Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Project Runway Blog

Give That Andy Kid a Hug, A.S.A.P.

By Tracy_Goldenberg 09/17/2010 06:00AM GMT

Having visited the “The First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit this weekend and well aware of the pending “Runway” challenge, I was getting a closer look at Jackie Kennedy’s inaugural gown when I realized it was by far the most popular, but also one of the simplest.

Out of all the gowns on display there — from Martha Washington’s in the 1780s to Michelle Obama’s in 2009 — Jackie’s was the standout. And with good reason. It was the real first garment she wore in her new role as the first lady and the start of her impact on the fashion world. The Washington Post said of her dress in 1961 that Jackie’s “ … career as a major fashion influence was beginning impressively,” and it continues here in 2010 on “Project Runway.”

When it came time for our Season 8 designers to describe Jackie’s signature style, it varied from “chic” to “classic” to “clean” to “risk-taker,” yet it seemed that none of those adjectives really was the right way to interpret an American sportswear look inspired by Jackie. In a word, her style was probably just “impeccable.” Whoever got the closest to that ideal was going to win this challenge.

Christopher Collins' past workOver in the clean/chic group, we have a promising entry from Ivy, whose look was helped by her dead-on styling choices, and Christopher — minus the insanity of that crazy stole, but at least he didn’t like it, either. This was the moment Ivy needed in this competition if she wanted to move forward. Christopher, however, I take issue with, because I have seen this exact look from him before. I literally spent the entire episode not being able to move past it. It’s almost a dead ringer for the asymmetrical jersey dress from his Fall 2010 collection (pictured at left), but with a different color, shoulder treatment, sleeves and hem.

He’s certainly not the first designer to do this — they should absolutely play to their strengths — but that look wasn’t Jackie’s. It was Christopher’s.

Christopher Collins' past workIn the risk-taking group, we had Andy, leading the pack with the largest pair of cargo pants I have seen hit a runway since the days of “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’Em”; Michael D., who didn’t want to listen to Tim Gunn’s advice; Valerie, who could not stop making coats and coat-like things; and Mondo, whose own personal style was a mere white tank away from starring in a production of “Cabaret” as the Emcee.

Yes, Andy’s garment had a gigbillion issues I won’t even get into, because the judges already covered all of that, and then some. It was probably the single most hurtful, trainwreck-to-watch runway judging in the show’s history — at least since Season 7’s Jonathan Peters’ “disco straitjacket.” Frankly, I salute the guy for not crying, ’cause he had every right to. Especially when you’re being told to come down for a better look at all its flaws when you’re already well aware they exist.

Mondo, conversely, took a risk by combining a series of patterns and prints that could have been disastrous together, but he somehow found a way to channel Jackie’s overall vibe: a woman every woman aspires to dress like. Hooray for purple-lined jackets!