1. The designers handle their own money.
In past years each challenge had its own budget and the fantastic Tim Gunn was responsible for doling out the cash to the designers. This year they were each given a GoBank debit card loaded with $4,000. That money has to last the entire season and you just know someone is going to be down to 50 bucks for the final challenge, which will no doubt involve designing some fabulous haute couture dress. DRAMA.
2. Speaking of Tim Gunn, he gets more power this year.
Not only does Tim get to join the judges to view the runway shows, but he was also given one save if he disagrees with the judges, allowing him to let a designer continue on in the competition. The more Tim the better, I say!
3. More unconventional material challenges!
I know the purists will be all over me for this, but I LOVE watching the designers thrown completely out of their element and forced to make garments out of weird stuff like candy and Christmas decorations. While I can’t speak for the season as a whole because we’ve only had three episodes (duh), two of those three involved unconventional material (parachutes and carnival prizes FTW), so it looks promising that we’ll have more.
4. 100% more unicorns.
I still haven’t figured out whether Timothy actually believes in unicorns (he is very detailed on what species they belong to saying they’re “more like a hippopotamus than a horse”) or if that’s just his shtick.
I’m actually thinking it is probably the former…
5. While we’re on the subject of Timothy…
He’s a little nutty, which for a reality show is wonderful. I can certainly respect someone who wants to do eco-friendly designs and his loom work is gorgeous, but sending his model down the runway with no makeup and nothing done to her hair was a faux paus. Especially when he was burning synthetic material to create his look. He’s also really big into interpretive dance and instructed his model to frolic and “sniff her armpit” while she was going down the runway. She, unfortunately for us at home wanting to watch that train wreck, refused.
He also likes to “dumpster dive” for his materials and wound up getting his fabric for the second challenge in trash bags at Mood.
Oh Timothy, you crazy little unicorn.
6. There’s a ticking time bomb.
Seriously. Is anyone else legitimately concerned about Sandro? I mean, not only does he lack taste but his temper is out of control. In the second episode he hunted down a member of the production team and literally dragged him by the arm to help him with a steamer he couldn’t figure out. Previews have shown him having an absolute meltdown in an upcoming episode, so we still have that to look forward to!
Also, nice deep V dude.
7. There’s already been an outfit censored because it exposed too much.
No, that little black box covering her…well…box isn’t supposed to be there. This look, which Zac Posen called, “a slutty cat toy,” was done by our resident ticking time bomb Sandro in episode one.
First episode in and we’re already showing the world the model’s naughty bits?! That has to be a new record.
8. Fans can vote live and get content through their “second screen.”
For season 12, Runway has introduced a website allowing those watching live to interactively vote when prompted on their TV, which is pretty neat. You can also tweet and Facebook from the page, as well as view videos, the designer’s portfolios, and scorecards.
In a DVR world, this is an interesting way to encourage people to watch the program live and to interact with other fans.
9. The judges get to view the garments up close and personal.
FINALLY! This is an addition that has been a long time coming for those of us who have yelled at their television every time the judges heap on the praise for a garment that is glued or taped together or stapled together.
Now, not only will they get to see how the top and bottom designs move on the runway, but they also get to see up close how they’re constructed.
10. There are some insanely talented designers.
Yeah, I know. There are always really talented designers. However, this season seems to have upped the ante. This group is eclectic with diverse backgrounds, and loads of talent. Even Timothy, with his questionable design choices, has done incredible loom work with recycled materials.
Those designers who have found themselves safe in the first three episodes could have conceivably been in the top during any other season (I’m especially referring to Justin LeBlanc, whose first two looks were gorgeous and well constructed but didn’t land him in the top).
It will be exciting to watch this season progress and see what else the designers can give us.
One small request though…
…BRING BACK MICHAEL KORS! Zac Posen is lovely and has definitely grown on me, but he can’t match the snarkiness and cattiness of Michael Kors. He’s a complete and total glorious diva and needs to be back in the judges seat. So let’s bring him back next year!