PR: Ranty Time

Posted on October 12, 2012

Now comes the portion of our Project Runway blogging where we struggle mightily to remain entertaining and do everything we can to tamp down the bile and not sound like bitter fanboys who didn’t get the ending they wanted. It gets harder and harder each year. And people ask, “T Lo, why do you still do it then? Why blog about this show if you don’t enjoy it?” But the fact of the matter is, we do enjoy it, on a marginal level.


The first half of the season is usually pretty fun. That’s because that’s the half of the season that still has the headcases and weirdos in the cast, which means the runway show can often be one glorious WTF? after another walking that runway and the workroom resembles a community room in a mental institution. One word: Frokemon.  Remember him? Where else on television are you going to see someone like that? Ain’t no Frokemons wandering through the background on Honey Boo Boo, after all.



We were recently asked in an interview about the decline of Project Runway – and it’s interesting how that question is so often framed. It’s never, “Do you think Project Runway has declined in quality since it moved to Lifetime?” It’s always, “Why do you think Project Runway has declined since it moved to Lifetime?”



In other words, it’s a given, and we’ve never heard anyone claim otherwise. Anyway, in this recent interview we said something that surprised us because it almost sounds like  a defense of the show, which we suppose it is. We said, given that the show is in its tenth season, it’s a wonder it hasn’t declined further, and offered up America’s Next Top Model as an example of a show that has declined to the point of being completely unwatchable.


Project Runway isn’t the painful joke that ANTM has become; it’s just boring as hell. Bunim/Murray, Lifetime, Full Picture, or the Weinstein Company;  whoever’s really responsible doesn’t matter, but the upshot is, someone in charge made the foolish decision that the show isn’t about creativity, it’s about storylines.



But when you’re in the tenth season, the contestants are far too aware of that fact, which means we get stupid shit like “I made my dress out of my mother’s X-rays” because all-too savvy contestants know that such a thing is seen as reality TV gold by the people in charge. And because creativity isn’t even on the menu anymore, we sat through a mini-runway show last night with belly tops and shorts instead of the jaw-dropping gowns and separates of seasons gone by. Because we’re the types who yell at our TV, when those sad pieces walked out last night, we yelled out the names of finalists from seasons gone by.



If you’re a fan of the show’s history, picture (or click the links to remind you of) Jay McCarroll’s collection …  Kara Saun’s

Laura Bennett’sUli’sChristian Siriano’s


Rami’s …  Jillian’s, …  Leanne’s

Korto’sMila’s …  Seth Aaron’s

Each one of those collections only serve now to damn the show for its appalling dismissal of the creative process. Those were polished, cohesive, high quality looks that would have been quite expensive had they been offered up for sale. Last night’s runway looked like a bunch of Marshall’s and Chico’s rejects. It’s embarrassing. It’s not necessarily an indictment of this year’s crop of finalists. They’ve just been primed to believe that their personal stories are more important than their creative abilities. How could they not? More time is spent asking them about their sob stories or who they hate in the cast than is given to them to complete a collection. Ten looks in five weeks is only slightly better than the time they’re given for each garment during the competition. There used to be a huge difference in quality between the competition looks and the finale looks and now, there’s no difference at all. Each of the above pieces look exactly like what they are: a garment made in a matter of days.


We don’t dislike any of the finalists and we think they all have fairly distinct points of view. But their creativity and skills are not the centerpiece of the show or the reason why they’re finalists and on some level, they all know that.


What the show desperately needs in order to regain its mojo is a complete overhaul. Everyone knows there’s going to be an unconventional materials challenge, team challenges, “real woman” challenges, etc, ad nauseam. And everyone knows that ten designers are going to show collections at Fashion Week. Everyone knows they’re going to Mood. Everyone knows Heidi’s, Michael’s, and Nina’s tastes and that the taste and opinions of the guest judge almost never matter, nor does Tim’s advice.  There are simply no surprises in the formula anymore. We want a season where the designers truly don’t know what the hell is going to be asked of them, instead of having to suffer through painfully obvious faux expressions of surprise when the show does exactly what it’s always done for years.

We’re really not angry. It’s been too many years of the same crap to get angry now. We’re just bored out of our minds. We saw the finale shows and there’s nothing coming up even close to the level of seasons past. It doesn’t really matter who wins or loses this season. There’s nothing to root for.Why do we still blog about it? Inertia, we suppose. A sense of responsibility to our readers. A warm, fuzzy feeling of gratitude for the show that provided the launch pad for what has turned out to be a couple of really fun, amazing careers. We don’t hate Project Runway. But it’s hard to stay in love with it anymore.





[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for Lifetime – Stills:]

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  • greyhoundgirl

    Insightful commentary, thank you.  I knew there would be four finalists when Heidi said to Christopher “I would wear that.”  Then I knew the hope for an interesting 3 way match was doomed.

  • Lynn Landry

    i agree 100% and that is sad. Funny, I never walked away when the judging wasn’t too my liking, but utter boredom will be what makes me change the channel. I don’t even care who wins. Not one shred of caring.

    • RebeccaKW

       At least if you disagreed with the judging, you had an opinion.  You had someone you were rooting for, that you could yell at the t.v. when they gave the win to someone other than who you thought should win.  Now, I have no one to root for.  I don’t yell at the t.v. b/c nothing on this show inspires me.  I don’t care who the winner or loser is, b/c they are all about the same. 

      Oh, and regarding ANTM-holy crap.  I used to watch that for the photo shoots-there was some beautiful stuff.  I watched it last Friday, just to see what it was like now that viewers were voting.  It was ridiculous, I could barely get through the photo shoot.

      • EditKitten

        I watched up until this season for exactly the same reason — the hope of beautiful shots, and you know, almost always, it paid off in at least one or two in every episode, which kept me interested. Once they got rid of Nigel and the Jays and introduced this social-media shit, I bounced. I also tuned in once this season (nothing else on and I had no plans, so …), and instantly regretted it. It was HORRIBLE. And boring. It’s like PR, too: stories, drama, people threatening each other. See ya!

        • Lynn Landry

          ugh, glad I ditched ANTM before the voting thing! If PR goes that route, the show will certainly hit the crapper. Democracy with fashion gives you GAP-crap.

          • RebeccaKW

             It was really weird.  They do their usual challenge, and each gets a score.  Then 3 judges score the photo.  Then people vote, I guess on FB or twitter, I didn’t pay that much attention.  Then it’s highest score winner, lowest score goes home.  But not even home.  Something about all the booted contestants will compete for a spot later.  It was ridiculous.

        • RebeccaKW

           I didn’t even know Nigel and the Jays were gone.  Different guy at the photo shoot-I thought okay, maybe for this one.  Then the judging came and it was 2 people I’d never seen.  CoverGirl isn’t even the prize, anymore.  It was so ridiculous.

          The photo shoot wasn’t even that great.  It was a train wreck.

          • Meelah

            In my opinion The Jays made the show and I know a lot of people only continued to watch because of them.  If anyone needed to be removed it was Tyra.  I know it’s her show but almost everything is about her.  Heidi may have 1 or 2 eps to show off whatever she’s shilling but Tyra will make literally every episode have something to do with her or her mother.

        • Call me Bee

          Well–ANTM has always had the drama amongst the models…(I mean, put 16 women in a house for more than a few hours and there’s gonna DRAH-MAH no matter how well-adjusted they may be…) But this year with the social networking junk–it’s plain crapThere was one interesting photo shoot with the stema-pink train and owl, but that’s it!  Can’t watch any more.  I miss The Jays. 

          • jjfg

             Drama? It’s a bunch of idiot girls with no discernible talent yelling at each other.

            I just don’t remember it being so bad in the past. I made it maybe 1/3 of the way through the “all stars” series; it became obvious early on Lisa was going to win and I really can’t stand her, so I was out. US vs UK?  Too. Much. Yelling.  But again, the winner was obvious almost from day one.  Made it about 4 episodes.  College?  No Jays?  No Nigel?  Social media bullshit (so now you have people with no live judging idiot girls with no talent)?  Two episodes.  I actually used to enjoy the show, mainly because the photoshoots could be pretty interesting.  Now, even if they were, it’s not worth sitting through the rest of the BS just to catch them.

          • Count me in also as someone who quit ANTM this season because the Jays and Nigel are gone. They made the show watchable (I’ve been a loyal watcher since the beginning and have sat through every season except this current one, not sure if that is something to be proud of though (: ) and without them all that is left is Tyra’s oversized ego and Kelly Cutrone’s bitchiness. To both of those things, I say no thanks. 

  • I love the show because it brought me you guys :: sycophant emoticon:: but I haven’t bothered using bandwidth on it this season because I’m bored. When the most edgy creative garments there are being worn by Nina it’s time to shake it up!

    • Qdahling

       I agree! This show brought me to TLo as well. I used to blog about the show as well and now I am more than done with the show. I gave up on the season with Gretchen and then reconfirmed with the Anya season.  I still love reading the recaps and I’m so glad TLo still do them so I can find out everything going on.  Well, I half watch the show while I do something more productive. 

      When I heard the judges complain about the quality after giving them 5 weeks, all I could think of was what my beloved bloggers would say to that!

      Now I’m happy to visit this site all the time and enjoy so much more!  Call me a bitter kitten or precious unborn fawn any day!

      • The show brought me to TLo as well.  So for that I’m grateful.  But damn!  Those clothes are all ugly and amateurish and boring.  I mean, yeah, there are a couple of pieces that if your co-worker wore them you’d be all like “Wow, how unusual!”  But you would never believe that she got it right off a New York runway.

      • librarygrrl64

        “I gave up on the season with Gretchen and then reconfirmed with the Anya season.”


  • It’s the world.  The world has changed.  Kate Middleton shops off the rack, and she’s in line to be Queen of England.  It just is.  For whatever reason, it is.

    • EditKitten

      Yeah, but off-the-rack clothes are often way more interesting than the hairballs these contestants are throwing up. They’re not even fitted well, and frankly, I don’t even think the construction is that great (though as TLo have pointed out, they have NO TIME to do anything, and that sucks). I get more interesting stuff on ModCloth for $35.

      •  Hairballs…. snort!

        • l_c_ann

          Cris March’s Hair (ball) dresses that weren’t even ‘good’ enough to be on TV were far finer than anything we saw last night.

          • CozyCat

            Actually, Chris March’s collection was quite beautiful and well crafted.  Unfortunately, it was just too…weird, even for the fashion world. 

          • formerlyAnon

            My NEED to comment on how much I liked his final collection was my first ever post on TLo’s blog.

          • DeborahJozayt

            The odd thing is Louis Vuitton made hair bags this past year, at the Fall 2012/2013 show (The one with the train on the runway.) It wasn’t the whole collection, but there were about 4 bags with full hair, and each of the hats had hair brooches in them, too. I don’t know if they sold well or not, but if anything, Chris was just a little ahead of his time 😀

      • Sheila Venable

        “[O]ff-the-rack clothes are often way more interesting than the hairballs these contestants are throwing up.” Well said!

  • So, I know, in order to get the fans all riled up, we’ll make them think there’s a twist, but then, there won’t be! Uh, it didn’t really pan out well of the original Dallas, did it?  Do you actually think it will work now? 

    If there was a designer who deserved the AUFF last evening, it was Christopher, for his entirely lackluster collection.  The single piece that I saw on his rack that was intriguing was the bolero jacket of pieced together leather.  But to be clear, everyone disappointed to one degree or another.

    Oh and if I see Tim in one of those gingham shirts again, I will scream.

    • Stubenville

      [Stubenville shoves his blue gingham shirt to the back of his closet]

      • Thanks, Stubenville, for my first big out loud laugh of the morning!

        And not to worry, I am only concerned with Mr Gunn’s apparant lack of other sartorial choices, this season.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Tim hasn’t been at his sartorial best this season,has he?

          • Kimbolina

            Maybe he just figures, “why bother?” and gave up for the show.

          • carolclark12

             It’s his silently mouthed, “Help me!” to the audience.

          • Winter_White

            HAhaha!  Poor Tim.  I miss his blog; guy was incapable of NOT dishing.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            Tim’s been muzzled ever since he spilled the beans about Heidi trying to get him to intervene for Mondo in Season 8.

          • MoHub

             I think making Tim a producer came with a caveat that he’d better keep his virtual mouth shut.

      • Sheila Venable

         And rightfully so!

    • MissAnnieRN

      I agree. Melissa and Costello lite were def in the bottom 2. With Christopher being the bottom of the barrel with the X-ray clothing.

      • Introspective

        I wouldnt have been mad to see either of them go but Melissa to me edged out the assery of Costello lite with the horrible styling that felt like (for all you NYC folks) St Marks place circa 2002. The goth thing ran dry so long ago I dont know how shes still here. Costello lite had GMC (-as in generic mall clothes- thanks Joe Zee for that gem!) but Melissa’s felt feigned. Like something you do when you think you want to come across as “edgy.” Im not buying it.

      • t b

         Whaaaat? TiLo was S E R I O U S? His mother’s x-rays? Geeeez louise.

    • 3boysful

       I am mad at myself, but I did like Costello-lite’s gown on the dress form–the strapless ombre thing?  It wasn’t at all anything new in design, but “I would wear it.”

      (And Stubenville, you’re hilarious!)

      • Sheila Venable

         I did, too. Why did he show the garments he showed?

        • annyb

          Apparently nothing he had fit the models, and he hadn’t time for alterations, so he showed whatever pieces fit.

          I wondered why he didn’t mention that during the judging.

          • Pinup Ghoul

             I don’t understand why they no longer show the model selection process. It’s obvious to me that Dmitry’s white dress with the floating panels was probably meant for a size 4, not a size 2. It doesn’t hang on this model in a flattering way at all, and bunches in weird places. Do they no longer have a say in which models they’re allowed to choose?

          • MoHub

             Mila has said in her blog that the dress forms at Parsons are (current) size 4—marked as the 6es they were formerly. Don’t know about Dmitry’s personal dress form, if he has one.

    • Lynn Landry

      so, for the last episode, Michael Kors, Heidi and Nina wake up in a shower and say “it was all a dream?” AIEEEE!

      • MoHub

        Only if they’re referring to everything that happened after the move to Lifetime.

    • Anathema_Device

      I smell producer manipulation with Christopher. He had much better looks that he showed to Tim. I’m not a huge fan of his, but he has been a judges’ favorite. I think the producers want to introduce the element of doubt. I rarely think in conspiratorial terms, but something really reeked there.

      • Oh I couldn’t agree more. This has all stunk of manipulation since jump street.  As far as Christopher is concerned, I suspect the win will NOT be going to him, just because he’s been getting groomed to believe in a win all along. I’m beginning to wonder if B-M won’t give it to the lone remaining female. 

        • Sheila Venable

           No; just no.

        • random_poster

          I dunno. I think they set Christopher up so that the better looks that he didn’t show the judges in the mini-collection come across as the wow factor…”we had our doubts, but you really showed us!”

        • MoHub

          That’s what I’m thinking. Either that or Dmitry, since he’s straight.

          It’s the perception of what the Lifetime demographic wants, even though the PR audience generally doesn’t fit that demo.

          • Jarethee

            Was it ever shown that Dmitry was straight? I missed that.

          • MoHub

            Not on PR, but there’s a magazine interview out there in which he says he’s straight.

    • “Oh and if I see Tim in one of those gingham shirts again, I will scream.”

      -I think he’s got 1 in every color. But what about the patterned suits? It looks like the producers stole all of Tim’s solid-colored suits and replaced them with glen plaid, stripes, and windowpane check! 

      • formerlyAnon

        Taken singly, as he appears on the show, I like the suits. But when I run through the PR posts here and see the suits one after another, I am struck by the image of Tim Gunn as a very dapper, somewhat mature, and oddly formal Harold Hill (The Music Man). 

    • fashionablylate

      I have to disagree, I love the gingham! I think Tim as looked quite spiffy all season.

      •  Its not that I disliked it at all, just that I thought it over-deployed.

  • MaryMitch

    Remember when the designers actually had time to create wonderful garments that showed skill and imagination? Ah, memories…

    •  Yeah, 5 weeks and 10 pieces? Really?  And they are bitching about things not looking runway ready. REALLY?

      •  And I don’t understand this — there’s no drama to be milked out of them during the collection process because they’re home. 

        The way it is structured at the moment is near criminal on a business level.  The one day challenges can somewhat be explained by cost: the longer each challenge, the longer the show is paying for living expenses for the designers.  But the finale blows that theory right out of the water.  In a year with 10 designers showing because of programming schedules, they are spending 90K on just the budget for the collections — instead of the 36K it should be.  That doesn’t take into account the fact that most other costs is increased as well, such as model salaries.  If they would limit themselves to one decoy as in years past, they could easily compensate for the extra time. 

        •  I’m sure part of it is that they now have All Stars on the schedule. My bet is that they maintain the same production/shooting team for both, to save costs. So now they have more limited time in which to produce each show.  It doesn’t work in the manufacturing industry when you cut costs, but cutting production quality/time. It doesn’t work in this realm, either.

          • I can’t figure out what the rational is here.  There has to be one, and it’s not money, and it’s not quality.

          • Color me mystified, as well.

          • Call me Bee

            Would that be a soft, pretty blue-gray?  Mystified?  🙂 

          • Slightly pearlescent, like the fog tumbling over Twin Peaks, here in San Francisco.

          • littlemac8

            My aunt lived on Twin Peaks where I first visited her in 1968!!  I was a product of St Louis suburbs and boy did I have an awakening when I saw Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore West!!

          • Dayum!!!! You are takin’ it way back. Before my tenure in SF began. I arrived in 84.

          • formerlyAnon

            I’ve spent more time than it’s worth trying to figure out why, as well.You get shittier clothes and it seems like it would cost more. And this from possibly the show with the most aggressive product placement & sponsorships of anything I watch. Sometimes I wonder if they actually need any more ad revenue at all by the time they’ve aired the first two or three episodes.

          • l_c_ann

            I don’t think it’s the same production shoot team for both.
            Season 1 allstars (not the three day giveaway to Daniel V) the explanation for not using HeidiNinaMichael and Tim was that they were busy shooting PR at the same time. This season PR and AS2 seem also to have happened concurrently:  remember when Katie Holmes was reported to be a judge, and then it was clarified it was for Allstars although regular PR had gotten publicity at that time and AllStars hadn’t.

          • Geez!  How did I miss all that?  Thanks for the clarity. Of course now I’m more mystified than before,…lol

          • Lisa_Cop

            My husband, an amateur videographer, met someone who shoots video for PR. They use freelancers, and not even the same ones for every episode. That means costs aren ‘t too high. And BTW, Tim gets his own special lighting so that he will “pop”.

          • YoungSally

            Well at least Tim gets something.

          • Pinup Ghoul

             It’s criminal that Stella isn’t on All-Stars.
            Screw All-Stars, she needs to have her own show. I miss her! No drama from Stella, ever.

          • MoHub

             Leathah Forevah!

        • VanessaDK

            I think it was assumed when the show first aired, that there would be
          one series each year, and they tried to time it so they allowed the
          finalists a few months (3?) between filming and fashion week.  When the
          show became so popular (at least for a cable network) and they moved to
          air as many seasons as possible in a year, they started cutting down on
          time for challenges and for final collections.

          • CozyCat

            Yes, I think they had 3 months originally–over TWICE what the current crew gets.  It’s not surprising that the creativity level has declined.  They have no time to think. 

            And they have no time to re think after Tim’s critique.  In fact, Tim’s visits have become even more pointless than his workroom commentaries.  Which is a shame, because a designer working alone and at a rapid pace really needs an outside voice to refine their work.

          • Yes! The fact that Tim does the home visits with only about a week to go until fashion week made me angry. They give the designers no flexibility.

          • Sheila Venable

             The designers are supposed to be designers. That’s like saying we need to be told not to double park. As designers, they are supposed to know. They aren’t students. And as someone said above, they should have started to design their final collections the moment they were signed to the show.

          • But in the context of having been wrung out by the exceptionally stressful filming situation, and then going home and shitting at least two looks a week, it’s difficult to go outside of your own myopic little bubble.  An outer perspective can help clear the fog.  Even seasoned professionals need outside input every now-and-again.

          • fashionablylate

            Back when they had more time, the designers could go home and decompress a bit, take a few days or so to clear their heads and catch up on sleep, then start their finale collection. They don’t have that luxury anymore, and it shows.

          • watchmeboogie

            This. Jay McCarroll could not have turned out his winning collection in 5 weeks, no way. Even Siriano doesn’t work that fast.

        • I thought it had something to do with the timing of using the space at Parsons, summer vacation, Fall Fashion Week? But, as All-Stars has shown, there are other working spaces in Manhattan (gasp) and really, how much can it be to rent a bunch of industrial sewing machines. Fitting it into the tv schedule? This is cable. No one will miss a rerun of some 80s sitcom.

          No, take Fall Fashion Week, count back X number of weeks for production of a decent collection, count back X+ weeks for 2 day challenges, and then voila, your start date for filming.   

          • I’m guessing it has more to do with the availability of the judges. 

      • stardust462

        I wish they would get each designer an assistant for those five weeks. Because every other collection at Fashion Week has a team behind it, not just one designer doing everything.

        • Its a great idea.  Assign a design /production assistant to each designer, to help with creating their looks during the 5 week home period.

          • MilaXX

            Better yet just give them the fricking time needed to make a decent collection. All the assistants in the world don’t mean a thing if they don’t have time to do a good job.

          •  True Dat!

        • 3boysful

           What a fab idea!  I don’t think they are going to change the production schedule, so this is a viable alternative to up the collection quality.  But the designers would have to be forbidden from saying “This was my assistant’s crappy idea and poor me, I didn’t have time to change it.”

          I was going to write a comment that the poor designers are stuck in that “hurry up and throw some s*** together that will keep you safe” mode from the show when they go home, but I guess they really have to be since 5 weeks isn’t long for a whole collection.  Damn shame.

      • I agree.  And how could they come up with a seriously interesting 10 piece collection in 5 weeks! Also, Tim came to look at the collections when it was like 9 days from Fashion Week.  I noticed he said very little, because seriously, how could they course correct in that amount of time.

        • Yeah, his critique of each of them amounted to, “Wow. This all looks great!”

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            Tim’s home visits for this season were like the Reader’s Digest condensed version compared to previous seasons.  It all smacks of a tired, tired franchise.

      • Scott Hester-Johnson

         Yeah, what IS the deal with that. If it were me, i would have my shit done by the time I got to NYC, so what’s with all this last minute futzing?

        • Well, they don’t know the precise sizes of their models, so hems and sometimes closures like zips must be left till late, to make any size alterations easier.

          •  And even if they have all the measurements, there are still differences between bodies that simply can’t be accounted for without 3D rendering.

          • True! Nothing, as yet, replaces in person fittings.

          •  I’m trying to convince my brother to write me a computer program that will do it, but he says he’s not that good a programmer and he doesn’t do graphics.  I may yet wear him down!

          • Kimbolina

            Too bad they don’t actually give them any time to make those alterations with the models.

          • Pinup Ghoul

             Absolutely, and the fit and finishing can make or break a garment. One day simply is not enough time.

        • Sheila Venable

           Exactly. Developing a concept, a theme, takes the most time, or it should. Once you know what you’re going to make, you can push through. These collections suffer from a lack of vision, not from fitting issues. What is it with Christopher’s black and brown collection? Black and brown? How about Fabio’s pink shrouds? Melissa’s…what? Dimtry’s Cat House Collection? The jeweled/glass necklace? The see-through bodice?

          They should have taken more time to think these collections through. Elena did the best job of pulling together a cohesive collection.

          • Pinup Ghoul

             I was getting a huge ‘YSL in the 1990’s’ from Dmitry’s collection, which is great, but it has absolutely been done before.

      • BuffaloBarbara

        I was thinking that as well.  What on earth was that about?

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        They’ver really put these designers in a bad position by giving them so little time, and then to act all “Shocked, shocked!” that these pieces weren’t impreccable-well, what can we say?

      • TracyMelle

        They actually had more than 5 weeks.  If you talk to someone on the show, they shorten the time just they announce on the show to make it sound more challenging for the viewers.  They had several months and all the final 8 contestants had the same amount of time to work on the collections.  There’s been several challenges where Tim says they have a certain number of hours to complete the challenge, when in truth they actually had maybe 3-4 more hours to complete the challenge.

        • They didn’t have “several months” to complete their collections. They shot the season in June/July and showed their collections in early September. At most, they had 6 weeks instead of five.

          • TracyMelle

             Yes, the show was finished by the second week in July, but they definitely had more than 5 weeks to produce their collections.

          • At most, they had six weeks instead of five, and given the vagaries of television production, and what we know about how things work behind the scenes in terms of when they receive the money and when they show up back in New York for the finale shooting, the 5 week number is pretty much accurate.

        • I’ll have to ask Melissa. My home girl, when I see her next. It also means to me that they have, NO excuse for things looking janky and ill made.

    • MoHub

       Wendy Pepper’s final collection is looking better and better to me.

      •  It’s true! If that collection came out today, it would be leagues ahead of the crap that walked last night.

      • Yeah, even if you did not like Wendy’s clothes, they were beautifully made and presented….like she cared about what she made. I was thinking today about other seasons where designers had to present three pieces prior to fashion week. After they made it through the challenge, there was an issue if they would use any of those looks in the final collections (like Kenley’s wedding dress or Rami’s gown with the circles on the thighs). Maybe the designers were afraid to show their best pieces???  Christopher had that gown in the work room that looked interesting.  It did look like they had fitting issues right before the show (which was kind of unfair for such a big judging) Christopher should have gone home for what he showed and while I happen to like Melissa’s clothes, she should have been cut too. The best part of this show? T&L 🙂

        • Lisa_Cop

          I thought Chris got a total pass. Really two outfits w/shorts and a simple top. You’ve got to be kidding, especially when he had that gown sitting in the back.

          • And then they let everyone stay? Remember when it was between Rami and Chris March and one of them had to go home????

  • Maine1ac

    Well said (as always).  I felt last night that they kept all four finalists because there wasn’t a clear “better” or “worse” collection.  They were all somewhere between blah and clunkers.

    • Kimbolina

      I agree.  It’s not even like they could eliminate the lesser of four evils, they were all pretty underwhelming.

      • YoungSally

        Did it really matter…with nearly everyone showing…all four were going to show anyway.

        • Pinup Ghoul

           Exactly. The stakes are no longer steaky. They are soy cutlets.

  • Jangle57

    I fast forwarded through a lot of the show and at one point went back and reviewed the collections of each from Fashion Week because what they were showing for their top 3 looks were almost all uniformly bland and/or wtf?  When Chris sent out 2 leather short looks, I was wondering if the producers had paid him off to shoot himself in the foot that way?  And yet after reviewing their complete collections, his would be the one I would pick as much as he annoys me. 

  • Michee Rose

    I used to watch the show religiously. I lamented not being able to watch on Thursday evenings when my husband convinced me to cancel cable. I’d sneak watching it in the morning at work. I’d read every bit of commentary I could find.
    The last two (three?) seasons: I’ve read TLo’s fabulous recaps and called it good. I couldn’t manage (or be bothered) to watch the stupid, catty “drama.”
    I’m a seamstress (as a hobby) and I loved that this program showcased sewing, fashion, fit, design. Now? Blah. There’s 2 minutes of workroom time that isn’t just bickering. Blah blah blah. Boring.

    • lovelyivy

       Me too- I stopped watching years ago in favor of reading the recaps here. Of late I haven’t really been reading the recaps as much either, not because I do not love T and Lo and the way they bring the insightful and funny, but because there is rarely a garment that seems worth their time and attention. The clothes have gotten extremely unimpressive.

    • formerlyAnon

      Exactly. It’s gone from must-see t.v. to watch online in the background while I do something else. Unless I forget or it’s a busy week.

      I think I’d have faded out and missed entire seasons by now if it weren’t for TLo’s coverage.

  • I’ve never been a “fashion girl” — some genes I just didn’t inherit and other talents I’ve found impossible to cultivate — but I started watching PR because I loved the creative process. Then I found your blog and you helped articulate things that were otherwise extremely nebulous concepts to my untrained eyes. I still get a big kick of going back through your older recaps, sorting by tag to be reminded of this designer or that collection. But increasingly, I find I’d almost rather hang out there, in the past, than here in the present, which is the antithesis of creativity. Or, as Don Cherry put it: “Style is the death of creativity.” And PR seems to have attached itself hoof and nail to its “style.”

    • l_c_ann

      Face Off is a great show; unfortunately it’s coming to its end for this season.  But for me it’s my new something to look forward to.

      • Mine too! I was really busy for the first few weeks of this season and got the chance to watch the first 3 episodes back-to-back — I was in heaven. I’m not visually creative in any way and am awed by the concepts that contestants come up with. The judging is sometimes a little cracked, and I wish they’d get more time, but three days for a challenge seems like a lifetime in comparison to PR.

    • Chantelle James

      I’ve been watching Face/Off since it started showing here in Canada and I love it. These artists are showing such skill and artistry and all have talent in this area. The judges seem to really take their job seriously, offering up actual, useful critiques. And we rarely see the artists at their house or talking heads describe how much someone is hated – the show is focusing on the art and not the personality conflicts or drama. The producers don’t steal people’s stuff or otherwise interfere with the process and the contestants actually help one another.

      The show has been renewed for a fourth season and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

    • julnyes

      Face/Off is amazing because it is completely focuses on the creative process with judges who know what the heck they are talking about! Even the guest judges! I gave Hot Set a shot as well, but couldn’t really get into it.

      •  I tried one episode of Hot Set and… no.

        • Hot set is problematic…but I love Face/Off as well!   For once I can look at someone’s work and know who got it right and who didn’t!

    • leftcoastpickle

      Just because of your Don Cherry reference, I am going to watch Face/Off which I’ve never even heard of. I trust you that much.

      •  Don Cherry is the man. I hope I’ve not led you erroneously astray, though! 🙂

        • leftcoastpickle

          ok, just watched FAce off first ep this season, it was really good, I’m hooked. It makes me sad for the old days of Project Runway. Glad that crazy Joe ran away at the end!

  • l_c_ann

    I am waiting for
    1) Heidi really to wear that
    2) Nina to wear that green neoprene monstrosity (about which she said “I would wear that”)
    3) Michael to go to orange socks instead of fake tan down there
    4) Tim to replace the Faux Tim I keep seeing

    5) The dog to bite a designer.

    • Kimbolina

      I don’t think Nina ever wore Gretchen’s granny panties so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • gabbilevy

    I don’t watch the show, but I read your recaps and I clicked on every one of those links and I”m offended and disgusted on your behalf. 

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    The clothes were extremely underwhelming. 

  • jen0farc

    Another spot-on analysis of the problems with the show by TLo.  It’s a tough problem because viewers love the formula and any mucking with it will cause an outcry.  I remember the outrage over the  all but disappearance of Michael and Nina in season 6. I wonder if it’s a casting problem, are they still reaching for the most talented, most creative designers?  Or are they reaching for the best “characters.”  Not sure what the answer is.  But more than five weeks to create a finale collection is definiste one easy fix the show could and should make.
    Christopher will win.  This was another Anya-save of the worst of the final four, who the producers really really want to win.  He put out shopping mall clubwear and should have been bounced.  But they saved their pet so they can hand him the win. Bleh. 

    •  It wasn’t just that Michael and Nina were gone during S6, but that there wasn’t a consistent voice in their seats.  If one had been replaced at the start of the season, there would have been some outcry, but I think it would have been less.

      • MilaXX

         Agreed, get some credible, knowledgeable judges in there for the entire season and I would have no problem with Nina/Michael/Heidi not being there.

      • jen0farc

        Excellent point, you’re totally right.  If, say, Vera Wang had sat in Michael’s chair for every episode the problem would have been solved.

      • CozyCat

        I’ve always had the theory that Michael and Nina checked out during the contract dispute.  It’s probably hard to keep your enthusiasm up about something that might die.  Then they moved to the new network and the new producers obviously didn’t care as much about the creative process. 

        So why not just show up, provide some good sound bites, and cash your check?  If no one else cares, why should you get all frustrated trying to maintain standards?

  • lalagigi

    I fell asleep during the show. Boredom.

  • DinaSews

    Thanks for the links to the old collections, a reminder why I fell in love with this show.  And bored sums it up exactly. 

    • DinaSews

      The Laura Bennet and Uli links are not working.

    • tessasouthworth

      ITA, but I also would have liked to see a link to Daniel V’s collection as well. I fell so in love with the ivory coat from his collection, that I actually had my seamstress make a copy!

  • I was thinking about that last night when I saw the collections, it was terrible! not one piece of clothing to get excited about.
    I think I’m ready to move on from this show.

  • Alexandra Simons

    Yeah, there’s no one to root for and I really don’t care. Any yet I continue to watch, sigh. (The only other “reality” show I watch is RuPaul’s Drag Race – the challenges often stay the same, but are never boring. Maybe PR should be taken over by RP.)

  • Rin

    so many department and fug looks up there. ew

  • bhl_1123

    I totally agree!  I remember when PR finales were an event, and I would get together with a bunch of my friends for PR finale viewing parties.  Now, I am completely indifferent to the finale.  I would rather read TLO’s recap than to suffer the pain of actually watching the show.

  • EiEiOh

    Could not agree more.  I really don’t understand why Lifetime/the current producers can’t figure out a way to schedule the season so that the contestants can attempt to put out a good collection.  Do they think the people they are casting are not talented enough to put on a good show no matter how much time they get?  If so, that’s just sad.  And one other minor quibble.  After 10 seasons, EVERYBODY knows that they are all going to show at Fashion Week.  Can they stop saying  “I’d be so disappointed to make it this far and not show at Fashion Week” and say the far more accurate “I’d be so disappointed to make it this far and not be in the running to win the season.”  It bugs.

    • tereliz

      This bothers me, too. Only Tim mentioned to Melissa “WHEN you go to fashion week.” I can’t help but think he was being more than just helpfully optimistic. Everyone else is like “If you want to make it to fashion week…” when we all know everyone is going. 

      BM, stop playing silly buggers and treating the viewing audience like drunk toddlers and give us back the old PR!

  • YousmelllikeAnnaWintour

    I hated that red blazer that Tim wore to Christopher’s house.

  • SapphoPoet

    I only started watching Project Runway halfway through the Mila/Seth Aaron season. I’ve never seen the earlier seasons, but I might have to go back and watch them. Thanks much for the links to earlier collections; they look outstanding (a couple of the links are not working, BTW). Really emphasizes how the show has declined in terms of output. 

    I like Melissa, Fabio, Dmitry as individuals (Christopher, not so much), but even I can tell that they sent clothes down the runway, not fashion. 

    •  Oh please do.  Personally, I’d go for S3 and S4, as they were both fantastic.

      • 3boysful

         I agree with Shannon wholeheartedly!

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Definitely watch Seasons 3 and 4. They are both fun for the creative process and the talents cast for those years. I even find myself thinking more kindly of Jeffrey Sebelia;he might have been obnoxious, but the man put out a fine final collection.

    • MilaXX

       I wonder how the earlier seasons would read through jaded, older eyes. The early season of PR were amazing. We would be waiting for the look that just blew us away. I remember season 1 had so many highlights, not only things like Austin’s corn husk dress. But things that felt genuine, like Jay’s model not showing up and Austin stepping in for her. I recall week after week screaming at the tv, “why won’t Wendy Pepper die!’, then we had Ivy and Josh M. Even the model trauma was entertaining.Who can forget Morganza? Now everything is the equivalent of flat soda.

      • annyb

        I didn’t start watching till season 3 or 4 but recently borrowed seasons 1-9 from the public library. Yes, there used to be actual creativity and innovation. And yes, the designers had more time for their final collections and more time after Tim’s home critique, but to be honest, they started out MILES ahead of the designers in the last two or three seasons. 

        One of the reasons my partner and I started watching PR was “because they make stuff, it’s not just about a bunch of personalities”. Sigh.

    • DinaSews

      Definitely get the earlier seasons!  Even though I watched them originally, I bought the DVD’s and still watch them.  Season 4 is a favorite.

  • I think this is the first season in a long time where i even made it this far.  The last few season I usually stopped watching a few episodes before the finale due to judge related insanity.  I didn’t feel like the judging was nearly as cracktastic this season.  But I also do not care who wins, none of there stuff really blows me away.  (Like Jay, and everything Jay ever did, if I become rich and famous he’s going to make all of my clothes.) 

    I’m super tired of every challenge having some weepy emo story about some bullshit.  I DO NOT CARE.  I want to see you make fabulous clothes.  And I’d also like to see a “Real” woman challenge with some fat ladies who are fat and not upset about it, and would just like some cute clothes that actually fit their bodies and flatter different body shapes. No one would cry, people would look hot, it would be amazing.  (Producers I know a bunch of these women, hit me up, seriously.)

    • MilaXX


    • DinaSews

      Or at least some fat ladies who could tell a designer (Ven) to STFU and ‘what kind of designer ARE you?’!! 

      • YoungSally

        Could you imagine how Ven would have fared in a drag queen challenge…..?

    • Kimbolina

      Judging wasn’t cracktastic this year cause everything everyone made was so boring.  It was so easy to feel indifferent about everything the judges said.

  • MilaXX

    Here’s a summary of what I posed over at TWoP. i focused solely on what I saw last night, not the Fashion Week show.

    Remember the days when designers had 3 months to make their finale
    collections and we were amazed & wow’d? When Tim actually gave
    critiques and not tepid atta-boys? Yeah, those days are gone. These days
    the designers don’t even get 2 months and we end up with boring,
    half-assed collections. So……

    Dmitry – I’m sorry, this was boring. Yes it’s impeccably tailored, but
    it all has a whiff of the older woman trying to be young, instead of
    actually being young and fresh. The fit on them all seemed off somehow. I
    think I got what the judges were saying about them being matronly. In
    the world of fashion a plus size starts at size 6. The target audience
    for the clothes at Fashion Week is 18 – 35. Dmitry’s stuff reads like
    something a middle age gal would wear or a 40-45 year old woman would
    wear to show she’s still got it. That sheer top and pants feels like
    something Cameron Diaz or Halle Berry would wear. Now both of them are
    gorgeous women in there own right, but they are over 40. Sadly that
    white dress look like something an older gal with a great body like
    Raquel Welch or Jane Fonda would wear. To make it young it would need to
    be shorter and more form fitting. So I totally get what the judges are
    saying getting at when they called it dowdy. lastly that jacket with
    those fringe sleeves is just plain ugly and I’m amazed the judges didn’t
    tell him that. I am also surprised that Tim did tell him that the
    yellow dress he showed him during the home visit was straight up
    hoochie. Once again, it feels like Dmitry was trying to be young and
    sexy, but just missing the mark.

    Christopher – BORING! He’s so tepid in everything he does. Just like
    when his so called exaggerated hips on his “avant garde” look added
    maybe an inch to his model’s hip, the print he made from his mother’s
    x-ray was a big ball of “blah”. He did nothing to the print except copy
    it onto brown fabric. And then he did nothing with the print, as if he
    expected the fabric to do all the heavy lifting. The bleached leather
    was another stupid idea. Again the detail was so delicately done that I
    doubt anyone sitting in audience can even see it. It’s barely noticeable
    on tv. When you do black, or in Christopher’s case black and brown it’s
    hard to see details so it has to be impeccable. This is far from
    impeccable. Like Michael Costello, he seems to have confused same colors
    with cohesion. It’s all very one note. He should have been auf’d.

    Melissa – Another blah collection. There was literally nothing we hadn’t
    seen her do all season. Jacket with high collars? Check, LBD with high
    neckline? Check. The one thing she had was those stupid exaggerated
    sleeves that Nina laughably told her to “just cut them off!” Why did no
    one call her out on that insane crotch and WTF were those wigs? Another
    person deserving of the auf.

    Fabio – He used color, which was a big plus for him. He too had styling
    issues. Those wigs were a step too far. I have to admit though, I liked
    the shoes once they were panted white and he added the colored laces. At
    least it had something that felt like he understood the theatrical
    element to Fashion Week. I also liked the drapey, bohemian feel to the

    I was pretty underwhelmed by most of these, but honestly based on what I
    saw last night Dmitry and Fabio are the only ones who deserve to be in
    the finale.

    As regards the concerns about styling,  typically fashion
    week collections aren’t strictly about what will be in the stores. Look
    at any of the big name designers collections. The stuff you see on the
    runway is not necessarily the version will be in the stores. For fashion
    week the styling is part of the overall show. Think back to season 1
    Jay’s earmuffs or Kara Saun’s controversial boots. They made the
    collection. The styling can elevate or bring down the look. The wigs on
    both Fabio & Melissa’s collection detract from the overall look.
    Good styling on Dmitry’s collection could help uplift and take this
    collection from middle aged to young & fresh. 

    Perhaps TLo is correct and they do indeed need to shake up things. Maybe have Dianna Coles & co judge a regular season and not just the All Stars season. I was watching Scy Fy’s Face off and was wondering what would happen if instead of the awful Avant Garde challenge they did a partnered challenge with those make up artist for a fantasy challenge. I don’t know what, but this show needs a transfusion of something to make it interesting again.

    • VanessaDK

       I am so glad you said what had to be said.  That Fringed jacket was ugly.  I loved the organic architecture idea, but he really needed to take it much farther.  I’d like to see a dress inspired by the Guggenheim Bilbao (or NY) and in general by real buildings.

    • Lisa_Cop

      Joanna Coles has left Marie Claire for Cosmopolitan. She’s already said her replacement at Marie Claire will do any future mentoring.

      • Pinup Ghoul

         That makes me so sad. Cosmo is pure trash. Not like Marie Claire was this amazing tome, but my god I hate Cosmo.

  • Judy_J

    I’m so bored with this season that I can’t even come up with a witty remark about why I’m bored.  I don’t care who wins, and I saw nothing memorable this season. 

  • Given that you have been HUGE promoters and supporters of the show you’d think the higher ups would listen to you! Maybe we need to start a letter writing campaign demanding an overhaul.

  • Stubenville

    It’s hard to disagree with anything TLo said about the sorry state Project Runway finds itself in. 

    As for the collections, both Melissa and Precious Moments (Christopher) would have been aufed mid season for that drek in the early years of PR. 

    Fabio has a reasonably clear POV, but it’s not all that different of a lot of stuff available off the rack across America. It looks like what Diane Keaton wears when she’s feeling fat.

    Dmitri had some interesting pieces, but a few of his silhouettes are just plan odd, and those sheer blouses were $1.95 hookerific. He suffers from the same problem as Jerrell, the inability to say “enough is enough.”

    • 3boysful

       You know, I like Dimitry, but I was even disappointed in the white dress.  It was just the dress version of the jacket he’d already made a few weeks back.  His “avante-garde-ish tuxedo pants” were interesting, but I’m not sure they were flattering.  And I’m over see-thru EVERYTHING.

      • Stefanos Mantyla

         With that technique in the white dress, he is just trying to recapture the glory of his first victory in the print challenge, and not to great effect.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Words do not exist to say how much I loathed Dmitry’s see-through top. It was cheesy, cheesy, cheesy. The only thing that would have made me hate it more would have been to have paired it with Melissa’s or Christopher’s short shorts.

  • I knew there would be four finalists before the show even began.  The collections were all underwhelming, for sure.

  • Nothing to add. Excellent post. 

  • kirkyo

    I love how they didn’t even bother to explain why everyone made the cut.

    Did anyone else think about Michael Costello after the result?

  • MissAnnieRN

    Yeah, I did the math. 10 looks in 35 days. 3.5 days per look. Why een bother?

    • formerlyAnon

      The next step is to hand out paper products and have them  make hats and clothes out of them, like in old school wedding [bridal] shower games.

  • nannypoo

    I am still enjoying the show, not because of the fashion but because of the silliness. Everything about it is manipulative – the judging, the sob stories, the bitching, the meanness, the product placement. There is an occasional wearable or interesting piece and sometimes an especially talented designer, but skill has nothing to do with winning. Gretchen beats Mondo; Anya beats anyone who can make sleeves. None of it makes sense. This year we have a drama queen (Me? I won again? Omigosh!), a whiny little crybaby (I don’t think I did enough! There’s not enough time! I’m losing my confidence!) and a couple of likable guys who don’t have a chance because they aren’t dramatic enough. I feel like I should be embarrassed to watch it, but apparently I have no pride.

    • 3boysful

       We need a support group:  Hi, I’m 3boysful, and I can’t stop watching this nonsense television . . . .

      •  Maybe we could get matching jackets (not designed by anyone from this season) and have a secret handshake.

  • sweetlilvoice

    Beautifully said as always…I gave up on this show several seasons ago and I couldn’t even make it through all-stars. However, this show brought me to this wonderful blog so it will always have a special place in my heart. Thanks for the links-I looked through some of the previous finales and most of the clothes were amazing! I actually cried when Christian’s collection was originally shown.

  • BawlmerGurl

    I am what I never thought I would be: A Bitter Kitten/Unborn Fawn who reads the blog but does not watch the show.

    I watched it from the beginning. I can remember vividly rooting for Jay against Kara and Wendy. I used to love Tim.

    The soap opera that it has become is boring and totally unwatchable.

    Very, very sad.

  • “The opposite of love is not hate… hate still means you care.  The opposite of love is indifference”

    That’s the biggest problem with PR as it currently stands.  I stopped watching it because I could no longer be bothered to give-a-shit.

    • Jarethee

       Bree van der Kamp for the win! 🙂

  • VanessaDK

    A complete overhaul would be great, but difficult to do.  At least the all stars version benefited from new judge and mentors (as well as a higher skill level and more experience).  We’ll see if they can pull it off again.


    • Lisa_Cop

      In Season 1 All Stars I said that Isaac & Georgina’s thoughtful judging was far better than Kors’ infatuation with the sound of his own voice (and jokes) and Nina. But people kept saying they missed Michael and Nina. I think regular PR watchers have finally just reached their limit.

  • Wow, I didn’t fully realize what a total drop in quality there had been until I followed your links to previous collections.

    Your assessment of the current collections as discount Chico’s was dead-on.

    • Call me Bee

      Actually–I think some of the stuff at Chico’s is more stylish.  Some of it. 

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Some of Chico’s stuff is not at all bad. It ain’t fashion forward, but you can use some pieces to put together a decent look (I do shop there-ducking, now).

    • MoHub

      As a “woman of a certain age” I’m kind of grateful to Chico’s for offering me wearable clothes that do no scream “dowdy grandma.” I always get compliments when I wear my Chico’s purchases.

  • DaveUWSNYC

    Thoughtful and reflective of what the vast majority of Bitter Kittens feel in their bones. I was absolutely devoted to the show – and thanks to you guys, got to hobnob with designers while watching Seth Aaron win at Laura’s fabulous loft…ah, beautiful memories! But now I no longer watch, and read you guys because, unlike the show, you’re interesting (and save me an hour of watching TV a week). I know you’re dancing with the one that brung ya – and I respect that. Yet here’s hoping that the movers and shakers pay as close attention to your insightful, experience-based remarks as those of us reading you lo, these many years.

  • Shoelover1512

    Thank you thank you thank you for linking to old collections. I forgot how much I loved Seth Aarons collection. His 4th dress still makes me salivate with need.

  • janierainie

    I so so so agree with you. Especially those last few paragraphs. Thanks for the links, although it hurt my heart to look back.

  • NDC_IPCentral

    I’m not even finished reading your post, gentlemen, and have only looked at S1’s Jay and Kara collections, but my sad reaction is: “How the mighty have fallen.”  More later, but you have given us the epitaph for what once was a television program that showcased genuine creativity and complexity.  It is no more.

  • afabulous50

    For some reason the links to the other’s collections aren’t working for me.  Too bad, I’d rather see those collections than the crap that was shown last night.

  • You would think that the franchise would see the advantage to having really polished looks at Fashion Week. Instead of a chance to truly find an undiscovered talent, it’s who can throw it together fastest. It’s almost an advantage to be kicked out early so you have an extra week to plan your collection. I’m surprised most of the designers don’t pull together an outline by mid-season and work on their theme as they go. I suppose the money in the win matters – but they get real exposure no matter what and getting kicked off early gives them more time to work on their show for Fashion Week.

  • Hetha Innis

    Well said. I don’t hate it either, but this is the first season that I’ve not watched, or even missed, what was once my favorite show. If I were Michael, Nina, or Tim, I’d jump ship now. 

    • Lisa_Cop

      Michael has seen sales skyrocket since PR. He’s not going anywhere. Tim was head of fashion dept. at Parsons when PR started, then head of Liz Claiborne. Nowadays his books and PR are what he does. I see Nina jumping ship before anyone else. She doesn’t need PR.

  • It’s sad, but the quality and complexity of the earlier collections was almost jarring.

  • Gents, it’s time to walk away.  I miss is Tim’s wit and spot-on constructive criticism, but he’s been muzzled so that’s no longer in evidence.  Better to leave than ride this descending elevator car to rock-bottom.   Just because there was a perfect confluence of events and opportunity, does not mean that you are obligated to the show, really.  You’ve done what you’ve done with your opportunity (spun it into gold), and those at the “creative” helm on PR have done what they have done with THEIR opportunity (spun an engrossing hour about the creative process into the standard reality-show personality conflict dross).  You owe them NOTHING.

  • Stubenville

    So the unasked question; who would you like to see in the finale if you could choose among all the Season 10 contestants? Just for the sheer cray-cray, I’d like:


    • dress_up_doll

      I’d like to see; Frokemon (full-on cray-cray), Elena (looooved her collection) and Nathan (he was such a nice guy and I would’ve loved to have seen more from him).

  • SewingSiren

    I think Elena’s collection could stand with some of the previous wins, places, and shows. Part of the problem is the contest it’s self doesn’t always weed down to the strongest designers, because the challenges (though entertaining) are ridiculous. 
    Five weeks is not a lot of time, but they should all be clever enough to know you need at least two show stoppers , one for the pre-view and one for the actual show. They really should make about 15 outfits, and most of the previous winners have done exactly that. I think that the year Leanne Marshall won with her extraordinary collection the contestants only had 3 weeks to prepare.

    •  We’re fairly certain that Leanne and the other designers had more than three weeks to do their collections.

      • SewingSiren

        Okay. But I thought one season had an insanely short turn around (like 3 weeks) from the last challenge to the runway show. It seems to me that only season 1 and 2 had several months to prepare and after that it was only 4 or 5 weeks was standard (with the exception of the LA lost season).
        One bright spot in regards to comparing these mini collections with the previous is, even the worst piece is better than the best piece in the winning collection of last season. 

  • mmc2315

    Well said, boys, well said.  Thanks for the quick links to amazing past collections.

  • Sweetvegan

    The decline of the final collections, I believe, is mostly due to the fact that they had only 5 weeks. Why do they do that?! I can’t help think that the producers *want* to see train wrecks on the runway. Also, someone said the designers get paid while they’re on the show. Is it possible that the producers didn’t want to pay the designers for 3 months so they cut it down to 5 weeks? I think each of the finalists is capable of beautiful work but they just didn’t have time.

    BTW, I thought your rant was going to be against the false drama of everyone going to Fashion Week. Why can’t they just have an episode where Tim visits them and they come back to NYC without all the stupid false drama of pretending they’re. Going to eliminate someone?!

  • Pennymac

    Oh, Man. Clicking on those links gave me a MAJOR sad. So much talent. So well executed. Those former collections reminded me very painfully of how mundane this show has become. 

  • Excellent post. You’ve eloquently expressed exactly how I feel about the show at this point. The links to the past dramatically underscore the issue. God, I remember Season 3, how incredibly exciting it was to see the finalists’ work and how tough it was for me to pick a winner out of the three collections. This stuff is just sad. Both Christopher and Melissa’s stuff barely merits the term fashion design to me. *I* could come up with stuff like that, and I’m no fashion designer.

    Here’s what I don’t understand: How can Kors and Garcia not perceive and seek to rectify the huge drop-off in quality? They spout praise as if they were still judging McCarroll or Siriano level designs. Or is the $$$ more important to them than their own credibility?

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      If PR is not taken very seriously by the fashion industry, that might partly explain why MK and Nina don’t seem to care about the decline in quality. They are both already establishedin the business and PR is extra $$$ for them.  I’m just throwing that out as a possible explanation. I find their opinions puzzling, too.

      • Lisa_Cop

        Judging from what Tim said at his book signing, Michael is very threatened by other designers. Maybe, deep down, he wants the contestants to fail. (According to Tim, it was Michael who convinced Nina to change her vote from Mondo to Gretchen)

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          I find that rather sad.  MK’s position in the industry seems quite secure. I remember that the NYT ran an article about his company during New York fashion week.  I know that it’s a fickle business, but c’mon.  You’ve got millions, MK. Isn’t it possible to admire and promote deserving young designers as well?

          • Lisa_Cop

            It is sad. BTW, Tim said MK being threatened was also the reason there are so many celeb guest judges and so few designer guest judges.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            Wow-wonder if there is much love lost between Tim and MK.  I suppose that having celeb guest judges also gives Kors more promotional opportunities for his line, too.
            Still sad.

  • GorgeousThings

    It’s kind of like the couple that gets divorced after they’ve been married 25 years and the kids have graduated college and moved out. It’s a slow fizzle rather than a bang. I blame Bunim-Murray. I said last night, like their BM initials suggest, they give us nothing but shit. I only still watch the show to keep up with your commentary. But I skipped the baby challenge and I don’t feel like I missed anything, so my attachment to the show is very, very tenuous at this point.

    • coleta

      GT – I started watching PR because you raved about the show on a certain sewing site. Then I followed your always spot on advice to Project Rungay.  

       This year the collections remind me of a 4-H show at the County Fair.

  • MoHub

    Bring back Nathan!

  • LadyCelia

    Dull, derivative, and uninspired.

  • MissMariRose

    Can we talk about Nina for a minute? She was so angry during the judging that I thought she would devour one or more of those designers.

    And I was really hoping she would.

    • Kayceed

      Nina pissed me off. Now, NOW she wants to rail against mediocrity? She has ridden the mediocrity train for some time on this show, and now she wants to get on her Fashion Editor high-horse and start ranting? Please. Ferocious Nina and her credibility left the house several seasons ago, and I wasn’t buying it last night. Not one bit. 

  • joe_tey83

    Not necessarily a complete overhaul, but to just take a really brutal honest assessment and ask what kind of show it wants to be. It’s formulaic and repetitive, but sports is even way more repetitive and people still watch it year after year nevertheless. It seems like the people behind the show simply can’t be bothered any more. They just don’t. 

    They. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck.

    Why in the world will they give them 5 weeks to make 10 looks? Why? Why will they want to have a zillion finale shows? Why? Things like that just makes no sense at all. It’s like they deliberately want to fail. They don’t care at all. And all these words written here by everyone means shit to them.

    I just can’t bring myself to click on the past contestants’ finale show links, it’s depressing.

    • formerlyAnon

      Apologies for the vagueness, but I just don’t have time to go back & verify:

      I knew it was a very bad sign 3, maybe 4? seasons ago when some publication doing an “a day at the filming of Project Runway”  piece quoted someone on the production staff as referring to filming/watching the designers work in the work room as ( can’t remember the exact words) something extremely boring. If the people putting the show together find the creative work dull, no wonder it’s (eta:meaning the show is) now so pointless.

  • You know I hadn’t really taken the time to remember the past seasons. (I only started watching like 3 seasons ago so I really missed some great fashion shows.) I went and looked at all the links TLo provided and it is shocking to me how great those collections were and how not great these are. It totally gave me perspective into what Tlo has been harping on this season. I was like these clothes are great! I love that! Thats hot! and I soooo totally get it now. These clothes are okay, but that is not okay! Its not the designers faults though. Who can make a fantastic garment in a little over 12 hours?

    Thats been the main topic for my husband and I. They need more time! Its crazy to think you can wow these judges with $100 and 12 hours!

  • altalinda

    Well said.
    On another note, I hope you’ll throw Tim into the Judging the Judges segment, because his outfits were one of the more interesting parts of the show.  Sure, you’d be breaking the rules, but if Heidi-Michael-Nina can do it (all the time), why not you?

    • Lisa_Cop

      Tim lives near me on NYC upper west side. He wears those gingham shirts and cheap looking jackets when I’ve seen him food shopping (but he is always in a jacket!).

      • YoungSally

        I saw him once without a jacket….dropping off his shirts at the Chinese Laundry next to what used to be Georgia’s.  But he even has a jacket on in the subway….in 90 degree heat.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Tim must have been the only infant newborn wearing a jacket in his crib.

        • Lisa_Cop

          Seen him leaving Barzinis.

          • YoungSally

            Ooh — never had a Barzini sighting….I am sure he knows how to stand on line correctly in Barzini’s. It woud be funny to see him in there with junk food.

            We actually got a package for Tim accidentally delivered to our bldg…he’s in PH G…..I guess that is G for Gunn.

  • StellaZafella

    PR is like many other relationships: He starts off reasonably good looking, if a little rough at the edges, but ohhhh, that sexy little “thing” he does with his lip…and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
    10 years later, the roughness has turned to sloth, that sexy “thing” is just an annoying trick that’s not even funny anymore and the self-effacing sense of humor is now just an excuse for mediocrity.

    What a sad place to end up in…but, every year, we keep hoping something will bring the spark back…we keep hoping.

    • Winter_White

      Stella, that was bloody good!  (Although now that I’ve read it, I’ll be wondering if I should call some hotline for help instead of watching the show next week…)

    • Call me Bee

      Stella–that is so true.  Those cute little “quirks” that your new boyfriend has turn into the biggest annoyances after a few years!  And you keep hoping he will change and that they will go away. 
      But they never do. 

  • You have perfectly explained why I haven’t seen the last two episodes and, when I discovered they had dropped off my VCR, I couldn’t have cared less.  It’s boring.  And predictable.  Thank you though for putting all links in to previous collections.  Stunning.  Designers, even some entry level designers, when they are allowed to design with time and resources can create things unimaginable.  Unfortunately, this is no longer the case with this format.  I miss the creativity, the surprise, the awe factor.  It’s quite sad.  This show was one place where I could see human beings create and problem solve beautifully.  All gone.

  • sherrietee

    I stopped watching regularly when Gretchen won.   I stopped watching altogether after two episodes of the season that Anya won.  I’m so very much over Project Runway.  I still read your reviews of it, but to be honest, not sure if I will keep doing that or skip over them, just as I do of your Revenge reviews (another show I don’t watch.)

     I love your blog and I read it all the time.  I don’t need just PR reviews to keep reading you. 🙂  

  • carterpaintings

    I also think this lack of emphasis on creativity is
    reflected in the nature of the “home” visits. It used to be that Tim visited
    their actually workspaces, so you could see how each designer worked and
    understand their processes more clearly. It was an opportunity to learn more
    about the individual people and how their designs were the result of their
    day-to-day lives.


    This time, it was more like “let’s see who you know, who can
    lend you the most impressive exhibition space.” As Tom and Lorenzo point out,
    more about putting on an act, and less about focusing on their actual creative
    experiences and abilities.

    • YoungSally

      Agreed — everyone seemed to have an “exhibition space.”  What about Tim visiting Jay that first season….thinking back it could have been early inspiration for Honey BooBoo.

  • Belvane

    That grey silk beaded gown with the chartreuse belt by Laura Bennett is still the most gorgeous thing that ever came down the PR runway.

    • Maddict

      As I reviewed her collection, I was struck by how her collection nailed the current trends.  The lace on the black dress and her creative use of gray with yellow is everywhere this year.  That whole season was my favorite by far.  

      •  I was rewatching that season awhile back and I was very surprised to see just how many things they did in their work (not just Laura, but several of the contestants) that have been major trends since.

        • Call me Bee

          I have a feeling that people like Michael Kors and other desginers may have used PR designs as inspriation for future collections.  Don’t get me wrong–of course they don’t copy original designs, but when I shop, or see new collections online, it strikes me how often I see fashions that are suprizingly similar to pieces I’ve seen on the first 4 or 5 seasons of PR.  And not just the winners, but other memorable challenge pieces.

    • l_c_ann

      Laura has written a book that tells how she crafted the grey silk beaded gown as well as how to use feathers and leather as accents.  Good book. Makes me want to go out and do something. 

  • Oh, come on now, didn’t you see the Honey Boo Boo episode where her gay uncle teaches her how to walk on the stage and works on her routine?  But a redneck gay uncle is still no Frokeman!  LOL

  • luluransom

    Well said boys. The links to past collections are depressing to look at, given what’s foisted on us by Lifetime. I watched PR to see the creative process in action, and to see some truly amazing craftspeople at work. I just cannot anymore with the GMC (tm, Joe Zee). Sorry Project Runway, but you’re finally off my season pass list. There are too many things more deserving.

  • sterlingrose

    Thanks for eloquently writing what I was thinking last night after I watched the show.  There is no one to root for – exactly.  You sadly brought it home with the links to the other final runway shows.   Sigh……I forgot how much Laura Bennet kicked ass.   That was a powerful illustration.  Yeah, maybe everyone is doing more ready to wear but that is no reason it can’t  be a bit more exciting.  This is T.V., Fantasy – I don’t want to see a J.C. Penney’s collection.  I can go to a mall and see that.  Take me out of my element, let me believe there are designers with vision out there. Not someone hoping to make a dime on a reality show.

  • Lost myself in looking through each of the past collections that were linked here. It was a feast for sore, bored eyes, but it really underscored the point that the PR talent just isn’t what it was. And that makes me sad. However, I don’t think for one second that it’s due to a lack of wickedly talented designers out there. I don’t know if the show picks personalities over talent or if it’s the fact that the judging is becoming all about ready-to-wear and what sells (I don’t need another random actress telling the designers would dresses she would/would not wear). There definitely needs to be more open-ended challenges. 

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I wonder how many talented designers have decided that trying out for PR is just not worth it, and if that is affecting the quality of the contestants. The plethora of one day challenges, the cheesy “design a free look for Heidi’s latest business venture” challenge that is now part of every season,plus Bunim-Murray and LIfetime’s appetite for phony melodrama-who needs that?

  • Sara__B

    Who’d have thought your recap would make my eyes fill up with tears. I have a sad.

  • Anathema_Device

    I totally agree, T Lo. The only concern I have about a season in which the designers have no idea what is expected of them is that for B/M that would mean more emphasis on fake babies & selling shit on the street and less on design & creativity. I would love a return to a focus on the creative process, but my feeling is that PR is simply a show that has run its course.

    Last night it felt like Christopher was encouraged to throw his show. There is no way the Christopher we’ve seen all season would show two pairs of leather shorts. That was totally weird. It is fine that all four are showing b/c no one was clear loser last night. But your links to collections past are illuminating. I’ve watched the how all 10 seasons, but it is great to have these side-by-side comparisons.

    • Kimbolina

      Yeah, it was weird with Christopher.  He of all the contestants left knows how to play the “game” of giving the judges what they want.  A good example being when he made the gown for the Lord and Taylor challenge since there was only one other gown in the collection.  Definitely a calculated (and pretty smart) move.  The two leather shorts thing seems really off.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Christopher’s choices for his min-collection were really puzzling-unless, of course, there was heavy producer manipulation…and gee, wouldn’t that be a surprise?

  • batshitmomma

    “We don’t hate Project Runway. But it’s hard to stay in love with it anymore.”Best. Break-up. Line. Ever.

    but thank God it’s not a true break-up! I fell in love w/y’all when my husband stumbled upon “Tim Gunn is tired of your BS” commentary although I had been watching PR for years. Now I can’t do the show w/o you fellas!

  • Araina23

    The main problem is the time given to make these collections.  There’s no need to give everyone a fashion show.  Schedule the show to start a little earlier in the summer to give the finalists the proper time to be creative.  Here you’ve no margin of error.

    • tereliz

      I agree with you to an extent. I definitely think the “winning” designers need more than just a month and change to craft 10 looks, but I’m glad that so many other designers get the chance to show what they can do since the format of the show makes it increasingly difficult to produce good work. Showing at NYFW—as a reality show contestant or a decoy—is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

      In fact, some of the decoy collections, this year and in the past, have been my favorites. And why not make the runway show a big deal, with more designers showing? It’s BM/Lifetime/Heidi’s dime, after all. 

  • SteveKl

    You’ve just summed up why I stopped watching the finale episodes, starting two seasons ago. I never wondered why, and now I get it. It’s not worth the hour of my time, and your recaps tell me everything I need to know.

  • The show is like fast food now. It used to be more of an artisan, inspired, sometimes gourmet meal. But fast food is addictive, so we keep watching.

    From last night:I loved those oversized botanical/floral mugs that Tim and Dimitri were drinking from. And that the camera kept going to. I need those.
    Loved Tim’s visit to Christopher’s house, when they were sitting with the family, and Chris and Tim both had their legs crossed.
    Very cute.
    I actually liked Melissa’s wigs. Is there something wrong with me?
    Shots of San Francisco! 

    Oh, the clothes. Seriously? What a gigantic bore-fest. 
    Bless Fabio for those wackadoo shoes and laces.

    • YoungSally

      Did you notice that Tim was lucky to get desserts this time (except for the takeout at Fabio’s)….Tim doesn’t even have time to really visit.

  • siriuslover

    ouch. probably the most insightful commentary of the new PR I’ve read (which is why I love this blog).  At the very least, it would be nice to have the designers for the finale given a few months to complete their collections. What good is $9000 is you only have a couple of days to design and make your clothes?  At that point, you might as well call it Project Pick a Fabric, because the textile and notions seem to be given more precedence.

  • Judy_S

    Thanks for this excellent commentary. I have been watching since Season 1 but do not have your recall of the best of the past; your memory for the past collections is very telling against the current ones. I actually liked this group of designers, as a whole, much better than the groups in the past few seasons; they seemed to me more various and talented, though I never did see the point of Christopher from Day 1. But these final collections are sad. 

  • Stefanos Mantyla

    I have been saying for a long time that one could quite easily look to the Finnish version (albeit its length of 2 seasons only so far) and take very concrete and perfectly effective ways of politically overhauling the American version, such as (1.) reducing the regular panel from 3 to 1,5 (the 0,5 stands for the hostess, who functions less as a judge and more of a mistress of ceremony) so (a.) the cumulative aspect of judging is reduced and (b.) the guest judge (hopefully useful) has more input when up against 1,5 judges instead of the classic “three sitting bitches”, and (2.) judge non-cumulatively (bigger solution than you would think) so that designers will maintain the level of output that entitled them to be there.

    Of course T Lo brought up a slight issue that never quite occurred to me: the self-awareness of the designers after 10 seasons. The Finnish version has not gotten that far, yet, so it has yet to be seen how that would be handled.

    But it is not just about casting for drama and the producers interfering and making storylines. Granted, intelligent clothing (likely to be made in sound settings) does inspire intelligent judging, which has been lacking, so it is certainly part of it. The thing is, here in Finland, we have never heard of “playing to the cameras” and “bad behaviour being rewarded”. It is just not part of our culture.

    Another thing: other countries have basically adopted the format and tried to replicate it to a hilt. Those results have ranged from “just another” Project Runway (like in Russia (Projekt Podium), which to be fair was actually pretty decent from the couple of episodes I watched) to disastrously bad (see Portugal (Projecta Moda), and trust me, it was NOT popular with the viewers there; they can tell you that). What we did in Finland was very different, and it has paid off, any way I look at it.

    • mskgb

      While I have trouble believing that anyone living anywhere in a media-saturated world has “never heard of ‘playing to the cameras,'” I can’t help but compare the PRS1 casts’ befuddled reaction to Wendy Pepper, who thought she was on Survivor, to more recent casts’ almost universal assumption that they exist to create story lines with a side of clothing.

      • Stefanos Mantyla

        We must have skipped class that day!

        And one other practical revision I would make to the show, to take a page from the Finnish version, is the top 3 bottom 3 format. Throw it out! No need to work up and attempt to justify compliments for a top 3 look that does not warrant it! It just confuses or insults viewers. The number of looks in the top and bottom should be flexible according to everyone’s individual performance.

        Not that the American version seems to be listening to anyone at this point, T Lo or otherwise…

      • Stefanos Mantyla

         Looking back at T Lo’s December 2009 interview with Nina, I read, “… neither Michael or myself were able to be there for the whole time. And
        what happened is when I come back, I’ve missed a bunch of challenges and
        I can’t follow the trajectory of the designer. It’s harder for me to
        know what they
        have done in the past so I’m judging them on what I’m seeing that
        moment. I have no history because I haven’t been there. Even if I ask my
        fellow judges what happened it’s not the same as when you see it
        yourself. It was hard.”

        It is as if judging cumulatively is in their blood or something! And when they do not have that crutch on which to rely, it actually backfires the one time it comes down to the final challenge that season, where Gordana gets the auf’. Why? Because of Heidi and her inexplicable grudge against her that season. The panel without Nina and Michael got very Heidi-heavy, and when they come back, they can only say, “I don’t know who you [Gordana] are as a designer!”. In T Lo ‘s words (approximately), “Well NEWSFLASH, CHICA! Because you were flying all around the world when you should have been sitting in that chair judging!”.

        Right there, they had the chance to judge instantaneously; instead, they resort to a Heidi-perversed form of their old habits.

  • sashaychante

    Boring and predictable are the two words that have turned PR into DVR fast forward entertainment that takes me about 20 minutes to get through.  I was horrified at the level of work turned out last night.  Didn’t someone in a past season already make prints from their mothers xrays?  I’m not totally sure about that, but it seemed really familiar.  PR has 90 minutes of product placement, and the designers are simply happy to get themselves on TV to gain some visibility, for which I really can’t blame them.

  • Kayceed

    I’ve watched from the very first episode, and will continue to do so, at my peril. I was so naive – I remember those early collections, how fantastic they were, and thinking – this show will attract those fabulous, no-money but all-ideas designers and the collections will get better every single season. So naive.

    • Winter_White

      Ah, the world was young then, Kayceed.  I too was naive…but those of us who watched from the beginning, we had a time, didn’t we?  *sniffle*


      • Call me Bee

        We sure did.  A great time.  ….sigh….  🙂 

  • Scott Hester-Johnson

    What a complete waste of 90 minutes of my life (less commercials).

    Blah blah blah, all black blah blah blah looks cheap blah blah blah my mother’s x-rays blah blah blah.

    What was accomplished by this episode? Squat.

    I blame myself for once again falling for it, despite the fact that I knew all four were going through.


    • Tamara Hogan

      I fell asleep just before the runway show and woke up just as Heidi announced that everyone’s going to Fashion Week. Sounds like I didn’t miss anything.

  • quiltrx

    It’s kind of pathetic that the “everyone gets a pony” ending is now the rule instead of the rare exception.  When even the ‘surprise’ is predictable, something has to change.

  • Beautifully written!

  • Every TV show, no matter how successful, has an arc. And every arc, except for the cases where a show was cancelled, seems to me to have the downward spiral in quality/storytelling, etc. It is in the nature of television. Even if PR had stayed on Bravo, I’m not convinced it would have been much different. The problem is that the people involved are making too much money to put this thing out of its misery. I feel for you guys, because I see how you’d feel a responsibility to keep blogging the show. Oh well, it’s not the worst reality show out there, by a long shot. It just isn’t what it used to be. Nothing stays great forever.

  • dschubba

    Christopher’s X-ray print was striking, but it reminded me of watching mediocre singers warble “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” on Showtime at the Apollo because they knew gospel wouldn’t get booed. It’s even better if you can fit in a dedication to a sick mama in the hospital.

    • CozyCat

      The problem with that print is that it wasn’t part of a coherent theme.  It was just:  “I’m going to design a print that will go over really well with the judges and then do some black leather stuff.” 

      If it had been part of a theme about the body and how it works (or something like that), it would have been interesting.  But he would have needed time to think in order to do that, and five weeks is not enought for that type of thought process.

    • annyb

      This week’s “mom’s x-rays” is last month’s “bullying”. Storyline takes precedence over creative results.

  • Joyce VG

    I missed the show last night and now I’m glad I did.  I only watch the show because there is T Lo.  And I’m always hoping the show will stop it’s long slow decline into Honey Boo Boo territory. But alas.  From the pictures you have shown of their collections, I fear the end is near.  I’ve watched since the beginning.  I have rooted and yelled at my television for ten years.  I cried for the winners and cried for the losers.  I was there when Mondo lost and Gretchen won and felt like the world had ended.  I cried for Jay and laughed when he said “that’s nutty!” at his win.  So many good times.  Maybe I do still have hope because there are so many talented and worthy designers out there.  

  • cjarellano

    Hahahah! Your critiques of these outfits is just juxtaposing them with previous collections. Brilliant and amazing. Thank you so much, TLo. Thank you for everything. I’m exhaling. Thank you.

  • No offense, but I fast forward through everything but the runway shows and the last couple minutes to see who is auf’d and then read your recap.  Can’t stand the drama.  Sorry you guys are suffering through the whole thing, though.  It isn’t remotely entertaining any more.  I wouldn’t blame you for dropping it entirely.  There are many more entertaining things for you to focus on.

  • I think the biggest issue is time, time, time. They’re more focused on making this a game show than showcasing creativity, whether in the challenges or in the final collections. It’s probably also an issue of cost on the production end. 

    One day for a challenge and five weeks for a collection isn’t fair to the designers. They’re all showed more promise in some of the individual challenges; give them time to knock our socks off at fashion week. Otherwise that’s all this is, a game show, and eventually no one will care any more.

  • Frank_821

    You nailed it, as usual. This show does need a revamp. This decline was inevitable. It’s hard to come up with interesting challenges and true surprises. This is not 2005. The world of reality competition in general is very different. The contestants are too conditioned. I don’t completely blame BM since this was going to happen even if the Elves were still producing the show (you only have to look at the last season of Top Chef and Design Star to confirm that)

    That said it’s crazed that Lifetime and BM won’t start filming at the end of May/beginning of June and air it so only 2 decoys at most show. Unless you have a phenomonal staff, you can’t produce a runway worthy collection in 5 weeks. You need at least 3 months.

    If you can’t do that film it in August, air it at beginning of November and shoot for Fashion week in february and include a reunion episode. That way they’ll get 5 and 1/2 months to make something and there will be maybe 1 decoy collection

    • Lattis

      Frank, you nailed it. 

    • MoHub

      I don’t think the show needs a revamp as much as a restoration. There’s no reason challenges can’t be similar from season to season, with just enough variation in each so that the competitors couldn’t completely pre-design for them.

  • ChristinaRi

    I think the main thing that needs to be done is to give the designers more time to complete their final collections.   It seems to me that the last two seasons have had the best collections from a non-finalist.   I think that’s because those earlier aufed designers have a chance to plan their collections in their minds before they set down to sewing the clothes.   The brain needs some time to settle and collect before setting out on the final runway.    I remember Chloe who had not even started her collection when Tim visited.  That wouldn’t be possible now.  The designers have to be well along by the time Tim comes around, and they don’t have time to correct course.

    Also they should have a season where everyone is forbidden to use black except as an accent color.   The predominance of black is driving me crazy.  This is a collection for Spring/Summer and all this black and dark brown is not particularly summery.   I don’t know where you all live, but even if I had the legs and the figure for it, I would never put on leather shorts or pants in the summer.

    But as for wanting to rail and rant at the show?   No, I don’t feel that way.   I like the show better than anything else on television.   I don’t long for the old days because those days are past.    I just take the show on a season to season basis and while I have fond thoughts of Sebalia’s lovely and surprising collection and Mondo and also that girl with the petals whose name I never remember, I have a problem with people making comparisons because it’s always a comparison with something better and not something worse.   

    I think there have been better seasons than this season, but I also think there have been worse seasons.   I have enjoyed the lack of interpersonal drama (despite Elena’s insanity).   I think Irina’s season was worse.   I think the Anya season was a travesty and this season is an improvement.  

    • Snailstsichr

       Like and agree X 100

  • mommyca

    I didn’t see the show last night (watching the debate), but I’ve just checked again Jay’s collection: 5 years later, I’d still get -if I could- his fabulous sweaters, pants and skirts… how wonderful…. 

  • EEKstl

    Yes, yes and yes.  Well said.

  • YourBaloneyDontGotNoSecondName

    The contestants have all become nude shoes.

    • l_c_ann

      I’d take it one step further and call this the Nude Shoes year of PR.

  • ShivaDiva

    Thanks for validating my decision to abandon the show last season.  Life is too short!  Hey, it’s always been a reality competition, but at least in past years skill and competency were involved.  That was really what set the show apart from others.  A complete overhaul of the cast and the challenges might work, but I think a simple change of production companies could be enough to set it right again.  Clearly Bunim/Murray (and perhaps Lifetime) have never understood what makes the show tick. It’s a little like asking Michael Bay to step in and complete a Merchant Ivory film.

  • By 45 minutes in I was laughing at the incessant regurgitation of the same tired lines. Then we saw the collections and were underwhelmed and then they let all four of the goofballs in. I want my 90 minutes back. Thank goodness there was a debate and a baseball game on at the same time because nothing that happened opn PR last night could hold my attention. But for whatever reason, I am still glad you guys blog about it. Thank you.

    • I switched over to Jersey Shore at 9, watching twenty-somethings get drunk and throw up was more entertaining than this…this…fashion…COMPETITION?!?  or whatever the hell it is, words fail me…

  • I still enjoyed this season. And as I said last week, it ought to come down to Fabio vs. Dimitry. Based on what they showed at this little runway I would have eliminated both Melissa and Christopher, in addition to doing so in the previous episode. Just awful and boring looks.

    I need a little closer look at Fabio’s accessories. Are they those cheap plastic grids that get yarn pulled through…? I can’t remember what that’s called, but I played with them a lot as a child.

    • tereliz

      YES! Those plastic grids that you use to teach kids to sew, or at least, that’s how I learned to sew and cross-stitch (two skills I have since forgotten to make room for important things like remembering where I put my keys). I was hoping someone else saw that, too. I couldn’t get over the similarity, even if that’s not what they are, to think they look aesthetically pleasing. 

    • Call me Bee

      It’s call plastic canvas and lots of little old (and not so old) ladies still do it.  It’s the ugliest thing on earth and I almost laughed out loud last night when I realized what it was. 
      I guess it was supposed to be…”ironic”.

      • Qitkat

        I had no idea that’s what he was using, as I was hardly paying attention. Dayum. That is so lame.

      • YoungSally

        Struck me as a nod to Freeganism…

  • My first season of watching Project Runway was season 4!  The Christian season.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven…  I am an art teacher and seamstress and designer and the creative process is of total fascination to me.  This season is bad.  There is so little creative process.  There is no spark.  I went and sewed many garments in reaction to the season with Korto in it- that is the spark I am missing.  I have no fuel added to my creative flames after watching the show.  I watch every week thinking that I will finally get a great episode and it has not happened.  Is there ANY hope for the All-Stars to have some higher level thinking skills going on??  Please tell me there will be…..  please!!!  🙁

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Don’t hold your breath for PR AllStars. there are some talented designers back, but there are also a lot of drama queens who will probably suck up most of the oxygen in the workroom as well as most of the screen time.

  • bluefish

    You read my mind for sure.  Thanks.

  • Profreader

    As has been mentioned already a couple of times, the lack of time given to the contestants is a huge, huge part of the problem. Has anyone ever made a list of challenges that made note of which were 2-day challenges and which were 1-day? My impression from earlier seasons was that 1-day challenges were the exception rather than the rule. And of course, it paid off because the clothes were more interesting and more polished looking. In a 1-day challenge, people default to the easy and the familiar. And it becomes boring.

    The production company pushes for the shorter challenge times because it saves them money in production costs; makes less demand on judges’ time; etc etc etc. The breakneck schedule even creates the potential for sleep-deprivation-driven “drama.” But it’s a case of penny-wise and pound-foolish: the clothes suffer. We really don’t want it to be an endurance contest: we want to see creativity in action. The bullshit twists, thank god, seem to be fewer now (I remember one time when they were given just fifteen minutes at Mood – what purpose does that serve??) but it still seems like the production team fundamentally does not get what is special about this show.

    I’m even fine with certain challenges becoming “traditional” – the unconventional materials, the print-making, dressing non-models, commercial design, and so on. They strain for novelty in the challenge – but they make it impossible for anyone to do a really great job. I think it’s no accident that they don’t linger on the clothes in the runway presentations – they know the clothes don’t look that great. Instead, they focus on the designers murmuring to each other as they watch the clothes go by. Formula is not in and of itself terrible – I mean, they don’t really reinvent big sport competitions like the Super Bowl or World Series. You want to see what people *do*, given certain parameters. We are there for the creative juice, the ahhh! the wow! the “I never would have thought of that.” I know that when *I*, a complete fashion know-nothing, might have come up with something walking that runway, that it’s in big trouble.

    Of course, costs go up over time (people negotiate for more money and so on); they feel the need to pack the season with more designers so there can be more episodes (and “shocking” double eliminations and whatnot.) Wasn’t the first season just 12 designers? You could get attached to people more quickly – become invested in them as people – not as drama machines. I know Wendy Pepper was one reason people heard about the show early on – honestly, it’s how I heard about it — “you have to watch this show, this woman is cuh-ray-zee” – but it set a bad precedent.

    And it’s a cycle which reinforces itself: they cast blah designers who produce blah work. Truly interesting designers I think would then avoid PR – they might not have the sewing skills to pull off constant one-day challenges (where they might with two) – or even more basically, they don’t see any value to putting themselves through a lot of nonsense where their fate is not in their own hands.

    I used to be so addicted to this show. Now I forget that I have episodes waiting. I still read this blog, almost every day – so at least something good has come out of this – !

  • Winter_White

    Thanks, T Lo.  I don’t mind some of the repeated elements  — I like the textile challenge, for example — I just want it all to be about creative design.  Not clothes.

    • MoHub

      Adding the “design your own textile” challenge was perhaps the only creative and worthwhile idea to surface since the move to Lifetime—even if it did mean pimping HP products.

      • Winter_White

        Strange though:  after I wrote the comment above I tried to recall some really great textiles produced in that challenge…couldn’t think of any!  I finally did remember loving Maya’s “electricity” print, and the way she used it.

        What am I forgetting?  There must’ve been some other successful prints…

        (Hee: Emilio’s “ESOSA” design — remember how he made the O a heart?  When Tim came along he thought it read ES[heart]SA, which he interpreted as Emilio Sosa Loves Seth Aaron, and then had trouble un-seeing that, which so annoyed ES.)  (But come to think of it, Emilio won that challenge:  the judges fell all over themselves praising his smart “branding” idea.  Gah.)

        • MoHub

          I’m not necessarily saying the products of the challenge have been that good, but the idea was a real-world designer’s dream project. (Remember, DVF was a textile designer before she was a garment designer.)

          And I thought Seth Aaron won that one, but my recall isn’t that great at my age.

          • Winter_White

            Agree with you on all counts.  I always get excited about this challenge because I’d love to try it myself!  Seems really fun.  But I’m hoping someone here can mention a textile or two that really worked, because surely I’m forgetting a few?

          •  I loved SA’s jacket and print.  His styling of it went way over the top, but the jacket itself was something I’d buy in a heartbeat. 

  • I hadn’t looked at the past collections in a long time, now I have a sad.  I wish PR was still about finding great designers. 

  • Winter_White

    One more thing — and I know I sound like a cranky old Project Runway Historian, weeping over my dusty, worn archival photos of Jay McC and Kara Saun and Austin…but:  I miss the MODEL element from the early seasons!

    Especially near the end of the competition, it was good legitimate drama when one of the designers poached for a better model.  (Legit drama = arising organically from the competition.  As opposed to, say, ‘wailing baby dolls.’)  And I enjoyed seeing some of the pairings that emerged. Chloe and Grace…Mila could search heaven and earth and not find a more perfect match for her aesthetic than Brandeis…etc.

    Just because viewers didn’t crave a whole half-hour show’s worth of them — S7, was that? — doesn’t mean we were uninterested in the models as part of each designer’s experience.

    • AthenaJ

      Agreed. While I don’t think the models deserved their own TV show, it is interesting to see how they factor into how the designers work and show their clothing. A model can sometimes make or break a designer that particular week, even the judges have made reference to that. I have NO clue where they rounded up this batch of models for season 10, though…  most of them have had the sourest expressions on their faces, and sooo much slouching, too! It’s like having a bunch of grounded teenagers constantly stomping up and down the runway.

    • I disagree; I think all that model-poaching faux drama took too much airtime: the line-up, the drawing of names, the confessionals, the platitudes, the sad model kiss auf. 

      More importantly, switching models means a delay in garment construction as the designer has to adjust their patterns on the fly. It could’ve been producer hi-jinks but a couple times the models’ measurements were wrong and the designer was stuck making it work with too-small clothing. Since they have barely a day to sew now, changing the models around is just another obstacle in the way of good design.

      • Call me Bee

        OK–I can see that.  But this year, they didn’t even acknowledge the models at all.  They could have at least made them a bit more human by showing a little bit of the interaction between designer and model.  They had 90 minutes fer cripes sake.

      • Winter_White

        In later seasons, the designers began choosing the same model over and over — perhaps for that very reason (time) — and the lineup thing did become tiresome.  The producers tried to change it up…not very creatively, as I recall.  But then that half-hour show happened — just way too much.

        Now the models are bad, but I guess it doesn’t matter since they’re also invisible!  (Last night, for the first time, a couple of the designers said their model’s names — and it was kind of a shock:  “Oh, they actually KNOW their names!?”)

        This doesn’t speak to your point, Gillian, but I have to add that the time spent on the models is now spent on product placement.  God forbid we don’t get to see the designers standing in the L’Oreal Makeup Room every single week saying either “Maybe a smokey eye?” OR “I’m thinking, something young and fresh!” 

  • Sheila Venable

    I looked at the Season 10 final collections on this site, and I had been hoping that they were just jerking us around, and that we would see the “real” collections later. It’s beginning to look like the collections shown on this site ARE the real collections. I weep for  us all, loyal followers of a show that has really lost its way.

    The collections from previous seasons have that “fashion show” look; they have that “wow” factor; the “my god, I could never do that” factor. I looked at this show, and I know that I could do that, but I don’t want to.

    The judges had to be stretching to find anything positive in any of the collections we saw. TLo hit it on the head when describing the Season 10 final collections as Marshalls and Chicos rejects.

    The best of the Season 10 bunch is Elena’s collection. I could see that on the runway, and I would buy some of her pieces.

  • Montavilla

    Okay, last year I thought it was because, with the possible exception of Viktor Luna, the final designers were pretty mediocre.  But this year, I think it’s the five-week time period.  That is ridiculous.  These four designers are terrific and could do much more if they were given some time to decompress and think.  

    Why such a short preparation time?  Is it because of the added all-star season pushing the schedule?  

    • Lilithcat

      Why such a short preparation time?  Is it because of the added all-star season pushing the schedule?  

      That was being filmed at the same time, and it’s different judges and mentors, so I wouldn’t think so.

      • Montavilla

        But it’s not just the on-air talent to consider.  There’s the camera crews, the producer (big and small), editors, location availability… all sort of logistical concerns.  

        I assumed that All-Stars filmed during the hiatus for PR9-10.  Otherwise, why not have the all-stars show at Fashion Week with the others?  Or would that have been prohibitively expensive (what with having to do all the decoy collections?  Did they not do decoy collections at that special showing?  Did they sign the audience to NDAs?)

  • JMansm

    In the defense of these designers the finale collections are much better than these three-look mini collections (with the exception of Christopher – his is still a disaster). Dmitry’s comes across as stylish, Melissa’s is urban and thoughtful and Fabio’s is quite intellectual but here all of there work looks sloppy and silly. I’m excited for the actual finale episode and I really think it would be good for the show if Fabio wins because he sent out a cohesive and well executed collection. 

    • l_c_ann

      But is it too little time for Fabio or Dmitry to make their collections look EXPENSIVE, which seemed to be the operative word last night, as editied by BM?

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Expensive is one adjective that the judges have always thrown around when they think a designer’s work is lacking.

        • YoungSally

          Especially since it takes a lot of work to make $9K look expensive.

      • MoHub

         I cringe every time that word comes out of a judge’s mouth. As a person on a budget, the only thing expensive means to me is “out of my reach.”

  • demidaemon

    Just to add my two cents, it seems to me that this all comes down to scheduling and what the producers seem to think viewers want to see. If they just pushed the shooting schedule up by a month, or waited to have the runway show until the fall fashion week collections come out and delayed the season primiere until october, there wouldn’t be these problems.

    Also, is it just me or did Nina seem especially cranky last night? Not that I blame her. Christopher should have been OUT, IMO, for just blowing it with stupidity.

  • carolclark12

     I asked her repeatedly on Twitter when she would be wearing those hideous things.  I guess I asked her too many times because she ended up blocking me.  I am a 57 year old attorney who got blocked by Nina Garcia on Twitter for asking her to wear Gretchen’s granny panties.  Who is the bigger loser – me or her?  😉

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Nina’s a tad sensitive, eh?  Well,  she effusively praised and championed a designer who sent those hiddy granny panties down the runway, didn’t she now?

  • judybrowni

    I no longer watch the show, it’s too boring.

    I drop in for TLo’s comments because they’re not.

    Gawd, I miss Bravo and the Magical Elves!

  • ccm800

    How much time did they used to give the designers versus the five ridiculous weeks they get now?  

    • Call me Bee

      In the first 4 seasons, the desginers had three months. 

    • Qitkat

      I could be wrong, but I thought it was around twice as long, and Tim also visited them closer to the mid timeline, so that it was easier to make adjustments. There was at least one contestant in the past who tossed his entire concept and began anew after Tim’s critiques (which were also more insightful than what is seen nowadays).

  • Making it an endurance test strips out all the creativity.  I think viewers would much rather see cool clothes, than sleep-deprived, exhausted designers.

  • hillaryschuster

    Actually, this season of ANTM is GENIUS because they have their own Frokemon in the form of Victoria. The home-schooled weirdo who has a very bizarre relationship with her mother (she can’t taste food now that’s she’s in the ANTM house and not eating her mom’s Country Cooking). Plus, the replacement for Mr. Jay is good (Johnny Woojeck? Wojczech?). Bryanboy is a waste of space, though.

    • hoez

      Victoria is a stunning actress. :]

  • BuffaloBarbara

    Your readers are glad you still blog it!  But you’re right, they need to shake it up.  Keep unconventional, because that’s always fun (but remove any opportunity to glue things to muslin ever again), but try some different approaches–things that don’t even begin to appeal to the “personal narrative” idea.   I want to see no more sob-story inspired prints.  Ever.  As a viewer, it bores me, and as a consumer, I would be horrified to wear someone’s mother’s X-Rays.

    Also, bring back the model choices.

    Let’s see…
    Re-work a classic movie costume (and I’m talking costume–period piece, sf, whatever) into a wearable look in the contemporary world, where the inspiration is clear but the look removes all costume traces.

    Take historical costume inspirations (historical as in NOT WITHIN THE LAST TWO HUNDRED YEARS) to create new and wearable fashion.  Or take hints from another culture, preferably not one meant to evoke your childhood memories of Nana’s sweet stories.

    Create casual looks for space colonists.

    Create an avant-garde look that captures the essence of an industry.  You must use techno elements.  (Guest judge, Diana)  (Okay, I admit, I finished reading THG and my first thought, after several years of PR, was, “Wow, great challenge, what if Cinna had been assigned the lumber district?  How would he have expressed his rebellious ideas there, where you don’t want to light them on fire?  What about the luxury district? Could the fishermen be as fancy as the fire?”)

    Design something in a competitor’s style.  (See how well they observe each other.)  The competitor whose style was being used would have judging input.

  • Could not agree more. Also – the never-ending product “mentions”, Heidi’s scripted spiel which never varies in word or tone, the judge’s “hellos” after introduction which never varies in word or tone, Tim’s entrances and exits, and the cast’s whining that they want to “make it to Fashion Week” when the whole damn world knows they all do anyway. It’s just become a total joke. Also agree that I am not invested in any of these contestants. The show itself sold out to its sponsors and as MKors would say “Boooyyyy does it SHOW.”

  • Srw27

    I sat gobsmacked watching last night’s show because…belly shirts?!?  Sheer tops with bras underneath?!?  Your mother’s x-ray?!?!  Gurl, puhleeze………..  I’m surprised The Dutchess didn’t have an aneurysm after that hot mess.

    And I might have imagined this, but didn’t Christopher have an ombre black/grey dress in his collection?  And it was stunningly beautiful??  Yet he sent booty shorts down the runway?!?!  Ugh………..

  • BuffaloBarbara

    And that drives me moderately nuts.   I mean, it’s so tacky to talk abou that!

  • mhleta

    I didn’t catch on to PR until the very end of Season 4 and I didn’t discover this blog until last year. Now that I’m the only one in my house who gives a crap about the show, (daughters are up in their rooms “doing homework” now) I really appreciate having a place to come and dissect the details after each show. But I couldn’t understand why so many readers here kept bitching about how bored they are, yet still watch religiously and obviously enjoy having this forum to discuss how boring it is.  HOWEVER, seeing the collections of designers past as offered up here did indeed drive home the point of just how VERY much less ambitious and utterly lacking in exuberance the recent collections have become. I’m guessing some number crunching dipshit consultant came in and told the producers that they crank out this whole show much cheaper and the viewers would never notice the difference. ATTENTION DIPSHIT CONSULTANT: WE NOTICED. 

  • Redspring

    “someone in charge made the foolish decision that the show isn’t about creativity, it’s about storylines”

    Amen, amen, amen. This is why I loved, loved the show on Bravo, and why I won’t even watch it now.

    • MoHub

      There were storylines on Bravo; they just didn’t overshadow the designs. Rather they provided extra interest and support for what came out of the workroom.

  • Also, I get the feeling that this season was an attempt to fix previous seasons’ emphasis on keeping people for drama, but veered too far – I think they got rid of Elena thinking she was too loud and obnoxious compared to the more likable Melissa, but they failed to note that Elena has a lot more raw creativity, which is the real thing being ignored throughout the recent seasons of Project Runway.
    MOAR TIME FOR CHALLENGES. MOAR INTERESTING CHALLENGES WITH DEFINED GOALS. Actually push people to be creative instead of making it The Real World with clothes. 

  • It’s just so, so sad.

  • Maybe we can get some good designs from the All Stars in a few weeks… *crosses fingers and prays to fashion gods*

    • Stubenville

      BWAHAHA!  In the last All Stars, Austin Scarlett, with his mean sewing skills, was seen gluing a hem. It will be the same crap in this season. B/M intentionally does everything on too short a time schedule to up the drama ante.

  • guest2visits

    The conventional challenges don’t bother me; it’s the way ALL the challenges are handled – I personally don’t need the show to be one
     circus act after another to be entertained.  I just like it when they are asked to produce their best work and the show helps them
    to achieve it instead of hindering the process.  Why do I want to see a gaggle of designers running around the streets looking for cash?
    Reality challenges that include stilt-walkers, really?  Why don’t they just bonk themselves over the head with giant plastic flamingos…
    What’s the point of making clothing/fashion if they’re not really allowed to do it.    Would you call a bowl of ice cream a Sundae if it
    didn’t have all the toppings?  How tasty would the the resulting pizza be if it were missing the cheese or the sauce? (yes I’m hungry
    right now). But I can’t see the value of barely completed designs limping to the finish line, – because there wasn’t any time or the
    producers thought it would be great fun to have them caring for plastic baby dolls.    I need me a sandwich.
    Melissa’s feel’s the most cohesive, it’s a simple and well fit line, very attractive on the models. But it’s very simple. Almost plain.
    Dimitry’s are so beautifully constructed; it should have been his to win – but I can’t get past all his overly designed elements that are
    combined so weirdly.
    Fabio’s line has a pleasant feel to it, but I only really like half the designs, I don’t care for the pastel chevron necklaces, either –
    they’re too much like kid’s play jewelry to me.
    I liked the the look of Christopher’s x-ray print – I guess it doesn’t bother me that his mom contributed to his work. But only a few of
    his looks appealed to me.   I can’t guess who the winner is.  If Elena was a finalist; I would have to give her the win.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      The challenges should be intellectual design puzzles (How can I make this work?), and sources of inspiration (what ideas does this give me?)–something that will have them all operating on the same level, so their skills can be judged against each other as they’re all answering the same problem (that’s the problem with free-wheeling “Do something cool” challenges… it’s hard to judge them when they’re not all trying to do the same thing).  As such, I think they’d do well to make sure all of them are forced out of their comfort zones as often as possible.

      • guest2visits

        There’s got to be a long list of good ideas that cover the whimsical, the reality based, and the industry related themes.
         I think that it’s too much to ask designers to be inspired, or to take risks, or invent something genius when they’re
        too concerned with barely surviving to the next challenge because of time restrictions, or tricks by the staff to trip
        them up.  
        I would rather have the show that brings the various designers and their unique styles together to compete strictly
        against each other’s skills and talents, and not a reality-show goose chase.

        • BuffaloBarbara

          Yes–that’s a big problem.  The smartest way to approach this competition (in terms of strategy for making sure you finish with a competent product each challenge) is to spend the months before it memorizing a few of your best patterns, and just tweak them week to week to fit the challenge as well as possible–no fuss, no muss,  And boring as hell for the audience, the judges, and probably the designers.

    • DCSheehan

      I concur 100%. Also, I’m craving sandwiches now.

  • Lilithcat

    Me last night:

    Reaction to first mini-collection:  “Well, that one’s going to be aufed.”
    Reaction to second:  “Oh, wait, no, it’s this one.”
    Reaction to third:  [scratches head]  “Wow, it looks as though they’ll all be aufed!”
    Reaction to fourth:  “Uh, oh, they’re all equally bad.  I guess there’ll be four at Fashion Week.”

    • BuffaloBarbara

       My thought process exactly.  I can’t say I could have picked one to be aufed over the others.

      • l_c_ann

        I could have picked two to auf rather easily, though.

  • Call me Bee

    I agree whole heartedly with your insightful analysis, gentlemen.  Actually, I think both PR and ANTM have become characatures of themselves.  Even though the talent of this season’s designers far outshines that of last year’s, the entire process has become rote and strained.  I have a feeling Heidi is clinging to PR with such zeal because of her personal troubles; it’s one constant in her life right now, which is too bad.  

    Maybe it’s time to let it go.  Just…let it go. 

    I was extremely disappointed in Dimitry, mostly.  He had some intereting pieces, but the sheer blouses were ickky.  ICKKY!! 

    • Winter_White

      Re Chris’ print:  I’ve always thought X-rays were weirdly beautiful, so I was picturing “shadowy and mysterious.”  Instead he made that cartoon!  Big literal Flintstone bones.  Jeez.

  • GTrain

    And the congregation said AMEN! Thanks so much for the links to the previous collections, real fashion. Truly no comparison between that and what we saw last night.

  • Susan Crawford

    Great comments, T and Lo – as always. And, as always, you have identified the core problem in fine style: PR, quite simply, is getting old and stale and is in desperate need of a full-on, head-to-toe make-over and shake-up. The core of the show for the first few seasons? Creativity and design chops. And challenges that really were challenging and interesting. Now we’re in the “recycling” phase, and it is wearing very thin. Almost as thin as Fabio’s gauzy, lacy back treatment, or Dmitry’s see-thru midriff treatments.

    Every season, we know we’re getting the “Unconventional Materials” challenge, the “Avant Garde” challenge, the “HP Fabric Making” challenge, the “Bizarre/ShowBiz Challenge” (Stilt Walkers! Rockettes! Babies!) and the “Real Woman” challenge . . . sigh. Any contestant who even DARES to looked shocked and awed by these tired old standards should be immediately aufed! Surely there must be more relevant challenges that will tap into the creativity of the designers in a more meaningful way.

    All challenges seem to be on the one-day turnaround schedule, and this has clearly made the workmanship, finish and polish of the creations much less important than the frantic meltdown atmosphere of the workroom, where exhausted competitors run around like maniacs, snipe at one another and dissolve into wretched, tearstained heaps over their stringy, half-glued together garments. Even the trips to Mood seem perfunctory, scripted and manipulated. (Although Swatch always entertains.)

    What would I do at this point if I were the Empress of Lifetime?

    First, dream up some new challenge tropes. Instead of “Unconventional Materials” how about “Unconventional Icons” – designers would choose fashion iconoclasts like Iris Apfel, Isabella Blow, Daphne Guinness, etc. and design a WOW outfit based on the aesthetic of these muses. Tap into the museum richness of New York City and choose artist- or period-inspirations. Street Style Challenge: be inspired by the real fashion that surrounds them on the stylish streets and natty neighborhoods of the city. A challenge where black is NOT basic, and in fact may not be used at all. Out, too would be grey, beige, camel, cream or white – and only rich, saturated color can be utilized. How about a challenge where every designer gets exactly the same base materials and may add only trim (and imagination) to create? The “Team/Partners Challenges” are always relevant, but I would NEVER include the practice of bringing back Auf-ed contestants to “help out” surviving designers- that’s just lazy!

    I’d like to see more mentoring by Tim, as in the olden days. More one-on-one advising and more in-depth workroom critiques.

    I’d like less of the one-liner rimshot critiques from the judges. I’d really like to see guest judges coming from the world of fashion and retail and the blogosphere, not from the red-carpet world. (I love me some Jennifer Hudson, but what, exactly, are her fashion credentials?)

    I would redesign the catwalk set so that the lighting would actually permit us to SEE the freaking clothes! It is next to impossible to really focus on the designs in the current setting – the lighting is dismal, the camerawork is rushed and the editing shaky.

    Last, but certainly not least, I would alter the shooting schedule so that the designers actually have some two-day and even the occasional  three-day challenges, and the finalists have eight weeks to produce their runway collections for fashion week. The current practice of including “decoy” collections is all kinds of stupid: insulting to viewers, the real finalists AND to Fashion Week, which is supposed to represent THE BEST work of designers. Putting a ridiculous collection of losing designers’ work on the Fashion Week runway just to make the shooting schedule work is . . . ridiculous. It doesn’t increase the drama or suspense – it’s just a production ploy, and we all know it by now.

    I also think that it might be time to look at the casting of designers. Much as I love seeing PR Alums being part of the process, I believe that more input from professionals in the design field should be mandatory at this stage. The persona of each designer should be dealt with earlier in the process. Sure, we want interesting people with good on-camera charisma, but we also should feel that the chosen competitors also have damned good skill sets – like being able to sew a sleeve and run up a pair of pants (Yes, Anya, that was for YOU!)

    I knew in my heart that there was NO way any of the Final Four were going to be eliminated. Although I would have given a lot to see Costello-Lite aufed, just to see the face he would make – Betty Boop on crack, I was guessing. Tears flowing, dragging his poor self down the runway of doom . . . it would have been mah-velous!

    I just couldn’t get over the weird attitude of the finalists this week, in assembling their three “mini-runway” looks for the PR judges. They were (supposedly) under the impression  that one of them would be aufed – and they DON’T interpret this as a direct command to pick the three BEST looks possible to show? Costello-lite really sent out three pretty bland, half-baked looks;  in fact, they all tripped up in the styling area. And the n they all (except Comrade Snape) stood on the runway offering feeble “But you should know I have SO many other really great things in my collection” excuses. Oh, really? Bring ’em out, then! This reminds me of the old joke about the bride who came down the aisle with her hair in rollers because she wanted to look REALLY good at the reception! Kids, it was NOW or NEVAH was my impression of the three-look mini-collection.

    One more week until the Big Show, and frankly, I don’t have a passionate fave this season – which reinforces the idea of a re-vamp. We shouldn’t be at this point in the season without some passion among the viewership. And some real knockouts to see on the runway.

    Next  season, I want to see Mah Boo Boys, Tom and Lorenzo, as judges on PR! Or as guest-mentors and workroom critics. All in favor – raise your hands high, PUF’s and BK’s!

    Clearly, personality types clashing in the Brother Sewing Room will always be entertaining, but should not be the entire focus. This IS a design competition, and we see precious little of the design process, the development of skills, the consistent emphasis on true originality and creativity. Partly this is due to the endless quest for soundbites and drama that is “reality” television. Partly it is because of the ambiguous nature of the judges criteria: do the judges want “editorial” garments? “Saleable” garments?
    Are they really looking for originality? Or are they looking for a particular growth arc in each designer as the season develops? Are they looking for designers with couture potential, or for designers who will sell at volume and appeal to a wide marketplace? Each judge may have a personal list of qualities he or she looks for, and each judge must, therefore, have the ability to argue for his/her POV, while understanding how that can work with the others on the panel. Will the judging be based on a designer’s entire season’s development and designs, or is it STRICTLY based on each week’s challenge? And where does the guest judge fit in? This needs good shake-up and clarification, IMHO.

    • Lattis

      Great comment, Susan Crawford.

  • kolokOlchik

    And here I was thinking I was missing out on something good since I’m no longer watching this show.  I guess I’m not.

  • glennethph

    At least, the aufed contestant who had the color blocking with saggy boobs has her profile elevated because of Gaga.  Her collection wasn’t my type but it was the most cohesive and the one with a point of view.

  • watchmeboogie

    From your fingers to the Elves’ ears, TLo.

    To be honest, you guys are most of what’s kept me watching the last 4 years. The past couple of seasons it’s mostly been in order to have a frame of reference for your posts, and to be able to discuss with other Bitter Kittens.

    • Lilithcat

      From your fingers to the Elves’ ears, TLo.

      Unfortunately, the Elves haven’t had anything to do with PR since the move to Lifetime.

      • Girl_With_a_Pearl

        Wouldn’t it be nice if Project Runway could make up with the Magical Elves and go back to Bravo?  We could pretend that the last three seasons were just a dream.

        • Lisa_Cop

          No way that ever happens. Harvey Weinstein litigated for almost 2 years (during which time PR was off the air) to leave Bravo.

      • watchmeboogie

        I’m talking B-M’s, not Weinstein’s.

  • Rebecca Jay

    No matter how ugly it gets, you should… you need to…. continue to cover Project Runway until it’s last gurgling, dying breath.  If you stop before it does, you’re just asking for the karmic curbstomp that will surely be yours for abandoning your firstborn, your genesis.

    Plus, just as with restaurant reviews, I like reading about stuff the reviewer found to be awful.  I don’t want to only hear about how fabulous something is.  

    Gimme dirty, boys.  Or leave out the comma and just give me dirty boys.

  • alice20c

    The change in the opening credits says it all. There used to be that part of credits with the designers saying an impish line. Now, those lines are for the judges, or cut entirely, leaving only the product placements. It’s sad. It makes me sad, because I really loved PR. It showed the creative process and framed it in a way that made it understandable and showed its value. I think anyone working in a creative field loved it for that.

  • I haven’t given up on ProjRun, but you’re right about Top Model. The college season was the final straw for me. Strike that, Kellie Cutrone is the final straw. She ruins TV by being on it.

    • YoungSally

      How did Kelly get that gig anyway?  Free PR for Tyra?

      •  There is some unholy alliance going on, that’s for sure.

  • Trisha26

    Every season there’s been at least one “auf” that has brought on tears, shock, and lots of invectives hurled at my television. But what’s bothered me most as the years have gone by is the seemingly arbitrary, hypocritical, and downright ludicrous judging process. Last season was the epitome of course, where the “chosen one” for the entire season (and eventual winner) was a woman who pretty much made the same garment week after week, and who not only couldn’t set a sleeve, couldn’t, and often didn’t, sew. That was beyond insulting to the other designers and to the viewers and painted Heidi, Michael, and Nina in a terrible light. I wonder if that prompted them to cast this season with competent if dull designers? If PR survives this snooze of a season they have to drastically reinvent the show, TLo are correct.  

  • libraangel

    Gretchen and Anya brought the show to a new low. Come back, Charistian Siriano and Austin Scarlett – all is forgiven!!!

  • Therese Bohn

    Hey! I just realize where I’ve seen Dmitry’s white dress before!

  • DCSheehan

    To be sure, the real fun of PR now is these recaps and comments in this forum. It’s like when Joe Zee styled that boring designer to success on his show, the real fun was watching what someone made of the original, not the original itself.

    But this season gave me Ven and i always be grateful for that.

  • Qitkat

    I lay in bed last night, unable to sleep, trying to imagine what was left to say about PR. Tom and Lorenzo pretty much covered everything, and btw, thanks guys for the links to the great collections of the past. I will enjoy revisiting them. All I have to add is that I thought about the seasons when our collective ire was raised because of the 4th designers who were denied the opportunity to be a part of the final judging, Chris March, Gordana, and even Jerrell. So this year we get this lame, limp, second guessing bunch of uninspiring, uninspired (compared to the names TLo listed) designers who all get a pony, as GorgeousThings said last evening. All I know is that I shoulda stayed true to my initial instincts and dialed out of this season, as I had a real suspicion that things would turn out as banal as they have, design-wise. Fabio and Dmitry have a teensy bit of promise, going forward in their careers, judging by their aesthetics, but collectively I have lost so much interest that I don’t care either who wins, or what happens in future seasons. And we all know there will be future seasons, because reality television loves nothing so much as beating a dead horse.

  • jw_ny

    wow…that is quite the “package” that model is sporting, in the 2nd last pic with the black pants and white jacket.  😀

    All the looks above are just mediocre at best…tis unfortunate.  I’m hoping All Stars showcases some real talent and innovative fashion….hehehe, who am I kidding…with that cast. 😉

  • jw_ny

    O.o  that is uncanny! 

  • Ouizee

    I would be quite sad if “Project Rungay” no longer recapped Project Runway.  It is how I found you!  But, I was surprised when you declined to recap Glee, and yet life went on…  And, if I remember correctly, it was right around that time that I stopped watching Glee.  Funny, that.  The only thing is, I am not so much a fashionista as everyone else here, so I tend to skip the couture posts.  And, since Lost is done, I don’t watch any of the other tv that you recap.  I would miss you both so much if I didn’t have something to check into with you guys a few times a week.  The truth is, I have had a miserable year, and believe it or not, Tom and Lorenzo’s posts have been one of the few things to make me smile.

  • I don’t understand  . . . there was a show on Thursday, correct?  Did anything happen?  Silly me, probably not . . . .

  • Kato16

    Sigh. I didn’t even need to click on the links to remember what the show used to provide.

  • FloridaLlamaLover

    Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head. BO-RING.  I dvr the show, watch the set up for the week, then FF to the runway.  Fabio’s avant garde?? WTF?? I thought it looked like beach wear. Costello-Lite: Boring.  Dimitri:  Nice, exquisitely tailored, but not new.  Melissa: Boring.  All four going to Fashion Week? “Of course.”

    Time to put the doggy down, it’s beyond all hope.

  • notdorothygale

    The beautiful collections of the past scroll through my memory, exquisite, surprising, covetable. I was so incredibly bored last night I didn’t even have the heart to stay in the lounge and snark.

  • DLJoe

    It’s interesting to compare this show to America’s Best Dance Crew in terms of taking a dip in quality.  Here it’s 1 day challenges and 5 week finale collections.  ABDC it’s having to make hip hop routines out of Katy Perry and Justin Beiber.  Here it’s collection “personalities” over talent.  ABDC it’s picking gimmick crews that can only dance in one style or popular little childen dancers who can’t keep up with more well rounded and experienced crews. 

    Anyway all there really is left to say is to parrot what’s been said here already, boring, dull, no reason to be invested in the outcome.  Also (rightfully) calling Dimitry’s collection matronly while Fabio’s Golden Girls drag was right next to it was annoying.

    • hoez

      I don’t think they ever called it ‘matronly’ but dowdy was tossed around a LOT. Though Golden Girls? Fabio? WHAT?

      • DLJoe

        Well okay maybe not the midriff top, but that first one looked very old lady to me.  It was pretty, but it struck me as something a glamorous headturing older lady would pull off.

  • sk8tfan

    Quoth Dark Willow: Bored now.

  • First of all, I want to extend my love and condolences to Formerly Anon and Sleah In Norcal – I’m so sorry about your fur babies. When they get to Doggy Heaven, tell them to look up Baby, Hobo, Sneakers, Charlie and P.J. – they’ll be waiting for them, and they’ll have a good bunch of friends to hang around with, I promise.

    Here’s my post from another board – I just copied and pasted it here, but my thoughts about what’s going on with the show aren’t too different than TLo’s:

    IMHO, I don’t think that the well of talented designers has dried up, not at all. I think that since Lifetime and Bunim Murray got their fucking hooks into this show, the quality of how the show is produced has suffered. One day for a challenge – that’s pretty much, with a couple of exceptions, what they’ve gotten this season. And then five weeks to design an entire collection? Really? They had months in past seasons! I can’t come down on the designers for this, I just really can’t. Oh, sure, there were things I didn’t like last night – I didn’t like anything of Fabio’s, but that’s just his asthetic for me. Maybe if they’d all been given three months like in past seasons, things would have worked out better for all four of them.I’m honestly not sure how this works, but don’t they get profiles of their non-regular models so they know the fit? Because, if you send in a girl with a little more or less booty or bust than their regular girl, and then give them almost no time to re-fit her – again, I’m not seeing that as the fault of the designer. Christopher’s normal girl is very thin, but he was also working with Sonjia’s model, who has a little more of a butt – of course the stuff isn’t going to fit her! Same with Dmitry’s pants not fitting the skinnier model. I would think they’d give the designers some kind of info on what the new girls’ measurements are (I dunno, maybe they do and it’s not shown). I can’t really blame Christopher for going the route of “Whatever fits her is what I’m sending down the runway.” I mean, that’s how bad it’s gotten – I’m defending a guy who I’ve been dying to see get the auf since the print challenge! So yeah, for me, it’s the quality of the show, not the designers, that has gone downhill rapidly since it went to Lifetime. I can’t really blame any of the designers for that, because all of the remaining four have sent some really great pieces down the runway over the course of this season, so they can’t be all shitty designers.Also, count me in among the chorus who thinks it’s unfair that, in the past handful of seasons, styling has become such a huge issue. I get it, I see, yes – Melissa’s wigs were awful, and Fabio’s Three Stooges bowl cuts were dreadful. But should it be THAT much of an issue that the judges keep slamming them for this? Okay, she’s wearing ugly lipstick – move on, Michael! What do you think of the GARMENT?Oh, and Michael? I don’t know where you hang out that you think a sheer top is “dowdy”. I get that Dmitry should have kept it simpler, and that he went a bit over the top with the way he combined his separates, sure. A simple black tank and a simple pair of black cigarette pants would have been amazing with that fringed jacket, true. But to call his pairings “dowdy”? Criticize them if you like, that’s what you’re there for as a judge. But at least get your criticisms right!

    • UptownNippy

      I agree with you totally.  The producers have turned tapped into the tempo of a three ring circus. 

  • Jaime Smith

    I agree “Project Runway” is now a
    sad shell of its former self, and it needs its own makeover. I like to watch
    this show despite the lack of enthusiasm for the contestants. I will miss part
    two of the finale because of my new work schedule at DISH. I am upset no one
    was eliminated, but it gives everyone something to talk about. My Hopper is set
    to record the second part of the finale, and with all the DVR recording space I’m
    set to record “Project Runway: All stars” when it premieres. I hope this season
    of “All-stars” is more exciting, and we can finally see some creativity return
    to Lifetime.


    • l_c_ann

      “despite the lack of enthusiasm for the contestants”  But in a contest where the contestants seem drenched in a lack of enthusiasm for what they are making, enthusiasm just is in precious short supply all around.

  • <3 Way to stick with it boys.  I don't envy you your remaining posts, but if your'e writing it, I'll read.  Because I once loved Project Runway too.  Now, I don't exactly hate it but I’m not taking its calls either.  

    Personally, I’m waiting for the dam to break and the deluge of pent up vitriol to wash over us.  I’m hoping the weekend erodes your sense of professionalism and that you rain hell when you Rip those collections.

    • Winter_White

      Hee, love your apocolyptic imagery, AJ!  I myself don’t care to see T Lo “rain hell” on the collections or the designers; they’re…symptoms, not the disease.  🙂  (I tried, but your metaphors better.)  What I want is for TPTB to really, finally, register what T Lo wrote about the show itself.  I want them to ponk themselves on the forehead and say, “Tom and Lorenzo are right!  Let’s listen to them this time and make HUGE changes!”  Sigh.  Didn’t work in the past, but…fingers crossed this time?

      • There are tons of people out in “that” world who would do well to listen to uncles TLo.  They’re so practical!  But I doubt sense and pragmatism are part of a “winning formula.”  But we desperately need a PR revolution.  Occupy BM?

  • jjfg

    I could NOT keep my eyes open during the show last night.  Fell asleep during the judging.  Had no idea, until this morning, who was auf’d – and of course, actually didn’t miss a damned thing.

    I agree with TLo’s comments – ANTM is very unwatchable.  I’ve ditched out of the past several seasons early on; this season, I might have made it two weeks?  It’s just godawful.  (Might have stuck around to stare at the new judge, but those girls are just insufferable.)  PR is, at least, entertaining to a point.  I think the show would be helped tremendously if they went back to the hour format, and someone actually had to get focused and expend energy on the editing.  And hello?  New challenges? 

    Have to restate my love for Ink Master.  It’s fresh, it’s different, it’s got Dave Navarro, and while it may all go south in a few seasons, for right now, it’s the kind of cool PR used to be.

  • BrooklynBomber

    It’s like the relatives you love just because they’re your relatives. The blog started with Project Runway, so it’s like that — for me, anyway.  That said, the clothes were appalling. UH PAWL EENG.

    Thank for you for the links to earlier, better, collections. They weren’t all to my taste, but all were far superior to these Marshalls’ offerings.  (The one exception may be Dmitry’s white dress, but his other looks? Talk about the pot calling the kettle slutty!)

  • In any of the first 5 Seasons, they would have all been auf’d. Sorry. It is not good craftsmanship, design, sportsmanship — anything. I was a extremely devoted in the first seasons, but now, I just get the recaps from you, TLo, to whom I will stay forever devoted. Heidi better do a quick reinvention, or she and her show will be auf’d. On the other hand, I loved Tim’s solo makeover show — why the heck was that cancelled? 

  • guest2visits

    No!  is it possible …. someone needs quiz Dimitry on the Vulcan hand signal. 

  • MattCooper27

    For a completely off topic comment: Who’s the hot make up man with the salt and pepper hair, huge arms, and facial hair? I have been enamored with him ever since I saw him way back when.

    • Scott

      His name is Scott Patric. He’s been my secret even-though-I’m-a-straight-guy boyfriend for as long as I’ve been watching PR too. 🙂 He just seems to always be having such a good time at work.

      • MattCooper27

        Thanks for the name. Now I can start practice writing Matt Cooper-Patric over and over in the margins of my notebook!

  • Hey BKs, how much time did the Bravo-era finalists get?

    And what about Seasons 6 and 7? They had excellent finalists, despite being on Lifetime. Did they get more time than five weeks?

    • zelavie

      If I remember correctly, they got 3 months.  As evidenced by the recent seasons, those extra 7 weeks were crucial for achieving a non-crappy collection.

      • Did finalists from season 6 and 7 get 5 weeks? I feel like they had more time since Irina’s collection was so good and all the season 7 finalists did such a great job.

        • I know the Bravo seasons were all around 3 months.  Not sure about the total for Lifetime so far, but it’s only been a handful of weeks in the past couple of seasons, I think.  Which again, is bullshit.

    • l_c_ann

      The time constraints really (IMO) kick in when the designers have only been sewing for a couple of years.  (cough, Melissa, cough, cough )

      Anyone who has been sewing long enough to feel really comfortable with fabrics and sewing machines, who knows how a given fabric will work on the grain and on the bias etc. etc. won’t be making the time consuming voyages of discovery (gag) that some of these contestants are still making. 
      The ones with the background can do the designing and the sewing will come naturally; others will struggle and whine and moan over every seam. 

      • MoHub

        Absolutely. Bert has stated that 5 weeks shouldn’t be an issue for anybody who is truly competent.

        • What always kills me is the 5 weeks to “design” and create a collection.  You didn’t already have it partially designed in your head?  Really?  I find that unbelievable. 

          However, as to how long it should take, 10 looks in 5 weeks is A LOT.  You aren’t talking about a bunch of simple pieces here — every additional seam takes more time, and if you want to do any hand work?  That’s going to eat up a lot of time.  Remember Laura Bennett’s finale collection?  There was an insane amount of hand work in there, particularly in some of the beading.

  • sockandaphone

    i came back home just in time for the runway and just….it was so boring. me and my mom have been watching this show together FOR YEARS and now Ive missed the last two eps and felt like I’ve missed nothing. It’s really sad.

  • Monabel

    Too right, dears. And why can the designers no longer have a decent amount of time for their projects, both during the contest and for the final shows? Is it really so much more expensive?  That’s the other reason the program has turned to dust.  Not that I bother watching.

  • Lisa_Cop

    I totally agree with your assessment of how far PR has fallen. That being said, I find that even expensive RTW is a lot less interesting now, with fewer details and nice fabrics, than 5 or 6 years ago (basically since the recession). And prices have gone up while detail work and fabrication has slipped.

    On another note, I was looking through a coffeetable book on Valentino today. Valentino was making large Ven style origami roses back in 2008. Bet that might be where Ven got his ideas.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    One thing that I miss from the old shows that no one mentioned:  I liked when the designers picked their models.  Not the stupid Models of the Runway show because that got old really fast.  But I liked the process that went into picking a good model and how it effected the way an outfit was shown.  There was drama, like when Ulli took Michael’s model, without being stupid manufactured B/M drama.

    • Right, and that’s where I think some of the fit issues became a problem this time around.  I wish they’d let them pick their own girls again.

  • StellaZafella

    “…as it creeps in on little cat feet.” -Sandburg

    Just sayin’ hi, Kiltd!

  • MaryAtRealityTea

    Looking at the collections of yore I’m shocked that they look like REAL collections you would see at NY Fashion week, totally separate from the show. Wow. This show has bombed further than I ever imagined. Ugh. 

  • CozyCat

    Yes, it’s hard to keep a show from going stale after 10 seasons.  But you can keep it fresher.  As an example, take a look at another skill based reality show that’s been on almost as long, “Top chef.”

    They recycle old challenges, some of which are well loved by contestants, judges and viewers (“restaurant wars”).  They also have introduceced some new chall

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      For me the fact that on “Top Chef” that the food actually has to be not just edible, but good, also plays a big part; they don’t have the squishy subjectivity that the judges on PR can use since it’s fashion.  I agree, though, that Colicchio took ownership and has worked to maintain the quality.  

  • Emmyllou

    You guys are actually social historians via fashion commentary. Always a pleasure. 

  • I just had time to go back with the links and look at all the beautiful innovative clothes from the past.  Of course, I have been watching (and reading TLO) from the start, but I had forgotten how gorgeous some of those outfits were!  I was really shocked at the outfits this years group chose to show the judges, when staying in was supposedly at stake.  The logic of “saving something” for the runway was totally crazy!  Where on earth did they get that idea?  It would have served them right if one of them was aufed on the spot. Oh well, I am looking forward to All-Stars, and hoping for some real design!

    • I agree, I was actually shocked at the stark contrast between a collection like Jay McCarroll’s (my favorite collection ever) and something like the stuff Christopher sent down the runway.  But again, I still feel that with the way the show has cut back on the designers’ time, and cut back on production value in favor of drama over fashion, no wonder the clothes look so bad in current seasons.   The show definitely needs an overhaul, but I don’t think it’s because they’re not finding talented people.  I think it’s because they’re not giving them the time to really create something wonderful.

  • formerlyAnon

    Aaand . . . BOOM.

    Case made, case closed.

    Masterful and unanswerable.

    Well done.

    (And to indulge myself because I just want to beat the show’s decision makers over the head with it, preferably in  heavy, physical form: “There used to be a huge difference in quality between the competition looks and the finale looks and now, there’s no difference at all.”)

  • Presumptuous Insect

    Well said. I completely agree. And I am both bored and sad, remembering what was, and also remembering the fun times here, talking about some of those spectacular looks, because I have been visiting this blog for every PR season!  Wow.

    I am gonna get slapped here, but the fact is that I am not really that interested in fashion! I watch the show precisely because, as you write, it makes (or rather, made) the creative process so interesting. I started to appreciate what can be done with clothing. It was thrilling to see the looks come down the runway every week. 

    But now, like Miranda Priestly, “I have hope. My God. I live on it.” But nothing good ever materializes. What a waste.

  • Lisa_Cop

    If producers had messed with. Costello-lite, he would (unlike Sonjia) been boo-hooing to the judges. This was the guy who threw Andrea under the bus. Clearly, all his other garments didn’t fit the models. But to think 2 outfits with shorts and a tank are appropriate for a finale runway? The judges gave him a major pass last night:(

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Precious Moments (my new name for Christopher) must have given the judges major cardio pains when he sent that mess down the runway. Honestly, there has to be better clothes of that kind at Forever 21 or H&M.

  • Qitkat

    After stepping away for a few hours, I finally took a look at all the linked collections. I still love Korto’s and Leanne’s and Kara Saun’s, but to my surprise, the one that blew me away after all this time was Seth Aaron’s. With the exception of the purple/gold bondage dress at the end, he astonished me with his polished ability to put together the varied mostly black and white patterns. This could be the work of a long-established designer, with excellent styling, audacity, confidence, and most of all, a knock-out strong point of view, along with being impeccably sewn. A collection of his shown by TLo later had nowhere near the same mojo unfortunately.

    What I really appreciated in revisiting all these collections is how every single one of them had one or several looks that stopped me in my tracks, made me want to linger over the photographs, and wish that I could see the clothing up close, and miss the seasons when we watched such talented people. Creativity, strong points of view, mad skills, sureness of purpose and confidence in one’s vision defines all the former designers highlighted. To compare and contrast with the current tepid cup of tea leaves one’s taste buds highly dissatisfied.

  • First things first, let it be said that no matter how boring that pre-finale runway was, it was still better (for the most part) than last season’s showing where Anya should’ve been auf’d.  Overall, this season’s designers have been better than the past two imho and would’ve done better, perhaps, under pre-Lifetime PR.  That said…

    Looking back over the past finalists’ work and comparing it to this season’s, whoa!  Things have really gone down and honestly if that was the best they could show, the judges should’ve eliminated at least one of them from the running.  Melissa already made that dress and that jacket; Chris’ looked like something from a season challenge…surely one of them could go.  It was a boring show and this season, while not as bad as Mondo’s, still suffers from too much emphasis on storyline and not enough on design and creativity.  Why rush everything b/m?  Give them at least a month and a half or two for a real runway show!  Ah well.

  • Bravo.  And I mean that both as compliment and plea.  Brilliant breakdown guys.  I agree.  It needs to go back – back to the beginning, back to Bravo.  Lifetime has turned PR into nothing more than a vehicle for product placement.  I swear, if Tim Gun exhorts one more group of designers to “use the (insert featured ‘whatever’) thoughtfully”, I’ll scream.  You know, outside of you guys I have no one to watch it with any longer?  My husband leaves the room.  My friends just laugh and wonder why I even bother.  It’s not fun any more.  In the beginning, all my theatre friends couldn’t wait for each episode.  The sewing room looked and sounded like every costume shop we’d ever been in.  Not so much any more.  Sad.       

  • Great commentary, every word is true.  It’s very sad, I was shocked when I clicked all the links to the past collections and it was like a lightening bolt remembering why I once loved this show.  It’s barely a shadow of its former self.  Cosmic Tribal, Fabio, really?  More like Diapers and Dishrags.

  • altermyego

    I think what would help the show tremendously is to put it back to one hour. That extra half-hour is so unnecessary and is only used for extra chitter-chatter, not sewing.

    On another note, do you know what Nazri is up to now? She was one of the most unforgettable models this show has ever had!

  • I keep watching even though it has gotten totally formulaic.  I swore I wouldn’t ever again after Wretched won but here I am.  

  • Thanks for the mention guys. I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said, and boy would I love to have a martini and a bitch session with you guys one day! 🙂

    • littlemissstrange

       Mila I just watched your season and it is so wonderful to see talent such as yours and the other S7 finalists. It’s talent like yours that is the reason people still watch Project Runway – we still hold out hope that more talent is waiting to be discovered. LOVE YOU GIRL!!!!!!!!!

    • Mila!! Who’s your pick for the win? (And, if it’s a different person, who do you think made the best finale/decoy collection??)

    • Love your work, Mila.  Thanks for making the show what it was.

    • unbornfawn

      Welcome Mila! You know if you talk to Tom and Lorenzo, some of it has to be on the record!

  • minnye

    Tom (right?) – can I say how much I love your writing? 

  • libraangel

    I found Dmitry’s own website, and he can design avant garde, and there are some beautiful clothes, all the way back to 2008, on it. Check it out!

  • First – I ADORE you guys … second of all OMG .. I reviewed the old collections and WOW …. granted those people did have like 4 months to work with (I believe) but still … it’s like a different world – Saks vs Kmart!! It’s amazing how many pieces from the past collections could still be relevant today and it was nice to remember how beautiful and amazing they were and that was before all the stuff the designers get now. The one thing I would love to ask the Judges is – after they saw all the final collections would they have chosen a different top 3 or 4? What do you guys think? Thanks for the great comments! keep it going.

  • If Grey’s Anatomy had been on, I probably would have skipped this, waited to read this, and then skipped it again.  That was such a boring episode.  And it makes next week just seem even more pointless.

  • Girl_With_a_Pearl

    Why did the final collections change from going from fashion trend setting garments to ready to wear collections?  Was it Nina’s switch from Elle to Marie Claire or something else driving this?

  • john v

    i understand where Fabio was going with his collection but i don’t like it. I’m not a big fan of those kinds of looks

  • Samuel Donovan

    Whatever happened to “They’re not fashion; they’re clothes.”?

    Also, all of the pants/shorts in the finalist collections have the same construction lines, and it’s implying uncomfortable things about how these guys complete their collections in such a short span of time.

    • jo

      At last year’s finals, when Kors was blabbering about how he could imagine an entire Anya brand, all I could think was, “yes, at Kohl’s or Target, but what happened to fashion”.  The early seasons were about creativity and the next idea in fashion, but now the series is about drama and wearable clothes.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Just imagining Kors making such an inane remark give me a sad.  Yes, Anya could probably sell a line to either chain, but as you said, what happened to fashion?

      • MoHub

        Kohl’s and Target are better than that. More like Old Navy.

  • AmelieAbruzzo

    Thank you for the flashback to runways past. All were stunning. [feeling a high sense of nostalgia] *sigh*

  • bitterk

    I still like the show because I like watching designers design but I admit that the creativity has declined substantially.  It’s all too safe.  Time to fire the casting director and scour fashion schools and boutiques for edgier designers.  I love Fabio’s personality but those clothes were beyond ugly and unattractive.  More importantly, it felt like an insult to all the designers who received the boot before him.  But the producers and judges had to keep in an effort to keep the runway show interesting.  Chris, Dimistry and Melissa are talented but they have been three of the safest designers all season.  They make safe, attractive, wearable clothes.  Clothes not fashion.  I do miss Frokemon and bet he would have put on a runway show with drama!   Nina seemed to be the only judge with any energy to actually critique the mini-runway pieces.  Maybe it’s time for a fourth permanent host.  Someone with fashion chops who is not afraid to call the designers out.  So all that to say that yes I will watch season 11.  And like T&L, I won’t love it but I can’t give up the only fashion show on TV.

  • throwaneyeonthis

    I believe the 90 minute format is painful for viewers.  By the time you get down to eight contestants, there isn’t enough content to fill the allotted time.  Do any of us really need to see a preview at each commercial break?  Or shots of street signs in NYC?  Way too much filler.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Not to make miracle workers of the Magical Elves, but I think when they were producing PR that they did a better job, in 60 minutes, of working in the creative process than B-M does in 90 minutes.  B-M seems so much more invested in the personality conflict and ridiculous time constraints.

  • Adella Thompson

    Since there has been discussion about the time element in the mediocrity of recent runway collections being connected with the time given designers, I looked it up out of curiosity – in Season 6 (Irina, Carrol Hanna, and Althea Harper’s season and the first to air on Lifetime), designers had ten weeks; in Season 7 (Lifetime’s best season by far – Seth Aaron and Mila and Emilio’s season), the designers got four months!; in Season 8 (the Mondo Gretchen-gate season) they got six weeks. Can I just say that the faux baby thing really emphasized your point in the “THIS IS A REALITY SHOW SCREW DESIGN!!” element. Right now I still watch and enjoy PR, but far more in a *comfy old sweats* kind of way and far less of a *beautiful black dress that makes me wanna strut” kind of way. There’s comfort in familiarity I suppose and I tend to agree that I enjoy the first half of the series far more than the last three or four episodes. Not even sure I need to see the finale although it would have annoyed me to miss, say, the fourth episode. 

  • VivianAdvanced

    My critical rants to my sister, who also watches the show, were practically verbatim to Tom and Lorenzo’s. I thought of all the interesting final collections of PRs gone-by and what a come-down recent seasons have been. What I saw from Thursday’s show looked like final projects from a community college beginning design class. I was wishing that Frokemon had lasted till the end. Perhaps he might have produced some outfits that would have been at least thought provoking instead of yawn provoking.

  • I will, however, say that I’m still happy you guys are watching and blogging.  While I love reading your critiques of fashion collections and red carpet looks, I really enjoy your TV recaps — and PR is the best of both.  I get your insights on the storyline + your opinions on the clothes. 

    If you have to quit to save your sanity, I will understand though:)

  • “There used to be a huge difference in quality between the competition looks and the finale looks and now, there’s no difference at all. ”


    Really sums it all up for me.I think they could have done much better. I was underwhelmed completely. Not one of the collections, decoy or not, really wowed me. 

  • Eric Ziegeweid

    While I think TLo’s comments about quality are on point, I have to disagree with the stale ‘personal story’ critique. That made sense for Anya’s season which was filled with phony emotion and drama queen douchebaggery, but I don’t feel personal stories have been played up at all this season. Even after watching the ‘home visits’, I don’t feel like I know the stories of any of the contestants. If they had based this on stories and drama, surely we would have had a final four of Elena, Gunnar, Frokemon and Ven. Bitch about the quality boys (and slam Bunim-Murray for their money-grubbing time constraints) but to say that these 4 are here because of their stories seems both unfair and inaccurate.

  • Seeing Laura & Leanne’s collections just made me sad. I’m currently watching this episode in a spirit of penance, but I’m not enjoying it. 

  • Two things:

    1. I hate it when no one is eliminated from a reality show. Someone is supposed to go home!  The exception to the rule is when the audience is informed ahead of time. Example, is the Amazing Race.  “Hurry, one team MAY be eliminated.”
    I need that hour and a half of my life back.

    2. Jennifer Hudson will be the guest judge for finale?  Did they see SATC movie?  She was unless in that and will be unless next week.

    I have said what I need to say. Hate me if you wish.

  • mike__tv

    I only still watch this show because of TLO. “You had 5 weeks” Nina said, as if it’s a long time. Whatever…

  • Neverbuynewclothes

    When I tell people I watch PR, I always say it’s because I enjoy seeing the clothes, the way the models are put together, the creativity, the colors, the different approaches to covering bodies.  Now I don’t feel I have that reason.  The clothes quality has even declined form the first season I watched, which was #7, I think.  I blame it partly on the designers having only one day for most of the challenges.  No one can do real tailoring in one day, or if so, can only do one piece, not a whole look.  Then the rest of the look is a sleeveless tank and leggings or a pencil skirt.

  • libraangel

    I still think Anya was the worst! And I like Dmitry’s designs!

  • Well, as a BK who has been reading since nearly the beginning, and I am totally fine with you guys stopping the recaps if it’s not fun anymore. I’ll miss the recaps, because your snarkiness and common effing sense are what makes it fun to watch the show – but that’s not a good thing for a show when it’s only worth watching for someone else’s recaps. 

  • exactly!! PR need an overhaul!!

  • Janet B

    PR night used to be my special TV night.  Dinner was ready early, kitchen cleaned up, wine bottle opened.  It was the one night I would not drive for the gymnastics carpool.  

    Last night, after the baseball games were over, I watched last week’s episode because I thought something interesting might have happened.  Silly me, I should have known better.

  • librarygrrl64

    Still not sorry I stopped watching after last season.

    I was out this weekend looking for supplies to costume a production of Alice In Wonderland (a cast of 18 with a costume budget of $400 total), and after visiting the usual places, my minion and I hit the hardware store and the automotive supply store and the garden center for ideas and supplies. It made us both nostalgic for the old, creative days of PR. 

  • khh1138

    There were only two things that got my attention in this episode. First, Tim’s red blazer, *that* I loved.  I have a real soft spot in my heart for the male uniform Brooks Brothers’ navy blazer and well-cut khakis, and this was a smart update.  And second, the weird focusing on Dmitry’s teacup.  Over and over, the teacup.  What was it?  The strawberry pattern?  Was it that he left in the teabags instead of taking them out after the requisite 3 minutes?  Or that he didn’t have a teapot?  I felt like it was some kind of a CLUE.  
    Everything else left me cold.  I couldn’t even get excited enough to hate on Christopher’s stupid fabric, it was just stupid.  I beetched for hours afterwards about how let down I felt.  Only reading the TLo rant has left me feeling a little better. 

  • Melissa’s 2nd girl: Yo, that gal’s got some serious junk. Nah, Melissa just can’t make pants (or anything much).
    At least Fabio’s pants fit.
    Dmitry’s 3rd girl: That’s a yucky, yucky skirt. It’s been in a closet for centuries. 
    I’ve watched PR since its first season, and I’m a proponent for allowing the designers months as opposed to weeks to design and execute collections. Even weak finale collections such as Wendy’s or Emilio’s were much better than this crap (due to greater time allowance). PR was doing all right up until Season 7. There would be 3 finalists (yes, four in S3) and 3-5 PR collections (the other 2 belonging to those who’d made it to Top 5 in some seasons). The judges assigned a high value to technical skill, craftsmanship, showmanship, inventiveness, and artistry. Now one gets awarded for “having a certain skill to cut plunged clothing after ONLY FOUR MONTHS of sewing!!!! Ain’t that amazing?!”, for “producing personal prints, such as those depicting one’s mother’s skeletal misfortunes” or for “editing oneself so ardently that there was no green eyebrow in sight”. Sadly, this is a paraphrasing of actual statements made during the critique.

  • After having Miss Caribean Porno Queen and the Fashion School Bully win the last two shows with their boring collections all I can say that I do not expect any more excitement from PR. I think it should be cancelled. It would be more graceful for the show to end it now than having more boring designers being crowned as next great fashion designer. No matter how controversial their wins were, as viewer I don’t want to feel cheated by MyLifetime anymore… 

  • Am I the first person to comment on how Fabio’s “accessories” were made of that crappy plastic faux-needlepoint crap I used to do in the 4th grade? And yet Heidi’s “never seen that before”. Guess they don’t have the same shitty craft supplies in Deutschland …

  • Truly_Outrageous

    It makes me think. What if Frokemon made it this far? I would’ve loved to have seen an avant garde look and a collection from him. And who would’ve thought they would have a top 4 instead of a top 3. Pfffft.  It makes me wonder which one is the pet this season. Is it Chris or Melisa? Because what they showed the judges that day were sooooo blah that I kinda wished there was a double elimination. Most of the stuff shown was underwhelming. The only kinda interesting clothes that were shown was from Fabio. And I think Dimitri went overboard on a couple of his looks. And when you guys mentioned the past contestants I didnt have click on the links to know that past looks were waaaaaaay much better. But I did anyways. Gosh It was so nice to see quality work from past contestants who I loved. Ahh the good old days of this show. You guys are right. Its hard to stay in love with the show now.

  • Adella Thompson

    Tim Gunn in recent interview: Gunn said the challenges aren’t getting more demanding, but the time the designers are given in which to finish them are getting shorter — and he thinks that’s a problem. “Heidi occasionally talks to me off-camera, ‘Why didn’t this work better?’ My response is, ‘Give them more time.’ … There is an ever-increasing level of exhaustion — physical, emotional, creative and mental exhaustion. It’s really daunting. On one hand, the longer you stay on the show, hurray, congratulations! But on the other hand, it’s ‘Please can I go home?’ It’s really very demanding.”

    He’s still got his opinions and they’re still spot on (also said he strongly disagreed with Anya’s win last year), but man I wish they’d listen to him a little more. 

  • Hubby and I used to watch eagerly.  Lots of CREATIVITY and GOOD WORKMANSHIP were offered up.  The last couple of seasons are full of angst, poor design, poor sewing, and I think, a poor choice of designers.   My husband can no longer stand the show, and on occasion, I watch for only about 15 minutes to see the Runway show and then change the channel.  There is no reason for doing that to the show as viewers will go somewhere else, even Network TV, as we do.   

  • Willie Thompson

    you two are full of shit. 

  • I do think Season 9 was a trainwreck and thought about not watching any more after that, but I think the show bounced back during Season 10. Unlike Anya, Dmitry is a good designer and actually knows how to make clothes. I also thought the other finalists had talent as well. Are they the most original designers out there? Maybe not, but I did find things to like about all of them, and was not bored watching Season 10. Season 9, on the other hand, was tough for me to get through, especially because of Anya’s lack of talent and Josh’s horrible attitude. Despite that I still found contestants to root for like Bert and Viktor. Same with Season 8. Hated Wretchen and her designs, but Anthony, Mondo and April were enjoyable to watch. I guess I can always find things to like about PR no matter how bad the show gets, and because of that, I will probably be watching it until it stops airing. Which reminds me that I am excited for PR All Stars 2 starting next week, and hope that you guys will be blogging that.

  • haf3

    Hi, Tom and Lorenzo –

    I’m weighing in very late, here.

    I’ve never commented here before – mostly I just read and laugh. I really appreciated this thoughtful critique, and I hope the people at PR are listening, too. I’ve truly enjoyed this show, and I hate to see it declining as it has been. I’ve been a fan of a few of the designers who have been on the last couple of seasons, but I’m not any kind of hard-core fashion expert, so my judgment about that aspect of the show is sort of useless. But I do remember when the competitors were shocked, or startled, or thrown off-balance, and were therefore forced to improvise with their particular genius as their main tool – and it was really inspiring, as well as being hilarious, compelling, and must-see.

    What I watch this kind of show for is to see people doing the things they love to do, preferably at a reasonably high level. To watch people who are really good at something (or who want to be or think they are) and who are doing it for a living (they hope and pray) is just fun. Trivializing the work, however, is not fun. I really agree with your point about the creativity for that reason.

    I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with pulling already-used challenges out of the bag, but there’s a problem when a competitor could essentially plan the looks they mean to present in their season before they even finish auditioning, and if the same challenges are offered every year, some of that happens. Mix it up – ask viewers for suggestions – ask other designers for what they think of as a tough challenge – come up with some new tweaks. I do like the current season’s all-group format – for that reason. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but in the end I think it’s helped the show a lot.

    Another thing I think is damaging is that the economic aspects have been in much greater evidence in recent seasons. Product placement is clumsy and all-pervasive. Expensive things like time have been minimized. I know it’s supposed to be a test and we’re supposed to watch the little critters run mad on their critter-wheels, but there are multiple ways of complicating people’s work – the materials used, the methods available, the inspiration, the genre, etc etc – “do it in 12 hours” doesn’t have to be there every time, but it is cheaper. As a viewer, it’s nice sometimes to feel like I’m sitting through the commercials for a nice luxurious experience, without being constantly aware of the network’s bottom-line. Bottom lines are one of the things I watch TV to not think about. Help me out here. And if Loreal is mentioned once or twice in an episode, trust me – I will hear it. I don’t need everyone chirping it out every time makeup is discussed.

    Sigh. I hope the show has reached a new, upward path and that it keeps climbing. I would miss it so much – I still miss ANTM, but I haven’t been able to watch a season in 3 years now because it sucked so deeply the last time I tried. That would be a huge shame, as would not having y’all to blog about it. Keep me laughing, gentlemen – it’s a public service you do.

    Ciao – Heidi