"Project Runway" Is Back in the Saddle!
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it is filmed in Los Angeles ... but so far that doesn’t seem to have affected a thing; in fact, the first challenge is pretty fabulous because of L.A.: The designers are taken to the red carpet of the Emmys, and given the challenge of designing a red-carpet gown of their choice with two days and $200. All the familiar fun ensues that makes us addicted to this stuff — sketching in the workroom (now at FIDM and bigger than ours!), a half hour to shop at Mood (yay! Mood!), and let the drama begin. All under the lilting tones of a certain Mr. Gunn, whom we have sorely missed.
Meet the designers: Ra’mon (the serious med student); Logan (the guy’s guy, letting us know in no uncertain terms that he is straight); Johnny (former drug addict who tried out for the show several times, but made it now that he is clean. Read: drama); Gordana (Yugoslavian tough-chick who will win even if she has to make her dress out of potatoes and corn); Malvin (one word: Sanjaya); Qristyl (oooh honey, step back, cuz Miss Q doesn’t mess around with skinny girls, she is size “plus-sexy”); Shirin (sweet to the point of diabetic coma); Nicolas (the self-acclaimed “Feather Prince” — Good Luck); Mitchell (every show has one, the all-American cutie); Ari (techno-chick who’s tragically into “Blade Runner” Chic); Louise (trapped-in-vintage-land Louise Brooks channeler); Irina (into leathah); Carol (this season’s Kenley? Pixie-couture airhead); Epperson (serious dreads and seems to be the oldest of the bunch); Althea (Cocky with a capital “C,” sure she is the next Christian, Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, blah blah blah); and finally, Christopher (self-taught and second runner-up in the cutie category). We met Christopher last — any predictions?
Some workroom fun that was music to my ears: Ari saying “I don’t sketch” ... Johnny having a drug-free meltdown with Tim coming to save the day and dry his tears ... Mitchell may be our new cryer ... Malvin claiming his garments are “ineffable” and beyond description (Oh, I can describe them alright). The best moment of the show? Qristyl can’t find anyone to cut her fabric at Mood, so she buys a pair of scissors and CUTS IT HERSELF! Way to make it work, Miss Q! Reality-show gold!
The dresses are coming along, and there’s a joyous visit from Saint Tim (do I hear angels when he enters the workroom?), and we begin to see what these designers are all about. Johnny says he will use “spit and gum” to finish his hideous dress if he has to. Tim calls Christopher’s work a “cruise-line cocktail waitress,” Ari is tragically channeling Blayne by making a halter diaper dress and Mitchell is making some sort of Victorian caftan out of coffin lining. Miss Q has completely missed with her quasi–Carmen Miranda wedding dress, and on the morning of the runway show, Mitchell has to start over from scratch and decides to go for a Lady Godiva look and send his model down the runway nude.
Oh Rapture! The Runway! Another byproduct of the L.A. location ... Lindsay Lohan is the guest judge! Here come the dresses!
- Althea: Silver, pretty, nice and safe.
- Gordana: Short blue-green dress with origami floating device around the bust.
- Malvin: Beige burlap scaly ugly boring dress fit for a prison wedding.
- Mitchell: Sheer (butt cheeks on parade) caftan that would make a great maternity dress for JLo.
- Louise: Dress made of drapes with a flowered growth on the shoulder.
- Christopher: ’80s prom dress made of garbage bags and Kleenex.
- Ra’mon: Fabulous eggplant taffeta gown that you could see on the most fabulous star on the Oscars red carpet.
Shirin: Cutesy, short, safe.
- Epperson: More purple, but this one is the wrong way to do it.
- Irina: Literally drapes that the model keeps tripping over.
- Ari: Ridiculous space suit that wouldn’t pass for fashion in any year in the future.
- Johnny: This tragedy looks like a piece of fabric blew onto the model in a windstorm and was held in place by pieces of chewing gum.
- Qristyl: Ouch. I love Q, but this is hideous. How hideous? Kenley would love it.
- Logan: Silver, boring and monotone like his voice.
- Nicolas: Short, black plastic/rubber body condom. No feathers, go figure.
The decisions are made, the delicious drama spills forth in classic PR fashion. Did I agree with their decisions on who they kept on the runway? Yes. But I seriously disagree with their commentary on the top and the bottom looks ... but that’s what makes the show addictive. You want to scream at Nina, pull Heidi’s hair out, wipe the orange off of Michael Kors, and force-feed Lindsay Lohan. We all agreed Miss Q was a wreck, but she’s too fun to get rid of: In. Johnny: In. Are you serious? This same dress has gotten many designers eliminated, but they obviously keep him for what they hope will be more drug-free drama. Ra’mon: In. They called this dress “safe,” even though it was obviously the most beautifully realized piece on the show. Mitchell: In. They gave him a break. Plus they know all the gay men watching the show would be mad if they eliminate the cutest designer. Ari: OUT. What glee to hear Michael Kors call this ugly piece of garbage a “disco soccer ball.” I am swooning with delight. The winner? Christopher. Oh my God. This dress is one pair of fingerless gloves away from the prom scene in any John Hughes movie. (See photo.)They would normally rake this thing over the coals, but to keep us talking about the controversy, they chose to reward the self-taught naive boy who now thinks he’s got a shot at winning. But that’s why we love the show. “Project Runway” is back in all its glory. We can’t get enough of the delicious punishment, drama, hopes and dashed dreams of “Project Runway.”
And, ultimately, of life. See ya soon, Chris
Posted in: episode 1
Season 13, Episode 10: Muse on the Street
We're inching ever closer to Fashion Week, and the designers are hyperaware of it. They're starting to feel the pressure that comes from knowing that they really might be the next one auf'd. They file into the workroom, where Mary Kay Global Makeup Artist Luis Casco and Tim are waiting to outline the next challenge.
Challenge: Inspired by Mary Kay's campaign, "Discover what you love," the designers must make over a randomly selected muse.
Parameters: 30 minutes to find a model in Washington Square Park, another 30 minutes to talk and sketch with them. $200 budget to work with and -- gasp! -- two days to work. Their muses will also model the looks. The winner and his or her muse will be featured in a Mary Kay ad in Marie Claire.
I was a little peeved to see the designers find only young, relatively thin women to model for them, especially given the diversity that can usually be found in Washington Square Park. But they're in a competition and the closer they can stick to traditional model measurements, the better off they think they'll be. We'll see about that!
This week's design crises fall in the laps of Kini, who just seems to be in a rut, and Alexander, who...well. Tim comes around for critiques and seems frozen in place while assessing Alexander's dress, a high-waisted skirt and crop top combo made from amoeba-like shapes of black-and-gold honeycomb fabric placed on top of a hunter green and black plaid. "This is one of the most hideous garments I have ever seen in my entire existence," Tim says, mincing no words. "It is hideous. You've GOT to change this. You've got to." The rest of the designers sit in stunned silence while Alexander starts to panic. He decides to take Tim's advice and starts over on a new look.
Now that we've narrowed down the field, it's natural for everyone to get a little more shark-like about what they perceive their competitors' flaws to be, but Korina's the one getting the Cutthroat Mean Girl edit this season, so we're treated to a a nice supercut of her talkin' smack about her fellow designers. Add that to the ego boost she got (but didn't need) after winning a challenge and it's getting a little hard to root for her. Likability isn't the end-all on "Project Runway," but it IS important. Just ask Gretchen.
Anyway, right before the runway show, Char has a huge problem: The zipper on her look has totally fallen off, leaving her model's side exposed from armpit to hemline. Tim says that if it were a normal week with normal models, he would tell Char "It is what it is," but that it doesn't seem right or reasonable to ask an off-the-street muse to walk a runway half naked. So he takes the dilemma to the other designers: Would they object to Char receiving ten extra minutes of work time to add a new zipper?
The designers are taken aback enough that none of them argue and Char is able to make a quick fix. Afterward, they express their understandable annoyance. "We basically let another Tim Gunn Save happen for Char," Alexander says. Korina shrugs because she doesn't think Char's gonna win anyway.
Heidi and the judges are kept waiting while Char gets extra time, but Tim refuses to fill them in on the details before the runway show. Speaking of! Our guest judges for the week are actress Michelle Monaghan and model/TV host Asha Leo.
Korina The tweed-and-leather jacket earns raves, and the judges like that the skirt plays into her muse's dance background. Heidi at first thinks it looks a little too "'80s mall" but she comes around, and then there's nothing but love for this look, and Korina gets the win.
Kini - Zac, who saw Kini's denim work in his audition, praises him for bringing those skills back at this point of the competition. This look was Heidi's favorite because it looks like something a real woman would wear. As usual, his construction is impeccable, and the muse herself is very happy with the outcome. Kini is safe.
Emily - Emily's muse explains to the judges that she would wear this outfit to fit in at an art gallery opening, "or maybe be the highlight of the opening." I think this story helps edge Emily into the top, because while the judges are torn on the overall look -- it garners comparisons to an origami flamenco -- but they agree that it suits the client's wishes and needs. Nina also says it's the best technical work Emily's done so far. She's safe.
Amanda - Nina says that the general idea for her look was fine, but the execution was totally off. Asha describes it as "More clothes, less fashion." The length of the dress and the vest both come under fire. Amanda doesn't disagree with any of their criticisms. What goes unsaid: Amanda had two days to complete a look, and this is the best she could do? She's safe.
Char - The judges aren't into this. The only thing Heidi likes is the color. Zac calls it a tap dance costume. Nina criticizes the whole concept of putting a gradeschool teacher in an outfit like this one. The judges debate penalizing Char for the zipper fiasco, but in the end, she's safe.
Alexander - A real disaster. Even knowing that Alexander scrapped his original look doesn't compensate for the judges' picking up on his shoddy construction and tame, seen-it-before silhouette. Michelle notes that this muse had particularly interesting personal taste that Alexander could have done a lot with, but instead he played it very safe. Nina also takes issue with the summery silhouette clashing with the wintery fabric. The combination of bad fabric choice, bad construction, and bad concept seal Alexander's fate: He's out.
We're down to the Top 6, folks. How are you feeling? Do you think Char should've been allowed to fix her zipper? Do you think Tim would have allowed it if her model wasn't a "Real Woman"? Was Alexander's second look better or worse than his first? And who do you think is gonna win this thing? Seriously. I know you've got a frontrunner picked out. Let me know what you're thinking in the comments.