We confess to be suffering from Project Runway ennui. The show has reached its midseason slump, and with several contestants still around who we thought should have been booted long ago—hello, Goatee Joe and Stella—our interest is starting to wane. We were highly unenthused about this week’s episode until our handy cable guide told us that superstylist Rachel Zoe—known to the world as Raisinface thanks to gossip blogger Perez Hilton and despite her best attempt to Botox out all those wrinkles—will be a guest. Not surprisingly, she’s got her own show debuting on Bravo September 9, but we’re hoping she’ll also contribute some hilariously clueless commentary and at least add some much-needed amusement to the process.
As the episode unfolds, the contestants seem equally worn out. Kenley tells us she’s sad to see Daniel gone because they were “best friends.” Um, really? Even after she advised him poorly on his Olympic cocktail dress and subsequently laughed out loud on the runway when he defended his taste? Really, with friends like that . . . .
And we’re back! And, oh my goodness, we happen to kick things off with a shot of Stella in the morning. With seriously bad bedhead. Well, that was a rude awakening. Still, we have high hopes for this week’s Project Runway. With so many contestants left, we’re still dealing with a lot of mediocre designs, but this week’s drag queen extravaganza ought to mix things up a bit.
Off to the runway, and then suddenly: From behind the screen, out toddles an enormous viking! Why, it’s Season 4 contestant Chris March. He and Heidi try to air kiss, and there’s a very awkward moment where his disco-ball-breasts get all in the way. Next comes a full parade of drag queens—not unlike the Olympic stadium a few episodes back, Korto proclaims them to be “ginormous!” The contestants are looking less than thrilled with the task at hand, and we can’t blame them. Since when did designing drag attire become a way to prove yourself as a competent modern designer?
Only Terri is thrilled: “This is the challenge I’ve been waiting for, because I love drag queens.” Really, Terri? This is the challenge you’ve been waiting for?
And here we go! Your fearless recapper had the pleasure of enjoying this week’s show with family, which involved explaining to my father that Project Runway and the subsequent airing of Shear Genius were two different shows. (He was quite confused). But we digress. Let’s move to the recap, shall we?
After some gratuitous exercising footage—does Daniel always wear plaid pants when lifting weights? Weird!—we’re back with Heidi on the runway. I’m glad they’ve decided to fully dispense with the tedious choosing-the-same-model-every-time process, but I sure do miss those tacky oversized buttons with everyone’s names on them.
Back in the studio, everyone starts speculating on who the “high-powered and glamorous professional woman” they’ll be designing for this week will be. Blayne hopes it’s not Hillary Clinton, because he would be forced to make her a neon pantsuit. Which is a hilarious image. There is also speculation that it could be Nancy Grace (um, who?), Joan Rivers, or Sharon Osbourne. Obviously, Project Runway’s lengthy history of bringing on D-list personalities has had much bearing on the contestants’ guessing games. At least they’re being realistic.
And we’re back! Now four weeks in, the designer pool is being whittled down quickly, although the ones we think should have been kicked off weeks ago (ahem, Stella, Jerell) are still hanging around. This week, the designers are piled into vans with Tim Gunn and dispatched across the city. Jerell doesn’t care where they’re going; he just hopes it “has nothing to do with female wrestlers.” Um. Random! Kelli, on the other hand, hopes it has nothing to do with hospitals. Tim uses the time to quiz Blayne on his tanning schedule—it’s about every other day—which Blayne likens to his personal hobby. We’ve been liking Blayne more and more, but we’re starting to really worry about his risk of melanoma.
It’s no secret that everyone’s favorite fashion-design competition has been shrouded in drama in the months leading up to last night’s season-five premiere. There was the surprising news that Project Runway will decamp from Bravo to Lifetime for season six. There was judge Nina Garcia’s very public unseating as Elle magazine’s fashion director. And then there was the fact that, even in the weeks before the show, it had only been quietly promoted and the designers had yet to be publicly revealed.
Turns out the wait was worth it. The season-five designers pranced past the screen in a flurry of serious credentials and catty remarks that would have made season-one winner (and super-trash talker) Jay McCarroll proud. In some ways, the roster of already-pretty-well-established designers seemed like a departure from Project Runway’s spirit—where were the well-intentioned moms who aspired to create beautiful clothes, the tech geeks with fashion dreams?—but at the same time, it was hard to fault the fact that we didn’t have to be subjected to any Wendy Pepper-style monstrosities.
We wish we could say that we loved this week’s Project Runway. It had its highlights—letting the models shop for the fabric? Now there’s a true challenge!—but to be honest, our reaction was: snooze. It’s never a good sign when the commercials are more entertaining than the show (we can’t imagine we were the only ones that immediately checked out Hollywood stylist Rachel Zoe’s webpage after her hilariously ridiculous “Die” montage. C’mon, fess up!)
Things start off on a fun note. The dramatic heartbeat-like music swells, Heidi rocks some trendy hair braids, models are chosen. Then comes the twist: Not only will the models serve as the clients—oh, we can only hope for a teary meltdown worthy of season one’s wedding dress disaster!—but they were also unleashed in all their willowy, bed-headed glory in Mood Fabrics to shop for the challenge’s eco-friendly fabrics.
After five seasons, we can definitively say this about models: A pretty face and good taste do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. At least three of the models return with coppery brown satin, which Jerrell immediately dubs "Team Ugly Brown Fabric." For the most part though, everything seemed to be going rather swimmingly in the sewing category and the show shifts its focus to the designers' weird quirks. Suede, of course, talks about Suede. Stella is—as she puts it—still "he-ah", which personally irks us to no end. Blayne is still here too, but he's becoming increasingly endearing with his comic commentary. We nearly die when he tells Stella, "I love your leather face"—not to mention when he compares Heidi, somewhat nonsensically, to Darth Vader. Not to fret, Heidi: Blayne thinks you're "Darthlicious!"
After last week’s snoozefest of an ecochallenge, we were wishing and hoping (and thinking and praying) that the new episode of Project Runway would return to our good graces in a big way. We were not disappointed: The show bounced back with flying colors—also with Carmen Miranda-cha-cha-cha! colors—lots of glorious New York scenery, and a blissfully minimal amount of Stella time.
After the most anticlimactic model selection ever—Suede loves Tia! Suede blows everyone kisses with two hands!—our fearless contestants are sent back to the cozy Atlas apartments to await the arrival of our hero Tim Gunn, who will be taking them out for a night on the rainy town. Tim rolls in with a sleek black trench and majorly popped collar (Blayne: “Aren’t you ’licious!”) as well as ponchos and brightly colored Hunter wellies for all. (Seriously, where did those materialize from? Random!) Why, he’s taking them on a double-decker tour-bus ride!