Project Runway Recap: Lohan Heroically Eliminates Clownish Ronson Minstrel


Well. After 210 minutes of Runway-branded television last night, you'd think we'd come away from things with an associate's degree in design, whiny confessional skills, and leggings. Instead we got the following: commericals assuring us that Sandra Bullock will have orange hair in an awkward upcoming movie, and confirmation during the All-Star Challenge that Daniel Vosovic has always been Nina Garcia's favorite (Uli was robbed! I am always right.). We also learned that zany-eyed designers who "don't sketch" their designs ahead of time always get cut -- this time, in the first episode.

All injustices considered, the most disturbing aspect of the premiere was its ancient footage. Tim's tour of the Emmys carpet (which served as briefing for the inaugural challenge) meant this episode was filmed almost a year ago, before Weinstein and his vultures bungled Runway's fidelity to pretend-urban homo networks. This time lapse will prove uncomfortable, I surmise, during the upcoming "Dress Karl Malden for an eco-friendly 97th birthday" recyclables challenge.


In the meantime, Project Runway's best attributes still spring eternal: Heidi looked effervescent, Tim had clearly just descended from a Whistler painting, and so many designers were fuck-ups. Bald, bawling designer Johnny broke out of the gate with his story of meth addiction, which he triumphantly retold three times to anyone who would listen. I cheered when he almost quit the competition, citing that he'd "reached his limit," but Tim sat there, counseled him, and explained that some assholes eventually get a spin-off series. Malvin, a leper-looking priss in a pompadour, called himself "androgynous" and calmly explained that you can't define his design aesthetic with words. I nailed it with just my middle finger! And we haven't seen enough of Chekhovian beaut Irina, twangy giggler Carol Hannah, or Eastern-bloc partying Gordana to exalt them yet.


Workroom dramas stayed relatively tame. The grandest snafu was Mitchell's original "Victorian" gown (which looked like mothball-friendly stage-wear for Karen Carpenter) that didn't fit his lying, actually-a-lot-fatter-than-she-said-in-her-lying-bio model. With little time to fix the fitting, he sewed an entirely sheer frock out of a nylon-like fabric.The look boasted diaphanous flow and provocative cuts, but was ultimately unwearable considering the model's anal freckles were on parade (cute as they were).

On the runway, Heidi introduced a freshly umber Michael Kors, Marie Claire Imaginary Editor Nina Garcia, and a celebrity judge named Lindsay Lohan, who sometimes wears clothes. For the premiere episode, only a few looks even raised an eyebrow. The high- and low-lights:

· Christopher, a Minnesota native with Daughtry sideburns, gave us a dark, jaggedly sparkly effort with a darling waist and dusty gray ruffles pouring out as a skirt. Heidi dismissed the dirty feel of the ruffles, but the panel clucked with anonymous praise.

· Qristyl, a sass-dispensing Brooklynite, sent down a vile, full-length kaleidoscopic collage of violet silk and super-cinched yellow-purple-green childrens' bedsheets. "Eyesore" was an understatement.


· Ram'on, a sweet-seeming Minneapolis designer, designed a towering plum column with a beautiful asymmetrical top. It was traditional but lovely, and Heidi would wear it on "austere" days.

· Johnny, who at this point had uttered a version of the line, "Looking at this competition from an addict's standpoint..." came through with a luscious crimson number featuring a saucy V-neck and an impossibly low back. It wasn't perfect, but there's nerve and spice there that make him a contender.

· Ari, a hat-wearing doppelganger for Samantha Ronson, eked out a heavy silver halter dress with a space-age hood, hexagonal patches, and intergalactic epaulets. She didn't sketch her dress beforehand, because she's too "unconventional" After Nina asked, "What award show is this for?" and Ari chirped -- with free-wandering pupils -- that a woman in her dress could attend a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, everyone silently guessed that she has eaten the wrong berries. Kors put it best: "She looks like a disco soccer ball."

· Mitchell, who happens to look like Perez Hilton (the meta-Lohan theme is textbook-worthy!), trotted out his unwearable pantyhose dress, and Michael Kors clutched his pantyhose-like face in terror.

After a moribund judges' panel, Heidi announced that Christopher won the challenge, prompting him to clasp his hands over his mouth like a just-crowned Lee Meriwether or a just-paroled Lindsay Lohan. Johnny and Ra'mon were told they may live, as was Qristyl, whose disastrous bedsheet phantasmagoria could wake Timothy Leary.

Then it was down to Ari (Sam Ronson) and Mitchell (Perez Hilton), and ultimately, Lohan decided that booting the clownish Ronson minstrel was more exciting. She is right. Mitchell skipped backstage, and we're left to wonder what kind of dizzy assertions Ari won't ever get to murmur. I think season three designer Angela Keslar should give her a call, and a rosette for shiny-loving, bad-tastey luck.


  • Victor Ward says:

    I didn't think about the Perez Hilton comparison, but I can see it, which is indescribably disconcerting since I found him to be slightly attractive - maybe only because he and Christopher are the only even remotely cute boys on this season. WHERE IS MY NEW DANIEL VOSOVIC?!
    I was thinking Mitchell looked more like the younger brother of Justin from Queer as Folk, but yeah.
    Most importantly, I was pleasantly surprised that it still felt like Project Runway, because Magical Elves didn't edit (right? Or is that next season), and I'm just glad that life is normal again, now that the show is back on the air.

  • el smrtmnky says:

    Victor: Bunim Murray is now producing. hard to tell since no one got drunk on tequila and stripped down, not counting Mitchell's model.
    i totally thought Mitchell looked like Piggez. i had to look away from the tv when he would come on. as for ExMeth, his dress looked like a sack. there was so much room in the front area. it would be perfect for a preggers Heidi or smuggling a turkey.
    Ari's was just blech. as my friend said to me, 'it looked like what Casual Bjork would wear to Whole Foods.'

  • PastaBaby says:

    "Mitchell, who happens to look like Perez Hilton". I thought the same thing when I first saw him and immediately had not sympathy for him.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    It did feel like "Runway," which was a great relief. Pound for pound, season one is still the best. You cannot beat Kara Saun's condescension or Starr's tumor dress. Both are now in the Smithsonian.