July 16, 2008

T is for tablecloth

Project Runway returns to its swan season on Bravo. And it seems that Bravo is set on letting it go out not with a bang, but with boredom. How sad is it if the best five minutes of the first episode were the American Express commercials featuring Diane von Fuerstenberg? If even Tim Gunn can't bring himself to call this season's contestants the most talented group of designers ever? (Because clearly, they aren't.) If guest judge Austin Scarlett -- sweet, romantic, whispy Austin -- appears to have come straight from Madame Tussaud's?

What to make of a season in which Tim Gunn makes his entry reminding everyone to "knock the judges' socks off"? That metaphor didn't suit him the first time he used it, and it deserves to be retired. (It has been around since 1845, according to the OED).

What is the point of repeating the grocery store challenge if most of the designers appear never to have watched the first season -- how would they otherwise come up with garment after garment made of tablecloths (paper or fabric), paper towels, "ugly cheap ass" garbage bags, or shower curtains that one "would wear in a slasher movie" (thank you, MK). Let me tell you this, if your face doesn't lighten up when you hear the words "corn husk dress", you're not a real PR fan -- and you certainly shouldn't be a contestant.

The only bold entry was the plastic cup dress, which instantly brought up mental pictures of Krystle Carrington. I actually preferred it to the winning design, which was certainly more wearable, but too cutesy-wootsy for my taste (and, really, if you cut up vacuum cleaner bags, you basically work with paper-like fabric, which is _not_ the point of this challenge, except if you want to impress Nina Garcia, who will always pick the design that looks most "impeccable", whether or not it fits the spirit of the challenge, won't she, Keith?).

No linguistic highlights or new Tim Gunnisms in this season-opening episode. It frees you up to think about other weighty issues, like Heidi Klum's apparent vow never to cover her thighs again. Watch what happens.

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