Project Runway, Season Five, Episode 4

Manolo says, does the Manolo (as ill as he is) need to patiently explain to the producers of the Project Runway, that persons who take up the designing of clothes are not, in general, persons who know much about athletics (other than perhaps ice dancing)?

Indeed, as far as the Manolo could tell, only Emphatically Not Gay Joe and Angry Gay Mormon Kevin had any personal experience with sports, and in Kevin’s case that experience was gymnastics, (a.k.a ice dancing for people who do not like the cold).

And so, it was with this hidden but predictable liability that the designers were set to producing make believe costumes for the U.S. Olympic team, who would presumably sashay proudly into the stadium, or in the case of Stella, pop the synchronized wheelies on their red, white, and blue custom Harleys.

By the time of the final runway show, all the Manolo could think was “cluelessness”. Indeed, the best summation was when Micheal Kors said that it was as if the instructions had been “delivered in the foreign language”, undoubtedly one with many stray consonants and glottal fricatives, like Finno-Ugric, or Klingon.

Clearly, the last time many of these designers had ever seen the athlete, were in the final seconds before some laughing, low-browed jock shoved them into gym locker and slammed the door, as what most of them produced had not the least passing resemblance to what any self-respecting Olympic athlete would wear.

For some unknown reason, many of the designers settled on the 1940s femme fatale chanteuse, or else Rosie the Riveter, as their design inspiration, with Jennifer, who was rightfully sent away as the loser, settling on Jacquelyn Smith for Kmart as hers. Ayyy, but that was one terrible outfit.

Equally terrible, but in the different way, was that of Jerell (whom the Manolo has taken to calling Miss J. Alexander, Junior. And, by the way, what is it with the Idi Amin Dada garrison cap, Generalissimo J?) This outfit, all retro frou-frou and polka-dots, would have been fine for meeting the Queen Mum for tea at Harrods, circa 1936, but was otherwise inexplicable.

The less said about Daniel’s purpley-blue cocktail shift the better. Plainly, that boy is on the edge of the nervous breakdown. (It is like Chekhov’s dictum about stage guns, if Tim Gunn, our National Treasure, is mentioning the nervous breakdown in episode four, you can be sure it goes off in episode five.)

As for the winners, they were okay. Emphatically Not Gay Joe did the proper athletic thing, although not especially well, but props for the zippers. Korto, the default winner, produced another flowing pantsuit for the big-legged girl, as if she expected Hillary Clinton to lead the U.S. team into the stadium, in which case you would need sleeves. And Terri did the smart jackety thing, although the outfit looked more suitable for the jaunty Fourth of July with the Boston Pops, rather than the Olympics.

And the final word of the day: “tanorexic”, as in “Blayne the Alka-Seltzer Mascot is the tanorexic fool who is heading for early melanoma.”