Project Runway 4, Episode Ten

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, Ayyyyyy! Lady wrestlers! Spandex! Tim Gunn!

This challenge, to make the costumes for the modern-day Fabulous Moolahs, out of spandex and spangles, was completely ridiculous and yet also terribly entertaining.

And nothing was more delightful than the lady wrestlers themselves. Yes, they were tacky, with their giant fake breasts, tanning-booth tans, and rigorously gym-toned bodies, but they were also lively and funny and seemed to be genuinely happy. When they entered the sewing room it was as if the lights were turned on, making everything brighter and sharper.

Query: Were the lady wrestlers sexy?

Answer: No.

The wrestling ladies in their tiny costumes and big breasts had all of the signifiers of sexiness, but it was just the simulacrum of eros, as the raw and enthusiastic physicality of their presence, their innocent joy in being young, beautiful, and athletic, and the absolute cartoonishness of professional wrestling, swamps any possibility of the erotic response.


And the top three designers last night (Chris, Christian, and Jillian) understood this central paradox of the lady wrestler, that the sexiness of the skimpy costume is the sham, and that what is actually being projected is the extraordinary physicality and fierceness of the cartoon superhero.
Chris March
Thus the only proper response is to turn up the volume, to make the outfit that fully embraces the cartoonishness and displays the strength and ferocity of those magnificent bodies.

By contrast the three designers who failed (Sweet P, Rami, and Ricki) attempted to soften and regularize the lady wrestlers, tried to make them into ordinary beautiful women with pink lingerie, silvery boudoir sets, and orange swimsuits.

The results were quod erat demonstrandum

Of the course, the Heatherette boys, Richie Rich and Traver Rains, were the perfect celebrity judges for this challenge, as they fully understand the aesthetic of professional wrestling. The only person who could have been better was Galliano, himself the complete master of spectacle and melodrama.

By the comparison, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors were too uncomfortable to fully articulate and understand what was required, although in the end they came to the right decision. And the ferocious Teutonic Brunhilde Valkyrie Heidi was totally at ease with the lady wrestlers, indeed, you know that if her life had taken the slightly different turn, she could have been the champion lady wrestler.

Finally, over the past few weeks the Manolo has been hard on Christian for his arrogance and immaturity and twit-like behavior, and this criticism is justified. But, beyond this, Christian is enormously talented, and he (together with Chris) seems to be enjoying himself. Because of this, the Manolo now thinks that Christian will be the ultimate winner, with Jillian and Chris(!) as the dark horses.

Sweet P is befuddled and overwhelmed and will soon be sent away. Rami is inflexible to the point of near disaster (Ayyyy Last night he was attempting to “drape” spandex!) and the judges are tiring of him. Jillian is on the edge of the nervous breakdown but is capable of pulling through and perhaps doing well. Chris (bless his kind heart) is teetering on the edge, and will succeed only if he can restrain his theatrical impulses and direct his talents towards something more impressive.

This leaves Christian–funny, talented, fast-working, jackassy Christian–as the one who is rising inevitably to the top.

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26 Responses to “Project Runway 4, Episode Ten”




  1. valawhoo Says:

    Unfortunately, I must agree with the Manolo’s final analysis. Although perhaps it isn’t unfortunate. After all, haven’t some of the most brilliant people in history been complete jackasses? And despite their jackassery, haven’t they contributed wonderful things to mankind? John Adams – jackass. Andrew Carnegie – jackass. Sometimes it takes an enormous ego to get over the self-doubt that hampers so many of us and prevents us from realizing our true potential. So as much as I wish Christian were more likable, I have to root for him, if only becuase his clothes are so swoon-worthy. I do, however, wish he’d quit it with the puffed sleeves already. And I remind myself that it’s a TV show, we’re seeing what the producers want us to see, and Christian does seem more tolerable as time goes by. But my heart roots for Chris, much as it rooted for the Giants. Unlike Christian, Chris knows his weaknesses. It remains to be seen if he can rise above them and conform to the rules of the game long enough to triumph. One way or another, I think he’ll be a success. There’s room in this world for plenty of vamp. And the Giants won the Super Bowl.




  2. suzq Says:

    Latin immodicus.




  3. JK Says:

    Chris nailed it on the head with his outfit–campy, fierce, sexy, cool and fitting for his client. I think Rami’s outfit was more horrible than Ricky’s but I think his underlying talent saved him.

    If Christian pulls out a line with nary a puffed sleeve I think I’ll have a heart attack.




  4. Stephanie Says:

    I thought Chris’s hoodie was pretty cute. I could see a Real Housewife wearing it non-ironically.




  5. shuzluva Says:

    The hubster and I came to the same conclusion as The Manolo while we were watching PR last night. Christian is clearly the most talented (and most arrogant) of the designers, while Chris may turn out to be the dark horse if he can rein in his base desire to make everything theater, and Jillian is truly talented if somewhat limited in comparison to Christan & Chris.

    Rami has been a giant disappointment. He started off so well, and really outdid himself with the Hershey’s challenge. Since then I think it’s been downhill. How many times are we going to see the same damn draping? Sweet P, while seemingly lovely (hey – editing is everything, so we don’t really know one way or the other, do we?) doesn’t seem to have the same level of talent and Ricky…got lucky with the last challenge. The hubster thought Ricky’s outfit was a great swimsuit.

    Stephanie: I agree with you, and am waiting to see it in RHNYC…




  6. Melissa B. Says:

    Rami has been a giant disappointment. He started off so well, and really outdid himself with the Hershey’s challenge. Since then I think it’s been downhill. How many times are we going to see the same damn draping?

    Exactly. I couldn’t have said it better.

    In Rami’s defense, it is possible that he’s relying on his favorite draping trick to see him through these minimal-time challenges, and that a full Bryant Park collection would show more range. But right now I’m bored with what he’s doing. I’d honestly rather see Chris show a full collection. Would it be hideous and costume-y, or daring and visionary? Oooh, the suspense!




  7. syl Says:

    Yes, outrageous silicone, but those women were so much healthier and feminine than the stick figure models the fashion world currently uses. So nice to see strong, fierce, adult women instead of androgynous over-tall 13-year-olds!




  8. Mary Says:

    Agree with the above, and wanted to add it was fun to see women with stage presence, and who walked better than a lot what we’ve seen down the runway this season.




  9. g-dog Says:

    I will pull for Chris – because it is so refreshing to see a mature, fun, loveable human being on this show as contrasted to the egotistical, immature (to the tenth degree), snarky junior high cheerleader wannabe with bed head.

    That said – Christian has overall shown the best level of performance this season – I would like a little dose of humility or humanity added before loosing him onto the world with an award.

    Ra-(yaa–aw–wn)-mi is a one-hit wonder at this point, retreating back to the one thing he is comfortable with. Sweet P is doomed to stroke out soon, as is Jillian (who has also shown so excellent work this season).

    I wish I could cry for Ricky – but he used up all of MY tears too. He seems to be a nice guy who was hampered by his own fears. So good luck to him.




  10. Jennie Says:

    Ditto to all of the above. Let’s see, last season the winner was total a**hole Jeffrey so a spoiled child is much more refreshing. And Christian is completely crushed each time his garment doesn’t win a challenge so maybe he is learning just a little humility.




  11. raincoaster Says:

    Best description of the aesthetic behind professional wrestling that I have ever seen.




  12. Rachel Says:

    Let me just add that Sweet P’s constant put down of her model’s taste really rubbed me the wrong way. This from a middle-aged women who’s chosen to deface over 50 percent of her body with hideous tattoos!




  13. 1969 Says:

    Christian may not have the best attitude but you cannot deny (with the exception of that awful prom dress) that everything he makes looks runway ready. He makes “Fashion”. I’m betting on him to win the whole thing.




  14. Ros Says:

    Christian is arrogant but…

    ..he’s young, incredibly talented and, at times, very kind to the others. He hasn’t been stirring up trouble or acting stupidly. He works hard and produces incredible clothes (albeit, only for VERY THIN WOMEN!). He really deserves to win.

    Chris is so fun. I’m really glad he got the second chance and that he won this week. Jillian irritates me almost as much as Victorya used to. I like Rami and I think he has lots of potential. His denim dress and his Hershey’s dress showed he could do things other than drape jersey. If he realises this is a good thing, he could do very well. Poor Sweet P is just out of her depth now.




  15. eric3000 Says:

    I agree with your assessment.

    Rami is talented but not cut out for this show and I am surprised he has lasted this long.




  16. Arlene Says:

    “but those women were so much healthier and feminine than the stick figure models the fashion world currently uses. So nice to see strong, fierce, adult women instead of androgynous over-tall 13-year-olds!”

    Heh, I’d argue that more than one of the lady wrestlers have the regular models beat in the androgyny department. But I understand your point.

    And I’m rooting for Jillian. She has the most talent on a technical level, and she produces the most consistently beautiful, wearable clothes of all the contestants.




  17. Arlene Says:

    “but those women were so much healthier and feminine than the stick figure models the fashion world currently uses. So nice to see strong, fierce, adult women instead of androgynous over-tall 13-year-olds!”

    Heh, I’d argue that more than one of the lady wrestlers have the regular models beat in the androgyny department. But I understand your point.

    And I’m rooting for Jillian. She has the most talent on a technical level, and she produces the most consistently beautiful, wearable clothes of all the contestants.




  18. eowyn_2 Says:

    Perhaps I misunderstand the Manolo.

    I realize that the goofiness of WWE is the anti-sexy.

    But why is a strong, fit, confident, joyous woman also in that category?

    I can’t decide whether to cry or to bodyslam the next man who walks by.




  19. poster Says:

    Let me just add that Sweet P’s constant put down of her model’s taste really rubbed me the wrong way. This from a middle-aged women who’s chosen to deface over 50 percent of her body with hideous tattoos!

    No doubt. An adult who looks like a confused kid is an odd creature.




  20. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    Perhaps I misunderstand the Manolo.

    I realize that the goofiness of WWE is the anti-sexy.

    But why is a strong, fit, confident, joyous woman also in that category?

    Perhaps the Manolo was not clear enough in his criticism.

    It is not the strength, fitness, confidence, or joyousness of the lady wrestlers that rendered them unsexy, but rather the cartoonishness that surrounds their performances as lady wrestler.

    The Manolo assumes that if one were to meet these young women on the street, in the grocery store, or at the library, one would be struck by just how beautiful and sexy they were.

    But, put them in the costumes of the cartoon super heroines and villains, and direct them to violently fling their bodies against one another in mock combat, and for most peoples, including the Manolo, the eroticism disappears.




  21. eowyn_2 Says:

    As usual, the chip on my shoulder makes me read in to innocent comments. Thank you, Manolo. :)




  22. ms. place Says:

    I defer to all the wise comments that my hero, The Manolo, makes, and venture to say his predictions are right. I too have come to the conclusion that Christian will take all.

    Chris, Christian, and Jillian channeled their inner bad taste and came up winners. Their women looked as if they could have held their own besides a young Arnold as Conan the Barbarian. And wasn’t that the point of this challenge? I could envision all three being carried into the ring on the shoulders of half naked men, much like the over the top entrances of captured slaves in Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra.

    At the least Ricky constructed a good bathing suit. Rami created a mess. The only reason he squeaked by is because of Ricky’s lamentably awful gold cape thingy. What was up with that? Our bewildered Sweet P created an outfit suited for a performing cockatoo.




  23. Dawn Says:

    I think big nice Chris said it best when he kiddingly said, “Somebody needs to give that kid a bottle. And put him to bed,” about wee Christian. :)

    However, his brattiness is contagiously fun and I hope the judges let him present in New York. His collection would be FEROSH.

    Dawn




  24. VeddyVeddyBadAng Says:

    Personally, I love Christian. I think he’s got “the eye” as far as design goes, and his personality cracks me up. He’s arrogant, sure, but I think it’s almost in a half-kidding way. Almost as if he’s simultaneously letting everyone know that he thinks he’s awesome, but at the same time, poking fun at the fact that he thinks he’s awesome. Also, the arrogance seems almost more of an act than his true personality. Reminds me of a certain husband I know.




  25. roz Says:

    I SO want Chris to win, because it would be so great if, just this once, nice guys did not finish last.




  26. oakling Says:

    I loved when Christian said his superherowrestler name would be Ferocia Coutura. His arrogance can be annoying but it is tempered by how utterly nonthreatening he is, which makes it kind of hilariously cute.













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