Project Runway Season 1 Episode 1: Re-Viewed

Its hard to believe the first season of Project Runway premiered twelve years ago!

Watching the grainy footage, the cheap production value of the show was definitely noticeable in comparison to todays juggernaut. While the core show is the same, we couldn’t help feel the simplicity left something lacking; no Mood, no Tim Gunn save, yet despite a smaller winners prize, it was still nothing to turn your nose up at!

Upon meeting the contestants you can’t help but feel the producers chose truly innovative designers making active attempts to break into the industry rather than show personalities. However, cooky Austin, bitchy Jay, motherly Wendy, and diva Mario among others all are carved stereotypes of the kind of cast the show recruits even to this day.

The workspace and runway were both far less glamorous than we are used to today, yet during the very first episode a twist was already introduced as we are so used to nowadays. An unusual materials challenge kicked the show off with an additional challenge for the unsuspecting designers.

It was nice to see the designers kick back and enjoy the process when Heidi threw a rooftop party with the models. It was not long until drama hit as one of the models turned up to the fitting late, before swiftly being dropped by her agency, showing the no-nonsense side of the fashion industry.

Up on the runway, most things went off without a hitch (aside from a few outfits shedding on the walk down). Our judges were Heidi Klum of course, looking as good as ever, Nina Garcia, our veteran judge, and Michael Kors, who was good to see again! They were joined by guest judge, Sex And The City costume designer Patricia Field.

The following looks are ranked from my personal best to worst:

Robert was my top performer of the week, taking the weeks specification he created a fun party dress with intelligent choices of material. I loved the mop skirt and rollers in the hair. The top wasn’t perfect but there was a strong idea behind it. The dress was the most fun and sassy of the mix.


Kara’s dress had a lot of fun concepts. The fur shoulders, lace corset and body paint top, paired with big golden chains and a leopard print bag showed an abstract conceptualisation. The gold skirt was beautifully crafted, showing hard work from the challenge specification.

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Austin, while not my top of the week was a deserving winner with his corn husk creation. Fully immersing himself into the challenge, he was the only contestant to work with a truly unusual material, rather than salvage fabric. If it were not for the drying out of his husks, he would have easily been my favourite of the week.


Vanessa’s trash bag and netting fantasy was surprisingly good! While it may have looked like an unravelled cassette tape, the shape and movement of the dress was fun! Pair that with great hair and make up and she really made the most of her materials.

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Kevin’s shower curtain gown looked slightly abysmal from the front with that huge bow, but from the back and side it was clear that he had worked meticulously to create clean lines and good structure. I liked the raincoat aspect of the form fitting dress, with a peekaboo of skin.

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Jay displayed a good silhouette in line with the weeks specification but it was far too simple. The entire dress was just foil, and the pink shawl was questionable, but gave him a little something extra to bump up his score. The model really saved the gown.

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Nora’s blue dress, while loved by the judges, I found to be far too bulky on the model. It completely looked like fabric, rather than grocery store items, and she definitely worked well with the garment, but it was so-so in execution.


Daniel’s baking paper jacket wasn’t that bad! Yes, it was bad but not as bad as some of the other contestants! The fit and style was clearly thought out and the aluminium trim was cute. The trash bag dress underneath was unforgivably boring. I kind of wish he had made a jacket dress honestly.

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Mario’s shower curtain dress was unquestionably beautiful, he had a great concept and clearly displays his genuine talent, but in the end he only used one material! That would never pass with Heidi these days!

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Starr had many interesting concepts but tacky execution. While individually the skirt, top, and collar were each decent attempts, when mixed together with questionable accessories it soon became an eyesore.   


Alexandra had a pretty dress but again using just stockings and sock that would never wash with the judges nowadays, even worse than just using a shower curtain she used actual clothing! it was an interesting fit but there was not enough innovation.

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Wendy was the worst of the week with minimal clothing on the model, and no clear vision the candy and balloon mixture was laughable, looking like a hot mess.


Winner: Austin

Out: Daniel

Note: Apologies for the poor photo quality, this was long before HD.

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