Project Runway: Your emotions are like cat toys to us.

Posted on August 23, 2013

Oh, fashion people. You’re hilarious. “Don’t we look like we’re dressed for the outdoors?” Well, no, Heidi. You’re in 4-inch heels and Tim’s in a suit. Are you really that clueless?

Rhetorical question.

 

“Designers, product, product, product! I’m wearing camo! “Head of Activation,” whatever the fuck that is. Glamping! Nature!

Water!

um…

Trees…

something…

Uh…

BE INSPIRED! Carry on!”

 

*runs like hell back to the van*

 

Strangely enough, despite all the silliness and product placement, this little interlude actually benefited the show. It seems to have calmed down all the boiling resentments people were feeling and it really did seem to inspire several of the designers to break out a little.

 

We wonder if, everything else being the same (i.e., the types of people they cast, the types of challenges they come up with) the show wouldn’t benefit from regular “be inspired” interludes like this.

 

We don’t need zip-lines and marshmallow-roasting, but it clearly helps the designers to get out of the workroom for short periods of time and the NYC area has no shortage of things to be inspired by.

 

If they’re committed to shaking up the format (as they seem to be this season), then regular “inspiration interludes” might not be a bad idea. Get the “I Heart NY” campaign to underwrite some of this stuff and maybe we won’t have to be treated to embarrassing crap about yogurt and bottled water.

And speaking of shaking up the format…

 

We hate you, Project Runway. We hate you for forcing us to say what we’re about to say.

 

It seems more than obvious that Justin is a very nice guy who is clearly beloved by his competitors, possibly more so than we’re used to seeing on this show. Friendships (and even romantic relationships) have been formed in the Parson’s workroom over the years, but the raw emotion here was pretty distinct, even for a drama-fest like PR. His competitors weren’t being polite or condescending here; they truly adore the guy. That’s very sweet and that’s what sometimes provides the drama on a reality competition; watching likeable people losing.

 

We did not have one problem with Justin being auf’d. It’s rare for us to get upset over any aufs in the first half of the season because that’s one thing the show has done consistently. It effectively weeds out the non-competitors. Not that they’ve never made mistakes in that regard, but for the most part, their record is good.

Please note that “non-competitor” is being used here. Some of these people are loons and some are cannon fodder, but several good designers get sent home simply because they’re not cut out for reality TV competitions. Maybe they can’t handle the time constraints or maybe they can’t handle the emotional toll of ’round-the-clock sewing in a room full of assholes or maybe they hate being on camera. Justin, to our way of thinking, has almost always been part of this group of people; the ones not likely to make it into the finals or even the second half of the competition. He’s never produced anything noteworthy. In fact, his output is characterized only by how generic and unambitious it’s been. He’s never been in the top 3, has already been in the bottom, and produced a really crappy design this week. His auf’ing at this point in the competition made perfect sense.

 

So of course Tim uses his one “save” of the season to keep him in the competition. But not because Justin’s such a nice guy, Tim assures us! Of course not. It’s because he’s a nice deaf guy, Tim.

There. We said it. And yes, we hate you, Project Runway, for making us say it. This is a level of base emotional manipulation that leaves us a little queasy, mostly because it’s so heavily tinged with enormous condescension, both for the audience and for people with disabilities or physical challenges.

We will leave it there. We’re not exactly foaming at the mouth with outrage, but we find it all extremely eyeroll-worthy. Way to ruin an interesting new feature the first time out, Tim. What happens when someone who’s shown consistent promise, like Bradon, Dom, or Jeremy stumbles? What happens when a designer with a more interesting point of view, like Alexandria or even Helen has a(nother) bad week? Oh well, designers. You’re SOL. Tim decided that nice people with heartwarming backstories deserve more chances than talented ones in this competition.

Which tells you everything you need to know about the nature of this “competition.”

 

Alexandria

So congrats, Alexandria! Tom called it back in the workroom but Lorenzo held out hope he was wrong: the judges go apeshit for this kind of stuff. It’s the very definition of “editorial.” They’re also the most interesting garments we’ve seen all season. The drop crotch pants are cray, but that top is gorgeous and interesting. It’s a deserved win.

 

Justin

And this was a more-than deserved auf. It’s possible Tim felt guilty that he didn’t discourage Justin from that godawful plastic lace idea (as well he should) but even that’s not a good enough reason to keep him in. Is the “save” to correct the judges’ mistake or to correct Tim’s? Either way, it should be reserved for someone who’s shown the promise to go all the way in the competition and Justin clearly never has.

Besides, the plastic lace is not the only problem here. It’s just the most obvious one. The bodice is ugly, the skirt is drab, and there’s nothing modern or chic about the look.

 

Jeremy

This is a gorgeous gown which would probably get a lot of press if it walked down a fashion week runway and would probably sell very well in high-end department stores. This statement is both an argument for why it should have won and an argument for why it shouldn’t have. Beautiful, but unchallenging.

And speaking of manipulation, we’re ready to call it on Gay Daddy: he is a PLAYAH. Between the dead gran-who’s-not-my-gran, the constant references to his children, and the love letter to his partner, Jeremy’s demonstrating some rather scarily effective ways to emotionally manipulate the judges. What’s most interesting about this is that he doesn’t appear to be trying to do it to anyone else. He’s more than happy to be bitchy (with a twinkle in his eye) when discussing the other designers and their work. It’ll be interesting to see if any of his competitors call him on the blatantly weepy stuff he pulls on the runway.

 

Alexander

It took us a minute to come around on this one, but we wound up agreeing with the judges. This was surprisingly gorgeous. We go back and forth on the leather train. Tom thinks it’s too heavy but Lorenzo thinks it’s a great idea.

 

 

Karen

Awful. The “bladder issue” dress.  This one really is cannon fodder. Time for Drew Barryless to go.

It’s not as bad as Justin’s though. This is at least vaguely wearable and not hideous.

 

Ken

Tacky-ass fabric. There was no saving this look once he picked it. It’s only a matter of time before he gets the “taste issues” crit.

 

Dom

We thought this was gorgeous and interesting. We were surprised to see it waved through without comment.

 

Helen

Everything Afterschool Special makes is depression in dress form. Having said that, the skirt is really interesting. It’s one in a line of interesting but problematic or depressing looks from her. She might turn this around if the judges would coach her a little.

 

Kate

We don’t even know.

God, the shoes this season are embarrassing.

 

Bradon

The only thing that kept him from the bottom was his past performance. This is why it’s always a good idea to come out of the gate strong in the beginning of the competition because the judges’ residual love for you will get you over the humps.

We’re starting to think Bradon might be a little bit of an emotional manipulator as well. The proposal was just odd the more we think of it, and last night when he signed “We love you” to Justin, it just came off way too self-consciously precious to us.

Yes, we’re cynical bitches. We’ve been at this a long time.

 

 

Miranda

The top half is weird  – and we don’t even love the bottom half or anything – but at least Diana Prince broke out of her rut a bit and produced something different.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke for Lifetime – Stills: tomandlorenzo.com]

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