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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Project Runway: "We Expect Fashion"

Illustration for article titled iProject Runway/i: We Expect Fashion
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Ways in which Malvin, the rooster-haired weirdo with the perfect serial killer whisper, was "too conceptual for America" (according to the editors of Project Runway):

—He ate an apple while ensconced in drapes

—He had a concept besides "pregnancy chic"

—In fact, he had several concepts, including: mother hen, fertility, bird's nest, egg


—He admitted that he only wanted to make johdpurs because they would make a woman's legs look like chicken thighs

—He designed the best bird egg-related outfit since Bjork's swan dress for the Oscars


In fact from the opening shot of Malvin eating an apple while wrapped in curtains, I knew he either had to be going home or winning. Such displays of casual weirdness are not shown on Project Runway so early in the season without a good reason, namely, "Shit. Show this guy's personality. Quick! He's going home/winning."

Still, even though Malvin's serial killer whispering about concepts almost caused my contact lenses to shoot out from my eyes due to excessive eye-rolling, his departure so early in the season is a bad sign—especially on the heels of Unitarded Samantha Ronson's exit in last week's episode. (Not that she didn't deserve it. That shiny deflated soccer ball she made only had one concept: Ugly.) In previous seasons, these weirdos would have been allowed to stick around till episode three or four, possibly even five. The audience would get to watch their eccentricities mature and ripen like a fine, though noticibly weird wine. We'd alternately laugh and be irritated by their spit marking, or prattling on about leather, or mild schizophrenia, or propensity for wearing discarded raver unitards—all the time secure in the knowledge that these weirdos wouldn't win (though sometimes they'd surprise us with a strange, though passable design).


This season, however, the weirdos like Malvin and Unitarded Samantha Ronson don't stand a chance. Why? Because these challenges are as boring and beige as Jennifer Aniston, and weirdos don't design for Jennifer Aniston. The first challenge was to make a red-carpet dress. That's it. Full stop. No twist, no restrictions, just make a glamourous, aesthetically pleasing dress that would look good in the pages of Us Weekly. Sorry, but that's not an inaugural Project Runway challenge. Make a red carpet gown…out of old issues of Us Weekly. Make a red carpet gown…out of scrap metal from old trophies. Make a red carpet gown…out of this carpet. Those are the kinds of weird, wonderful first challenges we've come to expect from the first episode of Project Runway. Weirdos excel, uncreative designers are instantly weeded out, hideousness abounds, occasional strokes of brilliance are seen, and everyone is happy. Is it any wonder that half of the gowns sent down the runway last week were studies in drab: uninspired greys, champagnes, and, yes, beiges? Is it any wonder the weirder weirdo completely failed?

This week's challenge—to design a chic maternity look for the very pregnant Rebecca Romijn—was slightly more interesting, after all they've never had a maternity wear challenge on PR, and it's fun to see pipe-cleaner-thin models sporting huge pillow bellies. But it's still a challenge that should have come a little later in the competition, after we know these designers' aesthetics a little better. Without that getting-to-know the designers time, it's basically just a Pea In The Pod runway show, and no one wants to watch that (except maybe the currently pregnant).


And so this runway show was a swirl of empire waists, billowing dresses, flowy tops, and mountains of breathable jersey. It all looked remarkably the same, with the exception of the bottom three looks: Mitchell's unfortunate khaki droopy pants; Ramon's hideous purple bowling bag sheath; and Malvin's egg ensemble. Personally, I thought Mitchell's saggy, bland, poorly sewn outfit was more offensive. Malvin's may have been a giant egg sling, but at least it was well put together. But Malvin's was weirder, and even though that weirdness would have carried him through to episode three in previous seasons, unfortunately this season seems to be aiming right for the drab, beige center of bland.

Grade: B

Stray Observations:

—Shirin's look was tasteful and very chic, but more importantly I'm so glad she lost that stupid "I have a personality!" hat she wore throughout the last episode. I've seen that personality before, Shirin, and it's called "Kenley."


—"Rebecca Romijn wouldn't dust with that jacket….That was so mean." Oh, Qristal. Your instant, guilt is so charming. It's also unnecessary because no one would do anything with that floral jacket Meth Cryer made.

—Did anyone catch the first few minutes of Models Of The Runway? If so, then you watched models watching the end of the show that you just saw. In a word: hilarious.


—It's episode 2 and Michael Kors is already MIA? What is going on?

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