Project Runway: A Colorful Return
October 16, 2021 1:41 PM - Season 19, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The season premiere begins at the iconic Lincoln Center where Christian Siriano, Nina Garcia, Elaine Welteroth, and Brandon Maxwell welcome a talented group of new designers eager to show the world their skills and creativity. In a Project Runway first, the designers will be split into two teams living and working separately to create mini-collections celebrating color. The competition comes to a head on the day of the runway show when they reunite hoping their team is victorious while someone from the losing team will be going home.

A slight change in format, with no Karlie Kloss; instead Elaine Welteroth and NIna Garcia appear to be taking the lead on the judges' panel, along with Brandon Maxwell and a guest judge.

If this episode is anything to go by, it'll be a good season. There are some likeable designers - Meg, Chastity, Zayden, Aaron Michael - some BIG egos - Bones (who almost had a Ken-style meltdown at one point and later told Christian that his critique wasn't required and effectively dismissed him from the workroom - in a TEAM challenge), Darren (who has an over-inflated idea of his talent, and who actually hit on Christian when they were shopping in Mood) and Octavio, whose aesthetic is avant-garde,

We had a few backstories (an Afghani refugee, a couple of designers from Virginia/West Virginia who found their true selves when they moved away). The rest of the designers haven't stood out much yet, other than the woman who was dressed like Grayson Perry's alter ego and whose name I didn't get.

The challenge was a good one - splitting the colour wheel into cool and warm and putting the designers in two teams to design a cohesive collection featuring a single colour per outfit. Typically with team challenges, nobody listened to anybody else at the planning stage, so the lack of cohesion in both collections was unsurprising. At one point I thought Darren was going to take the credit for someone else's work - and if he hadn't fessed up and then won immunity, it would have been really unfair.

I was sorry to see the losing designer go home, as I liked them, but that outfit was awful, badly made and unflattering on the model.

As the two team were living separately in the same apartment block, I'm not sure if they'll be left in their teams for future challenges until there are sufficiently few of them to merge, in the style of Survivor.

Anyway, I'm very happy this is back. Competition reality shows are my bag and this is one of the best.
posted by essexjan (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ooh thank you for this, somehow I completely missed that the show is back!
posted by donnagirl at 3:33 PM on October 16, 2021

Bones has a ginormous ego, but he also pulled it together and saved his team at the last second--so he may at least have some chops to go with his nerve.

I'm pretty much resigned to seeing the designers lagging RTW by a season or two at this point.
posted by praemunire at 5:21 PM on October 16, 2021

I still wish they spent more time on the actual details of the construction and design decisions but happened to click onto the channel and it was quite fun. Not been keeping up for a while so was confused where Tim was until I realized the guy trying to channel Tim was the newTim. After googling I'm way late but that would surprise no one if there were png's as I'm as astyle (not anti but not stylish) but this is the only competition show I could ever bear.
posted by sammyo at 8:01 PM on October 16, 2021

I like the "no one judge is in charge" dynamic a lot. More Nina on my tv is always welcome. This seems like a good cast. I wish the cool v warm hadn't ended up so gendered because it reduced a lot of personalities to stereotypes of either trying too hard to get along or trying too hard to be a boss. And that guy who made literally nothing, I'd like him to go next. When he stepped out to take that model's hand while she was wearing a dress he didn't make, he was beyond redemption for me. Sure he gave a weird shout out but he should have immediately taken the model to Bones.
posted by donnagirl at 7:09 AM on October 17, 2021

I'm always optimistic at the start of a new season however this one set a new low for producer manipulation right off the bat. Team challenges are reality show gold for interpersonal sniping and meltdowns. Having one at the onset when the contestants don't know who is talented (outside their own delusional brand) and who is chum, what their strength/style is, skill level... coupled with the ever-hanging sword of Damocles, cohesion!!1!--which is alternately ignored or criticized by the judges--does not bode well for the season.

Then as TLo pointed out, the judges deliberately chose the winning garment based on the controversy and not the basic bath towel design. Darren should've been ejected as well as the losing designer. Instead, Aaron who should have won/or at least been in the top three, missed out.

It's interesting that for many years you could see every contestant's runway look, not just the winning and losing ones, on the Bravo website and blogs. Now it's just screen caps on Reddit
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:16 AM on October 17, 2021

They definitely only picked Darren's gown for the drama because it was so basic, but I give Bones major credit for pulling that together in 30 minutes. I also wonder if they gave Bones the win because of that. I didn't like his outfit at all and I thought the top really didn't fit his model and gave her no support at all. Of the three in the top, I thought Octavio should have taken it, but Aaron should have been in the top three and won it. His outfit was really gorgeous.

I wonder how much of a villain edit Bones is getting. I think his meltdown was a stress thing--he was trying to be a leader and everyone was doing their own thing and he didn't want to be on the hook for that--but I think he was a leader and that's why his team was a bit more cohesive than the other team. They had a story and all the other team had was a bow that some people didn't even use (like Zayden said, I wonder what happened to the flower idea). The cool team was all over the place.
posted by ceejaytee at 5:52 AM on October 18, 2021

On having a rerun in the background, I thought about how much HD has not helped the show, in that you can now see every hasty or incomplete aspect of the construction in vivid detail, as you couldn't in the early days.
posted by praemunire at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2021

Christian Siriano is a great mentor. He can always get to the heart of an issue - where is the client going? What's the deal with the bows? It's enjoyable to watch.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:09 AM on October 19, 2021

I found him impressive but kind of irritating personally when he was a contestant. He's matured in an interesting way as a mentor.
posted by praemunire at 10:57 AM on October 19, 2021

This is the first season I've seen, and tbh, I find Christian quite annoying and irritating. He's very smug and a bit too full of himself. (But maybe that's how previous hosts were as well?)
posted by hydra77 at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2021

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