Project Runway: Bring Me the Head of Nina Garcia

Posted on April 26, 2013

Hello. I’m Nina Garcia, Project Runway co-host, Marie Claire Creative Director, and best-selling author. Welcome. Come with me as we take a journey; a journey through another boring Project Runway finale.

Our story starts here, when Stanley, the little girl with the dreadful tattoos, and the other one were invited, through my own largesse, back to New York from whatever backwaters they live in, to compete for my attention and affection. And also a prize of some sort.


Now, I love all these delusional little scrappers, but some more than others. I’m only human, after all.

Yes, really.

And when I say “love,” I mean “respect.” And when I say “respect,” I mean I try to remember their names.


To my surprise and disappointment, my beloved Stanley showed up for Fashion Week with nothing but bolts of fabric and a pile of zippers and closures.


Disgraceful. Had I known this was going on, I would have had him removed from Manhattan.

But hope remains. Perhaps the little hyperactive bald one I sent over will help him out.


The little girl with the horrible haircuts and execrable taste in hats was very prepared and focused in her work. How drearily predictable. Where’s the fun? The spontaneity? The psychotic breaks we all love so much?


This wouldn’t do, so I sent her the cute girl to help her out and also to distract her a little.

Honestly, I thought she was a lesbian. I swear someone told me that.


The other one was “prepared” in the sense that she arrived with piles of what she called “garments,” but frankly, it just looked like a bunch of  stuff you’d sell out of the back of a van at a Phish concert.


Not that I, Nina Garcia, Creative Director of Marie Claire magazine and best-selling author, have ever been to a Phish concert. Heavens, no. A little joke on my part.

Anyway, I don’t like the other one’s work very much so I sent her the chubby girl as a helper. It’s tragic how much weight that poor girl’s put on since the summer. Pilates! Calorie restriction! Power walking! These things aren’t hard.


While I was sleeping, our dirty little contestants were getting up so early that only working class people were walking the streets. I had them sent over to Lincoln Center, where their dreams – and my judgment – awaited them. I made them stand silently inside an empty tent for hours.


It builds character.

Anyway, we filled the tent with gawkers and sponsors so that someone would clap when their little scraps of fabric walked the runway. I managed to keep an interested look on my face the entire time. Cameras present, you know.


My heart was filled with joy to be reunited with leading fashion designer and CFDA winner Michael Kors, because the German and the little boy were really getting on my nerves with all their talk about “Who needs more clothes?” and “Maybe we should give the prize to that other one, with the scarves and the horse hair.”


I mean, honestly. I tried not to laugh too hard in their faces. It’s so cute when they act like they know what they’re talking about.


But the German must have done something to poor Michael. Or maybe he was just exhausted from his own Fashion Week preparations. Whatever the reasons, reason seemed to have left him. He too turned on Nina Garcia and tried to tell her that the one with all the hair was somehow worthy of being called a fashion designer.


I did my best to offer a reasoned response to their insanity; to get them to see that I would rather burn the Marie Claire offices to the ground than feature Stevie Nicks’ old wardrobe in our pages.


I admit, I got a little angry and used some profanity. I’m not proud of it. But sometimes, the world of fashion needs a warrior to defend it from flighty German supermodels and little boys who say foolish things like “Who needs more clothes?”




Ugh. I can’t.  I’m sorry.

Is there disgust on my face? I’m trying to keep it off, but I fear I never was very good at keeping my thoughts to myself.


But Heidi and the little boy are easily distracted and I used the mind tricks taught to all leading fashion editors in order to bring them to heel. How else do you think we convince the public that things like rompers and sheer skirts are wardrobe essentials? Fashion editor mind trickery.


So while the German and the little boy talkedtalkedtalked away to Michael, convincing him to join their cause, I merely stared forward and concentrated really, really hard, molding their sponge-like minds to my liking. I got a nosebleed out of it, but at least the right person won. Her tattoos and hats are hideous, but I’m pretty sure I can do something with a couple of her pieces for the magazine; something that won’t embarrass me.


And there you have it. Thank you for coming on this journey; a journey inside the mind of Nina Garcia, Creative Director of Marie Claire magazine, best-selling author, and anti-horsehair advocate. You’ve heard everything I have to say on the collections, so I’ll allow a couple of grubby little … what’s the word? “Bloggers,” is it? I’ll let these so-called “bloggers” express their own opinions.

My assistant will see you out.


Congrats to Michelle! We really didn’t think she was going to win it, even though we thought she was the clear winner. Stanley seemed to be getting the winner’s edit, but we didn’t see how it was possible, since he was so ill-prepared and his clothes so pedestrian. Then it looked like they really were going to give it to Patricia, but after a while, it sounded to us like the judges were just being devil’s advocates to the idea that Patricia has a place in the fashion world. And while it’s true she does – and even Nina agreed on that point – it was clear to us that she’s not ready to be called a great fashion designer. Great textile designer, yes. But despite what Heidi tried to pull, that’s not what this show and competition has ever been about.


Best look on the runway. We think this is Michelle at her best; focused on what she’s trying to say and not getting bogged down with a lot of what Nina called “tricky” details.  Just a gorgeous, beautifully made, unusual look.


We didn’t love the tan and yellow combo as much as the judges, nor did we love this look as much as they seemed to. It’s still pretty great, but the color combo doesn’t work for us and the front pleat on the skirt doesn’t really do much for it except distract you from the rest of the  details.


Maybe too simple, but she needed to put a couple “breathers” in between all the bordering-on-overdesigned looks. At least it ties in with the rest of the collection nicely. Cohesion was one of the biggest selling points on this collection over the other two.


Gorgeous. Totally did not agree with the judges on the ties. A lot of women-in-ties looks are unimaginatively androgynous, but she kept the femininity while still using an iconic male accessory to finish it off.


This is a huge clunker. There’s just nothing interesting about that shape, and the colors turn it drab.


We still think the hem and the breastplate needed rethinking, but it’s still a really great, unusual look that fits perfectly into the collection. In fact, it’s something of a mission statement piece; it sums up Michelle’s aesthetic nicely.


Still love it; still think she could have removed some of the hardware and bags.


This is probably the most conventional look in her collection. It was smart of her to do something easily understood while still making it look like it belongs with the rest of the pieces.


Still love the sweater and pants, still don’t get the chaps.


Adore the pants; not in love with the top. It’s too stiff and we really hate that neckline.


LOVELOVELOVE this look. That sweater is chic. The whole look is chic. We didn’t agree with the judges when they trashed the hat. We think the hat is what takes it away from looking too Portland-hipster.



Kors nailed it when he said this should have been cut down to a dress. That would have instantly corrected the proportions, which seem a little off to us with that squared-off plunging neckline she favors.

In the end, it was a nice surprise for us to have our pick for the win actually win. We can count on one hand the number of times that’s happened with Project Runway. We’ll get to the other two collections later today.


[Photo Credit: Getty, David Russell for Lifetime – Stills:]

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