Project Runway: "Fashion Giant"
B+

Project Runway: "Fashion Giant"

B+

Project Runway

"Fashion Giant"

Season 4, Episode 3


We're only three episodes in to the 4th season, and 2 of those episodes have featured challenges about designing for "special guests." (Guess what, Project Runway? If it happens every week, it's not that special.) If this trend continues, every episode will essentially be another shovel-ful of dirt into the open grave of Project Runway. Seriously. How can you tell that a show has run out of ideas? It piles on the big guest stars instead of coming up with new concepts.

The least they could do would be to space out the superfluous guest spots. Even next week's promo hints at yet another "special guest," with Heidi's pin-voice sharply telling the contestants that "Tim is upstairs…and he isn't alone!" He better be up there with a bunch of glamorous kittens in need of sweaters, or dozens of chickens that they have to pluck in order to make feather evening gowns--instead of, say, the Olsen twins or Emmy Rossum--because this "special guest" thing is wearing very thin.

That said, at least the sight of Tiki Barber didn't inspire an extended cacophony of excitement and wave after wave of tears from the designers like the presence of Sarah Jessica Parker did last week. In fact, the designers' (non-)reaction to Barber was pretty funny. It was great how they cut to Beardo Kevin, otherwise known as I'mTheOnlyStraightGuyHere Kevin, to explain who Tiki Barber is, because evidently he's the only one who knew.

And the challenge itself–design stylish menswear–was an interesting one, simply because the show has never done it before (Austin modeling the mail carrier outfit in Season 1 doesn't count). It was also pretty funny to watch, because we got to see the designers stress out freakishly for an extended period of time, and create some really, really ugly stuff: a magical combination on Project Runway.

In fact, I learned a lot about menswear from watching this episode, namely that it's inherently kind of dull. There isn't a lot of room for style. How much can you do to pants, vests, jackets, and shirts without it all becoming kind of hideous? I also learned that awful "stylish" menswear can fall into several distinct categories of hideousness:

1. Rumpled (Ricky's sad suit, whatever Christian's outfit was, Kit's jacket)

2. Ill-Advised Disco/70s Throwback (Jillian's John Travolta for the oughts, Kevin's Justin Timberlake from last winter)

3. Serial Killer Or Retiree (Rami's outfit)

4. I Shop At Banana Republic (Jack's stripes on stripes, Steven's tight sweater) and

5. Wrong. Just Wrong. (Victorya's white jacket, Chris's all-black David-Copperfield-esque ensemble, Sweet P's melting-collar shirt, Elisa's nature-boy with a vest thing, Carmen's blind, half-naked golfer look)

Of course, Carmen's was easily the worst, simply because it was so spectacularly unfinished to the point where she made a giant scarf instead of a shirt. But I can honestly say that I thought every single one of the outfits was either ugly, boring, or both–which is a first for Project Runway! Maybe Tiki Barber should be in every episode–he inspires such deliciously terrible clothes.

Grade: B+

Stray Observations:

--"Yea pants!" Chris March's random enthusiasm is the best.

--So, did everyone find Kara Saun's Saturn commercial enlightening? Her designs are inspired by the beach, in case you were wondering where the most generic place to look for ideas is. Here's how that conversation went:

Saturn: We want to shoot you in a place where you get your design ideas.

Kara Saun: You mean my office?

Saturn: No, more like a place you can drive to in your Saturn…like the beach.

Kara Saun: But I don't work…

Saturn: Let's go!

--Steven gets squintier and squintier with each episode. His face reminds me of an earthworm. Also, I can't prove it, but I think he wrote down a bunch of quips before the season started and memorized them to pepper his interviews. That Titanic thing? It needed more rehearsal.

--Jillian is still poised for villainy. I know it. She's awful.

--This episode was short on Elisa's aggressive displays of weirdness, but there was this, about her boyfriend, "He's the only man I've fitted intimately before. He's the only male I choose to touch." She might as well have said, "Ughhhhh."