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Season 1 Discussion

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Discuss all things season 1 here.  I have listed the designers and episodes to refresh our memories.

 

DESIGNERS:

  • Alexandra Vidal
  • Austin Scarlett
  • Daniel Franco
  • Jay McCarroll
  • Kara Saun
  • Kevin Johnn
  • Mario Cadenas
  • Nora Caliguri
  • Robert Plotkin
  • Starr Ilzhoefer
  • Vanessa Riley
  • Wendy Pepper

 

EPISODES:

  1. Innovation
  2. Vision
  3. Commercial Appeal
  4. Collaboration
  5. "Model" Clients
  6. Making A Splash
  7. Design A Collection
  8. Postal Uniform Challenge
  9. Design For The Red Carpet
  10. Reunion
  11. Finale
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I think everyone agrees that Austin wuz robbed in the Nancy O'Dell Grammy challenge.  Granted, his design as a bit too flowy but how could Wendy Pepper's dress have won?????  I think we all agree that Wendy Pepper was the designer we love to hate, although I did like her final collection with the autumnal colors.  The bathing suit challenge completely skeeved me out when the models had to wear the suits to a party and that old leach columnist drooled over 16 year old Melissa.

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This makes me want to pull out my Season 1 DVDs and watch it all over again.

 

 

I think everyone agrees that Austin wuz robbed in the Nancy O'Dell Grammy challenge.

 

This is probably the one thing that 99% of people who watch this show can agree on.  Whether or not Austin would/should have won the whole shebang is one thing, but damnit Wendy Pepper should not have made it to Fashion Week because of Nancy O'Dell.  Any time I see/hear her on TV I get annoyed because she screwed over Austin.  

 

I loved the Postal Challenge, with Austin rocking the runway.  And Jay's Chrysler Building dress.  And Austin's corn husk dress, the original unconventional material.  

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I liked what a big part of the show the models were in season 1.  From working with designers to create their own wedding dress, to Morgan terrorizing almost every designer, to Julia not showing up for Jay, it was awesome!  Especially when Morgan showed up with her outfit that she had ripped all to hell partying.  The 16 year old Melissa skeeved me out (along with that columnist) because she DID seem really mature, and I don't mean that in a good way, LOL.

 

I liked Kara Saun up until the shoe situation in the finals.  Then I was totally over her.

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How Kenley to say screw it, I'm going to do my dress my way. She was about the most stubborn contestant ever--she made Santino look like a team player.

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I've been re-watching season 1 over the past few days. It's still one of my favorite seasons. There were just so many great moments and aspects: Austin's corn dress, Austin walking the runway in Jay's postal outfit, Austin and Robert in their night time face masks, Jay's "I didn't take the bitch's dye," line (really, just everything Austin and Jay did), the model selection process (I really wish PR would go back to having and showing every designer pick their model each week), Morgan's elimination, Martinique's joyful reaction every time a designer picked her, Tim Gunn's "Please don't defend the shoe to me" line, Jay's final collection.

 

To me, there's something almost magical about season 1 that the show irrevocably lost a long time ago.

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For sure.  Some of that magic is irretrievable; the part when they go out for drinks and Rob tries to drunkenly show off and ends up in the hospital?  Impossible to imagine now.  Even the shots of Jay smoking outside (I think that part when Morgan arrives with her skirt ripped and shows it to Jay is my favorite part of the whole season) seem amazing to me now.  Just like modern parents, they don't let the kids outside unsupervised anymore.  But that stuff is surely as much a product of it being the first season as Vanessa's incredulity about having to sew everything herself.  (Which for me is totally fair, since it was the first season--you think Michael Kors has ever sewn anything in his life?  It's not entirely logical to judge a design competition by sewing skills, no matter how intuitive it is.)

 

What's amazing to me is looking at this list and realizing I remember every single designer.  Somehow they edited the show better back then.  In the first episode they had to explain the entire show and the first unconventional materials challenge, and still they had time for us to have an idea about the characters of every single character--Jay is snarky, Austin is an Yves Saint Laurent reborn butterfly, Mario is overconfident, Daniel Franco is a ridiculous pretentious doof.  All in one hour!  Now they spend 90 minutes repeating the same "drama" lines over and over again and somehow almost everyone is a faceless mass.

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I really wish PR would go back to having and showing every designer pick their model each week

 

I totally agree, especially since the show is now 90 minutes!!!  There is plenty of time for some model drama in there.  Remember when Jay was designing Morgan's wedding dress and said she wanted her nipples showing and everything?  LOL.  Jay and Kara Saun's dresses were both super stunning for that challenge.  And then poor Nora and her rose fiasco.

 

But they used to practically go to blows over models!  Morgan and Melissa got passed around like canapes because everyone wanted them.

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I miss the model aspect of it too.  I think PR ruined the models with that "Models of the Runway" or whatever separate show.  After that it seemed like the models were just coat hangers.  The models still get a prize at the end if the designer wins but it seems like such an afterthought now because we don't even know who the models are really so it's hard to get excited for them.

 

I liked when the models were picked every week and you got to know them.  How some were good at certain things, some were difficult to work with, etc.  And the relationships between the models and the designers was nice to see, how the model often really did become the muse (and not just in things like the wedding dress challenge).  

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I shamefully confess that I liked Daniel Franco, in both his seasons.  There was something endearingly goofy, yet real about his "follow your bliss."  His initial design (trash can bag dress and butcher paper jacket) was meh, but Wendy Pepper's was a mess and she should have gone home.  I think Daniel could have produced some great things.

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I shamefully confess that I liked Daniel Franco, in both his seasons.  There was something endearingly goofy, yet real about his "follow your bliss."  His initial design (trash can bag dress and butcher paper jacket) was meh, but Wendy Pepper's was a mess and she should have gone home.  I think Daniel could have produced some great things.

 

I liked him as well, and thought he went out too early in both season 1 and 2. There were definitely worse designs on the runway both times.

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He grew on me in Season 2; his falling on his sword for his team was classy and I don't believe he has a malicious bone in his body.  But I remember watching the first episode, the first time it was on, and thinking "oh god of course this obnoxious dude with the paper coat is going to win, ugh" and I was very surprised and pleased by my first encounter with the Project Runway judges' position that "ugly is better than boring".  I don't think I would have kept watching otherwise.  Part of that is surely editing--I'm sure they selected all his most grandiose self-important clips for that episode--but still, it's true.

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I'd never seen season 1 before, so I watched a few episodes today. I'm shocked by how dated it seems. It was filmed in 2004, just 10 years ago. Heidi's makeup! Nina's hair! It's interesting how much more stuff they crammed into an hour and how little they show now in 90 minutes. They showed choosing the models, the designers going out for drinks and countless smoking sessions out on the street. Also interesting how several had model problems - that certainly hasn't been the case the last 5 or so seasons I've seen. Of course, as mentioned above, we rarely even know who the models are now.

 

I am patiently waiting for a reality show backlash due to all the producer machinations and amped up drama. Half of the time these days, I'd rather just tune in to the runway show and hear the critiques. No need for the first 60 minutes.

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This is my favorite season, with S2 a close second.  You've all pretty much said it but:

 

"Don't defend the shoe to me".

Drawing on Wendy's kid's picture.

Austin rocking the runway.

The whole postal challenge.

"I didn't take the bitch's dye".

Jay's Chrysler building dress. Austin's corn husk dress.

Crazy Morgan ripping the dress.  Crazy Morgan all around. 

Designers hanging around, gossping and smoking outside (or maybe that was just Jay).  Designers out at meet and greets.

Tim visiting Jay's home with all the industrial stuff around it (something like that.)

I didn't have the hate that most did for Wendy and thought her finale collection was OK, but she should NOT have made it to fashion week over Austin.

I never could stand Kara Saun though. 

I enjoyed picking the models (kinda miss that) & I really liked Tim mentoring (sigh) the finalists on how to present their finale collections, model choosing, down to picking the music.  Jay still has the best finale music as well as the best collection on any season IMO.

 

Season over drama of Jay turning down the prize.

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I just watched the first season and wow. There is nothing like it at all. Not season 2 or any other season. It really is a moment in time and is more documentary than reality show.

 

Not only that, Heidi, Michael, and Nina were so humble (and the latter two absent!). Heidi would not dare walk with any of the models nowadays.

 

My poor little Austin. I always thought he brought it, but at least whatever he put out, you knew it was his. I will carry a torch for him always. :) Saw his turn on All Stars as well, and he still hasn't changed. 

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S1 will forever be my favorite.  I remember practically every detail about it, whereas I couldn't tell you who even won the last seven or eight seasons even though I watched every episode.

 

And my all-time favorite PR moment?  Jay greeting Tim with a shotgun on his home visit -  "Tim Gunn, get off my property!"

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Robert Plotkin, one of the most beautiful reality TV show contestants of all time!

 

I didn't understand Jay's runway show.  Didn't understand it then.  Don't understand it now.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay

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Happy New Year everybody!

I'm laying on the couch watching Bravo's airing of season 1 episode 1. It is soo good! It's got everything: Tim & Heidi look so young here (though they have both aged like fine wine); Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, Patricia Fields from Sex & the City; a model walk-off; unconventional materials challenge; designers taking endless smoke breaks; horrible lighting; a $50 budget?!?; missing blonde model has a meltdown when she eventually shows, then stomps it to-the-death on the runway---she's one of the few models I remember, so much trouble but soo fabulous, a mess!; Kara Saun running down the streets of Manhattan looking for a model, Austin Scarlett with his gorgeous hair; Jay McCarroll with his bandannas; Wendy Pepper with her 101 dalmatians evil hair......

Soo so good!

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Thanks for the link, wmimsey98.  As someone who only watched season one in repeats much later, I never understood the enmity thrown Wendy Pepper's way.  What was she supposed to do:  step forward, admit she wasn't talented enough and volunteer to scamper away?  To quote from another reality show, it's a r-a-a-a-a-a-ce! 

Edited by Qoass

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Thanks for the link, wmimsey98.  As someone who only watched season one in repeats much later, I never understood the enmity thrown Wendy Pepper's way.  What was she supposed to do:  step forward, admit she wasn't talented enough and volunteer to scamper away?  To quote from another reality show, it's a r-a-a-a-a-a-ce! 

 

I think there's an argument to be made that being mediocre and coasting through the competition so you can be fresh (and still present, and with designs in reserve) at the end is kind of poor sportsmanship, and more importantly leads to mediocre people winning over superior designers. Which is annoying.

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I read from the link about Season 1:

I was always confused by "Project Runway" fans who hated Wendy Pepper. The woman was harmless; she was prone to breakdowns and spats, but she was never an idiot. (And trust, there were some idiots that season.) In fact, she wasn't a villain at all, not in the sense that she was ever a jerk or even a toxic presence.

I respectfully disagree with parts of this.  I agree she was harmless, but not because of any goodwill on her part.  She came into the competition with a plan to befriend everyone with her motherly guise, then use any personal information they gave her against them to "get them out of her way."  I would think that would be emotionally harmful to be betrayed like that.  I think that's worthy of contempt.  She was harmless only because the competition wasn't set up in a way she could do anything, but that doesn't excuse her intent.  And I'd argue she was an idiot in never realizing her strategy was stupid and pointless, and for trashing her reputation in public.  And I'd argue she was a jerk at times, especially her smirk at Kevin after he was eliminated.  (No, I don't think anything Wendy said got Kevin eliminated, but, again, she thought she could with her two-facedness.)

 

I compare Wendy's intention of deliberately deceiving everyone from the get-go to Kara Saun's badly-handled mistake with the shoes.  KS could not have intended to cheat--she was open about where she got the shoes and that they were free.  She even had them delivered on camera.  She did not respond well, but that's not the same as intending to cheat, IMO.

 

I guess the fact that I still care enough about S1 to post this means the show did do something right.

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I loved, loved, loved Kara Saun...from the clothes she made through the season to her final collection. There was a short green backless dress in her final collection that I thought was amazing. I was bummed about the shoe issue but it didn't take away from my admiration. I really didn't like Jay's stuff...too itchy looking. Too many layers and knits for this Southern California woman, though I really did like that long coat. And I did like Wendy's final dress in her collection. The one with the bodice that buckled. I've watched this show from the beginning...my favorite final collections were Kara Saun's, Leanne's and Mondo's. God. I loved Mondo's.

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I compare Wendy's intention of deliberately deceiving everyone from the get-go to Kara Saun's badly-handled mistake with the shoes.  KS could not have intended to cheat--she was open about where she got the shoes and that they were free.  She even had them delivered on camera.  She did not respond well, but that's not the same as intending to cheat, IMO.

 

I guess the fact that I still care enough about S1 to post this means the show did do something right.

I agree with this, though I think Kara Saun's difficulty in understanding why her free shoes were a violation was deliberately obtuse. She's a smart woman and that was pretty black and white; they all had to stay within budget, everything had to be paid for and verifiable with receipts--it wasn't a difficult concept.

 

But her clothes were fabulous and she was pretty pleasant and reasonable during the season--the girl can design and sew.  And yes, Wendy cut her own throat with her two-handedness. I recall even Tin saying that she was the most difficult, dislaiked contestant over the years.

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ITA, Beden, about Kara Saun being deliberately obtuse about the shoes.  Especially since she tried to have the guy who made the shoes create some fake receipts saying they were only like $15 a pair.  She was a brilliant designer and made stunning clothes, but I did lose a bit of respect for her after that whole debacle.

 

What I hated most about Wendy is what I hate most about all people like her - they behave terribly and then want to play the whiny victim card when they get called on it.  I was glad Jay and Kara basically shunned her during the finale.

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The finale would have been so much more interesting if Austin had been in it. Wendy's collection was okay but not very entertaining or special. Plus, she should have been out when she made a bathing suit with no bottoms. To me sending a model down the runway with her own underwear as the only thing covering her ass is a dealbreaker.

 

I just watched Season 1 for the first time, and ITA with what everyone has said about its charms. It is just so zany and weird. So many things that happen would be unthinkable in the current, sanitized version of the show. 

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Once again, unpopular opinion ahead.

I loved Wendy.  I found everyone else to be really kind of mean to her because she didn’t fit into their idea of what a fashion designer is.

Both times she commented on other designers it was because she was prompted by the judges.

If you can’t stand the heat....stay out of the kitchen.

I personally thought Kara San had a worse attitude than Wendy...as if she should have just been crowned the winner because she was there...

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On ‎4‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 1:29 AM, crazyirishlady said:

Once again, unpopular opinion ahead.

I loved Wendy.  I found everyone else to be really kind of mean to her because she didn’t fit into their idea of what a fashion designer is.

If you have access to the season, check out how nice everyone actually was to Wendy until the design for the future episode.  Kara Saun is seen giving Wendy a glad-you're-safe hug in the swimsuit episode.  The only person denigrating Wendy until episode 7 or 8 was Wendy herself.

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13 hours ago, backgroundnoise said:
On 4/7/2019 at 1:29 AM, crazyirishlady said:

Once again, unpopular opinion ahead.

I loved Wendy.  I found everyone else to be really kind of mean to her because she didn’t fit into their idea of what a fashion designer is.

If you have access to the season, check out how nice everyone actually was to Wendy until the design for the future episode.  Kara Saun is seen giving Wendy a glad-you're-safe hug in the swimsuit episode.  The only person denigrating Wendy until episode 7 or 8 was Wendy herself.

I agree with you @backgroundnoise. I recorded season one when Bravo re-aired it before the new season premiered and none of the contestants were mean to her initially. I could see the argument that the judges were mean to her because of how she looked, but Kara Saun helped her with that by showing her how to use less harsh-looking makeup  (Wendy's regular harsh makeup). Once the other contestants started seeing how she would throw the team leader (Austin and then Kevin) under the bus anytime there was a team challenge, that's when they turned on her. One scene I had forgotten about until I rewatched was Vanessa and Wendy were both doing laundry and Wendy starts asking her questions like, "Do you regret coming here?" and Vanessa tells her to knock it off and that she knows what Wendy is doing and then Wendy acts all hurt and outraged at what Vanessa was implying. But Vanessa was right, that was what Wendy was doing! Had Vanessa said, "Yes, I regret coming here," that definitely would have been revealed had they both been in the bottom together. 

Wendy was manipulative and shitty and pulling Survivor-style moves on the show, which is certainly her choice to make, but then don't be surprised when the other contestants are turned off by that.

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I only watched season 1 when it first aired but loved it. I always loved Jay calling Morgan "Morgansa!!" when she was late etc.

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