Project Runway 4, Episode Five

Manolo says, finally, with this episode, the old make-it-work spirit of Project Runway has returned, and the value is again placed on creativity and not the commercial prospects of the outfits.

This challenge, to take the big lady clothes from the former big ladies and make them into something new and beautiful, was ingenious, especially as it forced the designers out of their comfort zones, and into the world of real peoples.

From the beginning it was good. Witness the moment when the models were paired with the designers. As the choices were made, some of the designers (Elisa in particular) seemed truly happy to meet the model, while others (Jillian, Christian, Victorya) could only manage the most forced of smiles. Such marvelous suffering on the faces of such shallow peoples!

And then it was good bye to the Jack. Yes, the Manolo often found you annoying, but he was still sorry to see you leave in this manner, and he wishes you well. You should be given the chance to come back in the next season, Daniel Franco style.



Project Runway 4, Episode Four

Manolo says, ayyyy! Poor Chris, the Manolo was not ready for you to leave. Indeed, he found you to be among the most tolerable of this season’s personalities, especially when compared to the perpetually weepy/bitchy/whiney/annoying/moderately- untalented Ricky.

Chris, you were the sweet and charmingly funny grown-up person, and the Manolo devoutly wishes you had done better. Your outfit was not great, but it was by no means the worst, and your challenge (to make shoulder pads acceptable) was among the most difficult of all. The mistake in this case was to decide in favor of the 80s evening wear shoulder pads, instead of the much more trendy, 1940’s pencil skirt and shoulder pads. You went for Alexis Carrington when you should have aimed at Jane Russell and Barbara Stanwyk.

And so you were frog-marched off stage by Heidi, with the mocking jackal’s voice of Donna Karan (with her phoney-baloney, fake sincere smile) ringing in your ears.

Oh, how the Manolo wept bitter tears for 3.6 milliseconds, the exact amount of time he devoted to your made-for-television plight, before he returned to loathing Ricky.

As for the contest, this has the orange-stained hands of Michael Kors all over. Take three outdated and awful trends and revamp them in something anodyne that can be sold to the unsuspecting masses of fashion dunderheads. Brilliant!



Project Runway 4, Episode Three

Manolo says, Ah, the menswear, it looks so simple: the pants, the jacket, the shirt. It is not as if the male fashions have really changed in the past 75 years (other than the deplorable trend toward 24/7 casualness), and yet why is it that so many famous and talented designers produce such utter crap when they turn their hand to the menswear?

It is simple. Menswear does not fall under the purview of the fashion designer. It belongs properly and only to the tailor, to men who have devoted their lives to the arcana of button holes and pick-stitched lapels and French facings, and who know that what matters most in menswear is material, cut, fit and detail.

You cannot really learn this at the fashion college. Such knowledge can only be acquired through long apprenticeships at the feet of masters. Yes, the big fashion firms can mass produce the similacra of good tailoring–the off-the-rack suits that look moderately presentable on the size 42 regular–but it is not the same.

And so it was the nearly impossible challenge that was given to the Project Runway peoples last night, one made truly impossible by the choice of Tiki Barber as the model.



Project Runway 4, Episode One

Manolo says, Ayyyyyy! The Project Runway has returned!!

Mira! All of our old friends are back: the handsome and oh so smarty, Tim Gunn, charmingly goofy and teutonic Heidi, the wonderfully bitchy Michael Kors, and our favorite “frenemy”, fashion editor Nina Garcia.

Also present was special guest judge, Monique Lhuillier, who is beautiful, and has this marvelous sheen, as if she had been freshly rubbed with olive oil in preparation for broiling.

As for the contestants, the Manolo has just barely begun to sort them out: there’s the crazy ethnic girl, the weepy Hispanic guy, the bitchy young queen, the “oh-no-she-di-int” fierce black girl, the nice girl who no one notices, the intense Asian girl, the old chick, and every possible version of gay man in the canon of fabulosity. Oh, yes, and Fred Flintstone, too.

One thing the Manolo could not help but notice was the surprising number of ugly tattoos. The Manolo might, just barely, sort of, understand the impulse to get the tattoo (if you have been in the merchant marine or prison) but he cannot comprehend why people who are supposed to be obsessed with beauty would choose such ridiculously ugly images.

Yes, we know, Tattooed Person, you are the outrageous rebel who must express your rebellious nature through the medium of permanent self-mutilation…you and 45 million other Americans.

But whatever. Aspiring fashion designers are not often noted for their common sense.

And so with the introductions cut mercifully short, it was off to the races, literally, as the designers began the first challenge by running across Bryant Park like the Charge of the Light-in-the-Loafers Brigade, headed for tents containing mounds of colorful fabric from which to construct the garment that “best expresses their designerosity”, or some such.

And, the few hours later, it was goodbye sweet and gentle Simone, you had the banging eyebrows, but your dress sucked. Although, the Manolo must note, not as badly as the thing produced by Elisa, who is apparently the extra character left over from Being John Malkovich. Giant Marionettes?

At the end, it was also, hello Rami, who was the winner, and deservedly so, for he produced the most beautiful dress, using the simple fabric worked and draped into the classically fresh form. It bodes well for his future.

Of the all the contestants, the Manolo was most annoyed by the bitchy Christian, not so much by the personality, but with his asymmetrical, Chris-“Leave-Britney-Alone”-Crocker hair-do. Does no one realize that these sorts of haircuts make the head look lop-sided, as if you were trying to hide the unsightly head tumor. Perhaps he has lost his right ear in the fabric trimming accident.

As for his dress, it did not deserve the excessive praise it received. The top was straight out of Ladie’s Home Companion, circa 1896.

The Manolo must now go and watch the reruns of this episode and see if he can sort out the various contestants, and their corresponding desgins. Perhaps tomorrow he shall offer more the substantive critique of their work.

Here below, stolen from the Manolo’s friends at Blogging the Project Runway, are all of the designs from last night.

Project Runway Season Four, Episode One


Project Runway Returns Tomorrow!

Manolo says, oh, how the Manolo his pined for the return of the Project Runway! So many long, long months of waiting.

And now, we are the mere 24 hours away from the resumption of this favorite reality show of the Manolo.

Naturally, the Manolo is planning on having the giant viewing party with the Posse Manolo to celebrate the beginning of the new season. You may be certain that the bitchy quips will flow like sparkling wine vinegar.

Also, in preparation, the Manolo has been faithfully reading the most important Proect Runway resource on the intertubes, the Blogging the Project Runway Blog, run by the Manolo’s long time internet friends, Laura K, and Scarlett, and the T-Bone. If you love the Project Runway you should be reading this blog.

By the way, it is at the Blogging the Project Runway that the Manolo discovered the Tresemme BPR Fantasy League, the game where you pick each week’s winners in advance and win the prizes. Of the course, at this stage of the game, there is no skill involved in picking the winners, as we know little about the contestants, that it is all chance.

However, soon that will change.

In the meantime, here is the preview of the show in which the designers are introduced…



Finally, The Project Runway is Returning!

Manolo says, with Fred Flintstone as one of the competitors?

P.S. Be certain to visit the Manolo’s friends at the Blogging the Project Runway for all of the details.


Where is the Season 4?

Manolo says, the Manolo’s close friends at the Blogging the Project Runway ask the question on everyone’s mind, where is Season 4?


Project Runway 3, Super Delayed Grande Finale

Manolo says, ayyyyyy! The it was the much delayed but mostly satisfying Bryant Park grande finale Project-Runway runway show, featuring the models who can’t walk, Tim Gunn verklempt again, and odious troglodytes in the audience!

The Manolo shouts, Congratulations to the Jeffrey! The Manolo thought that this was the right decision, as his final collection was not only beautiful in places, but also had the strong original point of view. Although, as usual, he himself dressed it the style which may best be described as “dissipated Rock-n-Roll hobbit”.

As for the rest, the Michael’s collection was the weakest, filled with the booty shorts and hoochy dresses made from the crazy patterns and over-the-top spangles, which it is too bad because the Manolo truly wanted the Michael to win as he is so sweet and had done such good work in the past.

The Laura, who is a) married to the ghost of Einstein, and is b) the far more petty and jealous person than the Manolo had first assumed, (“I’m not questioning your integrity, you filthy cheater…”) produced the absolutely beautiful clothes, which would not have looked out of place in the collection of the Oscar de la Renta, which was the problem, as it all seemed derivative. Yes, wonderfully derivative, but derivative nonetheless.

And the Uli did the Uli thing, beautifully, wonderfully, with a level of sophistication that was impressive, but it seemed limited in that they were ultimately clothes to be worn by the recent Palm Beach divorcees, with all that that implies. Sadly, there is something vaguely muumuu-ish about her work.

And now, what else is there left for the Manolo to say, other than that he is sad to see the Project Runway end, and that he eagerly awaits the return of this show. He also profoundly hopes that next season will feature more designing and less whining.


Project Runway 3, Finale, Part One

Manolo says, ayyyyy, the Green Eyed Monster raises it’s red head, bringing the expensive Louis Vuitton luggage with it!

This complaint by the Laura against the Jeffrey was perhaps the most unseemly example of the rampant jealousy the Manolo has ever seen. To complain to Tim and the producers, like the crybaby, because your opponent’s garments are too good seems to the Manolo to be the acme of insecurity.

“Waaaaaah! Jeffrey’s clothes are better than mine, please disqualify him!”

Yes, the Manolo does not doubt that the Jeffrey’s final garments were finished to the higher degree of perfection than he had demonstrated during the regular competition. How could it be otherwise? The weekly challenges of the Project Runway are to be completed in the mere hours, while Jeffrey had two months to prepare his final garments.

This episode, it has greatly lowered the Manolo’s opinion of the Laura, and much worse, it has also diminished the Manolo’s enthusiasm for the Michael who went along with this unseemly accusing.

Also bothering the Manolo, was that this was the second time this season when the Tim publicly confronted the contestant with the accusation. Declassé… the Manolo would have hoped that such disciplinary actions would be taken in private, with only the Tim, the accused, and the cameras in attendence. Certainly this is how Tim would handle this as the academic dean at Parsons? But apparently such common sense things are not possible in the world of the reality television.

Aside from this needless controversy, what is there to say about this first part of the finale, other than that the Bravo TV is begining to seriously alienate the warm affections of the Manolo, if for no other reason than that they have been dribbling out these final episodes. The Fashion Week was more than the month ago, and the ardor the Manolo has felt for the Project Runway has begun to dim.

What is that the Manolo hears in the distance…the faint sounds of the shark preparing to be jumped?

Although, it is certainly not too late to restore this beloved show to its former glory. The Manolo demands that the producers ditch the senseless drama and petty gamesmanship and focus again on the manifest joys of making the fashion.


Project Runway 3, Reunion Show

Manolo says, zzzzzzzzzz. Eh? Oh.

Many apologies. The Manolo had dozed off for the moment, so lulled was he by the tedium of this penultimate episode of the Project Runway 3.

Here is what the Manolo remembers of the show before soft-eyed Hypnos arrived to carry off the Manolo:

1. Tim Gunn, the academic dean at the institution of higher eduation, has the large vocabulary! Three dollar words! Like the “caucus” or the “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!

Of the course, such facility with language is to be ridiculed by the television viewers, especially by those who can only repeatedly describe bad things as “serious ugly”, or who cluck and cackle in their own private bird languages.

2. The extremely handsomey, Jude-Lawish Keith is as unrepentant and as ego-maniacal as ever, and thus it is indeed the shame that he was kicked off of the show, as undoubtedly he would have given us many hours of guilty pleasure hating him. Him so bad.

3. Vincent is as crazy as the barrel of the rabid fruit bats, and only half as nice to the little peoples.

4. After reviewing the passive-aggressive behavior of the Angela’s mother, the Manolo has more sympathy for the Jeffery, who is still the twit but not as evil as first supposed.

5. Finally, and most revealingly, all it takes is the five-second clip of the Jay McCarroll to realize that he is still the best, smartest, and funniest contestant ever on the Project Runway.

The Jay recognized exactly what the Manolo said about the Michael many weeks ago, that being the outsider from the hinterlands is the advantage in this contest. It is socially difficult to be the fashion designer in the places outside of the New York or the Los Angeles, and such social difficulty encourages the development of the strong individual and sometimes eccentric vision. While, the New York and the Los Angeles can potentially homogenize those who are there for too long.

The Manolo adores the Jay and hopes that he will soon achieve that which he is capable of achieving.

And now, it is on to the final episode!


Project Runway 3, Week 11

Manolo says, and it was the disappointingly anti-climactic week of disappointing anti-climaxes.

First, the Manolo must admit, that the previous week without the televised episode had diminished the Manolo’s enthusiasm, especially when he had already seen the final collections on the runway, collections which did not overly impress the Manolo.

And so because his ardor for the designers had perhaps cooled, the Manolo found that he was this week less interested in their risible antics, and much less interested in their “artistic” visions, having already seen the disappointing final product of those visions.

But the Manolo must carry on manfully as his many internet friends are awaiting his ridiculous pensées.

As for the anticlamatic anticlimax, the Manolo was disappointed that no one was sent away, just as he was disappointed during the previous episode when the Vincent and the Angela were brought back.

These instances seem to the Manolo to be the unnecessary bending, twisting, breaking of the rules by the producers so as to increase the dramatic tension. Although last night the rule-fiddling was not so much about the increasing of the tension, as about the acomodating of the favorites, so as to prevent the Michael, the beloved one, or the Jeffrey, the pathetic-boy sort-of-villian, from being sent away.

Yes, on the one level, the Manolo understands this decision to keep the Jeffrey and the Michael for the final runway.

Both the Uli (who deservedly won last night) and the Laura (who again showed too much of the sternum) are the completely predictable designers. While, the Michael seemed (until the Manolo saw his final collection) to have the impeccable sense of what worked. And the Jeffrey, for all of his many and manifest faults, is entertaining in his way. Thus the decision was taken by the producers and the judges to keep the more interersting designers, even though their final outfits last night were very weak.

Of the course, this decision, to end in the giant group hug, it undermines the point of the show, which is the fierce competition.

Without the competition, the Project Runway is not worth the watching. And when the losers arbitrarily can be brought back, and the final three arbitrarily made the final four, the show is revealed as silly and artifical. Yes, the Project Runway it was always silly and artificial, but as long as the competition seemed plausibly fair we could ignore this, so accustomed are we to the nature of games. In the world of games, the one thing you do not do is change the rules halfway through, for to do so is to render the game not worth the playing, or the watching.

Thankfully, however, last night, there were still the Tim Gunn, the Michael Kors, the pillowy Heidi Klum, and the Ninotchka Garcia de Castellanos to observe. Indeed as far as the Manolo was concerned the only truly amusing moment was at the end when the Tim Gunn became almost verklempt, the eyes welling-up, the voice almost demi-semi-quavering, and the lower-lip seconds away from full pout. Who knew that beneath the steely grey hair and the all-business demeanor there lurked the soul of the sentimental, marshmallowy romantic?

Now, it is on to the reunion show. Perhaps the return of the dangerously egomaniacal Keith can provide some true amusement.

Tim Gunn on the Crocs

Manolo says, quite obviously, the Tim Gunn does not like the Crocs.

Arlington, Va.:Tim, In what is, to me, a particularly distressing trend, I have seen many women (and quite a few men) wearing crocs in public. Is this truly acceptable? Is there some sort of fashion clearinghouse which decides on a whim that actions which would normally result in ostracization are instead cool and accepted? Tim, please offer your advice.

Tim Gunn: Ohhhhh… May I respond by merely saying, “I hate crocs. May they please go away.”

The Manolo could not have said it better.