Here's the cast of "Project Runway" Season 12 ... minus Kate, who is back for some reason. Did you vote for her?

Here’s the cast of “Project Runway” Season 12 … minus Kate, who is back for some reason. Did you vote for her?

Quote of the night: “What would the first challenge be without a little vagina?”

“Project Runway” is back, baby — not just on TV sets but back back.

Last season’s “Teams” challenge was a miss, and there’s just been a little something missing in general in the recent PR and PR All Stars seasons. But PR 12 started in an airfield and took off from there, premiering with the always intriguing unconventional materials challenge. Good call. It offered a nice preview of the designers’s points of view and creative potential. It also previewed their wacky personalities and bitchy comments about each other, behind each other’s backs.

This is shaping up to be an interesting group, overall. There’s some good talent and then just some crazy. There always is.

I did not agree with the winner or loser this week, in fact my favorite design (the pants and shirt by British dad Jeremy) was declared “safe” and the makers of the slutty cat toy and faux eco-dress are still around to torture.

I have no understanding of why Angela went home over Sandro or Timothy. Once again, the judges were wrong. But that’s always fun to complain about too.

They had to cover her box with a little black box and yet Sandro is still around? WTF?

They had to cover her box with a little black box and yet Sandro is still around? WTF?

***FIRST CHALLENGE***

The first task was for the designers to share their vision using a parachute as material. In one of this season’s many changes, there’s no longer a per-challenge budget. They have a Go Bank account putting them in charge of their own finances. That’s new. (What happens if someone goes hog wild and ends up broke by Week 5? Do they have to go home?)

Every season when the unconventional challenge emerges, someone inevitably sniffs that they could NEVER make anything good out of said material. On cue, Helen reveals herself to be that designer. She’s the dark tattooed girl whose aesthetic is a 180 from the way she looks. She predicts she’ll clash with people and it will be too bad for the bitches. There’s always at least one of them too.

But apparently there’s two of Kate Pankoke. The Season 11 designer was the one fans apparently chose for a chance at Runway Redemption. I’m surprised. I never considered her a bitch (didn’t we have bigger bitches to deal with last season?) but I never really considered her much at all. I’m confused and suspicious about why she’s back.

This season also features a Russian guy named Sandro with a big ego; a deaf designer – a first! – named Justin; and – also a first – a war between Wisconsin residents. Apparently Wisconsin isn’t big enough for both ebullient Timothy and military girl Miranda, who knows Timothy from home and thinks he has quite the ego. Timothy doesn’t like to use electricity, since he’s a “sustainable artist.” He wanted his model to put on an awkward armpit-sniffing performance instead of just a classic runway walk. No hair product. No makeup. As Helen put it, Timothy might be full of shit. But at least he likes unicorns.

There’s also a designer named Sue who looks kinda like the love child of Suzanne Somers and Betsey Johnson and doesn’t really know how to use a sewing machine. Why is there always someone who shows up and doesn’t know how to use the equipment? And why do the judges end up adoring that person?

***RUNWAY***

Father Tim Gunn is now part of the runway production, offering commentary to the judges as they review the designs up close. He won’t be judging since he’s also the designers’s mentor, but he does have the power of “rescue” to use one time. He’s like all three “American Idol” judges in one. Love Tim to death, but is that fair?

That's the winning design, by Bradon, in the middle. Angela's losing design is at left. If I were her, I'd be pissed as hell to lose to Sandro and Timothy.

That’s the winning design, by Bradon, in the middle. Angela’s losing design is at left. If I were her, I’d be pissed as hell to lose over Sandro or Timothy.

***BEST***

I liked almost everything, but the designs started blurring together with so many. It’s always that way Week 1. These two popped out at me in a good way.

Jeremy – The British dad of two made a shirt and perfect pants, when just about everyone else did a dress. I’m so impressed with this.

Alexandria – Swedish former model did a cool, simple dress. I feel like I’m going to like her stuff.

***WORST***

Here are my least favorites:

Sandro – Even if his model’s VAGINA was not on display, it was a mess of an outfit. Her butt was hanging out. There was nothing to speak of in the design.

Sue — Bright pink and orange, too much fabric, too busy.

Ken – Bright orange dress just didn’t do it for me.

***JUDGES***

Timothy – LOW SCORE — Nina Garcia called it very muddled. Zac Posen thought she looked like he found her in the woods. Heidi Klum didn’t understand why the model wasn’t wearing makeup. Timothy’s also just muddled in his thinking about burning things.

Sue — HIGH SCORE — Of course. If I dislike something, the judges will eat it up. Heidi thought it was very runway.

Miranda —  HIGH SCORE/LOW SCORE — She didn’t use much parachute material, but Nina loved the silhouette and the styling. Guest judge Kate Bosworth would “happily” wear this. Zac said it’s the most polished. Nina was upset that Miranda used so much inspirational material instead of the parachute. (Heidi even threatened to disqualify Miranda. Come on! People have done worse than this in the past, materials percentage-wise.)

Angela — LOW SCORE — Heidi was looking for pants, skirt or something. Nina said it has a very odd proportion. It’s like a disposable poncho.

Bradon — HIGH SCORE — I liked this dress but without the stuff in the back. Not into the parachute back with the movement. I’d leave it out. Kate loved the dress. She liked that it’s short underneath, it’s very thoughtful. Zac liked the walking and movement. Nina loved that he used this light fabric and made it dramatic and billowy.

Sandro — LOW SCORE — Zac put it best: “She looks like a slutty cat toy.” Heidi said: “It’s a disaster.” Nina said he put so much energy into accessorizing her look instead of into her piece. The taste level is a huge question mark, Heidi added.

***WINNER***

Dancer Bradon with his bow tie, Jesse Tyler Ferguson-ish look and airy parachute dress.

***ELIMINATED***

Angela? Really? Why not Sandro? I can see coming up with reasons to give Timothy another chance, but it came down to Angela or Timothy. Sandro wasn’t even in the bottom three. Why?

***THE DESIGNERS***

• Alexander Pope, 38 – Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; Resides in New York, NY

• Alexandria von Bromssen, 38 – Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden; Resides in San Mateo, CA

• Angela Bacskocky, 33 – Hometown: Richmond, VA; Resides in Richmond, VA

• Bradon McDonald, 38 – Hometown: Lowville, NY; Resides in Los Angeles, CA

• Dom Streater, 24 – Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Resides in Philadelphia, PA

• Helen Castillo, 25 – Hometown: Weehawken, NJ; Resides in Union City, NJ

• Jeremy Brandrick, 41 – Hometown: Birmingham, England; Resides in New York, NY

• Justin LeBlanc, 27 – Hometown: Tampa, FL; Resides in Raleigh, NC

• Kahindo Mateene, 34 – Hometown: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Resides in Chicago, IL

• Karen Batts, 29 – Hometown: Boca Raton, FL; Resides in Queens, NY

• Ken Laurence, 24 – Hometown: Birmingham, AL; Resides in Birmingham, AL

• Miranda Kay Levy, 29 – Hometown: Wilton, WI; Resides in Milwaukee, WI

• Sandro Masmanidi, 28 – Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia; Resides in New York, NY

• Sue Waller, 45 – Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in Brooklyn, NY

• Timothy Westbrook, 24 – Hometown: Wanakena, NY; Resides in Milwaukee, WI

• Kate Pankoke, the Runway Redemption winner from Season 11

***

Catch up on my old (vintage) “Project Runway” stories in this archive.

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