Monday, December 17, 2007

Bryant Park predictions

OK, yeah, sure, the designers, judges and producers already know who makes it to Bryant Park for Fashion Week in February 2008. Short of kidnapping one of the contestants or judges and forcing it out of them, we have no idea who is currently working on their collections for the "Project Runway" fashion show early next year.

But we can make predictions. Isn't that what reality TV and the Internet is really all about anyway? Of course, when Heidi sits down to read this post, she might laugh uncontrollably at our guesses. Or she may run around Germany screaming "Who leaked the info?!?" You just never know anymore.

So here we go with our predictions for the three designers we'll see again in February, in alphabetical order. Take a look and share your predictions in the comments section.

Rami Kashou: Seems all-around solid and on point with his designs.

Jillian Lewis: She's our home girl, so we're sticking to our guns and supporting the Long Island girl. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's pretty darn good at what she does, too.

Christian Siriano: A rebellious choice which could backfire at any moment of any show. But that's the intriguing part. He's whacky and kooky in our eyes and "fierce" in his, but the guess here is that he squeaks by a few times and wins a few times. Fashion is weird that way. Besides, he needs to be on the show as long as possible, just for the humor factor.

And our reasoning for why these folks won't make it to Bryant Park:

Kevin Christiana: Seems pretty solid and confident so far. But the guess here is that he'll throw up a clunker on the runway late in the competition.

Victorya Hong: Seems to hang on too tight. The guess is she'll crack in Week 8.

Elisa Jimenez: A lulu in every sense. As amusing as her exchanges are with Tim Gunn and the other designers, at some point she will feel the wrath of Nina and Heidi.

Ricky Lizalde: Can you imagine the waterworks the week he gets whacked? The Bravo marketing people should hook up a deal with Kleenex for that show.

Chris March: In sports, the cliche is that it's hard to beat a team twice in a season. In fashion, it's easy to lose twice.

Kit Pistol: Great name, which is good enough to sell clothes. Designs? Not good enough to win "Project Runway."

Sweet P: Straddles between cool and awful. At some point, there will be less awful designs to stand in her way of the exit door.

- Mark La Monica

Week 5 poll results

As amusing as Steven was on the show, his funeral dress was even funnier. The judges and you agreed, too.

Week 5 final poll results

68% Steven
23% Elisa
7% Chris

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 5

Is there really even a question about this week's Tim Gunn highlight? I mean, really. I'll just repeat his quote here and you make it work however you want.

"I've made more bad decisions at three o'clock in the morning than I can list."

Stunning work, Mr. Gunn. And it holds true for every person in every walk of life. Words to live by right there, people.

- Mark La Monica

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Project Runway Episode Five

In what may have been the best challenge yet, the designers get to makeover the favorite outfits of everyday women who have lost serious amounts of weight – we’re talking anywhere from 48- to, yikes, 160-lbs. Natch, the women, with their new and improved bods, want to flaunt it but their old duds are giant frights ranging from a scary, beaded polyester wedding gown, to an atrocious evergreen moo-moo.

Finally, kvetchy Christian nails the win with his fab remake of a black shirt and jeans. Guest judge, the talented Patrick Robinson, who hails from the likes of Giorgio Armani, Perry Ellis and Paco Rabanne, and is now is the head of design at the Gap, raves calling it "young and cool." Of course, Christian always has something outrageous to say. In this episode, he tells his client who has a less than ample derriere, “I’m not a miracle worker lady. I can’t make you have an ass.”

Steven is, uuucch, deservedly the biggest loser. He calls his client’s bad wedding gown “death on a stick.” He produces a grim frock made of black fabric that he purchases and then trims with bits of the dress. The judges describe the transformation as taking a joyful wedding dress and turning it into something a French maid would wear…to a funeral. It is really a dog, so goodbye to you, Steven.

The real loss on the show revolves around Jack, who, announced last week that he was HIV-positive, and this week gets sick with a raging staph infection that distorts his normally beautiful face. It’s beyond sad, and, there is a bit of cheap shot editing. That said, the show salves the pain by bringing back the fun, fabulous and yes, fat Chris. He understands the plight of the women because he has done his share of yo-yo dieting. Unfortunately, his inner costume designer cannot be tamped down and he designs a sailor suit that almost sinks like a stone on the runway.

Sexual innuendo of the night comes, remarkably from the dignified Tim Gunn. He urges Chris, who has to work through the night, to get his design elements down before sewing. “I’ve made more bad decisions at three in the morning than I can list.” Chris cracks up and others call out, “I want names.” Tim, embarrassed, says, “I really am an old fart. I didn’t even think of that.”

Victorya is soulless and isn’t even nice to her client. Ricky weeps . . . again. His client vaguely reminds us of Adriana on the Sopranos. Kudos to Kevin who makes his client looks like, “one of Charlie’s Angels.” As for our girl Jillian: great dress, but she didn’t use her client’s old clothes, replacing them with fabric of the same color. Michael Kors called it, “impeccable.” If she followed directions, she might have taken it.

– Anne Bratskeir

Week 4 poll results

Only four weeks in and we've got ourselves a favorite designer to hate. It looks like, from the results of this week's "Who would you auf?" poll that the more Ricky Lizalde cries, the more he gets voted against.

Of course, in real life, Ricky escaped the wrath of Heidi and friends.

58% Ricky
15% Chris
10% Sweet P
9% Steven
4% Elisa

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Exclusive: Q & A with 'Project Runway's' Jillian Lewis

It isn’t often that you get behind the scenes of a reality show while the competition rages on and actually talk to one of the active players, but we managed to wrangle a few minutes with Selden’s own Jillian Lewis, who rocked the runway on Episode 4 of Project Runway winning the challenge hands down.

Newsday fashion writer Anne Bratskeir gets the answers to questions we’ve all been, um, sew dying to know.

AB: How great do you feel about winning this challenge?
JL: Well, because it was a group challenge, and I was the leader, it was an especially huge moment for me, probably the best moment of my life.

AB: What’s been your toughest challenge to date?
JL: By far the menswear. It was really tough and I would not want to relive it. There was a lot of pressure. And you’re so clouded by the pressure and exhaustion that I couldn’t see that I had done a good job. I felt that it prepared me for the challenge I won. I felt it got me ready, If I could do that, I could do anything and that made me feel a lot better.

AB: Who’s your BFF on the show?
JL: It’s kind of evident by now. Rami and I worked together twice, and because of the fact that my boyfriend is from the same region (Her boyfriend, Lewaa Abdulkhalek, is from Lebanon; Rami is from Jerusalem), I’m comfortable with him. Rami is a down-to-earth, nice real person. I like spending my time with people who are real. Even when we disagree, we agree to disagree, and that’s the beauty of nice friendship.

AB: In the same vein, which contestant is the most annoying?
JL: Well, I try to avoid bad-mouthing anyone; I don’t necessarily want to go there. I think that people who are annoying have redeeming qualities; Christian has a bit of that side to him. He likes to be the bitchy one. When he gets a little older he might regret that.

AB: Is there a point on the show that you forget about the cameras?
JL: I think by the fourth episode I can safely say I was feeling a little more comfortable. The first three I was conscious of them. Even in the fourth episode, when Rami and I were feeling the tension we were prone to whispering because of the cameras. We didn’t want to make a big scene about what makes a good leader.

AB: Anything else?
JL: Yes. I noticed that my Long Island accent comes out on the TV more than I thought that I had one. I say ‘awl’ instead of all.

AB: Who are your roomies on the show?
JL: Carmen. Since she’s gone I have my own room.

AB: Be honest, who’s the scariest judge?
JL: I guess I would say, Nina, she’s a strong, intimidating female. I’m always intimidated around her, though Michael is pretty intimidating too, but I’m leaning more towards Nina.

AB: Is Tim Gunn really the sweet, gentle mentor he seems to be?
JL: He is completely what you see, I found myself thinking that he must think he’s conducting a class in a classroom, He’s so natural and genuine.

AB: Is Heidi all that gorgeous?
JL: Absolutely. She looks fake because she’s so pretty, you do not believe she’s a real person.

AB: We love your coif. Are you naturally curly or do you have to er, make it work?
JL: My hair is so curly that I actually have to use a curling iron to relax the curls. Jay McCarroll [Project Runway winner first season] calls me Captain Crunch because of my curls.

AB: Your bod is as good as some of the models. What did you have for breakfast today?
JL: I eat whatever I want, I never consider calories. Today I had cookies and coffee. I need something sweet when I wake up. My sister said when I went to the show, everybody is going to hate you because you’re so skinny. My family always makes fun of me for it.

AB: What’s the one article of clothing you can’t live without?
JL: To me, it’s really important, to look a little different every day, so there’s not one article of clothing I depend on. I like to at least feel like I haven’t worn the same thing for two weeks. There is a fleece cardigan I wear with a big shawl collar a lot because I get cold a lot. Also I rely on jeans. I know those are typical obvious answers but everyday I try to switch it up.

AB: What do you think of Hillary Clinton’s style?
JL: I think Condoleezza Rice is a notch above. Hillary can use some work but she’s not bad for her age. In the political world Condoleezza is better dressed. But these are my fashion views, not necessarily my political views.

Jillian Is The Leader of The Pack: Episode 4

At last. Long Island’s own Jillian takes the runway by storm and hands down wins this week’s challenge with the help of Rami and Kevin.

Judge Nina Garcia lays out the mission: Take three dated trends and turn them into a collection that is cohesive and relevant for today.

Each designer chooses their favorite horrid, old trend ranging from pleather to zoot suits, shoulder pads to fringe. Then, they cluster into teams of three, each nominating a leader.

Jillian plays boss lady to Rami and Kevin and she does it well. Their trends? Overalls, poodle skirts and 70’s flair. She rules her boys with an iron hand and an iron in her hand. Her collection – a sassy full-skirted dress, cute little short outfit and modern overalls (oddly, she is wearing not so modern ones), is so good that the judges don’t even bother with the whole who’s in and out suspense thing – the winner is clear. Jillian to the world: “You will keep seeing me in the top, and I will keep winning.” That’s right…own it.

But, trust us. There are big problems elsewhere. And few of them escape guest judge Donna Karan’s well-trained eye.

Ricky, who actually doesn’t cry during this episode, is the leader, but his teammate Victorya is a passive-aggressive beast who almost derails the team. At one point, she says, “I don’t mean to be a bossy cow.” Don’t milk it, sister. Ricky on the other hand, is helpful to her and edits her dress for the better. He is also sweet to earthy Elisa, who has never worked in satin. He figures out a way to speak her language – sort of nature-based psychobabble. His own dress suffers from lack of attention and is poorly constructed. Their collection highlighting neon, cut-outs and underwear as outerwear is by far not the worst but a tad clowny.

Christian as leader is, again flamboyantly cocky, and shows his disappointment when he doesn’t win for his decent takes on the zoot suit, pleather, and fringe.

Kudos to Steven for his Tim Gunn imitation: “Designers, I’m here to tell you that you’re screwed and there’s nothing you can do to fix what you’re working on. Carry on.” But levity cannot save the night for his team which must modernize dancewear, shoulder pads and baggy sweaters. Sweet P does a swell sweater dress and Donna loves it. Hearty Chris is both the leader and the loser. His mess of an evening gown with hideous embroidered jacket is all-out Dynasty. Michael Kors calls it, “Very bad pageant, mother of the bride.” It’s a sad day…Chris is out. Earlier in the day, he jokes that Project Runway should have a perfume…a mixture of blood, sweat, tears and Chinese food. He’s a funny guy. And as he walks off into the sunset he says, “I definitely hope that to this season… I brought fun. Because that’s what my life is all about.” We’ll miss him. –Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 4

Maybe the immortal Tim Gunn decided to mail it in this season. Maybe he's all about his own show these days. Or maybe he signed a big free-agent deal in the offseason and is loafing a bit.

But when the Tim Gunn highlight of the week comes from an impersonation of Tim Gunn, then we need to launch an investigation. Someone call Alberto Gonzales. Oops, never mind.

Anyway, props to Steven Rosengard for his impression of Tim Gunn in the workroom. It wasn't perfect, but his lines were pretty good:

"Designers, I'm afraid I'm here to tell you that you're screwed," he said. "There's nothing you can do to fix what you're working on. Carry on."

That's my home girl!

It's 10:44 p.m. and we're doing the Long Island guido fist pump!

Our local girl, Jillian Lewis, just won the Week 4 challenge.

Not so much that we're homers, but rather we're celebrating having on Tuesday scored an exclusive interview for Thursday with Jillian.

Really, we're just happy she didn't get whacked. That would have made for a pretty morbid interview, huh? "Uh, Jillian, tough break last night."

We can breathe easier now. Annie B will have the interview up for your reading pleasure before you leave the office Thursday (unless you have one of those early morning jobs).

- Mark La Monica

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Week 3 poll results

It appears the voting public hated Carmen's attempt at an outfit just as much as Tiki Barber and the other "Runway" judges.

Here are the results from our weekly poll asking who should be "aufed."

50% Carmen
25% Sweet P
8% Ricky
5% Someone else

Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Project Runway' releases sewing machine

"Project Runway" has elevated sewing beyond home ec class, so it's almost a no-brainer that there would be a trendy new sewing machine to go along with the hit show.

Brother's limited-edition "Project Runway" sewing machines are consumer variations of the industrial machines used by the contestants. They're touted as being great for beginners and experienced seamstresses. Not included: Tim Gunn at your side with advice on how to "make it work," but use your imagination.

These models start at $299 for the basics and go to $499. To find a store near you, go to 800-4Abrother.

-- Anne Bratskeir

Is 'Project Runway' on the verge of being out?

. . . Entertainment Weekly think so!

In the news and notes section of its Dec. 7 issue (the one with Will Smith on the cover), EW suggested that Season 4 is slwoing morphing into the Real World, where the designers are becoming more of "characters" than they are people vying for a huge career break.

"Things have already become too self-conscious in the House of Heidi," wrote Ken Tucker. "You know it when a wannabe scrawls Gunn's mantra "Make it work!" on a wall before the man himself has even had a change to utter it."

Interesting. What do you think? Is "Project Runway" creeping up the ramp in the bay as it jumps the shark?