Does the Newest Project Runway Guest Judge Hit a Series Low?
Guest judges on Project Runway used to be unceremoniously declared; Parker Posey appeared on Season One's finale, Debra Messing on Season Two's. But in the years since, Runway has garnered a rep for roping in A-listers, which has, somehow, played a large part in rendering the show less fun. Who cares what Lindsay Lohan or Victoria Beckham or Sandra Bernhard (still a mystery, that one) thinks of the newest batch of jerry-built pencil skirts? Their inclusion, quoth the immortally umber Michael Kors, is "tacky, tacky, tacky." And better yet, who cares about what Season Seven's opening guest judge, perhaps the most irrelevant contributor yet, will have to say during the January 14 premiere?
Yes, it's the artist whose credits include a few seasons of The Simple Life, the semi-autobiographical tome The Truth About Diamonds, and the jewelry line House of Harlow 1960, which someone somewhere actually designed. It's Nicole Richie.
There are a few celebrity designers who have proven themselves decent guest judges. Sarah Jessica Parker's Season Four stint comes to mind, for example. But back in Season Three, when mentor Tim Gunn produced a regular commentary podcast for each episode, even he once criticized Runway's tendency to pick flashy guest-judges, calling Debra Messing and Parker Posey "B-list" choices and heralding Bryant Park fashion week founder Fern Mallis as a more suitable candidate. We need another candid Gunn interview to explain why the judge selection process has slid off the rails and into the realm of vanity projects for Paris Hilton's less-than-necessary brethren. Or, better yet, Gunn himself should fight back, join the ranks of the retail-invading celebutantes, and produce a Richie-competing celebrity fragrance called "Relevance." I'd accept either option at this point, because I'd rather Runway fully ingratiate itself into tabloid culture -- with self-awareness intact -- than feign interest in keeping its process for choosing guest-judges a meritocracy.
And as if these realities aren't chilling enough, does anyone else expecting the premiere's winning ensemble to include a bag dress and leggings? Shivers.