July 30th, 2011 / posted by paularath

Bert Keeter applies his considerable draping skills to a sheet.

I was prepared to be a bit let down by season 9 of Project Runway. After all, who could beat having two Hawaii designers in the last season: Andy South and Ivy Higa?

But last night’s season opener did not disappoint. It looks like there’s lots of talent on many levels, and a few real duds.

I am most excited about Bert Keeter. Ya gotta admire a guy who, at 57, returns to his true passion with fervor and imagination. His fashion pedigree, having worked in fashion houses such as Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass,  is impressive. His skills are remarkable. From the first glimpse of him draping a sheet and a pair of plaid boxers in the workroom it was evident he had major skills. His result was nothing short of spectacular and I was glad the judges were as wowed as I was.

Anya Ayoung-Chee works her magic with her silk PJs.

Anya Ayoung-Chee, who seems to be the crowd favorite at this point, is going to make an interesting swath across the show as well. For someone who swears she had never made a pair of pants or sewn silk before, her transformation of silk PJs into a pieced halter and tailored pants – well, wow!

As a former designer I love to play along with the contestants and imagine what I would do for each challenge. This would have been a really tough one for me unless I happened to be wearing my long, and long-sleeved, Hanro nightie. THAT would have been fun to play with. I could have itajime (clamp) dyed the sheet with gray (using circle clamps) and created a really beautiful gown with moon shapes in the skirt and train. Sigh. Maybe I’ll sketch that design so I remember it…..

Rafael Cox was such a disappointment. His audition collection was among my favorites but his performance on the first challenge was dreadful.  Then so were Julie’s and Fallene’s….

Pretty impressive for a first pair of pants.

I thought the challenge was one of the toughest yet. As one of the contestants said: “I usually sleep in the nude. Thank God I didn’t last night!” I don’t know. For some, it might have been simpler to work with a sheet alone rather than dealing with puking clowns, plaid BVDs and icky yoga pants.

– Paula Rath

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Melissa White
July 31st, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I want to own Burt’s dress! I loved everything about it but especially liked how the hemline hinted at a shirt-dress without quite going there.

August 1st, 2011 at 5:23 am

Don’t you think this is going to be an exciting season? There’s such a dichotomy in the talent, which will make it all the more interesting….

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