After greedily gobbling up the first eleven episodes of Project Runway Canada over the long weekend, like so much lamb with mint sauce, I completely renounce my earlier misgivings that there was no more life left in the concept. There were several challenges borrowed from PR:US and plenty of designers who clearly didn’t know what they were doing, but it was not enough to detract from the touches that make the Canadian version stand out:
Brian Bailey is an actual mentor and has a Phllip Seymour Hoffman a-la-Talented Mr. Ripley saunter that makes him delightful! Perhaps the shift back to the commercial sector has robbed Tim Gunn of the patience and insight that he once had. Unlike Tim, who has turned into an amusing homosexual caricature with distinctive verbal affectations, Brian offers constructive criticism, tries to help team members work better together, and seems genuinely disappointed when each and every designer leaves the show.
Shawn Hewson dresses like someone who knows fashion, speaks eloquently about each garment, and often disagrees with the other judges. Hewson has an in-your-face sensibility that encourages the designers to take risks and gamble on being trashy, which makes for fewer safer garments coming down the runway.
Iman is way classier than Heidi Klum. In spite of that, she is also quick to say that she would wear any of the garments that the other judges find too revealing.
The contestants seem to be the same mix of bitchy and arrogant, with a few quiet, hardworking designers who get upset when they have to do group challenges. I can’t even say that the Canadians aren’t as catty to each other as their American counterparts, but at least the judges did not seem to favor a drama-prone contestant when it got down to elimination.
If you have ever been a fan of the Project Runway franchise, there is still time to hit the intertubes and track down this season of PR: Canada so that you’re caught up by the time the second season finale airs tomorrow night.