Project Runway Premiere Recap: It’s The Catty Boys’ Club!

Season 10 of Project Runway has begun! The show must be as excited about it as we are, because they waste no time and throw all 16 contestants into hot water immediately. In addition to having to bring one look with them that is representative of their aesthetic, they are also given one day to make a second look. Both will go down the runway in a fashion show in Times Square attended by Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge Lauren Graham, in addition to a loooot of die-hard Project Runway fans.

While the designers scramble to meet the demands of this challenge, we get to know them a bit. They run the gamut from age 22 to age 58, and certainly come from varied backgrounds. One designer, Dmitry Sholokov, is a former professional ballroom dancer with a lot of negative things to say about other people’s work. Fabio Costa is a “freegan,” which means that he gets most of his food from dumpsters. Very average and boring, this group. Then there’s Gunner Deatheredge, who made it to the group of top 20 designers last year but was cut before the competition began, and who is determined to make up for lost time in ambition and general cattiness. He’s shown being unconscionably rude to Christopher Palu, most likely because Palu is his closest analog in style/mannerisms/demeanor. He tells the camera in an interview “There’s only room for one star in the sky, and that’s me” which is both scientifically inaccurate and completely insufferable.

Another notable contestant is Ven Budhu, who impresses everyone with the white suit he brought to the competition, and whose disdain for the technical gifts of his fellow competitors is palpable. For the most part, the male designers are the hyper-critical bunch, and the female designers are friendlier to each other. This will even out in the coming weeks, I am sure, but it makes them much less memorable than the dudes for the premiere.

At the show, it’s pretty easy to see which designs are the worst ones, both with my own eyes and with the sour expressions on Nina Garcia’s face. Missed you, girl. The judges reconvene after the show, with Lauren Graham and designer Patricia Field in tow, to crown the winner and shame the losers.

In the top three: Christopher Palu (mostly for a beautiful gown he made and not the uninspiring black cocktail dress he paired with it), Ven Budhu, and Melissa Fleis, who made two looks that were heavy on black leather and were both coveted by Heidi.

In the bottom three: Beatrice Guapo, who loves working with knits and made a southwestern-style cape that Michael Kors took personally, Lantie Foster, whose vintage sensibility resulted in some hideous detailing on her clothes, and Kooan Kosuke, whose Japanimation sensibility veered into joke territory for the judges.

After deliberating, the judges declare Christopher the winner. Suck it, Gunner! Ven and Melissa are obviously in. The judges save Kooan, and his over-the-top relief seems to make Michael Kors regret it almost immediately. It’s down to Lantie and Beatrice, and while the judges seemed to hate Lantie’s clothes more, they appreciated that she stuck to her guns and defended her aesthetic. It’s Beatrice who gets sent packing.

Whew! What an episode. The preview of the season that closes it out looks exciting too. Looks like someone cracks under the pressure and bounces under the cover of darkness. I can’t WAIT! Until next week, you can scroll through our slideshow of the top and bottom three looks.

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