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Project Runway season 14




Hello possums!  Can we have a quick shout-out to SCOTUS?  Hell yes!


The darling Jeff sent me three news items about our beloved Project Runway, courtesy of our friends at Variety.  I’ll summarize them in the order in which I care about them.


  1. Project Runway season 14 premieres August 6th.

  2. Project Runway All Stars season 5 is “slated” for early 2016.  Probably a week after PR 14, at the peak of our communal Project Runway Fatigue Syndrome.

  3. Project Runway Junior premieres this fall.  It will feature designers between 14 and 17.


Note to the PR posse: please stop trying to create shows with youngsters.  I made it through one episode of Project Runway Threads and still bear the scars.  I have similar doubts about Project Runway Junior, but might be won over by the presence of mentor Tim Gunn and judge Christian Siriano.  In my far from humble opinion, PR should stop creating new shows and focus on making the original Project Runway as good as it could possibly be.  I think we can all agree that the last few seasons have been lacking.  High on drama, low on talent.


The full story:


Have a super weekend!  You’ll hear from me again in August (if not before).

LOVE, Chris




Good morning, sports fans!  Don’t forget that Project Runway season 14 starts on Thursday.  I won’t be able to watch it that night, I’ll be in Queens seeing two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster in concert.  But the angel said unto them, fear not: I’ll watch it Friday night and will send out my missive either that night or the next morning.


The darling Jeff sent me this puzzling video of Heidi and Tim reacting to the news that PR had received four Emmy nominations.  Jeff’s email to me was titled: “Heidi and Tim dance.”  Then he said, in the body, “And I use that term advisedly.”


LOVE, Chris




Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 1


I think we have a world record: it was 9:06 when my husband Richard said, “I dislike most of them already.”


We’ve seen this “grab the fabric” challenge before (I think also on the premiere episode), but it was a nice tweak to have it at Madison Square Garden.  And it was hilarious seeing Heidi and Tim trying to shoot a basket during the commercial break - - did you catch that?


The designers seem generally childish and bitchy.  A few of them have sob stories which inspire actual sobbing.  I tell you something that’s sob-worthy: leaving your scissors at home!  THREE designers left all their tools at home.  How on earth could they screw that up?  I’m sure their instructions are precise in the extreme.  And have they never watched the show?  Every episode ends with the auf’d designer going back to the workroom and packing up his/her tackle box with his/her tools.


Another great quote from Richard: “This is the worst crew they’ve ever had.  They’re all morons.”  Exhibit A: referring to “muslin” (lightweight cotton cloth in a plain weave) as “Muslim” (a follower of the religion of Islam).  God bless Tim for not breaking into hysterical laughter over that.  Give that man an Emmy!


One of my favorite quotes from the episode:


Q: What’s your specialty?
A: Dresses.


But Tim Gunn takes the cake.  This was one of those moments where I had to rewind it to transcribe exactly what he said: “A lot of you have a big lump of coal up your rear ends.  Yu either need to get that lump of coal out, or turn it into a diamond.”


No memory of the guest judge, isn’t that sad?  And did you notice that Zac Posen is now Creative Director of Brooks Brothers Woman?  Congrats to him.



Edmond’s dress was good, but was it really all that?  One of the judges said the train looked like an afterthought, and I can see that.  But bless his heart, he’s auditioned for EVERY SEASON of this darn show.  Holy moly.


How on earth did Merline get in the top three with that weirdo outfit?  There’s a good idea in there somewhere, but it didn’t work at all.  The fabric was too stiff, or something.  It was not cool at all.


Ashley’s outfit was wonderful.  The top and skirt worked well together, it was wearable but still distinctive.



I saw those pinstripes on Candice’s dress and said, “That’s so 80s!”  Richard said, “It’s so Yankees!”  Love David’s dress, with the mix of fabrics.  Joseph’s outfit was cool and sharp, and you know how the judges go wacko for separates.  Swapril’s dress was beautiful, very well made.


I would have put Kelly in the bottom instead of Duncan - - yes, instead of the guy who was sent home!  That dress was so strange - - the extra strap going over to the bra cup made it seem like an eye patch for your boob.   Maybe that’s the effect she was going for, in which case, bravo.



Blake’s dress could have been great, if he had been given more time to work on it.  But he wasn’t!  A classic “bit off more than he could chew” moment.  It was badly made, wonky as hell, and that yellow lining was not a great idea.


I would have given the auf to Hanmiao, no contest.  NO ONE would look good in that, it was frumpy in the extreme.  Frumpissimo!  The ugly fabric and the boxy cut: the needle on the Frump-o-Meter was spinning wildly about the dial.  And the clothes she showed in the Road to the Runway were so groovy and sophisticated.  She needs to turn that lump of coal into a diamond, and quick.


I didn’t think Duncan’s dress was so awful, but Nina had a good point: it was troubling that HE didn’t see the problems with it.  The draping was too heavy - - you really have to know what you’re doing when it comes to that (he should do a mini-course with Rami Kashou).  And I bet Tim feels awful, because he was so encouraging in the workroom.  Plus Duncan is so cute, I’m sorry to see him go.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 2


Before I get to this week’s episode, my dear friend Frank sent me this interesting article on 3D printing in haute couture:


There was a moment early in the episode when the designers were hanging out in their rooms talking and in each room someone found and read a note from Tim and Heidi.  Am I the only person who thought of America’s Next Top Model, and hoped that someone would shout out, “TYRA MAIL!”


Don’t you feel bad for the people who work at the Hallmark store, having to clean up the store and restock all their merchandise after the animals have left?  This was a fun episode, an interesting twist on the unconventional materials challenge.  I have a few requests: could the producers give them a paper cutter?  Wouldn’t that have been a nice idea.  And I think they should be very precise about the requirements: they should say something like 80% of what is visible in the design has to be made out of the unconventional materials.  This way there’s no misunderstanding about using bedazzled muslin.  And I think it would have been cute if one of the designers had made a dress with cards on the top and envelopes on the bottom, and had the model pull a card out of an envelope on the runway.  Or is that too twee?


It was nice to see the designers bartering with each other.  But it was NOT nice to hear Blake say that he “doesn’t speak Indian.”  News flash, girleen: there is no such language.


One other thing: the Just Fab accessory wall.  I think the producers should save Tim the trouble of learning a new name every season and just refer to it as the “Your Name Here Accessory Wall”.



I wasn’t wild for Blake’s dress - - it was pretty, but was it really made out of card fabric?  I didn’t pay such close attention to the construction, but it sure did look like he was covering muslin with glitter.  Kelly’s two-piece dress was impressive, the piecing together of the top in particular.  Swapnil’s dress showed so much skill: the perfect fit of the top, the mitering of back of the top, the assembly of the flowers in the skirt, and the austere top worked well off the cutesie girly skirt.  And the ribbon in the back served as a connection between to the two pieces.  He’s a wonder.


Edmond’s wedding dress was spectacular, very ambitious and beautifully executed.  The skirt, though, was not made out of cards, it was just made out of paper - - but I guess since it wasn’t muslin, it’s still allowed.  And it was so cute that the producers ended the runway show with the wedding gown, VERY old school fashion show.



I would have put Candice in the top instead of Blake.  That silver dress was fierce.  I also loved Jake’s sparkly black dress.  In the workroom it looked rather Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (never a bad thing) and it ended up looking elegant.


Ashley: so lucky she had immunity!  Dreadful.  Gabrielle’s dress looked promising in the workroom, but on the model it looked like the vagina dentata that eats Lando Calrissian in *Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi*.  Not in a good way.  And continuing on the creepy creature genitalia theme, was it Amanda who hilariously said that Merline’s dress had a manatee penis?  This was Richard’s description, as the model walked towards the camera and then walked away: “Manatee penis in the front, prolapsed anus in the back.”



Isn’t it weird that they had four designers on the top and only two on the bottom?  I don’t think I’d seen that before.  Richard and I were amused by the pre-commercial teaser of Zac saying that he wanted to grab the piñata stick and start whacking at it, and it was pretty clear that it was Amanda’s dress he was talking about.  The top was impressive: the lacy paper painted black with the print underneath it, very thoughtful.  But the skirt was a horror.  Ugly and overdone and it made the model look hippy.


Why were the judges (in some ways) so thrilled with David’s zippered coat?  It was shapeless and washed out.  And totally not a valid execution of the challenge.  He deserved to go home.  Plus he had the soldier-in-an-old-war-movie moment of calling his husband on the phone, often a sure sign that he’s headed for the chopping block.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 3


A bit of dialogue from our apartment:


Tim Gunn: Celebrity Cruises is known as the epitome of modern luxury vacation experiences.

Richard: Unlike the Queen Mary, which is a tugboat.


I liked this challenge, team challenges are always fun for the audience.  Is it really so hard to work together?  I have a two-step process to solve the problem of two designers butting heads (it requires one designer being a grown-up, and both designers capable of communication):



Have a calm, direct conversation about why you’re having issues and what you can do to resolve them.



If Step One doesn’t work, come up with a plan where each designer does one piece independent of the other and let the chips fall where they may on the runway.


I’ve said it a million times: have they never watched the show?


Tracee Ellis Ross - - could she be cuter?  Richard had to tell me that she’s Diana Ross’s daughter, I felt so clueless when he told me that.  I like her look so much more than her mom’s.  Miss Ross has always seemed to me like a product of styling and attitude, whereas Tracee looks like someone I’d actually want to know.


I thought the judging was totally wonko on this challenge.  This is how the judges placed the designs (I’ll use the place names, rather than designer names):


Top: Venice (win), Hong Kong, India

Middle: Greece

Bottom: Caribbean (lose), France, St. Petersburg


This is how I would have done it:


Top: India (win), Venice, Greece

Middle: France

Bottom: Caribbean (lose), Hong Kong, St. Petersburg


How could the judges have loved the Venice look as much as they did?  The pants were very cool, and the blouse was also cool, but I wasn’t convinced that it looked right with the pants.  It was the cape that was the problem - - it was just plain ugly.


The Hong Kong outfit looked like it was made in about twenty minutes.  And I liked the France outfit, it had a certain attitude that I liked.  I didn’t quite understand what the judges were talking about, with the construction issues with the front of the top, with the other fabric underneath - - that didn’t come across on TV.


I like that Ashley and Candice won, even though I didn’t like their outfit.  They worked so well together and they’re both so likeable, it made me feel good that they won.  But Laurie and Swapnil’s India outfit was the winner, in my mind, even with the crazy crotch on the pants.  The top was sublime, and the sari-esque drape was total chic.


A word about Merline - - she is so obnoxious!  I love what Candice said about Joe “taming” Merline: “That was not the challenge, to tame Merline.”  Ha!  I’m sure Merline will be untamed next week.  I have a feeling I’ll be surprised by her abilities (to annoy).


Hanmiao would not have lasted much longer, even if she hadn’t been sent home.  Her work on the two previous challenges was peculiar verging on horrific.  And then there’s her attitude.  I’m not sad to see her leave.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 4


A Project Runway first: have we ever seen a dead fish on the show?  Nice to know they have a few surprises up their dolman sleeves.


Three notes about their trip to Mood: what on earth is “vegan leather”?  Is that pleather by another name?  Love the new colorful Mood bags, I hope they’re reusing them from challenge to challenge.  And what a treat to see Swatch again.  He is the cutest dog ever.


Interesting challenge.  Not one for the ages, but not a total dud.  I’ve never seen *Mad Men* (shocking, I know), so I had never heard of guest judge Kiernan Shipka, but she’s awfully cute.  And how adorable that she had something nice to say about everyone.  What a darling!



Candice should have been the winner, what a fantastic outfit.  Lots of design in both the dress and the jacket, and brilliantly made.  The judges mentioned that they knew it was her as soon as it came out, that should be worth something.  I adore Candice, she’s my favorite designer this season (so far), but I predict that the other designers will be trashing her for bringing up her kids during the judging.  Some of them might think that’s cheap.


Swapnil’s dress was pretty impressive.  Definitely a strong second to Candice.  He knows what he’s doing, that one.


How on EARTH did Blake get in the top, let alone WIN?  Or to rephrase the question: What are the judges smoking?  Zac mentioned the construction issues when they did the up-close examination.  Was the design itself so kapow that they can overlook bad sewing?  And the judges are so caught up with styling, I’m surprised Nina didn’t put the kabash on this look because of the braid issue (very funny how she thought the poof in the back was hanging off the model’s braid).



I thought Ashley’s dress was very sweet, but does it need an open back?  What’s wrong with just being ladylike?  And everyone say it with me, in honor of the divine Joanna Coles: How do you wear a bra with it?  Jake’s basketball jersey dress was cute, but the number looked like it was glued onto it.  That dress would be a stunner if it had the number done in sequins.  And let’s lower the hem just an inch or two.  This is how Richard and I described Joseph’s dress: Alexis Carrington meets Lucy Ricardo.  And that was not the challenge.  Kelly’s outfit was so cool - - I’m keeping an eye on her, she might step forward in an upcoming episode.


I thought Laurie’s outfit was delicious, but maybe the judges thought it was a little overblown.  It made me think of one of Stanley Tucci’s best lines from *The Devil Wears Prada*: “Give me a full ballerina skirt and a hint of saloon, and I’m on board.”  In this case, give me some black and white volume in the blouse, a big bow at the neck, and some tough city girl attitude, and I’m on board.  I would have put her in the top over Blake.



Amanda’s dress was dreadful, totally made the model look five months pregnant.  Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey.  This could have been a cool outfit, but the fabric was her undoing.  Way too heavy and dull.  And why didn’t the model take the coat off when she walked down the runway?  That would have helped, but she still would have been in the bottom.  Her comment cracked me up: “I really liked it, and I think that’s what matters.”  Um, that’s not how it works!


Gabrielle seemed to know halfway through the episode that she was going home - - that’s always hard to watch.  I think there was a good idea lurking in there, but jeez, it sure didn’t come across.  The jacket looked weird (Nina was so right about the proportions being wrong) and the construction on the dress was horrid.


Next week: Tim Gunn teaches Blake how to tell time.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 5


May I go out on a tangent for a moment?  My dear friend Frank sent me this amusing quiz, matching the dress with the movie.  I got 89%.


This episode started off with me in hives.  That business of choosing the people to be on your team, it always gives me a unwanted flashback to gym class in grade school.  These are NOT memories I want to be faced with, thank you very much.  Of course it leads to drama and to someone feeling slighted, that's the whole point.  It's so undignified.  And I'm with Heidi: why on earth was Ashley the last to be chosen?  She's a lovely person and she's won two challenges, so clearly she's doing something good.  She and Merline were the last two to be chosen: Merline has not won a challenge, actually IS a challenge.  Is it fatism, plain and simple?  What else could it be?  We have not heard the end of this.

The paintball aspect of the challenge seemed so pointless, if the point was to grab the fabric.  But it turns out their primary fabric was the paintballed coveralls they were wearing, wasn't that a nice surprise.  No surprise that Blake was completely unblemished, that he didn't even put himself on the field.  I would not have been happy about that if I'd been on his team.  I would have given him nothing but demeaning tasks.  Cinderella, the door!

Here's my take on why one team did well and the other did not: the winning team talked about design from the get-go.  They understood that they'd have cohesion with the fabric, but they also set out to create cohesive design and the required variety for a collection.  The other team did not understand or address any of those things.  They thought their work was done with the fabric, and they could all go off and do whatever they want.  Uh, no.

What was up with the nails?  Fancy decorated nails are not high fashion, it's PR pumping the advertisers, and again, undignified.

I ADORE Kelly Osbourne!  She is so informed and kind and luscious.  I miss her something awful on Fashion Police.  I miss Joan Rivers, too, but I'll give her a pass.  I'm surprised we didn't hear a comment from Kelly or Ashley about lavender hair...

One more thing before I move on to the runway: I was sorely disappointed in Candice.  What a bossy Gillis, as Richard would say.  A wench on wheels, and up to this episode, my favorite designer!  Am wondering if she and Ashley will kiss and make up.  Or be placed on a two-person team in an upcoming episode, that would be Emmy-worthy.

Blake's dress was pretty, and I know you're tired of hearing this from me: it did not need a cut-out back.  I like that Jake did pants, but I didn't like the cape top, it was too superhero for my taste.

Edmond's gown was lovely, but I wouldn't have given him the win.  I thought it would have looked better with a straight hem.  I would have given the win to Joseph, who wasn't even in the top three.  I thought that look was sharp and wearable, crisp and delightful.  Swapnil is a close second, that dress was gorgeous and so thoughtfully made.  I'm going out on a limb and saying that he'll make it to the final three, and I can't wait to see his runway show.  Merline should be happy her outfit was lost in the shuffle, it was a mess.

Oy, too much purple fabric!  Did they not understand the meaning of the words "accent fabric"?  Some of those outfits were a third to a half purple fabric, which is CHEATING.  Case in point: Ashley.  Like it's not enough that the skirt was made out of the purple fabric, it was totally Simplicity pattern #4583, available for purchase at the Delavan, Wisconsin Ben Franklin.  Make it in a half hour!  But the top did show a lot of work, even if it wasn't particularly attractive.

Kelly's dress was just plain horrid.  Lindsey's was OK.  Laurie's outfit was the best of the bunch, but still not what I would call a success.  She was helped in the ranking by the fact that she was telling the truth in the talk-back with the judges.

Candice's outfit was overworked and sloppy and blech.  I think she was in the bottom two mostly because of her attempted smoke screen with the whole San Francisco fantasy.  The judges saw right through that.  Nice try!

I think we all knew Amanda was headed home, right?  That dress was a snooze, and she brings nothing to the table as a designer.  I'm sure she feels deeply wronged, and always will.

LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 6


I have mixed feelings about Heidi Klum dipping into the PR pool to farm out her own work (pardon my mixed metaphor).  This has been happening nearly every season for a while now.  On the plus side, the designer gets some recognition - - on the downside, do they get any cold hard cash?  I would guess not.  Ah well, I’m sure it’s all spelled out in black and white in their contracts.


BTW the winning bra and thong are available on Heidi’s website: $65 for the bra, $30 for the thong.  Cheap at half the price!


The take-away quote for the episode was Heidi’s maxim on designing intimates: “More boobs, less bra.”  Stitch it on a pillow.


I felt bad for Lindsey, with her scissor mishap.  Thankfully it didn’t seem to do her too much harm in the challenge.  I didn’t quite understand the logistics of the sleepover.  Did they have more time in the workroom?  What was the point, was it just an extra bit of amusement?


Nice job by Bella Thorne as the guest judge, she seemed to know what she was talking about.  And HER bra, I’m sure, was pretty impressive.



Swapnil’s ensemble was elegant but maybe a little too superhero.  And yes, the criss-cross technique should have been continued on the panties.  The cover-up was perfect.  Bravo to Ashley, her outfit was very nice.  Love that Heidi commented on the model’s “ga-donk-a-donk”, which looked pretty fantastic in the almost-not-there thong.  And the cover-up was good.


I would not have put Merline in the top three, let alone given her the win!  That bra didn’t seem to do her model any favors - - isn’t a bra supposed to cup the breast, and not simply cover it?  The panties were nice, and I have no memory of the cover-up.



I would have given the win to Kelly.  Loved everything about her outfit - - I wrote “WOW” in my notes.  Edmond’s was ugly, Lindsey’s double panty was odd, and Candice’s touch of yellow was a bad idea.



Laurie’s bra was pretty, but the center seam in the panty was BAD NEWS.  She said it wouldn’t have worked with a single piece of fabric, but really?  How much fabric are we talking about?  Just over one square foot would be my guess.  I didn’t think Jake’s outfit was so bad, I thought it had a Varga Girl vibe, which is never a bad thing.


Can we all agree that it’s nice to see Blake go home?  Though don’t write him off completely: I anticipate he’ll be a bag of cats at the reunion show, and will probably get a strong reading on the Brat-o-Meter on an upcoming season of PR All Stars.  Heavy sigh.  A few questions for and/or about him:


Why didn’t the judges call him out for his cover-up?  He pulled a Dionne Warwick on that one, he walked on by.  I was sure he’d be called out on the runway for that, and was shocked he was not.  Grabbing a piece of fabric and asking the model to kinda hold it, that is not design.


Does he really think his models don’t wear underwear?  Or that he shouldn’t need to be aware of how underwear is constructed?


And most shocking of all: how can he not know the location of the vagina?  I’m not saying you have to have first hand knowledge, and I’m not saying you need to have taken Women and Their Bodies in Health and Disease in college (as I did), but how can you be a respectable womenswear designer and not know where to find the va-jay-jay?  Hm, maybe this could tie in with the previous question: if his models don’t wear underwear, don’t you think he would have noticed a thing or two?  I am completely dumbfounded.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 7


I feel bad for Jake and his sweet dog.  It’s always a shame when a designer chooses to leave the show, but especially sad for a reason like this.  But here’s my question: why didn’t they bring Blake back?  Isn’t their strategy always to refill the ranks with an auf’d designer, usually the one who was most recently auf’d?


I think Nick Verreos said it in his blog last season or some previous season: the unconventional materials challenge is a favorite of the viewers, but not a favorite of the designers!  Maybe that’s why we like it so much?  It sure does separate the wheat from the chaff.


The take-away quote for this episode, a PR quote for the ages: Lindsey said, “I feel like I’m dating the judges, and it’s not going well.”



Edmond’s dress was cool, I loved the sparkle of the keyboard keys and he pieced the mousepads together in a way that make it look smooth and sharp.  But I did not like the shoulders, they were too severe for my taste.  The fringe was OK, but the shoulders themselves, no.  LOVED Ashley’s dress.  It was a brilliant transformation of the materials, loved the shape, the fit, everything.  The judges called it “flirty”, which is <<le mot juste>>.  I would have had a hard time choosing between her and Kelly for the win.


But I was thrilled that Kelly won.  She’s a tough girl with a heart of gold, and she knocked it out of the park with that dress.  Stunning.



Merline was lucky she had immunity, her *Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome* look was not working.  And Candice’s dress clearly showed a lot of work and design, but it was too stiff.  I might have put Laurie in the bottom instead of Lindsey, I thought Laurie’s dress was way uglier.



Lindsey needs to find her groove.  She was one of my favorite designers from the Road to the Runway, her clothes looked sellable but still stylish.  Maybe she does best in her native habitat, maybe she’s not cut out for the fishbowl atmosphere and the pressure of having to deliver with such constraints.  That dress was a snooze.  She could have saved herself from the bottom by doing something inventive with the skirt.  But she didn’t.


Swapnil needs to get himself a nicotine patch!  Too much time lost taking smoke breaks.  Please.  The top was interesting, but not at all wearable.  And the skirt did not fulfill the requirements of the challenge, not at all.  It was painted muslin, but not made out of unconventional materials.  And what is the horse manure he was trying to pull about his strategy?  Staying in the middle, then in the top, then a few wins, then win the whole season?  It hasn’t panned out that way, for the record - - here’s how it’s panned out, challenge by challenge:


  1. Middle

  2. 2nd from top

  3. 3rd from top

  4. 3rd from top

  5. 2nd from top

  6. 3rd from top

  7. 3rd from bottom


I think he knew he was in trouble and was trying to come up with a cover story to explain it as being a strategy.  I’m not falling for it!


Joseph.  His dress was just plain dull, and the wires coming out of the cooter, that was not well thought out.  I hope he has success on Planet Mumsy.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 8


Richard picked up on the overwhelming nepotism of this challenge: Harvey Weinstein is one of the producers of *Project Runway*, and he’s the producer of *Finding Neverland*!  Quelle coincidence!  Very amusing how they showed a montage of the designers saying how much they loved the show.  I think they would have been headed straight to an auf if they had said, “I’ve seen better.”


Kelly cracks me up, saying that the show was like the movies, only in 3D.



Kelly’s dress was cool looking.  True, a little costumey, but full of pizzazz.  I loved Edmond’s look - - the judges were divided over the blue poufy vest thingie, but I liked it.  I thought the model should have taken it off completely, the outfit underneath it was FIERCE.


Candice’s outfit was very well made and a great fulfillment of the challenge, but I wasn’t sold on the general shape.  I didn’t like how the jacket just sat there on the elbows.  I’m of the opinion that a jacket should be either on or off.



I’m getting tired of Swapnil’s see-sawing.  Last week he said his strategy was to stay in the middle, and he ended up on the bottom.  This week he was in the middle and felt he should have been in the top.  One good thing: I’m glad he’s spending less time smoking.  But his dress: I didn’t think the grey had anything to do with the pink.  He should have stuck with the grey, and made it into a cocktail dress.  It would have been very Dior, and he might have landed in the top.



Ashley’s dress was very sloppy, but the judges were right to give her a pass, because they could see what she was trying to do.  I think Laurie should have been sent home, her outfit was a much bigger failure than Lindsey’s.  Oh it was awful - - ugly and sloppy and just plain dreadful.  Let’s do the ultimate litmus test: if you had to wear one or the other, which would you choose?  Clearly you would choose Lindsey’s.


But you know why Lindsey was sent home: she was past her expiration date.  I didn’t think the dress itself was so bad (I wrote in my notes “OK”), but the whole thing fell flat.  And her time was up.  They were calling her number in the deli.


LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, ep 9


Hello my beloved readers.  I apologize for the weeks of radio silence - - my trip with my mother was incredible (maybe you read about it on my blog?) and my return to work was intense.

I've pasted in my column on episode 9 below.  I've lost my notes on the following two episodes, but am determined to find them.  And the angel said unto them, "Fear not!"  I will write about those episodes one way or another, will keep you posted.

I'm watching the Finale Part One right now and will send my column later today.

I'll give a plug for my blog one more time:

And now, back to the show!

* * *

Neat idea for a challenge.  Here's my question: Candice was the winner of the previous challenge, the judges gave her the task of assigning archetypes to the other designers. Why didn't she ask the designers what they wanted to do, rather than use her own judgement?  Wouldn't that have been a nice thing to do?  That's what I would have done.

Two observations before we get to the runway: doesn't Swapnil look so much more handsome without the beard?  And you know how Merline is always wearing some stupid hat over the crown of her head?  Richard and I have a theory about that, we think she has a parasitic twin.  Like the Professor of the Dark Arts teacher in the first Harry Potter book, the one who had Voldemort talking out of the back of his head.  Hopefully Merline's parasitic twin isn't using her towards its plan for mass murder and world domination.

Ashley's jacket was awfully cute, and would sell.  But the fabric for the dress, why is she drawn to the 1980s flannel-backed tablecloth prints?  How does she always end up in the 1980s Flannel-Backed Tablecloth Prints aisle at Mood?  I don't know why Candice was in the top, I thought that look was lumpy and dull.

Bravo to Edmond.  His archetype was "Bombshell", and he nailed it, though this particular look skews more in the "Real Housewives" direction, which I guess is still in the realm of "Bombshell".  Just a particular kind of bombshell.  Well made and a perfect execution of the challenge.  Though Richard wonders if it would be difficult to mass produce...

I liked Kelly's look, it was totally Kelly - - definitely limited in the sense of not a lot of women would want to wear it, but I liked it.  Swapnil's dress was OK from the front, but not good from the back.  Merline's archetype was Femme Nouveau, but did she think it was Futuristic Nurse?  She totally nailed the Futuristic Nurse archetype.

Doesn't Laurie understand that one of her first tasks as a designer is to mask the naughty bits?  Sure, you can expose them in a high-fashion way, if that's what you're after, but that's not what she's been after.  This look was sloppy and drab. And this is uncharitable, but I can't STAND her speaking voice.  I was relieved that she was going home, just so I won't have to hear her voice anymore.  Until the reunion special.


Finale, Part One


Did any of us doubt that Edmond would get the Tim Gunn Save?  Three clues:

1. Tim had not used it yet.
2. They didn't do a "what a drag to be auf'd" interview with Edmond at the end of the previous episode, and did not show him in the workroom packing up his tackle box.
3. They've been putting four people in the finale more and more often.

I don't like this trend of having four people in the finale. It's a cop out.  It made sense the first time they did it (season 3) because they actually had four designers worth presenting.  This season they could have easily made a cut, and it would have been Edmond.  He really crashed and burned in the previous episode, and they've always said that the judging is done based on your work on that specific challenge.  Hm.

Let's move on to the home visits:

Her work looks promising. Love the hand-dyeing, very lovely.  I'm glad Tim steered her away from making it more even, it's so much more special to have it look hand-made.  I think she needs to turn up the volume and go full out Mexico City.  The floral headdresses would help a lot, she needs to go full tilt Frida Kahlo.  BTW, have you seen Frida con Rolos?

Too bad the T-shirt is 100% polyester, or it would be mine!

Ashley's family, could they be sweeter?  Love them, especially her abuelita.  One last note, and maybe I should go to Emily Post for this: I love that they got Tim's help in the kitchen, but is it tacky of him to wear his apron to the table?

Love Candice's tough mom, and how wonderful that they're up front about her being a recovering drug addict.  Candice's kids, could they be cuter?  I had another flash to season 3 when Candice's little boy gave Tim the rock.  Remember Tim's home visit to Laura Bennett?  Her littlest son tried to hand time something.  Tim asked, "What is this?"  And the little boy said, "Turtle poop."  Oh Lordy, it's on youtube:

Lots of worry about her collection: a hoop skirt?  A black leather jacket that's too heavy to lift off the rack?  And yes, thanks Tim, the color palette is very dragadelic.  But I really like that wooden piece, that looks seriously cool.  We'll see what she does.

Can I just say how much I love her.  Her collection is off the hook and so Kelly.  All the handwork and the special fabrics.  And the fanny packs!  Oh wow, she is such a riot.  But yes, the nude mesh does look like pantyhose.  Not a winner.

Love her aunt and her cousin and her dad is very sweet, but one more visit to Emily Post: you're in a restaurant, take off yer damn hat!  SO glad we went to the deli.  I need to go there, it looks delicious.  Ditto her boss.

Another Laura Bennett moment: it's dangerous to do a whole collection of evening gowns.  Beware.

Edmond's family is so sweet and so beautiful.  No wonder he's such a lovely man.

Back in New York.  Do the three women really need to share a room?  Candice said something so articulate and so profound: "I brought a collection that speaks volumes, and whether people agree with your voice or they don't, being able to speak it is what matters."

Of course they're making a new extra look.  Don't tell me they're surprised.  How could they not have a plan for this kind of thing.  The visit to Mood: how could Edmond come out almost $150 over budget?  And how can he still have so much work left to do?  Seems very foolish.

Cool that they had an overview of each designer's journey, I hope they always do that from now on.

Ashley: Nice to be reminded of how little confidence she had in the beginning, and how she was more or less bullied.  It's inspiring to see how she found her inner strength.  And interesting that, out of the four, she's the only one where I"m not commenting on the work, but only on the person...

Kelly: She has such a strong voice as a designer, from the beginning.  Her stuff is unique and so beautifully put together.

Candice: The overview was instructive.  Too much black!  It all looks cohesive, but too much black.  I'm a broken record, but what is wrong with dark grey?

Edmond: Let's not discuss the piece that got him auf'd.  Every other piece is beautifully made and distinctive and wearable, but shouldn't a designer be able to do something besides dresses?  Shouldn't you learn how to make pants?


Candice: Love that she showed pants, and brava for making the new look in a knee length, that cuts back on the drag factor a lot.  Heidi said the funniest thing, about how she pulled out all the cliches of what people outside of fashion think fashion is.

Kelly: Not wild for the new look, that black and white fabric looks junky.  The shorts outfit is so cute, and the last look is good.  Love that Zac used the word "sportif", it's a word I don't hear often enough.  The judges felt like the clothes looked cheap.  I'm worried about Kelly, I want her to do well.

Edmond: The new look is sweet, the white dress with the black bow is divine, and the black gown with the ruffle is super sharp.  But black and white does not mean cohesive, and the judges want him to show more of his trademark sexiness.

Ashely: The first look does look unfinished with the bra showing.  Why didn't she spend 20 minutes and make a little white T-shirt?  The new look, the purple dress, it's gorgeous, the strongest look of the three.  But oh, that zipper in the back was horrid.  And yes, the last look was badly fitted.  Fit is always an issue, but it's a particular focus if you're hanging out your shingle as a plus-size designer.

I'm curious to see what changes they'll make in the two days they have.  I like that Nina pointed out that these last-minute changes happen all the time in the real world.

Next week!
LOVE, Chris


Ryan on the Runway: PR 14, the finale


Before we get to the finale, the darling Jeff sent me two priceless PR links.  First, our old friend Chris March is designing costumes for a production of *My Fair Lady* at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee:


That photo of Norman Moses had me wondering - - is he the younger brother of Richard Moses, my old friend from Concert Choir in the 1980s?  If anyone knows, please let ME know.


And Tim Gunn brings his bespoke bile to Entertainment Weekly:


I love this new Tim Gunn - - he’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take this anymore.


Jeez, enough with the promotion of PR Junior!  The commercials were so long, Richard and I both got confused and thought they were actually AIRING the SHOW.  I feel a little bad that I’m not going to watch it, because I’m a big fan of Kelly Osbourne (Richard and I both miss her on Fashion Police) and like Christian Siriano a lot.  But spending an hour each week watching teenage designers is not my idea of fun.  The adult designers are juvenile enough.


Before we get to the finale, the darling Jeff sent me two priceless PR links.  First, our old friend Chris March is designing costumes for a production of *My Fair Lady* at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee:

On to the show.  I love that Kelly said "shooken up".  A few questions about Tim and the trip to Mood: there was no talk of a budget, I found that remarkable.  And do we really believe that Tim himself went to Mood?  Isn't that why God made production assistants?

A few more shameless plugs before the show was out: Lexus, Matthew Morrison and *Finding Neverland*, and even Miss Carrie Underwood had to have a special moment promoting her new album!  It's all too crass and grotesque for words.  Quelle grotesquerie!

I'll tell you my reaction to the results right off.  I'm disappointed that Kelly didn't win.  Clearly it was between her and Ashley, and I liked Kelly's collection better.  I hope Ashley has a major career, she should be snatched up as a house designer by Lane or Avenue or even K Mart or similar.  That is her audience.  But honestly, of the four of them, comparing them to previous runway shows, NONE of them was the winner!  They would have all come in third or fourth, if they made it to the finale at all.

I'll go through the collections in ascending order.

Lots of beautiful work, but it didn't all go together.  The little black leather dress was something we've seen from her, what, three times?  I didn't quite know how to feel about the leather bustier and sheer red jeweled skirt.  I kinda liked it but kinda didn't.  The second black leather dress, the one that was less form-fitted, I thought it looked like an apron.  Richard thought maybe her girl was a blacksmith?  I didn't like the black dress with the red skirt at the knee, that was very odd, and not pretty.  Curious that she chose that as the dress that stood next to her for the critique.  And the last gown was beautiful but sort of flat.  Maybe it's because we saw it with long sleeves and the hoop.

I love that she blamed the judges for making her change her collection and weed out the most extravagant designs.  Guess what, honey - - they didn't make you do anything!  You could have told them to hose off and do whatever you like.  And you might have come in third.

His collection was a big improvement on what he had shown the judges, he really did sex it up in a good way. The first dress was gorgeous.  A few of the dresses looked cheap to me, with the super shiny satin.  The black satin dress looked like a garbage bag.  The little black dress with one sleeve was fabulous.  My favorite piece was of course the white dress with the big black bow, that was divine.  The high/low black dress was beautiful.  Something was weird about the proportions of the black ruffled blouse and the black and white swirly skirt, it made the model look boxy.  The white ruffled gown was a toilet paper tornado, and the final black ruffled gown was what the French would call <<de trop>>.

He has a lot of talent, but needs to when to go out there and when to pare it back.

I loved the energy of Kelly's collection.  I think part of her undoing was the pantyhosey fabric she used in a few pieces, the judges really hated that.  I wasn't wild for the black and white print fabric, it looked really cheap.  My favorite piece was also Heidi's favorite piece, the wood grain dress with the sheer skirt and the matching fanny pack.  That was fantastic.  The last dress, with the big slit, was full of attitude.  And the final jumpsuit was sublime.

Bring her back for All Stars, please!

Her colors read very Montgomery Ward for me.  I wonder what Michael Kors would have said about it.  Her models did look luscious, and she was smart not to be put the flowers on all of them.  I thought some of their runway behavior (blowing kisses etc) was a little too cutie poo, and was sure the judges would mention that.  The seafoam minidress was the worst piece in the collection, it belonged on the bargain rack at a department store.  The romper wasn't much better.  I wasn't wild for the filmy long shirt over the purple blouse and slacks, I thought that was a little oddball.  I LOVED the purple lace ensemble, that was dreamy.

On the whole, I wasn't wowed by the individual pieces in the collection, but the whole thing was cohesive and clearly her vision.  And I think seeing plus-size models on the runway was special for the judges and the audience.  Richard said he had never seen Nina so emotional - - I think part of it might be that she and Ashley are both Latina.

Thanks for joining me this season!  See you at All Stars Season 5, early next year.
LOVE, Chris

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