Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank you, Lifetime, for making it work.

Last night, after many many long months, Project Runway finally returned to TV. I recently read a pretty interesting article about how Lifetime represents a very different lifestyle brand than Bravo, but their purchase of the show seemed more like fans wanting to see more of the show they love than a new force trying to change the show for a different audience.

While last night's episode was a tad disjointed, it had pretty much everything that fans of the show could want. Crazy contestants, both pretty and ugly runway dresses, Heidi Klum, and of course, like manna from heaven, Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn is wonderful. He is a balm on my spirit in these troubling times.

I once had to explain to my friend Evan that Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club is about what happens to a society of men raised entirely by women. It seems obvious to me now that in America we live in a society of women raised entirely by Tyra Banks. This is a frightening thought, but I feel like at least I can run away from Tyra into Uncle Tim Gunn's soothing presence.

This season is set in L.A., which I love, though I can't help feeling that Tim Gunn's fair skin and three-piece suits are not quite compatible with our lovely city. To commemorate the change of location, the runway challenge had to do with the red carpet, and I liked how that allowed the contestants to pick a red carpet event to suit their tastes and their garment. Also, for those of you who didn't know that L.A. has a Mood, it's on Pico and La Brea next to Pearl Art Supplies. I just discovered it last week!

The contestants. Qrystal has a dumb name, but is sweet and well-meaning and can design for women of different shapes, which will be an advantage for the inevitable "design a dress for a typical Lifetime viewer" challenge or whatever. Malvin is this season's Christian Siriano hair, and brought the pretentious "I don't want to deny anyone access to my art" explanation for his androgynous style. (Love it.) One of the dudes is a recovering meth addict, and cried almost as much as Ricky the Gay Sex Hat did from last season (two seasons ago? Lost track). Epperson is 49 and kind of awesome; just doing this for his family, &c. Also, fivehead + dreds. Ari's a mess. I wanted to like her, but she's as nutty as that Asian guy from last season who sent a shower curtain with rubber gloves down the runway. Spoiler alert: Ari also was the first to go home. Christopher looks ethnically Minnesotan and has a chinstrap, but he never went to fashion school and his sketches are straight from deviantart, and I just want him to do alright.

As for the clothes, I really liked Irina's champagne silk, even though it was so simple. It was one of the only truly red carpet-ready dresses of the evening:

Christopher's winning dress was so not my style, but I could absolutely see it on some Disney starlet at the Teen Choice Awards or something, so he did what he did perfectly:

Ari did this to the world:
I like the Mars/Venus thing growing out of the top of her head like a Teletubby's antenna, and also the legs made of crutches. I always feel bad for the model who gets paired with Insane McCrazy, trying to work it but knowing she's gotta go home.

Also, Lindsay Lohan was there. No one cared.

Project Runway airs Thursday nights at 10pm on Lifetime.

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