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The Project Runway Blog


15 Reasons Why Gretchen Should Go Into Politics or Avoid Being Seen in Public Today

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, mostly because Gretchen has taken away every desire I ever had to be long-winded, with her nonsensicalness in this episode.

Let’s (briefly) recap the Episode 5 shenanigans:

• Team “We’ve All Won Stuff and the Other Team Hasn’t” really consists of one person who won twice and two people who’ve won once.
• Thank god neither team picked ’50s Retro Leopard and Cheetah.
• Gretchen (a.k.a. “one person who won twice”) pontificates on how wonderful working together is, but is actually assuming the role of the leader and telling everyone what to do.
• Casanova thinks he’s fat and is tired of being told his clothes are not up to par by Tim Gum, Tim Gunn’s cousin who works for Wrigley.
• If Michael C. decided to go rogue and make ’50s Retro Leopard and Cheetah, it would have been fine, ’cause the guy has IMMUNITY. Meaning he is IMMUNE from going home, even if people think he can’t sew.

Do you think Team Military & Lace had it in the bag?

Now, on to the catwalk …

Team Military & Lace had it in the bag simply because each designer maintained their individuality in a unified, lacy front. Team Luxe was neither a team nor luxe. It was the Gretchen Show and it was filled with ho-hum textiles, many of which, if not all, were completely void of any individuality. Yes, they all sewed at a feverish, mass-assembly pace when they weren’t schooling or scolding Michael C., but at what cost to the overall effect?

Maybe I watch too many History Channel specials, but Gretchen Jones needs to run for office. She’ll be the most fashion-forward person on the Hill.

Gretchen has the misfortune of not only pulling a so-called “John Kerry” as self-appointed team spokesperson, flip-flopping from saying how much she loved the collection to saying how much she wanted to burn in it effigy 15 minutes later, but also becoming the William Henry Harrison of the runway. Harrison’s claim to fame is having served the shortest term as U.S. president (one month!), thanks to a two-hour-long inaugural address (the longest in American history) he gave in the freezing rain (that later killed him, but that’s neither here nor there). He spoke and spoke and spoke, much like Gretchen — covered in rain, much like Gretchen’s tears, for hours.

A.J. French seams away

I literally started watching the Team Luxe judging where Gretchen was commander-in-chief going down with the beloved sinking collection, left the room, ran a marathon, flossed, pondered the meaning of life and returned to find Gretchen still yapping. Except now she hated the Elderly 2010 she had created, and was pacing the catwalk pointing out all of the garments she had constructed.

Thankfully, this all helped paint for the judges a blinking neon sign of a picture of Gretchen’s serious backpedaling, but also exposed how A.J. had a hand in creating only one (but he French-seamed it!) shirt.

Do you think Gretchen should have gone home?

Tim Gunn’s farewell to A.J./kick in the pants to Gretchen backstage was epic. It summed up the opinion of every American, near and far, far and wide … If only he’d also told her to shut up.


Kirstin Haskins Simms: Retiring the Wooly Balls

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:59pm GMT

The very week after she tickled us — and Tim Gunn — pink, Kristin Haskins Simms ends her "Project Runway" journey. Check out the Lifetime Mom interview with a post-auf'd Kristin here, then read on to view our video picks for Kristin’s best (and ballsiest) “Project Runway” moments.


The Hat Trick: Never Use Taffeta

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

This was one of the more perplexing episodes of “Project Runway” I’ve seen in a long time. Hats off to judging that made little to no sense!

Let’s start from the beginning. Hat designer Philip Treacy is serving as this week’s guest judge, bringing a fun new element of style to the table and helping satisfy the “someone with a pretty Irish accent on the show” quota for Season 8.

Maybe the designers are trying to prove an allegiance to their models, or maybe they just don’t want to fit someone new this week, but if you have the option to pick the Philip Treacy hat that is going to either make or break you and you willingly stick with one you admittedly don’t like just because the model you had for the past three challenges is wearing it, you are a moron. “Mothereffing walk-offs” were caused over less! This is a competition!

We also learn Ivy is alive and well after her fainting spell and is hydrating herself, while Gretchen is suddenly back in the in-crowd in the workroom. Casanova is bringing the ’80s back with his Donna Karan-esque black dress, but at least his design is within a taste level no one can chastise this week. THIS week.

Elsewhere, Michael C. is celebrating Father’s Day by having a fabric crisis. We have puckering, people! Thankfully, Tim Gunn is there to talk him down from the ledge and have him embrace a whole new silhouette, with mere hours to sew. Other Michael is working hard at redeeming himself from — and Laura Bennett will back me up on this — last week’s equivalent of a “Whoa! I got my lip gloss through Customs!” slide of the season, by creating something truly worthy of Philip’s architectural hat.

Kristin's Afternoon Delight

Now segue to Kristin having an “afternoon delight” moment with her orchid hat, which is both amusing and disturbing. I am pretty sure this is the first time in the show’s history that anyone has uttered the word “vagina,” which will henceforth be called “the good china,” per Peach Carr’s genius unrelated one-liner.

April, as much as I love her personality, has undoubtedly created diaper shorts, which somehow became dubbed the “triple panty” by the time it hit the runway. But she was dead-on with the resort motif. Christopher, conversely, has created an amazing look around his hat, but is struggling with the styling and is looking toward the options on the Piperlime Accessories Wall for help.

I have this mental-picture backstory, if you will, of the camera and sound crew coming across Gretchen, covered head to toe in makeup and hair products, in the L’Oral Paris Makeup Room and Garnier Hair Studio the morning of the show. They make eye contact with her, only to slowly back out of the room with the mutual understanding that “we never saw you here.” Seriously, though! Where did this Plain Jane–to-Jezebel look, with the hair all down and sassy, come from? The mystery of Gretchen continues, but her winning streak does not.

As the “safe” folk are paraded backstage (I’m loving these Designers Dish moments, by the way), I am left with what I was assuming to be the top and bottom six. However, if this were Vegas, or at least Atlantic City, I would have lost — badly!

More reasons to love Chris...

I’m sorry, I loved Valerie’s design, but it was so reminiscent to me of her Episode 2 look that I just couldn’t get past it. I figured for sure that she must be getting some feedback from the judges on the danger of being one-note. I also was betting that Christopher “I love you more every episode for reasons unbeknownst to me” Collins was getting the “Hey, we know who you are this week!” judging speech. I know he wasn’t in love with the possible pirate styling he inadvertently stumbled into, but in a way I was thankful it went there. I wanted it to differ from the “ladies who lunch and have a fabulous wardrobe” moments he had been creating since week one. Like the rest of the universe, taffeta or not, I thought he was in the top.

We know Michael D. was certainly on top for his great use of textures and symmetry, but I was on the fence about Michael C.’s concept. Yeah, you made it in negative two hours, but I feel like I’ve seen this dress in front of a trillion step-and-repeats (and apparently, on my last trip to Puerto Rico). It was just OK for me. Kristin’s, though, really fell short of the mark, and it was clear that even with April’s misstep, she was going home.

Ivy takes a lot of heat for her comments, but truer words have never been spoken than the ones that came from her when we were subjected to Michael C.’s self-congratulatory monologue. Thank you! We get it, guy. You won! Philip thought it was deeeee-vine. We’ve moved on. I hope for the designers’ sake they have, too, if they want to survive next week’s team challenge!

What Did You Think of This Week’s Judging?

P.S. Did anyone else immediately think that their iTunes playlist suddenly went rogue as Heidi strutted onto the runway to her hubby’s Grammy-winning song? ’Cause clearly, I did. And, yes, I own that song.

After Party: The Best of Sarah Trost

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:29pm GMT

Find out what last week’s auf’d contestant, Sarah Trost, has to say about getting the boot and about the remaining contestants, in her interview with the Lifetime Moms. Then, keep reading to catch our video picks for Sarah’s best (and funniest) “Project Runway” moments.


The Quote Heard 'Round the World: Tim Gunn Prefers Wooly Balls

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:37pm GMT

By popular demand, the extended edit of the "Tim prefers wooly balls" scene from Episode 3, which may go down in "Runway" history as the greatest video clip of all time:


Good Girl Gone Bad

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

Saluting Andy South!

I don't even know where to begin with this episode. This looms large in the legend of "Runway" unconventional challenges, like Austin Scarlett's corn-husk dress in Season 1 and Jillian Lewis' Twizzler outfit in Season 4. Who would have thought that ribbons could be that, well, badass? Andy, I salute you. Even his balloon-glove accessory was so surprisingly surprising, it brought back the wow-factor innovation of Season 7's Jay Nicolas Sario's garbage-bag pleather pants.

Now let's just talk about what everyone wants to talk about (besides Wooly Balls and Plush Puppies — that's later): Gretchen's "good girl gone bad" attitude.

Sister, I realize you've won two challenges back to back, but that does not give you the Tim Gunn Junior Design Critique Badge for your Girl Scout sash, too. "Takes the class out of what you're doing"? Wow.

Giving fellow designers your two cents has traditionally backfired in many an episode, and I'm sure fellow blogger Nick Verreos can preach about his own showdown with Lupe in Season 2 — and he's an instructor!

If you've already made frenemies by Episode 3, you're forgetting about those TEAM challenges. But, OK. Fine. I'll give it to her. The girl can put together a solid look.

Tim Gunn has a giggle fit.

Now on to Tim's giggle fit over wooly balls. Whoever branded those things with THAT name is a comedic genius whose talents are simply suffocating at suburban arts-and-crafts stores. The mere presence of them out on tables would make it a party! Kristin should have just stapled unopened bags all over her garment. Winner.

In eight seasons I have never seen Tim Gunn laugh that hard, ever. Even during "Tim and Andrae at Red Lobster" moments. I may need to watch it all over again to see if he actually gave Kristin workroom feedback or just cried all over her fabric in hysterics. Either way, an epic moment in "Runway" history.

As for plush puppies, I can't even handle it. From the macabre gutting and skinning of their little Made in China synthetic hides that could give that "Nip/Tuck" episode a run for its money (you know which one I'm talking about!), to his "Poor Unfortunate Souls" Ursula final creation, what is this man's deal?! I am waiting for him to bust out of left field some genius garment that will leave us all even more perplexed, 'cause this guy is all over the place.

Poor Sarah. Her voice is so calm and soothing, I will miss listening to her video blogs. She's like audio Xanax or something. She will also miss the moment she subscribed to Gretchen's "stick to one color" advice. Womp.

Other thoughts:
- How was Michael Drummond safe? Just, HOW?

- Who knew napkins were so ... multipurpose?

- A.J.'s garment was a like a Highlights magazine dress — filled with fun hidden stuff you had to find. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a plush puppy stashed away in there for good measure. Betsey Johnson would have LOVED it!


Get the Goods From the Piperlime Accessories Wall, Plus Meet Season 8 Designers

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 12:49pm GMT

Want to meet the Season 8 designers, get their limited edition designed tote bag and snag some top fall styles? Look no further than the Piperlime pop-up store during Fashion Week in September! Read on for all the fun fashion details!


Jason Troisi as Dexter Morgan, and Other Crazy Episode 2 Things

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:55am GMT

Not a serial killer.

As I’ve mentioned a fair number of times in the past, working on a show like “Project Runway” is a little bit awesome. This season I had the opportunity to see many of the auditions in person — with Uncle Nick and Sir Gunn! — and produce some of the home-visit videos. I know a lot of people swear that reality TV changes a person, and maybe it does, or perhaps isn’t an exact representation of someone, but how could sewing at a feverish pace for celebrity judges with cameras in your face possibly be normal, anyway?

I saw these Season 8 designers before they even set foot inside of Parsons or near a camera, so take my word when I say that even though Michael Costello (hilariously) swears up and down that Jason Troisi may be pulling a bit of a Dexter Morgan on us, I am living to tell the tale after surviving the “horror” that was Greenwich, Connecticut.

Truth be told — staplers, pins and all — the only thing I have been surprised by was the quality of his work before the show, versus the two pieces he showed on the runway. Maybe he couldn’t deal with the time constraints for the challenges, or maybe is trying to get all the Staples Rewards points he can get, but that’s what makes winning “Project Runway” all the more impressive. All the time in the world was not going to make that crazy dress work. Keep living that dream, guy.

Speaking of conspiracies, I do, however, wish I had been at Casanova’s audition to see this whole “pretending not to speak English” thing for myself. Amazing, though, that he managed to come up with the “prostitute (Episode 1)-to-virgin (Episode 2)” allegory. Two points for fashion’s greatest lover!

The Greatest Hater of Fashion’s Greatest Lover award may go to A.J. Thouvenot. Rawr! He will sooner cut you with those scissors than help teach you Garment Construction 101. (Marla-and-Chloe-in-Season-2 moment, anyone?)

Seeing double...

Elsewhere in the workroom, language conspiracy theorist Nicholas is proudly showing off his cloak/blouse/skirt creation to Tim as Challenge 1 winner Gretchen stares him down. The back of that garment did look a hell of a lot like her first design, but because she’s nice and from Oregon, she won’t tell him to his face. Plus, she probably knew in the back of her mind that Coco Rocha would be doing crazy switch leaps in her second-time-win jumpsuit later.

I do think the judges were pretty much on point with all of their reviews (see the full edit in our Extended Judging videos), but no one else noticed the biggest rip-off of the entire episode, other than yours truly? Kristin ripping off HERSELF. I know she has to know how to make something other than that. I’ve seen her portfolio. Well, I cannot wait to see what color it will be in next week.

Which Designer Should Have Been Auf'd This Week?

P.S. I need to steal some of Christopher Collins’ expressions. (“It’s just so operatic, I can’t stand it!”)

P.P.S. Mondo needs to direct more photo shoots. Oh em gee! I am also glad that “Designing Women” didn’t bring Joanna Coles to the States. Woah.

P.P.S. For those of you still playing at home, Valerie’s “YC” logo on her shirts in this episode is for her label – YellowCake. #productplacementwin


Blogging Project Runway Poll: Episode 1

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:30am GMT

Blogging Project Runway will be presenting fan polls each week on this blog. Come back to see the final results and for new polls. Thanks for voting!

Blogging Project Runway Poll

Who will be Season 8's biggest drama queen?

Blogging Project Runway Poll

Pants Out of Pants, Kimonos Out of Kimonos

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 6:00am GMT

The first “Runway” of Season 8 is finally here! All 90 minutes of it! So what’s new? (You really have no excuse to not watch it right now if you don’t already know, by the way. Full episodes of “Project Runway” are now available on Fridays! Rejoice!)

First off, there are 17 designers — the most in any season of the show. And it will only last … for an episode. The first challenge is being told that you have not actually been cast on the show! So not only will you go down in history as the first person to go home for the season, like the other Daniel Francos of the universe, but you didn’t even make it. Dag. They do not make greeting cards for that one, y’all.

Diving into the workroom with Tim

Second, there’s a new set and a new shiny runway. I have no idea what the catwalk is made of, but it looks like it would make an über-stylish Slip-n-Slide.

Let’s just dive right into it and move on to the workroom …

Poor Casanova is in mourning over his Dolce & Gabbana $1,007 pants, which I swore made their debut on the show as costing $1,070, but I could be wrong. This economy is killing everything, even designer pants prices in 90 minutes. Distracting him from Valerie’s seam ripping of his precious pantalones is his need to dress his model in as little clothing as possible. If anyone is still giving Season 7’s Emilio Sosa a hard time for his infamous string bikini, you should really give the guy a break now. Really.

To continue the “boobs” theme happening here, there’s Peach, using tulle to stuff her model’s dress and fill out the bust, and Jason, who, while making a kimono out of a kimono, became so distracted by his model’s heaving bosom that he couldn’t even finish his fitting. If he’s with the same model next week, this is going to be a recurring theme.

On to the runway and the judging …

I don’t know about you, but I really didn’t find McKell’s design so offensive. Jason stapled a kimono backwards on his model and called it a new garment. Stapled. Like what I used to do with my school uniform after I stepped on the hem in the playground and didn’t want a nun to give me detention. Nuns, like Michael Kors, may wear the same “uniform” every day, but Mr. Kors knows a jacked-up sewing job when he sees one! Then there’s Ivy, who may have made pants out of pants, but fought with every inch of her 5'1" frame to stay in the game and prove herself as a legitimate contender.

Get this boy a shot!

A standout moment is when La Señora Nina Garcia helps Heidi translate her thoughts to Casanova, the kind of sight I haven’t seen since Heidi broke out some German for Uli’s mother in Season 3! Languages and fashion come together once again.

Poor Nicholas. I wanted to hit “pause” and buy that man a shot or five. He is probably one of the most nervous contestants I’ve ever seen during judging on the runway, as opposed to, say, Andrae Gonzalo, who at least let it all pour out … of his eyes. But the judges let him stay!

The most awkward part of the whole episode was when McKell walked back into the designers’ area backstage and was cheered — and then hugged goodbye. Hasn’t this girl been through enough?!

Tune in next week, when Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles reveals whatever the “huge!” next challenge will be, and we see which of the remaining 16 designers makes the cut!