Project Runway: "A Fashionable New Beginning"
B-

Project Runway: "A Fashionable New Beginning"

B-

Project Runway

"A Fashionable New Beginning"

Season 6, Episode 8

Oh, I see what's going on. Isn't it nice of the producers of this prolonged shrug masquerading as Project Runway to highlight one of the many huge problems with this season each week? I don't know why they're choosing to flaunt this season's failures one by one like this, but here we are. Maybe they're trying to make this show utterly unfixable? The thing is, they don't have to try. It already is beyond repair.

Last week, the producers dictated a "Make something blue for Macy's try not to fall asleep!" challenge in order to show us how truly uninspired the challenges this season are. (I mean, that's the only explanation, right?) The week before that they tried to convince us that maybe LA was the problem, with that thoroughly idiotic "We're in LA, make a generic genre costume for the movies!" disaster parade. And then there was the week that the models were "in charge"? Why else would they do something like that unless they want us to think: "Oh, the whole Models Of The Runway companion show garbage is the real problem with this show."

This week, the problem of inconsistent judging was highlighted for our viewing displeasure. The producers controlled for all the other problems: The challenge, make an outfit for a divorcee using her old wedding dress, was a great one. (If you squinted it was almost like the Project Runways of yore!); LA was inconsequential and never mentioned once; and the models were mercifully absent, replaced—finally!—by real people. Obviously, the real people challenges on PR are always the best: the designers have to stretch (sometimes literally) their aesthetic to accommodate the client; the clients are often difficult; and the clothes are meant to be interesting but still (gasp!) wearable.

Yes, all the elements for a good episode of PR were in place. Sure, you knew that Shirin's fretting over her "Half-Breed" peacock feather design was going to either land her in the bottom or the top two. And, yes, it was obvious from the second that Gordana started talking about her family that she was going to be in the top. And you knew that nothing was going to happen to Greasy Peppermint Patty, Baby Brooke Hogan, or Carol-Hannah, because we didn't see anything of their designs before the runway. But those are just the sloppily edited reality show breaks. Things were good, entertaining even, all the way through the runway show.

Then we got to judging. Obviously, the judging this season has been wildly inconsistent—which is what happens when your panel of judges is wildly inconsistent. Heidi is the only judge who has been there for 8 out of 8 judgings. Nina Garcia has only managed 2 out of 8, and the technicolor orange glow of Michael Kors has only shone upon the contestants 3 out of 8 times. So what happens when the judging is wildly inconsistent? Well, since the judges aren't able to familiarize themselves with the unique aesthetic of each designer and watch them adapt from week to week, they can't distinguish the designers who have potential or an engaging point-of-view from the designers who are tacky hacks. And so they send people like Epperson home, while people like Greasy Peppermint Patty somehow don't even make it into the bottom three. What the hell, beige shell of Project Runway?

Granted, Logan's unfortunate wool pants with the frilly white combo-vest blouse was terrible, and he definitely deserved his low place for it. And Christopher's metallic marshmallow dress? It's like he's trying to out-tacky himself. It looked like a ball of old wrapping paper with an ugly belt around it. But did the producers just not want to have two pants ensembles in the bottom three or something?  Because, honestly, anyone with eyes could see that Nicolas' sad olive pants with the lace bolero and the cranberry top was just an abomination. A burlap sack would have been more flattering and more elegant on that hippie divorcee—and just as "cruelty-free."  

But instead the wildly inconsistent panel of mismatched judges sent Epperson home, and for what? Epperson's white, flowy dress with the black corset thingy wasn't the best, but it definitely wasn't the worst. (In case you're wondering, Christopher 's and Greasy Peppermint Patty's were the worst.) The judges major criticism was that it looked like a pirate wench costume (I know, I know, Heidi said it looked like Oktoberfest, but she sees Oktoberfest everywhere). But don't the judges like rigid corset-type bodices with full flowy skirts? They were gushing like sputtering steamers over Christopher's tacky, rigid-bodice newspaper snowflake dress just two episodes ago. Oh, right. Only one of these judges was there two episodes ago, and she sees the world through Oktoberfest steins.

Ultimately, the judging should come down to two questions: "Is this the ugliest or most boring outfit?" And "Does this person always make ugly or boring outfits?" If the answer to both is yes, then they should send the designer home. But if the answer to one or both is no, then the judges should reevaluate. The problem (well, one of the many, many problems) with this blah of a season is that the judges can't even answer the second question.

Grade: B-

Stray Observations:

--When Shirin came up with the idea to make a pattern on her dress using thread, I thought, "She's a genius." But then when I saw her in that stupid hat on the runway show, I thought, "Nevermind." Her dress was simple and cute though.

--Surprisingly, Gordana was the clear winner of this one from the start. She didn't even need to cry.

--"It looks like a metallic Hefty bag cinched in the middle." Oh, Kors. That's Christopher's thing. He loves designs that make you go, "Eww." You'd know that if you were around for more than two episodes. 

--Poor Epperson. Now the most eccentric designer we have left is Greasy Peppermint Patty. Oh, or Shirin's hat.    

--If Nina isn't watching this season, why are we?

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