I haven’t started writing about Project Runway yet because the first couple of episodes are always sort of stupid. The focus seems to be on the quirky characters – the confused, language-barred people, the hippies who don’t use scissors because they are cruel, the Buffis – and not so much the actual fashion. I like the “unconventional challenge” as much as anyone, but it’s really a throwaway. It also seems like everyone offers their killer serve in the first episode and then collapses from exhaustion for a while. (Plus my husband is a little burnt out on my reality recapping, especially when it interferes with my marital duties, if you know what I mean.)
Right about now is when the real competition heats up. And so it went last night, with the “real bodies” challenge, in which unsuspecting tired, worn, fashion-free individuals were brought forth by people who ostensibly love them to get made over (hair included, as this was a L’Oreal challenge. My husband can now tell you all about the benefits of the Healthy Look color-perking product.) The designers were randomly assigned their clients, which was pure tragedy for the sad soul who ended up stuck with Ven. Had she gotten that girl whose name starts with S (the one with the unfortunate fondness for the Aunt Jemima do) and S gotten his girl, this would have been a whole ‘nother story.
Dmitri starts off by telling us that he wants to really set himself apart in this challenge, prove that he is neither the twin sibling of nor the ice dancing partner of that furious Ukrainian bitch who has overstayed her welcome by at least three episodes now. For his part, Nathan feels this may be do-or-die time for him. I am going to agree – for the first two episodes, things would be rolling along when all of a sudden this tall black guy would pop up out of nowhere talking about the challenge. Who is that? When you start off that inauspiciously, you should consider it a miracle you lasted until episode 5 or wherever we are now.
So S gets an extremely short, introverted social worker who dresses like Avril Lavigne. Thankfully, it seems she really does not want to dress like Avril Lavigne and will gladly put on any sort of girl outfit S can come up with. The dreadlocked lesbian gets someone I can’t really remember who apparently wanted to wear pink. Dmitry gets a housewife who needs a haircut but is otherwise fine. Gunnar gets an extremely energetic 40+ year old embarking on an acting career. The one who isn’t Gunnar gets someone I don’t recall. Same with the Olsen Triplet. Fabio gets an edgy Asian filmmaker who I took for male for the first 90 seconds. Nathan gets a Latina who aspires to be an R&B singer. And Ven: oh, Ven. Ven gets an amply endowed, self-conscious mother who clearly is a reluctant participant, well aware this “makeover” is better characterized as a “picking apart”.
Everyone decides to make dresses, and everyone decides to make these dresses in variations of blue and black (other than the dreadlocked lesbian, who elects to go with Prom). Stress is experienced, but for the most part everyone seems to be enjoying themselves – well, except Ven and his victim. Does Ven have Asperger’s? His affect is peculiarly flat (“I’m so excited.” “I’m so happy.”), and he utterly lacks an ability to make emotional connections. I’ll give Ven this: he came up with a whole new range of creative ways to insult his client’s weight, appearance, demeanor, and worthiness. He basically announced her to be a fat, miserable person who it just wasn’t possible to make attractive. Takes one to know one. (There’s a reason everytime I see Ven I think of my OPI “elephantastic pink” nail polish.)
The end result was about three garments with appropriate hemlines, and a herd of mutton dressed as lamb. S didn’t even try, but at least her client felt good. Gunnar’s lopsided placket looked like I sewed it. Heidi described Nathan’s electric-blue-illusion-sleeve shittake-show as “hoochie mama”. My husband actually asked me what that meant. I really don’t know how Heidi set that particular garment’s hoochie level apart from the others, say, the dreadlocked lesbian’s, for example.
So Fabio won in one of the more predictable outcomes in PR history. I still don’t get the judges’ enthusiasm for his colorblocked body sack of last week, but this week’s iteration was a vastly more successful improvement of the same theme, even if there isn’t a chance in hell I’d put it on. But his client was happy.
Sadly, Nathan and his Ramona Singer Special got Auf’d over Ven, whose half-hammed effort resulted in something off a Lane Bryant rack circa 1985. But he still thinks his work was superior to others’. I thought the angry Ukranian was going to smack his fat ass.
Season standings so far:
- Not Gunnar: 1
- Ven: 2
- Olsen Triplet: 1
- S: 1
- Fabio: 1
In honor of the clients’ lack of perfection, and the color Ven reminds me of, and the need to drink PR evokes in me, I hereby offer you my current favorite summer drink.
- 2 parts grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed, if possible)
- 1 part tequila
- 1 part club soda
- 1/4 part simple syrup (ideally made from this recipe, which also produces candied grapefuit peel that makes a delicious garnish)
Shake, pour, drink, be merry.