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July 17, 2008
'Project Runway': Round 1


Last night's first installment of "Project Runway" Season 5 was like a class reunion of sorts. Guest judge was Austin Scarlett from Season 1, and the first challenge was to create an outfit from $75 worth of "stuff" from a supermarket - again the initial challenge of Season 1.

Ah, nostalgia!

But the 16 new contestants, including Emily Brandle (shown above), 27, who grew up in Sac, did great for the most part. Of course, there were waaaay too many tableclothes turned into dresses, even an awful raincoat, which got contestant Jerry "auf'd."

Judge Michael Korsblogged this note: "As for Jerry's dress, both Nina (Garcia) and I thought that it looked suspiciously like something that Christian Bale would have worn in 'American Psycho.' "

Nice to know Kors returns with that razor-sharp wit of his.

Emily wasn't among the top 3 or the bottom 3, which means she wasn't on anyone's hit list. I liked her dress (shown above), especially the top part. It was made from, I believe, cut-up beach balls!

Kelli won the challenge with her dress made out of coffee filters and her own handmade, hand-dyed "fabric." It was pretty cool.

And I got an e-mail letting me know that contestant Leanne, 27, also has a local connection. She's originally from Yuba City and moved to Portland several years ago. (Guess the Bravo folks don't know Yuba City is near Sac.)

Anyway, Leanne has done local fashion shows and went to design school in San Francisco. The e-mail says she also worked as a graphic designer at the Appeal-Democrat newspaper in Marysville. So now we've got two contestants to keep an eye on!

Next week's challenge: "Grass is Always Greener" in which the designers are forced to think "green" - with the help of their trusted models. Guest judge is actress Natalie Portman.

For more gossip on the show, click here.

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