Instead of the usual one or two team challenges presented from seasons past on “Project Runway,” they decided to surprise the new cast of 16 designers Thursday night. This season is strictly dedicated to all team challenges up to the finale. Tim Gunn made it abundantly clear this is how the real world of fashion works. It’s a collaborative effort. Welcome to season 11 on Lifetime. Tampa Bay viewers who subscribe to Bright House Networks watched the long-running fashion designer reality show on channel 38.
Michael Kors is not a judge this season. Instead Zac Posen took his place. Other than that, the show followed its tried and true format. A notable difference was the ages of the designers. Only a few are in their 20s while, a majority were older. One in particular is Cindy Marlatt, 59 from Kent, Washington. She is the oldest and a former funeral director.
Other standout designers, just from their mere intros, was the vivacious Richard Hallmarq, 40 from California’s state capital of Sacramento, Daniel Esquival, 48, from the Texas state capital of Austin, and Patricia Michaels, a.k.a. Water Lily, from Taos, New Mexico. Patricia, 46, is a first for “Project Runway.” She’s the first Native American to compete on the show.
At the start of the premiere the 16 designers were broken up into two teams of eight. Their first challenge was to get inspiration of the New York City skyline from a boat ride or atop their Atlas apartment rooftop. The teams, Keep It Real and Dream Team, collaborated in the workroom looking over their teammates designs. It was a harmonious first episode, though when the pressure gets going we’ll no doubt see tempers flaring. Another featured designer, Emily Pollard, is one of the youngest and most conceited out of the bunch. She stated she is going to win “Project Runway.”
On the runway Keep It Real showcased an impressive collection of their individual designs, whereas Dream Team had some good pieces and a number of messy ones. Naturally the Real Team was the obvious winners, while Dream Team was on the losing side. The top three were Esquivel, Hallmarq, and Michaels. Esquivel won the challenge with his all-black ensemble featuring Capri style pants with a three-quarter sleeves top. It was impeccably chic, stylish, and beautifully tailored.
The bottom three consisted of Marlatt and Pollard. While Marlatt’s dress looked way too casual for New York City, it was something you’d likely see in Florida. However, her dress was diametrically opposite Pollard’s messy three-piece contraption. Thanks to Marlatt’s valuable team assistance she made Pollard’s skirt. The rest came from Pollard who literally could not come up with a design. Naturally Emily Pollard was the first to be auffed or given “aufedersein” by Heidi.