Project Runway Season 3 Begins

Project Runway has been a hit for Bravo from the beginning because it has several significant differences from the average reality TV show. The first and most important is that the contestants on Project Runway actually have to do something that takes a very specific and hard to acquire skill – design and make clothes in apallingly short timeframes.

Despite this basic premise of Project Runway, every season has been graced with contestants who just don’t have the requisite sewing skills. What as the most shocking in Project Runway’s first two seasons is how long people without those essential skills lasted. Project Runway’s third season promises to be a very serious competition largely because for the first time, the least skills sewer was the first one ejected from the competition.

When Stacey retreated to hand sewing on a tight deadline because she couldn’t work a basic professional machine, I knew she was doomed. I’m a very amateur sewer and costumer, but I know how to use a machine. Stacey had to go, eventhough this first episode of season 3 of Project Runway had designs far more hideous than hers. When it comes time for Project Runway Season 4, the casting process should perhaps include a basic skills test for finalists that isn’t about design quality but basic garment construction so that Project Runway views get the opportunity to see more extraordinary work from evolving designers and less people who skipped the first semester of design school.

As with all reality TV shows, Project Runway’s third season features some basic personality types, although if we’ve learned anything from previous seasons of Project Runway, designers are people who understand image very well, and who they are at the beginning of the show is not always who they are at the end. Perhaps one of the best cases in point is Jay from Project Runway’s first season. Largely overlooked, Jay just chugged along, until he astounded everyone in Project Runway’s finale. No one saw him as a serious contender in the beginning.

The personalities that seem most likely to create chaos and conflict in Project Runway’s third season are currently Vincent (a crazy, embittered victim of New York’s fashion industry), Keith (who so far seems like a competent adult but seems to be engaging in some bad behavior in previews for future Project Runway episodes) and Malan (who seems to be the gothic Austin Scarlett and is either benignly ascerbic or very Machiavellian – time will tell).

Amongst the women in Project Runway’s third season, the only very strong personality and vision so far has come from Laura, who isn’t even a designer, but an architect with five children. That said, her first outing on the show was very successful and it’s clear that even without formal training she can construct a garment and has taste to match it. Will she make it to the Project Runway finals? It’ll be tough, but expect to see her make it to the final five at least. Many of the other female contestants in this third season of Project Runway are either inexperienced in either business or fashion, or young, and so far they seem to be a weak field. This will hopefully change, but I’m not counting on it.

One of the big questions for this season of Project Runway is how the eliminations will take place. With an opening field of 15 contestants, it’s clear there will be some multiple elimination days, probably related to team projects. Then there is also the tantalizing clue of the “Project Runway first” being hyped on all the ads for the show where it seems clear that a designer will be asked to leave not as the result of doing the worst on a challenge, but for some sort of behavior against the Project Runway rules. Who is it? and what will they have done? are the questions on every Project Runway’s fans lips.

As for the crime I suspect it will either involve spending personal money at Mood and going above the official Project Runway budget on a challenge or sabatoguing another Project Runway contestant. If it’s sabatogue, many suspect the culprit will be Malan who jokes about just that in the first episode in Project Runway Season 3. But if it were him, would Project Runway give us such an obvious hint? I suspect not. Vincent’s clear desperation could easily lead to some bad behavior, and it’s clear that Jeffrey (currently angling to be Project Runway Season 3’s Santino) may not have the patience to be well-behaved.

The women, being such unknown quanities at this point could also be to blame, especially one of the younger ones, such as the seemingly sullen and scared Katherine. Whoever it is, will Tim Gunn be glad to see them depart the world of Project Runway? If you’re not listening to his podcasts, you should be.

Project Runway Season 3 seems to be off to a great start and it will only get better from here.

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