Project Runway

The brutal war of attrition between Bravo and the Weinsteins is over, and the first episode of the sixth season of Project Runway has come and gone, and guess what! It didn’t suck, like, at all! Well, ok, parts of it sucked, but those parts will get eliminated eventually. I was pleasantly surprised, and most of my fears were assuaged.

In fact, the show felt almost exactly the same. The folks at Lifetime apparently made a painstaking effort to keep the details of the show as they were – the one-on-one interviews had the same background, the runway set was exactly the same, even the workroom at FIDM didn’t look that different than the one at Parsons. Even the font that shows the designer’s names at the bottom of the screen is the same. Without the commercials aggressively advertising Lifetime shows about plus-sized women, I would have forgotten I was watching Lifetime. Which is exactly what I had hoped.

Get the good, the bad, and the ugly after the jump.

Even more so than the show actually feeling like Project Runway, I was surprised at the performance of guest judge Lindsay Lohan. She was smart! She was articulate! She had valid criticisms and comments on the clothes! Holy crap, right? I’ve always been on Team Lindsay, and this just puts me more staunchly on her side. It’s hard to imagine Paris Hilton or any of Lindsay’s other contemporaries doing as well. And she hardly looked coked up, like, at all.

But now, to the nuts and bolts: the designers. We’re not going to go over every single one. There are lots of them, and frankly, I can’t remember all of their names or all of their dresses. And most of them don’t matter because there’s no way they’re going to win. The fierceness and the hot tranny messes are what this show is all about; mediocrity is boring.

Which is not to say that most of these designers were anything but mediocre – a lot of them were. In fact, there were very few standout dresses this episode, which may not bode well for the rest of the season. But there also wasn’t a glut of terribleness, so I’m going to chalk this up to first episode jitters and hope that everything turns out for the best. Remember, Christian Siriano didn’t win his season’s first challenge, either. And this year’s crop is highly diverse, which has always been one of PR’s greatest assets – there are people from the South and the Midwest, as well as New York and LA. Young, old, black, white, gaysian. Project Runway takes all kinds.

So who was bad? Who was good? Who was entertaining?

Well, of course, there are the criers. Both of them are male, which is actually not much of a surprise on this show. There’s Johnny, the recovering meth addict that CANNOT stop telling everyone that he’s a recovering meth addict. Yes, addiction is horrible. Of course it is. And kudos to him for fighting it publicly. But he seems to have decided that that’s the thing that’s going to get him camera time, that’ll be his story arc, and he’s running with it. He had a cry-fest with Tim Gunn over his paralyzing fear of failure, and it just proved that Tim is indeed the best and most wonderful person on the face of the planet. Really, what a mensch. Also, there is Christopher, who didn’t go to college. Did you read that? He didn’t go to college! Go back and read it again. And then rewatch this episode on TiVo so he can tell you eight more times. It seems that he, as well, has found his desired story arc.

Both of them ended up in the top 3, along with Ra’mon-Lawrence (yes, his real name). The challenge was sickeningly easy, when compared to what Bravo used to ask of their competitors, which was the only big difference I saw between the two networks. All they had to do was design a red carpet dress. For any awards show. $200 budget. And they got to use fabric, instead of vegetables or paper napkins. Easy, right? Well, everyone kinda screwed up, even the top three. Meth Johnny made a weirdly voluminous red poof of a dress that was actually quite well-fitted in the back, but I didn’t like how it fell in the front (Lindsay and Heidi did, though, oddly enough). Ra’mon-Lawrence made a beautiful, if safe, navy blue evening gown with some gorgeous pintucking and pleating, but it didn’t foot in the boob area.

Christopher made a cocktail dress that looked like a scrunched-up garbage bag over a dirty petticoat, but I mean that in the nicest, most stylish way possible. I was both edgy and sweet, which is a hard line to walk, and I think he did it well. And he didn’t even go to college! Perhaps winning the first challenge will solve some of his inferiority complex. I think the correct dress won, but my write-in votes would have been Irina and Malvin for the rest of the top three. She made a beautiful vintage-looking dress of lace and liquid silk (plus she also makes handbags), and he made a cocktail dress with an incredible amount of detailing done quite well. They both should be around for a while.

And now, the bad. The bad is the best part. First, Qristyl (also her real name), who made the cheapest-looking dress I think I’ve ever seen on the show. It was bright purple and flower-printed and it looked like one half of it was slowly eating the other. She would have been my vote to go home, but she stayed to make more tacky things in the future. And there was also Mitchell, whose model apparently got bigger and bigger, the more he complained about how big she was. He made a dress that didn’t fit her, so he got all Scarlett O’Hara on it (he is from Georgia, after all) and just draped some stuff around her and called it a dress. Except you couldn’t see Scarlett O’Hara’s thong. I guess that’s the main difference. But he was safe as well!

Ari, the space cadet Samantha Ronson look-alike (ironic, what with Lindsay and all) who made, as Michael Kos said, a “disco soccer ball” with hot pants under it was the one that went home. She said that she was going to pick up her Nobel Prize in it. As fabulously delusional as that is, they decided to auf her, even though I think we could have gotten a couple more weeks of entertainment from her designs. We’ll have to settle for the incredible tack of Qristyl, who will probably go home next week anyway.

I feel much better about this season than I did before it premiered, and I’m glad it still has the smarts and snark that distinguish it from much of the reality pack. I watched the premiere with my best friend, who had never seen the show before, and she said that she wanted to see the rest of the season. So if it’s still entertaining to someone that’s not wrapped up in the lore of Project Runway, then it looks like Lifetime is making it work.

And also, a request: if you know of a place online where I could watch the All Star special that aired before the premiere, let me know. It’s not on my cable’s OnDemand menu, and I was too busy watching Police Women of Broward County (not kidding, it’s awesome) to catch it the first time around.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Claire

    Please forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think the exact quote was “There isn’t a vocab yet that can describe the clothes that I do”.

  • That was the second part of the quote, too long to put in the title. I rewound and watched again to make sure I got it right. I remember it as you did, but he really said it in two parts, which made it kind of cumbersome.

  • Michael St. James

    The show was so boring that I literally have no idea what you’re talking about! I don’t remeber their names. The designs were mediocre. And their personalities certainly won’t have me tuning in every week, especially since Lifetime insisted on putting Project Runway on at the same time as The Real Housewives of Atlanta…lol!

  • otter

    Police Women of Broward County is much better than Project Runway. Love those ladies!

    PR has become predicable and dull. I am predicting this will be the last season. Sorry.

  • Police Women of Broward County is Amanda and my’s new favorite show, but we figured it wasn’t a good fit to review on PurseBlog! :)

  • 19yearslater

    Wasn’t this season filmed before the decision was made as to what network it would be on? We can’t make harsh choices as to who we think will stay and who will go. Remember last season, when Leanne was supposed to be one of two “mousy” girls who would go home early?

  • otter

    Various purse crimes here in LA last week.

    They need to send the police women of Broward County out to LA for a special “Purse Blog” sponsored episode. Seems that someone broke into Lilo’s Hwood Hills home this weekend and stole a bunch of stuff including her handbag collection (this was reported on KCAL LA news — they specifically mentioned handbags and watches). Now that is a very, very serious crime. Someone besides the LAPD needs to get on this one.

    Oh, and last week, some bad guys broke into the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Melrose and stole bunch of handbags and hurt the security guard.

    In a related story, someone tried to break into my apartment last Wednesday evening in Hwood ( the flatlands – not hills mind you). He tried to open the door. I took a look through the peephole when I saw the doorknob moving, and then calmly went to my closet (where my handbag collection is stashed) and pulled out my baseball bat with the nails in the bottom (like an Alexander Wang bag). I opened the door, shook it at the intruder and he ran like the wind. Wonder if it is the same perp as the Lilo case.

    We need the ladies of Broward out here STAT. While they are at it, they can smack Montag across the face and take away her Hermes collection. Why, oh why has she not been robbed yet the way she flaunts her stuff? Well, actually, her career has been robbed by her husband.

    Please look into a Purseblog/Broward County partnership. Thanks.

  • @19yearslater This season’s was filmed with Lifetime’s production team under the impression that that’s where it would air. The people that produced it for Bravo weren’t involved. And I still don’t really think Leanne is particularly awesome, lol. Her collection for Bluefly sucked. Hers wasn’t my favorite show at the end. They liked her waaaaay more than I did.

  • Rashmi

    I liked the first episode but I have to agree that unlike past seasons, the designs were very mediocre. I’m cheering for the Minnesotan guy, I forgot his name.


  • Edwina

    I could have done without your snide reference to Lifetime’s commercials aimed at “plus-sized women.” For a fashion blog, it showed a lack of taste. And by the way, you’re on Purse Blog… a LOT of women love handbags so that they can avoid being rebuked by size-ist, self-proclaimed fashionistas.

    The show was great, try sticking to the point, next time.
    Thank you.

  • jus

    you can find the all star episode on you tube (as well as the PR models on the runway) actually. I enjoyed the all star episode better!

  • @Edwina – just an FYI, I’m a size 18 and weigh 200 lbs. Not ashamed of it for a second, and don’t mind saying it publicly to anyone who inquires. That doesn’t mean Lifetime’s commercials aren’t obviously pander-y and stupid. They are. That’s what my comment is about. The show is about a skinny woman whose life is “ruined” when she wakes up a size 16. If I can’t call that stupid, then I ask you, what CAN I call stupid?

  • Lane

    “Police Women of Broward County is much better than Project Runway”

    I think you’ll find better people and morals on Project Runway. One ad for that stupid cop reality show says “Taser Time” and another asks, “Cavity Search Anyone?”.

    Hmm, I wonder if the folks at TLC know of Broward Co. law enforcement’s reputation? I also wonder if the “Police Women of Broward County” will the protect the citizens from the criminals with a badge? They sure could use it:

    Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Grady recently plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery for sexually assaulting two women during traffic stops.

    Broward County deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss was recently arrested on allegations that he sexually assaulted as many as eight different illegal immigrant men. Investigators suggest that Bleiweiss hand-picked his alleged victims while on duty and then repeatedly coerced them into having sexual encounters with him.

    Broward County police officer Stephen Olenchak is accused of raping a female teenager while his wife laid passed out on the bed next to them. Police are investigating whether he also slipped drugs into their drinks.

    Broward County police officer Vally Getejanc is accused of holding a gun to his pregnant wife’s head and threatening to kill her.

    Broward County police officer Jonathan D. Sanders was accused of threatening a woman with arrest if she did not perform oral sex on him while on duty and in uniform.

    Personally I have to wonder if there are more victims out there who are afraid to come forward, since cops tend to protect their own.


  • Kaytey

    Hey, you can watch the special at realitytvfan[dot]org. It was good until the end… I won’t give away anything else.

  • PhotoGirl

    Meh. . .I think I’m over Project Runway. (And I really can’t make myself watch Lifetime TV.)

    One week you’re in, the next, you’re out. . .

  • dela

    Amanda, I apologize in advance if I offend you. But, to me it seems you think it’s okay to make insensitive remarks about plus-sized women just because you are plus-sized.

    As for that show (Drop Dead Diva) with a model whose life is “ruined” because of her new body, it is fact is the opposite. It makes her look beyond shallowness and there is a lot of depth to her new character and the lead (Brooke Elliot) is utterly charming who does like to throw in a of designer handbag here and there. Critics also have some nice things to say about the show. Check out the metacritic website. Most of all we should applaud that a plus-sized actress has be given a opportunity to star in her own TV show instead of being relegated to guest spots. And that too in a decent TV show where her style and intelligence are at equal display. Whatever one makes of this show, still it is a lot better than the usual guilty pleasures like Real Housewives series.