Project Runway
Sew Me What You Got

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Jeff Long: B | Grade It Now!
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Sew Me What You Got

As Shania might sing from her Swiss chalet, "Looks like we made it!" Project Runway is back! Am I the only one who was at least a little worried that it wouldn't happen? What with Tim Gunn taking the position at Liz Claiborne and Fashion Week after Fashion Week passing. I missed this show.

The credits begin, and we see the new cast and their attempts at catchy one-liners. A really large guy in a leopard-print shirt and chartreuse satin tie says, "Let's go." I think that dude swallowed Fred Schneider from the B-52s. Okay, that wasn't nice. ["Especially not for Fred Schneider. Rimshot!" -- Sars] I wonder why they don't use a different title sequence for the first episode of each season. My favorite part of each season opener is meeting the new designers as they enter the apartment, and since the credits are a sort of character breakdown where we see glimpses of their individual traits, it makes meeting the designers (mere moments later) a little anticlimactic. Small complaint, sure, but… Some guy puts on his best bitchface (at least I hope that's his best. If he's got better, hold onto your false teeth) and says, "I'm in and they're out." Oh my God, there was something really evil about that guy. These credits will haunt my dreams. A bald guy says, "I will own the runway," and waves his arms like an air traffic controller. I believe that he was directed to do that. Clever, though.

The credits are over, and we see the bald guy who's going to own the runway exit a taxi. Then we see him being interviewed in front of two mannequins who are all, "Finally. I have rent to pay. Hope you enjoyed your vacation, Nina Garcia. Vengeance will be mine." The designer's name is Rami Kashou, and he is a 31-year-old "Freelance Designer." He's wearing a tank top and has a tape measure draped around his neck. Save the fussily architectural facial hair, dude is foxy. He tells us that he was born in Jerusalem (note the faint accent) and he has his own studio in Los Angeles. We see a snapshot of him standing next to Jessica Alba. He has designed for her. In his studio, he shows a turquoise party frock that is belted at the waist with cap sleeves and has a flower made of fabric at the shoulder. Jessica wore the dress to the MTV VMAs, and it apparently still gets press. He says that he would like for the show to introduce his work to a larger audience.

Inside the apartment, Rami greets the large fellow from the credits. "Welcome," Rami says with a laugh. The large fellow's name is Chris March and he is 44. He tells us that he has been working as a costume designer for almost 20 years. Chris seems like a nice guy, but he also seems OVER IT. He says that he's the go-to person for over-the-top costumes. We see some snapshots of his work, and it is very creative. They're very dramatic and humorous designs. There's a Wonder Woman with a ginormous chest, and an orange Statue of Liberty. He says that he never knows what he's going to be asked to make, like, "Can you make us outfits out of salad ingredients? Sure! And I have!" We see a halter dress with a flared skirt made of lettuce. Chris's stuff looks pretty good. It's like Austin Scarlett with more camp and less romance.

Next, Chris greets this elfin guy with an asymmetrical haircut. He tells us that his name is Christian Siriano and he's 21. Christian attended university in London, where he was able to work with Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Very cool. And now he's 21. When I was 21, I was making fake Weezer videos with my friend Andi riding my back like a horsey. I feel that this juxtaposition works very much in Christian's favor. The snapshots from his portfolio do look very much influenced by McQueen and Westwood. A few designs look like subverted dandies; one has a kind of S/M leathery thing (also asymmetrical) happening. It reminds me of McQueen's early aggro days. Christian's bio video is shown -- "I'm kinda fierce, and I'm kinda a celebrity…in my own head." Not to sound like I'm 100, but doesn't every 21-year-old think he's a celebrity these days? Christian checks out his room and tells Chris and Rami that he sleeps on the floor at home, because he spends all of his money on clothes (instead of a bed and bedding).

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