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"Project Runway" Is Back in the Saddle!

By CaitlinBergmann Fri., Aug. 21, 2009 ,1:25 pm EDT

Yee-haw, boys and girls, "Project Runway" is back! After a long, dark period I will only refer to as "the unpleasantness," "Project Runway" saddled up and moved on over to Lifetime seamlessly. What a joy to have all the regulars on hand for what is one of the best episodes of “PR” I have seen in a long time. Tim’s here! Yay! Heidi, looking beautiful while dishing out huge helpings of schadenfreude (delight at other people’s misfortune). Michael Kors, the ever-glowing tangerine God of Fashion, and Nina Garcia, now at Marie Claire and sharpening her claws on a new crop of diverse designers.

Tim Gunn on the Project Runway premiere of Season 6

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?

Qristyl Frazier on the Project Runway premiere of Season 6

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.


Christopher Straub on Project Runway premiere of Season 6

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

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Season 13, Episode 8: The Rainway

By laurareineke Fri., Sep. 12, 2014 ,4:55 am EDT

After eons of evening wear, we're finally moving on to something a little different. Heidi and Tim, flanked by two of the new curved televisions from Samsung, are tickled to inform the designers that this will be an avant-garde challenge -- and that it'll have a major twist.

Challenge: Create an avant-garde look that is as innovative as the Samsung Curved Ultra HD TV that should inspire it and that, like the TV, is "a 'wow' from every angle." It should also push the boundaries of design, like the television. The looks will be modeled on a specialized rainy runway, so they must also be waterproof.

Parameters: $300 budget, two whole days to work (hallelujah). The designers will be given additional heavy-duty materials to elevate their designs. Korina has immunity.

The designers seem more excited than scared of the added rain element in this challenge, except Fade, who is uninspired. He struggles to come up with some flavor of unexpected design, but nothing's really gelling; everyone on "Runway" has their off days, and this is definitely Fade's, poor guy. Sandhya wants to build something based on the visual of the old colorful television test patterns. Emily is thinking "raincoat catsuit," which doesn't thrill me. When he does his walkthrough, Tim praises Kini's umbrella-esque design and steers him away from over-embellishing. Sean's got a boatload of boring white fabric but explains to Tim that he's going to sew in satchels of dye that will activate on the rainway to change the whole look of the garment. Pause for a slow clap, because that's the best idea I've heard all season. Amanda's garment is allegedly based on heiroglyphics and eyes, but Tim sees vagina imagery and I see an elegant bug lady at fancy bug ball. Korina's combining a lot of elements that look stellar in her sketch; that her final design barely resembles this early idea is a huge bummer.

Meanwhile, Fade isn't doing great. He gets the chance to call home along with Emily and Sandhya, but his call is distinctly more fraught than the others. He can barely get words out around his tears. I'm upset about this! Fade has been low-key all season, slow and steady and turning out interesting, consistent work, and it's no fun at all when his breed of reliable competitor gets unexpectedly emotional.

Let's move on to the rainway! Our guest judge is "Masters of Sex" actress Caitlin Fitzgerald.

Top Three
Sean - Sean's idea to use the rain to transform his look on the runway paid off in spades, and the judges are LOVING it. Nina is very excited about the waterproof crinoline Sean incorporated underneath the dyed layer. Zac admits he thought the color changing might be too gimmicky, but that seeing it in action convinced him otherwise. The chance that the coloring might have totally failed in execution also appeals to the judges; they love a risk. (No one points out that the design of the dress itself is not that interesting. Oh well.) Sean gets one half of a shared win.

Kini - The judges love that Kini heard "rain" and went with "umbrella." Heidi calls it avant garde, Caitlin calls it dominatrix, and both are intended as major compliments. Zac is VERY effusive with his praise: "You are so talented. You have such a skillful hand. You have great technique. It's a combination of Michelle Harper, a little McQueen in there -- it was so impactful when it came out. [...] You brought it today. Big time." You know how cartoon characters are given bulging heart eyes to show how head-over-heels they are? That was Zac's reaction to this look. Absolute hearteyes. Kini is awarded the other half of the shared win.

Sandhya - One of those instances in which I can't tell if the judges are responding to the look or to how easily the designer's unique personal aesthetic shines through in it. This look is VERY Sandhya. Nina thinks it's also very close to being too circus-y, but the whimsy of it seems to be enough to put Sandhya in the top. She's safe.

Bottom Three
Korina - She explains that her inspiration was the mythological thunderbird whose powerful wings create thunder but the judges don't feel the look is very powerful at all. Nina thinks it had potential, but seems unfinished, a sentiment echoed by the rest of the panel. The black dress is too random, the sort of harness-y over-layer too flimsy. Not great, but Korina's got immunity, so she's safe.

Emily - Emily tried for armor but didn't totally succeed. This look got some of the same criticisms Korina's did: Too flimsy, too derivative, too little cohesion. Nina says it's dated, and she and Zac both call it cliche. Not Emily's best moment, but she's safe.

Fade - "Putting a play button on your dress doesn't necessarily make it look modern or tech-y. It makes it look gimmicky." That quote from Nina really sums this one up. Caitlin says she misses the relationship with the rain that the other looks had. This one bores them, so Fade is out.

Onward we march, one less designer in tow. I'll miss Fade, but Sean and Kini really kicked it up a notch this week and I'm excited to see where they go from here. How did you feel about the challenge and their shared win? Do you think immunity was the only thing saving Korina from the auf? If you could design your own element-based runway, what would you choose? (I think I'd do a whole obstacle course. Why not get weird, right?) Let me know in the comments.

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