Recap: "Week 1"

In the wake of Project Runway's controversial decamping to Lifetime, Bravo kicks off its Runway replacement Thursday, a design competition series called The Fashion Show. First up, we meet the 15 designers and co-hosts Kelly Rowland and Isaac Mizrahi. Each episode is divided into a "Mini Challenge" and an "Elimination Challenge," kind of like Top Chef. For their first "Mini Challenge," the designers have to make a little black dress out of nothing but an oversized, black T-shirt. The three top finishers are then the team captains for the elimination challenge, which focuses on fashion "must-haves."

We'll have more to say about each contestant later, but for now meet the pink-haired hipster Kristen, who designs a modern, "green" line; cerebral James-Paul, whose work is derived from "post-colonialist theories"; Merlin, who is wearing a red jumpsuit, cape and feathered hat; Haven, who appears be wearing a yellow blazer and nothing else; Angel, who works with heat-sensitive inks; Daniella, who just graduated from fashion school in London; Reco, who still lives at home with his parents; and underwear designer Andrew Christian (aka "the Panty Christ"), who was chosen for the competition by an online vote.

Mizrahi and Rowland introduce themselves and emphasize the key elements of the competition are construction, creativity, wearability and salability. For their first Mini Challenge, Isaac gives the designers one hour to create a dress out of a T-shirt. The designers disperse and run to their "notions" closet filled with zippers, shoulder pads... and what I believe is human hair. The best moment of the whole thing is when Merlin tries to claim a sewing machine by leaving his stiletto boots on it.

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