down to earth. She snagged a fur rug and created a really cool coat-dress thing for the challenge.

Alison Kelly: She annoyed me in her promo with the whole "They'll think I'm pretty so they won't think I can do anything, so I have to prove them wrong" thing. I hate that argument, whether it's "pretty," "young," or whatever else. Just do your thing. Anyway, in the show she didn't bug me as much, though I don't particularly recall her dress. She does, however, have a very particular way of speaking, where she carefully pronounces certain words and syllables. Reminds me of Drew Barrymore in that way.

Bradley Baumkirchner: I don't really remember this guy too much from either episode. But there are a lot of people at the moment. Eventually, everyone will make an impression.

Jeffrey Sebelia: This is the rock-n-roll designer who went on and on about how juvenile everyone else's creations were and then nearly got kicked out since he tried to do too much and his dress and jacket didn't mesh at all.

Malan Breton: It must be difficult to go through life being so above everyone else that you can barely interact with other people. Soooo ... yeah, my first impression of him is not good. Tim Gunn's wasn't, either -- he said they didn't accept him for season 1, then did for season 2, but he turned them down, and then did for season 3, and he agreed. I hope he's an excellent designer, because his personality is annoying as all get out.

Keith Michael: This self-assured almost to a fault menswear designer looks like a big old jerk. But his dress (made mostly from a bedsheet) won the first challenge -- and he claims it was the first dress he ever made). So if he can back up the bravado with good work ... we'll see.

Bonnie Dominguez: I feel like I've seen her before, though I can't figure where. Anyway, she was a sportswear designer until recently and designed a number of Serena Williams' tennis outfits (I might keep that to myself if I were her, though I guess they were memorable). She seems really sweet and nice -- I just hope she's good so she doesn't get stomped on.

Michael Knight: No, not The Hoff's Knight Rider character. Michael is from Atlanta and has designed outfits for a number of musicians. He seems like a lot of fun, and he made his first-challenge dress out of coffee filters, but in a way that they didn't look like filters. It was cool.

So, now that we've got the woman who can't use the sewing machine out of the way, it's on!

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