I have been eagerly awaiting the fourth season premier of Project Runway since the season three finale. Not only because it’s my favorite show EVAH, but because a fresh start is just the tall glass of water I need to wash this taste out of my mouth.
Rami’s the first designer we meet. From all the press I’ve read leading up to tonight’s premier, Raimi is the front runner. You know he’s a serious contender before he even speaks because he is wearing a tape measure around his neck. Sure, I’ll talk to the cameras, but make it snappy. I’m creating, here. So you won’t think I’m shallow, I will gloss over the fact that he’s FINE and skip right to his credentials. His mini-line received catcalls at last weeks preview runway show in Bryant Park, he already owns his own studio, and Jessica Alba Jessica Alba Jessica Alba. What the hell are you doing here, dude? Jessica needs you! Raimi is competent, accomplished, and (so far maybe possibly…you never know with this show) likable. On the down side, his mini-line and his portfolio both showcase lots of braids and fabric flowers, which makes me worry he might become a one trick tiger. Either way, Raimi has a hotness handsomeness gorgeousness sense of grace about him that makes him a winner no matter what happens.
One trick is all I need, tiger.
Chris is the next to arrive at the apartment. He seems hilarious, sweet, and super humongous. These are the three qualities I like best in a friend, so I love him already. Before you judge him too harshly for dressing himself tastelessly (tacky patterned shirt, black jeans shorts, tennies and socks for your first day on TV? Really?), remember all those fantastic hair cuts you’ve had over the course of your life and think back to your hair dresser. Most likely he or she had shitty hair. I know this because ninety percent of hair dressers do. Point is, you don’t have to know how to speak Spanish to properly order a maid around.
Besides, you have to have respect for him because Chris is a costume designer, or more specifically, a drag queen builder. Drag queens provide the most challenging design jobs out there. There’s a difference between making a costume and constructing a float from the ground up, people. As his portfolio shots of Chiquita Banana, an out and proud Statue of Liberty, and a forty year old fat man dressed as a little girl flash across the screen, I feel a sense of pride. It’s ordinary people like this who are keeping the world fabulous, one Draq Queen Bingo Night at a time.
Glad to see Linda Carter’s still working.
Christian tells us what HUGE and AMAZING designers he’s studied under in London and how fierce he is. He’s only twenty one and has rebellious lesbian hair, so at first glance (and in preview editing), you’d think he’s the obvious villain of the season, but then his bio video is shown in full. In the ads, we’ve seen Christian say “I’m kinda fierce and kinda a big celebrity,” but he’s always been cut off before he finishes with “…in my own head.” Hilarious. That one phrase changed him from the a-hole to the underdog in my eyes, and I officially like him when he tells his roomies that he sleeps on the floor because he’d rather buy clothes (and presumably cases of Aqua Net) than a mattress. I feel bad that I initially referred to him as Jerri Blank, Amy Sedaris’ character in Strangers With Candy.
I’m rootin for ya, girl!
Carmen is the next to arrive, and she’s got a Grace Jones thing going on, both in her threatening, angular haircut and in her personality. She was a model, ok? She knows what she’s doing. She tells us that you can be the best designer in the world, but if you haven’t been a model before, you don’t know the first thing. She doesn’t say about what, but she makes no sense with such confidence that I just nod my head and listen. I am afraid of Carmen. Her huge earrings swing around violently as she brags and rolls her head, like she’s daring you to get close enough to her face for her to poke your eyes out. Don’t fuck with this chick. Got it.
Anything you say.
Jillian is a designer and illustrator for Ralph Lauren and she’s shown in in her mini line and portfolio that she is one of the most talented of the group, at least at first glance. I kinda feel bad for her, though, cuz she obviously worked really hard to look fashionable and savvy today only to discover that her dress is made out of the exact same sheets as her bed. I have a feeling she wasn’t aiming for the Girls in Prison look.
Time to get out of bed and put on some clothes, hon. It’s time for work.
Jillian definitely has an attitude, and she rolls her head at the camera while she enunciates very clearly that she’s not. Going. Home. She gets along right away with fellow head roller Carmen, and they decide to hurry and unpack their toiletries before those other bitches show up and try to elbow in on their bathroom space, okaaay? Headroll headroll earring dangle.
Kevin, the handsome Italian who owned his own jeans company before deciding to give it all up to pursue his dream of high fashion, lets us know right off the bat that he’s no homo by telling us that there are way more straight male fashion designers than we think. Really? Who are these butch men with taste? NO ONE KNOWS. I am not bashing Kevin for being straight (I have lots of straight friends), I’m just saying that he’s most likely not as good as a gay guy. Kevin seems like a really genuine, nice person with some talent. But from what we know so far, he’s a hetero with severe eyeliner, he shaves his beard into “artistic” shapes, and he likes shoulder pads. As hard as I try, I cannot condone any of this behavior. Will this season teach me tolerance?
Elisa is my early favorite, not because she seems to have any kind of talent, but because she’s a total fruit loop. She explains to us that she makes marionettes that are up to thirty feet high and she only started designing dresses to use on the real live models that pose alongside her psychosis “art”. She constructs by tying fabric tightly around skinny chicks and then letting the bottom of her creations flow a few feet behind them. An adult obsession with dolls and wedding dress trains may not make for a solid, reliable personality in the real world, but it definitely molds a good reality show contestant.
She excels in any kind of artistic endeavor and will excel in fashion because “it’s the lifestyle I already do.” When she walks into her bedroom, she tells her roomies that she had envisioned this exact room to do her yoga in! Ooooh, Elisa knows The Secret! Now envision a sewing machine owner’s manual and some taste so you can gain a slight chance in Hell of advancing in this competition. I want Elisa to stay for awhile.
Someone please tell that perverted bush to step away from the model. It’s being totally disrespectful.
Sweet P is the last of the designers to arrive, and she will be sharing a bedroom with the ‘tude-y head rollers, Carmen and Jillian. She shows the girls her tatted arms. The left arm is Sweet P, and the right arm is Mean P. So a proper hug’s out of the question, then? The three chicks cackle together and bathe in their ‘tude-y bond. Ick. Single, much? Sweet P tells us that she had her own business and ran out of money, so she’s hoping Project Runway will be her financial salvation. Or at least introduce her to new people so she’ll have a couch to sleep on when she’s booted from the show around week 6. Cover up your right arm and please and thank you everyone you meet, girl. Beggars can’t bitches.
As all the designers convene in Bryant Park to drink some Moet and wait for Heidi and Tim, we meet the boy named Marion. Marion owns a flower shop in Dallas, Texas and designs his clothes on days that no one’s apologizing to their wives, dying in a hospital, or getting married. He’s very shy and soft spoken, and he looks very fragile and morbidly depressed. Cheer up, dude. Lots of guys have girl names in 2007. We’re not gonna beat you up, this is your turf! Marion’s portfolio shots are very chic and inventive, so I hope he takes his vitamin B and gets some sun and doesn’t have a meltdown. He can be a contender. Look! He put a huge fabric flower on one of his dresses! That’s so a sign of talent this year.
Flowers are so beautiful and then they just die. Everything dies! Nice to meet you.
Next up is Christina, who’s come up with the name Kit Pistol to use as her “Mark Twain”. Oh, for goodness sakes. Which one is talking to us now? Christina or Pistol? Which is the one with the shitty dye job again? Pistol says her motto is “Life’s too short to have on a bad outfit.” Ha. I like this girl, but one of her portfolio pics gives me pause.
You look pretty enough to decapitate in a head vise.
The scaredy pants crying guy of the season is Ricky Lizalde, who just isn’t sure if he’s good enough for this competition. Aw. Then most likely you’re not. Who’s ever said “I’m not good enough” and won a reality show? It’s too bad, because he’s really funny and makes lots of Mexican jokes, which I wholeheartedly endorse. Ricky wears one of his trademark “kooky” hats as he cries and emotes during his first interview and says that this isn’t just a game, it’s his LIFE! Lingerie design is like really (gaspy breath tear choke) deep for him because he’s from a poor family of fourteen and he grew up in a two bedroom apartment. I know I’m supposed to feel all warm and compassionate inside from hearing that tale of woe, but I can’t help but sympathize with the Lizalde Family’s downstairs neighbors. Fourteen people? Is that even legal? Dear Mexico, wear a condom. Love, Flipit.
You’d be traumatized too if you had to share a bathroom with thirteen people.
Finally, Heidi and Tim arrive at the park to deliver the first challenge of the season. Gunn looks more casual than I’ve ever seen him, and I’m not sure how I feel about this new, tie free, carefree, wealthier Tim. I didn’t know he had a collar bone, and I didn’t need to. And is that a sunburn? And are those JEANS? You go with your man of leisure self, Gunn! Can’t begrudge a man you love of the fame and fortune he so rightly deserves, and I am filled with joy the second I see him without that harpy, Veronica Webb. Things are back to how they should be. Heidi, on the other hand, is just one giant slap in the face to any woman who’s had a baby in the past year (or two. Or ten.) That body is simply not fair, and if she doesn’t showcase some loose skin and stretch marks soon, I’m organizing a protest on behalf of moms who aren’t, well, Heidi Klum.
Who’s with me?
After Tim blows the usual “you’re the best group of designers we’ve ever had” smoke up the newbie’s asses, Heidi motions to the three empty tents standing in the park. The challenge will to be to design and construct something out of the tent fabric. Christian’s like oh Haaaayl no. He doesn’t use cheap plastic crap. Don’t worry, you angry little lez, the walls are lined with a tons of expensive fabric from Mood. Psych! That Heidi’s a real trickster. They will have ten minutes to pick their fabric, and whoever runs to the tents first gets first choice. Hey! I call fat discrimination! Stop being a skinny bitch, Heidi!
Way to add an element of danger, Bravo.
When “go” is called, Ricky rips across the park like a maniac. As he puts it, “I ran like a Mexican running toward the border.” LOL. When he gets to the tents, he starts grabbing anything and everything he sees and stuffing it into his bag. Good Lord, poor person. Show some restraint. His peers follow suit, and the scene becomes mayhem. Chris gets to the tents last, and there are only a few pieces of fabric left. He is extremely good natured about it and says he was left with the perfect fabrics for him. Yikes. Even poor Ricky didn’t try to cram that loud flowery eggplant colored bs into his bag, but I believe in Chris. He’s designed dresses made out of salad ingredients, he’ll survive patterned maroon. Especially when one of the people he’s up against is Elisa.
She takes her silk chiffon and gets down on her hands and knees to rub it into the grass and stomp on it as hard as she can. At first I fear one of her marionettes broke up with her, but she explains that she’s not having a bi-polar delusion, she’s “imbuing” her silk “with a natural element” to “feed” the fabric. I think of all the times my dog has peed on the grass in that park and smile big. Her model’s gonna smell delicious. That Elisa does the whole hippie tree hugger spiel as she destroys a square foot of precious, healthy NYC grass is pretty awesome. She may not know much about much, but she’s got irony down pat. Tim Gunn looks on like it’s just another manic Monday and wonders if it’s too late to take back the whole “best group ever” thing.
The designers arrive at the Parsons work room for the first time filled with a mixture of excitement and a fear of pooing their pants. Tim welcomes them and tells them that they only have til one in the morning so…(he pulls the string on the back of his neck til it stops and lets it go) …”Make it work!”
Ricky has chosen so much fabric that he can’t decide on which to use. The challenge is to show the Judges who you are, so he settles on loud gaudy semi-transparent material for a baby doll dress. As he spreads out his bolt of silver, he tells some generic blonde pretty girl (named…God I already forgot her name and she’s still on the screen) that he used to be a cheerleader in high school. The bland girl giggles and pretends that she couldn’t see that one coming from a mile away. “Yeah. I was such a queen.” Glad you butched it up, Ricky. I don’t know if the world is ready for a gay dancer/lingerie designer.
The bland blonde is going for a romantic, historical sensibilizzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh yay! The puppet maker again! Elisa has abandoned her grass stained chiffon and opted to hack at a beautiful striped green and aqua silk instead. She looks like a child with anger management issues trying to cut out snowflakes in kindergarten art class. The mangled silk is bunched into a long mangled train, which Elisa claims symbolizes a “magic cascade” that will flow out of her model’s “miraculous cornhole”. The other designers find any excuse to stop by and watch her as she pins fabric to herself instead of using a dress form, all the while laughing to herself and wiggling her toes. Even Chris is stunned into silence, and he’s a drag queen builder.
Real girls are wack.
The designers work diligently and harmoniously and finally, with three hours or so to go, the conversation turns down the road it should have been on from the beginning: Jack’s abs. OK, yes. He looks amazing. But I will never trust anyone who works out that much, and neither should you. This guy has done nothing offensive or backhanded yet, but he will before his time on the show is done. I’ll bet you a Milky Way.
Consider yourself warned.
Tim Gunn, taking a break from the latest Patricia Cornwell novel, comes in to check on progress. He starts with Rami, who’s grey toga Oscar party gown is “stunning”. The same kind of stunning we’ve seen in his portfolio and on last weeks runway preview. Like, exactly the same. Braids? Check. Huge fabric flower? Check. Jessica Alba? Jessica Alba? Alba? Alba? Alba? Alba? Uh oh. He’s screwed. Christian looks on from across the room, and he is less impressed with Rami’s work. Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s been done by every other designer ever born. Jealous? Insecure? I dunno, but I find myself kind of agreeing with the rebellious lez.
Tim likes the plaid silk jacket Christian’s made, but he warns that matching up the plaid symmetrically in the center but not on the shoulders and sleeves is unwise. Christian, knowing very well how to play the reality game, answers that it’s supposed to be like that and rolls his eyes like Tim’s just too old and out of touch to not get asymmetrical plaid jackets. Duh, geezer. I feel like I’m not supposed to like Christian, but I really do.
This kid’s one jagged little pill.
The boring blonde girl isn’t even close to finishing, and it worries Tim. She says she lost her vision but got it back and is ready to go! I hope for her sake that the judges have lost their vision, or she’s screwed. Plug in the glue gun, bland blonde. You’re gonna need it. Wacko Elisa is next under the Gunn, and he doesn’t put his face in his hands until she turns around her dress form to reveal the poorly stitched wads of hacked up silks nesting in the bottom of the dress. He asks if it’s even possible to make the dress walkable, and she says kinda and smiles from ear to ear. Changing tactics, Tim suggests she hasn’t gone far enough. From the look on her face, that’s the first time anyone’s ever uttered those words to Elisa.
Alright, who disemboweled the Care Bear?
Tim tells them to carry on and lets them work. Elisa considers listening to his advice, but ultimately decides that she wants to create what she wants to create and she’s not changing for anybody! Besides. She needs a nap. Ok, if this bitch actually leaves to take a nap I swear I’ll…she’s sleeping! Just like that! This ep is over, as far as I’m concerned. You snooze you lose. That’s one of my Meemaw’s rules, and Meemaw’s rules don’t get broken. You ignored Tim Gunn and you slept. Bye, crazy face. I was looking forward to at least three fun filled episodes with you. Single tear.
The next morning, the designers meet this season’s models. The girls are mostly pretty, as models mostly are, and they seem to be as thrilled with the designers as the designers are with them. Well, except for Elisa’s model. “I’m going to have to hand measure you.” The girl smiles, confused, and Elisa starts palming her body. LOLOLLL. Oh, man, this is just too rich. Christian’s model loves his work, and he couldn’t agree more. Spirits are high as last minute adjustments get under way. Even the blonde boring girl’s in a decent mood, considering she has to sew her dress onto her model. Nothing screams romantic and historic like a bleeding pretty girl in clothes that don’t fit.
Elisa is finally admitting that she has a problem, too. She considers chopping off “about five feet” of her crazy train, but then shrugs. Naaaahhh! Tim said to go even further, and the only way she could is to spill marbles all over the runway. This might be the first season we get to see a model break a bone. Cross your fingers! Christian’s model is a little Pollyanna. She looks around the room in wonderment and declares that everyone’s a winner. Christian rolls his eyes and elbows her in the mouth. All he can see is a bunch of hand sewn crap.
Time for the runway show! Heidi tells the designers what they’ll get if they win: a hundred thousand bucks, a spread in Elle, and an opportunity to sell their products on BlueFly.com, which also provided tonight’s incomparable accessories. BlueFly. And now, yay Judges! I’ve missed ya! Nina Garcia is back and she’s looking like a woman should look after she’s given birth. Like she just got out of bed and doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks because all she can hear is baby screams in her ears day and night MAKE IT STOP! Michael Kors is back from Korea looking tighter than ever. The only thing on his face that moves are his eyes, and he’s starting to look like one of those creepy cat clocks you always see in movies.
The music starts pumping and the runway show begins. Elisa is up first, and her model trips all over the train. The dress is all stretch, so since the model has a bangin body, the dress looks great. But then she turns and lets it give birth to the five feet of mangled strips of silk, which she inevitably trips over. Elisa makes a face like she can’t believe that just happened. Neither can I, Elisa. Neither can I.
Someone had too much silk for dinner.
Chris is up next, and I am blown away by his restraint. I think I was expecting a giant ice cream cone. The straight guy was assigned the model with the butchest walk (on purpose?) and it doesn’t help his dress. He tells us that he was going for a tailored classic look, so it’s baffling to see this girl take the runway. Add a pair of roller skates and she could play the slutty train car in Starlight Express. Sweet P is next, with an almost perfectly round dress. Her poor model looks like a blowfish. As hideously as this dress is shaped, it would sell well. As long as there are jelly rolls and gallon guts, there will be round dresses. Don’t hate the Sweet P, hate the muffin top.
The boring blonde girl sends her model down the runway in a baby doll dress that is having trouble staying together. To compensate for her crap construction, she’s added some kind of blanket as a shawl. I would like to thank you, boring blonde girl, for giving wacko Elisa a fighting chance at not sucking the most this week. Jillian’s half-quincenera pom pom skirt/half summer dress is done in a super bright orange pink shiny fabric, and when Nina sees it she looks like someone flicked a boogar at her. I love Nina so much.
Christian’s jacket and beige skirt are a punk take on the smarty pants socialite, and it works for me. His model has a clump of hair on the side of her head, and me thinks she looks like a certain rebellious lesbian all grown up and polished. Projection ain’t just a way to watch a movie.
Victorya sends out a flowy, shapeless dress that looks exactly like the three she sent out at last week’s preview show in Bryant Park, but this one’s in black and has a weird strap thing to hold the shoulders in. It’s also got a big fabric flower pinned to it. With just one episode, these designers have officially worn out the fabric flower. Someone tell Carrie Bradshaw before her movie comes out and she looks like an idiot.
Rami’s dress looks like the cheapo Little Caesar costume my mom made me on Halloween the year my dad filed for bankruptcy, except the sheet I wore had Smurfs on it and it was missing a gd fabric flower. Too bad it wasn’t 2007 then. I might have appreciated my mother’s ghetto rigged fashion forward thinking costume instead of screaming that it was her fault we were poor and I wanted a mommy who could afford to buy me a red curly Annie wig so I wouldn’t feel like such a freak.
Speaking of poor, Ricky’s baby doll lingerie/baby doll dress is ill fitting, loud, and horizontally striped. Just what every woman wants before she bangs a dude. To look like a billboard outstide a strip club in Vegas. Oy. A laundry bag full of thousands of dollars in fabric and this is what you chose? His “kooky hat” of the moment is also hideously striped and loud. Points for consistency.
The next two dresses are polished and well done, but they are kind of boring. Jack’s is cute, but it was cute when I saw on the sale rack at Old Navy last Summer, too. What’s next? Performance fleece? Steven’s business suit with a red scarf is well fitting and slick, but it’s…a business suit and a red scarf. Steven, spend some time away from the museum every once in awhile.
Marion, on the other hand, went there. I find his dress fascinating because I love Lucy Lawless, and if Xena the Warrior Princess ever wore pajamas, they would look just like this. I smell a fellow fan!
I get that a lot of what we see on the runway would never be worn in real life, but what the hell are Carmen and Kit Pistol thinking? Carmen rolls her head and swings her earrings as her mess walks the plank, telling us that there is no way she’s going home. Kit Pistol is also pleased with her steaming pile, saying it represents exactly who she is. These two better be awesome characters in the next few episodes, because their clothes leave me speechless. And that’s not an easy way to leave me.
Chris, Kevin, Sweet P, Jack, Marion, Steven, Carmen and Mark Twain are all excused. None of them was the best, but none of them sucked the most, either. Congrats! Christian is the first of the six remaining designers to be questioned, and the Judges loved his work. He’s in the top.
Boring blonde girl is next, and Nina asks her very disappointedly what she “was trying to say with this..” (scowl. Look down at card)”…dress?” Bland blonde starts in on the romantic blahdie blah, but Nina cuts her off and asks her to ask her model to take off her jacket. Then she asks her to ask her model to turn around. The model asks bland blonde to ask Nina if she asked her to turn around, and Nina throws a pen at her face and instructs bland blonde to instruct blonde model not to speak. All this telephone ends in a short, simple voicemail from the judges. “You suck”. The women were all bored and unimpressed, and Kors said that the model looked like she dressed in the dark. Hilarious.
The judges all get up and stand in line to make out with Rami. His toga is chic and classy. Big surprise there. Kors adds that the flower’s a bit Mother of the Bride, but I think he only said that because he doesn’t want to look easy. Poor Ricky made a baby doll dress. Big woop. All the judges say “it’s nice”, but they say it in that charming “you’re a worthless looza get out of our faces” way that they have. Somehow, Victorya’s formless black baby doll dress with a silver fabric flower gets off easier. The guest judge oohs and ahhs about that f ing flower and calls it innovative. Go back to the bridal shop, you hack. Kors is the only one to really give the dress any crap, saying the ribbon across the shoulder is a bit constrictive. “That girl won’t be hailing a cab.” Kors, you are on fire tonight. Flaming.
Last and least is Elisa. As she mumbles on about air, water, ethereal, spiritual, feeling, wow, haiku, (slurping sound), and spirit, Heidi rolls her eyes, Kors tries unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh, and Nina gets a look on her face like she’s learning about global warming for the first time.
Wait. Who melted the icebergs?
Nina does a bullshit cough and Kors takes over with a hip Jerry Maguire reference. Elisa had him at hello with the gorgeous color, but the scrap heap glued to the back was just plain wrong. Every judge nods their head and adds some variation of the word “wrong” before Elisa cuts in and lies her ass off. She says her intuition told her that she should have just cut the train. (Riiight. Intuition, thy name is Tim Gunn.) Kors says a designer should always listen to their intuition. Unless they’re Elisa. She should just listen to Tim and take pills to suppress her intuition at all costs.
After long and arduous deliberation (what was she thinking? That’s the best you can do? It looked like she was pooping fabric!), the Judges name the winner. Rami. Oooh, this is gonna make a certain rebellious lesbian spitting mad, and I can’t wait. For the record, Christian, you was robbed, girl. Rami is very humble about his win, saying he’s set the bar high for this competition and he’s wonderful and yay me. Ugh. Rami’s dress was pretty, but we saw twenty something versions of it last year from Santino. The judges are going a little too crazy for this guy, and I smell something fishy. Christian does too, but he resists the urge to go Prissy Postal on the Judges, leaving the runway with his dignity in tact. For now.
In other words, the Weinstein Brothers have a boner for Rami.
Ricky is excused, partly because there were people worse than him and partly because the suspense of how many tacky hats one queen can have is too curious to pass up. So we have bland blonde and Elisa. Who do you think’s gonna get the boot? The crazy person or the girl who’s name no one can remember? Crazy wins every time.
In her exit interview, bland blonde says that she thought she was gonna make it to the final three and believes that she can make it to the tents on her own one day. It will just take her a loooooooooong time. And a seamstress. And ideas.
All in all, I am completely head over heels in love with this new season. I don’t know if it’s the most talented group we’ve seen, but it’s definitely the nuttiest, which passes for most talented in my book. What do you guys think?
***If you missed last week’s recap of the Preview Fashion Show and Cast Member Bios, check it out here!