January 25, 2013 06:01 AM by Donna W. Martin
Tonight was the premiere of Project Runway season 11. Each designer arrived one-by-one and gathered at the runway to chat and get to know each other a bit. Then Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn came in. But just as things were about to get underway, Heidi announced a shocking twist! Who made it through the first challenge? And who was sent home? Take the jump for all the details.
Season 11’s designers include Amanda Valentine, Benjamin Mach, Cindy Marlett, Daniel Esquivel, Emily Pollard, James Martinez, Joseph Aaron Segal, Kate Pankoke, Layana Aguilar, Matthew Arthur, Michelle Lesniak Franklin, Patricia Michaels, Richard Hallmarq, Samantha Black, Stanley Hudson, and Tu Suthiwat Nakchat.
The prize package for this season includes:
- $100,000 from L’Oréal Paris to start his/her own line
- A fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine
- 2013 Lexus GS 350
- $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel to create his/her own vision and run his/her business
- And the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor
So what was the twist? Heidi told the designers this season would be the show’s first ever Project Runway Teams. She explained every challenge would be a team challenge and they must work together to communicate, collaborate and work it out if they wanted to make it through each challenge.
The designers’ first challenge was to create a garment that was inspired by New York City. The garment had to reflect who each individual was as a designer but also had to incorporate input from their team. Heidi explained, one team will win and one team will lose. The challenge winner would be chosen from the top three scores within the winning team and the designer going home would be chosen from the bottom three scores within the losing team.
Heidi separated the designers into two teams of eight. Daniel, Amanda, Layana, Richard, Patricia, Joseph, Stanley, and Kate made up team “Keeping It Real.” And Cindy, Benjamin, Michele, Tu, James, Emily, Samantha, and Matthew made up team “Dream Team.”
Team Keeping It Real were asked to draw inspiration from afar. They took a boat out away from the city and looked back to get inspired. While team Dream Team were asked to draw inspiration from above. They went to the roof of the Atlas Hotel and looked down on the city to get inspired.
Both teams took pictures of the city from their viewpoints before going back to the Atlas Hotel to get settled in. Some of the designers voiced their opinion about working in teams and they weren’t too thrilled about it saying they would rather work alone.
Later, each team had one side of the workroom. Tim came in and told the designers they had one day to complete this challenge. Each team sat on their side of the workroom and sketched their designs. Then they were off to Mood for a 45-minute shopping spree. Each team had a budget of $1200, or $150 per designer, and as a team, they could distribute the money at their discretion.
Then they went back to the workroom. Later, Tim came in and spent time with each team. He said he was there to “moderate, participate, and facilitate.” He asked each designer to explain their garment while he and their teammates gave their input and suggestions. Once Tim had spent time with both teams, he left. There was a lot to do and everybody was worried about their teammates designs.
The models came in a fitting and before the designers knew it, time was up for the night. At this point, Patricia’s teammates were worried her hand-painted garment was too crafty. Emily had really struggled and didn’t have a single piece of clothing ready so her teammates worried she wouldn’t have a garment ready for runway.
The next day, they had 2 ½ hours until runway. Emily was desperate and Cindy offered to help her once she was finished with her garment.
The models were sent to hair and makeup before putting their garments on. Tim took the designers and their models down to the runway and after final looks, it was show time.
Team Keeping It Real walked first, then team Dream Team. Each model walked individually and then all eight of the models walked together for each team.
After the show, the designers stood on the runway. Heidi announced that team Keeping It Real had won the challenge. She named the top three designers, Daniel, Richard, and Patricia and the three bottom designers, James, Cindy, and Emily.
Then it was time to critique the designs. Daniel was up first. Heidi said his design was “super chic.” Zac said it was “beautifully made.” And guest judge and season 4 winner, Christian Siriano agreed saying the design was “beautiful, subtle, and chic.”
Richard was next. Nina said Richard’s design was “urban and sporty.” And Zac said the “a-symmetry was flattering.”
Heidi said she loved how Patricia “manipulated the leather.” Zac said she should add “tactile quality to the shape” of the garment. And Nina said she “liked the simple shape and the panels gave it movement.”
Then for the bottom three. James was up first. Zac said the “pleating looked chewed up and pedestrian.” Nina said it was “not inspiring.” And Heidi agreed saying there “wasn’t enough there.”
Looking at Cindy’s design, Heidi said it “wasn’t attractive at all.” Nina agreed saying there was “nothing New York or urban about it.” Christian said it had “no design quality.” And Zac added, “It was confusing to me. The construction was not interesting and the patterns jar together.”
Heidi told Emily her design looked like her “8-year-old daughter had made it…like the sewing machine had ate it up.” Nina agreed saying, “In 11 seasons, I’ve never seen such an unfinished garment walk down the runway.”
Then the designers were dismissed. After the judges’ final deliberation, the top and bottom three designers were called back to the runway.
Heidi announced that Daniel was the challenge winner and could leave the runway. Richard and Patricia were also safe and left the runway. Heidi told James he was safe and could leave the runway, which left Cindy and Emily in the bottom two.
Heidi said, “Cindy, you are in.”
“And Emily, I’m sorry, that means you are out.”
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Do you agree with the judges’ decision to send Emily home? And what do you think about this season being a “team edition?” Sound off in the comments section and let us know.
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Photo Credit: Lifetime