Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Project Runway: "Money Changes Everything"

Image for article titled Project Runway: "Money Changes Everything"
Image for article titled Project Runway: "Money Changes Everything"

So, remember how the contestants on the first season of Project Runway had to pretend to be excited to design for the tan woman with bad taste from Access Hollywood, Nancy O'Dell? Or how they had to pretend to know who the that "girl on the verge of a nervous breakdown" (or was she a GRRRL on the verge of a nervous breakdown) singer was? Well, contrast the (lack of) excitement in the room when those things happened, to the extended orgy of celebration when Sarah Jessica Parker, aka Fashion Herself, walked in the door. It was at least 2 solid minutes of screaming, and leaping, and shrieking. Christian was so excited to see her that the raven splayed on his head almost flew away. Chris cried so hard in his interview that he couldn't even produce tears, and Ricky's hats were completely overcome with emotion.

If you needed a sign that Project Runway is probably currently suspended in mid-air over a shark (or some other sea creature that represents tiredness), then I think incorporating Sarah Jessica Parker into a challenge is it. I mean, SJP? Come on. When Heidi's pin-voice stabbed our ears with the promise of a celebrity who was very important in pop culture, I thought for sure she meant a "celebrity," as in a person on Bravo, as in Kathy Griffin. Instead, it was the woman who single-handedly pinned oversized flowers on every jacket in the Juniors section of Macy's.

I don't actually think that Project Runway has jumped the shark, mostly because I hate that phrase, but where are they going to go from here? I hope the big celebrity judge reveal in Project Runway 5 is the corpse of Grace Kelly. ("Design an outfit perfect for the reinterrment of the ultimate fashion icon.") Or at least Nicole Kidman.

Still, I did like this challenge because it forced the designers to make something that was accessible to the general public, wearable for a great number of people, and really, really cheap. More importantly, it had to be sportswear—which is something of a rarity on Project Runway. It's not often on the show that the contestants are forced to make something practical.

Of course, practical, accessible, and wearable mean something completely different to SJP. She is, afterall, the most ridiculously dressed woman in television history, with the possible exception of The Golden Girls. So it makes perfect sense that she would greenlight not one but two weird-looking capes from the designers sketches, and that she would ultimately choose the pillowcase dress/baby vest combo by Victorya (the "y" is for "yawn" ZING!) as the perfect addition to her Bitten line. There were definitely outfits that were more wearable or that had wider appeal–like Ricky's belted dress and Kit's cute pocketed sweater–but naturally SJP and the judges veered toward a very high-fashiony idea of wearable.

But Victorya's dress could be something a lot of people could wear, mostly because sacks and giant neck-bows are one-size-fits-all.

Elsewhere in the episode, Steve got squintier, Carmen started to resemble Kelis (at least to me), and Elisa continued her campaign of unbridled annoyingness. She spit marks her fabric, which is irritiating in and of itself, but is made all the more irritating by her motivation for doing it, "To imbibe the fabric with energy and essence." That's your excuse for everything, Elisa. Why is everything that comes out of her mouth either "polymorphic" or a feeling word? It's gross even without the spit.

Grade: B+

Stray Observations:

—Christian chose Carmen as his partner solely based on hair appreciation.

—The other judges try, but no one can perfectly diss an outfit like Heidi: "It's out of the basement. It looks dirty, like a rag to me." The accent really helps.

—So Jillian. Is it just me, or is she effortlessly hateable? I can't stand her, but I don't really know why. It's like she radiates bitchiness. I can't wait for her to become the villain just so I can be right.