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Project Runway recap: Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back!

July 29, 2011 |  6:00 am

Projectrunway9_sheets Project Runway is back! Hi, Tim Gunn! Hi, Heidi Klum! Hello, enormous roster of 20 new contestants! Hello, Season 9!

"Four are going home before it starts," a very very skinny Heidi Klum says to the camera. "Because we're a little bit mean now."

As Tim, Heidi, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors sit to judge the 20 contestants -- and eliminate four -- Heidi asks pointedly about pieces, jumps up to try on a feathered capelet and wheedles to take the specially-designed scarf from the neck of 28 year-old color-blind designer Anthony Ryan Auld. I think maybe Heidi is cold. She needs another layer of clothes, or of body fat, maybe.

The elimination is fast, over in the show's first 20 minutes. Each of the designers is given an easy-for-viewers-to-remember hook (with online bios, to clarify any confusion). Here are the 16 contestants, in order of their making-the-grade announcement:

Falleen Wells - pixielike and quirky, from Denver.

Danielle Everine - pixielike and feminist, from Minneaoplis.

Rafael Cox - from Atlanta. His work has spiky shoulders reminiscent of that red-and-black Michael Jackson jacket.

Kimberly Goldson - self-taught from Brooklyn, glam with precise detailing.

Viktor Luna - New Yorker Viktor has an accent from someplace else. We barely see him. He is either OUT tonight or he is such a killer designer that he will dominate practically every future episode so they're giving a few other designers some time now. Good luck, Viktor.

Bryce Black - Young Oregonian Bryce Black designs sleek stuff for ladies, but I don't know if I can forgive him his skinny jeans tucked into the flat-heeled cowboy boots paired with an old-man cardigan. 

Becky Ross - Bleached blond with blue highlights, designs with a vintage/edgy-ish feel.

Olivier Green - young, British accent, exacting tailoring. Heidi finds him very cute.

Laura Kathleen - Wealthy blond, or as she'd prefer, Barbie with a bite. If her last name is really Kathleen, I'll eat a Barbie.

Anthony Ryan Auld - color-blind two ways, and rocking one huevo after beating testicular cancer.

Julie Tierney - plain-faced with coat-like designs, from Colorado.

Joshua McKinley - Flamboyant, arrogant (charmingly so?) When he makes the show, cries and asks, "Is my bronzer running?"

Josh Christensen - Mormon. Yes, Mormon. He now calls L.A. home.

Anya Ayoung-Chee - Claims little actual sewing experience, decided to design after competing in the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant  for Trinidad & Tobago.

Bert Keeter - oldster Bert! He's 57. F-I-F-T-Y-S-E-V-E-N. Good god, I think my grandfather DIED at 57, and here's this guy competing in a fashion reality show with crazy hours and competitors barely older than his small dog. He once worked for Halston, but he lost a bunch of people to AIDS and turned to alcohol. 3 years sober.

Cecilia Motwani - Sorry, Cecilia, I bet you're awesome, but I was thinking about Bert. He's from Los Angeles.

Who didn't make the cut, the winner and the first eliminated contestant are after the jump.

Who were the almost-competitors? 21 year-old Gunnar Deatherage, art school grad David Chum, chipmunk-voiced Amanda Perna and Serana da Conceicao, who blew off her wedding in Iceland to be on the show. Ouch.

Runway show: Woken up in the predawn hours, the competitors must design a garment from a sheet from their bed and whatever they had worn to go to sleep. The first guest judge is Christina Ricci! I once stood next to Christina Ricci and she is seriously tiny. I bet Heidi could carry her as a purse.

Who's High and Low?

High: Anthony, Anya (everyone loves her pants' butt -- too perfectly designed for a novice?), Bert (Nina says his retooled boxers are adorable).

Low: Rafael, Josh C., Julie ("It's an odd angle for a pocket," says Michael Kors, wiggling his hand at his crotch. "It's a very 'I like myself' pocket." With that, the best line of the show goes to Michael Kors.)

Heidi and Tim are showing some signs of strain -- Heidi seems to indicate a line flub is due to a glass of champagne, but who knows, maybe it's cider and that's just reality TV humor -- and MIchael Kors' odd giddiness makes up for it. Will this be fun or too much work, as Tim Gunn's bus ads would indicate?

Safe: Danielle, Falleen, Kimberly, Viktor, Bryce, Becky, Olivier, Laura, Josh M., Cecilia.

And our winner is Bert. Bert? OH HEY Bert wins! Score one for team oldster! Go, Angeleno! Go, Bert!

Bad news for Rafael, who is cut after a poor pants-top combo with a gap at the belly and ill-fitting pants. He turned his headscarf into a necklace that resembled a bib just a little too much. The show's other Angeleno, Josh C., barely scrapes by.

The show has ramped up all right, but it'll really begin to take shape next week. With so many competitors, it's hard to give any much screen time. Their designs, whipped up from sheets and jammies, were hardly indicative of their potential, well, anything, really, as designers. And just as important for watching, so far, it's impossible to tell who will be kind and who will be catty. But we'll find out soon enough; after all, Heidi did say they're mean now.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Tim Gunn with Project Runway Season 9 contestants and their sheets. Credit: Lifetime