Project Runway Canada: Season 1, Episode 1

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Things that happened

The designers meet for the first time in downtown Toronto. While they are getting to know each other, Brian Bailey shows up. He will act like their mentor a la Tim Gunn. He gives them the low-down on the contest and their expectations.This pales in comparison to what happens next: Iman shows up! On a yacht! What is with the nautical theme in reality shows this year? It turns out that the yacht isn’t for partying, it’s for their first challenge. There are thirteen designers, but Iman and Brian can only take the twelve that “measure up.” Each designer is given a few yards of white jersey and must make a design that will “rock the boat.” I found the show blew through this section. Without knowing the designers, it was hard to tell whose design was whose. None really stuck out, but with only ten minutes, it’s about execution, not originality.

In the end, some dude named Tyler must leave because his dress was shapeless and uninspired.

Then it was time to party! In the yellow-hued Toronto Harbour! Is that the CN Tower? (This shot gets old quickly.)

The final twelve designers get to move into their new pad at the Rosemont. It’s 50 John Street! That shows up almost as often at the CN Tower does. But the fun isn’t over yet! For their second challenge of the episode, the designers get to take four items of clothing from a competitors suitcase to use as material for their next challenge.Unfortunately, it appears that none of the contestants watch Project Runway because their is wails and complaints about losing their favorite pieces and how they would have packed differently if they knew this was going to happen. Babies.

In the morning there is yet another twist. Everyone gets to take a piece of clothing back! This is not good news for those who have little fabrics to work with. The designers are given a day for this task. As they work, we learn that Megan cannot sew, Lucien is from Romania and Darrin believes in karma, among other anecdotes.

At the runway show, there are some very interesting pieces. My favorites were Marie Genevieve’s baby doll dress (made out of a bathrobe) and Evan’s tank dress (made out of swimsuits). On the crappy end were Stephen’s outfit, which looked like a tacky mall wear, and Darrin’s, which looked like the material he originally selected. In the end, Darrin doesn’t “measure up” and Iman says “chow.”

Things that were good

  • Brian Bailey looks like he belongs in “Springtime for Hitler.” I love that mustache.
  • Iman is a fantastic judge and host. She knows what she likes and stands up for it. Plus, she’s gorgeous.
  • The designers are an eclectic mix, all who have strong aesthetics. There is also a huge range of skills — my guess is Megan is gone soon.
  • This show is really visually pleasing. The work room is bright and cheery and the camera shots of Toronto are rich and artistic.
  • While the first two challenges were a little gimmicky, I found they worked.
  • The judges were harsh, but fair. They also appear to have very different tastes and strong personalities. I hope this panel shapes up to be delightful.

Things that were not so good

  • As much as I love Iman, why is she hosting this show? There are tons of Canadian models who deserve the exposure hosting this would bring — Shalom Harlow or Linda Evangelista, anyone? I know the Canadian-model-turned-host bombed of Canada’s Next Top Model. However, it doesn’t look good. (Note: I know Heidi Klum is German, but she now lives and works in the US and her career took off there.)
  • The show should reflect the American version that it inspired it, but it shouldn’t copy it exactly. Why does Iman need a lame catch phrase for auffed contestants. Chow? Seriously?
  • It doesn’t help that the catch phrases “chow” and “measure up” feel really forced from Iman. You can tell she hates it.
  • Is this in Toronto? I don’t think I saw the CN Tower enough.

Worth Watching if…

You love Project Runway. While this version hasn’t done anything to make it stand out from it’s American parent, there are some strong designers (look for Marie Genevieve and Kendra to be early front-runners), strong personalities (Stephen, Kendra, the dude with the hair) and Iman!

In Five Words

They Definitely Rocked the Boat