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Everyone lugs around tons of baggage wherever they go, but last night on the season premiere of Project Runway, the contestants had to mine each other's for gold. There was vision and delusion—and Heidi's horrible new haircut.
When the 17 designers picked to be on the new season of this high-brow sewing competition arrived at Lincoln Center, they discovered they weren't even on the show yet. Say what? How are you going to tell them they aren't on the show when we are clearly currently watching them, you know, on the show! Anyway, they had to keep trying out by transforming an item of clothing into a new garment in just five hours. So, they all picked out a piece of prized clothing from their bags but, surprise!, they all had to switch with the person next to them. Oh, you Project Runway twist, you.
Things We Hated:
- Heidi's Haircut: Heidi got a new 'do that is the color of the cheap Hanukkah gelt you buy at Duane Reade and simultaneously choppy and poofy. Even when she put it up it looked horrible. Throughout the evening, it managed to look like the hair of every character from Jem and the Holograms—Pizazz, Roxy, Jerricah Benton, even the black one with the crazy fro. Usually I would mean that as a compliment, but not today.
- Meet on the Street: This year, thanks to the new 90-minute format, they arranged to have all the designers meet up at various locations around New York. This is something they do on The Real World and we don't like it there either. It's silly and contrived and it doesn't fit in with the normal format of the show. Reality television is the modern ritual and the ritual for PR dictates that they all meet while having a cocktail party on the roof with Heidi and Tim. Give us the cocktail party and small talk, not these awkward and arbitrary interactions.
- Jason Is Sooooo Straight: Ugh, stupid Jason is our token straight and he has to start off by talking about how straight he is in his straight world with his straight hat and he loves to straight fuck straight ladies and if we non-straights don't straight up approve then he'll straighten us out. Then he sees boobs and giggles. There's nothing wrong with being straight, but there is something horrible about protesting too much, Jason.
- Pants out of Pants: Yeah, Heidi, we know you made a funny when you said Ivy made "pants out of pants" but did you have to say it three times!
- Gretchen Won: I already hate Gretchen because she looks like she works at Vogue because she is tall and slender and fashionable and pretty. But then I hate her even more for being all "I want to make green clothing." I don't want the world to end either, but do you have to be so in your face about it. Make your green subtle! Then her dress won unanimously. Sure, it was cute, but it was way too simple and plain and looked like she just put some glittery coasters on the shoulders of a boring dress she picked up at Century 21.
- Only One Person Got Sacked: Going with the "you're not even on the show yet" logic, Heidi was all "any number of you can get kicked off tonight." Then they only kicked off one girl (whose dress wasn't that bad). I'm sorry, but there was a hell of a lot of ugly on that runway and at least straight Jason and that April girl should be sent packing too. Come on, judges. You're the people who cried, "more than one person is going home."
- Tim is Fallible: We do not like it when our Grampa Gunn is not the all-knowing wise and caring figure with Werther's Originals in his cardigan pockets. He told McKell that her dress was cute and thoroughly approved it and then she was sent packing. Of course he blamed it on the styling, but maybe Mr. Gunn just doesn't have it like he used to. Is it possible? Can listening to Tim now get you sent home? Do we have to question everything we know about the universe?
- The Goodnight Montage: Reality TV is ritual. When does this ritual end? When the loser goes and packs up their shit and shuts their light out. Not when everyone goes to their apartment and talks about the challenge and shuts their lights out. No, that is not the way we do things around here.
- The Piperlime Accessory Wall: I never thought I'd say it, but I miss The Great Bluefly.com Accessory Wall of Made in China. It has been replaced by another creature with a strange color in its name. While I can imagine what a Bluefly is (it sounds like a fashion aphrodisiac, doesn't it), I have no fucking clue what a Piperlime is. I do not like it, and it sounds tawdry and horrible.
Things We Loved:
- The New Format: OK, now I'm going to come out and say that I truly love the new 90-minute episodes, but I wasn't bored once last night, and that was after a long night of reality TV watching (Jersey Shore, Big Brother, So You Think You Can Dance—hello, Thursday, stop being so greedy!), so that's saying a lot. However, this was the first episode and there are lots of people to meet and things to do. Let's see how this still works when there are like six designers left.
- Destory the Pants: Crazy Casanova, who I can't decide whether I love or hate, which means I'll probably grow to love him, had his $1070 pants ruined. Watch the clip above. That shit is funny. Also, if you're buying designer and it's not on a discount or on sale or a loan, you're paying too much.
- The Mood Annex: For some reason having a bunch of fabric from the now-famous store in the work room wasn't another annoying bit of product placement, it was a revelation. Like "Mood loves PR just like we do and sent them all this fabric and a coffee cake its grandmother made." That's so sweet.
- Casanova Doesn't Finish: We can debate the merits of his barely there hankie of a dress (which was basically a personification of Miami), but every episode the show threatens that someone might not finish and this time, the model actually left the work room without wearing Casanova's dress. She probably didn't notice because she was practically naked anyway. Still, we're glad to see it finally happen.
- Andy and Mondo: Andy and and Mondo are basically every gay creative person in the world. They had a tough time in high school, they're weird and awkward, but while trying to hide themselves, they're also showing off with a flamboyance that will knock a flamingo off his sequined cushion. In my dreams they become fast friends and then go around to schools saving gay youngsters and telling them, "Girl, one day you will be fierce!" That's kind of what Austin Scarlet and Santino Rice are doing now, but different.
- The Bottom Six: Usually we only get to see the judges cuss out three designers, but this time it was six. Six! Is it our birthday?
- Nina Garcia, Fashion Director of Marie Claire Magazine: The best moment of the night was when NGFDMCM pointed out something that was wrong with Ivy's dress and she tried to defend that one point and NGFDMCM just wound up her neck and said, "OK then, you wanna defend that? Here is all the other shit that is wrong with your nasty ass outfit. Now shut the fuck up!" God, no one does bitchy like NGFDMCM. She even did bitchy en Español. Amazing.
- "She's Like a Pole Dancer in Dubai": Another gem from Michael Kors, Queen Tangerine.
- Selma Blair: I'm not wild about her movies, but she was an excellent guest judge. Not only was she acerbic, but she was funny too. She said that Casanova's dress would be sold at a mall in a store called "Dazzles" where "they sell dresses and wigs." That's like something I would write in a recap, but like on the actual show. Well done, Selma.
- Cheering for the Loser: There was a great moment when the designers who didn't get cut started filtering back into the work room and their cohorts cheered for their victory. When McKell finally got back, everyone cheered thinking she was spared too, but she had actually just been cut. Yeah, that's mean, but, ha!
- Models of the Runway: 2009-2010: We successfully killed it, people. Models of the Runway is dead! Hip, hip, hooray!
So, in the end McKell went home for her ugly ass metallic shirt dress. That's probably for the best. You should never trust a person with blond dreadlocks. It's just not natural. There were a few other dresses we liked, like Valerie's and Andy's but since they're not really "on the show," we can't really talk about it. Just wait for next week, then we'll really get into it.