"Life isn't fair, so why should Project Runway be?" You have to love a reality show contestant with a charming accent who speaks only in perfect, bite-sized quips, right, Lifetime? Without Anthony, what would you have this season? Jesse, the misplaced extra from Swing Kids? That awful Seth Aaron? Mila n' Maya, aka Bangs The Elder and Bangs The Younger? They don't have personalities. If either of them did, they'd have already pulled the ol' Patty Duke "mirror" trick. (Something that, for Maya, would be her own personal Dorian Grey moment.)
But back to Anthony and his buckets of sassy sassafras. No, Project Runway isn't fair. If it were fair, then it wouldn't let its fans down so enormously. It would have flourished, or at least remained steady, after moving to Lifetime. It would have been able to last seven seasons without shriveling up into a pale, beige, crinkled husk of its former self. But Project Runway isn't fair. The show left us. It died.
Unfortunately, the show seems to be completely unaware of its dead, rotting, taupe state because it keeps herking and jerking through the motions. Case in point: Tonight's challenge. The designers follow the scent of decay to the Hearst building where they're told the next challenge is "the biggest in Project Runway history." (There are stirrings. Signs of movement. Maybe, just maybe could this show still be alive? )Then Tim reveals the challenge: design an outfit to be worn by a celebrity for the April cover of Marie Claire! And the celebrity is…..wait for it….this is going to be so good….wait for it…Heidi Klum! (Oops. Looks like all that post-mortem movement was really just some gas escaping from the corpse. It's dead.)
I wonder how many times they had to shoot the "titter with waves of excitement upon hearing the prize is to make a dress for a woman you see all the time to wear on the cover of a magazine no one reads" scene. Three? Four? They definitely couldn't have gotten that reaction organically. No one is that excited about designing the four inches of dress that will be visible under all the copy on the cover of Marie Claire. If the designers get this worked up over hearing that they're making something for….Marie Claire, sponsor of the show they're on, and…..Heidi Klum, judge of the show they're on, the producers should do this whole "Surprise! It's something you already have!" thing every week. Tim could come into the work room and say, "Now, designers. This is huge. The accessories wall you're going to be using thoughtfully this week is…..the Bluefly.com wall!" Or, "Designers, I have a special treat for you. It's the biggest treat in Project Runway history. The computer sketchpads you're going to use this week are….those HP notebook things!" Ugh. Honestly, this "historic" challenge is even worse than the one last season when they went to go meet a "famous American designer"….Michael Kors! And then made something inspired by a city he loves or whatever.
Also, how is make something for Heidi Klum to wear on a magazine cover even remotely difficult? The designers see Heidi all the time. As human beings who are interested in fashion, presumably they also see magazine covers all the time. They should know exactly what to do: Make a brightly colored, structured mini with interesting details at the neckline. Fucking simple. Yet some of these designers are so dense they managed to screw even this challenge up. Seth Aaron, aka Wet-Seal Jeffery Sebelia, made a shiny, silver pant suit. What. Was. That? Jonathan made a sherbet-colored romper that can only be described as what She-Ra would have worn if She-Ra was around in 1971. Bangs The Younger made a grey blah with a collar that looked like an elaborate pile of mushy oatmeal. Bangs The Elder used the same depressing, muted, "hospital food" palette as her young doppleganger to make the world's saddest Hervé Leger knock-off. Jay made a cream-colored, floaty waste of perfectly good fabric. Janeane made an ugly bridesmaid dress. And Anna, stupid Anna, made a giant blue blouse, a tragic little vest, and the worst looking shorts I've ever seen on this show. Naturally, Anna went home—although picking the ugliest/most off-the-mark was the real challenge this episode.
A word about those shorts: I don't know what kind of revisionist bullshit the judges were trying to pull this week, but those shorts were clearly terrible. In fact, those shorts had a crotch that would normally be deemed insane (or, in Project Runway parlance, insaaaane). That the judges would call those ill-fitting shorts, with that ludicrous, unflattering crotch "well-made" just proves that this show is just going through the motions.
As for the designers who actually understood this incredibly simple non-challenge of a challenge: Ben made an interesting little bright kimono dress that would have worked out nicely; Emilio made what looked like a fuschia nightie, but it was bright, mini, and had detailing around the neck so at least he fit the goddamn parameters; and Anthony made a bright turquoise mini-dress with a one-shoulder ripple detail. It was very Heidi, and very cover-of-a-magazine-y. He got the win, and we all got to hear his yelp of country-fried joy.
—Even though Anthony's dress turned out to suit the (incredibly easy) challenge perfectly, in his sketches it looked like a blue version of Lumiere from Beauty & The Beast.
—"Let's be honest, it looks like an ace bandage. It's like a jog bra with a v-neck." True, Michael Kors, but let's be honest about everything: those shorts of Anna's were droopy and sad.
—"It looked a lot peachier in my hands." That makes sense. Apparently alchemist Mila can change the color of fabric simply by placing it in her hands.
—Let's guess top three, since there's nothing else to do: Emilio and Amy seem like shoo-ins. The wild card spot will probably either go to Anthony (for comedy), or one of the Bangs sisters (for bitchiness), or possibly Ben (for, uh, something).