Monday, August 07, 2006

TV Review: Project Runway

The premise: aspiring designers desecrate themselves, jump through fashion hoops, and argue with snooty judges.

The result: fashion dreams and nightmares and lots of bitchy behavior.

I have to hand it to Bravo – here it is Season 3 of Project Runway, and these guys have had the whole package since day one.

And unlike the UPN counterpart in “fashion ‘reality’ TV” where ANTM (America’s Next Top Model) seems to be big on humiliation, breaking spirits, and then blaming the broken, Project Runway seems to be all about conflicting messages (one week, too conservative, next week, too crazy) – but rarely at the expense of the designer’s pride.

ANTM: Bitches scratching each others’ eyes out
PR: Bitching about behavior, design, talent, etc.

That may not seem like enough of a distinction, but trust me, ANTM is Schlitz and PR is Guinness.

Also, you’ll love the crazy creativity. One week, you must use plants to make a suitable dress for a cocktail party. The next, create an interesting, but not skanky, outfit for Sasha Cohen to wear during her next competition.

And, if you are a Grace in search of her Will, you’ll find an entire range of fashion-obsessed gay men, closeted men, and men who will just trash your closet. The women range from questionable (think Pat from SNL) to totally WASPy fabulous.

Then, there’s the staff:

  • Heidi Klum: goddess, funny, accented, brutally honest
  • Tim Gunn: THE Will you really want, honest, helpful, gives good podcast recaps.

The Judges:

  • Michael Kors: Established designer, makes faces like everything stinks like poop.
  • Nina Garcia: Fashion Director (editor? Guru? God?) at Elle magazine – gets into bitter, season-long nemesis relationships with defiant designers (if there is one, he’ll tangle with Nina)
  • Guest judges range from Nikki Hilton (why?) to Vera Wang.

Now I have to be honest that I know nothing about fashion. I look at the sketches and I have no idea how they will materialize. The judges will criticize an outfit and I will think, “But I like cowl necks” or they will praise and outfit and I will say, “That looks like someone threw up on that poor girl.” My point is, you don’t need to know anything about fashion to enjoy the show.

The cat fights exist – but they use their words. Sharpened, deadly, stabbing words.

It’s delicious.

Even better – the Bravo site has recaps every week by Tim, Tim’s podcast, and contests to guess which contestant will win and which will lose each week. The site is really well done.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Reality TV junkies, people who like fashion, Graces in search of a Will, people who wear clothes, people who wonder what designers do, people who like bitchy comments, people who like German accents, people who like Heidi Klum, people who like to mock whiners.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: People who don’t like to mock whiners, people who don’t like to see other people put through the creative wringer (seriously, a dress out of plants), homophobes, people without a sense of humor.

AV Rating: 4/5


Blogger Brandon said...

My wife sat me down and made me watch a few episodes of this. I was pleasantly suprised at how entertaining it was.

It's nice to see a reality show where people are judged by the product of their creativity and not just by who they managed to piss off on last week's episode.

3:06 PM  

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