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Project Runway: Season 8 Premiere With Selma Blair

August 05, 2010 06:13 AM by Nancy Floyd

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Project Runway has returned to Lifetime! On the season 8 premiere, 17 fashion designers arrive in New York City only to find that there’s one more phase of the audition process. After the contestants are given five hours to design a garment, actress Selma Blair joins Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, and Nina Garcia to determine which 16 designers will become season 8 finalists. Keep reading for more details on the season premiere episode…

Season 8 of Project Runway kicks off with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn offering a quick introduction on the contestants which include a Puerto Rican designer named Casanova, a Midwestern boy named A.J., a 50-year old designer named Peach, an overly confident fashionista named Ivy, a graphics designer turned fashion designer named Kristen, a stylist from Missouri named Michael D., and a young mom from Utah named McKell. Rounding out the finalists are a men’s and women’s designer named Jason, a Bohemian sustainable designer named Gretchen, an eccentric character named Mondo, a cocky accessories designer named Nicholas, San Francisco native Christopher, a recent fashion school grad named April, a functional designer from Cleveland named Valerie, a couture designer who opened his first store at 17 named Michael, an edgy California costumer named Sarah, and a Hawaiian designer named Andy.

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The designers meet one another at various spots around New York City before joining Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn at Lincoln Center, home of NY Fashion Week. This season starts with 17 finalists instead of the usual 16. The designers are stunned to learn that since the judges couldn’t narrow them down, the first challenge is technically the last phase of the audition process. One designer will be eliminated after today’s challenge.

Heidi Klum starts off by having everyone pull one item out of their suitcases that they’ll incorporate into their design. Then, since this is Project Runway, Heidi throws a twist to the designers: everyone must pass their item to the person on their right and they’ll have to use it in their design. Casanova is particularly peeved by this turn of events since he so wisely chose a brand new pair of $1,000 Dolce & Gabana pants that will now be destroyed by one of his competitors.

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Mood Fabrics set up a small shop in the workroom for today’s challenge. The 17 designers have 15 minutes to sketch before choosing their fabrics. No one is all that thrilled with the item of clothing that they’re forced to work with and no one is excited to watch their favorite piece of clothing be cut apart by a competitor.

When Tim Gunn pays the designers a visit, McKell’s men’s button-down shirt-turned-adorable dress wins praise, Casanova’s blouse-turned-skimpy dress seems vulgar, April’s ambitious outfit using a men’s tuxedo jacket has Tim worried, and Jason is struggling to turn a kimono into a dress. Gretchen impresses Tim Gunn with her thoughtful presentation turning a small jacket into an entire outfit, Tim sympathizes with Peach’s struggle to use a very unforgiving fabric, and Mondo’s jacket-turned-dress seems matronly to Tim.

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The designers stress and run around like maniacs, trying desperately to get finished with their garments in time. Tim Gunn sends the models in for their first fitting. Everyone seems to have a decent meeting with their models, especially Jason who has a hard time concentrating on anything other than his braless model’s chest. Creepy! The designers hurry to make finishing touches to their outfits while their models are in hair and makeup. Kristen totally forgets about her model after sending her to get her hair done and has to race to get a little makeup applied before the show.

Moments before the show, McKell feels confident, Jason staples his model into her dress, Peach is a bundle of nerves, and Casanova’s model is still undressed. Casanova manages to quickly dress his model as they’re walking to the fashion show. Before the show, Heidi Klum greets the designers and hints that there might be more than one elimination tonight. The prizes for the winning designer have improved this year. In addition to a Marie Claire fashion spread and $100,000 to start their line, the winning designer also will receive $50,000 in technology from HP and Intel.

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Heidi Klum introduces her fellow judges, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, who are joined today by actress Selma Blair. The models take the runway to reveal the designs of the 17 finalists. As the models come down the runway, April worries about the bad hems and unfinished work on her outfit, Casanova is proud of his barely-there dress, Jason is nervous that the judges can see the staples in his dress, McKell is worried her dress is a little too full, Ivy thinks her outfit is great, and Gretchen is really pleased with her little black dress.

The designers face the judges for their results and ten are immediately sent away, earning high enough scores to remain in the competition. Of the remaining 7 designers, all four judges were unanimous in their decision of a winner: Gretchen! They’re blown away with her ability to use a difficult material and making a beautiful garment. Gretchen leaves the stage and six designers remain. These six (Ivy, McKell, Casanova, Jason, Nicholas, and April) represent the worst designs of the night.

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The designers aren’t impressed with Ivy’s lack of innovation turning a pair of pants into….another pair of pants. Ivy defends herself adamantly, but the judges aren’t persuaded. Heidi Klum thinks Jason’s dress looks like a hair dressing cape and the other judges are displeased by his lack of finishing. The judges rip apart April’s deconstructed look, calling it a “hot mess” and likening it to an 80′s street walker.

The judges think McKell’s dress lacks cohesion and Heidi Klum calls it “butt ugly.” McKell seems really sweet and interesting; I’m hoping she doesn’t get eliminated tonight. Nicholas tries to defend his decision to create an evening gown from a bomber jacket. All in all, the judges are bored with the dress. No one is impressed with Casanova’s skimpy, distasteful dress. Casanova agrees with their assessment, but pleads with the judges to keep him around.

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The designers head backstage while the judges deliberate. When the judges are finished discussing the bottom six, the designers return to the runway. April, Nicholas, and Jason are immediately deemed safe and allowed to stay in the competition for another week. Out of the remaining three, Ivy, McKell, and Casanova, the judges decide to eliminate McKell. Both Ivy and Casanova get another chance to prove their talent next week.

Tune into Project Runway on Lifetime tonight at 9pm EST for a brand new episode when the competition properly starts and the finalists fight to get their work displayed on a New York City billboard!

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Photo credit: Lifetime

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