Project Runway 9: Come As You Are
Project Runway Season 9's premiere episode was titled "Come As You Are." They could have subtitled it "But Don't Expect to Stick Around." Five designers were eliminated from the 20 introduced as possible competitors. Four (David Chum, Gunnar Deatherage, Amanda Perna and Serena Da Conceicao) were eliminated after another audition round before the competition even started. Why? "Because we're a little bit mean like that, " Heidi joked about the format twist. What a smart idea from the producers, to inject the first half of the show with elimination tension!
After what has felt like a long, long, wait (Season 8 ended in October 2010) these mini re-auditions served not only to introduce the possible players but to reaquaint viewers with the judges' quirks. I love the balance that comes from Tim Gunn's furrowed-brow concern, Heidi Klum's goofy enthusiasm, Michael Kor's grim acerbity, and Nina Garcia's prickliness. My, Nina doesn't care for being contradicted or interrupted - did you see her expression when Laura Kathleen did both? I think it was smart to return to New York as well, although the first challenge didn't take us to Mood!
About that first challenge...
After a montage of the lucky 16 choosing beds and moving into the Atlas Hotel, everyone settled down to sleep. Not for long! At 5 a.m. Tim's impeccable shoes were striding down the hotel's corridors. He knocked on doors and forced the groggy and disgruntled designers to get out of bed. The challenge was to "Come As You Are." Each designer had to create an outfit from his or her own sleepwear and a single bedsheet.