Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tiki Barber's fashion sense worth a few bucks

Pics from Tiki Barber challenge

Missed Wednesday night's 'Runway' action or just want to relive the hits and misses designed for Tiki Barber?

Click the below pic for a 'Project Runway' photo gallery.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Episode Three: The Tiki Barber Affair

Sometimes reality shows push the limits too far and "Project Runway" did just that in episode three.

The challenge? In a day-and-a-half, design an on-air outfit for "Today Show" correspondent, Tiki Barber, the former Giants running back -- something conservative but cool that would fit his neck, skinny waist, and self-proclaimed "big butt."

Few of the designers had any menswear experience, and it showed. In the end, the looks fell into three distinct categories: Okay, not bad and absolutely horrible.

Kind-hearted Jack who shares his boxer shorts with other contestants to help them make their patterns -- he is almost nude in the workroom save for a towel -- wins it with a checked shirt and pinstriped pants. Tiki likes it and says he’ll be wearing it on the Today Show soon . . . we have our doubts but cannot wait.

We think Kit should have taken top honors with her navy fleece blazer, cool shirt and khakis, definitely decent. Kevin also gets honorable mention for his vest, pants, lavender shirt and pocket square. Heidi does not dig the look. “I would not like to see my husband in that,” she says. Kevin, no shrinking violet, retorts, “C’mon, Seal would look great in this.” So not happening.

Carmen deservedly goes home for her dreadful ensemble. Michael Kors says her pants look like something out of the film “Boogie Nights,” and adds that the “crotch is out of control.” She makes a horrid little jacket that sits at the waist, and Tiki frets that it would make his “butt look big.” Because she runs out of time, she throws a bolt of fabric around the model’s neck instead of a shirt. It’s shmata time and it ain’t pretty.

But, in fact, the challenge was just plain too hard and it wasn’t that fun to watch. Ricky’s angst is over-the-top and he wins the award for the contestant most likely to need a Valium. He completely bugs out and nearly gets “aufed.” Jack admits he’s HIV-positive. Sweet P designs a tie for a 7-footer (Tiki is 5’9”) and a shirt with a bizarro collar. Tiki’s wife, Ginny, floats into the workroom while the kids are sweating bullets and critiques. She is a little too mean and we don’t want to know that Tiki’s wife is the boss of his clothes.

For the record, hardly any of the contestants even knew who Tiki Barber was. Ricky admits it, but says, “He’s gorgeous.”

Steven sums up his knowledge of football with a fashionable flair: “It’s the one time on TV that spandex is acceptable.”

-- Anne Bratskeir

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 3

As much as everyone loves Tim Gunn's "Make it Work" catchphrase, it's getting a bit stale, which is why the style guru doesn't really say it much except for during his first trip to the designer workshop. We think that's a contractual obligation.

However, Tim Gunn's facial expressions are taking centerstage this season as the crazies on Season 4 of "Project Runway" baffle him.

When attempting to decipher whatever Ricky Lizalde was doing with the fabric he gave himself, Tim Gunn gave a look of stunned confusion. That "Am I looking at what I'm looking at? No, really, am I?" glaze.

His head dropped, the glasses slid down, the hair was out of place, the mouth was agape.

Then, he says "Ricky doesn't look good. Ricky looks a little panicky."

Then, they cut back to that look. You knew right there Ricky was going to be one of the two worst.

OK, really? Seriously?

If anyone cares to discuss Jack's use of nutjob Christian as his man purse, we'll be happy to go back and forth with the comments.

He looked like a pet monkey clinging to the zookeeper's arm.

Week 2 poll results

This week, our beloved readers agreed with the "Project Runway" judges and voted to whack Marion from the show after he made that nouveau hula skirt/dress.

The results of our poll:

51% Marion
32% Christian
6% Carmen
6% Someone else
4% Steven

Friday, November 23, 2007

SJP to sell Victorya's 'Project Runway' dress

from the AP

It’s instant gratification for “Project Runway” fans: A version of Victorya Hong’s winning dress from Wednesday’s episode will be available for sale as early as Friday.

The dress is being offered as part of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bitten line, sold at Steve & Barry’s stores nationwide. The “Sex and the City” star was the week’s guest judge on the Bravo reality show about fashion.

The challenge put to the aspiring designer contestants was to create an outfit appropriate for Parker’s casual sportswear collection, known for its cheap pricing compared with other celebrity clothing lines.

The Bitten interpretation of the dress will be offered in black or burgundy for $19.98, and the vest that goes with it will come in gray or black for $14.98.

“I loved Victorya’s design immediately when I saw it during my appearance on ’Project Runway,”’ Parker said in a statement.

Hong’s original dress will be on display at Steve & Barry’s flagship Manhattan store for several weeks.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Project Runway Episode 2

Magic moment: Big Chris is so feklempt he is sobbing. The challenge is to design a two-piece outfit for a pop culture and fashion icon. The contestants wonder aloud…who is it? Madonna? Britney?

Nope. Sarah Jessica Parker. Truth told, we’d be shaking in our Manolos and so were the designers.

There was, of course, a hitch. It had to be dirt cheap – total material costs of $15 to sell in SJP’s Bitten line for mass marketer Steve & Barry’s at the bargain price of $40.

Chris tearily warbles. “She’s the reason I moved to New York…” It's a touch stalker.

In a mere 30-minutes contestants have to sketch the ensemble and go one-on-one to pitch the look to the gal who is arguably the queen of New York fashion. She in turn picks seven of her faves, who in turn pick seven partners to produce the look. The winning team: Victoria and Kevin with their fluid smock dress topped by a saucy racer back vest. Really cute. Though for our money, it was Elisa and tattooed Sweet P who did the job best – a swingy light brown cape atop a turquoise mini-dress. They were in the running but Elisa grosses Heidi out big time by admitting she uses her own spit to mark her dresses. “You should not tell people that,” says Heidi, nearly fainting. Earlier in the show the earthy contestant explains to shocked Sweet P that the spit “imbibes,” the fabric, “with energy.” Sweet P makes the sign of the cross on herself as if to say, “Holy Mother of Mod.”

The judges were dead on when it came to the worst look, though SJP almost weeps when he gets the boot. Marion, who partnered with Steven (please note the dimples on that guy), produces a hideous sweater of mole brown with Pocahontas fringes over an ill-fitting skirt. It starts the journey semi-okay but the fuzzy knit fabric appears to stretch and grow. Michael Kors describes the look as, “Cousin It,” and Heidi despises it. ”It makes us sad. It looks like it came from the basement,”she says. Christian who partners with Carmen comes closed to getting “aufed.” He earns a well-deserved comeuppance, in part for his arrogance. When Tim Gunn suggests a little adaptation on his sleazy, way-too-tight dress and spacey little jacket, the whippersnapper retorts, “I think it’s perfect.”

A note: We say the keeper of the night was Ricky’s charming, frothy red dress with a wide black belt. Ricky, don’t lose that number.

– Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 2

Tim Gunn kinda let us down this week with his performance, but with the writers strike still going, we'll let him slide.

OK, we're kidding about that part, but he didn't bring his A game to the designer workroom here in Week 2. If they lined up clips of all his episodes, this one would make it to the final minute of the show with overly dramatic music as the judges decide which of the last two clips to erase from the DVD box set.

However, since we're committed to finding one Tim Gunn highlight each week, here it is. And once again, it involves Elisa. They need to keep her around for a while because she's crazy.

Tim Gunn was somewhat baffled at Elisa's decision to hand-stitch everything not already nailed down in the workroom.

His response: "Elisa, that's cuckoo."

That just ain't right

It's 10:09 p.m. and Wendy the model just got whacked from the show. (I start watching a few minutes after 10 so I can capitalize on my DVR and skip the first two rounds of commercials.)

I understand that's how the show works, but that hardly seems fair. A model gets whacked from the chance at big exposure and some impressive benefits for no reason other than a designer's whim.

Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may indeed be wrong here, but the designers make the clothes for these girls to wear. When a designer collection gets panned, they don't kill the models - unless of course they fall, stumble or moon the writers. So why is it that these girls lose a job just because a designer made something awful looking?

You know that cliche about chicken salad? Say it to yourself now since I can't print it here.

Back to the show.

- Mark La Monica

Seriously, how lucky is Seal?

The luckiest man on the planet, next to Justin Timberlake in the late 1990s/early 2000s and David Justice in the mid-90s, is clearly Seal.

Here, Seal talks about his wife Heidi, his family life and his new album.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tim Gunn's best gift ever

Over here at Newsday, we put together this big holiday gift guide. We do it every year, as does nearly every other newspaper.

One of the parts of the package this year was asking famous folks what their favorite gift they received was. Here's what Tim Gunn had to say, complements of our very own Anne Bratskeir:

"Eight years after I started taking piano lessons, my grandmother gave me a piano. I was about 18 years old when I got it, and I still have it. I think of her every time I see it."

See other celebs' choices, including Michael Kors, at Newsday's holiday gift guide.

Week 1 poll results

The good people who read this Project Runway blog set the tone early in disagreeing with Heidi, Michael, Nina and Monique.

They whacked Simone. You whacked Elisa.

Our Week 1 reader poll:

60% Elisa
21% Simone
4% Ricky

Be sure to vote each week in the poll. It hit the site (over there in the top right corner) every Wednesday and remains open until Monday at midnight.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Runway racks ratings

If you watched Project Runway last night you were not alone. Bravo TV wants us all to know that the fourth season kick-off of the design diva competition was the highest rated premiere in the network's history. Get this: 2,890,000 viewers tuned in vs. 2,411,000 from last season (according to Bravo). The gang -- Heidi, Michael, Nina and Tim -- must be kvelling. And it was a juicy premiere, but frankly, we can't wait for the designers to get down and dirty. (Oops, Elisa already did that...right?)

-- Anne Bratskeir

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 1

Every week for three seasons, Tim Gunn has delivered something worth talking about the next day. Season 4 will be no different.

So, every Thursday, we'll hit you with our Tim Gunn highlight of the week.

In Episode 1, did you happen to catch Tim Gunn's looks of bewilderment, awe and shock whenever he went near Elisa?

What brilliance on the part of the producers. The only hope is that is was true curiousity at watching her mash fabric into the grass in Bryant Park and again in the workroom and not a staged look with several outtakes on the cutting-room floor.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Project Runway: Episode One

It’s conceivable that Project Runway producers recruited a couple of patients from the loony bin to help balance the contestant pool this season. No offense to sweet Elisa, 42, from Pasadena, TX, but in the first challenge -- an at least 50-yard-mad-dash to three tents in Bryant Park stuffed with $50,000 worth of fabric, she goes psycho Mother Nature-style getting on her hands and knees grinding her fabric into the grass to “imbue it with a natural element.” That is some good TV.

The designers, an evidently talented bunch, all have to create an ensemble that defines them. Elisa ends up ditching the grass stains and produces a turquoise dress that is smashing in front, but bombs because of a frightening multi-color tail that smacked of well, toilet tissue meets a PiƱata. It looks like she was “poo-ing fabric,” says Heidi Klum, articulately summing up the look. Nothing like a little bathroom humor. Elisa’s poor model trips down the runway, but the judges don’t nix her. Instead they axe appealing, regular gal Simone, 32, from San Francisco, CA, who does a fairly boring little empire waist number that is so badly made that judge Nina Garcia basically shines hot lights on the lass. “Why is the quality of construction so horrible?” she asks. We love the Nina but what did she expect the girl to say? “Bad construction is the new black?”

Okay, ones to watch include Rami, 31, who hails from Jerusalem. He wins with his swank gray sheath though he’s a tiny bit smug. There’s Selden, Long Island’s own curly-haired Jillian, 26, who is easily “in” with her coral pouf that features a fitted bodice. Then, there’s creative little Christian, (the youngest on the show at 22, from Annapolis, MD) whose asymmetrical hairdo is inspired by the tropical flower, Bird of Paradise and is filmed asking, “Don’t these bitches know I am way better?” Need we say more? He’s clearly miffed that he didn’t win though does get judge accolades. We did not love his camel/plaid ensemble and nor did Heidi, who admitted that it was growing on her only after peer pressure, and what appeared to be one withering look from Michael Kors that read, “Be quiet, look pretty, and say Auf Wiedersehen.” (Though, truth told, they really like each other in real life.) Also, for the record, Kevin, 30, of Fairfield, NJ wants us all to know he’s straight even though he’s a designer. Duly noted.

As for intentional comic relief, it’s all about rotund Chris March, whom we hope they’ll keep around if for nothing else than his fabulous laugh and endearing “whatever,” attitude. Monique Lhuillier, (for those who don’t know it, she designs glam evening wear and wedding gowns, and some call her “Little Oscar,” as in de la Renta), is darned poised on the show in her role as guest judge.

To note: the tattoo factor – who needs clothes? Sweet P, 46, has them everywhere, but we guess that was in fashion with the motorcycle mamas she used to ride with – for real. But almost everybody on the show seems to have at least one. We tried to count them all but couldn’t keep up. We need to be busier. – Anne Bratskeir

Monday, November 12, 2007

Long Island designer rocks the 'Runway'

The fourth season of Bravo's hit series, 'Project Runway,' kicks off Wednesday, and if the first episode is any indication, it is going to be a doozy.

Long Island's own Jillian Lewis, who grew up in Selden, is among the 15 contestants.

Newsday fashion writer, Anne Bratskeir, supplies some background info on the rising designer:

The fashion bug bit her hard in the late '90s, when big, wide-legged pants
were making a splash on the high fashion scene but not sold in stores on Long Island. She did what any hardcore fashionista would: She made them. "People were really responding to what I was wearing, so I stopped dancing and turned my attention to designing." She became so focused on her own small manufacturing business, making silk-screened warm-up pants for $35 a pair, that, she says, "My boyfriend broke up with me, my friends stopped calling. I underestimated the time it would take.

Read the full article on Jillian Lewis. And tune in Wednesday to root for your hometown girl.

A few of Jillian's sketches are below:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Project Runway's fantasy league

Seriously, folks, that headline is not a joke!

Project Runway has launched a fantasy league of sorts where you get to pick the winner of each challenge, the loser who gets kicked off the show and the winner of best hair. It's a weekly thing with the overall season winner earning a trip to the season finale viewing party.

Here's the link to join the league.

And you thought all the hype and hoopla surrounding fantasy football was enough insanity to last a lifetime. Not so fast, my friend.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Tim Gunn Q & A

It borders on illegal to watch "Project Runway" and not wish you could rent out Tim Gunn to help get you through those tough days in life.

As we approach the start of Season 4, Blogging Project Runway scored a sit-down interview with T-Gunn. It's quite good. So go read it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Project Runway' gives a sneak preview

The folks at Bravo's "Project Runway,” are leaving no cuff unturned when it comes to hyping the Nov. 14 premiere of the reality series.

On Tuesday, they choreographed a sneak preview, emceed by the show's host Heidi Klum -- drop dead gorgeous in a blue mini-dress -- in a dramatic clear plastic tent erected on the plaza at Lincoln Center.

Each of the season's 15 contestants sent three signature designs down the runway -- from bloomers to ball gowns with some especially potent misses and many hits, boding well for the coming season. Of note, and not necessarily in a good way: the odd staining technique of Elisa, 42, of El Paso, Texas, and the antics of Christian, 21, of Annapolis, Md., this season's youngest contestant, who went positively Zoolander at the end of the runway, totally out-mugging his model.

As for the playing field, which includes Long Island's own Jillian Lewis of Selden, the show's father figure, Tim Gunn, who watched from the sidelines said "This is the first season that any one of the designers could win."

In other words, stay tuned.

-- Anne Bratskeir

Video: 'Project Runway' sneak peak

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tim Gunn on Season 4 of 'Project Runway'

Our boy Tim Gunn talks about the designers and the new season of "Project Runway." Watch the clip below, then see the video player on the top right for more videos.