Belated Episode 1 recap: Season 4 of Project Runway finally started last week, so I am a happy camper. I love this show, in spite of my hatred of nearly all reality tv. I really don’t like to watch people being bitchy and melodramatic, but I put up with it for Runway because I love fashion and I love watching the creative process of people who are, in many cases, still learning and developing their own point of view.

I was happy that they skipped over the tryouts this season and went straight to the competition. However, the challenge confirmed my suspicion that most designers on the show do better with a bit more structure. Ask 15 different designers to make a skirt using only black and white fabric, and you’ll be amazed at the variety and ingenuity. But ask the same designers to just show their point of view and you get…not much. Think of Michael Knight from Season 3 – he did great in so many challenges, but his collection at Bryant Park was not good.

The one difficulty with an individual challenge for 15 contestants is that you don’t get to spend much time with each design, so my initial impressions were vague and I had to rely on photos online for filling in the details. Here are my impressions:

  • Jillian: meh. Not bad, but not inspired.
  • Christian: the design was fine, but the color palette seemed a bit old lady to me.
  • Jack: cute dress, but nothing special about that design. Looks straight off the rack.
  • Kevin: meh. Didn’t like the fabric choices.
  • Chris: nothing spectacular about the design, but I liked his color palette and fabric choices.
  • Marion: couldn’t believe this one didn’t end up in the bottom two. Hideous and unflattering.
  • Kit: Well constructed, but ugly. Didn’t like the design or the fabric combinations.
  • Steven: simple suit with a few interesting details. Nothing spectacular, but I’d like to see more from him.
  • Carmen: bleh. Looks like a genie costume.
  • Sweet P: not the most flattering silhouette, and her fabric reminded me of a shower curtain, but not too bad overall.
  • Ricky: boring, but not as bad as Marion’s dress. Thought he was more deserving of a pass than Marion.
  • Victorya: Cute, stylish, not too original, but I liked it.
  • Elisa: cut off the train and it’s actually an attractive dress. I’m curious to see if she keeps veering towards the crazy or can be reined in.
  • Simone: sad to see her go so soon; I suspect she could have done better. On this challenge if she had just skipped the little jacket and finished her dress, she probably would have passed.
  • Rami: quite lovely draping and construction. I wasn’t wild about the flower, but it’s a minor quibble.