Hey, it's me, Joshua David Stein. I'm back, briefly, really just this once, to talk about something very important to me: Project Runway, the Bravo television show whose finale was last night. I have lots to say about it but won't do so until after the jump. That's so I don't spoil anything for those who didn't manage to take the time out of their schedule to watch the episode when it aired even though that is kind of part of the sacrifice a true fan makes. I for instance blew a couple of deadlines for the chance to be present, albeit remotely, during one of the greatest contests of our time. (Sorry Graydon, Anna, and Remnick, those cover stories will be in tomorrow. I swear!) Bonus: Emotionally tumultuous video clip after the jump!
As I mentioned previously on my personal blog (yes, I have one!) the three finalists on Project Runway are clearly ciphers for the Presidential candidates of 2008. Christian Siriano, the charismatic and talented newcomer, is Barack Obama. Jillian, a lady from Long Island, is Hillary Clinton. She's sensible and has a great deal of experience though she does lack Christian's flair for demagoguery and drama. Rami, the experienced upright designer from war-torn Ramallah, is the McCain figure in this schemata. What happened last night could very well predict who John Glover Roberts Jr. swears in come January 20, 2009.
Out of the gate, one sensed the real battle would be between Rami and Christian. Jillian's collection, Jillian's work thusfar and Jillian herself all exude competence but boring confidence. The only exception is her father who seems awesome. Whereas Christian is naturally exuberant and Rami fuses his craftmanship with a witty and urbane sense of style, Jillian seems content to recreate looks from Vogue circa 1973...but with a twist. Who cares? It's boring. In addition, she vacillates and cavils under pressure as evinced by her bungling of the model casting.
Rami, on the other hand, may be gay or Palestinian or both. He's certainly at least one. [Confirmed: he's both.] The jeans (stonewashed) and the shoes (pointy, light brown leather) and the decolletage make one wonder. Anyway, he is amazing. He's so good looking (in this way he differs from gopher-faced McCain) and very honorable. By far he's the most mature and developed of the candidates. He's also quite successful already, having shown at Fashion Week in 2003. His taste is conservative (duh!) and he has a distinct point of view.
Which leaves us with Christian, the winner. Young, annoying, and— think it is fair to say—incredibly talented, Siriano agitated for change. A shake-up of the fashion world is what he wanted and he wouldn't stop strutting, sculpting his ridiculous hair or muttering "fierce" like he was Fishy Francis and it was London, 1955, until he succeeded. Well, he succeeded! Now he can stop referring to men as trannies, women as bitches and groupings of both sexes as ladies. He can cease to single-handedly destroy the Ozone layer by subjecting his head hair to cruel architectural contortions brought on by a can of hairspray and a need to stand out. Perhaps he'll even drop the pompous and pretentious arrogance that marred his otherwise lovable character. Surely in the last episode we saw fissures in his persona. And, to be honest, I liked the underneath Christian a lot better. There's also the little point that his collection was singularly exciting.
Sure, Michael Kors had an issue with his choice of color. "Too much black," he blurted, "it's gets monotonous." But Posh Spice, who looks like a retarded robot bunny rabbit, disagreed. She loved his collection. She even smiled which was as touching as it was hideous. Christian is young, the youngest winner of Project Runway in fact, but he also might be the most talented. His designs seem unbridled by economic concerns like wearability (this is where both Rami and Jillian trumped him) and marketability. His dresses contain flourishes and his hats are obscene. In the ideal world, he'll take this $100,000 and his three-door Saturn, drive into Middle America, assay the state of the female form there and manage to tone down his rhetoric, tame his exuberance into something that actually works.
As November approaches, perhaps the most relevant question is whether middle America will learn to say, "Fierce!"