SPOILERS ahead for Project Runway Season 18's premiere, which first aired Thursday, December 5, 2019 on Bravo.
Last night's Project Runway premiere ended with a shocking double elimination. It was rough. And it included two big lessons for every future designer -- or, really, reminders of what they should already know by Season 18!
I always feel sorry for the designer who goes home first, and I always feel sorry for the designer who leaves on a team challenge. For the 2019-2020 season, we got both in one -- Asma Bibi of Atlanta and Jenn Charkow of Seattle were both eliminated after the premiere's space-centric team challenge.
Christian Siriano now has the Siriano Save -- and I approve -- but he also has a post-Project Runway aftershow on BravoTV.com with eliminated designers, discussing what went wrong. Asma said the whole challenge went downhill with the fabric selection. Both Asma and Jenn said they didn't know how fast the time would go in Mood, they didn't know where to find things, and they panicked at the end. They ended up grabbing fabrics that Christian warned them were very different and not cohesive. Asma also picked a cotton despite having no experience working with cotton.
Christian Siriano -- who won Project Runway Season 4 back in 2007-2008 -- said isn't it interesting that it always comes down to Mood, it's the most important part of the process. Plus, Mood is three stories of fabrics.
It may seem obvious, but even in Season 18, there are clearly things Project Runway should know going in:
1. Know Your Fabrics Before You Come On Project Runway
How do you make it on to Project Runway without having worked with cotton ... and then you pick cotton for the first challenge? There are so many things that will be new in the first week. First time in the workroom, first time with the sewing equipment, first time with the hair and makeup team, first time doing little interviews during the whole process.
Don't add stress by using fabrics you're not used to. But more than that, experiment with fabrics before you get there! Assume Project Runway is going to test you and take you out of your comfort zone, so get used to different materials in your own space first, before you even apply to be on the show. Team challenges and unconventional materials challenges are staples of Project Runway. You know this.
2. Get To Know Mood Before You Come On Project Runway
Mood Fabrics NYC -- with its iconic Swatch sightings -- is another staple of Project Runway. Mood is overwhelming with its many options, but it's also open to the public. Potential Project Runway designers can and should familiarize themselves with Mood before getting there. Have a gameplan ready so you're not just wasting time when there are three floors of stuff to cover. Probably most designers already do this, but clearly some PR designers still need the lesson.
During Christian Siriano's after-show, he noted the judges were completely deadlocked on eliminating Asma or Jenn after their garments disappointed for very different reasons. Asma and Jenn said they didn't really pick each other as teammates, they were the remaining leftover designers. I feel bad for them that they had this experience -- thrust into a team for the first challenge, not really a good match for their partner, and both punished for everything going wrong. But having more familiarity with Mood and fabrics definitely would've helped.
So who is doing well on Project Runway Season 18? Brittany Allen ended up winning the challenge with her jumpsuit, with teammate Sergio Guadarrama also in the top. Asma and Jenn were asked who they thought would win this season. Asma said maybe Sergio since he was so calm the whole time. Jenn said she thought Geoffrey would pull it out. He was also one of the top two couples, and also did well with a jumpsuit. (Jumpsuits can be tricky, but the judges love them more often than they hate them.)
Here's the full list of Project Runway Season 18 designers:
Brittany Allen - Austin, TX
Asma Bibi - Atlanta, GA
Chelsey Carter - Chicago, IL
Jenn Charkow - Seattle, WA
Victoria Cocieru – Moldova
Marquise Foster - Brooklyn, NY
Alan Gonzalez - Houston, TX
Sergio Guadarrama - New York, NY
Dayoung Kim – Seoul, Korea
ShaVi Lewis - Newark, NJ
Geoffrey Mac - Brooklyn, NY
Delvin McCary - Chicago, IL
Tyler Neasloney - Jersey City, NJ
Veronica Sheaffer - Chicago, IL
Melanie Trygg - Orcas Island, WA
Nancy Volpe-Beringer - Philadelphia, PA
I liked a lot of the jumpsuits in the space-inspired first challenge, but it's too early to really single out a favorite. Sergio's ego makes it difficult to root for him, and I wasn't impressed with his dress, but we'll see. I also didn't much like the new Project Runway setup in Season 17 but the finale redeemed it for me.
Project Runway Season 18 continues Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on Bravo. Keep up with everything premiering in early 2020 with our handy TV schedule.