Friday, August 21, 2009

Opening Night

I am not interested in the Weinstein kerfuffle which kept PR away for a year, nor a discussion of the relative merits or demerits of the show moving to LA. I wasn't particularly concerned about the show airing on "Lifetime" because those of us without DVRs can't get enough commercials about upcoming "original features" starring Joan Cusak or Lea Thompson. But unfortunately I must get a little pissy about the fact that, despite prior research on both the Web and the local paper which indicated otherwise, Lifetime did not program the evening as stated, at least not here on the Left Coast. Consequently, thinking the premiere wasn't until 10pm and having little interest in the "All Star Challenge", MAB and I were still enjoying chicken enchiladas and very tart lemon tart at a restaurant with my family when the show actually premiered. In fact, by the time we sauntered into The Neighbor's house we'd already missed one "premiere" and they'd reached the runway of the second. (Note to the folks at Lifetime, I do not think "premiere" means what you think it means).

But we will put all that behind us because, hello?, "Project Runway" is BACK, baby!

The first show is always makes me feel a little like my brain has been put in a veg-o-matic. Too many designers to keep track of and not enough time devoted to designing. But let's slice & dice our way through the contestants for this season:

Ra'mon is from Chi-town and made the dramatic decision to abandon something at which he was "great" (neurosurgery) for that about which he was passionate (designing). (And I'm sure his parents were just bustin' with pride when he told them that).

Logan is from Seattle (shout out!) and Cake, The Neighbor's daughter, knows him. He's straight and a "strong patternmaker".

Johnny is a former crystal meth addict who just wants to do his best and Gordana is a big Easter European girl who wants to design for "all the girls with big dreams". I think she could hurt me and I'm a little frightened.

Malvin is an androgynous freak chap who "doesn't want to exclude anyone" from his "art". The Neighbor says he reminds her of Christian. I'm like, "Yeah, without the sass or talent". Divining a point of view from someone from such an amorphous position could be interesting.

Carol Hannah (and that just does not roll off the tongue) describes her POV as "pixie meets cocktail party" and just as she is about to give us a dissertation on how no one takes a blond from Texas seriously she, ummm, loses her train of thought.

Qristyl, whose parents were very bad at spelling, is into "plus sexy"...pretty clothes for big girls.

Shirin is an adorable thing whose name in Farsi means "sweet" and who enjoys making clothes that are like Transformers.

Nichol describes himself as the "Feather Prince" and the hand on my ick-o-meter fell off and had to be reattached during the commercial break.

Mitchell is an arrogant so and so who claims to "know what fits, know what women like and know what sells" & Ari is the token freak-o-rama who enjoys conversing with fabric to ascertain what it wants to be.

Althea has a dog named "Princess". 'Nuff said.

Louise looks like Louise Brooks and, not surprisingly, represents a look that is inspired by the 20s, 30s & 40s. Your grandma's retro.

Epperson is a big, tall family man who belongs on the cover of a Bob Marley album.

Christopher has no schoolin' and never learned design but his personal motto is "someday you'll be amazing". I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Phew. That was exhausting. Let's all go up to the roof and have champagn-ya with Heidi & Tim!!!

Next morning our designers meet with Tim, who announces that the first challenge is to design a red carpet look that shows "innovation and your Point of View". Everyone has 30 minutes to sketch, $200 to spend, 30 minutes to shop and a day and a half to create.

Malvin notes that he does not differentiate between colors of carpet and simply wants to make something that will make the wearer feel "treasured". I throw up a little in my mouth.

Ari doesn't sketch. She meditates, flits and stands on her head.

Mitchell has to explain smocking to Christopher. Meanwhile, Johnny the former meth head, is already succumbing to the pressure and puts himself in timeout where The Gunn finds him weeping and biting his pillow. While the melt-down makes us squirm, The Gunn is superfantastic in his display of compassion and encouragement. He kisses Johnny on the cheek and gives us our first "make it work" of the season. Awww. We love The Gunn.

Additional highlights in the work room: The Gunn telling Ari that her work tends toward being a "halter diaper" that risks doing unflattering things to a woman's backside: "the big butt factor is a big but", he says and Mitchell, who you'll remember "knows what fits", is all a twitter because the model he has apparently does not possess the proportions given him and hence must remake his entire (horrible) gown.

Then it's time for the runway! Don't forget the Bluefly Macy's accessory wall! And we get what I can only hope is a new Gunnism: "10 minutes and it's a hard out!" He sounds so forceful when he says that. Makes me shiver.

The Runway
Heidi welcomes the designers and introduces our first guest judge of the season, Lindsay Lohan, who is fit for this judging owing to her vast experience face down on the red carpet. "She's tiny," says The Neighbor. "Anorexia will do that for you," says Moi.

Nina is back, of course, with a new job. Now she's with Marie Claire and there's Michael Kors being Kors-y. (I tried on some eye glass frames by him the other day, btw. Had a complete PTSD moment and was back in 4th grade for a while. They were quite awful).

Malvin's dress was something MAB said she'd wear to work but not on the red carpet. Mitchell tries to justify his too sheer negligee of a "dress" by saying that people have walked the red carpet "half naked" before, to which I say, "Perhaps, but you're no Bob Mackie".

The girl with the name that means "sweet" sends down a dress that has a cape like structure that folds down into an awesome bustle-y thing at the back of a very hot dress. We liked it a lot.

Ari sent down some sort of hideous mess that wouldn't even play at the Nickolodean Kid's Choice Awards and while Nic opines in voice over that the judges "seem to be liking" his dress all we see are very quizzical looks.

Overall, a number of very pretty dresses went down the runway (you can see them all here) with a couple of head scratchers and just enough awful to keep things interesting. And of course, given that we have 16 designers, the vast majority, for good or ill, are safe.

Left on the runway are Qristyl, Christopher, Ra'mon, Ari, Johnny & Mitchell. The judges like the back of Qristyl's dress but Heidi declares the front "a mess" and Kors cautions that the wearer would be "hammered by the tabloids". Christopher's short, two-toned ruffle confection (which he said could be on the VMA red carpet) is praised for being "hard and soft", "cute and edgy", although Heidi isn't wild about the color and LiLo would like it with fewer ruffles.

Ra'mon's dress is deemed Oscars worthy but he is told by Kors to "pump up" and not be afraid and LiLo agreed that it was "safe" but certainly pretty.

Ari declared that her mess outfit's wearer would go first to the VMA's and then on to receive her Nobel Prize. Uh, sure. Kors tells her it looks like a "disco soccer ball" and that it's fine to be avant garde but you still have to "find beauty".

Johnny has constructed some sort of weird red thing that looks like an origami tent but the judges, maybe afraid of a relapse, are kind. They find it "seductive but not overly sexy" (Nina) and Kors said it was "so interesting it didn't need an interesting color" (I don't know what he meant either; he'd have skewered the boy if the dress had been in black - which is the color they all said it should have been).

Some of the most scathing critique was reserved for Mitchell, who couldn't wait to complain that he'd been given wrong measurements for his model and had to rework everything. Somehow, that didn't excuse the inappropriately diaphanous look which Nina declared "completely sheer and completely unwearable". MK did suggest it would make a "kinda cool nightgown"

The Judging

Q's dress is a "nightmare" that makes the judges question her overall taste level. They can't figure out if Ari was being serious or if her design is the sort of thing that makes you wonder if the problem isn't with the designer but your own intelligence. Trust me, even Kors is smart enough to know bad when bad is staring him in the face. Mitchell doesn't come off much better with his "nightgown caftan that no one could wear".

Christopher is declared the winner for his "nice balance of edgy and pretty". While it was not a horrible dress, I briefly considered the last 5 winners of the Best Female Actor Oscar and couldn't imagine any of them wearing that dress on the red carpet. The Vanity Fair after-party, maybe, but not the red carpet. Perhaps LiLo was generously sharing her stash.

As for the loser, while Heidi gave Mitchell the German-school-marm smack down for both making excuses and also creating a dress that was "not great", it was airy fairy Ari who was auf'ed because, as Heidi said, "It is one thing to aim outside of the box and another to miss it completely". Words to live by.

Now go look at all the pretty pictures while I spend the next 7 days trying to figure out when the show will actually air. Kiss kiss.



Blogger rosemary opined...

Well done....I think.

August 21, 2009 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

I was going to make a comment about Tim Gunn's "hard out" but it's probably not very appropriate for this venue so I won't.

August 21, 2009 11:59 AM  
Blogger Anne opined...

Lifetime aired the show at 7?!!!!!

I was on their site yesterday checking stuff out and it clearly said "10pm et/pt."

those turkeys, sheesh.

I'm glad the show is back, I hope they have a another season filming right now, I can't wait another year after this.

LiLo? really?

August 21, 2009 12:23 PM  
Blogger sageweb opined...

Bravo!! er I mean Lifetime!!
Listen lady I think I told you in the comments yesterday that the show will air at a different time than what they say..that is how Lifetime rolls.

August 21, 2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger MaryB opined...

Project Runway - be still my foolish heart! And Lorraine's recaps - joy!

But I could do without the Lifetime. God Bless DVR! I never want to see Sandra Bullock in a Rod Stewart wig again...

Now I need to find a a way to get the rest of Fisher House HQ to watch.

August 21, 2009 2:04 PM  
Blogger Al In The County opined...

I will post soon on what it was like to watch my Farmer Partner watch PR for the first time in his life. Interesting...

Mitchell is the guy at the bar that everyone puts up with being part of the group because he occasionally will buy a round and his keep, but no one really likes. And that dress was a disaster before the model issue. We do not like him. At all.

Johnny's dress - the front was so-so, but there was something really cool about the cut and draping on the back. Can't pinpoint it, but know I kept saying "that's cool" everytime the model turned around...

August 21, 2009 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous opined...

Ba Ha Ha Ha

See. All that in just a few hours.
Would have taken me days and then it would not have been anywhere near as cool, humorous or informative. You gots a gift.

You could write a good book in just a couple months no problemo.



August 21, 2009 4:41 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

I don't know from fashion.
I'm just here for the brilliant writing,..and snacks.

August 21, 2009 5:55 PM  
Blogger Doralong opined...

Actually I found the back of Johnny's dress rather fetching. The hemline, not so much. This ought to be an entertaining season, seems like a good balance between nut jobs, the young and hopeful and the serious sorts to make it amusing.

I died when I found out Tim Gunn is now in Marvel Comics!!!!!! Root out those crimes against fashion Professor!

August 22, 2009 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Tina opined...

I agree that Christoper's dress wouldn't be appropriate at the Oscars, but that is why he said his red carpet was the Video Music Awards, where it would be. Overall, I thought there were a lot of blah outfits for what was a seriously underwhelming first challenge. Nice write-up though.

August 23, 2009 9:58 AM  
Blogger Cliff O'Neill opined...

Yea! We're back!

Nichol describes himself as the "Feather Prince" and the hand on my ick-o-meter fell off and had to be reattached during the commercial break.

Cracked me up!! I get a major case of the Huzz when I see him. And I'm afraid Logan may be the requisite douchebag of the show. Just a feeling.

Oh and ...

Anorexia will do that for you," says Moi/

... and so does cocaine. Lots and lots of cocaine.

August 23, 2009 1:32 PM  
Anonymous QueenVee opined...

Regarding show times, if you have satelite tv then the shows run three hours earlier than the stated time, which is east coast time. Actually, for me that lets me watch it and not have to record it.

August 23, 2009 3:02 PM  
Blogger Grish opined...

Did somoene say snacks?

August 27, 2009 12:43 PM  

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