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 . . . .
We move on to our first runway gathering. Heidi comes out in a stripey micro-mini—seriously, am I the only one who thinks of Nina’s “short, tight, and shiny” comment every time Heidi appears?—and, despite her best attempts to add some drama back to the model-picking challenge, there is none. Snore.
Heidi sends our contestants off to 142 West 31st Street! Why, it’s a parking garage! (Was the full-address drop in hopes that we tourists will now all make attempts to park there? I can see it now: “Eeee! I went to New York and parked in the Project Runway garage!”) A cluster of shiny new Saturns prompts Blayne to ask, “What are we going to use a car for?” Um, I’m going to go out on a limb here, Blayne, and suggest perhaps for driving. But actually, they’re the literal source of our next design challenge. The designers ravage the cars for seat belts, floor mats, mirrors, and weird metal parts.
Back in the studio, we embark on Whinefest 2008. Keith, who ended up in the final two during the last episode for his chickenesque drag costume, is still horribly bitter and even drops the F-bomb while discussing the judges’ decision. Kenley complains about this and that and just about everything. Designwise, seat belts appear to be the new tablecloths, because everyone is using them. Does no one remember the debacle of episode one’s grocery challenge?
Really, forget the $100,000 grand prize. Everyone seems to be intent on winning the title of Most Annoying Project Runway Contestant Ever. Terri has apparently alienated everyone with subpar social skills. Stella’s raspy complaints continue to grate our nerves into a fine powder. Keith grows more angry, culminating in a freakout because his model dared to move in his skirt. He fixes it and actually instructs her not to breathe too much. Who would have thought that Suede would be the breath of fresh air holding the show together?
Thank goodness, we move on to the runway show. Out comes Heidi “Love Me Some Skimpy Dresses” Klum! Nina Garcia is out today, so season three’s Laura Bennett (love her!) is filling in. And finally, here is the diminutive and unintentionally deadpan Rachel Zoe, slouched over in the last judge’s chair.
The runway show is surprisingly good. It’s pretty clear at this point where the strongest talent lies (hi, Kenley and Leanimal) and who needs to go (back to you, Goatee Joe and Stella). Also, does no one seem to care that between Terri and Korto, we get a kimonoesque outfit every time? Apparently not, because the judges drool over Korto’s woven jacket. Rachel Zoe professes to want to walk out of the building with it, which is kind of a hilarious thought because the bulky jacket would obviously dwarf Zoe’s teensy frame and probably cause her to topple over in some sort of fashion disaster.
In the end, Zoe proclaims it all “very, very impressive” in her gravelly voice without revealing any emotion or facial movement whatsoever. (Don’t forget: The Rachel Zoe Project! Tuesdays at 9! Guaranteed train wreck!) Our personal favorite, the obviously brilliant Leanimal, is proclaimed the winner for her gorgeously innovative mini-dress. Say what you want about her need for a good haircut, but the girl can really sew.
On the other side, Keith can barely contain his anger at the judges and even manages to alienate the sympathetic Laura with bitter asides. “You should see my other stuff,” he hisses. Bitter, party of one—your table is ready! The judges are not at all pleased at his attitude or his unimaginative dress and send him packing. Poor Keith gets ready to leave, completely and heartbreakingly upset. I did not love Keith or his poor choices in bandanna headwear, but I do not like to see grown men bawl. I’m really sorry, Keith.
Still, we move on! Diane von Furstenberg is next week’s guest, which promises some fun insight into the crazy world of fashion. Plus, with the Fashion Week final runway show scheduled for Friday, September 12, we’re slowly narrowing it down to the final three. Our money’s on Kenley, Korto and Leanimal, with Suede as the fourth runner-up. Who do you think will make it to Bryant Park? Let us know in the comments below!
Read last week’s recap here, and check back next Thursday for Betsy’s Project Runway recap!