Already the designers are a blur. But these are my quick thoughts after the first episode:
* I knew Kate would be the returning designer, simply because her season was the most recent and so she's fresh in folks minds. That said I can't say it's unfair, given that the "Team" twist of Season 11 was wonky in general and ended up screwing her specifically. Also, I never got the "bitch" vibe from Kate that apparently everyone else did. She always seemed like a nice enough kid.
* I thought there were a lot of strong looks on the runway this time out, although the fact that two of the strongest outfits (Sue's and Bradon's) led off the show certainly contributed to that.
* I didn't think Angela deserved to go home, but I'm a sucker for a hood that reminds me of Assassin's Creed (also, she was really cute). Still, once they didn't send home Sandro and his crotchless wonder, I knew she was going home. Timothy may be annoying as hell, but judges always prefer ideas to bland at this stage.
* Speaking of Sandro and the black censor bar -- I'm wondering if that wasn't played up for effect, simply because the judges didn't mention it at all. Maybe they just didn't want to humiliate the model further (and she certainly seemed self-conscious, although she walked through it like a trooper), but it still seemed odd that it wouldn't even be noted either in the critique or discussion. Since they did get past it, though, I agree that underneath all the chaos there was a cool "pin-up girl on the side of the fighter plane" look to that swimsuit.
* And speaking of Timothy, what a sanctimonious little troll he is. Put aside the Austin Powers teeth, he's so pretentious and so doesn't have the talent to back it up. His model looked like she wanted to slit his throat, and I wouldn't blame her at all. You knew if he went home he would have blamed the model for not doing his little "performance" -- dude, if your designs need a choreographer to be tolerable, maybe bone up on your design skills. Also, there were no paratroopers at Hiroshima.
* I think they struck the right balance with Miranda -- I couldn't see her being sent home, but they needed to throw an elbow to remind folks not to cheat on the challenges.
* Also, I can already tell I'm going to love the Miranda/Timothy vibe. When they first revealed that they knew each other from Milwaukee, and Timothy was happy to see her and Miranda was ice cold, I was like "geez, what's your problem girl?" It took approximately 10 minutes for me to firmly swing around to her position.
* Alexandria (who in my head is already "Evil Uli") designs like her personality. Precise, all-business, sharp lines, very tailored. It's good, but sometimes it stops being beautiful and starts being just intimidating.
* The designer who wasn't top or bottom that stood out to me the most was Ken. I thought the collar was cool and maybe even a bit avante-garde, and managed to stand out from a very strong pack. Still, I have no problem with Bradon winning. That was a great, inspired look.
* Nobody did parachute pants! Why?