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.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Project Runway Season Eight, Episode Eleven: The shit hits the Dyson Air Multiplier!

The Dyson Air Multiplier allows shit to hit it without that annoying buffeting caused by the blades of a regular fan. Metaphors for dramatic events will never be the same.

We start the episode with the usual shots of the designers waking up and talking about who went home:

Gretchen: "It is such a relief not to have Ivy and Valerie giggling and talking about themselves all the time. Now we can finally all concentrate on talking about what's really important: ME!"

Heidi tells the designers they have to switch models. Are there models on this show? I don't know what she's talking about.

Then Heidi shows us her awful line of clothes for New Balance:

Heidi: "This is active-wear that you wouldn't actual wear to be active in. You know those women who wear sweat-suits to the grocery store for no reason? That's my client."

I really don't get it. You can't work out in these clothes and you wouldn't want to be seen in public wearing these clothes. What are you supposed to do in these clothes?

Heidi: "I don't know what's so complicated about it. My client is the woman who doesn't want to exercise, but wants people to know that she was very influenced by the film 'Flashdance.'"

Well, why didn't you just say that in the first place? So, anyway, Heidi goes into the design room and annoys the crap out of the designers:

Heidi: "Mondo, this size six top doesn't fit me and I can't get my head through the neck of this dress."

Mondo: "How is that my problem?"

Heidi: "There's no reason to be rude."

Mondo: "I'm not being rude. I'm just telling you that you are not really a size six and you have a gigantic head."

Heidi wants to know why Gretchen isn't using the fabric that was provided from her line:

Gretchen: "Just pretend this is the other fabric."

Heidi: "But I provided you with that fabric so I wouldn't have to pretend."

Gretchen: "Well, this fabric is better. So you can just look at it and see how superior it is and then just imagine it in your awful fabric."

Heidi: "But it's going to end up being made out of the other fabric anyway."


Heidi: "Don't freak out. I'm just trying to help."

Gretchen: "WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!"

OK, I have a question. Why the hell were they shopping for fabric at Mood if they weren't supposed to use it?

Then Heidi compliments Michael on his sewing skills and makes fun of Ivy:

Heidi: "Thank god we don't have to deal with that bitch any more, right?"

Uh, you spoke too soon. Ivy and five other eliminated designers come back to help with the two additional looks that have to be made.

Mondo is working with Valerie, Gretchen is working with Casanova, Christopher is working with Ivy, Michael C. is working with A.J., April is working with Peach, and Andy gets stuck with Michael D.

And now, what we've all been waiting for! Ivy accuses Michael C. of cheating:

Ivy: "So, Michael, how does it feel making it this far?"

Michael: "I'm still in shock."

Ivy: "Why? Because you are a big cheating cheater who cheats?"

Michael: "No."

Ivy: "OK, just asking."

Michael: "You're a [bleeping] [bleep]!"

Ivy: "I've never heard such language in all my life. Someone bring me my smelling salts."

Through the magic of editing, Ivy tells us she believes in karma and then her sewing machine attacks her and she almost loses an eye.

So, apparently it was brought to the produces attention the day after the Jackie challenge that everyone thought Michael's model was taped into her dress. There was circumstantial evidence, but the producers said it was too late to do anything about it.

This sounds like a job for Tim Gunn Lawman! Tim Gunn has never sought publicity for his work with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. However, over the span of almost two decades, he has regularly gone out on patrol and worked major cases:

Tim: "We have taken this case very seriously and we have finally come to the conclusion that we just don't give a rat's ass. Get over it and move on with your lives."


Sir James Dyson: "That's the patented Air Multiplier technology in action. It's so smooth you barely notice it."


Sir James Dyson: "Would it change your mind if I told you my fan was obscenely overpriced?"

Well, it might.

Sir James Dyson: "You know what? Forget it. You probably can't afford it."


Time for the runway. The guest judge this week is the noted track-suit designer Norma Kamali. First I have to say that, as weird as this challenge was, and as awful as Heidi's collection is, I actually thought this was one of the better runways this season. I feel like I understand Heidi's collection better after seeing the runway. I can understand wanting to throw on a simple comfy dress to go run errands. For some reason, I didn't get that at all from seeing her original line.

So, Mondo, April, and Andy were the top three.

I liked all three of April's looks. Her dress was really beautiful and her shorts outfit was cute. Unfortunately, neither of those looks had anything to do with this challenge. Only one of her looks fit into Heidi's collection. She's safe.

Mondo did a great job. He was headed toward disaster but changed direction and made three cute looks that fit into Heidi's collection while also being way better than Heidi's collection. The dress was especially cute and looked perfect for just throwing on as you run out the door.

While I would have chosen Mondo for the win, Andy also made three great looks for Heidi's collection:

Heidi: "Congratulations, Andy! I'll be stealing all three of your designs for my clothing line. I would totally split the profits with you if it weren't for the fact that this is just a tax write-off for me."

The bottom three were Michael, Christopher, and Gretchen.

Gretchen had a few interesting ideas, but ultimately nothing quite worked:

Gretchen: "WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!"

Michael's color story was revolting but he actually had a couple of nice pieces. I loved the dress.

Christopher's pieces were exactly as boring as you would expect them to be:

Michael Kors: "They are cheap and tacky and nobody would pay more than ten dollars for any of them. In other words, I think they would be perfect for Heidi's collection!"

Seriously, I thought Christopher did the best job of capturing the awfulness of Heidi's clothing line. But he's out.

Finally, a very important message from Lifetime Television:

Don't let your boyfriend punch you in the face. That's not acceptable.