This Season Project Runway has gifted us with not 16, not 17, but 20 designers. Why? (Other to make this post and part 2 super long?) I don't know. I see a few clear eliminations here already, and this is only half the cast. There are also quite a few promising designers who I can't wait to see on the show. After last year's disappointing (outrageous?) win, I think the judges have quite a few gems here with whom to redeem themselves by giving us a wonderful winner. Who are your favorites from this batch? Stay tuned for the rest tomorrow. (To read and watch more about each designer visit Lifetime).
Age 24, New York, NY
Fabrics: Chiffon, Organza
Designers: Valentino, Alber Ebaz
Colors: Pink, Red, Orange
Style Icon: Carrie Bradshaw
Snap Judgment: She seems like a personality casting rather than a design casting. Her portfolio has a lot of puff, poof and pink. During her casting video she revealed she can make very cute, simple dresses for herself, but her designs seem a bit more like Barbie at the craft fair. Her credentials are good, however. She has worked with Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta's O Oscar collection. She also has her own line, Couture Chaos, which she operates with a friend. She is extremely perky and optimistic, which may annoy some other designers but probably helped get her cast. She looks like she might take direction well so who know how far she'll go.
Links: Personal Website / Couture Chaos Website / Couture Chaos Facebook / Couture Chaos Twitter / Facebook
Anthony Ryan Auld
Age 28, Baton Rouge, LA
Fabrics: Natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, bamboo, silk and wool
Designers: Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld
Colors: Shades of grey, cream and blue
Style Icon: Twiggy and the Olsen Twins
Snap Judgment: I expect to see his clothes at Urban Outfitters and some of the better pieces at Anthropologie. I adore his use of natural fibers (though that may harm him in the budget challenges). I also like his use of prints and colors. He is a very hipster designer with a strong sportswear focus and a lot of basic pieces. I'm not sure how he'll do in party dress or "couture" challenges.
Links: Tumblr / Twitter / Blog / Facebook
Anya Ayoung Chee
Age 29, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Designers: Haider Ackermann, Stella McCartney, Gareth Pugh, Dries Van Noten, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Alexander McQueen
Colors: Too many to list
Style Icon: Kate Moss, Chanel, Tom Ford, Rachel Roy, Frida
Snap Judgment: Awesome accent and hair. Her Caribbean roots come through strongly in her style, but she also has military inspired pieces that move beyond just maxi dresses and prints. She only learned to sew three months before auditioning so I expect that to hold her back some unless she is a very quick learner. She has a clothing line called Pilar and seems to have a lot of current clients. Also, she was Miss Trinidad and Tobago 2008 and competed in the Miss Universe 2008 competition so she probably understands the model end of design. If her sewing doesn't hurt her and she doesn't get stuck in Caribbean style, she seems like a solid contender.
Links: Website (coming soon) /Anya de Rogue Website / Twitter / Tumblr / Pilar Website / Pilar Facebook / Facebook
Age 38, Portland, OR
Fabrics: Wool tweed, cotton and alternative materials (bring on the hardware challenge!)
Designers: Vivienne Westwood, Pringle of Scotland, Marni, Comme des Garcons
Colors: Chartreuse and olive green
Style Icon: Pin-up girls
Snap Judgment: During her casting she said "My goal with having my own line is to create clothing with real bodies in mind. I think fashion belongs to everybody no matter what you look like, and there are some segments of the market that aren't very well served..." I already like her. She loves color and already has a salvage look in her portfolio so unconventional materials may be a win for her. She showed a cute, military inspired collection with great detailing and adorable hidden liners. She has a good balance of quirky and commercial. I hope she goes far.
Age 57, Los Angeles, CA
Fabrics: I generally like natural and organic fabrics (cottons, hemp) and knits
Designers: Ones that show on the runway what they actually sell and don't rely on their licenses of handbags, eye wear, shoes, etc. to keep them in business.
Colors: Black (even though it's not a color), gray, ivory, red, sapphire, emerald, natural beiges
Style Icon: Yves St. Laurent.
Snap Judgment: He recently began working as a designer again after several years out of the industry. His designs are simple but beautifully made. I recommend watching his casting video since he explains some of his simpler pieces and you get so see some on models. (They lack hanger appeal). I'm not sure his craftsmanship will show up well on the runway. Also, he seems like someone who works slowly. I'm not sure how we'll handle some of the crazier challenges, but he seems to have experience on his side.
Age 26, Portland, OR
Designers: Lee McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Riccardo Tisci, Marc Jacobs, Hussein Chalayan, Viktor and Rolf
Colors: Reds, black, chartreuse, grays, indigo, silver, deep wines
Style Icon: Lady Gaga
Snap Judgment: This Lady Gaga-gaga designer loves rock n' roll, asymmetry, denim and feathers. His clothes are funky and daring. I'm not sure how one-legged jeans will go-over with Michael and Nina, but his clothes are sure to stand out though. Seth Aaron (!) was leading the judging panel in the casting videos and warned him the judges (Nina) won't like his signature asymmetry. If he can balance things out, he may do pretty well.
Links: Bryce Black for StudioSKB Website / Facebook
Age 34, New York, NY
Fabrics: I would wrap the world in 4 ply silk!!!!!!! But love them all. I don't hate poly, it just doesn't do justice to anything.
Designers: My dear McQueen, genius and artful. His exhibit at the Met pushed me to start professionally in the States.
Colors: Love them all! I would say cobalt and bright yellow inspire me. Red is what I would wear most of the time.
Style Icon: My clients. They have the guts to wear whatever they feel happy in and their signature, that's style.
Snap Judgment: Even in her casting video, the judges called her work unfocused and old fashioned. With the exception of the cool pants pictured here, I agree. I'm struggling to see why she made it (other than the fact that there are 2o designers!). Her tailoring skills look good, but I don't have a lot of hope for her.
Links: Pampa Grass Website / Twitter / Facebook
Age 26, Minneapolis, MN
Colors: Olive green, pale pink
Style Icon: Katharine Hepburn
Snap Judgment: I think I'm ready to list her among my favorites. She love Katherine Hepburn, menswear for Women, lovely fabrics and excellent construction. The judges loved her in her casting video, and I found her clothing charming. I want to wear all of it. Her portfolio revealed she has edge far beyond her ladylike looks, and even her Katherine Hepburn styles reference the women's suffrage movement or claim menswear piece for women. I'll be cheering for her.
Links: Website / Blog / MNartists.org Page / Facebook
Age 29, Boston, MA
Fabrics: Wools, silk-wool blends, and silk gazar
Designers: Alber Elbaz, Alexander McQueen, Madame Gres, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Christian Dior
Colors: Black, red, gray, white
Style Icon: Daphne Guinness
Snap Judgment: David is another early favorite for me. He's self taught, but I would have never guessed that. His clothing has detail and structure. I like his style a lot. He is also the 2011 recipient of the Emerging Design Fund so his work is already getting attention beyond Project Runway. If his work on Project Runway looks half as good as his portfolio, I think he has a good chance. I'm already a fan.
Links: Selahdor Website / Selahdor Facebook / Not Just A Label Page / Twitter / Facebook
Age 29, Denver, CO
Fabrics: Cotton, knit, linen, denim
Designers: Anna Sui, Dior
Style Icon: Zooey Deschanel
Snap Judgement: Her videos are adorably charming. She is named after Bambi's girlfriend, a hairstylist, obsessed with Anthropologie, a fan of Zooey Deschanel and adorned in quirky sweaters. I like her. Her clothes are just as charming. She says she works quickly and appears to be pretty handy with DIY and crafty things. This should help her a lot on the show as long as things don't look DIY, and so far they don't.
Links: Website / Twitter / Facebook
Who are your favorite and who do you think will be going at the beginning?