'Project Runway' Season 10 kicks off with a mixed bag of designs

When designers are told to present a piece that defines them, the results run from glamorous to comical.

They're on display in "Project Runway," returning for its 10th season Thursday, July 19. The first challenge for the 16 designers was to bring a piece that explains them as designers. Once in New York, they made an outfit to complement the first, and these were in a very special fashion show the night of June 15 in Times Square.

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Nathan McDonald's flowing evening gown created the most stir among those watching that night.

"It was a fluid, feminine design," judge Nina Garcia tells Zap2it. "He is proficient in draping, and he has a great grasp of colors."

As the model walked, it billowed out as if she were floating. "There was a lightness to his clothes, and that lightness is not very easy to achieve," Garcia says.

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Gunnar Deatherage, who tried out for the show last year, presents dresses that look as if most women could wear them to a variety of functions. "He has a bit of a commercial sensibility," Garcia says. "He likes to make clothes that look good in different shapes and sizes of women. He respects the body. He offers something very realistic and very wearable, and that's not to say that's bad. That is good when you marry that with creativity."

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Ven Budhu's white pleated palazzo pants with matching jacket and magenta bustier was the first outfit on the catwalk and set an extremely high bar. "There are no words for him," Garcia says. "Technically [he is] extremely perfect and a perfectionist. No doubt he will be a top contender."

The magenta bustier is "almost like an origami, this folding, very feminine, very romantic. What is so extraordinary about this look is if you pulled it apart -- took the jacket by itself, the top by itself, the pants -- each piece would be exceptional on their own."

The pink flowing gown and the white evening pantsuit are clothes from which fantasies are made. A woman can see herself wearing these while George Clooney saunters over with a martini. This outfit of gray shorts with blue polka dots, on the other hand, only conjures images of anime cartoon characters.

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"There is a fine line between being outrageous and designing something very creative and just wanting to be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous," Garcia says of Kooan Kosuke's shorts jumpsuit.

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Elena Slivnyak's very structured dress has a modified bustle and a postmodern sensibility. "She is very set in her aesthetic, we learned in the second episode, which is not a bad thing. It is a good thing," Garcia says.

"She likes things that are modern, sculptural," she says. "She likes monotone, urban, a bit of an avant-garde silhouette, but I was impressed. And I think she does the whole thing head to toe very well. I like it. I think we need the sensibility."
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images