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TV Review: Project Runway 6×1 “Welcome to Los Angeles”

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Watch Project Runway on Lifetime, Thursday nights, 10 pm et/pt.
Buy Project Runway: Season Five on Amazon.com

On the whole, I despise reality television. Yet, there’s something about actual creative people competing that seems entirely different than people trapped in a house shouting at each other (sorry Heidi). So when Project Runway went through the trauma of switching networks from Bravo to Lifetime, I missed it.

But now it’s back, and in my hometown! Yay!

While I was not worried about the move to LA, I was curious to see if it would change the show’s feel any. Anyone who has visited LA’s garment district knows it’s a lot different than New York’s. Plus, downtown LA is a much different than downtown New York. As much as I love the Fashion Institute, the designers should be at a beach house somewhere. Thankfully they do get to run around LA some it looks like.

Season 6 Ep 1 “Welcome to Los Angeles”
Rating: [rating:3.5]
Quote of the Episode: “I don’t watch the red carpet. I don’t differentiate between different color carpets.” – Malvin Vien

Spoilers after the cut.

So the first couple episodes of Project Runway have historical been, for me, going “who was that person again?” 16 designers is a bit much to keep track of, especially if some of them kind of melt into the background being neither extremely talented or extremely horrible. Already we have some big personalities, like Johnny (the formal crystal meth addict who nearly had a break down during the episode) and Ari, who doesn’t need to sketch her designs and (instead) did a headstand. My only eye roll moment was Louise Black, the vintage designer, only because it seemed like we’ve seen this before (Kenley Collins much?).

Despite the move and the change in some of the production, the show is very familiar. Tim Gunn and Heidi and Michael and Nina are all there during the show, Tim Gunn says “make it work” and the designers are in a panicked rush. At this point I often wonder, if you applied to be on Project Runway, wouldn’t you test yourself out and see if you could, in fact, make a dress in 2 days? If I had the skills I’d be training like a marathon runner. But I digress.

The team’s first challenge was to make a red carpet dress. Tim Gunn pulled them to the Emmy’s red carpet and explained how important red carpet fashion is in Los Angeles. Yes Tim, it is, I watched Rachel Zoe to find that out. The designers got time to sketch their designs and my personal favorite designer so far, Christopher (who wins the challenge) has a cute sketch of an almost anime-style model. One of my favorite quotes from the episode came out of the sketch scene. From “she has big feet like me,” which the far-out there Ari or “I don’t watch the red carpet. I don’t differentiate between different color carpets,” from the androgynous Malvin Vien.

With that the designers were off to Mood’s L.A. store, where apparently only one employee was cutting fabric which caused a cute panic attack (only cute because of Tim Gunn’s reaction to it).

The fun part of watching Project Runway, for me, is seeing the fabric go from small pieces draped on a dummy to full blown dresses on the catwalk. Trying to picture from sketch to reality what the dress looks like. And then, of course, deciding who is going to win and who is going to go home.

Next, the designers got time with their models and poor Mitchell’s model sizes he got were wrong. Which, of course, caused most of the drama of the episode. So far the designers seem to like each other, so there wasn’t any drama there, but this is only the first episode.

While I didn’t predict the loser of this round, I did predict the winner (what can I say, I have much love for Christopher since the sketch of his dress, and the final product looked great). It was a bit of a Cinderella story since Christopher never had formal education in fashion design. I really loved that. I will say Irina’s dress made me gasp with delight, I thought it’d be a shoe-in for another top spot. And I thought for sure that Crystal would be out, as much as I loved her color choice, the dress was a mess and not sophisticated enough for the red carpet. I didn’t worry about Mitchell, I knew they wanted to give him a second chance.

Worst part of the episode? Lindsey Lohan as a judge. Sorry Lindsey, I used to like you before you went crazy. Her presence as a guest judge did nothing to add to the conversation.

On the whole a great start, but not a lot of innovation in the show’s style itself. It just seems we have another season of the same formula, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

About Tabz

Tabz (aka Tabitha Grace Smith) is a omnivorous geek with a special love of television. She's a writer, social media strategist, and teacher. In her spare time she blogs over at Doctor Her (a Doctor Who blog) and runs Between the Lines Studios.

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