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Ryan on the Runway: PR20, ep 1

A hearty thank you to my best friend Karen for TELLING ME ABOUT THIS! My DVR died a couple weeks ago so I might have not even known it was on until too late. Which would have been disastrous, disheartening, dishonorable.

Let me give you a brief Project Runway history lesson. It premiered on Bravo in 2004. It was on Bravo for five seasons, then moved to Lifetime for eleven seasons, then moved back to Bravo in 2018 due to the demise of the Weinstein Empire. All of the All Stars seasons had aired on Lifetime, so Bravo, in a snide stab at Stalinist revisionist history, is calling this Project Runway season 20, the first ever all stars season. Isn't that hilarious.


All hail Korto Momolu!. She and Laura Bennett are my favorite contestants in the history of the series. Love that woman. Such a talent, such a delight.

Kara Saun, so full of controversy! Do you remember that whole shoe debacle in her runway show? Not pretty. Great that they went all the way back to season 1.

Rami Kashou, such a talent and such a personality. They did a little bio on each designer and I'm surprised they didn't mention that he designed a costume for Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show.

Fabio, super cute and lots of talent and ingenuity.

Mila, welcome back, it's a treat to see you again. Her impact is entirely with her work and not with her personality.

I always thought Victor was super cute, he always made me smile. I seem to remember he also blogged on the PR website, and he was saucy.


Anna Zhou. I remember her but let's say she didn't really make a strong impression at the time.

Kayne - - he's a riot but is he really the bomb? Or just a firecracker?

Laurence - - I think I sort of remember her...? She's gorgeous, that much is clear.

Hester - - of course I remember her but not in a good way, she annoyed me in her previous season. But I love how she's redone herself, she seems to have grown up.

Brittany, all attitude and scant talent. And who is she kidding with that shade of blonde.

I remember Prajjé but have no memory of his work. Says something, right?


Sorry Bishme and Nora, I have no memory of either of you.

The challenge: they were given the look that had gotten them eliminated (or close to eliminated) in their original season. The new design had to have some vague relation to the original. The judges want to see that they can learn from their mistakes.

Christian said, when he and Nora announced the challenge, that there was a twist. But he didn't say what it was. He went into full sadist mode in the workroom later saying, "I can't wait for my twist! So much fun!" Richard summed it up perfectly: "He's f-cking nuts."

The twist: no one would have immunity this season, anyone could be eliminated at any time. The winner of each challenge would be getting advantages or prizes. The winner of this challenge, for example, would win $10,000. Not chump change.

Kayne left half of his fabric at Mood. He tried to get some support from the other designers but they had the attitude that it was his problem. Which it was! Big girl panties time, honey. If you're gonna be a bonehead you gotta live with it.

Bishme had a very hard tine with this challenge. His sister was ill during his season and ended up dying two months before the current season started. It was triggering for him to have to confront the design that got him eliminated, it made him revisit the time when his sister was sick. He spoke with a producer and shared his feelings. It was touching. Thankfully he seemed to pull himself together.

On to the runway! The judges were our usuals: Nina Garcia, Elaine Welteroth, and Brandon Maxwell. And the guest judge, my beloved Alicia Silverstone. Call me crazy (and I'm sure you have) but I really and truly believe that *Clueless* is the greatest movie of the 90s.

At this point I need to introduce you to my friends Laura and John, who I refer to as Statler and Waldorf, since their snarky commentary is in the tradition of the cranky old dudes in a box seat on *The Muppet Show:*

Statler (John) and Waldorf (Laura) had strong opinions about what Miss Silverstone was wearing:

Waldorf: OK guys. What was up with that outfit? I want to send her an underwire.

Statler: I want to send her a mirror and an honest critique by Nina Garcia.


Bishme: the jacket was cute. I was pleased that he had a success with such personal challenges but I didn't see it as so impressive. I think the judges saw a clear relation to the original, which served him well. I would have put Rami in the top three over him, Rami's look was much more ambitious and had more impact.

Kayne: wow, that was cute, very strong. Another case of taking your personal tragedy (in his case, being a bonehead) and rising above it.

Fabio: an interesting mix of arty yet wearable. Elaine chose it as her favorite look of the day.


Nora: pretty but underpowered and I saw no relation to the original garment. Brandon pointed out that the fabric was a huge problem, it puckered and the pale color accentuated the problems. My friend Dianna said, "Her version of flowers was ugly, her sewing not so good." As you can see, Dianna is more diplomatic and ladylike than those shade-throwing codgers Statler and Waldorf.

Viktor: the pink fabric had nothing to do with the bondage business underneath, I didn't get it. Nina saw some good elements, that was kind of her. Brandon thought there was too much going on - - Viktor should have focused on a few elements and let those shine.

Kara Saun: Elaine thought it was dated, Alicia called it The Mermaid. Ouch. Dianna described it as matronly and thought it was a waste of the beautiful fabric (I paraphrase). Nina had lots of suggestions in their judge talk on how he could have improved it. Elaine said, "Sewing is a core part of this competition." Nina said, "One hundred percent."

I agreed with the judges on both the winner and the loser, which is as rare as hen's teeth. Kayne was the winner. His look was clearly the strongest. Nora was the loser - - her piece was so blah and badly crafted. Plus I didn't know who she was.

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