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The Project Runway Blog


“Tight Race for Hideous”

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

I feel it would be amiss to harshly criticize this week’s work, given the eleventh-hour curveball. Creating two looks in that amount of time and thinking you’re going to see something 100 percent designer-approved is a hefty order. Someone was bound to send some, as Laura Bennett would say, “serious ugly” down the runway. Instead, I present you with some episode highlights:

• Apparently Gretchen Jones invented Bordeaux back in 1771 when she was dating Alexander Hamilton. She holds a patent on the Pantone color and will challenge anyone who uses it to a duel, in remembrance of Alex. This is the little-known backstory as to why Michael Costello is currently being sued for daring to use the same shade. Burgundy? OK. Sangria? All right. Bordeaux? NEVER.

• I really wanted Andy to say “More money, mo’ problems” when he learned of the bonus $20,000 prize for winning this challenge. Alas, that dream has died.

• Most of the designers were planning on paying off debts with the bonus prize. April wants a small pony and Mondo wants, quote, “drinking money.” Put that together and you have one awesome party.

Swatch (the Mood dog) needs his own show.

• No space is sacred for one’s mental breakdown. Not even the ladies room, where Ivy will revive your fighting spirit with some tough love: “Stop complaining!”

Andy’s model is fierce! That girl has worked her hair in every outfit like her life depended on it. She needs to book a Beyonc tour ASAP.

Michael Kors’ obsession with the Broadway musical “Wicked” has now spilled out onto the runway. Sadly, his description (complete with sound effects) of Valerie’s high-fashion look was dead-on.

• Just this:

Watch the Project Runway judges' video blogs

• And this:

Watch the Extended Judging

• Did you know Michael Costello has never been in the Bottom 3 before? OK, cool. Just in case that wasn’t clear.

Naeem Khan is one of the first guest judges in a long time who has actually told the designers what they did wrong, what they did right and how they could have corrected it. Please come back!

• Did anyone else catch the moment where Gretchen was saying something to the effect of, “Ivy will get a lot of … [Ivy walks into room] LOVE! Love! From this!” Awkward.

• Mondo now has $20,014.00 in his bank account, minus miniature pony gift ($2,000.00) and a debaucherous night at the bar drinking vodka and Squirt ($217.78) = $17,796.22. Congrats.

Who should have been sent packing?


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

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am 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.

Were the judges overly harsh on Andy?

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!


Sad? Zero. Disappointed? Maybe a Quart.

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

Casanova’s response to how he felt about his time on “Runway” is also applicable to how I felt about this episode. “Sad? Zero. Disappointed? Maybe a quart.” Oh, Ivy.

Listen, y’all. I always somehow end up defending the personalities of the more controversial contestants I have actually met in person, and Ivy Higa qualifies as one of them. Her fall collection is to die for. The woman offered me beef jerky during her home visit. She’s just (seemingly) having a tough time displaying that same “wow factor” potential and overall “sharing” vibe on the show. In the end, it’s a matter of playing the game. Case in point: Michael C. and Mondo.

Mondo’s personality went from that of awkward high school “Rent”-listening outsider in Episode 1 to slushy-throwing bully when he learned Michael C. was his teammate in Episode 7. The man did not mince words: Your construction level is not worthy of my clothes, and, to boot, you have immunity, so don’t screw this up, or I will cut you. (Paraphrasing, of course.)

After a little patience and some TLC, Mondo’s vision came to life, and he and Michael C. were hugging it out in a giant fashion love-fest by the end of the episode … even though it landed him in the bottom. Lighten up, it’s just fashion!

[favorite-moment-of-episode alert]
Mondo and Michael C hug it out in Episode 7

Conversely, Michael D.’s experience with his teammate Ivy was the polar opposite, given the same constraints — one person had stronger construction skills than the other. No matter how much Ivy hated the final garment he had created for her, she should have stood on that runway during his judging feedback for the top looks and been all sunshine and cherries and jazz hands. Examples: “I loved helping Michael create this and teaching him new sewing lingo!” “He has an amazing personal style! That’s why I gave my model a bandana!” “I love all people named Michael!”

Who is the bigger "Runway" diva?

Perhaps by the time she was brought back onstage to defend her own garment, the judges would have been more forgiving of their botched partnership that helped put her in the bottom. Instead, she spent the time complaining about how her garment looked nothing like how she had originally planned:

Ivy Higa's portfolio[favorite-“I have seen your sketches, honey”-moment-of-the-episode alert]

Ivy has dug herself into a giant hole that is going to take the world’s largest greeting card — and perhaps a challenge win — to forget. The judges do recognize her technical talent, but I couldn’t help but recall the Season 2 reunion where Santino Rice and Chloe Dao hashed it out over the pain of being called a “pattern maker” versus a designer. Let’s hope Michael Kors’ “seamstress only” comment doesn’t spell the emotional end for Ivy before she can redeem herself.

P.S. Regarding next week’s preview: BETTY DRAPER!!!


Tim "Gunn's Golden Rules" Signed Book Giveaway

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 11:46pm GMT

Tim Gunn's Golden Rules Signed Book Giveaway

In honor of Tim Gunn's newly released book "Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work," we are giving away 18 signed copies, one for each of the essential "Make it work!" moments we must all follow!

Tim's book is filled with 18 tried-and-true principles, plus the scoop on fashion's greatest divas, behind-the-scenes glimpses of "Project Runway's" biggest drama queens and never-before-revealed insights into Tim's private life — and now a Tim Gunn-signed copy can be yours to enjoy.

To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Tim Gunn moment — the infamous Team Luxe speech and "dinner with Andrae at Red Lobster" will be well represented! — and you're eligible to win.

Remember: please read the official giveaway rules before entering.

Good luck ... and carry on!


Watch a Clip of Tim Gunn on "Good Morning America"

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 1:27pm GMT

Watch a clip of Tim Gunn's visit to "Good Morning America," where he dishes on his new book, "Gunn's Golden Rules":

Keep checking back here on the blog for a special Tim Gunn update, coming soon!


Tune In for Tim Gunn on "GMA," "Regis & Kelly" and "The Daily Show," Tuesday, September 7!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:44pm GMT

Tim Gunn's taking over your TV on Tuesday, September 7! Catch the fashion guru next week on the following shows:

"Good Morning America"
ABC stations from 7-9 am et/pt

"Live! with Regis and Kelly"
ABC stations at 9 am; New York (WABC, Channel 7) & Los Angeles (KABC, Channel 7)

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"
Comedy Central at 11 pm et/pt

Please check your local listings for channel information.


"Project Runway" Season 8 Surpasses Four Million Viewers, Breaking Ratings Record

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:24pm GMT

On the heels of having what fans, bloggers and writers called its best episode ever on August 26, Lifetime’s "Project Runway" broke records last night by surpassing four million Total Viewers (4,002,000) and two million Adults 25-54 viewers (2,160,000) – up double digits vs. the Season 8 to date average -- making it the series’ most watched episode in the demos since its Season 6 finale on November 19, 2009.

In its new, 90-minute format, half-hour impressions among Adults 25-54 grew throughout the entire episode last night, up from the first 30 minutes to the final half-hour (2,094,000 to 2,122,000 to 2,265,000), according to Nielsen Research. Additionally, "Project Runway" averaged 1,764,000 Women 18-49 viewers and 1,686,000 Women 25-54 viewers – both also series highs since the Season 6 finale and up double digits compared to STD. "Project Runway" generated a 3.1 Household rating yesterday. Season 8 of "Project Runway" is this year’s number one competitive un-scripted program on ad-supported cable among Women 18-49, Women 25-54, Women 18+ and Women 18-34.


Mondo Wins (But Loses), Plus Tim Buries the Gretchen Hatchet

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

Watch Project Runway Episode 6I love this challenge. In fact, I had this same challenge in my head years ago and am glad it finally escaped from my inner monologue onto the runway.

Having been “that girl” who has had the honor of wearing an unfortunate-looking bridesmaid dress and was forced to contemplate what the heck one could do with a water-stained Eton blue taffeta dress with faux-flower embellishment post-wedding, I finally conceded to the next-best reuse of this garment: Halloween costume … for someone else … in another state. However, if I’d had Mondo Guerra on speed dial, I could have reduced, reused and recycled in style!

What I was most anxious to see in this episode was the aftermath of last week’s Tim vs. Gretchen showdown. Would they play totally passive-aggressive, thereby whittling down Tim’s workroom sessions with her to cryptic notes left on her workstation?

“Do less of that. This worries me. — Tim P.S. We are still in a fight.”

Or would they hug it out just to get through this next challenge? Looks like neither. After all, previous to the spotlight “Make it work!” brought to him, Tim Gunn was an instructor — and this reminded me of that. This could have been any episode. It wasn’t awkward, he wasn’t short with her, he didn’t deny her any useful feedback. He was all business. And for those of you who commented on the blog last week that Tim may have been out of line for his comments backstage to Gretchen, I hope you can see the man’s integrity here.

Get more Mondo!My initial thoughts on the garments in the workroom:
Ivy: Have you still not learned that pants are bad news bears? No less white satin pants on a woman who is not your model? [watches remainder of episode with hands covering eyes]
Christopher: You are so lucky your bridesmaid bailed, ’cause you got a model. Upgrade!
Michael C.: Your bridesmaid has fabulous arms and you are covering them up? With lace! That was last week!
Michael D.: It did kinda look like a giant bra on the front. Not gonna lie. But you tried.
Valerie: There is room for at least seven more embellishments.
Casanova: The man can sew a pair of pants. He should just make pants all the time. Pants as pants, pants as tops, pants as socks …
Gretchen: Thank goodness you had that little dress rehearsal before the runway where you tweaked your garment, cause the “side boob” was not a good look. Upgrade!
Mondo: Mondo is a genius. Who thinks to reverse the fabric? This guy!
Andy: I don’t really remember your garment, but your model worked it out.
Peach: You’re in a heap of trouble, but please stay because I love you. And your sweaters.
April: Upswing: Your bridesmaid was not as bad as Christian Siriano’s prom girl in Season 4.

Michael C. is still being slammed for his so-called lack of technical skills [rolls eyes] and later accused by Ivy, at the public viewing of their transformed bridesmaid dresses, of seeding the audience so that she received fewer votes. Speaking of votes, even though Mondo won the popular vote, Michael C. gets the last laugh — and a week of immunity — with the judges’ (electoral?) vote.

Was Mondo losing to Michael C. fair?

Adieu, sweet Peach. We shall miss you and your Peachisms.


Upcoming "Project Runway" Judges: Cynthia Rowley, Kristen Bell & January Jones!

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 10:32am GMT

It's all about the ladies in the next few weeks of "Project Runway"! Tune in for Thursday's new episode (9 pm et/pt) when designer Cynthia Rowley occupies the guest judge's seat!

Just in time for New York Fashion Week, "Burlesque" beauty Kristen Bell and Betty Draper herself, "Mad Men" star January Jones, are our upcoming guest judges for Episodes 7 and 8 in September.

Project Runway Season 8 judges Kristen Bell and January Jones

Keep checking back for more exciting "Project Runway" news here on the blog, or follow us on Twitter (@projectrunway) for on-the-go updates.


Moves Magazine's Fashion's Night Out Party Features Past "Runway" Designers

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:27pm GMT

In an effort to help end food poverty in New York City, Moves Magazine challenged "Project Runway" designers with the task of creating an orange-themed handbag to benefit Food Bank and their hunger awareness — stitching for a cause to reach 3.3 million hungry New Yorkers.

"Runway" alumni Laura Bennett, Chloe Dao, Andrae Gonzalo, Althea Harper, Mila Hermanovski, Johnathan Kayne, Korto Momolu and Carol Hannah Whitfield are participating. Get all the details about the bags on NewYorkMoves.com