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'Project Runway': Sueded!

The show opens with a shot of Suede referring to himself in the third person, which I imagine we're all tired of, one episode in. It feels like someone gave him that advice so he'd stand out on the show -- it's like his "Spike hat" from Top Chef. ("I know! Only talk about yourself in the third person! Then people will start to think there's a buzz about you.") Or maybe he's really just that annoying.

We go right into the models, and Heidi announces something new: The winning model will get a spread in Elle magazine. They're all a-flutter, standing in the runway in their bare feet. There's some brief, manufactured drama over who gets which model, and then we learn the reason for the extra prize: The designers will make cocktail dresses, for their models, who will serve as clients AND do the fabric shopping. Oh, and the models can only buy eco-friendly fabrics. Now the designers are all a-flutter (but not barefoot), rolling their eyes and wringing their hands. Leanne looks smug and says, "I ALWAYS use green fabrics." (Bully for you.)

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The models' shopping is pretty much a disaster. There's brief talk of hemp fabrics and I hear phrases such as, "I need, like, color." Many end up buying the same fuchsia, champagne, black and bronze organic satins and silks. One winds up with peacock feathers, and Kevin is none too pleased when she returns. He's huffy that the fabrics don't match, whatever that means, and asks what he's supposed to do with the feathers. Wesley calls his "disgusting," but he's wearing a sweater tied around his shoulders, so what does he know?

Only Suede (sadly) is making sense at this point, as the designers consult with their model-client hybrids: "There's a reason they are asking us to consult with our models, and it's not to just chit-chat, it's to listen to what they like."

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The person to watch in much of the early sewing is Stella. She's again spouting forth about her rock 'n' roll style and how her model is really sort of hippie and how they just don't gibe at all. "I'm very urban," she keeps saying. You don't say! I want to scream "Make it work!" at the TV, but Tim will take care of that. ""I have no strategy. I'm confused. This is not what I do," she says. (What are you doing on this show?) This does not bode well. Eventually, she decides, "The judges need to know who I AM" and begins make a dress that's pretty much completely different from what she was asked to make.

Blayne's busy explaining that he's calling Heidi "Darthlicious" (another piece of bad advice from a well-meaning friend on how to stand out on the show?) because she's "dark inside." Right. This also does not bode well.

The final piece of not-boding-well comes when Korto says her model has a "figure" and she wants to enhance it. Uh-oh.

But I think my favorite part of the frenzied activity is Leanne mocking Suede in front of the camera, saying he needs to stop talking about himself in the third person. Third person! Fourth wall! I love it.

Day One beings to wrap up with Tim making the rounds. He tells Korto that she can't express herself through the seaming she's doing because it will be on the inside of the dress, and she sets him straight. No, those ragged strips are indeed part of the outer design. There's a long pause, and then an "Ohhhhh" from Tim, who follows with, "Everything about this has to be perfection, or it's going to be a hot mess."

Suede is "crazy doing strips" (bias strips) and Tim looks pleased. (Why?) But he's worried about Leanne's dress and tells her to edit. She says she wants to do a few more "foofy things" (lack of specificity = do not proceed!) on her bronze satin dress-thing.

Tim has an announcement: The winning designer's dress will be sold on Bluefly. They're a-flutter again!  And there will be a guest judge, a young Hollywood "starlet."

We go back into brief cutaways: Suede whines about all the sewing he has to do, Daniel frets about time left, and then Blayne starts mocking Stella's love of leather. She gets wind of it, calls him 12 years old, and then tells him to pick the leather out of his front teeth. I'm not sure why that was the best put-down of the day, but everyone seems to react like it was. (I'm sure there was a better one in there about his leathery skin.) They hug. Day's over.

Tim tells the designers the next morning they were supposed to be done last night (they were?), and they do their fittings in a hurry. Suede's dress looks interesting, from the two inches we can see of it as he blocks the model from the camera. Then he ruins it by saying, "Suede is rocking it!" and shooting finger guns.

Twenty-two minutes left, and we're already on the runway. The guest judge is Natalie Portman, and the designers are extra animated as Heidi goes over the "You're in, or you're out," speech twice.

There are still so many designers that we haven't seen all the dresses in the early part of the show. There are the expected champagne and bronze satin short things, a floaty gray and orange jersey dress from Jerell, a cute short black satin dress from Daniel (he finished!), a navy (black?) and white dress that I LOVE from Emily, a hot pink and black short thing from Blayne, and Suede's bias-cut-and-sewn red and champagne top with a HUGE tulle skirt. Wha? Most of the dresses I love the most are immediately safe (sniff, bye, friends, guess I won't be buying you on Bluefly).

The top/bottom six are:

-Kenley (a knee-length champagne silk dress with a black belt and high collar). The judges love it, and the Michael Kors calls it "chic."

-Wesley (a short bronze suede ... thing). He says he originally wanted something more voluminous, and the judges say the dress doesn't fit, is overworked, and the bow tie is just goofy. (Natalie Portman tries to be nice and says she loves the tie. Of course you do, Natalie.) Elle editor Nina says that "tiny, short and shiny is the quickest way to look cheap." (I'll keep that in mind.)

-Stella (an off-the-shoulder-but-one-arm-is-a-long-sleeve champagne satin short dress with lacing up the side). The judges like this?! I am shocked and appalled. Michael Kors keeps saying that he likes that she got her attitude and style into the dress, which is important. (Really?) Heidi says she's "much improved."

-Korto (yellow, with outer seams that essentially look like "Star Trek goes to the ball"). They call her seams "fins" -- yes! Her focus on her models curves make a size 0 girl look ... not like a 0. Not good.

-Suede (champagne and red mishmash top and tulle jutted-out short skirt). Natalie loves it. Nina calls it creative. And they all like that he did something different with new fabric. Heidi says she'd wear it if she were 10 years younger. What am I missing here? This dress is a nightmare!

-Leanne (bronze satin short dress with loops, pockets, off-shoulder bits, lots of detailing.) Leanne says she likes short dresses, but when asked, her model says it's not what she pictured. Uh-ohhhh. Natalie says it's like Peter Pan. (Yes! It is!) Kors says its five dresses in one. (Hee.)

We go backstage, where Leanne is wiping tears away, while the judges confer. They reach an agreement, and everyone tromps back on the runway. Heidi gives her third "You're in ... or you're OUT" speech of the night. We immediately find out that Stella is in (why?!) and Suede wins (WHY?!). He, of course, goes with the classic "Suede rocked it!" into the cameras, with some sort of devil horn/finger gun hand motion. I start to feel a little sick to my stomach.

We find out Kenley is safe, and Korto is safe, and she promptly bursts into tears. (Two in one show? That's a rarity!) "I worked so hard!" she wails. Next time, put the seams inside.
So we're down to Wesley and Leanne, both of whom used the same unfortunate fabric. Heidi says Wesley's had an unflattering, bad fit, then tells Leanne, "We asked for fashion, and we got a school project." (Who wrote that line? I want to have a word with you.)

And we find out: Leanne's safe, so Wesley loses. He goes upstairs and packs his, what, sewing box? It's a little too "pack your knives and go" for me, but see ya, Wes.
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