It’s season 13 of Project Runway, but not much has changed. Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn are all back and Zac Posen already has a few seasons under his belt. But now the prizes are bigger and the episodes are longer. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Last Audition

Eighteen designers arrive in New York only to have their hopes of being on Project Runway dashed, because three are going to be eliminated right away. But instead of even getting a chance at a challenge, each individual has to bring their rack of looks in to show Heidi, Nina and Zac, who decide who gets cut.

Tim, a tailor from Minneapolis; Nzinga, a Muslim designer with a modest point of view; and Emmanuel, a young designer without enough experience (according to the judges) are all out. I think it’s pretty rude to make them go through the whole audition process only to cut them before a challenge, but hey, life is cheap in reality T.V. 

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Spring Awakening

The remaining 15 designers meet Tim in the work room the next day. He tells them that their challenge is to create a look for their hypothetical Fashion Show spring collection. They have to use what’s in their trunks, which is five pieces of three-yard fabric that they can either use or barter with the other designers. The contestants are shocked when they find out that they only have one day for this challenge.

The contestant returning for another shot (because we couldn’t just let one of the three people you just cut give it a try) is Amanda Valentine. She feels like she didn’t get to show her true self the first time around and now she’s developed her voice and she wants to win. The look she’s creating today is a structured jean with a detailed cut-out pattern. None of the other designers seem really threatened by her presence.

Sean is a designer from New Zealand who packed everything he had in one suitcase to move to the other side of the world: New York. He likes making androgynous pieces, but for today’s challenge, he’s making something with a symmetric pattern with a feminine shape.

Char is making a circle skirt out of a red and white print with a solid yellow jersey top. Tim tells her to go with her instinct when it comes to draping. She says she is most inspired by her grandmother, who made all of her own clothes. She knows that if she were still around to see her compete, she would be very proud of her.

Angela was told by the judges earlier that they liked her style, but it might be a little too subtle for the runway. So she’s making an assymmetrical look that includes pants with a hip cut-out. Tim is worried that the cut-out will expose too much of her model’s sexy bits. But Angela is determined to make a statement. She’s also a bundle of nerves and a mess around the work room. She even irons her garment while her model is wearing it before the runway.

Sandhya uses what she knows of tradition Indian garb as inspiration to create something modern. She talks about how she was set up with her husband through an arranged marriage and the two had only met for five minutes before deciding they would marry! Anyway, she dyes an already dowdy fabric with an orange ombre and adds zippers for color accents. Tim is worried that it looks a little too “crafts store,” but Sandhya feels strongly about her aesthetic. 

Mitchell is making a jumper that he wants to be ready-to-wear and fun. Tim doesn’t quite know what to make of it. He says it looks like ’80s athletic wear. Mitchell embraces that critique saying he doesn’t necessarily hate the idea of that. He finishes his look early and offers to help Sandhya, which is really nice of him, especially considering that he and Korina had just been talking mad smack about her look.

Korina is convinced that she’ll come out on top with her coral jumpsuit with a high neck and a tail. Okay, girl. She and Mitchell not only talk about Sandhya’s look, but they have something to say about everyone else. They don’t even save their snark for the confessionals, they just stand there like two popular kids talking about everyone who they’re better than. Not cute.

Speaking of not cute, Jefferson is working on a pair of high-waisted shorts and a crop top. Tim doesn’t think it’s going to move on the runway like he plans and he thinks the shorts are too short. Jefferson decides to add some more length at the last minute. 

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First Runway

The prize package this season is worth $300,000 including a $100,000 cash prize from Red Robin, their new sponsor. I hope that means there will be an unconventional material challenge using burger fixings and that the models will have to walk down the runway eating steak fries. That’s probably unlikely though.

Emmy winning actress from Modern Family, Julie Bowen, is the guest judge and she tells everyone that she roots for the weirdos. And the Tim Gunn save is back which means he can save one eliminated contestant throughout the course of the season. The looks on the runway will also be anonymous to the judges so their work will have to speak for itself.


Char– Nina thinks her look is very charming and she’s managed to make jersey fabric seem special. Julie loves the pockets in the skirt, but as a human woman who has had children, the crop top makes her “explode with fear.” Heidi likes it because she can see it as one look in a bigger fashion show of which she would love to see the rest.

Sandhya– It’s a surprise to me that this one is the top, especially since it seemed to be getting a bottom edit. But the judges love that it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before. Zac loves how her personal style has shone through the garment and he likes that she has a story to tell with her clothes. Heidi likes her creativity and point of view.

Amanda– I’m surprised this look is in the top as well because it just seems so commercial and not high-fashion at all. Nina likes that it’s commercial and interesting and wants to be That Girl. Zac doesn’t think it’s a “wow” piece and Julie thinks the pattern on the pants is excessive and unnecessary.


Mitchell– The judges are underwhelmed by the lack of statement that this piece is giving. Julie says the top looks DIY. Heidi thinks it looks a little junior, but doesn’t mind because it is sunny and fun. Zac thinks that Mitchell needs more than the word “fun” to guide his design.

Jefferson– All of the judges agree that the proportions on his look are just completely off. Nina thinks the shirt looks like a bib and the shorts look like a diaper. Jefferson doesn’t get what they’re saying and defends his work. That makes Nina wonder if he has the taste level needed for this competition.

Angela– Nina thinks the cut-out in the pants is slutty and the back is just too poorly fit. Zac says there’s too much skin showing for the simplicity of the outfit to shine through. Angela admits that in her attempt to not be subtle, she may have over-compensated.

Sandhya is announced the winner of the challenge and the judges are excited to see more of her work in the future. And Jefferson is sent home after serving the judges nothing but Rugrat Realness.

What do you think of the new cast? Are you hooked for the season, or just about done with Project Runway? Sound off in the comments! 

Watch an all new episode of Project Runway next Thursday at 9pm on Lifetime. 

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(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV