Project Runway Preview: Are You In, Or Are You Out?

Set your DVRs, fashionistas! This Thursday, life begins anew with the season 9 premier of our favorite design show: Project Runway. Tune into Lifetime at 8 p.m. central to catch up with Tim, Heidi, Michael and Nina and to meet the 20 new designers who make up this season's cast. Twenty is an absolutely huge field of designers, so I anticipate at least one or two double-elimination challenges right up front to thin the herd. Don't forget that PR is maintaining last year's 90-minute format--I always wait about a half hour myself before pressing "play," to skip most of the commercial nonsense. If 90 minutes of PR aren't enough for you, make sure to tune in for a one-hour audition "preview" episode at 7 p.m. central time.

More information on the Project Runway designers, as well as the social media information you need to participate online, after the jump.

Links You Need

Main Project Runway Website

Project Runway Designer Bios: Click on their photos to see portfolios, audition video, and more.

The Official Project Runway Blog

Additional Project Runway Blogs, including past contestants Peach Carr (season 8), Nick Verreos (season 2), Mychael Knight (season 3), Laura Bennett (season 3), and Jonathan Kayne (season 3).

Project Runway on Facebook

Project Runway on Twitter; hashtag #projectrunway

Season 9 Contestants

• Anthony Ryan Auld, 28; Baton Rouge, LA (originally Linden, TX); #PR9anthonyryan • Bryce Black, 26; Portland, OR (originally Twin Falls, ID); #PR9bryce • Anya Ayoung Chee, 29; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; #PR9anya • Joshua Christensen, 29; Los Angeles, CA (originally Snohomish, WA); #PR9joshuac • Rafael Cox, 27; Atlanta, GA (originally Alamogordo, NM); #PR9rafael • David Chum, 29; Boston, MA (originally Merong, Battan, Philippines); #PR9david • Serena Da Conceicao, 31; Brooklyn, NY (originally Kingston, NY); #PR9serena • Gunnar Deatherage, 21; Louisville, KY (originally La Grange, KY); #PR9gunnar • Danielle Everine, 26; Minneapolis, MN; #PR9danielle • Kimberly Goldson, 35; White Plains, MD (originally Brooklyn, NY); #PR9kimberly • Olivier Green, 22; New York, NY (originally "International"?); #PR9olivier • Laura Kathleen, 26; St. Louis, MO; #PR9laurakathleen • Bert Keeter, 57; Los Angeles, CA (originally Washington, D.C.); #PR9bert • Viktor Luna, 30; New York, NY (originally Guadalajara, Mexico); #PR9viktor • Joshua McKinley, 25; New York, NY (originally Cleveland, OH); #PR9joshuam • Cecilia Motwani, 34; Woodside, NY (originally Cordoba, Argentina); #PR9cecilia • Amanda Perna, 25; New York, NY (originally Fort Lauderdale, FL); #PR9amanda • Becky Ross, 39; Portland, OR (originally Calumet, MI); #PR9becky • Julie Tierney, 35; Grand Junction, CO (originally Baton Rouge, LA); #PR9julie • Fallene Wells, 29; Denver, CO (Las Vegas, NV); #PR9fallene

Our (Tentative) Predictions

At this point, it's too soon to tell, even by reviewing their portfolios, who is going to perform well. After all, their portfolios rarely contain clothes made out of produce or garments they are forced to create in a 12-hour window.

That said, I do always like to keep my eye on the older designers--Bert Keeter is pretty long in the tooth for this competition. Historically the older ones make clothes that orange Michael Kors calls "dowdy" or uses as an opportunity to use words like "cotillion." Bert's portfolio photos reveal well-tailored, if not spectacularly original clothing--I suspect we'll see his tailoring ability, rather than his innovation, referenced as a reason why he was chosen.

Olivier Green is intriguing, too--his online portfolio reveals menswear, which is quite unusual for a PR designer. This has served some contestants well in past challenges, but designing and sewing for women's clothing is quite different, so it could signal early dismissal as well. Same for Joshua C, although his past work photos reveal (menswear inspired) women's wear.

Becky Ross is majorly quirky--her work has accusations (from Michael Kors, of course) of "costume-y" written all over it. I feel like we're going to hear a lot from Tim Gunn about "using an editing eye" when he reviews Becky's workroom product.

If "post-apocalyptic Valley of the Dolls" is cutting-edge, Gunnar has it in the bag. On the other hand, if asymmetrical one-legged pants is the new black, Bryce Black is a contender.

Of course, it's too early to pick any front-runners. It's just impossible to tell what any of them are "really" capable of until they hit the ground sewing.

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Christina Uticone