Saturday, November 14, 2015

Project Runway Junior: Season 1, Episode 1: The Kids are Alright

Greetings Project Runway JUNIOR Fans!

I know how excited everyone is that I've decided to blog Project Runway Junior.

Don't hold back, kids.
"Designers, I would like to introduce you to our host, Hannah Davis, who will has poster paper around her waist that she will be be passing out to you so you can draw your designs."

"'re such a jokester. That's my skirt."
"For this first challenge, use the New York Skyline as your inspiration. Hannah, could you please pass out the paper?"

"Tim, I have no paper to pass out."

"This is great poster paper."

"I actually think it was supposed to be Hannah's skirt. She looked kind of upset when Tim ripped it off of her."

"Did you know she was dating Derek Jeter?"

"Who's Derek Jeter?"

In all seriousness, these kids were delightful. As individuals in their own communities, they are likely to be oddballs. Here, however, there's instant camaraderie that comes from meeting other people who share your interests.

Also worth noting, their general attitude is one of a group of kids playing a game, not a group of adults competing for a job. And just kid exuberance in general.

Given cameras, they dutifully took pictures of the skyline...

And then, took selfies.

And after season after season of jaded designers entering the workroom and sewing room, it was refreshing to see their excitement.

The brief....couldn't be briefer.

The judges....

Joining Hannah is Kelly Osbourne, Christian Siriano, and executive fashion editor at Cosmopolitan and Seventeen Magazine Aya Kanai. The judges certainly don't pull any punches just because the designers are so young.

One note: Lifetime only identifies each designer by his or her first name. Some designers have had some additional press in local media, etc... Where I could find the last name, I'm identifying it in the blog, at least for this edition. 

Let's dive in!

Matt Sarafa, Manhattan Beach, CA

He looks like Tin Tin, no?

And Tin Tin managed to find a new section of Mood we've never seen....the suiting section!
Matt was all about the bling, using chains to accent the front and the back of a very basic, black dress. The construction was solid and there was nothing too offensive or outstanding to notice. He advances safely.

Ysabel, Artesia, CA

Intricate strapping and mixed materials gave this this a bit more interest than a standard, little, black dress. The fit and construction are outstanding. The asymmetrical skirt is a bit too severe and very short on the side. 

Victoria Cohen, Westlake, OH

Christian pointed out that strips were only on the front of the skirt, which seemed a little incomplete. The judges also pointed out that the strips were a bit too long. I think they're also too uneven. The overall effect was interesting, well constructed and ultimately safe.

Peytie, Carlesbad, CA

Peytie is our surfer girl and true to form, went right for the tie-dye material.

She designed an easy, breezy dress. What this dress has to do with NYC is beyond me. It does showcase her beachy aesthetic. The look was safe and she advances.

Jesse, Swampscott, MA

It's an understated dress with a little bit of interest at the neckline. Really safe.

Bridget, Brockton, MA

Bridget doesn't need me to tell her that with this group, a dress with a cape will not be enough to stay ahead of the pack. Even a cape that is a clever extension of the cross halter top. She was safe for this challenge.

Zachary, Berkeley, CA

A.K.A., "second Kini." He sews fast and has a sophisticated sense of style.

A collar, two layers of gathers...there's a lot to this look. He was safe for this challenge, but you can see the potential that he has.

Maya Ramirez, Toledo, OH

At the tender age of 13, she's the youngest competitor this season. Her look had a high degree of difficulty.

The idea of someone tackling a pant jumpsuit with mixed materials is pretty audacious. Where you'd expect a simple, gathered top in the back, she delivers delicate strapping with a leatherette strip down the back that meets at the waist.

Unfortunately, the look is brought down by puckering at every seam and at the hem. The hem, also, seems a bit too short. If she can get control of the details, she's definitely has the potential to bring some wow to the runway.

Zach Lindsey, Louisville, Kentucky

We've got a Zach and a am I supposed to keep these two straight? For one thing, Zachary is usually the one in the hat.

I expected to hear a bouncing baseline and strains of "Happy"...

This was a welcome pop of color on a generally drab runway. While the fit and construction were fine, the judges pointed out that this look is way too conventional. While it was far from the only safe look on the runway, Zachary needs to step up the creativity if he's going to continue on much further.

Jaxson Metzler, Minneapolis, KS

Yeah, he's goofy and off the charts nerdy...but....

He has a strong idea of what he wants to design and he's not afraid to go for it. This was beautifully graphic and a lovely play on black and white with some clever pops of color. Yes, it was a literal inspiration, but it was clever and whimsical, yet really sophisticated. I only wish the top had not been so highly cropped in the front. That limits its wearability. Still, if Jax were my son, I'd make him design my clothes. I'd be doing Pilates 5 days a week just to be able to fit in them.

Samantha, Queens, NY

Leave to the gal from Queens to take her inspiration from her city and win the challenge.

There's nothing literal here. This is a contemporary street look, just a little more refined....if you don't look too closely at the details.

She kept the edges raw and you can see the seam allowances in the top. The collar is a little wonky. Samantha needs to be mindful of the finishing, particularly if future challenges are close.

I think the factor that elevated the look for the judges was her choice of daywear over eveningwear--a choice that helped her stand out. She was also thoughtful about creating a look that could be worn by a variety of sizes. Using denim was classic. The white top, while cropped and baring some skin, doesn't bare an excessive amount. It's youthful without being trashy.  

Do we HAVE to send someone home?

Mind if I pick at this scab a bit? I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong here. Sami was the one that was drawn to the detail of the city, not to the buildings.

I got excited thinking that she was going to play with the cab theme. Maybe a black and yellow print of some sort....

Not even close. I'm not exactly sure what ended up inspiring her because the next thing you know, she was drawing what looked like a very standard, low-cut evening gown.

With a "paper bag" gathered skirt. That's where she lost everyone. I loved the back and forth between the judges. "But she did that lovely chain in the back..." "It looks like the paper chains we made at summer camp!"

What else can we pick on? Oh yeah...the hem is really uneven.

Oh, if only Sami could have caught that mental cab that was stuck in traffic. Maybe she could have succeeded. But the way the judges were rolling, we would have lost Zachary.

And that would be sad, no?

It's sad to lose any of them.

Yes, Tim gets a save this year, but he's not going to use it this early. So it's goodbye to Sami.

I have to say, it's nice to have a 60 minute show back. Nice, tight, with no dull moments. We got plenty of construction. Not a whole lot of drama, because these kids don't have time for that kind of negativity.

It was almost like time traveling back to Season 1 in a way. I'm sure the sniping will begin at some point. Some of these kids would drive me bananas if I had to share a workroom.  But if you haven't watched the show, you should. This is going to be a good season.

We'll be in the Blogging Project Runway chatroom next Thursday at 9 pm. Until then, see you next week!

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