Saturday, December 25, 2010

Eric Three Thousand's 2010 Holiday letter: the inspiring true story of how
I survived the year, based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

As many of you know, I lost my job at the beginning of the year. So I’ve spent 2010 trying to figure out what to do. My first idea was to star in a reality series in which I would drag my family around Alaska on hiking and fishing trips, pointing at bears, and saying “wow” a lot. Well, it turns out there was already a similar show in production. Apparently, some other unemployed person with no marketable skills beat me to it!
So, in this tough job market I realized that being an art historian might not be obscure enough. I needed something else to add to my resume. It got me thinking. You know when you’re on a plane and the flight attendant makes an announcement over the intercom about needing someone with a particular skill for an emergency situation? Something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just received a carton of correspondence, news clippings, broadsides, and annotated faculty senate reports, all concerning campus unrest during the Vietnam War era. We’re not sure how to proceed. Is there an archivist on board?” Well, the next time that happens I’m going to be prepared. In August I passed the exam to become a Certified Archivist! Now the world is just a little bit more secure. You’re welcome.
Next, I decided to get back to studying French with Rosetta Stone. The only problem is the voice-recognition software, which doesn’t seem to like my high, whispery voice. I’ve set it for “adolescent boy” but it still has trouble understanding me. I’m sure the neighbors are wondering why I’m screaming all the time. “TROIS! TROIS! I SAID TROIS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” Here are some useful phrases I’ve learned:
“Excuse me. Is this a pharmacy?”
“No, this is a bookstore.”
This is helpful if you are in France and you have trouble telling the difference between pharmacies and bookstores.
“Excuse me. I need a new television.”
“Why do you need a new television?”
“I need a new television because my old television is broken.”
This is helpful if you are in France and happen to run into the world’s dumbest salesperson.
“Excuse me. I need inexpensive plates so my family can eat in the park. Do you recommend plates made out of wood, metal, or paper?”
“Get out of my shop, you weirdo.”
As you can see, I spent most of the year studying. But I did have time for some hobbies. Watching television counts as a hobby, right? I do love television. When we lost the HGTV network right in the middle of an episode of House Hunters International, I nearly died. I sat despondent on the sofa for three days wondering if I would ever learn the fate of that nice couple looking for a home in Tuscany. Fortunately, we finally got it back. And it turns out they picked house number three. Seriously? House number three? I give that marriage six months. 
I also continued blogging about Project Runway and this year I hit a huge milestone: the stat counter on my blog finally reached one hundred thousand visitors! You’re probably thinking, “That’s it? You didn’t hit a million?” Well, I’m sorry, but that’s the best I could do! I can’t wait for a million visitors. I don’t have that long to live. Seventy or eighty more years, tops. And by the end I’ll probably just be a brain hooked up to electrodes floating in a jar of saline solution and blogging will be a distant memory. So I’m going to celebrate whatever milestones I can.
A new hobby I’ve taken up this year is cooking. We started receiving weekly boxes of organic produce and I have to cook every night just to keep from being buried alive in vegetables. Of course, because most of the produce is local, the selection changes with the seasons and sometimes we get a lot of one thing. I think if the Other Eric sees one more leaf of Swiss chard he’s going to have a nervous breakdown. Poor thing.
In other news, I finally got an iPhone. Now my life is completely Mac-based. Resistance is futile. The main difference with my new phone is that I can now move beyond monosyllabic texts. Anyone who used to text me will be familiar with my rambling responses, such as, “ok” or in really extreme situations, “cool.” But now I have a QWERTY keyboard and can send complete sentences, like, “Do you think they sell wooden picnic plates at the bookstore?” or “Why did I bring a broken television with me to France?”
Well, that was my year. I don’t know if you noticed, but my letter was in 2.5-D this year. I couldn’t afford the full 3-D. I don’t know exactly what the extra half D is, but I can tell you that it will give you fuller, longer, darker lashes in just six weeks. Happy holidays!
Eric Three Thousand

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Fashion Show Season Two, Episode Five or Six or Whatever.

Eric Three Thousand, reporting from Burbank, where it has been raining steadily for forty days and forty nights. The San Fernando Valley has completely filled up with water and my house is currently floating down Cahuenga Boulevard toward Universal Studios. Fortunately, I was able to gather two of every Project Runway bobblehead doll and special edition Barbie so they will be able to procreate and carry on the species.

So, I'm sorry I didn't write a recap last week, but I have a really good excuse: I just didn't feel like it. All you need to know is that it was a boring-ass episode with a bunch of ugly-ass dresses. The models were from some show called The Real Housewives, or something like that. It must be new, because I've never heard of it. Has anyone seen this show? It sounds awful. Golnessa was sent home.

The recap this week will be very short because Other Eric erased the episode before I had a chance to take notes and I'm also finding it hard to type because my house keeps bobbing up and down in the water and it's really starting to pick up speed.

Anyway, this week the designers went to a train station in New Jersey because there are no train stations in Manhattan. They rummage through all the junk in the lost-and-found room, where they find umbrellas, bed sheets, and Rachel Zoe's entire spring line for the Home Shopping Network.

David and Cesar switch teams:

David: "I just want to be clear that 'switching teams' in this context refers to me moving to the House of Emerald. I still love vaginas."

They have one day to turn this trash into even worse trash. Instead of Isaac, Laura Brown does the consultations, in a failed attempt to shake things up:

Laura Brown: "Never use orange, because orange doesn't look good on me, and all clothes should be designed to look good on me."

Cesar: "racist."

In the design room, David is getting jealous because Dominique is flirting shamelessly with all the other gay guys:

David: "I thought our painfully dysfunctional relationship was exclusive."

Meanwhile, Calvin is doing his best to keep the show entertaining, while Cesar is just becoming more pompous every week.

House of Nami shows a decent mostly-black collection. It's not great, but it doesn't suck. The concept of the "weekend getaway" TO Manhattan from the suburbs is a little weird. Not that it doesn't happen; it's just not a great concept for a collection.

House of Emerald did a safari theme for a getaway to the Hamptons, which was a better concept but resulted in a horrible collection. Cindy made an awful white dress that was cinched in at the knee, making it impossible for the model to walk. She wanted to make a dress that would make a woman look helpless and immobile while she stands at a bar:


Apparently the judges really hated everything, even though it really wasn't any worse than any other week:


Reluctantly, Iman announces that House of Nami is the winning team, which isn't surprising, since it was clearly the winning team:


Dominique is the winner of the challenge and picks immunity over the $500, which is sensible. She chooses Calvin as the weak link on the team. Cesar says he doesn't want him on his team, either. David is out.

Calvin: "Dominique stabbed me in the back. Cesar threw me under the bus. Isaac wrote me out of his will. Daniel Franco punched me in the nuts. And my mother just called to tell me I'm a disappointment. I guess the only thing I can do is laugh like a mental patient."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eric Three Thousand is on vacation!

Please check back later for the recap of the most recent totally boring episode of The Fashion Show.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Fashion Show, Season Two, Episode Four: Hot Tub Time Machine Two: Hotter and Tubbier!

Isaac: "I Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday. To all you non-Americans out there, Black Friday is a shopping celebration dating back to 1982, when the last Wal-Mart was desegregated."

I don't think that true, Isaac. Anyway, last week Eduardo won and Tamara went home. Golnessa gets all Churchillian:

Golnessa: "Never was I criticized so much by so many for so few!"

The designers get another letter from Iman:


Isn't that the name of her perfume? Now that she said that, all I can see is a giant steel vagina:

David: "Actually, it's a very complex work by Santiago Calatrava that explores the formal properties of folded spherical planes. Frankly, your childish obsession with vaginas is pathetic."

Well, I am suitably chastened. The challenge this week is to create a fashion-forward look based on a specific year from the past half century. This should be a fun challenge. And yet, it isn't. I think the "fashion forward" part is the problem. They could have simply created looks for today based on historical looks and been done with it. Fashion forward is not the same as futuristic. But some of the designers start thinking that they have to guess what people will be wearing a thousand years in the future and then everything goes to hell:

Eduardo: "In 3000 AD everyone -- men and women, children and adults, dogs and cats, and of course genetically altered dog-cats -- will wear cocktail dresses 24 hours a day, all year long."

Obviously. Everyone can see that's where we're headed. The question is whether our cocktail dresses will be made of metallic fabric or bio-engineered fur. Maybe metallic faux-fur?

Eduardo: "No. That would be tacky."

Oh, and by the way, Iman loves plaid:


Sure. Whatever.

The designers open their little time capsules. Cindy finds a blond wig, Jeffrey finds a piece of the Berlin wall, and David finds a crack vial:

Nina Garcia: "That is not my time capsule. I borrowed it from a friend and I thought that was gum."

Isaac makes his rounds in the design room and tells everyone to make entirely gray collections:

Isaac: "It's not a collection unless it's all one color!"

He also gives the hilarious instruction to be "careful-ish."

Isaac: "Be cautiously outrageous!"

For the entertainment portion of tonight's program, the producers provide the designers with unlimited supplies of alcohol but no way to open the bottles. That is exactly why, back in my day, we carried Swiss army knives in our sewing boxes.

Back in the design room, Cesar is being super bossy and the flirting between David and Dominique is getting a little out of control:

Rusty: "Dad, I think he's gonna pork her!"

Clark Griswold: "He's not gonna pork her, Rusty."

Rusty: "I think he is, Dad!"

Clark Griswold: "Well, he may pork her. Just eat, okay?"

The fashion show begins. It's really disappointing. Everything is gray and plaid, like Isaac and Iman wanted. There isn't much that's fashion forward in these looks. Most of them refer to historical looks but not the right years. We start with Nami:

Dominique made a big baggy shirt over pants, with custom plaid fabric. It's a little too big and sloppy, but it's pretty good and definitely the most interesting look on the runway this week.

David made a Michael Jackson jumpsuit from the eighties inspired by his grandmother, which confuses Iman, for some reason. It was actually looking pretty good in the workroom and then he screwed it up by turning the shoulder-pads into lapels:

Anja Rubik: "No woman wants to look like she has giant maxi pads on her chest."

No shit, whoever you are.

Eduardo made another dumb cocktail dress. It's pretty. Whatever.

Rolando made a completely boring outfit that had nothing to do with his year, 1969.

Calvin made something I can't quite describe. He made a nice skirt that looked like an evening gown but paired it with a hideous top that couldn't be worn for any occasion.

Then it's time for House of Emerald:

Cesar made a look inspired by "cocooning," which was definitely a term used a lot after 9/11. He made capri pants and a top with a huge collapsable collar that can cover the model's head. It's pretty good. He also made a second look so that the team would have a more complete collection. This is a valid concern and one of the reasons I questioned whether the "collection" aspect of the competition would work once designers started being eliminated.

Jeffrey made a dress with kind of a scarf covering half of it. It's pretty but I don't know what it has to do with the eighties and it's really not fashion forward.

Cindy made a cool dress with a coat. Supposedly it was inspired by Jackie O? I like it, but, again, it's not fashion forward.

Golnessa made a pretty 1950's inspired dress with a full skirt. The judges praise it even though it looks like a costume. Nothing fashion-forward about it.

Emerald finally wins a challenge and Jeffrey is the individual winner.

David and Rolando are the bottom two from House of Nami:


Dominique: "He should stay because we are in love and I don't want to die alone in a house full of cats!"

David: "Yeah. What she said."


Rolando is out:


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Fashion Show, Season Two, Episode Three: I'm a Sexy Dracula! (obscure Community reference)

We start the episode with the new teams getting to know each other. Calvin is now on team Nami:

Calvin: "I hate fighting."

But you are always arguing and yelling at everyone.

Calvin: "Oh, is that what fighting means? In that case, I love fighting."

Cesar is now on team Emerald:

Cesar: "People often mistake me for Mother Teresa because of all my charity work in India, but the reality is that I'm a selfish, bossy bitch. Just thought I should get out in front of that story."

Cesar then explains to team Emerald what their problem had been when Calvin was on the team:

Cesar: "Calvin was your crutch. So now that your crutch is gone, you should be able to completely collapse into a pile on the floor."

Well, I didn't say he explained it well.

The designers meet Iman in Brooklyn:

Iman: "Seductive. Alluring. Mysterious. Dangerous. Gorgeous. Powerful. Brilliant. But enough about me! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Oh, for heaven's sake, I'll explain the challenge. The designers have to create nightlife looks inspired by the iconic image of the femme fatale. Some examples would be Mata Hari, Barbara Stanwyck, and Jessica Rabbit.

David: "You know what I love best about the femme fatale?"

Her vagina?

David: "That's right!"

Team Emerald has a consultation with Isaac:

Isaac: "You already bought the fabric, right? So, it's too late to do anything about that. Fortunately, it isn't too late to make you feel bad about your choices. So let's go with that."

Emerald is going for a 1940s vampire look, with red jersey and black lace. Because that's totally what a 1940s vampire would wear. They are also using blue and green, just to pump up the awfulness.

Team Nami is also going for a 1940s vampire look, with black and purple satin.

Mata Hari: "What am I, chopped liver?"

Cesar can't resist helping his old team:

Cesar: "Look at them over there. They're as helpless as Indian orphans. I have to do something."

He finally gives in and tells Rolando how to shape his skirt. Just like Mother Teresa would have done.

Eduardo gets an extra hour to work on his dress, because he won last week.

On to the fashion show, with guest judge Dita Von Teese. By the way, this was a one-day challenge. And, boy, do the results show it.

First up is House of Emerald:

Tamara made a red pleather jacket over red leggings. I don't love the matchy-ness of the red leggings, but it's not bad. It's sexy and the jacket has a slight 1940s feel to it. But the judges don't think it's right for a femme fatale.
Cindy made a nice dress of red jersey covered in black lace. It's not very exciting, but it's still one of the better looks of the challenge, which is sad.
Golnessa made a awful green dress with a round lace inset in the back that reminds me of the scene in Death Becomes Her when Meryl Streep blows a hole right through Goldie Hawn's torso with a shotgun. Fun movie. Bad look.
Jeffrey made a blue two-piece evening gown with weird cutouts in the top. It just doesn't work. Dita says it looks like something Dracula would wear to the gym, which is pretty funny. Unfortunately, it is both her first and last interesting comment.
Cesar made a blue evening gown with a ridiculous red and blue cape.

Next up is House of Nami. Their show uses old film-reel clips and is pretty cool.

Dominique made a cute short black dress with a jacket.
David made a not very flattering purple satin dress with a black cape.
Eduardo made a beautiful black dress. Calvin has a point when he says it looks like the other two dresses Eduardo has made. But it's still pretty and it's perfect for this challenge.
Rolando made a black dress with a cool inverted ruffle skirt. It's not an original idea, but it's certainly more interesting than most of the dresses we're seeing. Unfortunately, it doesn't make much sense for this challenge.
Calvin made another ridiculous long evening gown.

This was supposed to be a nightlife challenge. To me, that indicates something you could wear to a nightclub. I think every designer who made an evening gown for this challenge should have been immediately eliminated.

Anyway, House of Nami wins again. Eduardo wins the challenge and gets immunity for the next challenge. If he wins a third time, he will become immortal, like Iman.

Isaac: "I know I'm just a superstar fashion designer and huge celebrity so you probably don't care about my opinion, but here's what I think you should do, Eduardo: go crazy next week and don't make us the same damn dress again. Just a thought."

House of Emerald loses again, despite not having Calvin on the team:

Isaac: "House of Emerald, your dresses were not all the same color, so they didn't look like a collection."

Right. Anyway, there is still a way to stick Calvin on the losing team. Eduardo has to choose a member of the winning team to be on the bottom, for no particular reason. Obviously, he picks Calvin because he has to pick someone so why the hell wouldn't he pick Calvin. Last in, first out:

Isaac: "Oh, I'm so disappointed in you, Eduardo, for doing exactly what anyone else would have done in your place."

Whatever. So Calvin joins the others for possible elimination, although he's obviously safe. The real bottom two are Golnessa and Tamara:


Iman thinks Golnessa's dress looks like something her nine-year-old daughter would make:

Iman: "Iman's nine-year-old daughter has terrible taste! How dare you show this to Iman! Iman doesn't have patience anymore for this ugly dress. SHOW THE FOOTAGE OF IMAN LOSING PATIENCE WITH THIS UGLY DRESS! WHAT?!!! YOU'RE ALL FIRED!!!!"

Tamara is out. That sucks:

Laura Brown: "Tamara, remember last week when we told you to ignore your team and just go with your own vision? Well, this week we're punishing you for ignoring your team and going with your own vision."

Calvin is crying because the only person in the world who actually likes him is being sent home. Iman is confused:

Iman: "Why are you crying, Calvin? Is it because you are sad? Iman has heard that humans sometimes cry when they are sad. Iman finds this fascinating."

Calvin: "Can I go instead of Tamara?"

Iman: "Really? Are you really saying you want to leave the show?"

Calvin: "Well, actually, I didn't think you would take the request seriously."

Isaac: "I think you should stay. I think it's what Tamara would have wanted."

Tamara: "No, it isn't."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fashion Show, Season Two, Episode Two: I think I'm gonna barf!

OK, I don't know if I can make it through this episode.

Isaac: "What? It's just blood and veins and flayed human corpses. What's the big deal?"

ooooh . . .

Isaac: "Are you alright?"

I think I need to lie down . . .

Seriously, I have an aversion to anything having to do with the human circulatory system. Even typing the V word makes me have a panic attack.

David: "You mean Vaginas?"

No, I don't mean Vaginas, dummy. I mean Veins. OH MY GOD, stop making me type that word! I'm going to pass out!

David: "I'm glad you didn't mean vaginas. Because I really like vaginas."

Dominique: "He is so cute! AND he likes vaginas!"

Well, he sounds like a frickin' dream come true. You should marry him immediately.

We start the episode with Mike completely psyching himself out:

Mike: "There are no snow leopards in Africa! How can I work with people who don't know that?! If the judges are just going to reward mistakes like that, I don't think I can continue."

He's absolutely right. Snow leopards are not native to Africa. Here's the thing, though: nobody gives a shit where snow leopards live. More from Mike:

Mike: "I am so creative! No challenge could possibly be too much for me to handle."

We sure are hearing a lot from Mike. That means one of two things: either he's going to get food poisoning, or he's going to get caught cheating."

Mike: "Those are my only options?"

Well, I suppose you could just quit.

The designers get a note from Iman:

Dear designers,
It's been a day since you had the honor of having me shout at you. Do you miss me? Of course you do.
Best regards,

The designers meet Iman at one of those awful Bodies exhibitions. Iman explains that they will be creating collections based on the inside of the human body:

Iman: "I want you to make my heart skip a beat."

Not there, you don't. They'll pump you full of plastic and put you on display faster than you can say, "I'm not dead yet; I always look like rigor mortis has set in."

Obviously, we have to hear from Mike, telling us how this challenge is perfect for him and he's going to be so great. What could possibly go wrong?

The designers look around the exhibition:

David: "There is nothing sexier than a woman with no skin! I am so turned on right now."

Yeah, I'm just going into another room for a while. Let me know when it's safe to come back.

[a few minutes later]

OK? They're at the fabric store now? Good.

Calvin has a plan:

Calvin: "You want cohesive? I'm going to give you cohesive like you've never seen before. I'm going to cohesive the shit out of this collection."

Back in the workroom, Calvin is still trying to explain his vision:

Calvin: "Let me start at the beginning. OK, so about fourteen billion years ago there was this huge explosion and then the universe started expanding . . ."

Cindy: "Calvin, we don't have time for this."

After some more yelling Isaac comes in and tells them he's ready to see their story boards.

Isaac loves what he's seeing from House of Nami, especially the amazing ideas coming from Mike. I can hardly wait to see those ideas realized.

Isaac tells House of Emerald Syx that their name is really stupid and they should change it to House of Emerald, which is still stupid but slightly more appropriate:

Isaac: "The name change is a big improvement. Unfortunately, you still suck."

House of Emerald picks Jeffrey as the team leader, because he has the highly-desired quality of not being Calvin.

Isaac comes back and tells the designers he's given this a lot of thought and he's decided the challenge needs a twist. Each look will need to have one piece that is reversible.

Mike is losing it. He hasn't done anything. He complains that nobody is helping him but he hasn't asked for help and says he wouldn't accept any help even if anyone offered. He cuts up his dress and then walks out.

Tim Gunn: "Designers, I have an announcement. Mike will not be coming back."

Isaac: "Hey, what the hell are you doing here?!"

Tim Gunn: "Well, you weren't making the announcement, so I had to do it."

The other designers are completely shocked and upset:

Cesar: "Good riddance."

Rolando: "Schmuck is the funniest word I've ever heard in my life!"

Well, alright, so maybe the other designers will get over the loss.

On to the fashion show. The guest judge is Douglas Friedman, who has had an extensive career photographing Rachel Zoe. Show coordinator Stefan, who, by the way, is a huge star now and gets his own Ford commercials, makes fun of House of Emerald:

Stefan: "So, House of Cubic Zirconia, let me see if I understand this: three members of your team wanted the gauzy veils and two members didn't, so you dropped the idea? You make me sick."

House of Emerald looks like a collection . . . of bridesmaid's dresses. Seriously, it's mostly a bunch of red satin dresses with matching jackets! Awful (with two exceptions):

Cindy - She made an ugly dress with a bolero that looks slightly uglier when you turn it inside-out.
Jeffrey - He made a nice dress with really unusual pleating at the ribcage and a fold-down neckline, which is more "adjustable" than "reversible."
Tamara - She also made an ugly dress with another pointlessly "reversible" jacket that looks almost exactly the same inside-out.
Calvin - He made a jacket that folds into a bag and a skirt that becomes a cape. I loved all of it and it was an audience favorite, but it was more "adaptable" than "reversible" and, while the ideas were great, they weren't really appropriate for what looked like an evening gown. Clothes that can transition from day to evening are useful. But a formal gown with a removable skirt and a backpack just doesn't make sense.
Golnessa - She made a nice red dress with an attached scarf that can be thrown over the shoulder. That scarf is in no way reversible.

During the commercial break, David gives an impromptu concert on his mouth organ. If you know what I mean.

House of Nami has a better color story. They use pinks and salmons and layered chiffon to represent human musculature. Stefan yells at House of Nami to stop touching the models:

David: "But I love touching women! They're so sexy!"

David - He made a dress that he thinks looks like a vagina. It's kind of ugly.

David: "You just don't love vaginas as much as I do."

Well, that may be, but that was just not a great outfit.

Dominique - She made a salmon-colored dress with a long chiffon vest that supposedly reverses to reveal a vein pattern [gag], but the model doesn't put the vest back on so we don't see it reversed.
Rolando - He made a chiffon dress with a puffy chiffon thing that he calls a jacket but obviously isn't. I guess it's a stole. it looks inspired by the body but I don't think reversing it makes any difference.
Eduardo - He made a dress with a reversible skirt. The filming seems to be done specifically to prevent us from seeing what the garments look like. The model reversed the skirt but I can't tell if there was any difference. This is another crowd favorite.
Cesar - He made a pretty cool fringed dress that looks inspired by the exhibition. The reversible jacket might be puffier in back when it's reversed, but who knows? We didn't get to see the back of it before it was turned inside-out.
Nami's sixth look is a nice, kind of choppy layered chiffon dress with a scarf that doesn't seem to reverse to anything. I don't know why they assumed they had to have a sixth look. Whatever.

House of Nami wins and Eduardo wins an additional hour of work time in the next challenge.

House of Emerald is the losing team. Calvin and Jeffrey had really good looks, but Calvin couldn't work with the team and Jeffrey, as team leader, failed to magically make Calvin a more pleasant person to work with.

The judges complain about Cindy's weird, awful pleating. They also scold Tamara for listening to her teammates, who forced her to add some stupid pleats to her dress. I don't know what she was supposed to do:

Laura Brown: "You should compromise without compromising."

Oh, Laura, after a promising start last week, you've let me down.

Iman: "Did you think of telling your team that you didn't want to add the pleating?"

Tamara: "Oh, I never thought of that. What a brilliant suggestion."


Calvin says he's not arguing any more:

Isaac: "That sounds like a threat."

Calvin: "No no no no NOOOOOO. Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm completed."

Iman: "Calvin, you are a total dictator. And I'm being polite so I added the 'tator.'"

Iman says calvin could be the most talented designer there but nobody can stand to work with him. They punish the winning team by forcing them to take Calvin. Then they give House of Nami one minute to decide which member of the team will go to Emerald. I knew it would be Cesar. I knew he would feel protective of his team and think he needed to take the bullet. But the reality is the rest of his team now has to deal with Calvin. They're screwed.

David has a confession:

David: "I've never actually seen a vagina."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Fashion Show, Season Two, The Ultimatum, Premiere!

Isaac Mizrahi: "OK, people, here's the ultimatum: watch this show or I will make another appearance on Gossip Girl!"

Well, I definitely don't want to watch another episode of Gossip Girl, but I will say that Isaac was better on that show than Tim Gunn.

Isaac: "I like you. You can stay."

Thank you.

Isaac: "Anyway, welcome to the show! We had to change some things because we found out there was this other fashion competition show over on Lifetime Television and it sounded really similar to ours. Yeah, they totally ripped us off! Shocking, right? It's just like that time I invented Eskimo clothes and then the idea was totally stolen by all these people living up near the North Pole!"

You mean Eskimos?

Isaac: "Yeah, my idea for Eskimo clothes was stolen by the Eskimos! I couldn't believe it! So I had to redesign my entire collection! And that's exactly what I had to do to this show. I've made everything 25% better. The first supersized episode is 25% longer, the prize is 25% bigger than that other fashion show, and my co-host is 25% taller than last season!

Iman: "Oh, honey, 25% better doesn't even begin to describe me. I AM fashion! I started modeling for Charles Worth in 1858 and I've worked with every fashion designer since then."

Wow. You look fantastic!

Iman: "Yes, I know. And buy my new perfume! It's called Steel Vagina! It stinks so good!"

You've got to love her.

Let's meet the designtestants:

Jeffrey mixes men's and women's clothing.
Cindy got into fashion because her mother made her wear ugly dresses.
Calvin says he turns into a bitch at 3:00. Gee, and here it is only 2:30.
Cesar is getting back into the business.
Dominique is 21 and seems constantly amazed by this fact.
Rolando tries to blend in.
Francine thinks she has a really good chance of winning.
Tamara grew up in the projects.
Eduardo's work is up here and the other designers' work is down here.
Mike has been to a fashion show before, so watch out.
David enjoys pretending to be playful.
Golnessa wants to be famous.

Now, for the question on everyone's mind: Which designer will immediately have to tell us he's heterosexual?

David: "Oh, that's me!"

Interesting. That would not have been my first guess. I thought it would be Mike.

David: "Yeah, people often think I'm gay, but after I tell them several hundred times that I'm straight, they eventually say, 'Fine, whatever, can you please shut up about it already?'"

The season starts with a surprise fashion show, which is a refreshing idea:

Isaac: "BAM! We give you fashion 25% sooner than other shows!"

Most of the clothes are not terribly exciting. I kind of like Jeffrey's weird unisex hippie outfit. And David's weird outfit also intrigues me:

David: "I work really hard to appear quirky and childish. So my idea is to make clothes that would be worn by indigenous space people who are influenced by space colonization but they adapt the clothes to look like the 1980s because it takes a long time for our television shows to get there. Kind of like Canada."

James-Paul Ancheta: "That idea sounds very familiar!"

So, the only problem with this first fashion show is that there didn't seem to be any point to it. There was no audience, the judges didn't see it, and there were no consequences. The designers were able to see the work of their competitors and we, the viewers, were introduced to their work. But I was still disappointed that it wasn't part of the competition. Maybe the judges could have picked their two favorites and those two designers could have selected their teammates?

After the runway, Iman comes out and does her thing:

Iman: "I am a god! Worship me!"

We pray to the immortal and all-powerful Iman, goddess of fashion. Then we listen to her divine wisdom:

Iman: "Designers do not work alone. Dior, Chanel, Cavalli - they all worked together to make one collection."

No, I don't think that's right.


Sorry. So the designers are split into two fashion houses, where they will create cohesive collections every week:

Calvin: "Here go hell come stay now."

You can say that again.

The designers go to the workroom and name their fashion houses:

The blue team picks the name House of Nami, which is Iman spelled backward. It's a perfectly nice-sounding name, but it's not very meaningful. Iman means "faith," so their name is "faith" backward? The opposite of faith? Maybe not the best message.

The green team wants a name based on the fact that there are six members of the team. Calvin rightly points out that the name won't make much sense once designers start being eliminated. The rest of his team tells him he just needs to have iman (faith) that none of them will ever be eliminated. They finally settle on the name House of the River Styx.

Mike talks about Iman's journey from a tribal way of life to living in the modern world:

Mike: "She went from living in a shack, hunting lions for food, and making necklaces out of shrunken human heads to living in the modern Western world."

Iman: "What the hell are you talking about? I had a privileged life growing up in the city. My father was the Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia, dumb-ass."

The teams get to work. Mike thinks he's a visionary for making a noose dress. Calvin's dress can be used for cleaning your house. Eduardo doesn't have the budget for feathers so he's making his own feathers except he doesn't know how to make feathers so Cesar is making them. Golnessa and Cindy knew each other before coming on the show. Francine is freaking out about making her stupid ruffles and Calvin is helping her and Francine is just complaining about it. Then they prepare for the fashion show.

Calvin and Francine get into a huge fight right before the show:

Francine: "Excuse me? Don't even give me that attitude!"

Calvin: "J'accuse! J'accuse!"

Francine: "You can't even speak French very well!"

As usual, I have no idea what that fight was about.

House of the River Styx has a cool show with the models draped in fabric and revealed one by one:

Tamara - horrible yellow dress that's way too tight and has way too much going on.
Jeffrey - cute dress with a print jacket but the model forgot to take off the jacket on the runway, so the judges don't see the dress.
Cindy - great purple jumpsuit with a weird back.
Francine - awful little dress with crap stuck on to the front.
Golnessa - beautiful navy dress with stupid crap stuck on the shoulder.
Calvin - long yellow dress that actually isn't hideous from the front but is really tacky from the back.

House of Nami just has graphics on the screen behind the runway and sends down an (almost) all-white collection:

Mike - changed his noose dress so it just has the heavy braids stuck on the back.
David - it's nice but the jacket was flaring out like wings as the model went down the runway.
Dominique - fantastic little dress, fitted with a waistband in front and loose and flowing in the back. This was my favorite piece but maybe it was a little young for Iman.
Eduardo - kind of a silly cocktail dress. It does not look inspired by Iman. I'm not impressed.
Rolando - weird mini-skirt/floor-length gown. I don't like it, but it looks like the kind of mess Iman or Heidi Klum would actually wear.
Cesar - print gown with crap stuck on the shoulder. I'm just not a big fan of this type of dress, but it's well done, and again, it looks like something Iman would actually wear.

The judges are Iman, Isaac, Laura Brown from Harper's Bazaar, and guest judge Rachel Roy, looking stunning in a gorgeous yellow dress (and ugly orange shoes!).

House of Nami wins! Good call. Isaac says the designs looked like they came from one designer but I thought the only thing they had in common was that they were white. Then Isaac mentions Eduardo's Grecian drapery and I realize he must have seen a completely different show than I did. Cesar wins.

House of the River Styx is the losing team. Francine and Calvin are the bottom two:

Francine - I feel like her dress would have been praised on Project Runway and possibly won the cover of Marie Claire. So I am very pleased to hear the judges say how cheap it looks. Laura Brown, who I now love, says she hates just having crap stuck on to the front of a dress. Bless you, Laura! I've been railing against that for years!

Calvin rambles about passing wind and screwing his dress and then argues with Iman about tomatoes:


Calvin: "No no no no no No no, NO no no no no no no no NO!"

Isaac: "I'm sorry, Calvin, but the correct answer is Yes."

Isaac says Calvin's dress looks inexpensive but Iman disagrees and says it looks cheap.

We don't get to witness the judges deliberate, for some reason. Francine is out. She thinks her dress wasn't considered high fashion because she didn't have ENOUGH crap hanging off of it. Yikes! Iman delivers the show's new tagline:

Iman: "This new tagline is 25% better than the previous one. Ready? OK. Here it is: This is The Fashion Show and you are out of fashion."

You're right; that is exactly 25% better.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight Finale, Part Two: !*%#?!@!!!&**#%#@!!!


Pardon my French. I have spent my blogging career defending Nina and Michael in their questionable decisions, but no more. They are dead to me. The good news about this season's finale is that we got to see one of the best collections in Project Runway history. I think everyone knows what the bad news is.

Fairy Jobmother: "Nina and Michael, now that you have completely lost credibility in the fashion industry, what are you doing to find new careers?"

Michael Kors: "I wouldn't say we've completely lost credibility."

Fairy Jobmother: "You just demonstrated to the entire world that Heidi Klum and Jessica Simpson have better taste than you do!"

Michael Kors: "Well, when you put it that way, I guess I do need a new job."

Fairy Jobmother: "I have just the thing for you."

Nina and Michael get work on a farm. Nina is doing data entry and Michael is working with cows:

Nina: "It feels so good to be doing something useful, for a change!"

Michael Kors: "Yeah! I haven't felt this good since my days on the oil rig!"

Thank goodness that's sorted. I wonder who the new Project Runway judges will be next season.

By the way, who the hell is responsible for those awful Fairy Jobmother spots? The concept was cute enough, but once it was determined that most of the designers couldn't act their way out of a paper bag and the writing was so bad even Helen Mirren couldn't have made it work, they should have axed the whole thing. Because that was embarrassing to watch.

Anyway, on to the episode. First of all, that was the most boring reunion show I've ever seen. We saw some clips from the show and the designers weighed in about how big a bitch Gretchen is. Did we learn anything new? No. Was it better than not having a reunion show at all? Not really.

Nothing much happened during the rest of the episode, either. No model selection, no accusations of cheating, no insight about what, if anything, came from the Piperlime accessory wall. Mondo did his best to create some drama by complaining that someone rearranged his model lineup, but that storyline went nowhere. Thanks for trying, though, Mondo.

OK, I know I'm just grouchy because of the ending, but this really was not an interesting episode.

Fairy Jobmother: "Hey, you! You should be looking for work instead of writing this stupid recap!"

I know. Sorry.

Ooh, just when you thought Lifetime Television couldn't get any more redundant, Lucy Liu falls in love with three different men in a movie that's so tedious it's stretched out to two nights!

Lifetime Television: "Well, if you think that looks good ..."

I don't.

Lifetime Television: "Well, then you won't want to miss the Craigslist Killer, coming in January."

Oh, for the love of bacon! Why?

On to the runway, with guest judge and surprising voice of sanity Jessica Simpson:

Jessica Simpson: "Hey, Y'all! This is great! Those Fairy Jobmother spots make my painful Macy's commercials look Emmy-worthy by comparison!"

Let's get this over with. Gretchen comes out and introduces her collection:

Gretchen: "My collection is called 'Dances with Wolves,' and it represents my journey to the isolated Western frontier, where I was accepted by the Indians and fell in love with the beautiful Stands with a Fist. Enjoy!"

Ugh. It's awful. Look, I like Gretchen, I think she's talented, and I completely agree with the judges that she has a great career ahead of her. But I hated this collection.

Nina: "It's very editorial."

Nina has lost her mind.

Michael Kors: "Look in a magazine! This is what women are wearing. There are designers like John Galliano who create exciting fashion shows and then there are designers like me who actually make the boring clothes women want to wear. Did you see my last show? It practically put me to sleep! That's what the world is looking for in the next great fashion designer!"

OK, I looked at Michael's last show and, as boring as it is, it's still better than Gretchen's. And I've looked at fashion magazines and other runway collections, and yes, there are long flowing skirts and granny panties in our future, but nothing I've seen even comes close to being as depressing and dull as these clothes.

Nina: "Right. She's taking current trends and making them look worse. That's what fashion is all about."

Whatever. Let's move on to Andy. Andy's collection was better than Gretchen's but still not very good. It reminded me a bit of Chloe Dao's collection, in that it was shiny and well-executed and really repetitive. There were two or three pieces I really liked, but, on the whole, the collection was kind of a cliche. Like Michael C., he created what he thought a fashion show should look like and ended up with something pretty but not very interesting. He should have gone way over the top like he did in some of the challenges. It wouldn't have been wearable but at least it would have been an exciting show.

Mondo - I loved everything about this collection. Possibly my favorite collection since Jay McCarroll. It was cohesive without looking repetitive, it was super fun, the accessories were perfect. It was a real show but most of the pieces were totally accessible:

Nina: "Some of the pieces are nice, but with the leggings and the accessories it starts to look too young. Women in their twenties don't buy clothes. You need to design granny panties for middle-aged women, like Gretchen does. That's what sells."

Heidi: "Lots of women would buy these pieces! Maybe they would tone down the looks by pairing the pieces with neutrals, but the pieces themselves are very wearable!"

Michael: "Well, we shouldn't have to restyle the looks! He should have made them boring enough for all women to wear them!"

OH MY GOD! Is it possible that Michael Kors has never been to a fashion show before? You don't have to wear the clothes exactly as they appear on the runway!

So, anyway, to make a long story short, Michael and Nina are total assholes. They insist Gretchen should win.

Heidi and Jessica Simpson say the winner should be Mondo.

Unfortunately, that's two votes for Gretchen and two votes for Mondo. What happens now?

Joe Biden: "As Vice President, it is my responsibility to step in and cast the deciding vote."

Sorry, that's only in the Senate.

Joe Biden: "Oh, come on! I never get to do anything!"

Nope. There's no solution. It's deadlocked. I guess we just won't have a winner this season. Too bad.

Well, thanks for reading, everyone! Tune in for recaps of the new season of Bravo's The Fashion Show!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Finale, Part One: On the Road with Tim & Austin & Santino (but without Austin and Santino)!

One amazing product placement, four lucky ladies, one fabulous mentor!

So, the final four had nine thousand dollars (why not make it a more random number?) and six weeks to make a ten-piece collection. Tim drives all over the country to visit the designers. He also drives the Cadillac logo straight into our brains. We get it. It's a Cadillac. I'm convinced. I'll go buy one as soon as I finish writing this. Satisfied?

First off, Tim drives his magical Cadillac to the beautiful island of Oahu to visit Andy on the family farm:

Andy: "My parents own this huge piece of property on Oahu. Obviously, they want a better life for me."

OK, so Waianae is not the most prized real estate on the island, but still, they look like they are doing fine. There are probably worse things than owning a farm in Hawaii.

Andy has ordered all kinds of beautiful fabric and other crap from Laos. Tim is afraid it could look like a hot mess but I'm actually looking forward to seeing what he does with it.

Next, Tim visits Michael in Palm Springs. We meet his partner and finally start to understand what his deal is. Apparently, his partner just outed Michael to his parents a few years ago, because he has the most clueless parents on the planet. [I've been very confused about Michael's story and I think that was by design; he wanted to keep us guessing. I was confused by his audition video, in which we saw the contents of his refrigerator but no evidence of a child living in his house. Anyway, we finally learn that his son is from an arranged marriage. Subsequently, in interviews, we have learned that he has custody of his son and his ex-wife has sole custody of their daughter and they don't see each other. That's effed up. Still don't completely understand how he lets his family turn his life into a living hell. Is it purely about parental approval, or does it involve financial support or access to his children? Or is it all about trying to get his own television show?]

Anyway, Michael's collection is not looking bad. He has some nice pieces.

Next, Tim drives to Denver to visit Mondo in his full-Mondo studio space. Mondo is getting his inspiration from vintage Mexican circuses and the Day of the Dead. Love it.

We have dinner with Mondo's family and learn that he was forced to play baseball just so he could take piano lessons. That's nothing. I was forced to go deer hunting just so I could take my flower-aranging classes. Alright, I made that up.

Tim meets Gretchen somewhere in the 1980s. Her life has fallen apart. A long-term relationship has just failed:

Gretchen: "Can you believe I was accused of being difficult?"


By the way, is there some reason we are being so vague about the "relationship"? Are we talking about a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, life-partner, or what? Just curious.

Gretchen: "Fine. It was my cat. My house cat, who I've been living with for six years, finally had enough and told me to leave. Now my bank account is empty and I have nowhere to live. I know what you're going to say: it was probably a bad idea to put the house in my cat's name and to get a joint checking account with my cat. I can see that now. But when you first get a cat, everything seems so wonderful. You just never think it's going to end like this."

Tim: "Girlfriend, I totally understand. How do you think I ended up in New York."

Well, as bad as her life is, her collection is way worse. So that should be some comfort.

Tim: "People will either love it or hate it. Most likely, they'll hate it."

The designers meet in New York and Tim tells them they will be creating three-look mini-collections, using two looks from their existing collections and one new look that they will create in two days.

Mondo wastes one day on an ugly jersey dress and has to start over. Michael doesn't know which two looks to pick from his collection. Tim tells Gretchen it doesn't matter which looks she chooses:

Tim: "Seriously, you can just randomly grab pieces from your collection and it won't make any difference."

Gretchen: "Thanks, Tim! That makes me feel so much better!"

It does? Why?

On to the runway, with Heidi, Nina, and Michael:

Andy - His first look is a silver satin romper. His second look is satin underwear, which was the most ridiculous choice he could have made. Why would he show that? His third look is his new look and it is a beautiful pleated green dress. I don't see any influence from Laos in his looks. He had all that plain satin fabric shipped from Laos? Why? You can buy that anywhere. I don't get it. I guess the weird little headpieces came from Laos. They didn't work. The judges don't see much range in his mini-collection. Andy thinks the satin romper is daywear, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Michael - His first look is his new look and it is a beautiful and fairly underwhelming gown. His second look is a dress with an unflattering feather skirt. His third look is the best and it has a really interesting fringe top over a surprisingly flattering sequined pant. I can't imagine anyone actually wearing a sequined pant, but they look good. The main problem is that his mini-collection is all the same color of brown. He tells the judges he thought that would make it a collection, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Gretchen - Her first look is her new piece and it is a cute little casual dress. I like it from the front, although it looks a little like it's made out of a potato sack. The back is ridiculous. The thing attaching the neck to the hem of the skirt is interesting but completely impractical for daywear. If you got that tangled on something, you would choke to death! Her second look is a really ugly print top and clashing print pant. Her third look is about the most freakish thing I've ever seen. A shiny leather robe that doesn't close in front, exposing a pair of granny panties that are designed to look like the model's hoohoo is showing! What the Hell?! I like unusual designs, but this just looks like a horrible, horrible mistake. The judges, of course, describe it as "wearable." I'm wondering which one of the judges would wear that. Gretchen tells the judges she wanted to save her best pieces for the real runway show, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Mondo - His first look is a cute shorts outfit with mixed prints. He made a bag out of the dress that Tim thought looked too junior, which was pretty genius. His second look is his new look and it is a cute print skirt with a blue jersey top. His third look is a fabulous polkadot gown. He went full-Mondo on that dress. Very few designers could get away with that print for a formal gown, but I think he pulls it off. The judges don't all agree on the dress. Michael and Nina think he crossed the line into costume. Heidi loves it, which makes Nina roll her eyes.

Michael Kors: "I just hope the circus doesn't come to town, because we are not here to have fun!"

Mondo is in (duh).

Gretchen or Andy should have been out. If that was the best they have to offer, I'm not very excited about seeing their full collections. But they are both safe.

Michael is out. I understand the problems the judges had with his mini-collection, but I still think this was the wrong decision. He doesn't take it well:

Michael (aka The Effortless Sheikh): "Tim, please don't make me go home! My parents will force me to impregnate another woman!"

OK, he's really starting to scare me.

Tune in next week when the waiting is over and Mondo finally wins this thing!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Episode Twelve: the annual constipation episode!

That's right; it's that time again for all the designers to get creatively backed up. Every season it's exactly the same; the final challenge before the designers make collections is an "inspiration" challenge where they can basically do anything they want. And every season it's a complete and utter disappointment. Without the structure of a normal challenge, the designers are lost:

Designers: "We're really tired, you A-hole!"

Well, might I suggest you sleep through the entire challenge? The results couldn't be any worse.

Mondo: "I'll try that."

We interrupt this post for a paid political announcement:

Barbera Boxer:
-twenty-eight years of crushing hopes
-twenty-eight years of destroying dreams
-twenty-eight years of strangling adorable kittens with her bare hands

Carly Fiorina: "I'm Carly Fiorina and I approved this message."

So that's who destroyed my dreams! Thanks, Carly Fiorina!

Sorry about that, but I have to pay my bills somehow. Anyway, last week I think Mondo won and America was thrilled to have the opportunity to send Ivy home again. Heidi tells the designers they have the night off and they will be sent someplace luxurious to relax:


Heidi: "No, really. I want you to have a nice evening. Nothing bad will happen."

Designers: "We've never been so scared in all our lives."

The designers drink champagne at a hotel and make meaningless statements:

Gretchen: "I know I'm here because I'm not someplace else. That's physics."

Andy: "We all have a story. Stories are interesting."

Mondo: "I know this show loves me because it set me free."

April: "I'm twenty-one years old. And I can prove it."

Michael: "How did I become the voice of reason on this show?"

The designers meet Michael Bloomberg, the owner of New York City:

Michael Bloomberg: "I paid a lot of money for this city. Considerably over asking price, if I'm being honest. Some people told me I would have been better off buying a South American country. I disagree. I think New York was a good investment. But now that I'm an empty-nester, I find myself knocking about this big old place and thinking about downsizing. There are really more landmarks than I know what to do with. So if you see something you like, you can have it."

Andy: "I've always wanted Central Park!"

Michael Bloomberg: "It's yours! I have to warn you, though, you'll be spending all your weekends doing yard work."

So, yeah, the designers have to choose a New York City landmark for inspiration. It doesn't go well.

Andy picks Central Park, because it's the biggest thing he could think of.

Michael C. picks the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park because that's the kind of deep, intelligent thinker he is:

Michael: "Eleanor Roosevelt was such an inspirational figure. She was a champion of human rights and a total clothes horse."

Mondo picks a Tootie picture of the Brooklyn Bridge. What the hell is a Tootie picture?

Other Eric: "Not Tootie from the Facts of Life. 2-D as in two-dimensional."

Oh. Well, I think a Tootie picture would have been more interesting.

Mondo: "Twenty-seven men died building this bridge. But, through a fanciful use of patterned fabric, I can turn it into a symbol of hope."

April was going to be inspired by the same bridge, because there are so few landmarks in New York. But this is my blog so I'm assigning her the Holland Tunnel because it better represents her aesthetic. It's dark and repetitive and a daily annoyance to thousands of people.

Gretchen goes to the Lower East Side and is inspired by a brick. Not really a landmark. Just saying.

Gretchen: "But I like it!"

Whatever. Knock yourself out.

Back at the hotel, April tells us again that she's twenty-one and Gretchen pretends to care and ... OH MY GOD THIS EPISODE IS SO BORING I THINK I'M GOING TO DIE!

Heidi: "Well, stay tuned because after the commercial break someone might get stabbed!"


The little ray of sunshine in this episode was guest judge Christian Siriano, who had very thoughtful advice and critiques for the designers. He's a nice lady.

I just wanted to slap all of them for creating such crap. I know people associate New York City with black clothes, but give me a break! Andy made an awful black dress, April made an awful black dress, Mondo made a slightly less awful black and white dress, Gretchen made a mess, and Michael made a very pretty black dress.

If I see another black dress I'm going to punch Daniel Franco in the nuts.

The judges like Andy's and Mondo's but I think the judges are are as tired and loopy as the designers are at this point. I thought both dresses were overworked and pointless. Actually, I didn't hate Mondo's but I didn't like it much either.

They gave the win to Michael, and I have to agree it was the best thing on the runway. That's not saying much, of course. Michael's dress was pretty and elegant and well-made and not really anything we haven't seen before. Obviously, it didn't help that it was black. Have I mentioned that all these black dresses are making me want to scream? I have? OK, just checking.

Anyway, congratulations, Michael. Your dress didn't suck.

So April and Gretchen are the bottom two. The judges complain that Gretchen's looks too different from what she usually makes and April's looks too similar to what she usually makes. Who knows what the judges want?

Heidi: "April, why can't you surprise us with some color?"

April: "I put some dark blue fabric in the lining of the skirt. surprise."

Heidi: "get out."

Sorry, April. The good news is that you are still twenty-one. Nobody can ever take that away from you. Until you turn twenty-two. If you haven't accomplished all your dreams by then, you should just give up.