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Episode 10: Greece...Is Not The Word

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 2:30am GMT

Michael Kors in episode ten of Project Runway season six

It is getting down to the “Project Runway” wire. Out of 16 designers, only seven remain. There are some who are talented and, arguably, some who are not so talented. There are definitely a few in the bunch who probably shouldn’t have made it through so far. After the last “Sequin and Feathers” Christina Aguilera/Bob Mackie Challenge, it was probably time to bring it down one or two sequin notches, or so they thought. With that in mind, Heidi Klum tells the remaining designers they are to take a little trip to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where Tim Gunn would await them.

Shakopee Trading Post to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Shakopee, Minnesota native and token “Podunk-er of Season 6” Christopher got excited at the prospect of going to Rodeo Drive, admitting that “there are no Guccis or Yves Saint Laurents in my mall …” That might be his problem. Maybe it’s time to get on a United Airlines flight and get thee to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or find a cheap flight to Paris to see that there are other designers and stores besides the Shakopee Trading Post. But I digress. With this challenge, the producers of “Project Runway” are doing their part in exposing little ol’ Christopher to a brand new world of fashion, and at least it’s a start.

Paris Hilton in Mykonos
The designers arrive at the Rodeo Drive West Coast Flagship of Michael Kors. Surprisingly, Kors was actually there: For a second I thought he might be at the store via SKYPE! He explains how many of his collections are inspired by his travels around the globe, to places such as Santa Fe, St. Tropez, Palm Beach and Greece. It is fitting, then, when he introduces the next challenge for episode ten: to create a look inspired by a fabulous locale. As a designer myself, I am always influenced by international locations, whether or not I have been there. But the whole point is that it provides me with a point of design inspiration. Sometimes too much so, as witnessed back in my season, when I kept referring to the outfits I created each week as “Paris Hilton in Mykonos” or “Diva in Capri.” Curiously enough, Michael Kors chastised me for doing that, which seems odd since that’s what he is all about.

Gordana Gehlhausen design in episode 10 of season six of Project Runway

Put Down the Necklace and Make a Dress
With that, the designers get their locales and are back at the FIDM workroom, post Mood shopping, to see who was actually paying attention in their geography classes back in high school — and who may need a new Eurail Pass. Tim makes his visit and first checks in on Gordana, who picked Park Avenue/Manhattan. She’s used up all her time making a beaded necklace (see photo), and Tim says he’s nervous to leave her without seeing an actual dress. Irina, who chose Aspen, looks as if she’s almost done. That girl is OUT OF CONTROL; she is Bitchy McBitch and Speedy Gonzalez all rolled up into one!

Carole Cook Palm Beach Caftan Fantasy
Althea’s inspiration is St. Tropez, and she is doing separates for a girl heading out to brunch on the French Riviera. Mall rat Christopher is working on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, look, which immediately makes me squirm. However, Tim is somewhat liking the Navajo-looking leather belt. Carol Hannah is going to Palm Beach, but stressed she may not have enough of her leaf-printed fabric. At one point, her drape was looking like a Carole Cook (look her up, kiddies!) caftan, and I was LOVING IT! Nicolas, who got my favorite locale, Greece, is inexplicably doing something that doesn’t look very Greece-inspired. He boasts about never having been to Greece, and Tim looks a bit worried. Soon he’s in the confessional saying that he doesn’t want to go home or be in the bottom three. That’s the moment I say, “Oh, Nicolas is SO GONE!”

Ukrainian Arms Dealer Trophy Wife Goes to Aspen
It’s Runway Day and, as usual, the kids are in a panic. Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge model/actress/designer Milla Jovovich are all on hand to see the “Project Runway” World Inspiration Tour. Carol Hannah’s sundress looks fabulous (I still secretly wish she would have done a caftan!), and she is praised for it by Jovovich, who says she would “live in that dress.” Gordana did get to make something to attach to her beaded necklace, and the judges liked it. It looked very uptown and classic, but I was yawning over her repeated use of gray. Irina Shabayeva’s après-ski look ended up being the winner. It looked luxe, and at least the girl had a vision — from head to toe! It was very “trophy wife of a Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.”

Logan Neitzel in episode ten of Project Runway season six

New Mexico Circa 1983
The bottom group was a Testosterone Fest: Logan, Christopher and Nicolas. Logan created a cute yet uninspired ensemble for his Hollywood locale. (See photo.) Logan frustrates me. Why he didn’t just go ahead and make a rockin’ hipster female version of himself is beyond me. Logan is more stylish than his own designs! Christopher’s Santa Fe creation was the opposite of Irina’s: It lacked vision. Heidi even said it was “sad and ugly.” But Milla liked the belt, saying it was very 1983. That would have been a compliment, if only the ENTIRE OUTFIT wasn’t so 1983! His look was something a (58-year-old) proprietor of a New Mexico turquoise shop would wear.

Athens, Afghanistan?
But it was Nicolas Putvinski who really “missed the ferry” from downtown L.A. to Patras, Greece, during this Fabulous Locale Challenge. His look had nothing reminding anyone of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea and blue-capped buildings of the Greek isles. Sad, ill-fitting gray pants and a white cotton surplice-wrap top? Nicolas: It’s Greece, not AFGHANISTAN! With that, Heidi waved goodbye and gave him a gift certificate to the nearest gyro restaurant. Yassou, Nicolas!


First Episode Recap: For the Love of Bai Ling!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 2:01pm GMT

"Project Runway" Glows with L.A. Sunshine
"Project Runway" fans, rejoice! Our little show is BACK! And it looks EXACTLY the same as when we last left it, albeit with a few “cosmetic” liftings. Goodbye, New York, hello, Los Angeles! This is a brighter, shinier, more glowing "Project Runway."

Fourth Time Is the Charm
When we first meet the designers, they are arriving at their new digs, the Title Guarantee Building Lofts in downtown L.A. The 16 designers are a diverse group, hailing from all parts of the U.S. Age-wise, some are mature, but most are quite young. After the fourth 24-year-old was introduced, I almost felt like collecting my Social Security and retiring to Palm Springs. There were also several with intriguing Eastern European "Boris and Natasha" accents. Several tell us how "this is the fourth time that I've tried out for the show," and I make a mental note how I would NEVER go back for abuse a second, third or fourth time! Talk about perseverance.

FIDM where Project Runway is filmed

Who Are You Wearing?
Tim Gunn and the designers eventually gather at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, the home of the Grammys, Emmys and other award shows. Before you could say “Joan and Melissa,” you knew this was going to be a Red Carpet Challenge. Indeed, the first challenge was to create a red-carpet look that represents the designers’ point of view and shows true innovation. Next stop: their new L.A. workroom at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising/FIDM, the premier fashion design institution on the West Coast. Now, since I am an instructor at FIDM, I may be a bit biased, but their new design studios are FABULOUS! What a change from gray Parsons to the colorful, bright FIDM. It’s like Parsons with a moisturizing chemical peel!

A Brief Lesson in Fashion 101, Kids
We soon get a taste of who are this week’s "featured characters" when Missouri native Ari Fish declares that she does not know how to sketch. Tim Gunn just gives her the "Are you kidding me?" look. Young designer Christopher Straub then explains that he doesn’t know what smocking or a godet is. Maybe it’s time to give these kids a brief “refresher” course in fashion terminology BEFORE they apply to “Project Runway”? In the workroom, we find one designer, FIDM alum Johnny Sakalis, having a major breakdown as he second-guesses himself and then tells all of America that he was a crystal meth addict (TMI, by the way). If he’s “emotionally obliterated” now, honey, how is he going to handle the rest of the challenges? Of course, he eventually snaps out of it and goes on to make a very pretty design. (I knew he would, you gotta love those editors!).

Tired Excuse # 101: My Model Is Too Fat
The models arrive for their fittings. One designer, Mitchell, wants to create a Victorian-inspired gown but encounters a snafu: His dress doesn’t fit his model, Yozusi. He blames it on her, saying the measurements on the card didn’t match her real measurements. Lesson #101: Every designer knows that the measurements on those model cards rarely match the models’ actual measurements. Agencies make those cards up and say ALL their models are 34"- 24"-34", when in fact, most are 33"- 26"-37". Obviously, Mitchell didn’t get that memo, so now he has to remake his entire gown. And the result isn’t pretty.

Paparazzi Alert: It’s Lindsay Lohan!
As the runway show is about to begin, Heidi introduces the one and only Lindsay Lohan as this season’s first Guest Judge. Miss Lindsay almost trips off the stage as she realizes that her on-again, off-again paramour, Samantha Ronson, ISN’T really sitting among the designers; it’s just her doppelganger, Ari. Judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are back, looking "refreshed" (those St. Barths vacations do them good!). As the creations come down the runway, I am instantly drawn to Ra’mon’s design. It was the closest to a real red-carpet stunner. Even though I was afraid at first when Christopher was creating his design in the workroom (Hefty Bag alert!), he actually pulled it off. It was very Leighton Meester at the Teen Choice Awards. As a result, he wins and gets immunity.

Bai Ling Would Love It!
Now on to the messes: Qristyl’s design was something straight out of the BET Awards, and that’s not a good thing. My-Model-Is-Too-Fat Mitchell ended up creating a sheer caftan/nightgown, TAPED onto the model. I love me some caftans (they’re all the rage for Resort 2010), but this was tragic. Finally, Ari created a space-age silver padded garment reminiscent of a “Disco Soccer Ball.” Only someone like Worst Dressed Hall of Famer Bai Ling would wear such a thing. Ari said she was creating something for the 2080 Video Music Awards. But I have a feeling that even in the 2080 VMAs, her outfit would have ended up on the Worst Dressed List. With that, Ari went into the Wikipedia record books as getting the first “auf Wiedersehen” of Season 6. Bye, Ari, see you at Lindsay’s house — or maybe at a Bai Ling red-carpet event — in 2080.