Monday, January 18, 2010
Project Rundown: Judge and Jury
On Friday as I waited to get the hell out of town, I stumbled onto Project Runway's debut episode. I'll try to be brief. Someone told me I'm too chatty, and it has stuck in my brain, so I'll try carving my way to the heart of this. I'm not a fan, never have been since seeing the first season's contestants standing around Mood Fabric Store waiting to flag down fans , despite the fact that the season was over a few months before. I thought that was a little sad. I ran into another contestant, not winner, in Savannah on a couple of occasions and he was more grand than Andre Leon Talley (the definition of grand, I mean this in a good way...) with a couple of sweet sixteen and prom dresses to his credit. Way, way over the top. So my faith in the graduates of that University of Tough Love is very skewed. There is talent there for sure, but I don't get what happens to it once it's gone through the KLUMgrinder, been forced down the GARCIAdeflator, tossed and tugged by the GUNNgotron, picked and poked by the KORStrator and then finished off by the loving hands of Nicole Richie. Talk about salmon swimming upstream...that's a stroll in the fish market compared to this forced march.
So the usual antics were in place and the trained and untrained seals had to jump through hoops. The tasks were challenging and the contestants were generally better than those in the past. There was a flicker of hope at the end of Bravo's crack pipe, but that didn't erase some very tasteless remarks uttered by the "Experts". These remarks stood out more than the mediocre work that came from some, not all of the contestants. Put a group of young and relatively inexperienced designers in cramped living quarters, feed them God knows what, strap a time bomb to their asses and wait for the meltdowns, fireworks and venom. That's the Bravo recipe for success in the fashion world. It's only a step or two to the side of professional wrestling.
Without too much description, I'll say I was impressed with Ping, Jeneane, Jesus, and even loud mouthed Anthony, from Hotlanta!!! It was the first go round so who's to say what any of them are truly capable of until the heat gets turned way up. We'll just wait and see who rises and who gets scorched.
Tim Gunn started it off by telling the designer, who actually won the challenge, that no designer in the history of PR had ever NOT completed a garment. This threat was delivered with the most menace and snarl that he could muster. The poor contestant looked ready to wet his pants. I take issue with that statement. I can't tell you how many times I've seen garments trot down that runway that are anything but finished or complete.
Michael Kors saved some of his most abrasive remarks for a young Black woman, saying that her dress looked glued together(believe me it didn't) and that her model looked like "some Hoochie Mama" who'd walked through garbage. That was a completely thoughtless, racist , callous remark by someone who should know better. I won't go further than that, except to say that his expression is one of a constant grimace. His aviator shades used to bother me, now I prefer that they stay on. At least, his dead eye stare is less obvious. He's a great designer but he's become a mean spirited man filled with self satisfaction.
Heidi Klum, in her magnificence, spoke for all of the judges to another contestant stating the judge's confusion over whether or not the designer had a sufficient taste level. I guess that was a golden moment in that this confused model/Host was unwittingly showing her hand of straight Jokers.
Nicole Richie was the only one without a destructive agenda. She liked things or didn't in a very natural and subjective way. She wasn't particularly articulate, but her opinions carried more currency that the verbose chatter of the Experts.
When did they become both Judge and Jury? None of them knows remotely what it takes to be a designer except Michael. He's been successful so long, I fear that all empathy and sympathy have gone the way of his past, failed businesses......gone and forgotten.