The time finally arrived! And I was all set with my Diet Dr. Pepper and my WWTGD shirt (What Would Tim Gunn Do?). Season 8 had arrived!
And....for the record.....I am tremendously excited to get this season in HIGH DEFINITION! Show me those stitches!
The first thing that I found to be a nice little twist was that all of the participants met up at different areas around the city in groups of 3 or 4. This gave everyone the chance to break the ice with other contestants in neutral territory and in a more manageable group. These small collections of people then converged together at Lincoln Center to learn that they had 5 hours to complete a challenge that would determine if they were truly on the show. NOW FOR THE TWIST! Each designer had to select an item from their suitcase to be included in the final look - but pass it to the designer on his or her left. So each designer inherited an article of clothing.
To be considerate, Mood brought fabric to Parsons rather than the designers taking time to go do mood or having the producers pony up a budget for that many individuals. "Mood Annex" is what Tim called it. Can I get one of those at my house?
At the time of Tim's check-in, I was hoping to see an interview with each of the designers. But I suppose that 17 people are a lot to get through. At the end of those interviews, by pick for top 3 and bottom 3 were McKell, Gretchen, Mondo then Casanova, Jason, and Kristin (respectively). I also thing Peach was in the bottom simply because she only used the knit as a trim and she didn't have any other idea what she wanted. I really felt that McKells dress was the cutest thing up there.....it was colorful, tasteful, fun, and well done.
The most irritating part for me was Jason Troisi dressing his model. He even commented about her.....ummmm......physicality on camera. He admitted he could not stop staring at her chest. How tacky and demeaning you can be?
My thoughts on the meeting and time leading up to the challenge:
1. Really like that the designers met in different parts of the city in small groups - breaks the ice in a nice way.
2. Gretchen and Jason meeting was SO AWKWARD! I hope they didn't have to stand around in a weird silence or very long
3. The first challenge is actually the end of the audition - so no one was headed "home" yet. I liked that the "audition" process included a demonstration of working under these kinds of pressures. 5 hours was pretty darn steep, but I think that it is a very important component to the competition.
4. The additional twist to the challenge was that each designer had to pick one item from his or her suitcase to incorporate into the finished design - but pass the item to another designer. So each individual had to use something of someone else's. What I found so funny about this was that some of the designers (Casanova) were distraught over what happened to their items - like they thought there were going to get them back or something!
My thoughts on the challenge time:
1. So many people complained about the time. OK.....I understand that only 5 hours is pretty drastic, but it almost seemed like everyone was shocked at the idea of a tight timeframe.
2. Ivy totally jinxed herself by calling this the "Ivy show". Kudos for having some confidence....but if we have learned nothing else, it is that over confidence can curse you.
3. Jason Troisi was one of my favorites going into this season. His behavior, especially with his model and her issues dressing, was really terrible. Thanks for proving to the world that you are not gay by talking about how you wanted to grope your girl. Classy. doofus.
My thoughts on the outcome:
1. Overall I think everyone did OK for a 5-hour-not-in-the-right-mindset-challenge. This surprise challenge played with the emotional state of all these folks being nervous and away from home.....and no one cried too hard so that is good.
2. The designers that got a pass deserved their pass. Nothing stellar or horrible.....just average and safe.
3. Gretchen was the winner. There is no doubt that she did a nice job with the dress - the beaded jacket she had to work with could have been tough and she was smart to go with the "essence" of the design and not over work it. However, I did not think it was all that flattering or interesting. I liked others better. But I think where the judges were unanimous in their liking, she got the win.
4. Everyone else was on the S**T list. I could see this being necessary for Casanova and his handkerchief-stripper-gown and April who turned a jacket inside out and didn't finish an edge anywhere.
5. I disagreed with McKell being out....and not just because she is a "hometown girl". I think she had a great idea with the use of the shirt, I think that the fit was better than some of the others, I think that the proportion was far better than some as well. The bag she chose to go with it was no good, but loose the bag and I thought there was terrific potential in that dress.
My thoughts on the judges:
1. Heidi, Michael, and Nina are the same as we have come to expect.
2. Michael tries to come up with one-line zingers that sometimes work and often fail, but to see him try to do those on the spot is kinda funny. My favorite will always be "barefoot-Apalchian-Barbie."
3. Nina translating for Casanova was kind of funny. Nice to see her make that effort, but if this has to be done every runway show she is going to get tired of it.
4. Selma Blair was a terrific guest judge. I often find her style dowdy, but her critiques were very well thought out and communicated. She was fair. And she was truly engaged in this challenge and what the designers did....she did not shrug off any of the importance of her words.
So.....we are now at 16 designers. I think we will see at least 2 episodes where 2 people get cut. With the results of the first episode, I was hoping that 2 or 3 got cut this first round. Fewer designers will help keep the show tight.
What are your thoughts on the premier? Who was your favorite and who was in your bottom pick? Any challenges you are hoping to see? Speak up!