Project Runway Returns, And Heidi Is Bitcher Than Ever


Last night’s premiere of Project Runway, now in its ninth season, demonstrated that the show keeps becoming more sadistic than the season before. The opening featured 20 designers auditioning for the Fab Four: Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and her hair extensions, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Seeing them in the daylight was slightly bizarre. In an industrial setting, each designer, quivering with terror, showed their garments to the panel. One poor designer’s creation caused Tim to cry out, “I AM HORRIFIED!” Who are you, and where’s Tim??

Before we had a chance to find out their names, 4 unlucky contestants got the boot, with only a few seconds of embarrassing footage to show the folks at home. It was difficult to see the logic of the judges’ picks. To be perfectly honest, they were all terrible. This season, within the opening moments, Heidi attained a level of bitchiness she could only dream about in, say, Season 6. Perhaps the plastic surgeon tightened her vagina a bit too tightly after her 25th child was born.

When it came to the eliminations, your faithful correspondent knew that Testicular Cancer Guy, Black Guy and Old Guy* would not be let go. *Old Guy is 57-year-old Bert Keeter. I fell in love with him as soon as he came onscreen. And not because he bears an eerie resemblance to Martin Sheen.

One hoped Laura Kathleen, a self-described blonde Barbie with a screeching voice, would be eliminated, but no. One prays she gets auf’d soon so that we don’t have to listen to her each week.

The remaining 16 celebrated and fell into bed. Only to be rudely awakened at 5 AM (how can Tim manage to look so impeccable at that hour? Does he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber?) for the toughest first challenge one’s seen on this show since we started watching. It was called “Come As You Are.” Each designer was brought to the work room in what they were wearing in bed, given a bedsheet, and told to create “a look” from those materials. There was the by-now standard gasp of horror from the designers. They were given hospital scrubs to spare the viewers the sight of their naked bodies. And, presumably, a great deal of caffeine.

Designer Julie Tierney looked at her garish patterned pink pajama bottoms and talked about “my vision.” Dahlings, my vision would have been blurred. Bert Keeter was using his checked boxers (how can you not love a man who wears checked boxers?). The best part was watching Tim tear into Rafael (an insufferable man) for making a boring outfit and refusing to use the colorful headscarf he was wearing. And this was the edited version. Tim walked away, saying that one had to use tough love at times. It was more like Tim cut a bitch, but whatever. Rafael earned it.

Laura asked about two other competitors, “Are they speaking foreign?” Enough about the personalities, on to the Runway!

Let me begin by saying that almost everything on the runway was so rampantly ugly one was fairly certain the judges and I would be in complete disagreement. Heidi and Michael wore their usual inscrutable expressions, Nina Garcia her usual non-expression (and a disinterested “hi” to the designers). The guest judge was Christina Ricci! I was delighted to see her, even though she seemed out of her element. And some in my viewing party thought her dress far too casual for the occasion. Heidi wore a beautiful green dress, one of the best runway show looks we’ve seen.

For the hell of it, I’ve introduced an arbitrary grading system. My blog-thing, my rules, dahlings.

  1. Anthony Ryan – the gray and black lace trimmed top wasn’t so bad, but the enormous pubic patch on both sides of the skirt…there are no words. All right, perhaps bleeeccch. D

  2. Anya – the focus had been on her much of the episode, because of her pronounced lack of experience and confidence. Which meant she wouldn’t get auf’d. A pity, because her gray silk pants were abominable, with a pronounced bulge in front that would have made Milton Berle proud (look it up). C
  3. Becky – a little aqua dress that was really quite sweet. B-

  4. BERT! Yes, I am hopelessly biased. I love love loved his gray draped dress with one bodice panel and strap made from his checked boxers! (On another note, I hope he washed them first.) A
  5. Bryce – an off-kilter long-sleeved dress. C+
  6. Cecilia – cute outfit with a coral bubble skirt B
  7. Danielle – From nightwear to loungewear, with linebacker shoulders to boot C-

  8. Fallene – How can one not like a dress that features a clown vomiting rainbows? B

  9. Joshua 1, henceforth known as Crying Joshua – UGLY UGLY UGLY ill-fitting shorts, top and something that is supposed to be a bolero hoodie but fails miserably. F

  10. Joshua 2 – my notes for this creation read “AGfly”. Not sure if that was a strangled scream or bad penmanship D
  11. Julie – Uh-oh. Her “vision” needs glasses. Garish jammies slash across the bodice with yellow above and badly made gray pants below. D

  12. Kimberly – Yes, that is a bedsheet, all right. A billowy draped bedsheet around the collar. Reminds me of childhood sleepovers. C-
  13. Laura – DAMMIT! Decent flowing pants and top. B-
  14. Olivier – Ill-fitting gray top and skirt. What is it with these designers and gray? C

  15. Rafael – Oh.My.God. What’s wrong with this outfit? What’s right with this outfit? Gray leotard leggings with an ugly seam in the front, white trapeze top flaring open at the belly, and the scarf—the scarf—used as a clumsy neck trimming. F

  16. Viktor – A sweet sporty white dress with black inserts, well-made.B+

Michael Kors was determined to bring the bon mots. He called Rafael’s scarf a “Flintstones bib.” Not sure what that means, but it’s a good soundbite. Ms. Ricci struggled to find some good in each outfit, or at least hurt the designer’s feelings. Michael Kors ripped whiny Crying Joshua a new one, who tried to throw his model under the bus. “There were fit issues.” Tell me about it.
Heidi ADORED Bert’s dress, which made me love her…until I have to go back to hating her again.

Best Three: Bert, Anthony Ryan (!), Anya (?)
Worst Three: Crying Joshua, Julie, Rafael

I simply could not believe it. The judges loved Anya’s abominable pants, when the norm is if pants aren’t perfection, the contestant gets auf’d almost before they get to the Final Six.


My guests jumped up and down, screamed, sprayed champagne (they’re paying the carpet cleaning bill) and there was merriment all ‘round. Laura K was NOT happy about Bert’s win.

I prayed that Crying Joshua would be auf’d, not Rafael. For one thing, Rafael’s hair would be fun to look at week to week. With Project Runway, these things matter. But Rafael was auf’d, while Crying Joshua wept his way into the waiting room.

Favorite line of the evening: “I haven’t gotten this pissed since I had cancer.” Interesting priorities.

That’s it for this week’s episode, dahlings. I look forward to seeing you all on Twitter.


My BFF Tim Gunn! New York Fashion Week, Day Three


Nothing, not even the forces of New York Fashion Week, can keep Tim Gunn and moi apart. On Saturday afternoon, I stepped out for a bit of fresh air (one of the definite advantages of the new Lincoln Center location–you can find fresh air!).

If only to stand out from the SEA of black and gray, I wore a strapless 70s dress with design saying “Fashion” in gray, black, and red in a fluid print, along with a ruffled shrug and a divine 80s does 40s Empress Eugenie (look it up) red hat with a black veil.

When Tim Gunn came striding through the crowd, he was mobbed, of course. One of definite disadvantages of the new Lincoln Center location is that one can get mobbed by a tremendous crowd, despite the police presence everywhere.

That did not stop my BFF from stopping to exchange a few words and to have our picture taken together. (Note: I am still waiting for one of the the photographers to upload it to his DAMN website. Je me prosterne devant vous, mes lecteurs, dans des excuses!)

Back to the fashion. The Vivienne Tam show, well, it was very nice. The generational problem is easily apparent. I am a classicist who believes that the 1970s were the nadir of fashion. Unfortunately or fortunately, the 20-something set did not have to live through it, so they think it is all impossibly thrilling. Les imbéciles mal informés peu. But perhaps I am being ever so slightly harsh.

From my front row seat, when the first few “lace” dresses came out, all I could think was, macrame. The heavy cotton yarn that women made belts and hanging plant holders out of. Even dyed white and called crochet, it was still…macrame.

And were would the 1970s be without maxi-dresses?
I am sure I haven’t the faintest notion, because the damn things were everywhere.

However, the rest of the collection was pretty, well made, and the 1970s lived again. Forgive me if I was not excited. The 1970s were bad enough the first time.

Later, when I am less exhausted, I will write more about my adventures under the tents. Because I have had adventures.


Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

New York Fashion Week Spring 2011, Day One


So, yesterday was the first day of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week* in its new location at Lincoln Center. In the service of the God of Retail, most of the trees in Damrosch Park were chopped down, lest someone important in peeptoe platform boots trip over a root or something.

In any event, the main impression the central gives is HEIGHT. There is no central organizing entity, such as the Bryant Park fountain. So the room sprawls quite a bit. But it’s a comfortable, well-lit sprawl. Your faithful correspondent was suitably impressed.

AND THEY HAVE FINALLY ENTERED THE COMPUTER AGE! NO MORE AGONIZING WAITS WHILE SOME POOR INTERN THUMBS THROUGH PAPER SHEETS TO FIND YOUR NAME! Some may think that barcodes render the event less human. Dahlings, it cuts down the amount of time and pretentiousness (“Don’t you know who I am? I’m on the list!”) by at least half.

The first day, I was more interested in exploring than in attending the shows. However, the Christian Siriano show was a MADHOUSE! I couldn’t even locate my BFF, Tim Gunn! Some of it must have been spillover from the Project Runway show earlier.

The Project Runway show, for the record, showed TEN designers! That means TEN runway shows, and ONE HUNDRED LOOKS! I think I would have crawled out on my Max Azria clad knees, babbling incoherently.

In any event, after the spectacular show Christian put on last year, this one was a slight disappointment. From a young new designer, one hopes for a new young point of view. But this collection was rather safe, playing to well-worn fashion tropes and sillouhettes.

For instance, this lovely evening gown bears an eerie resemblance to the evening gowns he has done before, both on the runway and the red carpet.

This white dress is pretty, but a tad ho-hum.

However, I did rather like this suit. But if you look past the material, the construction is quite conventional.

It is this writer’s guess that the reason Christian’s clothes are so popular is that they are so wearable. For this collection, what it lacked in inspiration it more than made up for in “hanger appeal.”

Speaking of Project Runway:


Why not that annoying, bossy little Ivy?

And I cannot remember who won; only that it wasn’t Andy or Valerie, who should have.

Until tomorrow,

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

* If they hear you calling it New York Fashion Week, you are severely punished.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Tim Gunn Takes Us Behind The Scenes of Ep. 3


Here is Tim Gunn opining about the “Unconventional Challenge,” Casanova, and so much else. He is a true delight, and I cannot BELIEVE he will be going on hiatus until the Emmys!!!

I would have very much liked to write up a review of Episode 4, but to honest, it’s beyond me right now. However, I am certain many other bloggers have interesting things to say.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Woolly Animal Balls, Project Runway, Ep. 3 Part Two


Again, the show was so long I needed two posts!

Tim Gunn (my BFF) is overwhelmed, in a good way, when he walks into the workroom. He stops at Kristin’s table, and picks up a package…he announces it’s labeled “Animal woolly balls,” and loses it completely, as does Kristin and nearly everyone else in the workroom. Why, Tim! He picks up a bag marked “Real balls.” “I prefer the woolly balls,” he manages to choke out, crying with laughter. Oh, God, I worship at Tim’s shrine. (One is sure there are a lot of shrines to Tim Gunn out there).

Valerie is making a dress entirely out of black and white napkins. As for being in the Top Three twice and losing to Gretchen, she said, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” Get over it, woman, it’s only three episodes in.

Besides Casanova, there is a little man, Michael Costello, who is CONSTANTLY alone on camera, bitching everyone out. I had no idea who he was until I looked at the website. Again, fodder for the reunion show! Speaking of Casanova, he and Tim have the inevitable clash because CASANOVA WASN’T LISTENING when Tim said “no tablecloths.” What did this stubborn idiot do? Bought boatloads of tablecloths.

We had glimpses of other people working feverishly, including Peach, who was really sweating this one. Gretchen is being foregrounded, as the Evil Bitch. (Rumaki started being thrown by my guests whenever she was onscreen. Thank God for the plastic over the flat screen.) Obviously she is being set up as the Bad Guy, ‘cause, as we all know, everybody hates a winner.

Then, the inevitable Twist: just as the designers are completely exhausted, their models enter carrying goody bags of detritus such as ribbons, cupcake holders, etc. The poor designers have to make a smashing accessory to go with their outfits. The screams can be heard across Manhattan.

Andy is making an impossibly complicated dress out of ribbon. Peach and April, their garments done, come to help. That is so sweet. Tim comes in to get everyone after the “Garnier hair salon and L’Oreal Paris makeup room.” He is still riding on the high of “woolly animal balls.”

On to the runway. Heidi is glowing; I’m guessing she found someone on the crew to suck the lifeblood out of. Her eyes have the feral gleam of a cat about to pounce on an unsuspecting rodent. But all is forgiven, because BETSEY JOHNSON is the guest judge! Perfection! “Who IS that?” asked one of my guests, so I threw a deviled egg at him. Forgive me, the Cosmopolitans had reached their level. Please forgive me if I cannot remember what the dresses were made of.

Andy’s dress was an unqualified WOW. He made black ribbon look like finally tooled leather, accessorizing it with a black half-glove made from…balloons.

A.J.’s dress was a disaster: a Bizarro world child’s party dress, with crotch fringe. If he has ever watched the show prior to this, he should know that crotch fringe=very unhappy judges. Betsey Johnson tried to make him feel better about it, but to no avail.

Ivy’s dress is a beautiful compilation of petals. I cannot believe she did not make the top three.

Michael Costello, as much as he irritated all of us, sent an amazing red flamenco dress down the runway. The photo does not do it justice. It moved fluidly.

Gretchen sent down an…odd combination. The skirt was gold and silver tinsel, the top a cropped black jacket made from paper bags. It looked like two different outfits, neither of them particularly good. Betsey Johnson pegged it as “Dreamgirls on the bottom, Mad Men on the top.”

Speaking of flamenco dresses, Casanova sent yet another unmitigated disaster down the runway. Words fail me, but a picture will suffice, one hopes.

Sarah had struggled with a palm tree she had cut up, and ended up sending a rather bland little dress with unfortunate cardboard cutouts on top of it.

Casanova, A.J. and Sarah were in the bottom three; Valerie, Gretchen, and Andy were in the top three. Gretchen was preening, expecting to win. When they were all back in the waiting room, she bitched out A.J., sending a flurry of caviar at my flat screen. Really, if it hadn’t been for the bartender cleaning it off, I doubt we would have seen the end of the show!

Andy was the winner! Gretchen looked, let’s put it politely, miffed.

I was so afraid for poor little A.J., because I knew Casanova wouldn’t get the auf. So it turned out to be Sarah, mostly for lacking enough charisma.

At the end, poor Ivy caved in to all of the pressure and had to be taken to the hospital. Ah, well, that’s show business.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Woolly Animal Balls, Project Runway, Ep. 3


Wasn’t last night’s Project Runway fun! Yes, by the end of the evening, my flat screen was covered with rumaki, but one has to take the rough with the smooth.

The 90-minute format still feels forced and bloated. However, it was an Unconventional Challenge, and those bring out the real creativity in the designers. I am always amazed by what they manage to accomplish.

The opening juxtaposed Nicholas sobbing in his comrades’ arms with Heidi, gleaming with evil, announcing the opening of the show. The contrast felt as abrupt as the little girl’s head spinning in “The Exorcist.”

Gretchen was cast as the Evil Bitch this week, and she did her best to live up to it. Blissfully unaware of her colleague’s hatred, she hectored them in the workroom. Probably followed the female designers into the lady’s room to spout some drivel: “Your dress just isn’t good.” One knew we were in for a bitch-fest when, in the workroom, Gretchen announced to a fellow designer, “You’re going down.” Way to endear you to your colleagues, Gretchen.

The group met at Party Glitters, which is exactly what its name suggests. The challenge was to create an outfit entirely out of party favors, eschewing tablecloths or anything else that could be construed as fabric. Mondo, for some reason, was wearing hot pants. However, I forgive him. He has decent legs.

A.J. was in his element, squealing with delight. I love A.J. I want to put him in my Coach purse and tote him around.

Sarah At Party Glitters

Back at the workroom, Casanova took his cue from Heidi and disemboweled small stuffed animals. Although Heidi uses the real thing. Being a professional moron, he took tablecloths for his dress. Is the man incapable of listening? Apparently yes. The gods of reality television gifted him with a thick accent, annoying personality, and a big presence, which will assure that he stays on the program until fairly near the end. Now that Jason is gone, I officially despise Casanova. As did most of my viewing party, except the guest who thought his accent is “cute.” There is something about Casanova that makes me want to punch him in the face. And I am rarely one who stoops to violence. It’s vulgar.

Speaking of which, has the phrase “sexy but not vulgar” become the mantra on this show?

(To Be Continued)


Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog