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TV Tonight: The Project Runway Premiere

And we're off! After a long, painful wait — the Chicago Tribune compared it to going a year without chocolate — the delightful Project Runway returns tonight. The show has a great new cast, a boatload of inventive challenges, and the dynamic duo of Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. What could be better?

Not much, judging by the first episode. While I thought the show's recent seasons have focused a bit too much on eccentric personalities rather than actual design skill (ahem, Vincent), season four seems to have restored the balance. Don't get me wrong — this season's contestants have big personalities, like Chris the flamboyant costume designer or Elisa the conceptual fashion artist. But they also have the skill to back up their eccentricities. The first challenge is usually a slapdash affair, with dresses made of drugstore candy or plain fabric; this year, the show takes it up a notch, and it's clear that some of these designers are already performing on par with the Santinos, Kara Sauns, and Jeffreys of seasons past.

I can't wait till you all see the episode so we can dish about our favorites. In the meantime, to watch the designers' intros from tonight's episode and a clip from the workroom (warning: that one contains minor spoilers about the first challenge), just

Photo courtesy of Bravo

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