by Todd O'Dowd
Greetings l’étoile readers! You’re probably wondering what is going on with this. Well it’s simple. we here at l’étoile are died in the wool fans of Project Runway, so we figured that we should take a whack at recapping/reviewing/commenting on the show, especially this season for two big reasons:
1) It’s the 10th Anniversary of the show, and…
2) Local designer (and l’étoile fave) Raul Osorio is in the cast this season, making him the fifth local designer to make the cut. I could go on and on about Raul’s talents and how amazing he is, but our publisher Beth Hammarlund did an amazing job of that in her String Theory column yesterday. (We are also are hosting weekly viewing parties all season long at moto-i, which will be attended by Osorio himself.)
Now if you’re expecting these recaps to be solemn, incisive affairs that examine every facet of the episode, then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed. These recaps are meant to be breezy, amusing, and fun with the occasional insightful comment and/or witty aside thrown in. Think of it as a DVD commentary where everyone is having a fabulous time at a cocktail party and spouting off-the-cuff observations about what they’re seeing. And in keeping with easy, breezy nature that I’m shooting for, I’m doing these recaps in bullet point form.
Okay, enough chatting, Let’s start the show!
*We start in media res with Heidi, Tim, Michael, and Nina on a runway in Times Square! This, as everyone has known for a while, is the site of the first challenge (and an upgrade from last year’s runway show in Battery Park – and thankfully without models on stilts).
*Then we flash back one day and see the designers arrive at the workroom at Parsons. Oddly enough, we see examples of each designer’s work right there, due to the fact that each designer had to send a piece in before the competition showing their design aesthetic.
*Enter Tim Gunn (in a fabulous suit – of course) to deliver the first challenge: using $100 and one day, create a companion look to the preview look. And then it’s off to Mood where we run in to…
*SWATCH!! For those that don’t know, Swatch is the adorable house dog and mascot of Mood (named after fabric swatches, not the time piece).
*Anyway, back to the work room and the general intros are made and we get to know our little fashionistas. While I love Buffi’s attitude and affectations, and I have a soft spot for Andrea (old yet sassy) and Fabio seems cool (though his Freeganism creeped everyone out), and Dmitry is way too serious for a reality show contestant…
*The real meat of the episode was the hissing match between Christopher and Gunnar. I mean, we all know that smack talking is par for the course of any reality TV show but Gunnar was obnoxious as hell. I wanted to scream out the old drag queen line “Don’t let your mouth write checks that your ass can’t cash!” (especially since he was eliminated 15 minutes into the first episode of last season) but then Christopher came back with implying that Gunnar was on the wrong show and should be on Toddlers and Tiaras. Not the wittiest retort but I’ll take it.
*The other meat of the episode was Kooan, who is either going to be (a) a mad genius who’s able to merge the eastern pop culture aesthetic with western design notions, or (b) an incomprehensible attention whore who’s going to drive everyone to drink.
*Side Note #1: Did everyone catch the wall in the work room with the portraits of all the previous nine winners?
*Side Note #2: During last night’s premiere party at moto-i, when Anya’s picture appeared on-screen, the crowd groaned in displeasure.
*Runway Time! And the gang’s all here in their standard attire: Heidi Klum in a short, tight, shiny (and green) dress, Michael Kors in his de rigueur black top and jeans, Nina Garcia in a typically fabulous top. The guest judges were actress Lauren Graham and legendary stylist (and the first guest judge in the show’s history) Patricia Fields.
*As for the looks (viewable at Lifetime’s site): I dug Elena’s slightly futuristic looks (especially the black quilted dress with the exaggerated hip), swooned over the way Nathan’s coral dress moved (though his companion piece made no sense), and drooled over Sonya’s leather coat.
*As for the top three looks: While I agree that Christopher’s gown and Ven’s rose bustier are technical marvels and justly deserved the praise they got, their companion mini-dresses left me cold (especially Ven’s since it felt like he took no real risks with it). And while I have no problem with Christopher’s win, the one I responded to the most, oddly enough, was Melissa’s black dresses. When paired with what she was wearing, the three looks instantly gave you the aesthetic of the designer. Mind you, the all black palate could come back to bite her in the end but for now I like it.
*Before we get to the bottom three: Heidi likes Snuggies?!? Also, who wasn’t shocked at how she jumped on Lauren Graham (who admittedly wasn’t as articulate as I was expecting, but even so that was a bit much).
*Now then, back to the bottom three. First off, Kooan I don’t think was in any real danger of elimination. Yes his companion look was awful but his first look was pure Japanese street culture. As for the other two (Beatrice and Lantie), I’m sorry to say but both were awful and frankly were pure reality show cannon fodder. It could have gone either way and no one would have cared.
*And now… RAUL WATCH! So our boy had a pretty interesting week, having the camera linger on his pronunciations of such words as “fabric,” watching him talk smack about Ven, and having his first run in with “the dramatic music of doom” which means (a) he’s on the chopping block, or (b) he’s getting the winner’s edit. Thankfully he was safe for this week. And while his second look was okay, I really like how it called back to his very strong initial look without copying it directly. If the judges had been looking closer at that, he might have ended up in the top three.
*And then the preview of the season with promises of ambulances, runway contestants, and what has to be the funniest moment of unintentional comedy when Michael Kors proclaims “Fashion isn’t for sissies!” in his inimitable style.
Be sure to tune in next week to cheer on #TeamRaul, or better yet, join me and the rest of the l’étoile crew at our weekly viewing party at moto-i on Thursdays. Screening begins at 8 pm, but get there early to nab a choice seat.
Photos from last night’s premiere party at moto-i:
Osorio joins Project Runway alumni Katy Gerdes, Danielle Everine & Christopher Straub for a group shot. (Photo via @letoilemagazine)
Todd O’Dowd captures the scene at the premiere party.
Christopher Straub watches intently. (Photo via @toddodowd)
Osorio on the big screen. (Photo via @daniellempls)
Corey Tenold and Ashlee Walker. (Photo via @jahnapeloquin)
Danielle Everine and Christopher Straub. (Photo via @jahnapeloquin)
Local clothing designer Kerry Riley (Needle & Black) & jewelry designer Lauren Neal (Carrier Pigeon) in their Osorio “flair.” (Photo via @needleandblack)
l’étoile editor-in-chief Jahna Peloquin and Cassie Hanson. (Photo via @cass55401)
Osorio poses with Kate Iverson. (Photo via @cass55401)