Well we knew it would be derivative but lordy me... I could swear I'd previously heard Heidi Klum mouthing EXACTLY the same script that Kristy Hinze had last night right down to the placement of meaningful pauses... if I had the time or inclination, I'd report the producers to Media Watch for the most blatant plagiarism I've seen since Alan Jones was given his first Frederick Forsyth novel, but that's another story...
Having said that, what did I like about it? I s'pose because it was sooo similar (even with the character types, more on that later) it was gunna be pretty hard for an afficiando to hate. As a Project Runway devotee well before the current bandwagon ever left the station, I'm looking for the same things from PR Oz that I've enjoyed in the US version. Interesting people, clever challenges and great clothes.
So, to the contestants. I'm thinking Mark Antonio must be Christian Sirano's Filipino soul mate (or clearly that's the producer's intention). Fortunately, he was pretty funny and his initial frock evidenced some talent. First impressions of some others were: Julie (channelling Celine Dion or what?); Leigh (looks like he'll be good for camping it up); Lui (his clothing had an Akira edge); Petrova (Melbourne fashion snob); Helen (can she seriously be a good designer if she wears a red knitted long vest on tele?)
After the obligatory roof top cocktail party (where we met the seemingly Xanax laced Kristy Hinze - what is that super slow delivery about???? and Henry Roth) the first challenge was to run across Melbourne (3kms it seems - don't know why they wouldn't have just caught a tram...) to the Whitehouse School and grab the fabrics of the designers' choice from those that had been draped all over the School's feature staircase and whip up a glamorous evening gown. Why do they always start the season with something that discriminates against the fat or unfit? Anyway, they all grabbed their chiffon, taffeta and sparkles and headed back to the workroom where Henry Roth, the Aussie Tim Gunn, was also to feature. Now Henry seems OK, and is apparently a heavy duty New York fashion type, but he aint no Timmy G.
The dress making went OK for most, it seems. Helen was a smarmy smarty pants about how easy it all was for her (being a shite hot Melbourne frock designer) but did pull off a quite attractive electric blue off the shoulder number with enough time left to help the struggling Kiwi Brent. He made the most appalling shocker of a frock I've seen for sometime. It seriously looked like a dress in need of a Brazillian and was appallingly finished. Other contestants seemed miffed that Helen helped Brent as he started to run out of time.
During Henry's turn around the workroom, Leigh was told that his bodice was too floppy and whilst subsequently doing his best Mutley impression, he took the (good) advice he was given. Alison changed directions at least three times with her evening number and unless she was last getting to the staircase to pick her fabric, one's immediate impression was that there might be some taste issues with the prints and colours she had chosen. Petrova's sparkly mauve-y coloured number was truly pretty and a pleasant surprise. Shane's black velvet long dress reminded me of a deb ball I went to in the 70s but apart from that was classic and quite beautiful. Aside from Brent's desperate attempts to finish (with Helen's help) everyone seemed to do OK with the task.
BTW, the show has a Loreal makeup room and Tresemme hair salon (just like the real thing !) but the Bluefly.com accessories wall has morphed into a Myer wall...
When it came to the catwalk and meeting the judges, Kristy was just as wooden and slow as she'd been on the roof - maybe she should ask Jodhi's for her red security clipboard now she won't be needing it anymore. Sarah Gale was relatively inoffensive and the guest judge, Julie someone (with apols, just didn't catch the surname, someone to do with Melbourne Fashion Week) was also appropriate.
Shane (black velvet), Leigh (Vivienne Westwood inspired) and Petrova (sparkle-arkle number) were adjudged the best. Alison (gawd, too tragic to describe with pink "leg o' mutton" chiffon sleeves), Brent (hoody-horror) and Oren (lapels just don't work on evening dresses) the worst.
Leigh won with his candy striped (firm) bodice with an electric blue skirt (with large V-W bow on back). I thought all three were pretty good and this was a fair choice.
In a surprise, Alison was booted - I can only think the judges wanted to give Brent another chance at a challenge more up his alley - they made much of this "not really being his thing". Unless the next challenge is surfer sportswear, I wouldn't expect to see him stick around for long.
All in all, not too bad at all. The designers seem talented, the contestants are interesting, the challenge was interesting enough and the judges were fine. My biggest worry at this stage is whether Kristy will loosen up... here's hoping she does as all other indications were pretty positive.