Project Runway Under the Gunn

Under the Gunn, episode 1

 

The show seems interesting.  They had a commercial for another show that I find even more promising, *The Fashion Fund*, on Ovation:

 

http://www.ovationtv.com/the-fashion-fund/

 

Designers pitching to the fashion gods, people like Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg.  Its premiere is on Wednesday.  I’ll be watching both shows but am not sure I’ll be writing about both.  Will keep you posted.

 

Anyway back to The Gunn.  The Gunn himself is a little ill-at-ease as host, no?  He’s completely at ease (or at least appears so) when she’s in conversation or engaged in something, but he seems a little stiff when he’s delivering dialogue.

 

The format is interesting - - I find it particularly interesting that the mentors (Mondo, Anya, and Nick) are also competing for a prize.  That puts things in a different perspective.  Certain elements of the show make me think of other shows - - the designer pick reminds me of *America’s Next Top Model*, and the mentor competition reminds me of *The Face*.

 

A few other random observations: I’m not sure how I love the text on the screen, flashing people’s names, etc.  It’s a little invasive, yet helpful.  Will see how that plays out.  The contestants were up in arms about being given only six hours for the challenge.  Is that really so extreme?  And that hunky makeup artist with the impressive moustache - - I believe he’s on every episode of every show in the Project Runway franchise.  Is this his only job?

 

I love me some Mondo, as you know.  Clearly he’s pimping out his new eyewear line, he’s wearing a different pair of funky glasses every time they cut to him.  Did I count five different pairs in this first episode?  I’ve always loved Nick.  If I were a designer, I would choose him, just because he’s been a teacher and has so much more experience than the other two.  He seemed a little put off that none of the designers were choosing him - - I think the issue is that Mondo and Anya were on more recent seasons, and these kids don’t go so far back.  Whatever.  And Anya, is she the best they could do for a female alumna?  I know she won her season, and she deserved to, but did the girl ever make a garment with sleeves?

 

One of the prizes is “the opportunity to design the uniform for Benefit cosmetics.”  For real?  I think using the phrase “the opportunity to design” shows that the client has already accepted that the designer will pass on that prize.

 

I was thinking there would probably be a three-way bidding war, but I didn’t think it would be for Michelle.  Her dress was well made but not distinctive.  Maybe they see something I don’t.  I was shocked that Nick chose Oscar, that outfit he made was costumey in the extreme.  Broke the needle off the costume-o-meter.

 

I was disappointed that Melissa was sent home, I liked her polka dot dress.  I would definitely have chosen her over Natalia, who is clearly cray cray.  But they need some of that to keep the show going, it’s the fuel that makes the engine rev.

 

Funniest line from episode one, and of course it came from Tim: “Your soul is inextricable from this!”  Word!

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #2

 

I’ll be writing about The Fashion Fund in a separate email - - I’ve only seen one episode but I already like it better than Under the Gunn.  I’ll definitely be watching both shows, and might (or might not) be writing about both.  Please let me know if you’d like to be off the list for one, or both.  I could easily find a way to keep you on the list for the next full-on Project Runway season, so you needn’t worry about dropping off entirely.

 

I loved Nick’s bit of advice: “Put the fuschia dress in the window, because the customer will buy the black sheath dress.”  Very wise!  If I were one of the designers, I would choose Nick as a mentor.  I felt bad that he was passed over so often.  His explanation that he’s older than Mondo and Anya is only part of the story - - the real story is that the designers weren’t watching PR when Nick’s season was on, they were in middle school!  Or if they were watching, they don’t remember that far back.

 

Some runway comments, from those who were chosen: Stephanie’s dress was strong, but the skirt was lumpy, and not in a way that was appealing.  Sam’s poncho and skirt were shapeless.  I think either the top or the bottom should be somewhat fitted - - having both be big and loose looks sloppy, and doesn’t show off the model’s body at all.

 

I didn’t know quite what to think about Nicolas’s dress.  Richard walked in just as the model came onscreen, and he said, “It looks like a prison uniform.  Is that the challenge?”  I had two problems with it - - it was too short, and the blue was too dark, it was hardly any different from the black.  With a few tweaks, that would be a fab cocktail dress.  The woman in that dress would certainly get noticed.  I wasn’t wild for Asha’s dress, it was a little too Barbarella, but it certainly showed a lot of design, and good handling of the fabric.  The challenge was to show who they are as a designer, and she certainly did that.

 

Isabelle is another cray cray, I was sure that they were going to keep her just because she’s good TV.  Tim should have disqualified her when she didn’t stop using the sewing machine, that really is not fair to the other designers.  I think they should call time and beam the models onto the runway.  So, having written her off as a total flake, I was shocked that her dress looked so sharp!  Again, it showed who she is.  I hope Nick is able to pound some professionalism into her.

 

And the aufs: Amy’s dress was just fine, but rather “meh”.  Richard hit the nail on the head - - he said it looked like resort wear.  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.  And Rey said in a little interview that he makes clothes for “career-oriented sluts”.  He knocked it out of the park on his outfit, he totally knows his client!  Yeesh.

 

It was degrading to have the designers plead their cases on the runway, I didn’t like that at all.  I hope we won’t be subjected to that again.  I was happy to hear that they had sparkling apple juice at the party, and not just Champagne.  Not everyone drinks booze!  And I know I’m not the only one who noticed that Anya chose four men.  She’s the only mentor who doesn’t have a mix of men and women.  Does that say something about her?

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #3

 

Richard got this promotion from The London Hotel here in NYC:

 

http://tracking.travelclick.com/dm?id=CC11B37F7323F90679A66D2C6FEA8C874578D93A3298C308

 

Just in case you have a few thousand dollars lying around.

 

And the illustrious Karen Miller sent me this link - - I had no idea that Beyoncé wore Michael Costello to the Grammys!

 

http://globalgrind.com/2014/01/26/2014-grammy-awards-beyonce-michael-costello-white-dress-photos/

 

As Giuliana would say on Fashion Police, “Hashtag gorgeous!”  Bravo, Michael.  The nude lining gets a little bunchy up close, but it’s a fabulous look from a few feet away.

 

Oy, I am so over Zanna Roberts Rossi, and am not up for another season of her, every episode.  One thing this show does have going for it: it’s only an hour long.  Praise Jesus.  Another thing I love: they have John Baldessari in the workroom!  He’s the father of conceptual art, they have his black and white photos with the heads covered with circles.  I love him!

 

The challenge this week was to do an outfit for a red carpet event, but it had to communicate your design point of view.  Sam said, “I don’t do evening gowns”, which is a phrase I don’t want to hear on Project Runway.  Other similar phrases: “I don’t do menswear.”  “I don’t do sportswear.”  “I don’t do clothes made out of kitty litter.”

 

Mood LA has their own little dog - - a butterscotch-colored Chihuahua named Oscar (after Oscar de la Renta).  Very cute, but not as cute as Swatch at Mood NYC.

 

Nick is a real takeover artist, what Richard would call “a real Buttinsky”.  Tim saw him taking over a designer’s garment, and he had to do an intervention - - a Timtervention.  Nick was cowed, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of that.

 

I was a little amazed to hear that the winner of each challenge gets $5000, every episode.  I was even more amazed that they didn’t follow it up with, “…furnished by Resource Water, the natural spring water that is mindful of the environment and supports a lifestyle of well-being.”

 

ON THE TOP

I was shocked that Sam won the challenge.  A jumper, on the red carpet?  For real?  Yes, it was well made, it was groovy, it was different, and it communicated who he is as a designer, but a jumper, on the red carpet?  For real?

 

I loved Shan’s suit.  Great use of the fabric, great design, and hello gazangas.  This outfit would be spectacular for a certain kind of red carpet event.  I don’t know why the judges were so gaga for Blake’s dress, I didn’t like the unfinished edges on the bodice.  I guess the pastel is on trend, but I didn’t care for it.

 

IN THE MIDDLE

Anya said this about Nicolas’s outfit: “I was completely shocked.  I can’t believe he pulled off something so exciting.”  Interesting that she used the phrase “pull off”, because it looks like a dress a stripper would wear when she first walks onstage.  She would work that fringe big time.  But that wasn’t the challenge, was it?  Asha’s dress was a little too ambitious for their timeframe.  Isabelle’s dress was beautiful, but should have been floor-length.  I loved Natalia’s dress, it was beautifully draped (and dark green is my favorite color).

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Michelle bit off more than she could chew, and that fabric was doing her no favors, it showed every pucker and wrinkle.  Stephanie’s dress looked like a 30-year old prom dress that had just been pulled out of a Space Bag.

 

Camilla is sent home, having made what judge Jen Rade hilariously called “a pillowcase”.  Her excuses were not appreciated: “I’m from Venezuela, we measure in centimeters.”  Yeah, nice try.

 

Interesting that the winner and the loser were both on Mondo’s team.

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #4

 

Is this the first time they’ve shown the full opening credits, or just the first time I’ve watched them?  I don’t like them, it’s too faux James Bond.  Yawn.

 

This movie, *Vampire Academy* - - it looks trashy, and not in a good way.  I was about to say, “But how much can you tell from a preview?”  In my experience, you can tell a hell of a lot from a preview.

 

Isabelle continues to be a hot mess.  I love her talk about “tornaders”, and her assessment of her relationship with Nick: “We’re not floating in the same ocean.”  Maybe that sounds better in Portuguese.  But the best moment was Tim saying, “No, Isabelle - - no, no, NO!”  Like he was talking to a dog that took a crap on the couch.

 

ON THE TOP

The mitering in Michelle’s piece was pretty impressive, and the metallic work on the top was lovely.  I also loved Oscars look, and Asha’s.  Very strong work on the top this week.  I might have given the win to Asha, because her outfit was funky but still wearable.  Oscar is surprising me, and how nice that he got $1000 for helping out!  I bet future PR designers will feel cranky that they’re not getting cold hard cash.  Or maybe that aspect will be carried into the whole brand?

 

IN THE MIDDLE

I loved Blake’s smoky little black dress, that was delicious.  Natalia’s dress was a bit of a snooze, the unconventional element felt very pasted on.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Isabelle’s dress was ridiculous.  How do you sit down in it?

 

It was cruel to make Anya choose the loser, since the bottom two were both her designers - - it’s so *Sophie’s Choice*!  Nicholas’s dress was sent straight from Dullsville.  She looked like the librarian at the *Vampire Academy*.

 

I knew Brady was going to be sent home, and was kind of glad he was, when he turned around and looked at Anya with those puppy dog eyes.  Cheap.  Plus his outfit was dreadful, totally Montgomery Ward circa 1989.  And that was not the challenge!

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #5

 

Happy Valentine's Day, darlings!  Today's column comes to you direct from my apartment.  I have the day off - - oh joy, oh rapture.

 

First off, Zendaya - - who?  Never heard of this girl.  Clearly I haven't been watching the Disney channel, and that might work to my advantage in the long run.

 

Is Nick driving you a little crazy?  Note to Nick: the show is not about you.  Am I right, that part of being a mentor is surrendering the spotlight to the person you're mentoring?

 

ON THE TOP

I thought Shan's outfit was the best by far.   The jacket was fabulous and unique, and I loved the pants, I thought they'd have a lot of pop on stage.  Asha's outfit was very strong, and the pseudo shirt around the waist was a cute idea.  Her look was maybe a little more cohesive.  And did you notice the backup singers were wearing modified versions of it in the performance?  I like Asha, I hope she continues doing good work.

 

ALSO NOTED
Michelle's top was very cool, but that target effect in the knees was a little I don't know what.  Nicholas's outfit was too red carpet - - and do we really want to see a 17-year old's boobs?

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Blake's look was dull, but I was glad he didn't go with his original idea with the dropped crotch.  Two words for a dancer in dropped crotch pants: Hammer Time!

 

Natalia, what were you thinking?  Dull, dull, dull.  It was like the third best outfit for Heidi's New Balance activewear challenge.

 

I liked Oscar's outfit, but then I am a big Liza Minnelli fan.  I love what Tim said in the workroom: "I have one question for you.  Is there a cape?"

 

Isabelle (or "Isabelly", as Asha adorably called her), I'm so glad you're gone!  She was a thorn in my side, also in Tim's, clearly.  She gets the Sandro award, the show could not go on with her on it.  I suppose I should mention that her outfit was a disaster on every level.  But it's her behavior that really takes the cake.  Next week, I think their challenge should be to design a jacket for Isabelle, one with long sleeves that tie in the back.

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #6

 

Nick is such a train wreck.  I was worried when he was talking with his team during the sketch period, I thought he was going to hijack his team and fly them to Cuba to design a resort wear collection.  He seems to have acquired a little self-knowledge by the end of this episode, I hope it sticks.  Very troubling that Tim had to have a talk with him about throwing Isabelle under the bus.  It was pretty clear she was going home, it was ungracious of him to speak against her.

 

*Pompeii*.  Another movie plug.  This is getting so tiresome.  Why are people so unglued by working in teams?  As they explain every time, this is the way the real world works.  Get used to it.  BTW, I would have liked them to spend a little less time showing the full two-minute preview to *Pompeii* and a little more time (any time at all, actually) giving some info on the Getty Villa.  I have no idea what it is, and it looks gorgeous.

 

Anya is doing a good job as mentor, I’m impressed.  Shan said, in the workroom visit, “We’ve each decided to dumb down our ideas.”  He said that like it was a good thing!  Anya said they should complement, rather than compromise.

 

ON THE TOP

Bravo to Nick’s team.  Who would have guessed they’d be in the top.  As Tim said, “When I saw your work last night, it was a pile of hot stinky diapers!”  To paraphrase Mrs. Hughes on *Downton Abbey*, “The poets have nothin’ on you, Mr. Gunn.”

 

Three very strong looks, and the most cohesive collection by far.  I would have given the win to Natalia, I loved how the top was so strong and the skirt so light and breezy.  Oscar’s outfit was beautiful, and was it Zanna who said that he has a talent for making things look expensive?  But it looked a little draggy to me, especially with the big panel hanging off the back.  It was very Charles Busch, I could totally see him making an entrance in that outfit, with a pair of strappy heels and a few pieces of important jewelry.

 

IN THE MIDDLE

Yikes on the blood bath from Mondo’s team.  Not nice looking.  Asha did the best job, but I think it would look better as shorts.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Blake is the only one who did a good job, that dress was nice, I loved the hem.  The belt was a little overstated, but whatever.  Nicholas’s dress was dull and sloppy.  Shan’s dress would look better without the bandage effect on the top.  What a cop out that neither of them was eliminated.  I hope this means they’re have a double elimination in a future episode.

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #7

 

First off, I was all hopped up to get home last night and watch the finale of *The Fashion Fund*, which was aired on Wednesday, but something went kerflooey with my DVR and it didn’t record it!  So now it’s not on until Sunday night, but of course I’ll be watching the Oscars on Sunday, so I won’t see it until Monday!  WAAA!

 

This episode of Under the Gunn was a total snoozefest.  The steampunk think is very hit or miss, no?  Here goes:

 

ON THE TOP

Natalia’s dress was cute, and snaps to her for a) coming up with the idea of the crank, and b) building it.  Very impressive.  I liked Oscar’s dress a lot, but thought it could have used a little something extra - - I would have loved it if he had splattered the fabric with bleach, that would have given it some needed verve.  Thank God he was talked out of the REVOLUTION on the train, that would have landed him in the bottom.  Bravo to Shan, that was one sexy outfit.  Very wearable, for an avant garde challenge, but sharp as hell.

 

IN THE MIDDLE

I was crazy for Michelle’s outfit, I was sure she’d be in the top.  It was a delicious outfit with piles of attitude.  Too bad Sharon Tate is dead, she would look spectacular in that outfit.  Asha’s dress either needed to be more spiffy or more shabby.  Sam’s outfit was OK, but too much of the impact came from the goofy glasses.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Blake’s dress was an ordinary dress with some wacky junk pasted on.  Not a satisfying way to fulfill the challenge.  Stephanie’s look was a throwaway, nothing special about it at all.  But Nicolas was the biggest dud.  No one wants to be bored.

 

I hope the unconventional challenge next week brings a little more fizz.

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #8

 

Finally - - the Gilligan’s Island challenge!  I was expecting Tina Louise to show up as guest judge.  You know she’s available, and looking for work.  These unconventional materials challenges are more fun for the viewers than for the designers, and it was a nice California idea to have them use things at the beach.

 

I love that Tim was wearing flip flops, and also a sport coat and tie.  You can take the guy to the beach, but you can’t put any beach in the guy.  The take-away quote from this episode is from Sam: “If a woman wants a purse made out of a pineapple, I’m gonna give it to her.”

 

ON THE TOP

Part of the challenge was to transcend the original object, and in that regard Oscar was the clear winner.  He really worked those fans.  The dress was beautifully made and stylish.  I would have given him the win, but he wasn’t even in the top two.

 

Interesting that they asked Mondo to choose the winner.  I thought Asha’s dress showed more inventiveness, but I support him giving the win to Sam, for getting past his wheel-spinning.  The skirt he made was pretty fantastic.  I love that Georgina said, in her posh English accent, “I want to know his gull, I want to have a drink with this gull.”

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Natalia made a brave effort, I think the judges acknowledged that.  Michelle’s outfit was a little too Fembot, and yes, it didn’t really use unconventional materials.  Stephanie deserved the auf - - if you’re gluing or sewing your materials onto the muslin, you shouldn’t be able to see the muslin.  And she was wrong to use the same treatment for the whole outfit, she should have broken it up a little.

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #9

 

More shameless product peddling!  What on earth do Glade Plug-Ins have to do with a day-to-evening look.  The “customizable” angle is tenuous, at best.  I was so bothered by the shamelessness of it all, I stood up and said to the TV, “I’ll show you a Glade Plug-In!”  This phrase was accompanied by a vulgar gesture.

 

Natalia has taken on the mantle of Princess Flake now that Isabelly has left.  Of course the other designers hate her.  And what a shame that Tim had to do another Timtervention with Nick.  Nick, Nick, Nick.  Will he never learn.  The (momentary) change in his behavior led to good results, so hopefully it will stick this time.  Will not hold my breath.

 

Would Mondo please stop wearing shorts?  He’s too old for that look, it is unseemly.

 

This might have been a PR first - - I didn’t like ANYTHING on the runway.  Some things were better than others, yes, but I didn’t think anything was particularly strong.

 

ON THE TOP

Shan’s dress was OK, but looked a little wonky.  The cut-outs were a good idea, though I personally don’t know any women who would wear that.  Snaps to Natalia for doing a good job, coming out on top, and inspiring rage in her fellow designers and rival mentors!  Yikes.  More about that in a moment.  Her dress was cool, but I didn’t like the fold along the front.  Also the whole thing looked a little rushed.

 

Oscar is really coming into his own.  I thought that outfit was a little too opulent for daytime, but I guess there are women out there who would love it.  The cape?  Really?

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Hated Asha’s peek-a-boo navel.  And the skirt folding up was a very cool idea, but not at all good in the execution.  Blake’s outfit was so odd: the daytime look was mumsy in the extreme - - mumsissimo!  And the evening look was so short in the front, Peach would say that girl is showing us the good china.

 

Michelle clearly has a very high opinion of herself.  Her non-defense in front of the judges was telling.  I love that Tim asked her, “Given the judges’ feedback, would you change anything?”  She said no.  That says a lot.  The fabric choice was blah bordering on blech, and the transformation was just plain stupid.  The belt did not help.

 

A b-tch slap to Mondo and Anya!  That was very ungracious of them, to say that Natalia didn’t deserve the win.  I hope it will be noted in future challenges, that really seemed like a bad move, professionally.  The bottom line is: the judges make their decision and it’s your job to live with it.  Slow curtain, The End.

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #10

 

Yeesh, watching the recap of the previous episode really brought home how scripted that whole Natalia thing felt.  She was struggling in the workroom, she did something good, she ended up in the top two, the other designers don't like her, and Mondo and Anya did a little talk back to the judges.  It's all so pat.  Maybe I've been watching PR too long, but it's getting a little too easy to look behind the curtain and see that the great and mighty Oz is actually a team of writers, plotting the season week to week.

 

Has any of you ever heard of Francesca's before this season?  I have not.  The button bag used to be black velvet, yes?  I guess it's red velvet for LA.  It would have been nice if Asha and Shan had been paired up, since they have the same letters in their name.  But Asha was hooked up with Natalia - - that seems like proof that the button bag is just as "random" as it's always been.  Cracked me up that Asha kept cutting her off when they were sketching.

 

So cute that Oscar doesn't know the word "overalls"!  Yikes, Asha and Natalia's mentor critique was a little nightmarish.  Got me worried for the final product.  I loved the sotto voce conversation btw Natalia and Shan in the sewing room:

 

NATALIA: The only thing I wish I could do is I wish I had some time to take some sewing lessons or something.

SHAN: I think you're doing alright.  You're making it farther than people thought you would.  People underestimated you.

 

Nice that someone has time to be nice.

 

That makeup guy said the lipstick will add "bazzazz".  Someone's been watching *Funny Face*!  All hail our blessed lady, Kay Thompson.

 

I'm going to talk about each team before I get to the high and low.

 

SHAN AND OSCAR

The overalls look is cute.  The removable bib is a good idea, but the buttons on the front don't really work when they're just shorts, they should have thought that through a little more thoroughly.  The turquoise blazer does not work - - I don't know if it's the color or the fabric or both, but it makes the model look like a dental hygienist.  And the cut-out seems a little gaping.  The halter maxi is gorgeous.  The three pieces work well together.

 

ASHA AND NATALIA

The pink dress is sloppy, but the design is strong.  The dashiki looks better on the runway than it did in the workroom, but it's still pretty darn horrid.  Love Nick's description, that it looks like a girl got lost at Burning Man, did too many hits of acid.  And Bingo was his name-oh!  The cropped top and high/low skirt is cute, but kind of a throwaway.  The three pieces do not go together at all.

 

SAM AND BLAKE

Why was everyone so nutty for that tacky 70s eyelet lace?  Yick.  The T-shirt was cute on the first look, but hate the shorts, especially with the crafty lace trim.  When you're making low-priced ready-to-wear, it has to live up to repeated washings.  The palazzo pants are fab, the top is a snooze.  The final look is OK.  On the whole, I got tired of seeing that tie-dyed print.

 

* * *

 

ON THE TOP

How nice that the judges had a hard time choosing between the top four.  And how sweet that Oscar and Shan both won.  I can't believe the judges liked that blue jacket.  I shake my head.

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Yikes on Asha and Natalia.  I was surprised that Asha didn't say that Natalia should go home, she only said that she should stay.  And what a shocker that Natalia said, basically, that SHE should go home.  Asha should send her a thank you note for falling on her sword.  I think she's had enough of the drama and the snarkiness, and I don't blame her.  She seems like the type to come back for an All-Star challenge, no?

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #11

 

Two contributions from a couple of my devoted readers.  First off, the darling Jeff sent me the this fab article from vulture.com, comparing and contrasting *Project Runway* with *Survivor*:

 

http://www.vulture.com/2014/03/best-reality-show-survivor-project-runway.html?mid=vulture_newsletter&om_rid=AABa9G&om_mid=_BTMe9YB85DNNm5

 

Be sure and check out their list of PR’s five best and worst designs (huzzah that they remembered Korto’s seat belt coat dress):

 

http://www.vulture.com/2014/03/project-runway-best-worst-designs.html

 

And the ever-stylish Freya was at a Francesca’s this last weekend and bought two necklaces.

 

It’s a horrid thing to say, but I’m happy that this season is heading towards its close.  This show is not so impressive.  I’m torn about whether I’ll watch another season - - first let’s see if they have another season.  Let’s keep that old horse before the cart.

 

What on earth was the point of starting the episode with a couple of strippers.  Major WTF moment.  The story about their first client (the stripper) was a cute one, but having actual strippers was unnecessary and cheap.  I don’t know why I’m so prudish on this issue - - we’re talking about a reality show on Lifetime.

 

The “real woman” challenge is always a good one.  I’m thrilled that they randomly assigned the clients, I think they’ve learned their lesson on past challenges, where the largest woman is invariably the last one chosen.  Memories of grade school basketball, anyone?  But there’s usually some kind of story connected to the clients - - like they’re breast cancer survivors, or have lost a lot of weight, or are divorcees or something.  These women didn’t see to have much of a connecting narrative.

 

Yikes on the sequin allergy!  I felt awful for that poor woman, breaking out in hives after wearing a sequined blouse.  Just think of how that’s going to limit her options, professionally speaking.

 

ON THE TOP

Shan pulled victory out of the jaws of defeat, no?  Turns out Anya had no reason to be “trepidacious” (her word, cracked me up).  I like Shan more and more, and he does good work.  What a treat that he won both the special prize and the actual win.  Kudos to him.  Asha’s dress was good, and clearly made her client feel sexy as heck.  It wasn’t quite as finished as Shan’s, I can see why they chose him over her.

 

IN THE MIDDLE

I think Oscar should have won this challenge!  Yes, the gown was a little mature for her, but it was stunning, impeccably made, and exactly what the client wanted.  But Nick has a point: Oscar needs to youth up his aesthetic a little bit if he’s going to win, or else he and Stanley (season 11) can set up business making clothes for the ladies who lunch.  Good money in that, to be sure!

 

ON THE BOTTOM

Sam’s dress was OK, but a snooze.  I didn’t think the leather piece in the middle was such a good addition.  I felt bad for Blake, but it seemed like it was in the cards, him being the only contestant left who hadn’t won a challenge.  I loved the fabric, but it just wasn’t right for the design, or for the client.  And the obi down the middle was a strange idea, not flattering.

 

Have a super weekend!

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, #12

 

I roll my eyes!  But let's save the eye roll for the end of the episode, shall we.  I don't have much to say this week, my Project Runway Fatigue Syndrome is getting the better of me.  Glad we're headed to the finale, I'm looking forward to some time off.

 

Don't you like the comic book Tim Gunn?  His 2D alter ego is sexy as hell.  Maybe also in person, who's to say.  I found it ominous that Sam said he wanted to make something "the judges will not be able to look away from."  Clearly he was unaware that statement could go both ways.  One more observation before we get to the runway - - Rachel Roy was wearing a freaking turban!  She looked like she was ready for her close-up.  Not in a good way.

 

TOP TWO

Shan totally nailed it, he addressed the challenge and still made something distinctive and fashionable.  Bravo to him.  I was touched by his call with his wife, BTW - - he's really a dear soul.  I wrote two words for Oscar's outfit: Cost.  Yoom.  Costumey in the extreme.  Beautifully made, and kinda cool, but why doesn't he just become a costume designer?  Wouldn't that be a better place for this talents?

 

BOTTOM TWO

Asha's outfit was a major meh.  The top was pretty, and the long back had a little drama, but the pants were a snooze.  It was not helped by the belt.  Sam appears to have been mentored by Mondo in gaining sympathy from the judges and viewing audience - - a double helping with Sam, bullying and two suicide attempts.  Have I become too jaded?  Is it my PRFS talking?  Anyway, back to the clothes.  His outfit was too wacky.  I thought the painting in the back was ugly, and the ribbons hanging off, it made her look like a maypole.  Not in a good way.

 

What a cop out, having four designers in the finale, yet again.  I'm going to be cutthroat and say this: if the judges couldn't decide who to send home, why didn't they send them BOTH home?  Have two people in the finale?  That would be a first for PR.

 

LOVE, Chris

 

Ryan on the Runway: UG, the finale

 

Hello - - sorry my column is so late, I was in Wisconsin visiting my adorable mother.  We were cleaning out her basement, we got a buttload of work done.  Plus we played a lot of canasta.  What more do you need?

 

I’m disappointed in the judges’ choices, but am not at all down-hearted, probably due to my PRFS.

 

One last bit of overt product placement in this episode, with the Benefit brow session.  I’m surprised they didn’t bring in U-Haul to be their corporate sponsor for the boxes they use to bring the clothes over to the venue.  Can’t you just hear the scripted plug?  “These U-Haul boxes are so roomy - - I don’t know what I’d do without them!”

 

The visit from family members and partners got me a little skittish.  This has thrown people off their game in the past, but didn’t seem to be a bad thing this time.  Nice that they gave them help from auf’d designers, and especially nice that there was no drama with them.

 

Let’s look through the designers in ascending order:

 

SHAN

Mom and I were shocked, we both thought he had the strongest show of the four, we were amazed that he was on the bottom.  His clothes were distinctive, the collection was cohesive, and he was doing cool things that I imagine women want to wear.  I am flummoxed.  I hope he gets a good job, he could totally design ready-to-wear for some big brand.  Plus I like HIM a lot.  How cute was it that his twin boys slept through his show?

 

ASHA

Some of her looks were a little trashy and/or badly made.  And that last gown was totally *The Eyes of Laura Mars*.  I love that movie, but that wasn’t the challenge.

 

SAM

The take-away quote: “I hate couture.”  Is this a well-considered thing to say on a show about fashion design?  His collection was a mixed bag - - some good things, some sloppy things, a few ugly pieces (that silver pleated skirt gave me hives), and a serious case of crazy crotch in that opening pants outfit.  Again, I shake my head.

 

OSCAR

He says that he’s inspired by strong women, but he designs clothes that only look good on women who weigh under 75 pounds.  He’s living in Fantasyland.  A happy place, to be sure, but not the real world.  The lace cape was very Madame, and it was way too soon to be repeating himself.  The palazzo pants outfit was gorgeous.  The fourth outfit was a nice contrast to what Asha had done - - it was shiny but not trashy.  And the final gown was beautiful, he was smart to do it in a color - - but again, it would only look good on a tall skinny model.

 

I’m relieved that Under the Gunn is over, and though I might try watching a season 2 (if there is one), I doubt I’ll write about it.  I hope PR season 13 doesn’t air for months and months - - they often do a summer premiere, that would be fine.  I need to recharge my batteries.

 

LOVE, Chris

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