Thursday, November 29, 2007

Won't anyone think of the children?

Like all ProjRun superfans, Rachel and I kept up the chatter about what the "ZOMG! Hardest Challenge EVAR!1!" (notice a theme?) might be. Rachel had her fingers, toes, hair, internal organs, crossed that it might be children. CAN YOU IMAGINE? That would be the hardest challenge ever.

I was totally bored by the fact that it was menswear. So bored that I actually fell asleep right before elimination. Ok, so that last part is true, but its not necessarily because it was menswear. Also, don't we recall menswear from another season? Rachel, help me out here...

Although it wasn't kids, I liked seeing the designers leave their comfort zones for the world of menswear. It was interesting to see how making clothes for men was so much harder for these people than creating garments using flowers, home decorations, paper, etc. The only other time I can remember Project Runway delving into menswear was in Season 2, when the contestants had to dress each other. In her first attempt at dressing a guy, Chloe won with an awesome outfit she made for "Uncle" Nick Verreos.

Anyway, a"s much as I am bitching about the ZOMG Hardest Challenge EVAR!1!, I sort of love it when Project Runway shakes these designers out of their little fashion world. You know, the world that is populated by tall, stick-thin dolls that you can dress and undress even without the convenient snaps in the back. It's all "WHAT clothes go above size 2? Fat people wear clothes? Old women wear clothes? MEN wear clothes? WHAT?!"

Even better that the client is Tiki Barber:

You know whatever they made would not fit Tiki's "thick neck, skinny waist and BIG BOOTY." ok, so he didn't say that exactly, but you get the point.

Tiki Barber cannot lie -- he's got a big butt. Seriously, Tiki and wife Mrs. Tiki seemed to spend a lot of time thinking about ways to show off or hide Barber's rear end. It was all for naught, however, because none of the designers knew who he was. Tiki was just another customer. The vast difference in body type between a big, burly football player and relatively skinny male models made it difficult for me to picture Tiki wearing ANY of the designs. I'll have to Google for a pic of him wearing the winner on the Today show.

I personally liked Kevin's design best. He not only made an amazing outfit that totally met Tiki's specifications (What was with him all saying "I'll wear pink" during the interview, but switching and saying he would wear the outfit with a different shirt during runway? Oh Tiki.)

Kevin's design was great, although there was some definite weirdness going on about the purple shirt. At least we found out that Seal -- aka Mr. Heidi Klum -- wouldn't be allowed out of the house in a plummy shade. Too bad, because I think both Seal and Tiki could rock this color.

OHMIGOSH wait a gosh darn second here. How could I not mention the most important part of this episode? MALE MODELS. This is where we get to FINALLY objectify men.

The arrival of the male models was the best part of the whole episode. Loved how the editors included plenty of gratuitous underwear and abdominal shots. The level of awe among the designers made me wonder why more of them aren't menswear designers -- maybe they're afraid of getting too distracted by the eye candy?

Do you think Elisa just spit on her model's...pants seam?

Not much Elisa craziness this time, except for the scene where she turned her back as the model got undressed. Oh Elisa, if you can spit on clothing you can definitely handle the intimacy of looking at a half-clothed man.

Anyway, in the end Carmen went home cause, uhhh, she didn't even have a shirt on her model. Imagine if that had been a woman ... I have to say, for not having a shirt, she made the piece of fabric work.

Poor Carmen. I knew she was done for when Michael Kors called her out for crazy crotch action; anyone who saw Bradley's Cher outfit from Season 3's Icon challenge knows this area is one of Kors' pet peeves. I was shocked by how many of the designs were completed before the runway show because almost everyone seemed to have a ton of work to do with only hours to go.

He looks like Oliver Twist. Please sir, can I have a shirt?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"What planet are you from?"

Do you think all of the past Project Runway contestants were kind of jealous watching last week's episode? For years, designers speculated that Sara Jessica Parker would be that week's "surprise fashion icon" only to get stuck with Iman or Parker Posey instead.

SJP was a reward to both contestants and viewers -- watching the designers (and models) plotz over the "Sex in the City" star was a riot. There were more tears than a Barbara Walters special! I thought Chris was going to have a heart attack while trying to pitch his design.

The challenge was to create a look for Parker's Bitten line, which is sold at Steve & Barry's discount chain. The garment had to retail for less than $40 and the contestants had a KMart-worthy $15 to spend on fabric.

This was a team challenge so we also got our first taste of how these contestants work in groups. To the surprise of no one, Elisa and Sweet P's partnering created the most drama. Apparently Elisa doesn't know how to use a sewing machine and enjoys spitting on her fabric (to the absolute disgust of judges and contestants.) Poor Sweet P -- she was trapped in the Twilight Zone for the entire hour. Heidi seemed to sum things up for everyone when she hilariously asked Elisa: "What planet are you from?"

The Elisa/Sweet P collaboration ultimately produced the day's second highest scoring design. The cape was a beautiful color and very unique in its construction, particularly for the type of customer Bitten is marketed toward. But the teal color of the dress was pretty tacky.

Which brings me to Christian and Carmen's design, one of the night's worst. Also a teal monstrosity, the dress was unflattering even to the stick-thin model. The jacket was straight out of a bad 80s movie. Even Alexis Colby from Dynasty would have passed it by.

Victorya designed the winning outfit, a tunic-dress/vest combo. The sophisticated color palette -- navy and plum -- really made the dress stand out from the rest of the pack. I'm not sure how flattering the design would be on the average body type -- but the dress is currently available at Steve & Barry's stores so I guess the public can judge for themselves.

I wish the judges had given more time and praise to Ricky and Jack's pretty, wearable magenta dress and woven belt. The dress flared out from the body and the belt defined the waist, making the look accessible to a wide variety of women. Plus it was totally cute. Victorya won because her dress was more fashion-forward, but I think this look is more likely to stand the test of time.

Marion and Steven were judged the week's worst with Marion's fringed sweater tunic and skirt. The judges nailed the biggest flaws of the design -- the color made the garment look dusty and old and the look was very low-budget Pocahontas.

The departure of Marion was no great loss. He hadn't done much to distinguish himself from the pack and I think that the rest of the "bottom four" -- Carmen, Christian and Steve -- have a lot more to offer this competition.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why I'm thankful for Project Runway

Forty-eight hours of sprained ankle-related discomfort + 24 hours of living every, single hellish airport-related cliche did me in last night. I went to bed early and missed Episode Two of Season Four. I know, I know -- Tim Gunn would be so disappointed.

I plan to watch one of Bravo's three million repeat showings in the next few days. Until then, I'm taking advantage of the holiday to list the Top Five Reasons I'm Thankful for Project Runway:

1. "Lighten Up! It's Just Fashion!" -- I'm not a big fan of most reality shows. Survivor, Big Brother, Kid Nation -- can't stand any of them because I hate the way producers exploit the contestants and their emotional/physical problems for ratings gain.

That's why Project Runway is so refreshing. The designers are, for the most part, talented professionals. Those who aren't entertain us with their sewing, rather than personal, foibles. While the show is a competition, it's also the chance to see the creative process at work.

2. "Make it Work!" -- Given the edict to design a dress out of flowers, recycled paper or home furnishings, I'd crack in two minutes over construction issues. But each week, the designers have to find a way to express themselves within the parameter of crazy challenges.

Sometimes they fail -- miserably (think Season 3 Kayne's recycled dress, which looked like an alien costume in a low budget science fiction movie.) And sometimes they create a garment so innovative that you can't believe it was made from coffee filters (i.e. Season 3 Michael's entry in the "Make an outfit out of the decorations in your apartments" challenge.) Either way, the materials' evolution from mere stuff to a (mostly) wearable garment is always entertaining.

3. "Designers? Gather 'round" -- I (and just about every other PR fan) can't say enough about the articulate joys of Tim Gunn. But Project Runway really hit the jackpot with the entire hosting/judging team. Heidi Klum is unexpectedly snarky, Michael Kors is appropriately whiny and Nina Garcia probably shouldn't be allowed in the proximity of wire hangers. But all four seem genuinely committed to the competition and to the contestants. Compare that to the judging/hosting team at Top Chef who seem committed to laughing at, rather than with, the cooks and you see how it makes all the difference.

4. "Where the Hell is my chiffon?" -- Project Runway features all of the fighting, backbiting and sniping you expect when a group of strangers are thrown together, deprived of sleep and made to compete. But producers have done a serviceable job of finding contestants with personality without delving into Jerry Springer territory (I'm looking at you Big Brother.) Yes, Season 3's Vincent was a nut but his biggest outburst was an entertaining, expletive-heavy freak out about his laundry. Season Two's Santino could be a jerk, but he is legitimately talented and that made his struggles with the judges and contestants compelling to watch.

5. "It's a matter of taste." -- As the models prepare to take the runway at the end of each episode, the competition is always up in the air. The garment Tim Gunn praised 20 minutes before could be torn apart by the judges. The freak-of-the-week ensemble could be deemed "Elle-worthy" by Nina Garcia. The model might trip, the dress seam might rip or a less-than-stellar dress could be sold with a killer runway walk. The PR runway is a trip to the mall dressing room amped up 100 watts. You never know which garment is coming home with a win.

That's all for now. Happy turkey-eating!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Who is the surprise guest?

The ZOMG BIGGEST GUEST JUDGE EVAR!!1!! on Project Runway tonight has all the blogs, fashion writers and tv columns abuzz. Who is this surprise judge?

According to the LATimes, we are supposed to think of celebrities with three-WORD names. I had been thinking of celebrities with three-letter names, so I was all "Chris is getting tearful over Eve?" But three word names...

...well, this is not a spoiler, cause I don't actually know anything, but my guess is it has to do with a certain New Jersey rocker.

Rachel and I might be late in posting tomorrow, since I will be traveling in the morning and both of us will be stuffing our faces, but perhaps post-digestion we can digest the episode. And see if I was right!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Watching Project Runway with a contestant? awesome.

That's what Inky fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington got to do when she randomly ran into Jay McCarroll at Philadelphia University where he teaches a class. He, essentially, invites himself over to watch the preview and PRESTO! she has a lede about Jay McCarroll grabbing a slice of pizza while sitting on her couch. Like, in her house.


As a preview, this article is a bit late on our blog, but considering we started it the day after the show premiered, this is actually perfect timing.

A peek up the "Runway.'

Thursday, November 15, 2007


This is a double premiere--we are blogging about the premiere episode of Season Four of Project Runway AND we are premiering our new blog. We hope to become the Heather & Jessica of the Project Runway world, but let's see about that. I wish we could be Rich and make fancy gifs, but the best we can do is use pictures from

Ok, enough name-dropping.

What did you think about the contestants? Elisa annoyed the crap out of me. I think everyone was being nice when they kept describing her as "spiritual." I think the word they left out was "pretentious." I'm sorry, but when you are "spiritual" like that, it just comes off as being fake and trying too hard to be "one with the earth." Other people may differ with me, but I think the one thing we can all agree on is the execution of her dress was HORRIBLE.

Elisa is CRAZY. I was actually sad she didn't go with her first idea, to create a dress out of fabric "enhanced" with grass stains. That said, I'm not surprised that she's still "in." The judges always pick "train wreck ... but risk-taking!" over "poorly made." Simone's baby-doll dress looked like it was held together with thumb tacks and the matching shrug didn't match at all. So she's gone and we get to laugh at Elisa's antics for a few more weeks.

Upon seeing the dress, my precocious boyfriend said "It looks like the dress is pooping fabric!" Of course, as we all know, moments later, Heidi confirmed the same thing. Except she sounded cuter saying it with her German accent. (Sorry honnnnneeey).

This episode reminded me how much I love Heidi Klum. Despite being a supermodel glamazon, she actually has a personality. The "pooping fabric" comment rivals last year's "Who would want to be a fat Minnie Mouse?" comment about Season 3 Alison's paper dress. In other judge news, the evil duo of Michael Kors and Nina Garcia didn't have much of note to say last night but their facial expressions as the various looks were coming down the runway were priceless.


Rami's dress was definitely beautiful, but I personally liked Christian's a little more. I think Christian took a risk while Rami went safe. Of course, as a normal human, I'd be more likely to WEAR Rami's, but when did wearability become something we use to judge fashion. Try NEVER.

I loved Rami's dress. Loved the color, loved the draping and I could live with the flower. His win echoed last year's premiere, when Keith "I didn't cheat" Michael came out on top for a very simple, but well-constructed, blue dress. Hopefully Rami doesn't meet the same fate as Keith.

I liked Christian's look. The top was beautiful and I haven't seen much like it out there. My only complaint was with the skirt -- the asymmetrical aspect made the bubble hem look unfinished. However, I may be nitpicking because I don't like Christian. All of that showboating -- plus a whiny voice that belongs in silent film.


Rachel and I both agree that we thought Victorya's dress was totally overrated. I don't understand the judges--she totally made an average dress and then tacked on a metallic flower...and they loved it! Previous seasons, they have seen right through that ruse, not fallen over themselves with love:

Boring ass flower of hell.

What is up with that flower? The dress actually looks cuter in the picture than it did on the runway. But, thanks to the weird shoulder straps, the model couldn't move her arms -- that pretty much knocks the dress out of contention for dancing, eating, playing basketball, rock-climbing and all other activities that require movement.

I personally found Chris' dress to be underrated. I mean, I guess it passed, but I thought he should've been in the top three instead of Victorya. This could reveal my lack of fashion knowledge, but I thought this dress was just gorgeous. Maybe a little safe, but gorgeous:
I loved Chris' dress as well. The skirt was a little boring, but the top was beautiful. Actually I just like Chris in general -- he's kind of a cuddlier version of Jay McCarroll. And I can't wait to see how he handles the crazy challenges considering his work as a costume designer requires making dresses out of salad fixings. I also liked Chicago Steven's black suit and Sweet P's dress (which I thought was really the same idea as Victorya's but less dressy.)

Also, wasn't the preview for the season like the longest preview ever? And what's with the poll? Wasn't it totally obvious that Tim Gunn is everyone's favorite thing about Project Runway. I mean, D'uh!

It was so good to see the divine Tim Gunn once again! And I love how the contestants were already hip to the Tim love, applauding his catchphrase use and writing "Make it work!" on the apartment chalkboard. Now I'm just dying to know what this year's challenges are going to be. My vote? Making outfits for kids. That could create all sorts of drama.