So last night, not wholly unexpectedly, "pop culture and fashion icon"* Sarah Jessica Parker was a guest judge (and client) on Project Runway. She was all one would hope her to be, perfectly charming, articulate, precise and constructive in her criticism. Unfortunately, the perfectly uncharming task was to design a 2-piece look for her uninspiring line Bitten. In other words, it had to be cheap and it had to please the Steve & Barry crowd. No glamorous red carpet gown for SJP, no over-the-top outfit for Carrie Bradshaw. Ah, to think of all the fun we could have had!
As expected, the resulting garments were completely unexciting. Victorya won with this rather shapeless sack dress, which SJP thought could be worn by women of many different body types (as long as they have the legs of a Thomson's gazelle, she forgot to add).
The sack theme went on. The losing garment was a saggy, scratchy-looking dress that virtually looked as if it had been made out of a potato sack. Marion, don't you know that Heidi Klum likes her plants shiny and her garments expensive-looking? When you hear Michael Kors reference Pocahontas, you know your game is up. Bye-bye, Marion, you just didn't measure up.
Unfortunately, there aren't any interesting words to report. I'm getting very tired of worn-out phrases like "wow the judges" and "knock their socks off" (the latter, rather uncharacteristically, used for the second time by Tim Gunn). For multisyllabic words of Latinate or Greek origin we had once more to count on Elisa, who was going for a "jux'position of aesthetics" (oops, she swallowed a syllable here), creating something "polymorphic" (a word her teammate Sweet Pea didn't understand, but even if you do - "poly"= many, "morph" = form - it doesn't make a lot of sense here) and who once more envisioned "a simple little cascade", all accomplished without a sewing machine, which apparently she cannot use. Tim Gunn was so stunned that he couldn't think of a nice Latinate term. His comment? "Cuckoo!"**
Talking about stunning, the real stunner was when Elisa casually owned up to using "spitmarks" to "imbibe"*** her fabric "with energy and essence". First grass, now spit, it just makes you wonder: "What planet are you from?" (M. Kors). Do they have grass stains on Mars? In any case, Elisa, wise, gentle woman that she is, assured everybody "I'm coming to your planet with gifts". And I must say, her garments look a lot less cuckoo than her philosophy sounds. No beehive hats à la Vincent here!
So, thank you, Elisa, for giving us another reason to scratch our heads in disbelief. But the socks? They are still on.
* Icon is truly an overused word on PR. The origin is Greek and the earliest documented (now obsolete) meaning in English was "likeness, portrait". The more recent meaning, "aperson or thing regarded as a representative symbol, esp. of a culture or movement", was first documented in 1952.
**The word cuckoo (coucou in French, Kuckuck in German) imitates the sound of the bird. It has been around since the 13th century. In the 16th century, the meaning widened, and the word was used to refer to people (not necessarily marking them as silly). The adjective was first documented in 1918.
***Imbibe is of Latinate origin ("bibere"= drink).
I ran across a piquant footnote on p. 214 of Ancient and Modern Malta, by Louis de Boisgelin (aka Pierre Marie Louis de Boisgelin de Kerdu), Knight of Malt...