Project Runway Expects Fashion

by Ruth Anne Boulet

This season of Project Runway just can’t escape that dated 2008 feeling. Last week it was the Emmy red carpet. This week’s challenge is to make a pregnancy outfit for Rebecca Romijn. Her twins have since been born … in 2008. It’s bizarre that the producers are hanging their challenges on events & occurrences that have very specific dates. I know in the minds of producers, this season was going to start airing in January 2009, but legal matters don’t always wrap up when one expects them to. I’m surprised they haven’t tried any of the timeless challenges like making s*** out of candy. Dates be damned! I want to see Mychael Knight make something out of coffee filters!

Back to the challenge — this garment must be beautiful, chic and form-fitting, everything that maternity wear is not known for being. It could be for the red carpet, or it could be for bumming around town. It’s an interesting, and quite valid challenge, but one that smells of Lifetime. I’m wishing this challenge was done before making the network switch. I also wish it had been done for regular pregnant women living their everyday lives. That would’ve made the challenge less dated & more universal. It also would’ve leveled the playing field a bit. It’s weird to put a formal gown up against a casual short/top combo.

This challenge inspires high-concept from Malvin, who’s theming his piece around the idea of a ‘mother hen’ and her nest. Oh, Malvin. Here’s hoping you can execute & not make a Big Bird. No matter where she’s going, Rebecca Romijn will not want to look like Big Bird.

Mitchell goes the casual route & makes huge shorts. One designer fits in each leg.

Milwaukee boy Ra’mon (Screw Minneapolis! Screw Chicago! He’s a Milwaukee boy, dag nabbit!) is freaking out already. It’s week two, kid. Get a grip. If you’re freaking out in week two, what are you going to do when the challenge is to make s*** out of candy. Or garbage. Or an IKEA-designed ‘restaurant.’

Mitchell mentions to Ra’mon that his dress looks like a bowling ball bag. That just about sends him over the edge. He’s horrified, absolutely horrified, but in a giggly way. Because he lives in Milwaukee and he knows a thing or two about bowling ball bags. Rebecca did say she wanted to show off her big old preggo body …

Designers discuss how they wouldn’t POSSIBLY throw a curveball at them. Has this designer ever watched this show? Wait … Project Runway actually doesn’t throw them a curveball. What? The designers are just going to work on this one item that they get a day & a half to work on? No gotcha? No extra, ‘you need to forge your own metal to make a brooch for your outfit’ extra challenge? Yawn.

Malvin thinks he needs to go more literal with his nest concept. Eek.

Let’s start the show!

WHAT? No Michael Kors today? That makes me sad. No orange, no Big Bird snarky references. No insane crotches or Becky Homeck-ies. You seem very nice, fill-in judge Monique but couldn’t you have made some effort & got an orangey fake tan for the occasion? Ok, at least wear a black T-shirt, blazer & jeans. No? You’re no fun, Monique. Michael probably didn’t want to judge the challenge because he’d get girl germs.

Called first: Louise, Mitchell, Althea, Malvin, Shirin, Ra’mon. They represent the highest & lowest scores. Everyone else leaves for the Room of Mediocrity.

Judging highlights:

Judges think Ra’mon’s dress points to the baby & not in a good way.

Louise gets good points. Rebecca likes the nightie look & Nina likes the tiers for expansion purposes.

Althea gets props for everything — construction, color & length.

Malvin admits that he was too attached to his concept.

Mitchell whines that he hasn’t worked with the pregnancy fabric before. Boo, ho Mitchell. Heidi does not like excuses.

Shirin gets tons of love. Her dress is gorgeous & she made a coat too, overacheiver.

The judges bring up the bowling ball bag behind Ra’mon’s back.

Louise is safe. Shirin wins. Althea is in. Ra’mon is in. We’re left with Mitchell and Malvin. Malvin is out, amazingly. We’ve sent two high-concept people home in the first two weeks. Looks like wearability has taken over as the trump card. It used to be that the designer with a concept always had the edge over sloppiness & excuses.

Next week: meltdowns as designers have to work in pairs. About time.

Because we’ve got Models of the Runway, we don’t need to bother with any model exposition at all in Project Runway. Here are the highlights:

Models discuss strategy — do they focus on walking or on building a relationship with their designer so the designer wants to stay with them. Another model tries to talk with all of the designers so if she gets ditched, another might want to pick her up.

Heidi talk! The models spend about 5 minutes talking to Heidi. Do they know who’s good? Yes! Heidi finds that ‘interesting.’

The models all think Logan is hot. He’s gay, girls. He’s gay. It’s not going to work. Fatma, his model, really has the hots for him. She gets emotional because he thought of her skin color when designing his outfit. Um, Fatma, that’s ’cause he’s smart, not ’cause he’s into you. If you watch his ‘confessional’ you’ll see that he finds you kind of annoying.

Girls go to boot camp. Other girls watch girls doing boot camp. Valerie, a.k.a. Elizabeth Berkley, cleans to relieve stress.

Shirin goes back to Ebony, which was a surprise to Matar. The designers are switching it up, or pretending to switch it up, quite a bit this season probably because they can.

Mitchell decides to go with Fatma, who doesn’t hide her displeasure. Her shadow behind the Project Runway logo is her lifting her hands in agony. She won’t stop ragging on him. Milwaukee model is the last girl picked.

It’s no ANTM, but Models does give a little insight about how the models feel about the designers. They all diss Mitchell’s sewing skills. We’ll see next week if that bites the models back.