PR: Weak and Weary

Posted on October 07, 2011

Ugh.Where to begin? A bird challenge at first seemed kind of arbitrary and weird, but the more we thought about it, the more we were okay with it – or would have been if they hadn’t mucked around with it so much. On the surface, it was a fine idea; designers take inspirations from nature and the animal kingdom all the time. But the second we saw Collier “Smokey Eye” Strong standing there, it all fell apart for us because this wasn’t so much a “take your inspiration from nature” challenge as it was yet another product placement challenge. Product Runway.

To make matters worse, they jerked those poor designers around so much that they should’ve included neckbraces and a year’s supply of chiropractor visits in the prize package. Teams! But against each other! One look! Two looks! PSYCHE! One look! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Show of hands: who else thought that “You only have to show one look” twist was devised at the last second to give *ahem* certain people a leg up once the producers saw how things were shaking out in the work room? There’s so many twists, team challenges, and product placement opportunities this season that we almost – ALMOST – long for the days of “Make a pretty dress.”

So congratulations once again to Anya. Your win is causing T Lo to fight this morning.

It’s like this: Tom thinks that this dress is, in many ways, very impressive coming from her. Not because she’s only been sewing for 40 minutes, but because it was far outside her comfort zone and she pulled it off rather effectively.


Lorenzo thinks Tom is nuts. He claims that the minute this walked out, with Francisco Costa sitting in on the judging panel, her win was practically guaranteed. Of course the womenswear designer for Calvin Klein would fall all over this; it’s a slightly more theatrical Calvin Klein dress. Lorenzo also thinks that “Heidi needs to get her head out of Anya’s ass.” Tom agrees, but it seems to us that all three of the judges have their heads up her ass; to the point that it’s getting a little embarrassing how much they fall all over her for completing the simplest tasks.

We’re both in agreement that the dress borders on costumey, what with the wings on the shoulders and the back of the skirt looking like tailfeathers. These were things that Laura got criticized for, after all.

To be honest, we were way more interested in her first dress, even though it was a bit more in her wheelhouse than the second one. We would have liked to have seen the finished product.

And even though we’ve joked all season about her being a dangerously manipulative beauty queen, even we were shocked when she refused to give Josh some extra fabric mere days after all her competitors rallied around her to save her ass. She can try and justify that all she wants but it made her look incredibly nasty in our eyes.

She’s going to the finals, you guys. There’s no avoiding it. The judges are in love with her and that’s all there is to that. We hate to say it, but we think she might even win the whole thing. The whole beauty queen thing combined with the calculated underdog status of not being able to sew makes her somewhat tailor-made for the Lifetime demographic.

And since she looks as much like a model as an actual model, of course they’d choose her for a makeup ad.

And it’s a sad farewell to Bert, who went home for the exact reason we feared he would: a curmudgeonly lack of flexibility.

The fact of the matter is, on Project Runway, a designer is going to have to get used to the fact that he will routinely be asked to do things he doesn’t want to do. “Old school elegance” in the Bert mold, was simply not on the menu in a “Match your dress both to a bird and to eyeshadow” challenge. The whole point here is to roll with the crazy twists and pull together something that satisfies them all while remaining true to yourself as a designer.

A near-impossible task, to be sure. But plenty of successful contestants have managed it in the past.

The idea of hiding the bright colors he detests so much is what did him in. Sending out a dingy gray gown when your inspiration was all about exuberantly bright colors was a terrible idea.

To be fair, we liked the idea of the layered skirt with the bright colors underneath it.

But the bustier, no matter how well executed it was, looked very dated.

And the overall look was drab and simply not interesting enough from a design perspective. It was simply a bad entry all around.

And to his credit, he admitted it. But we said earlier this week that his greatest strength in the competition was his ability to talk about his designs on a professional level and when he couldn’t really say anything positive about his own work, it was obvious to us that he was going. Now, the point could be made once again that the judging changes from week to week, because if you look at Bert’s work cumulatively, he’s done more to impress the judges than Laura ever has. Sometimes the judges take that into account and sometimes they pretend that they don’t. To be honest, we were a bit surprised because we assumed that the judges liked Bert’s story enough to want to see him make it to the end, but apparently they couldn’t get past the sad and dated dress he sent down that runway.

As for After the Runway, could there be a better indication of what Lifetime considers the most important thing about the show? It’s not about design anymore; it’s about interpersonal conflict. You can call it “Clearing the Air” all you want, but it really should be called “Stirring Up Shit.” Laura Bennett, God bless her, has bigger balls than we do, but we really don’t want to see an extra half-hour of arguing tacked onto the end of each episode.

Will we ever again see a Project Runway that values skill and creativity over oxygen-sucking drama vortices and beauty queens?

Nevermore, bitches.

[Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke/MyLifetime.com – Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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