It seems like just yesterday we were all watching Tim Gunn giving Santino advice on the ruffled explosions he called dresses. When I close my eyes I can still see Andrae crying for 5 minutes straight and then running off the runway like a 6 year old who just dropped her ice cream cone. Yes Project Runway 2 may be gone from our television sets but it’s not gone from the television sets…of our hearts.
Thankfully BRAVO, deciding to strike while the iron is hot has decided to rush into production the new season of Project Runway 3 to help us through the summer doldrums. So drop the inner tube and the sunscreen, it’s time for Project Runway 3: Beyond Thunderdome. Or just Project Runway 3. Or Project Runway 3: Casting Special to be exact. Yes that’s right, the season starts with an hour long casting special. This is one of the unfortunate new developments in the reality show genre. When you get a show that is a hit, producers feel the need to milk their initial popularity by adding lots of filler so they can sell a whole bunch more commercial time (for a perfect example see the bloated 2 hour Apprentice finale’s and/or Survivor reunion specials). Now if it was me I would stick to what works, or “dance with the lady that brung ya” as my poppy used to say (my dad was an okie from the blackfoot hill’s of Montana, or wherever the blackfoot hill’s are. I was never much fer fancy book learnin’.) and just get right to the show. But the preshow, like the main show itself, is a cut above the rest. And since all of us savvy readers have TiVo’s they can do whatever they want.
As the preview show opens we hear the dulcet tones of one Mr. Tim Gunn, my gay alter ego. Or he would be my gay alter ego if I had a sense of style, fashion and joie de vivre. No wait, forget the joie de vivre. I got bucket loads of that. It’s je ne sais quoi that I lack. Tim is describing the rules of the game. Each contestant will show their portfolio, three pieces and fill out a 20 page questionnaire. Next we hear some quick clips of contestants as they go before the judges. Some pitches are kind of eh, like the guy who says “I want you to know, I really want it.” Gee really? And some are more creative, like the woman with the thick German accent who says “Literally of you give me a sheep I can give you a sweater.” God how awesome would it be of one of Tim’s eccentricities is bringing a sheep with him wherever he goes? He’d be all like “There, bitch. Make me an Afghan”. And what would she do? I mean, would she use the sheep’s entrails as accessories? What about the skeleton? You could probably make a hat out of that. Ah well, it didn’t happen, so the fantasies of sheep mutilation will have to remain just that. A hot, erotic fantasy.
Tim then tells us that if the person makes it past the first round, they have to give a personal bio video. This is where the producers step in and decide whose more “television worthy”. Kind of like how Trump steps in and makes sure half the contestants on his reality show have double D breasts (the man knows what sells). After that its phase 3 where Tim brings in Michael Kors and the faaabulous Nina Garcia to go over the contestants.
On the first leg of the trip Tim is helped along by the one and only Santino. And Tim doesn’t seem to thrilled about it. Santino then tells us how much his life has changed. Actresses all want to wear his designs. People call out his name on the streets. He was finally able to afford soap.
14 and a half minutes and counting…
You see, on November 13, Santino was asked to remove himself from his place of residence. That request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right. But he also knew that someday, he would return to her. With no where else to go, he appeared at the home of his childhood friend, Tim Gunn. Sometime earlier, Tim’s partner had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?
Tim says that this season the applicants were much more seasoned. Which then segue’s into our first contestant. Robert Best. The countdown on when he uses the “I’m the best” joke or a variation thereof begins….now! Why couldn’t he be named Michael Hunt? I would kill to hear Tim wander around the studio asking “Where’s Mike Hunt?” Robert studied at Parsons so he is known to Tim, and he has had a successful career at Barbie designing Barbie doll fashion. His experience with a miniaturized sewing machine will probably hurt him more than help him this season (these are the jokes folks).
Now a brief montage of the nutcases, or the “lunatic fringe” as Tim refers to them. Among them a fat guy in a black wedding dress and a girl I think was dressed as a borg.
Resistance is futile…
..and extremely ill fitting.
Next up is Ulrike and when Heidi hears that’s she’s German she goes nuts. “vass is da last name? Oh yah!” she squeals in her German accent. That’s right Heidi, be proud of your heritage. Munich represent! While her work is quite impressive, I am somewhat disturbed by the fact that she looks Like Pamela Anderson after a six month crystal meth binge.
This is your brain.
This is your brain on drugs.
Next is Jeffrey, who Tim refers to as a designer who has his own store and is well known in the community. His stuff has that rock and roll feel. Well, his clothes have that “forced” rock and roll feel. Whereas grunge rockers in Seattle wore flannel under their jeans because Seattle is freaking cold, Jeffrey would do it because it looks hip. Still, from the glimpses I saw of his work it all looked pretty good, and when it comes to fashion, I have impeccable taste (I wear nothing but Chenbot t-shirts).
Stacy. She’s new to fashion but has a Harvard MBA. They like her stuff and move her to the next round. But the most frightening aspect of her interview is when you see her she looks like a 50 year old woman, and then they cut to her bio tape and she looks like a cute 20 something girl in a bar. In fact it looks like the tape was made in a bar. It’s the worst case of beer goggles I’ve ever seen and I’m not even drunk.
When looking over Stacy’s portfolio Heidi is shocked at one of her dresses. It has a slit going up the front all the way to her cooter. Michael Kors then jokes “OK, so the slit is a little high. I know what she had for lunch now.” Hmm, since Michael is gay and has had limited exposure to female genitalia, I’ll let this one slide. But for future reference, women do not poop out of their vaginas.
Nina makes an offhand comment that Stacy reminds her of “the mother” meaning the one and only Wendy Pepper. As Tim gives a look of horror we get a nice flashback to Wendy Peppers season one pre-interview where she is all peaches and cream talking about how fashion can be so cutthroat and all along the way she has made choices to be loyal and kind. Cut right to the graphic “nine months later…” and we see Wendy Pepper, the bitch we all know, ragging on everyone and just being a nasty bitch. Bravo… Bravo networks.
Bonnie Dominguez. She does sporty stuff Tim tells us. She’s has worked with people like Serena Williams. Therefore she has mastered the art of designing for the large booty. Her downside is she hasn’t sewn in 10 years. Expect her to be the one to break the sewing machine this year causing a huge blowout.
Now its time for Vincent. He had a career in fashion but dropped out when things were “too tough” for him. I want to forward that last sentence to every man and women serving in Iraq to show them that back home things are just as tough for some of us as it is for them. Santino says looking at his portfolio was like looking into a time capsule. Michael Kors is impressed that he is jumping back into the fold at 49 so they all give him a thumbs up. The best way to describe him is he is half Stephen King and half the lead singer from the Proclaimers. In his bio video we see why he had to leave the industry. He’s a bit of a loon, even showing us his huge giant blackboard in his studio, frantically writing on it.
Now we have Bradley. What can you say about him? He is like if the hippie twins from Amazing Race were a fashion designer. I hate him. Tim of course loves him, even going so far as saying that it was his video that sealed the deal for him. Hmm, I normally don’t disagree with Tim about anything except our respective sexual turn ons, so I am confused. Maybe I should reserve judgement.
After a short look at what Austin Scarlett has been up to (Newsflash: He’s still gay), Tim then brings us to their Chicago trip where he was joined by Nick. We see a little taste of the rejects, including a couple of pissed off gay designers in drag. When Tim politely rejects their pieces as needing “more work” they just get a stare down from the man wearing the full length gown.
He brings a whole new meaning to the expression “pop a cap in your ass”
From here we are introduced to Kayne. Kayne is a big name in the pageant industry. Jon Benet swore by his designs. It got her to where she is today. While Tim doesn’t like his designs he loves the whole Kayne experience, so I guess that means he’s in.
We then meet Steve. In his bio video we see him in front of his sewing mannequin saying that this is where “the magic happens”. Then we see him in his bed saying that this is where the magic happens too. Oh he’s so cheeky! Then we see him laying on his living room floor saying that that is also where magic happens! And finally, a shot of him hunched over the sink with his pants around his ankles saying that yes, the magic happens there too. OK, we get it. You like to get magiced up.
Next, Michael Knight. Which is of course a fake name. Because that is a name of a man….who does not exist (cue music). Michael brings a bit of a hip hop Diddy feel to the show which I fully endorse. How many gay gown designers can we really take in one season? Michael’s designs were his versions of season 2 challenges. Tim however wants to see his vision without the constraints of the show. Chloe says she likes him, and even though Tim thinks he is all over the place, he gets in.
Now it’s off to Miami. And we are joined by Chloe Dao, winner of Project Runway 2. We see her in her store Lot 8. She says it’s a definite “Hot spot” to go to in Houston. But since she lives in the same city as Walker: Texas Ranger, how much of a hot spot could it be? (OK, that was east coast snobby of me. I apologize. At least he she doesn’t live in Denver…). In her store she has a flat screen TV on the wall with Project Runway 2 running 24/7.
The first person we meet in Miami is Katherine Gerdes. She’s hip and cute, and a certified snowboard instructor to boot. If she was an eighties movie she would be the new girl moving into the hot winter vacation spot, meeting a cute guy and then having to face down the rich bullies in the yearly Aspen snowboarding tournament. The film would include a romantic montage featuring the songs of Heart and the climactic snowboard battle with the local rich bully, who will be played by the blonde bad guy from Karate Kid, will be done to a Journey song. Her sidekick will be named Booger and provide comic relief.
In New York Tim is working with Daniel Vosovich, who from his brief where are they now part still thinks those horrible woodshop bags are cool. . Their first contestant is Keith Michael. But he comes to the audition only with menswear. This gets quite the disapproving look from Mr. Gunn. When Joann Pailey from Elle magazine asks why he didn’t bring the women’s wear designs that he has and shows in his portfolio, he just tells her he’s focusing on menswear now. Oh Keith. “That’s not the focus of the show” says Joann. I like Joann. Tim however likes the cut of his gib. He likes how he is confident and defiant. So he gets in.
Next up is Laura Bennett. Laura is an architect who has no experience in fashion. She feels that the principles she has in design can translate well. A good point. But what’s up with the low cut dress on a woman who is so flat chested? And my mind is blown even further when we find out she has five children. Five children and a chest that makes Kiera Knightly look like Dolly Parton. I know I may sound like a male chauvinist but am I on the only one fascinated by that? Did the kids suck her dry? I’d ask Michael Kors what he thinks but the man probably thinks she pisses out her nipples.
Then we meet Alison, The cute one. Or “super cute” as Tim calls her. Her stuff is mildly interesting, but Kors thinks its “gorg” so they move her on. It’s actually hard for me to get an impression about her because Bravo decides to crowd half the freaking screen with an ad for one of their shows.
This screenshot literally has 4 ads in it
Tim then reminisces about Jay, winner of Project Runway 1. He was dubious about him from the beginning. He informs us that since the show he has not shown anything. From here we go see the 2006 version if Jay. Same model, twice the dickiness. Jay then gives us a litany of excuses as to why he has not produced anything. At some point he even mentions sweatshops where people get shot. He’s so out of it he even says that he wants to make clothes for the “everyman”. Well, judging from his previous designs, the only “everyman” clothes he could design for would be a post apocalyptic Soylent Green fueled future world kind of everyman. He does say that he is working on clothes for the September fashion week, the same one the final 3 from this season will be showing. This way everyone will stop asking him what he’s doing.
And then Angela. Angela declares that he “makes clothing accessories like women make babies. I was meant to do it.” Interesting. A little sexist, but interesting. Tim tells Angela that she really “seduced” him last year. Oh Tim, you are so provocative. Angela tells us in her bio video that she lives “off the grid” on a farm in “O-hi-o” making dresses that are mistaken for Yves St. Laurent. Well when you think about it that’s not so impressive. Ohio farmers are notorious when it comes to confusing their designers. Most of them have trouble telling the difference between a Christian Dior and a Givenchy. Rubes.
When Daniel Feld comes up and Tim asks him why he is there, he simply says “publicity”. He’s done his own line and just needs the publicity. Well at least he’s honest.
Finally we have Malan. Malan has probably the most pretentious British accent since Mr. Belvedere. he is a two time loser as far as Project Runway is concerned. He’s applied very season and been rejected. And in flashback mode we see why. He spent his entire interview insulting fashion magazines and fashion schools. Which is a bad choice since the judges were people from fashion magazines and fashion schools. Then in season 2 he was accepted but then he turned them down. In his season one flashback interview we hear him bragging about how he does television voice over work as if that means something to them. Unless he is the voice of Foghorn Leghorn, that means nothing to the judges or to me. And now he’s back again for another go around.
With that our elite judges and Heidi have to make the decision as to who makes the final 15. Which they will reveal on the first episode of Project Runway 3. Here’s hoping for a good season.