Project Runway Australia – Episode 1

Project Runway Australia is like Project Runway with an Australian accent.

It’s exactly the same except with different players.

Even Project Runway Canada isn’t as much of a clone as Project Runway Australia is…but I don’t really care. I like it better this way.

Mimicking the original Project Runway very closely, the designers are asked to meet host, Kristy Hinze, and mentor, Henry Roth, up on the roof.

“I want to see the passion in your fashion,” Henry tells them — which seems a smidge corny.

I mean, I know all Project Runway mentors must feel like they need some sort of catch phrase that rivals, “Make it work!”, but “I want to see the passion in your fashion” just makes me want to squeeze the bridge of my nose, close my eyes and say, “Please don’t.”

Kristy announces that the first challenge is at the Whitehouse Institute of Design, where the desingers will be working.

Draped all along the four-storey staircase in the entrance of the Whitehouse is fabric that the designers must choose from to create a glamorous gown that represents their style.

Since the Whitehouse is only three kilometres away from their new home, the designers are told that the first designer to get to the Whitehouse will get the best pick of the fabrics.

“First in is best dressed,” Henry tells them.

I’m sure this is a ploy to have an Amazing Race-style sprint — a few people even got lost on the way there and wound up tottering through the doors in their crazy heels just as Henry yelled there was only five minutes left.

It was pretty crazy.

Mark tells the camera that he felt like an Asian lady haggling for bananas in Vietnam — and I just really hope that he winds up staying in the competition for as long as possible….even if his clothes wind up looking like shit.

He just reminds me of Christian Siriano, the winner of Project Runway Season 4 — weird ass hair and everything!

Helen, a “frocker”, causes some serious claws to come out when she sweeps up her stuff and announces she’s heading off to the sewing room and that when she’s done, she’s going to lie on the couch and catch up on some sleep.

“Maybe it wasn’t her intention, but she came off as gloating like some gloaty-gloatressen,” Deborah, the fashion lecturer, says.

(Had another moment where I had to breathe and pinch the bridge of my nose. Why does the Asian chick have to come off sounding like a royal beeyotch who doesn’t know English, making up stupid words like that? It just makes me embarrassed for our people.)

“You know, for someone who clams to be the ‘frocker’, I think Helen’s dress is seriously not runway-worthy,” Leigh cattily comments.

When Henry enters the workroom, I sit up a little straighter in interest because this is really our first chance to see him in action as a mentor.

You know what?

I think I really like Henry.

Like Brian Bailey from Project Runway Canada, Henry really guides instead of taking over and actually redesigning or helping designers to do their work. (Hello, Ben de Lisi, anyone?)

When Allison starts talking about doing a short little dress, he simply asks her, “What about that says evening wear to you?”

It’s not exactly criticism, but Allison deflates and “jokes” about how he’s shot her down and broke her down.

“No more shutting down. Pick yourself up — don’t be so dramatic,” he tells her.

And just like that, I think, “I love you.”

“Make the reality happen!” he tells another designer, after looking at his sketch.

See? Practical advice.

Leigh outright admits he was pissed off after hearing Henry’s comments, but I’m glad he actually considered what Henry had to tell him.

He even realizes that Henry might have been right and admits that he is now eating humble pie as a result.

He was on point, though, when he commented that Helen was out-of-her-mind for helping Brent with his sewing because she noticed that he was behind.

I mean, yes, it’s a nice thing to do, but why do people forget they’re in a competition?

Allison, like Stella in the US version, comments on how the worst thing in the world would be getting kicked off first. And every time I hear something like that, I always wonder if it’ll be slightly prophetic.

When the runway show starts, though, and I see her model appear in a hot pink mess of clashing fabrics thrown together in what is clearly not a glamourous evening gown, I can’t help but think that she’s probably the most obvious choice to go home.

“To me, this looks like an old dress — like a retiree in Miami,” judge Jayson Brunsdon says.

He’s right. You’ve got an awful bold floral print with two huge floaty sleeves made of pink sheer fabric (“Elderly pink”, Jayson calls it) attached to it and then an odd little vest made out of yet another design.

The poor model looks bored and uncomfortable in the dress she’s been forced to wear.

Judge Sarah Gale proves to be a fair and knowledgable critic, applauding Shane for his grecian design, but questioning his use of velvet, since it’s a heavy fabric that’s not exactly made for draping.

The dress, however, is gorgeous.

Leigh’s gown is also gorgeous — the judges quickly pick up on his bodice and he can’t help but laugh sheepishly and admit that it was Henry’s suggestion to bone the bodice and pick it apart to reconstruct it.

I have to say — his model, Yumika, looks exquisite. She’s perfectly styled in this dress which the judges feel is very reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood.

And the thing is, I have to admit: I hate 95% of Vivienne Westwood’s designs, so I’m a little shocked that I’m actually liking an outfit that the judges deem Vivienne Westwood-esque.

The judges, however, really impress me — they provide extremely constructive criticism that the designers will be able to take away and work on…whereas, as much as I love Michael Kors and to a much lesser degree, Nina Garcia, I do feel that they’re sort of moving into snobbish territory where they’ll criticize but don’t back up their comments with real feedback.

When Jayson tells Oren that, with the time constraints that the desingers are working under, it’s best to focus on something that’s working and tailor it to perfection as opposed to adding more bells and whistles.

Another designer’s dress receives kudos but Sarah mentions that the hem isn’t completely finished and that as a result, she would not buy that garment if she saw it in the store.

“An unfinished hem is unacceptable,” she tells yet another designer.

In the end, Leigh wins the challenge.

Allison is booted out.

My apologies for not having a lot of pictures — while Arena’s siteis nicely laid out, it is not as in-depth or good as that of Project Runway or Project Runway Canada.

In place of the pictures, I give you the episode via Youtube:

~ by justj on July 20, 2008.

3 Responses to “Project Runway Australia – Episode 1”

  1. Good to see a straight guy sewing! I love Brents attitude and charisma!

  2. Love your recap – pretty much sums up what I thought. Helen seriously overrates herself.

  3. Actually, Deborah didn’t say gloaty-gloatressen
    She said ‘Gloaty McGloaterson’, which is certainly not ‘made-up English’ – at least, not made up by Deborah

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