Project Runway, Season 5, Episode One

Manolo says, and so the latest season of the Project Runway begins, not with the exciting dash across the verdant fields of Bryant Park, but with the early morning Festival of Gristedes, the ritual that many of us who have lived in the City of New York know quite well.

Indeed, who among us has not rushed into the Gristedes first thing in morning, and emerged the half hour later with our bags full of plastic shower curtains, rubber gloves, vacuum cleaner bags, mop heads and enough gingham table clothes to go all Christo on the Grand Central Station?

Ayyyyyy! And all the Manolo really wanted was some half-and-the-half for his coffee and maybe the Drake Cake!!

And so the indistinguishable mass of badly-dressed, and bizarrely-coiffed youthful aspirants were off and designing. What followed for the next half hour, was the confusing mass of moving images, as the various designers blended together in one giant hairball of bad material and worse ideas.

Look! There was the sort of cute, almost mousy girl doing something or other with candy, or was that the almost cute, sort of mousy girl, who was doing something with candy? The Manolo could not keep them straight. And there is Retro Girl, looking vaguely Betty Page (as they usually do) and making something fascinating with lawn furniture and beach balls, but then we cut away to the curiously named Suede (who annoying refers to himself in the third person, and the Manolo knows exactly how annoying that can be) who goes all wickety-wack on his creation, because Tim has frowned in his direction.

And poor Tim Gunn, he looks so tired and oppressed, as if the demands of being the kindest, smartest, and most sensible person on television have finally taken their toll. Please, dear Tim, take the few weeks off and go to Bermuda, and let your mighty brain rest and recover. You are the national treasure and these desperate times require you to be in top form.

Speaking of not being in the top form, what has happened to Austin Scarlett? Yes, he was all flouncy and lispy, but he was also nervous and overly cautious. Perhaps it is that old story, the responsibilities of the gainful employment have dampened the enthusiasms and charms of youth. Frankly, the Manolo found him sort of boring, with his serious answers and platitudinous advice.

And so to the final judging, when the various creations were strutted down the runway, accompanied by the exasperated, heavy, angry sighing of Nina Garia, who each season seems to move slightly closer to becoming one of those pinched up, dried apple head dolls, albeit one dressed head-to-toe in Balenciaga.

In the end it was the same old story, the over-the-top, personality-rich designer with the terrible, awful, hideous creation (in this case, Blayne, who looks like the blond, overly-tanned version of Speedy the Alka-Seltzer boy) is kept around, while the sober, serious, hard-working designer who has erred (Jerry) is sent away by the judges. The demands of plot and character development must be respected, even if the result is the minor injustice. But, do not worry, Jerry will be fine. He will have the full and meaningful fashion career. But for the desperate attention-seeking Blayne, it is all down hill from here.

11 Responses to “Project Runway, Season 5, Episode One”

  1. Cliff O'Neill July 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    Oh my! Speedy the Alka-Seltzer guy! Yes!

    How I wish I had thought of that!

    Delicious!

  2. dan July 17, 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    I suspect that when one’s name is a misspelled reference to a low-rent beauty school, downhill is a very familiar direction.

  3. Gigi July 18, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    Once again The Manolo’s recap is even more entertaining than the show itself!

  4. Miss Janey July 18, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    The Project Runway folk are now archetypes. Beneath The Manolo’s mention perhaps was the Dark Rocker Stylist who Miss J would have liked to see banished.

  5. Diva Fashionista July 18, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    The Manolo sums up the show with humor! If you want to know more about the designers and the show, make sure you visit projectrunway.com!

  6. La BellaDonna July 18, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Eek! La BellaDonna, she is amazed that The Manolo, he knows about the apple-headed dolls! A quick transport back (alas, way back!) to the childhood days of La BellaDonna, the days of more ingenuity than money … hmmm. Those days would be these days, come to think of it; they are still the days of ingenuity and not money! But in those childhood days, long before the internets – long before the Martha Stewart, in fact! – La BellaDonna would carve the apples into the heads of the little old ladies, and carefully set them to dry on the windowsill of her bedroom, making the dolls for herself and her little sister!

    Never did she think that she would find them referenced here, on the fabulous website of the famous Manolo!

  7. La BellaDonna July 18, 2008 at 6:31 pm #

    Ah! La BellaDonna, she has visited the website of the Martha Stewart, and in the unlikely event that The Manolo wishes to make the dolls with heads of apple, she wishes to point out that the kindly, HAPPY wizard and enchantress, grandfather and grandmother, etc., can also be carved from the apples, and vinegar and salt will do the trick as well as lemon juice and salt to help preserve the heads as they shrink.* In addition, rather than the “warm, dry spot,” La BellaDonna encourages the placing of the apples where the air will circulate – the apples, they are to dry and not mildew! The setting of the pins with the large, shiny coloured heads into the apples before they dry will also provide the gleaming eyes for the Granny and Grandpa Smiths.

    *For the younger and more ghoulish set, the addition of the long hairs and subtle carvings can make the realistic-seeming shrunken heads for the All Hallows Eve!

  8. john July 19, 2008 at 12:40 am #

    i think the asian dude got screwed by the judges over stella and her garbage creation.

    tim gunn looks old and tired. heidi klum is skinnier than ever. nina garcia’s face looks bloated.

  9. Long Island July 19, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    My sometimes witty son quipped when he saw Austin Scarlett, “If Alice in Wonderland had a pimp he would be wearing that outfit.”

  10. eowyn_2 July 19, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    Anyone catch Stella’s biography blurb?

    You know, the part that said she had a strong work ethic?

    The woman who spent the entire episode being cheered on and coached by everyone around her to “just do something” and narrowly escaped being booted for her laziness?

    Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.

  11. Arnie July 21, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    La BellaDonna,

    Your artistry is breathtaking, although I admit I was confused by this comment:

    “La BellaDonna would carve the apples into the heads of the little old ladies,…”

    Did the old ladies give you permission to carve apples into their heads?

    This is what I thought at first until I read further.

    Thanks very much for the suggestions about the many splendored faces that can be made from apples. This art form was unknown to me before now.