I already watched this episode and know how it’s all going to go down. The designer interviews were a bit of a mish-mosh, and I wasn’t thinking to take notes then, so I tried to fast-forward through the online video to get designer info and give you my first impressions. It didn’t work too well. I’ll take them in talking head order, which works for about 9 of the sixteen.

First, I have to say that I’m sooo not a fan of this team twist. Fine, so you have to work with teams in the real world of design. But do those teams all consist of other designers who are your direct competition? Yes, there will be other designers on the team, but while they may want recognition and their own line some day, they know they’re not the lead designer and they won’t wind up pulling the antics the judges are evidently looking forward to. I’ve always hated the team challenges and that’s just one of the reasons why. Thank Goddess for people like Daniel, who is definitely going to make this season tolerable for me. On with the show!

Layana Aguilar, 28, from NYC. She seems nice enough.

Richard Hallmarq, 39, Sacramento. “The other fashion capitol”. Heh. He says his menswear is like drag wear, so he’s a women’s wear designer. I like him, and I like the two tops we’re shown.

Kate Pankoke, 23, Chicago. Self-described “lone wolf”, due to her Type A personality. Yeah, she’s going to hate the team twist. Why do the skirts of her bridal gowns all look the same?

Michelle Lesniak Franklin, 34, Portland, OR. She’s the second person I’ve ever seen with progressive forearm tattoos like that, and I just don’t get it. Geek chic, huh? I’m not wowed by what we’re shown. But I’m a nerd, not a geek.

Daniel Esquivel, 48, Austin. Self-taught. Oh dear. This could be very, very good, or very, very bad. I hope he can sew; I adore him already, despite the mustache. Not sure I like the actual designs we’re shown, but I do like how he describes his aesthetic.

James Martinez, 29, Dallas. What a klutz. Oh, and he lifts his leg to pretend to pee on the stage and mark his territory. Ugh. I hate you now, James. You’re a douche.

Emily Pollard, 24, Falls Church, VA. She’s used to not sleeping. That might come in handy on this show. She says she’s going to win, so everybody else can just pack their bags and go home now. Uh huh.

Benjamin Mach, 35, Sydney. Moved to London with 300 pounds (the currency) in his pocket to pursue his dream career. Geez, I hope his went better than mine. Well, it must’ve, he’s on a show to further it, and I’m not. Wait, did he just say he’s drawn to “matador romanticism”? Whatthehell is that? Judging from the sketches we’re seeing, I’m not drawn to it. Aha, now the “faded glamour” sketches I do like. I suspect he’ll go far, either way.

Cindy Marlatt, 59, Kent, WA. She and her husband own a funeral home, and she wants a different creative outlet. She just got out of design school. Oh, I don’t think this is going to end well. I think the designs they show us are like what I already see in catalogs, and you need to be innovative to make it in this world.

At this point, Heidi and Tim come out to break the designers up into teams. I’ll tell you who’s where when their designs come down the runway. Yeah, I knew Kate wasn’t going to be down with the teams idea.  Or is it up with that again? IDK. And don’t care.

Samantha Black, 28, Brooklyn. She has a nose ring, which is very distracting. She’s not happy about the teams, either. No surprise here, who would be? If you’ve watched this show enough, you know what a crappy idea this is. Guess the producers wanted more drama, though. Yay, Daniel. He’s going to be the sunshine of my season. I hope he wins.

Emily and Cindy are on the same team. Emily doesn’t think she’s going to like Cindy or her designs. Wait and see, grasshopper, wait and see.

The designers go out to get inspiration from different viewpoints of New York. One team’s on the roof of their hotel, the Atlas, and the other team’s going for a boat ride. Michelle, you’re an idiot. If they’re at sea level, they can, indeed get higher. And I could tell before you said that that your team was going to lose, so . . .

Team Keeping it Real! Love it! Much better than “Dream Team”. So original, that. Not.

Now they’re showing James’ designs, and I like them, although I see he’s not too good at picking up on social cues. That’ll go over well.

Patricia Michaels, 46, Taos, NM. Her Native American name is Water Lily. I hope she’s good. I didn’t like the designs we were shown.

Amanda Valentine, 31, Nashville. She’s rooming with Michelle of the DTs. Yes, I am going to call them that due to the medical terminology association.

Tim tells them they’re going to Mood and have $1,200 per team to spend, or $150 per designer, but they can split it up any way they want. Team KIR immediately agrees to spend what they want and if there’s left overs, they’ll give it to whoever needs it. Kate, who proposed this, makes a nasty comment in her talking head about how she knew she’d wind up “babysitting”. No-one needs you to, sweetheart.

I like what Richard and  Daniel are describing. Ha! After they get back from Mood, Benjamin says now is when they look at what they got, and say, “That’s totally not what I meant to get.” So true. He must watch this show a lot. (Or rather, Project Runway Australia).

Emily says she doesn’t know what any of the other designers are like, but she thinks she’s one of the better designers there and will be in the Top 3. Pride goeth before a fall. (Oops. Spoiler alert.)

I like what Patricia’s doing to emulate the windows of the building, but her team-mate Layana thinks she’s too “arts and crafts”. Shut up, Layana. This type of stuff has won challenges. When they were all on the boat, she also didn’t like Patricia’s ululation off the back of the boat. I guess she and Kate are going to be shown to be the bitches this season. Despite those two, some of the designers on Team KIR are helping the rest of their team out. That’s going to help them win. Michelle notes that her team is more individual, and thinks it’ll bite them in the ass. She’s not wrong.

Tim comes in for consultations and starts with the DTs. Emily, after seeing everyone else’s designs, is starting to get intimidated. I didn’t really notice the first time, but upon rewatch, I realize that she has NOTHING on the mannequin, and they’ve been at it for eight hours. Her team suggests she cut the jacket, since she can’t send the model down the runway in nothing but a jacket. (She doesn’t listen.) Michelle and Brian do start to offer their team advice, but I suspect it’s too little, too late.

Team KIR is very supportive of each other. Stanley Hudson, 44, from West Hollywood, thinks Daniel’s design is strong and on trend. He’s a costume designer out here, so he should know. Michelle, OTOH, thinks she saw it 30 years ago. OK, now I hate her, too.

Emily now says she only needs to beat one person to stay in the competition. Too bad she can’t. (Oops. Spoiler alert.)

More designers: Tu Suthiwat Nakchat, 26, Springfield, VA.  Matthew Arthur, 30, New Orleans. Quick recount back and I’m still missing one. Well, I’ll figure it out when I name the teams, which is coming up next.

Heidi, the 80’s called and they want their see-through shirt back.

Team KIR is up first:

Stanley sends out a jumpsuit, which I like, except for the crotch.

Kate sends out a dress, which I don’t like.

Richard sends out an asymmetrical gray and black dress, and oh, dear. I hate it. It’s ugly. I really hate the sleeve on the left arm.

Patricia’s “building windows” dress. I know she put a blue material underneath, and cut the hand-printed/painted fabric so it’d show through, but the only blue I can see is at the armhole and it’s a bit distracting. I like it otherwise, though.

Amanda sends out a top and pants. I like the blue and the asymmetry of the top, but not the patches on the pants.

Layana made an LBD. Very safe, and she knows it. I guess it’s not too bad. Not as dramatic a back as I thought.

Joseph Aaron Segal, Providence. There he is. Ugh. He sends out a dress? consisting of pleated strips of varying lengths of fabric sewn together. It’s ugly. Looks like a first-grader made it.

I love Daniel’s pantsuit! He made it in one day, and it has exquisite tailoring. He so deserves the win.


Mathew has a patterned bubble skirt and a white, sleeveless button-down top with a black string tie. Cute top, but aren’t bubble skirts out? Then she turns around and I see a sheer strip down the center back, to emphasize the spine like he was talking about, and that I don’t like.

Samantha’s sent out a navy blue dress with an excess of black tulle over it. I think it’s ugly. Judging from Heidi’s smile, she disagrees. Hey, I tossed my 80s clothes before the turn of the century.

Speaking of the 80’s, Tu’s outfit is next. It’s a crop top and skirt, white in front and black in back. The top has a noticeable zipper up the front. Again, I threw out the top I had that looked like that in the 90’s. Judging from the look on Nina Garcia’s face, it might be coming back.  In fact, later he and Benjamin are given a shout out as the two from the DTs the judges liked.

James sends down a dress.  He went against his gut and listened to his team, and I can see he at least listened to Tim in making the top fuller, which I like, but this isn’t the first time (and won’t be the last) where my taste is 180 degrees out from the judges’. When the camera shows a close-up of the top, though, I can see what they’re saying about the pleating by the neckline.

Emily’s hot mess is next. The jacket, as her team and even Christian later say, does seem to show a modicum of design potential, but the edges are ragged from where they were cut, and the hot glue mess over the shoulder just makes the whole outfit look like a three year old made it. I can kinda see the design potential in the jacket, too, but when you have one day and a few hours for a challenge, and by the end of the one day you still haven’t made anything, you should go home. When they take the jacket off, you can see the top is really more of a piece of fabric thrown on and tied together to cover the model’s boobs. The only thing that looks vaguely finished is the skirt.

Benjamin’s dress looks like Joseph Aaron’s (god, am I going to have to call him that all season, like Jeff did for Seth Aaron?), except that it has layers of varying lengths, including a train, and it doesn’t look as messy. I like it better. So do the judges, as previously mentioned.

Cindy also followed her team’s advice, and maybe that’s not such a good thing for this team, since she winds up being the third person in the bottom three. Besides, the gown is ugly and represents neither her design aesthetic nor NYC. I think only the fact that it’s actually finished is what keeps her from going home over Emily, because the judges said they didn’t see any real design in it.

Michelle’s dress is just fugly. She’s using waxed denim and it has this ugly brown harness over the top that looks like she’s letting her dominatrix through. And whatever the hell she’s got on top of her head is awful, too. But once the losing team is back in the greenroom, she makes a salient point: Because their team lost, someone might be going home who actually had a fairly decent score. Now, that’s not true in this instance, in fact, IIRC, they’re later told it was the plethora of low scores that pulled their team down, but that very point is the second reason I hate teams on this show, sooo much.

So, the top three are Daniel, Richard, and Patricia. Daniel wins. I guess the team concept eliminates immunity.

The bottom three are Emily, James, and Cindy, and as previously mentioned, Emily’s gone.

I may not get to Episode 2 before Episode 3 airs, but hopefully, I’ll see you soon.

Nina Lisa