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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Project Runway: "The Art Of Fashion"

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Well, surprisingly, in the second-to-last episode this season has sort of rallied. It's been revived slightly. Don't get me wrong, this season is still dead. But tonight, the corpse of Project Runway suddenly sat up straight in its coffin for one final scare.

There were several points in this episode that felt like the good ole Project Runways of yore: The inspiration-in-a-museum challenge; Tim's wise, dead-on critiques (He seemed the peppiest he's been all season, right? Must be because he's happy to leave LA.); Nina Garcia's sharp eye (she is always, always able to verbalize exactly what is wrong with a certain garment); even the petty snipings amongst Baby Brooke Hogan, Irina, Carol-Hannah, and Gordana were sort of  interesting—just like rivalries in Project Runway used to be!


But the best part about this episode, the part that made it feel most like previous seasons of Project Runway, were the spectacularly awful designs that somehow ambled down the runway. And isn't that really what this show is all about? It rewards skilled, beautiful, and often innovative design, yes, but it also lets us gasp in horror at truly hideous, craptastic, clothes. Who among us can forget the tumor dress from Season One? Or the disastrous menswear challenge from season three? Or Vincent's paper dress? Or Austin Scarlett's insane turquoise wedding dress from Season one? Or anything that Blayne guy ever did? These are the moments that make us smile, that help us feel.

In tonight's final challenge there were three such displays of staggering awfulness. The first was Althea's floaty gold-ish blah of a top and her crumpled beige basket of a skirt. She was inspired by the architecture of the Getty Center to make a skirt that looked like three deflated gold volleyballs sewn together at awkward angles? Sure. Makes perfect sense. Her concoction really did, as Tim said, look like a panel of puckering. Still, Baby Brooke Hogan was sent off to Fashion Week, mostly because her look was the least of the uglies.

Then there was Christopher the crying monkey's algae-covered rock fountain dress. Really, this outfit gave us all such a telling glimpse into Christopher's mind. See, when Christopher sees an algae-covered rock, he thinks "That rock would look much better with a stiff, renaissance-faire corset on it." In fact, when Christopher sees anything he thinks, "That would look much better with a stiff renaissance-faire corset on it," which is why virtually everything he makes looks as if it was stolen from the wardrobe department of a high school production of Camelot and modified slightly. Since he (mercifully) was eliminated for his particular chunk of hideousness tonight, maybe he can go on to a long career of making ill-fitting, slate-grey prom dresses for girls who want to dress like depressed bar wenches, or something.

And last but not least in the ugly parade was Gordana's Monet-inspired vagina dress. It's weird because I didn't see a vagina in that painting, but apparently Gordana did. How else can you explain that gown and its many, many folds? It was a very artistic vagina dress, sure. Very well done, but, yeah, once you saw the vaginal motif on the front of the dress, you couldn't unsee it. Gordana could have used a belt or something to break up the full-on vulva effect, but, alas, she did not, and so she was eliminated. When she told Tim in the workroom, "I'm just creating my angel," I guess she meant it. (Also I guess "angel" is a term for "vagina," where Gordana is from.)


On the "good" side, were Carol-Hannah with her 18th-century French boudoir-inspired gown; and Irina with her baggy, flowy interpretation of a painting full of baggy, flowy clothes. I thought Irina's dress would have been perfect for the Maternity-wear challenge, but not much else. Nina was correct to call the length very "old lady." Also, when the best thing the judges can say about your garment is that "the color is nice," that's a shrug of an outfit. Still, the shrug was well-made so Irina was sent off to Fashion Week to buy more goat pelts at the fabric store and then not use them in her final collection.  As for Carol-Hannah, the main thing that was wrong with her rope-sleeve, asymmetrical gown was the color. All bolts of that boring champagney color should be shipped to retirement communities to make mother-of-the-bride formal suits for all the residents, because that is clearly all it is good for. But wrong color or not Carol-Hannah was a clear shoo-in for Fashion Week.

In conclusion: I hope Carol-Hannah wins, I hope Christopher's tear ducts malfunction and he has to go through the rest of his life not crying for himself (the horror!), and I hope Gordana and her vagina dress are happy together.


Stray Observations:

—The mayor of LA really has a lot of free time on his hands, no? 

—"Well, too bad Carol-Hannah. We are not here to serve you!" Ouch, Gordana.

—"I'm the odd duck in the group. I get it." Nope, Christopher, you're the irritating duck of the group who also can't design for shit. Now do you get it?


—Was Cindy Crawford shot with a dew lens? She looked luminous.

—"Everyone else's inspiration was art. Mine was a rock with algae on it. And not everyone would see the beauty in that. [sob sob sob]" You are such a unique visionary, Christopher. Not everyone would put a corset on top of a long stiff skirt, you're right.


—"I don't know who Gordana is as a designer. To not know at this point is a problem." Maybe you should have been around the whole season then, right, Nina? But, actually, no one knows who any of these designers are: Carol-Hannah likes wearable dresses; Irina makes rich billowy things and buys roadkill; and Althea makes, uh, skirts?

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