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'Project Runway' unloads garbage in season 5 debut

Look who returned! Austin Scarlett, from “Runway” season one, kicked off season five as a guest judge.

Garbage. She said it herself. The “outfit” she was making looked like trash. And maybe that’s because she made it out of trash bags.

So why wasn’t Stella the first one cut on last night’s season-five premiere of “Project Runway”?

The new season of our favorite reality series already has started with a controversial elimination.

The challenge: Same as the the opening of season one — make a dress out of what you can find at the grocery store. Big surprise, way too many people grabbed the tablecloths, which contestant guru Tim Gunn rightly chided them for. It’s a show about creativity, people! They sent you to the supermarket because they wanted to see what you could do without cloth.

Stella — lil’ Noo Yawk Stella — at least tried a twist (or is that a twist tie?) on a cloth substitute. She bought a lot of trash bags. But she got cheap ones, and they didn’t exactly react well to sewing. Throughout the challenge, she moaned and kvetched about how doomed she was, and the more she moaned and kvetched the more we hoped she was right. When her model strutted down the runway, wearing a roll of trash bags around her neck (to which nothing seemed to have been done, no sewing, no nothing) and a skirt of stitched landfill wrapping, well, we knew she was a goner.

And then they eliminated Jerry.

Jerry, admittedly, created an unflattering garment. But at least it was a garment — a coat made from a shower curtain, a sun dress underneath from a (yes) tablecloth. We even thought the rubber gloves were a nice, kitschy touch. The judges, however, seemed to take his misguided but playful approach alarmingly seriously. And Jerry himself looked completely surprised and devastated by his unceremonious booting.

Our Chicago contestant this year, Terri Stevens, showed cleverness from the get-go. She made a beeline for the household products aisle, too, but she was after something slightly more creative: as she said, “mopheads, mopheads, mopheads.” She wove those into a nifty, knit-looking top. Her skirt, however — sigh — another tablecloth.

Stella’s uninspired, unadorned creation. Trashy, indeed.

Terri’s rack-worthy crocheted top — made from mopheads.

Other runway creations we rated highly:

— Joe’s idea to string pasta together: utterly brilliant. Go, Joe!

— Kelli probably deserved her win with the burned coffee filters and bleached vacuum bags. That’s how you win this thing. You answer the challenge, then you take it up a notch.

— Daniel’s plastic cup dress was our favorite by far. Crazy cool looking, beyond innovative and looked absolutely perfect on that model. Then again, how would you sit in that thing…?