Infinity And Beyond: Project Runway, S8, Episode Two


Bloated, long-winded, and faintly aggravating; no, I do not mean Rush Limbaugh. Rather, the new format of Project Runway. The ninety-minute episode.

What do we get for our additional half-hour? The only good thing I can think of is no more Models Of The Runway. Instead, we get more of the designers talking trash about each other, * footage of them in their rooms at the ATLAS (as is constantly pointed out), extended footage after the aufs, and most important, many, many more commercials. Second in importance is that none of the designers are particularly interesting people. A message to Bunim/Murray: Absence of footage makes the heart grow fonder.

There is little that can keep my attention for ninety minutes other than fantasizing about Alec Baldwin naked. However, I threw myself on the sword for you, my darling readers. Here is my “recap” of Episode Two.

Another change is that the Bluefly Wall (“Designers, use it very thoughtfully”) has been replaced by the Wall. At least Tim Gunn doesn’t have to choke out “Macy’s” any more.

Right off the top, one of the designers nails the essential paradigm of the show: “Public torture of designers on television.” I hadn’t thought of the program that way, except for Heidi Klum’s new vampire teeth. (I still maintain she tortures small animals in her spare time.)

This week’s challenge is to create a look for a Marie-Claire Times Square billboard. Joanna Coles, an editor of the magazine, reels off a series of meaningless adjectives to describe “the Marie-Claire woman.” As opposed to the “Marie-Claire bedroom set” or “Marie-Claire baked beans”. I can’t remember them, but I’m certain they were along the lines of “strong, modern independent, feminine, has a vagina,” etc.

A.J., who obviously has his pulse on what the strong modern independent woman of today wants, decides to devise a “grunge/punk Courtney Love look”. Okaaaay.

Would Courtney wear this? Probably. She is on drugs.

Jason, wearing his bowler as per his persona, wants to create a dress of “infinity.” Because, really, what’s better than infinity? It left his peers shaking their heads. Throughout the program, the contestants in short interviews continue to tear apart everyone else’s designs. It gets as tiresome as one of those “Real Housewives” things, except less Botox and false breasts.

Mondo, despite having possibly the most irritating personal style, turns out to be extremely shy, so my viewing party didn’t have to hate him after all. (They get vociferous when the gin reaches its level.) Christopher, despite or perhaps because of being from San Francisco, looks like a Chelsea Boy clone through and through. Sweet little A.J.’s claws come out when Casanova asks him for help. If the tension level is this high on Episode Two, there will be blood on the workroom walls by Episode Five!

When Tim (God) Gunn, my BFF, enters the workroom, as per usual they skip some of the finale garments. Casanova has gone from stripper un-chic to country club matron, with a puffy black jacket and conservative white skirt that would not look amiss at the bar of a restricted private golf range.

“Henry, I think there’s an octoroon in the woodpile.”

Apparently when Casanova is alone with the other designers, his English is perfect. But let Tim or the judges be present, and he pretends to barely speak the language! One admits, the moment he’s “outed” this season should be well worth it.

Jason baffles Tim with his “infinity” dress, a gray-green thing with a lot of large curves that are safety-pinned together. For some insane reason known only to the denizens of his universe, Jason feels that safety-pins are excellent closures. As opposed to, say, buttons. Or hooks and eyes. (Has no one told Jason about the 80s?) In an interview shoehorned in, Jason feels that he is being punished for being a straight man, that Project Runway is heterophobic. No, Jason, you’re just an idiot.

Inevitably, as the designers rush to complete their garments, the Twist comes. The Twist has become such a PR trope that I simply can’t believe the designers have the capacity to be genuinely surprised. This week’s Twist is that all of the clothes will be part of a photo shoot. The designer’s choice of shot will also influence the judging of his design. As Karl Lagerfeld is the only designer who is also a photographer, I’m not sure I trust this batch’s judgment.

My guests cannot decide if Valerie looks more like Tracey Ullman (in which case the wig-like hair is appropriate) or Juliette Lewis (ditto). Peach made an unfortunate choice of fabrics at Mood and she knows it, ending up making three dresses in the time allotted. The final product is uninteresting, but at least it doesn’t get her booted off.

By the time my viewing party is quite ready for the show to be over and the serious food to be served, the guillotine/runway show begins.

Heidi again appears in age-appropriate attire. Is this a sign of the end of days? Blood trickling from her fangs, she runs through the usual opening, and Joanna Coles is this week’s guest judge. The models have either been swapped out or mercilessly drilled in how to walk. They do a far better job than Episode One.

Nicholas’s design is, as they say, a “hot mess,” but very well made. What was he thinking draping that circle of heavy cloth over a backless silk blouse?

Jason’s satin dress is the disaster we all thought it would be, both in the photo and the runway. If a “modern, strong, independent” woman wore this, it was probably because she had been unexpectedly been struck blind.


Gretchen’s jumpsuit, while not my cup of tea, is extremely well made. I liked the shoulder and neckline the best. As a very tall, long waisted woman, I can tell you that jumpsuits are one of the banes of my fashion existence. I pull one up to my waist, then pull it over my shoulders and…

Ouch does not begin to describe the sensation.

Kristin sends down a strange mess of fabric that is gathered, bunched and draped, but does not resemble anything your faithful correspondent would call “clothes.”
Mondo’s creation is a bizarre combination of black and tweed with a pink lobster bib.
“For the seafood lover in you…”

Despite looking like an 80s prom dress made of upholstery fabric, I rather like Michael’s garment.

It is a considerable surprise when Mondo’s blob of stuff makes the top three. To cut to the chase (which the show seems unable to do), Gretchen is again declared the winner. This time, two designers are “auf’d”: Jason, who deserves it, and Nicholas, who does NOT. Nicholas breaks down in tears. His outfit, while badly styled, was finished and creative, if a bit on the not-well-thought out side.

This was the weekly “WTF?” moment in which all of my guests scream and throw things at the flat screen. (To guard against an onslaught of deviled eggs, I cover the flat screen with a thin layer of plastic before my viewing parties.)

Jason did not stick around to have Tim see him off, but Nicholas did. The other designers were stunned, as were all of us.

At the end, we watch Gretchen squeal at the billboard, which has Coco Rocha capering in the jumpsuit.

I’m guessing Ms. Rocha is short-waisted.

* This footage will be very useful for the “reunion” show.


Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Project Runway Season Eight Premiere, Part Two


There is simply so much to cover in this season premiere, it had to take two posts!

When we last heard, there were 17 designers instead of the usual 16, and they had five hours to create a garment out of someone else’s piece of clothing. And this was considered an audition for the show itself; it was guaranteed that one or more of the contestants would be going home. And you just finished packing and had that big going-away party. Bummer.

We watched them sweat, freak out, etc., the usual workroom scenes, except for the small amount of time. I’m guessing that Jason isn’t going so much for a signature look with that idiotic bowler, he’s probably bald.

Now to the interesting part: the runway. What a delight to see that the Bright Orange Oracle of Fashion, Michael Kors, was in his rightful place! Next to him was Nina Garcia, who has actually started to sprout a personality. (I love how Heidi pronounces her name with a heavy inflection, the way politically correct folk in the 80s used to pronounce Nicaragua “Nee-haw- wagrah”.) Heidi was actually wearing an age appropriate dress for a change. Are the Four Horsemen here yet?
The special guest judge was actress Selma Blair. Not to worry, nobody in our viewing party could place her, either. She resembles a squinty Katie Holmes.

When Heidi came out and greeted the designers before the execution–er, runway show–the contestants were wetting themselves even more than usual. She rattled off “you’re in or you’re out” in rote fashion before the show began.

A side note: the models tonight were terrible. The way they clumped down the runway, they would make a Dior look bad.

Valerie made this eye-bleeding monstrosity from, I believe, Casanova’s Dolce & Gabbana trousers.

Afghanistan hooker dress, made of combat material w/ false blood for added piquance.

McKell fashioned a cute little number from a blue button-down shirt.

Ivy took a pair of flowered, matronly pants and transformed them into–flowery, matronly capris! Along with a sloppily made silk top that was supposed to match in some way not meant for this universe.

“Oh my God, there’s a sale at Pathmark!”
Unlike the judges, I liked Nicholas’s long gown, made out of a pleather bomber jacket, using the bottom rib trim for the neckline.
April “deconstructed” a tuxedo jacket by…well…deconstructing it, which consisted of turning it inside out. Mighty Goth there, dahling!

This dress is for when Wilma Flintstone wants to get down with her bad self.

Gretchen sent out a glamorous dress that moved well on the runway, with small beaded fringe on the shoulders. Don’t ask me what she made it out of, because I don’t care.

Jason’s dress was made from a black kimono. Although impeccably styled, the actual garment looked like a monk’s habit hastily pulled on backwards by a monk fleeing a medieval monastery.

Casanova’s “dress”, if you can call it that, was made out of a small blue blouse. Tim had tried to talk him into making something halfway less acceptable. But Casanova stuck to his guns, describing his creation as “sexy but not vulgar.” According to my notes, my first reaction was: JESUS!

Since I usually only use that word when I am actually addressing Jesus when he stops by, you can see how shocked I was. The judges agreed, and I simply cannot top the Duchess’s assessment: “a pole dancer in Dubai”. I love that neon orange bitch! Casanova’s English is terrible, so we actually got the treat of listening to Nina speak to him in Spanish. I wish she would do all of her critiques in Spanish, it’s so much more expressive. Then we wouldn’t have to hear “questionable taste” and “chic” repeated in every show.

During the commercial break, I knew that Bunim/Murray had calculated who would not go home, regardless of talent, because they are perfect reality television personalities.
Casanova ? Check. He won’t get the boot if he sends a dress made of cat turds down the runway.
Peach? Check. Not only did she make a lovely dress but she is also a lot of fun, rather like Paula Deen would be if she were sane.
Jason? With that hat? Of course. Check.
In the end, Gretchen won.

“I won, bitches!”

Poor little McKell was auf’d. But at least I don’t have to look at those dreadlocks any more.
One more thing to be grateful for: no more Models Of The Runway! If I wanted to listen to skinny ninnies babbling about nothing, I’d watch Kathie Lee and Hoda.
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog
(all images courtesy of

Project Runway Season 8 Premiere


It began. not with a whimper, but bangs. Meaning Heidi Klum’s terrible new pixie cut.

Believe me, it doesn’t look this good on the show.

The new opening style was truly execrable. First, Tim Gunn (my BFF forever) and Heidi driveled about the 17 designers, or at least some of them. At this stage in the game, who knows? Who cares? It reminded me of the staged “chats” backstage on that awful Isaac Mizrahi program.

It went precipitously downhill from there. Designer contestants were forced to “meet” each other on camera, saying their names and parroting their biographies. It reminded me uncomfortably of “The Bachelor.” “Hi, I’m April, I’m a designer and I love Goth!”

Speaking of April, she is a 21-year old airhead who is a completely newcomer to fashion—we all remember how well that worked out last season, don’t we? Like the vast majority of people her age, her fashion interests are “Goth, decay and destruction.” Yawn.

However, two designers instantly captured my heart. A.J., a nervous young man who said, “Anyone who says they’re gonna win, they’re gone.” Since this was followed by a parade of contestants bragging that they would win, I found his honesty refreshing. My second favorite is Peach, an older blonde who announces she’s 50, “Hell to this yes!” Oh God, I hope she sticks around for a while.

Peach yelling “Hell to the yes!” Or something.
A.J. (left) and Jason (right), hump firmly on head.

Most of the designers blended into a mass, save for an idiot named Jason wearing a bowler, which he called “a hump on my head.” I could not have said it better. And Casanova, whose accent was so thick he said “(?) take New Chork by de ballz.” There was Valerie, who wore an odd hat-shaped black wig.

Casanova, ignoring Tim Gunn and reality at the same time!

Valerie (right) and some other designer vying for worst hair. *

They met at Lincoln Center, soon to be the home to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, and one of my favorite spots in New York. For one thing, it is close to my fabulous apartment.

Tim and Heidi waited (that haircut looked even worse outdoors), and announced that this challenge was actually an audition for the show. Which was why there were 17 designers, not 16. Heidi warned that more than one might go home. One member of my viewing party thought this was a great idea for a challenge, but seeing the designers gape in disbelief and dismay, I found it sadistic. Especially after forcing them all to go through that ludicrous “meet and greet.”

Heidi certainly thought it up. I swear to God, that woman has been watching too much True Blood. Probably went out and had prosthetic fangs made, with which she intends to tear out designers’s jugulars and feast on their blood when the cameras are off.

However, the challenge was excellent and actually novel: Heidi asked them to take their favorite piece of clothing out of their suitcases—and hand it to the contestant to their left. Who had to make a different garment out of it in 5 hours.

*Another contestant for “worst hair” was McKell, a young mother with blonde dreadlocks. I gather the way to keep dreadlocks dreaded is not to wash them, an instruction she followed faithfully. (Ugh)
More to come later!!
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Tim Gunn Is The King of All Media!


For more than a week, my horrific excuse for a computer has been RIDDLED with viruses, malware (whatever that is) and various other crazy-making things. I have been unable to read my email, get on Twitter, respond to press releases, etc. etc. For a woman who prides herself on being in the forefront of fashion’s elite, I am humbled before the sheer evil of Windows.

However, while I collect what is left of my senses, I thought I would share with you one of the delightful post-episode commentaries by my BFF, Tim Gunn. This was posted a few minutes ago, and I hope you enjoy it. It is his commentary post-episode 12.

One can only hope it works. Otherwise, the screams will be hearable all the way down to the East Village.

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Fashion Week Fall 2010 Day Four Report


I arose from my sickbed to return the Bryant Park tents because I know that is what all of my faithful readers demand from me. What would Fashion Week be without my discerning eye and my desire to bring all of it to you, mes fidèles lecteurs? A hollow shell, that’s what.

The untimely death of the genius designer Alexander McQueen has left a pall over New York Fashion Week. The atmosphere isn’t exactly grim, but it is definitely there. On Thursday, each show began with a moment of silence to acknowledge his passing.

I was supposed to start my day with the Simon Spurr show. But in the words of the late, unlamented Phil Rizzuto “WW (wasn’t watching).” It was almost too much to get myself to get myself together to drag myself to the Bryant Park tents. The level of fabulousity I struggle to maintain is hard labor, let me tell you! I was not at my best, which is why there are few photos .

The Diane von Furstenberg show was full of feminine delights and pushy media folk. Yours truly was almost knocked over by a peon with a Canon point and shoot. And still having a terrible cold, as I made my way to my seat, I sneezed on my former BFF, Andre Leon Talley. (The Rachel Zoe incident will take a long time to forgive or forget.) Unlike Alec Baldwin, he was not wearing suede. Be grateful for small favors.

“Bask in my awesome, bitches”

In my haste to get away before an unpleasant scene, I again met my new BFF, Tim Gunn. He was so delighted to see me he pushed Fern Mallis out of the way.

My BFF, Tim Gunn

He particularly admired my mink vintage cigarette case, which I use as a business card holder. When rummaging through my handbag, the fur makes it much easier to find.

I shall never understand the double row of celebrities or whatever they are at the center of the runway. It reminds me oddly of cafeteria seating.

As for the show itself, there was an homage to her famous wrap dress and much of the collection was black. Diane clearly knows how to design for a woman’s body. Her clothes can be worn by woman 19-69.

Model waiting to go on the runway

The finale of the show was a sensational metallic pewter draped dress which on closer examination had a rather strange little edge of blue tulle.

At the end, Diane herself walked the entire runway with her family. There was not a dry eye in the house except for yours truly. I detest cheap sentiment, however sincere.

DVF about to hit the runway

Before the Custo Barcelona show, I was (un)fortunate enough to interview the impossibly fey designer Vassilios Kostetsos, to which I will devote a separate entry. Suffice to say his aversion to larger women is only equaled by Oprah Winfrey’s self-loathing.

The Custo Barcelona show had, like all of his shows, a lot of thumping, thundering noise. With androgynous models speed-walking around the catwalk. Custo Barcelona designs for very young men and women. Since I am not very young, only ageless, he is not “targeting my demo,” so to speak. To be honest, the only way one could tell which sex a model was, was by the size of their thighs. The men have a bit more meat on their legs.

The show was called “Hairy Metal,” which to your faithful correspondent is a truly disgusting image. It translated into something far more palatable, albeit a bit strange: large fuzzy tunics, clothing with random strips of fur applied as though the designer had thrown them against a sweater covered with superglue.

The coats were the strongest part of the show, thick with texture. Even though these designs are for club kids, I could have used one of them in the frigid February weather.

Some of the men’s suits were made out of faux reptile fabric, in yet another evocation of the 1970s. Of all of the decades to be inspired by, why THAT one?

When the designer came out, he wore a color-blocked sweater that underscored that he is too old to wear his own designs. Comment bien triste.

Off to a hot bath and one hopes a lessening of sputum. Next time I might sneeze on Fern Mallis, and that would be the end of the tents pour moi!

More later!

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Photos not taken by moi are courtesy of Getty Images

New York Fashion Week Fall 2010 Is Nearly Upon Us!


Once again, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (as they insist you call it) is going to be roaring into New York City next week. And your faithful correspondent is preparing as fast as she can.

Not only will I be wearing items from my extensive collection of plus-sized vintage fashion. But I will also be wearing couture pieces specially designed for moi by:

Mad Couture; Mad Couture designs extreme fashion for plus-sized women.

SKWilbur; SKWilbur fashions show a classic sensibility, an eye for detail and haute couture level construction. His blog, “I Am Fabulous” is in my Links section.

Hats by David Temple of Los Angeles. His hats are custom creations that merge modern technology with old world materials and craftsmanship.

And once again by Ellen Christine Millinery. Ellen Christine is well known for her extensive editorial work and magnificent one-of-a-kind hats.

As you may remember, in September at the Christian Siriano show I met the uber-fabulous Tim Gunn, who admitted he is a fan of my blog! (I blushed and stammered.) And at the Isaac Mizrahi show I upstaged Kathy Griffin, as Women’s Wear Daily attested: .

This time I intend to dazzle the masses as well as working as hard as humanly possible to bring you the wonders of the runway. (I think my nose grew five inches when I wrote that last sentence, but never mind.)

Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog