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Episode 1: Feels Like Old Times!

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Project Runway is back for season seven, so once again, we've got comedy writer Bonnie Datt's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness.


Dresses by Emilio and Christiane via Lifetime

Okay, let's get to the big question first: How was it?

And the answer is...promising! The premiere felt more like old school Project Runway than anything from last season. It was great seeing the designers back in the heart of New York (yes, we're biased). The show spent a lot of time in the work room focusing on construction issues. The designers seemed like an interesting group. Nina Garcia AND Michael Kors lent their critical abilities to the judging—together. And Heidi is pregnant again, just like old times! Obviously it's too soon to know if last night's episode is indicative of the rest of the season, but we're off to a good start!

The premiere kicked off by introducing us to the new contestants. We have Ben, the comic book artist, whose fashions may turn out to be a little too Marvel-influenced. There's Ping, our token "weird" designer for the season. Unlike past designers who have filled that casting role, Ping's self-draped designs might end up happily surprising us...but we doubt it. This year's "funny" designer, Birmingham, Alabama's Anthony, is actually funny—unlike last season's candidate, Nicolas. We don't know yet if there is a token straight guy, but since none of the male contestants made a point of declaring their heterosexuality, we're guessing not.

This episode's challenge had the designers grabbing as many bolts of fabric as they could within three minutes at Mood's temporary outdoor location in Central Park. They were then forced to edit those down to five which they wanted to work with. The assignment: Make an outfit which expressed who they are as a designer. Seth Aaron showed us that he wants to design for an upscale Hot Topic. Ping's vision seemed to be a more stylized version of someone wrapped in blankets, and according to Michael Kors, Jesus would have been better off designing glamorous clothing back in the 1970s. In Vegas.

The top three designers for the challenge were Seth Aaron, Emilio and Ping, with the later two coming as a bit of surprise since they both seemed to be getting the auf-ing edit. Emilio won with a stunning, flirty, intricately-made short dress. The bottom three included Anthony, with his flowered dress with its giant holster-like appendage on the side, Jesus with his unintentional homage to Charlie's Angels, and Christiane with her ugly mess of solid blue and floral print fabrics, that looked a bit like a Home-Ec project gone wrong. The judges, citing her lack of vision, terrible construction issues and pretty much every other insult they could think of, short of accusing her of hating world peace, made Christiane the first aufed contestant of the season.

Since John Murray did a fairly good job of keeping last season from turning into The Real World Sewing Circle, we had decided not to keep a running tally of how many times the contestants cried this season. But then they introduced Janeanne... So, for the first of our As Tears Go By Count, which may continue all season, but which will certainly last as long as Janeanne remains on the show, we're at three crying jags.

And now this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...

10). When the designers first meet, they hug, probably to find the best spots to stick knives in later.

9). Mood sets up a temporary shop outdoors. Not since Christo's The Gates has Central Park seen this much fabric.

8). Seth Aaron calls his design "Little Tokyo." We call Seth Aaron "Little Jeffrey Sebelia."

7). Janeanne can't figure out how to work a revolving door, which oddly enough is the only thing that doesn't make her cry.

6). When Jesus admits the obvious, that he added on to his skirt, Heidi bellows a loud "Aha!" because she's proven that she's the world's greatest sleuth.

5). Bravo advertises Launch My Line twice during Lifetime's Project Runway premiere. Isn't that kind of like Conan advertising on Leno?

4). Jesse worked at Disney World costumed as pirate Captain Jack Sparrow! (Sorry, that's all we remember about him).

3). Designer/physical therapist Ping say that she knows how a body moves and functions. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how a dress mannequin does.

2). Mila and Maya high five each other "for bangs." Somewhere out there, a dead Louise Brooks rethinks her legacy.

1). Emilio says his goal is to have his clothing on the backs of people he rides the subways with. Tell us which line, Emilio. We'd kill for that dress.

· We're Going to Rock Down to Project Runway Avenue [Racked]
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· Project Runway Top Ten: Auf Wiedersehen, Season Six [Racked]