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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The INs and OUTs of the S9 Designers

It's exciting that a new Project Runway season is upon us. We can blank if we want to; we can leave the past behind. If the new preview ads on Lifetime are anything to go by, there's a renewed creative spirit to look forward to. Here's a preview rundown what's in and what's out about the new crop of designers, based solely on their audition clips and portfolios. I'm hoping to save you from watching the audition videos, because the ad that begins them features Dean Winters (Mayhem) as a racoon, and it's disturbing.

University of Alabama fashion grad, 24, NYC

IN: The colorblocked dress she wore to her audition
OUT: Her annoying speech pattern, complete with sing-song greetings and up-talking
Based on Amanda's audition garments, she might be prone to the dreaded "student work."

Anthony Ryan
LSU fashion grad, 28, Baton Rouge

IN: Funky casual clothes in great prints and a natural, sweet manner
OUT: He showed a convertible top in his audition - something the judges love the first time they see it, and then call gimmicky.

Very charming, I hope he goes far.

Parsons grad, 29, Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago

IN: Beautiful jumpsuit/caftan she wore at the audition
OUT: Can't sew. She says she'll work all night, but that doesn't help when there's a time limit.
Her work is pretty and commercial. Even if she doesn't go far in the competition, she might get a design deal out of it.

Trained in interior design, theater set design, apparel design, 38, Portland Oregon

IN: Very detailed construction; obviously very skilled
OUT: "Real bodies" focus doesn't usually get very far with the judges

It's interesting to me how many fuller-figured designers are drawn to retro, especially since vintage clothes tend to be small.

Attended Parsons and The New School
back when it was actually new, 57, LA 

IN: The audition judges called his work "still young," which bodes well for anyone over 40
OUT: His stuff looks kind of 70s Halston to me
Bert could break the oldsters curse. I'm lusting after his silver burlap sheath dress - it looks like updated chain mail. Women of every age and size would want this dress.

BA in Fine Arts of Apparel Design from The Art Institute of Portland, 26, Portland OR 

IN: Interesting ideas and fabrics
OUT: Rock and roll focus, inspired by David Bowie? Why do these young designers insist on harkening back to the icons of their parents (iow, my age) 

Bryce showed one-legged pants in his casting session. 'Nuff said.
"Mostly" self-taught, 34, NYC

IN: She can definitely sew and tailor
OUT: The casting judges tolder her that her work is old-fashioned and lacks focus 
I think it's a bit cruel to bring Cecelia to New York when the audition judges were so negative about her work. It looks like she's being set up to be cut immediately. Seems mean, and Project runway has never been mean before.

26, Minneapolis

IN: Some very interesting pieces
OUT: Her point of view has something to do with women's liberation through androgynous clothing. I think they called that Dress Reform circa 1860.

She's extremely conceptual, which could be a barrier to fitting her philosophy into challenges or visa versa.

Self-taught designer, 29, Boston

IN: His clothes are functional, edgy, ageless and commercial
OUT: Possible construction issues
I hope his newly-acquired construction skills can keep up with the challenges, because his clothing is very cool.

29, Denver

IN: She takes inspiration from materials and makes them in something very interesting
OUT: It's hard to find a downside for her.
She should go very far.

Self-taught designer and hairdresser, 21, Louisville

IN: Entertainingly silly (I like to give back with my fashion)
OUT: Taste level?

Gunnar likes the shiny. If he can work in short and tight, Heidi should be a fan.

Joshua C
FIDM-LA grad, 29, Snohomish WA

IN: Very clean but not boring
OUT: When he gets architectural, his work is not very wearable
Who would actually wear this?

Joshua M
BFA from The Fashion Institute of Technology in Florence IT, 25, Sunnyside NY

IN: The menswear he brought to the audition was well-constructed
OUT: Brought menswear to the audition? And there's, um, a taste level issue

Totally drama queen - stripped to change at the audition, cried when he got the"You're in" phone call. He'll either be very entertaining or totally annoying.

SCAD fashion design grad, 35, Grand Junction, CO 

IN: The clothes she showed at her audition really constitued a line
OUT: She simultaneously name-dropped and dissed Catherine Malandrino - tacky

She's a wild card - is there more there than just Southwest?

Majored in fashion merchandising at FIT, 35, Brooklyn

IN: The camera loves Kimberly, and the audition judges loved her clothes
OUT: She seems to have made clothes mainly for herself and family members

Kimberly showed some print dresses in a sort of African-American churchgoing style that the Project Runway judges have not shown an affinity for in the past (Qristal, Christina). PR could use some more diversity among the judges.

BS in design, merchandising, textiles, 26, St. Louis

IN: Interesting pannelled construction
OUT: Her work is not very ambitious, designwise
She'll need to show more imagination to deal with the challenges.

Attended design schools in London and Milan, 22, NYC

IN: Amazing construction skills
OUT: He only brought a few pieces to the audition. Versatility?
Olivier might be a tough affected. He reminds me of Malan a bit. but Malan turned out to be quite a mensch, and so there's hope for Olivier.

Majored in fashion design and marketing at American Intercontinental University, 27, Atlanta

IN: Very detailed shapes
OUT: The shapes he uses are interesting, but are they wearable?
He can definitely make clothes that are sexy and cool.

FIDM, San Francisco grad, 31, Brooklyn

IN: Interesting lingerie details
OUT: Her looks might be too simple to win challenges
She seems to gravitate to neutrals, so some color would really help her out.
Attended FIT, 30, NYC

IN: Cool prints custom done on organic fabric
OUT: Cliche shapes (cropped studded neoprene jacket)

Interesting how the name Viktor looks so much more intimidating with a "k" than a "c." He kould be a kontender.

While no one in this group had me slavering to see more, I'm looking forward to being surprised by their unexpected talents, creativity and ability to produce under pressure.

Bon chance, designers!

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