Thursday, October 16, 2008

Michael Kors Meets Us In Manhasset

His Highness, Michael Kors, turned up in Manhasset tonight at the opening of the newly expanded Michael Kors store -- (beyond gorgeous, the store that is, and Michael looked pretty darn good too) -- located at the Americana shopping center there. It must have been fated - we spent some one-on-one time with the designer-cum-Project Runway judge right on the heels of the finale episode.

We had to ask. How's the new season going? "The commute could kill you," he said laughing and referring to the fact that the show is being filmed in LA. He says the shooting progresses despite contract disputes between the show, Lifetime and Bravo, and he's actually wowed by the new scene. "Oh my God, we have dressing rooms," Kors said. "And there are flowers, and bottled water." Compared to the no-frills aura of Parsons School of Design, which Kors has spent many hours around and in, well, let's just hope it hasn't all gone too, too Hollywood. There is something to fashion and our gritty NY city. Are you ever coming back Michael? "Well, of course we'll be back for New York Fashion Week," he said.

In the meantime, you'll all just have to get your dose of him at the store. Trust us. It's going to cost you. -
Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

5/ The Finale

It is “sew over.” Now we all know that sweet, gangly, self-admitted nerd, Leanne took the win. Did she deserve it? We honestly think so.

For the first time, the women dominated, and, you know what? Their collections were darn good. Kenley didn’t win in part, because she was, to put it nicely, imitative. To put it not so nicely, she was a copycat. And to be mean, there was an element of knock-off artist with at least two of her dresses identifiable as other – famous – designers’ looks. Add to that the attitude factor. When Tim Gunn became the fill-in judge for Jennifer Lopez who had “a foot injury,” (uh, yeah, that’s why our spies told us they saw her wearing five inch high heels later that day) she said, “Okay, maybe I should have improved my attitude.” That said, her collection featured sublime fit and much whimsy.

As for Korto, her collection was stunning, though one of the criticisms was that it was overboard with decoration. We didn’t see that. But perhaps the judges believed that brainy Leanne, who approached each garment with an architect’s eye and had such a unique vision, was the most talented and promising of the bunch.

If you read the last entry, you know we had a little chitchat with Leanne this afternoon. The girl was positively overjoyed. But when we asked her who the meanest judge was, she did not hesitate for a second. “Nina was the toughest critic by far. But you know when you impress Nina, you’ve done something really good.”

As for the show tonight, here’s a rundown of highlights:
-Korto’s gutsy move making two new dresses before the big gig
-Kenley getting Tim visibly mad – ouch.
-Kenley and Leanne throwing barbs at each other on camera. Kenley, “Leanne does not know how to use color.” Leanne, “Kenley’s collection looks like Holly Hobby. It’s so amateurish.”
-In the why- must- we- witness this category, Sophie the dog, relieving herself near Leanne’s gown, and the model who was wearing it cleaning it up. Uuchh.
Sorry, to leave you on that note. Let’s all join figurative hands and make a little fashion wish together…here’s hoping next season (whenever it comes) is as good as Bravo’s five seasons of Project Runway. See you soon. - Anne Bratskeir

Leanne Marshall wins Project Runway

REVENGE OF THE NERD: Leanne Marshall Wins Project Runway
By Anne Bratskeir

It all came down to girl power in Project Runway’s Season Five finale.

And of the last three female designers standing, Leanne Marshall, 28, of
Portland, Ore., who was the show’s definitive shrinking violet, proved that
beneath the nerdy glasses and the goofy demeanor, her talent loomed largest. She
was the mouse that roared.

"I am a fashion nerd," said a very happy Marshall in a phone interview Wednesday. "I just love to have fun, and I’m not afraid of kind of being a dork.”

As for the whole Project Runway shebang, she said, “Without a doubt it’s been the most amazing experience. I would
do it again in a heartbeat.”

Armed with $8,000 for materials and the directive to incorporate a wedding dress into a 12-piece final collection, Marshall’s vision played like a dream sequence on the runway at Bryant Park’s Fashion Week in September. Inspired by rippling water, her two-color palette was soft aqua and cream with a distinct architectural feel including details such as fan-like pleats.

Neither a favorite nor a dark horse, Marshall was a solid contender, who, during the season’s 14 episodes won two challenges -- one using seat covers from a Saturn
car, and another for creating a look for Diane von Furstenberg’s fall collection.

During the finale, the judges took Marshall to task for being "borderline on a one-note," she said. "But I knew I needed my collection to fit together."

Though her two co-finalists, Korto Momolu, 33, of Little Rock, Ark., and Kenley Collins, 25, of Pompano Beach, Fla., exhibited much stronger personalities throughout the season (in fact, Collins was the show’s prerequisite villainess), their collections fell short of Marshall’s, both lacking the cohesiveness and technical skill. As for that evidently hostile relationship with Collins, Marshall said, “We started off as friends but the competition became kind of cutthroat. All Kenley’s relationships kind of deteriorated. There’s a level of respect that she didn’t really have all the time. But
I don’t hate her. I wish her the best.”

Marshall’s Project Runway booty includes $100,000 seed money from Tresemme to start a clothing business and she is doing just that. She’ll soon be
moving to New York to start her new label, “Leanne Marshall.” Musician boyfriend Nathan McKee, who composed her runway music at the finale, is coming
along. “I guess I’m going to have to buy a lot of fabric with it,” she said. She also wins a 2009 Saturn VUE hybrid, a spread in Elle Magazine and a chance
to sell her fashion line on

As for season six? The hit show will go on but will not be aired on Bravo. Instead it moves to a new location, Los Angeles, and a new network, Lifetime -- depending on the lawsuits still at play with the Weinstein company and the two networks. It was originally scheduled to premiere in November but may be pushed back to January.

We’re kind of wondering if without the New York backdrop and Parsons School of Design . . .well, will it be in or out?

Week 13 poll results

Hooray, you finally agreed with the judges. After a consistent disagreement all season between the judges' aufings and our readers' aufings, both sides are in synch.

40% - Jerell (270 votes)
33% - Kenley (222)
21% - Korto (143)
3% - Leanne (25)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tim Gunn

We weren't the only one thinking Tim Gunn was a prime candidate for prez. Reader Molly's boyfriend Duncan did this rendering and we love it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

5/13 Tim Gunn For President

First off, just when we thought that Bravo had totally turned their backs on the show – the new season already being filmed in L.A. for Lifetime – well, they pull out one of the best episodes of the season. Bravo, Bravo.

The four finalists, Jerell, Kenley, Korto and Leanne, are sent home with an $8,000 budget and two months time to create their own collections, which, Heidi dictates, must include a wedding gown that represents them as a designer. Tim Gunn visits each one, and quite frankly, is more charming, more diplomatic, more helpful and more informed on his issues than any candidate for president we’ve seen buzzing around lately. At Korto’s home in Arkansas, he sweetly engages her shy daughter and seems enchanted by Korto’s African drumming. In Portland, he warns Leanne that her wedding dress might miss, and then, despite his formal demeanor, rides a bicycle built for two with her, and (heavens) sits on the grass. With Jerell, he counsels that the overwrought collection has a “lot of look,” and then mingles easily with Jerell’s friends and family who are obviously nervous. His greatest feat may have occurred in Brooklyn, where he meets with Kenley, who has been incredibly rude to him. Here, he leaves it all behind, encouraging and praising her. And then, before the going gets really tough, he sheds tears – he’s embarrassed but tells them all, “I care deeply about each of you.” And you believe him. This is an extraordinarily graceful and gracious person. He’d be an asset in the White House.

Okay, so back to the show. The kids think they’re home free but alas, there’s one more challenge… make a bridesmaid’s dress to go with the wedding dress. Leanne, who totally redid her collection’s wedding dress, aces it with a pale turquoise and cream short strapless number that repeats her wave motif at the top. The judges are swooning. Kenley, too, does a fabulous job. Her navy blue poufy mini dress is the perfect combo with her “crazy good,” as Heidi puts it, feathered wedding dress. Jerell’s stuff – scary – we told you once before – too tricked out, including some styling errors such as “a flower pot growing out of her head,” says Michael Kors. We didn’t much like Korto’s gown either – over-pleated and kind of bulbous or her bridesmaid’s dress…Banana Republic sale rack.

Allow us, for one brief moment, to gloat…we called it…Jerell goes, the women dominate. And now, we’ll go out on a limb. We think it comes down to Leanne and Kenley, and we think that Leanne will take it all. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Readers choose Leanne

Waaaaaaay back on Sept. 12, we posted videos off the six remaining designers' collection at Fashion Week in Bryant Park and asked you to choose the winner.

Granted, three of those shows were decoys to keep the integrity of the competition alive (even though the Bravo people refuse to consult a calendar when deciding when to air each season). But alas, it gave you more to look at.

Here are the results of that poll:

57% Leanne Marshall (1,843 votes)
30% Korto Momolu (989)
6% Kenley Collins (197)
4% Jerell Scott (131)
1& Joe Faris (36)
0% Suede (19)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yay. Boo. Once again Project Runway judges, who tonight included Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman -- her dramatic evening gowns virtually rule the red carpet these days -- could not make a decision. It’s déjà vu all over again – remember last season when they couldn’t auf Chris March?

So here it is Runway followers: Jerell, Leanne, Korto and Kenley will all make final collections (we know this because we’ve already shown them to you), but one of them will be out before the show at New York Fashion Week. We always feel sad when someone goes…but you gotta make a choice and that should have been tonight.

This show did nothing to enhance our opinions of any of the designers. As Michael Kors noted, “I don’t think this was their best moment.” The challenge was to create an evening gown inspired by flowers at the New York Botanical Garden. They had a budget of $250 and two days to work their magic. And honestly, if this had been last year’s crew, Rami, Jillian, Christian and even Chris, it would have been a total wow. But instead it was mediocre at best.

Jerell won the challenge with an empire gown of plums and purples that was badly constructed though somewhat interesting. Trust us, anybody with more than A-cup would have had to figure out another way to harness the girls. Leanne came in second with a lavender and blue job that had a pleated embellishment. The judges thought was soft and pretty but again, not well made (as in what the heck was the blue dust cloth aka bustle hanging off the model’s rear?) Korto’s gold and lace number seemed inspired at the start but turned out to be what Kors called a pageant dress, not even good. Kenley, who refused to take any mentoring from Tim Gunn, created an old-fashioned siren dress of snakeskin fabric with leaves hanging off the bottom…the Muppets meets creepy.

The underlying theme of the night? Hate-fest. Leanne, Korto and Jerell ganged up on Kenley, whose nasal whine, annoying cackle and inappropriate defensiveness almost, but not quite, made her deserving of their abuse. She’s an easy target, and we would hope that since they’ve all fought their own life battles (they all cried at one time or another), maybe they could have shown a little restraint in the meanness department. That said, she is hard to like. She behaved so horribly on the runway that Heidi chastised her, and Michael wondered allowed, “Imagine if a buyer says, ‘I don’t like that sleeve. What will she do? Take out a knife and kill them?” In the end, Kenley broke down too and you had to feel a little bit sorry for her, like when all the finalists had a group hug with Tim…except her. She sat in a chair by herself and watched them. Fashion can be pretty ugly. – Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Project Runway 5/11: Make the music with your clothes

I'd whine about not having all the excitement in the world to watch these shows before the actual finale after six designers actually showed at Fashion Week, but I think Kenley did all the whining for everyone for rest of the season on this episode.

We saw a pretty neat challenge in Week 11 as the designers had to create something for one another using a musical genre as the inspiration. Tim Gunn pulled their names out of a bag and then the type of music out of another of those magical Project Runway bags.

It may have seemed random on air, but it's waaaaaaay too coincidental some of the pairings. Little '50s Betty Boop girl Kenley Collins getting hip hop as her genre? And turning Korto Momolu into a country gal? C'mon.

But I digress. Back to the show.

Here's a look at the pairings and the genre and our thoughts:

Kenley for Leanne - Hip-Hop

I think guest judge LL Cool J said it best when he tried to cover up from laughing his swagger off as Leanne made her trip down the runway with some wannabe hip-hop outfit and a wannabe old-school Pepa hairdo. Those high-waisted jeans -- called "Mom jeans" by LL Cool J, "the most unflattering pants I've ever seen in my life" by Heidi Klum and "just God awful" by me -- looked um, well, I think LL, Heidi and I explained it perfectly. The leather jacket was nice, but as someone who grew up in the so-called "Hip Hop Generation," it was absolutely nothing close to anything resembling hip or hop.

Leanne for Korto - Country

The pink top was nice, as was the skirt that hugged the patoot and flared out at the bottom. Other than the cowboy boots and the neckwear accessory, Leanne's country outfit was made for walking . . . back into the design room.

Jerell for Kenley - Pop

Jerell nailed this challenge and had a legitimate gripe when not winning, not that he griped at all -- at least not on camera. The fishnet top and silver cups covering the goods combined with a mad short bottom and a blue short vest was quite cool. And all the way pop star. Jerell had Kenley looking like Ashlee Simpson impersonating Britney Spears trying out for the Pussycat Dolls, making it to the final cut before losing and then trying out for Danity Kane. Yes, that's a good thing.

Korto for Suede - Punk

Great pants. "I think it's right on the money," my boy LL Cool J said of Korto's work. She did a brilliant job of bleaching the pants. Can't really argue her victory on this challenge since she pretty much nailed the punk look for Suede.

Suede for Jerell - Rock 'n Roll

Not altogether sure what went on here. Suede made some sort of pants and a shirt that still baffles me. The vest was supposedly rock 'n roll, but after seeing this whole thing move down the runway, I started thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder what Stella Zotis is throwing at the television as she watches this episode."

- La Monica

Photos from

Project Runway 5/11: Honest Abe Jerell

Gotta love Jerell's honesty this week, suggesting he'd have no problem sabotaging Suede and letting Kenley go on with what her notion of hip-hop is in terms of fashion.

Well, played Jerell.

This is indeed a competition, and regardless of Bravo's ability to completely botch the calendar each season of this show and let nearly everyone show at Bryant Park, you still have to be in it to win it.

- La Monica

Project Runway 5/11: Leanne goes G

And we thought we'd hit the high point of ridiculously funny quotes when Tim Gunn learned a little "Holla at your boy!"

Well, in this week's fairly unique challenge of designing for each other based on a music genre pulled out of a hat, the quiet and reserved (at least on the show) Leanne Marshall was the client for Kenley Collins. The genre? Hip Hop!

Kenley asked Leanne what she'd like. And then Leanne strung these words together for us: "I'll totally do all gangster."

Such genius in this unscripted world these days.

- La Monica

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peace out, Joe Faris

And there we have it, folks, an official 0-for-3 for us in our predictions after 5 episodes. In fact, we basically put the kibosh on whoever we picked, seeing how they all got booted once we made our predictions. Oh well, at least we went 3-for-3 last season.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jillian Lewis' thoughts on Season 5 at Bryant Park

We cornered (stalked?) Jillian Lewis after the "Project Runway" fashion show at Fashion Week on Friday and got her thoughts on what she just saw. We also asked for an update on her designs. Watch the video below.

Friday, September 12, 2008

VIDEO: Leanne Marshall's collection at Fashion Week

Lots of pleated things and a nice color palette in this Fashion Week collection from Leanne Marshall, the odds-on favorite to win Season 5 of Project Runway

VIDEO: Kenley Collins' collection at Fashion Week

Kenley Collins loves dresses and colors and her unique point of view. That's what you're about to get in this video of her runway show from the Season 5 finale of Project Runway at Bryant Park.

VIDEO: Korto Momolu's collection at Fashion Week

Korto Momolu is definitely one of three legitimate finalists on the show, and her collection at the Project Runway Season 5 finale at Bryant Park during Fashion Week proves it.

VIDEO: Joe Faris' collection at Fashion Week

Joe Faris went with an "Americana" theme for his collection shown in Bryant Park at the Project Runway Season 5 finale during Fashion Week.

VIDEO: Jerell Scott's collection at Fashion Week

Jerell Scott led off the parade of six designers at the Project Runway finale at Bryant Park for Fashion Week.

VIDEO: Suede's collection at Fashion Week

Take a look at Suede's collection from Bryant Park during the Project Runway Season 5 finale.

'Project Runway' women dominate Bryant Park

We'll have the videos up as fast as possible, but in the meantime, work with these words:

Early AM on Friday morning and the tents were packed with fans, sponsors, press, reality show contestants and their families all hankering for a spot at Project Runway's big finale show. Rumors that Jennifer Lopez was the guest judge were true, but unfortunately she bailed the night before because of a “foot injury,” according to Heidi Klum. So Tim Gunn switched hats - from mentor to judge.

There are still six designers left, so to avoid spoiling the big surprise, six designers showed. But it was pretty obvious who makes it into the final three, and here's the big news: the women dominate.

Kenley, Korto and Leanne showed professional collections, each with a point of view. Kenley said, “I made my dream wardrobe. It's Alice in Wonderland.” All dresses and one skirt expressed that 40's girl within her. A little costumey for our tastes, though we liked her lovely hand painted frocks.

Korto went to nature and her native Africa for inspiration and her collection was uncontrived, well-made and easy. She designed her own jewelry - ethnic beads and chunks of stone. A khaki silk evening jumper had one strap; her white linen wide legged pants fit like a dream and were topped by a ruffled top.
Leanne, who many believe is the favorite, said she lost millions of hours of sleep designing her collection. She showed her stylized bubble skirts and many architectural fanned pleats. We particularly liked a slouchy shoulder collar top with a turquoise skirt.

As for the boys, yeesh. pulled out every trick in the book, sequins, lace, leggings and some of the most ill-fitting bustiers we've ever seen. Suede dyed his Mohawk multi-color and said it served as some inspiration for his collection which at best was junior prom. Joe was the best of the boys - Americana - western and biker chic meant jeans and pants that fit well, leatherette bustiers, and a decent biker evening look - black leather laced bustier with basket weave floor length skirt.

Sorry boys, and hey, we might be wrong, but, frankly we doubt it.

- Anne Bratskeir

See photos from the Project Runway finale at Bryant Park.

A Moment With Blayne

We caught up with the recently aufed Blayne today at the finale show. For the record, he is not short, quite tan and kinda cute in real life. Known best for his overuse of "licious," on the show it's come back to haunt him. "I was just driving, and I have a Jetta, so a guy rolls down his window and screams, "jettalicious." He's in the throes of creating a new menswear line, "Richard Blayne," and his money is on Leanne to win it all. - Anne Bratskeir

Breaking: J. Lo out as finale judge

The "Project Runway" finale shows at Bryant Park just ended and the biggest news -- Jennifer Lopez was a no show. As Heidi Klum walked down the runway to introduce the show, she said Lopez hurt her foot and couldn't make it. Bummer. So who's the mystery finale judge? TIM GUNN!

Stay tuned for videos from Jerell, Suede, Joe, Kenley, Korto and Leanne, up this afternoon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Christian Siriano Spring 2009 collection

Christian Siriano has been busy since winning season 4 of "Project Runway." He's designing costumes for a movie, "Eloise in Paris," has been on "Ugly Betty" and other TV shows, will be at the Emmy Awards next week, is working on a maternity line, has a book coming out, and of course, he's been finalizing his Spring 2009 collection, which he showed at Fashion Week Thursday night. "I'm doing so many projects! It's crazy," he said.

We caught the show and had some face time with both Siriano and "Runway" mentor Tim Gunn, who raved about the designer. (See photos here)

And what's Siriano's take on this season of "Runway"? He likes the girls, wishes them the best at Bryant Park and is "ready for fabulousness."

Click here for "Project Runway" Season 5 Fashion Week videos

Fashion Week: Backstage with Malan Breton

In the Bryant Park salon, emotions were running high as designer Malan Breton viewed his models one last time before the official start of his runway show. "I always get emotional at this point when I see the walk through and all the girls ..." said Breton.

The statuesque beauties wore elegant pieces from his spring collection that are based on the five elements – wood, fire, metal, earth, and wind. Breton is continually inspired by his favorite film released in the 1960s called 'Star' starring Julie Andrews. "The [film's] costumes were designed by Donald Brooks and everything was just so beautifully made and beautifully executed. It's really been an inspiration for my collections from the beginning and I've kind of moved in that direction this season."

Interesting fact: Breton always ends his runway shows with a ballad from French singer Edith Piaf. Her songs greatly reflect the heartache and tragedy she's experienced in life and that sincerely resonates with Breton, who was introduced to the song by his beloved grandmother. He was immediately moved to tears upon hearing it backstage.

Breton is a regular viewer of this season's crop of young talent on Bravo's hit TV series "Project Runway" and predicts Korto will be the winner. "I think she's got it. I think she's got an amazing sense of style and color. She's brilliant!"

5/9 What's Your Sign?

Okay, so Project Runway fans, this is a truly abbreviated blog – hey, it’s Fashion Week, or as we like to call it, Fashion Weak. Speaking of which, this was one weak episode, following on the heels of one of the season’s strongest…the Diane von Furstenberg challenge.

So here’s the deal…aufed designers come back and are paired with current designers. Their challenge? Each team must create an avant-garde design that reflects the astrological sign of either one. One will win. Two will go. There’s no immunity. Life is sort of ugly for the gang.

Before they are judged by the Heidi-Michael-Nina troika, they’ve got to get through the fashion radar of seasons’ past contestants who examine their ensembles at the planetarium in the Museum of Natural History. Our old friend Christian Siriano is there as well as a slew of others.

Back on the runway, Jerell who’s teamed up with Jennifer finally wins it…though we didn’t really get the astrological symbolism. Darnilicious. Our sweet Blayne is out –he’s a good dude, but Michael thought his unbalanced Libra ensemble (it did look like one of the Fruit of the Loom underwear characters) appeared, um, to be “pooping fabric.” Holler at your boy.

Terri, who was fairly beastly in this episode, is also nixed for her poorly made Leo ensemble. Her relationship with her partner Keith goes way beyond dysfunctional. We call it hate.

So sorry to be brief, but we will have the inside scoop on Project Runway for you again on Friday when we attend the show at Bryant Park…every detail. – Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

VIDEO: Michael Kors' Spring 2009 collection

"Project Runway" judge Michael Kors presented his Spring 2009 collection at New York Fashion Week, where the theme was Triple A: "Architectural, Athletic and American. Kors' terrific runway line up was, natch, mostly red, white and blue and had us thinking the designer was both inspired by streamlined Olympic wear -- a black Lycra wet suit, gunmetal crushed lame track pants--and on a more curvaceous note, the hip '60s based TV series "Mad Men," where retro rules," wrote Anne Bratskeir.

You be the judge -- watch video from the runway and tell us what you think.

Week 8 poll results

The judges whacked Stella. You disagreed.

45% - Joe Faris
30% - Stella Zotis
21% - Suede

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Christian Siriano show at Fashion Week

We're hitting the Christian Siriano show this Thursday during Fashion Week and can't wait. Here's where you come in: We've scored a pre-runway backstage interview and want to hear YOUR burning questions.

Tell us what you're dying to know about life post-'Runway,' his latest collection, his inspirations, etc., and we'll ask him on camera and post it Thursday night.

Need a refresher course on Siriano? Check out video of the collection he presented to win last season and see footage from the 'Project Runway' finale party.

AP Photo

Jennifer Lopez will judge season finale

It's Fashion Week in New York and the 'Project Runway' shows are this Friday at Bryant Park. Yes, we know, there are still eight designers left, but two off this week, right?

US Weekly reported some exciting news today -- Ms. Jennifer Lopez will judge the season finale!

It'll certainly be tough to top Victoria Beckham from last season's finale, but I think J. Lo has it in her. Stay tuned for videos from the runway Friday afternoon.

Getty Images Photo

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Meet Heidi Klum!

Heidi Klum signs autographs during a personal appearance to launch the Fall/Winter collection of "Heidi Klum by Jordache," noon-2 p.m. on Sept.9, at Bloomingdales, 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

5/8 Designers Do Diane von Furstenberg

Talk about career opportunities – the designers tromp through Manhattan’s Meat Packing District to meet at the gloriously sexy headquarters of Diane von Furstenberg, one of the world’s most famous designers and get their challenge right from the grand dame herself. "Create a look for my fall collection inspired by Marlene Dietrich in a Foreign Affair," commands von Furstenberg. She’s one of those fabulous at-ease-with-her-power types who is also extremely charming. Besides running her huge clothing and accessories empire she’s also the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which explains the bonus of tonight’s challenge. The winner’s look will be sold to AmEx cardholders (P.S. Diane’s a company pitchwoman) with a portion of the profits going to the CFDA. How nice.

Ok, so we reviewed Diane’s fab fall line on the runway last season in Bryant Park – yes, we were there with the likes of Ellen Barkin -- and indeed it conjured up smoky drinking clubs, femmes fatales and sultry spies. Lucky designers got to raid von Furstenberg’s sample room for fabric (several very nearly killed themselves with the huge bolts). For the second week running, Leanne nailed it, and man, she deserved it. Her swank inky evening gown with ruffled back topped by a short dove-gray mohair jacket – gorgeous, beautifully constructed and most of all, Diane, a judge, liked it. We expect to see Leanne in Bryant Park and at the moment, in our minds she and Korto lead the pack.

We knew that Stella’s time on this show was limited –- such a character -- but when Michael Kors said of her pants, “the crotch is every woman’s nightmare,” well, that was the last straw. So Stella is out for her cape (“Dracula,” said Diane), vest and pants ensemble. But to be honest, we think Joe’s look was worse … so costumey … in fact his drag queen may have looked well in it, and terribly constructed. Watch out mister.

Korto’s graphic black and white gown with lemon-yellow inserts was terrific, though even better was the jacket she designed to go over it. We would buy it now. Kenley was a doggone mess – oy vey, the weeping, the Diane worshipping and then the sheer audacity of telling Diane von Furstenberg that she felt her fall collection needed a dress. Honey, the dress was cute, but hush your mouth.

Blayne had a few interesting moments tonight, though we weren’t so keen on his runway knickers. First off, he admitted to wanting to marry Mary Kate Olsen. Second, he thought Diane gave him a look over and said, “Diane loves a tan.” Hmm.

Fern Mallis sat in for the Nina tonight, and while she was good, well, we miss the Nina. And you know what, we’ll miss Stella from Astoria, because wild as she is -- that girl is the real deal. Oh yeah, and you know who else we miss? Our girl Jillian Lewis from last season. We’re calling her to see what she thinks of the season so far. Stay tuned. – Anne Bratskeir

Monday, September 1, 2008

Your final 3 for Bryant Park

Last week, we threw down our Season 5 predictions on who the final three designers would be. We went with Stella, Terri and Joe.

Our dear readers rode with me for two of three, which is quite a nice show of support for my limited knowledge. After last week's episode, perhaps our readers will be 100 percent correct while I wallow in 67 percent accuracy. Sure that's great if I'm on a professional baseball team, but that's not even a passing grade at the high school I attended.

Readers chose Korto, Terri and Joe. Below are the final poll results.

151 - Korto Momolu
116 - Terri Stevens
96 - Joe Faris
84 - Kenley Collins
48 - Leanne Marshall
30 - Suede
28 - Stella Zotis
27 - Jerell Scott
9 - Keith Bryce
6 - Blayne Walsh

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5/7 It’s Saturn Time: Car Clothes

Hey, it’s not prudent to be a major sponsor of a hit TV show and get only a tiny bit of airtime, no way. Hence, tonight was Saturn night (as in the automobile), so instead of the winner of the whole Project Runway shebang getting the car as part of package…well, tonight the designers actually had to make a garment out of Saturn car parts…for real. The notion was that Saturn uses recyclable materials, and the designers’ challenge was to recycle car parts into a garment creating an innovative look with a twist.

Terri was worried that she didn’t have a blow torch to disassemble one of the half dozen or so cars parked on top of a 24-hour parking garage at 142 W. 31 Street. So it was very kind of the people at Saturn to fill the vehicles with car parts such as headlights, seatbelts, seat covers and floor mats. The designers made off with as much as their little rolling shopping carts could carry.

Let’s face it, there was an obvious bias to the edit tonight and Keith was a goner.
He was incredibly mean, pompous, kvetchy and blaming everyone but himself for failure. His bland outfit was less the culprit than his attitude. Michael Kors gave him a little something to remember about criticism: “You got to let it roll off your back.” but the guy is out. And yet, you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him – he wept and worried about going back to Utah. Truth told, we were glad it was him and not Stella who was also on the chopping block with him for creating something too safe and not cohesive. She said it had a “Planet of the Apes” quality. You have to like her…she’s so darn real and her boyfriend's name is Rat Bones. Blayne’s carwash dress of seatbelts dappled with broken mirrors prompted Heidi to reinvent the mirror superstition, “Seven years no sex.” We don’t think Blayne was a bit scaredlicious.

We wish they could have awarded two wins tonight because Korto’s coat of seatbelts was 100% killer. Guest judge Rachel Zoe wanted it for her own wardrobe … it was simply stunning. She didn’t win. Instead Leanne took top honors for her shapely, couture style dress of seat covers that looked to be embellished with peacock feathers, though they were really shredded seatbelt. Zoe said she was “blown away” by the look and that Leanne could go straight to Paris, as in France, with it.

So where was the Nina tonight? We don’t know, but Laura Bennett, the redhead from Season Three sat in and was a very good judge as was Zoe.

Early on, Terri calls Korto’s gorgeous coat a “scarecrow,” and literally rolls on the floor, laughing hysterically. Korto responds, and we think maybe jokingly, with, “I’m hating on you.”

And there wasn’t a whole lotta love tonight. Kenley misses BFF Daniel – weird, because she basically dissed him big time on the runway in an earlier episode. She has a mini-freak out session when she learns her model bailed and she was going to have to refit her air filter skirt. Also, speaking of models, it’s kind of weird that they have to stand there barefoot in stark black shmatas to be eliminated at the beginning of each show. - Anne Bratskeir

Monday, August 25, 2008

We've Got Christian Siriano's Brand New Look

Here's a sneak peek at a look from the collection of Christian Siriano, Project Runway Season Four winner, which we'll see coming down the catwalk on Thursday, September 11 when he presents at Fashion Week. And while you’re probably thinking that the young designer's duds will be fierce, (they sort of are, in a good way), or tranny, (definitely not), Christian says, “I was inspired by a combination of the futuristic and the feminine.” We dig this particular sketch – especially the transparent sleeves. Do you like it? And truthfully, even more than the clothes, we can't wait to see Christian's signature better- than- the- model strut down the runway apres his first real runway show.
Anne Bratskeir

Guess the final 3

Let's start with some basic math:

Project Runway's show at Fashion Week at Bryant Park is Sept. 12 at 9 a.m.

Today is Aug. 25.

That leaves us with 10 contestants and three more episodes before Fashion Week.

Barring some crazy double switches, rule changes or whackings at an Al Capone pace, we're going to be left with some interesting decoys on Sept. 12 (unless Bravo decides to just say "Screw it" and gives away a week or two worth of suspense by only having one or two decoys).

So here we go with the second annual "Guess the Final 3" contest. We made our predictions and listed them below. It's now your turn. Use the poll in the upper right area of this blog and vote for the final three.

Stella Zotis

She is just whacky and wild enough to make it through to the final.

Terri Stevens

Solid mixed with funky and creative makes for a legitimate spot in the final three.

Joe Faris

A bit of a wild card here, but after careful consideration, he edged out Korto Momolu and Kenley Collins for the final spot on my list.

I may be 100 percent wrong on these predictions (likely, since I was 100 percent right last season), but that's the fun of it all. Let's get your thoughts on the matter at hand.

- La Monica

Friday, August 22, 2008

Runway 5/7 guest judge Rachel Zoe

OK, so maybe this post isn't the most enlightening, but hey, it's a picture of Rachel Zoe, the Week 7 guest judge on "Project Runway" so that's not so bad.

It could be worse. It could have been a picture of me.

rachel zoe project runway

- La Monica

Project Runway: Where are they now?

These folks may not have won their respective seasons of "Project Runway" but that doesn't mean they're crawled into a tent and stopped making clothes.

Have at what these past 10 Runwayers are up to these days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Talk about a niche market. Tonight’s challenge? Create a new look for a drag queen. Hearty boy and owner of perhaps our favorite guffaw in the universe, Chris March (from Season Four), presented the mission -- you must remember the wonderful laugh and in the finale, his human hair adorned clothes – yes? In Viking garb complete with sci-fi sequin bosoms and horns, well, our fellow Chris was quite a sight.

The “models,” too, were something else with names like Hedda Lettuce, Farrah Moans, Sweetie, LeMay, Miss Understood and Annida Greenkard but far more bizarre than how they looked in drag, was seeing them sans costumes. Yeesh, they aren’t the prettiest gals, and without the glitz they’re regular, in some cases, nebbishy, guys.

Winner Joe got it right on the money when he decided to design a Halloween costume – like he would for his daughters -- though he went totally Pepto-Bismol pink on his model Varla Jean. His gal was going for an Ann-Margret meets Love Boat vibe and his cute sequined jumpsuit with belt that guest judge RuPaul said, um, “hid the candy,” was really charming and fit the persona. “It was a match made in heaven,” said RuPaul. Look, sometimes fashion must entertain, and this well-fitting bon bon did it.

As for Daniel, who was aufed for his dullard, normal, bad dress shop Flamenco style gown, well, we haven’t loved his attitude one bit during the show – hence the moniker Prima-Daniel – but we felt sorry for him in this particular challenge. He withers when criticized and had he been a little open to suggestion – well, it could have been Keith who got the axe for his tangled, sloppy Tina Turner wannabe rag that once again featured patches and strips. Michael Kors called it a “sad chicken.” Keith weeps uncontrollably when Daniel is booted, but we had to wonder if perhaps these were tears of joy, because he was saved for another day. Daniel is probably a sweet guy; hope he lightens up in real life.

We think Jerell’s sequin dress for LeMay with its fab pop-up lizard collar was clever, but the judges said it was a “yawn.” They kvelled over Terri’s Gene Simmons-meets-Diana Ross Kabuki job – for us, not so great. Korto really captured fire for Sweetie in her boom-laka-laka red confection – there was a real Divine quality there, and Stella’s Vivienne Westwood-dominatrix number was great.

The gang is getting sickalicious of Blayne’s overused suffix, and he was lucky to be spared tonight for his malfunctioning ensemble which Tim said looked like a “pterodactyl out of gay Jurassic park.”

It’s nice that these dresses will be auctioned off for charity by Broadway Cares and the proceeds will go to fight AIDS, but we’re wondering who’s buying.

Here’s the question of the night posed by Bravo. Who would you rather see in drag?
Michael Kors (he got 46% of the votes) or Tim Gunn (54%). We’re absolutely dying to know what you think. Let us know.

– Anne Bratskeir

Coming Monday: Pick the final 3

Get ready, 'Runway' fans. This Monday, we'll post our predictions for the final three to show at Fashion Week in Bryant Park on Sept. 12, then give you the chance to vote for your final three.

(Or at least the three that will actually count as the finalists regardless of how many people actually send stuff down the runway to act as decoys and protect the integrity of the show since the producers can't quite seem to match up the show and Fashion Week calendars.)

We're not going to toot your own horns here, but we nailed the final three last season with Jillian, Rami and Siriano. This year, there's no way we'll get all three right but that's the fun of making predictions online.

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 6

We heard this line on the tease last week (and prior to week 2), but dadgammit, it's so good:

"It looks like it's a pterodactyl out of a gay 'Jurassic Park.'"

Bless you, Tim Gunn. What brilliance!

Week 5 poll results

Honestly, people. You're a perfect 5-for-5 in disagreeing with the judges. They whacked Kelli Martin. Y'll disagreed.

It's getting a bit out of hand, but we love a good rebellious spirit. (Of course, none of this voting is scientific and the margin of error is roughly +/- every vote.)

The reader poll results from Week 5

45% - Daniel Feld
33% - Blayne Walsh
17% - Kelli Martin
nbsp;5% - Leanne Marshall

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ooh. Project Runway producers pulled out some serious stops for the challenge tonight: design a look that goes from desk to dinner for a high powered and professional woman. And who would that classy lassie be? None other than Brooke Shields, who in her “Lipstick Jungle” TV role as Wendy Healy, top movie executive, wife and mom, will actually wear the garment in the second season of the nationally televised fashion focused show. Huge for the winner.

Brooke consults with the designers -- picks six of the twelve based on their proposal sketches, and, here comes trouble -- they have to work in teams. There were egos, haters and a few surprisingly sweet moments.

First up, the massive “Jungle” bungles. Loser Kelli who teams with Prima-Daniel produced a hoochie mama leopard ensemble accented with royal blue. Michael Kors called it, "slutty, slutty, slutty." Brooke, who is not a meanie, is almost wincing when she comments on how cheap it looked. To be frank, it put the “w” in “working girl.” Team leader Kelli tells the judges that her partner Daniel should be aufed…they beg to differ.

Then, there’s Blayne's disastrous capri pant, with halter and jacket, that is so crazy wrong for Brooke and the character that it’s hard to fathom.
But if loving him is wrong, we don’t want to be right. Even though he is off the mark and as the Nina puts it “shows a reluctance to listen that is very bratty,” the kid is a stand-up guy. When asked by the judges if he or Leanne should go, he says, “This is an integrity issue... it should be me.” Very fine, but please Blayne, listenlicious next time.

The winner? A drop dead gorgeous frock – floral on top with a fish scale like skirt -- designed by Keith who is assisted by strong-willed Kenley. There was a J.Mendel meets Prada vibe about it – cool, sophisticated and expensive looking. Brooke could wear it and so could a lot of other women. We are wishing Keith would exude a touch more humility. And though Kenley is one bossy broad, she’s talented and adds some levity to the night when she cracks up on the runway as Daniel proclaims he has “impeccable taste.” Seeing is believing bud.

We’re happy that Jerell and Stella almost snare the win with their swanky silk animal print ensemble wrapped by a buttery leather cummerbund-like belt. Poor Stella was picked last – what a lousy feeling -- and Jerell was fantastically gracious about getting last pick. Their design blew many others out of the water. Yay, team.

In the attitude department – Terri, on camera, graphically questions Suede’s sexuality and was incredibly negative towards him until Tim said he liked the work. Not nice, Missy. Korto thought Joe was backstabbing her but in fact, we think he was gently and appropriately trying to get her to modify her overly voluminous silhouette.

It was no love fest tonight. Cannot wait for next week’s challenge…design an outfit for a drag queen. No kidding. – Anne Bratskeir

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 5

Tim Gunn creates a great dichotomy on this show. While the designers are busying dressing their mannequins, Tim Gunn gets busy undressing the designers' work. He lit up Korto and Joe's orange jacket thingy.

"I mean, it looks like a big sweet potato."


Week 4 poll results

Seriously, I'm really starting to think that you're all voting against the judges just to keep the streak going.

They whacked Jennifer in Week 4. Our readers went a different route.

51% Daniel
35% Jennifer
13% Jerell

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

5/Episode 4 The Olympic Games People Play

So it’s another field trip and quite a timely challenge: Create an outfit for the U.S. athletes to wear to the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. The kids are hustled off to the Armory Track & Field Center where a lone skater powers down the track, and hello, here comes Apolo Ohno, five time Olympic medal winner (no one mentioned Dancing with the Stars) who laid out the challenge and later judged, and man, he is one cool cat.

The designers get 30 minutes to examine archival Olympic looks at the Armory, and $150 to spend on fabric.

Was there brilliance buried within this episode? Would we score it a 10? Hmm, not so much. But Korto kept it lean and clean with her white ensemble featuring red and blue accents. She used lightweight leather as a vest, and her pants silhouette was fitted yet fluid. All in all, very handsome. And she won it, graciously declaring, “It’s about freaking time.”

The loser is sort of a sad sack case…poor, poor Jennifer. Her outfit, a gold pleated skirt with short embellished dark sweater didn’t emit a whiff of the Olympic games, but it wasn’t hideous – in fact, rather cute, but oh-so-off the mark. Daniel, whose prima-Daniel personality is really ruffling some feathers in the fashion coop, created a 40’s style fancy frock that was supposed to be blue but read purple. “Where is she from?” queried Michael Kors. “The Republic of Cocktail Land?” Later he added, “If her sport is drinking, this is a good dress.” God we love him.

Jerell was in the bottom this week for a mad look that involved multiple ascot ties, a floppy dotted hat and pinstriped skirt.

In our notes, we wrote, "ungapatchked" referring to the ungainly, overwrought, ridiculously weird look. Kors went Yiddish too, but he called it “meshugene,” as in really crazy. Even the Nina let him have it describing the outfit as “Mary had a little lamb.” Imagine, then, our athletic team marching en mass into the arena in this costume with every other country in the world looking on…baaaaa U.S.A. Back to the judges for a moment, Apolo was fabulous, thoughtful and knowledgeable – probably one of the best guest judges we’ve ever seen on the show.

So, the individuality medal goes to, once again, Stella, who is no phony. She buys black stretch fabric as the basis for her look and everyone thinks she’s nuts. She wants it to be, “bold, progressive, dynamic, like gladiators.” And if the judges didn’t like it, she planned to tell them, “A lot of bikers in this country watch the Olympics.” Jerell did Mary, Stella wanted “bad ass.”

Blayne does not know who the Beatles are much to Tim's chagrin. On the sorta’ funny side, his tanning issues, and the fact that he considered himself an Olympic athlete at tanning…though it only goes to the - ha, ha - bronze medal.

The annoying meter was going haywire on Kenley’s cackle, people were going insane. Also, did she or did she not throw her little boy Daniel to the wolves by instructing him not to add the cape to his look? Hmmm, we must ponder.

Finally, off the subject, you’ve all probably heard that mighty Heidi’s legs have been insured for some $2.2 million. Didn’t they look great tonight?

-- Anne Bratskeir

(Photo from

Week 3 poll results

You guys hate the judges' rankings this season. Once again, you disagreed with their pick. Here are the results from the Week 3 "aufing" reader poll.

46 percent - Keith Bryce
40 percent - Jennifer Diederich
8 percent - Emily Brandle

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Season 5/Episode 3 NEW YORK CITY IS THE MUSE

Who is in and who is out?

The judges, and if you beg to differ, please do, got it wrong on both counts.

Not the most original of challenges: create a look of your choice inspired by New York for a night out on the town. Er, anyone ever heard of Donna Karan, who each season pays homage to the concrete, glass, steel, graffiti and electricity of New York?

Comedian Sandra Bernhard, um, funny yes, fashionista, questionable, sat in as guest judge. So, okay the winner, Kenley for what Michael Kors described as an 80’s, Joan Collins, power bitch dress. The Nina thought it was “adorable.” But it was a weird little pouf – part fabric, part tulle. Fun – one night on the town only -- then back to the dress-up box. Bernhard pointed out, not many girls could wear it.

What they could wear was Leanne’s architectural little skirt inspired by the lines in a metal planter paired with an easy top. “I would wear that in a heartbeat,” Heidi said.

But Leanne isn’t a colorful character . . . Kenley whose style, she says, evokes modern day calendar girls, is. High marks went to Terri for her backless dress-over-pants ensemble inspired by walls of posters and graffiti. Bernhard called it “fierce, sexy and in control." It was spicy but also evoked a Baby Phat/Kimora Lee Simmons vibe.

Out is waify Emily for her dress inspired by lights. Granted the ruffled neon appliqué was fairly bad, though the simple black dress was okay. Far, far worse was Keith’s scrappy (and we mean scraps) shmata that Kors said, “literally looked like toilet paper caught in a windstorm.” C’mon guys, it was a no-brainer. But again, Keith is more fun than Emily.

Show highlights

• The kids in ponchos and rain boots following Tim like a line of duckies onto a double-decker bus to view the city. Even jaded New Yorkers Stella and Suede dig it. Suede’s third person problem continues.

• Blayne’s “Timlicious,” greeting. His quest for a tanning salon in Times Square. And finally, him teaching Tim a new phrase, “Holla at your boy.” Intrigued and amused, Tim bids adieu to the group in a new way. “Make it work. Carry on. Holla’ at your boy.”

Other notes

• Blayne’s dress is clowny
• Jerell’s sort of Rami-ish (remember Rami?)
• Joe’s stunning
• Stella’s total and complete Stella.

In the category of too much information: Stella in the morning, Jerell in a sleep mask.

– Anne Bratskeir

Photos from

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 3

Ah, yes, we finally get to see in an episode what we saw in the tease for Week 2.

Blayne suggested that Tim Gunn holla at his boy later on in the show. Tim Gunn, a style guru, had never heard the phrase.

And it went a little something like this:

"Holler or holla? . . . Make it work, carry on, holla at your boy."

Week 2 poll results

Wesley got whacked in Week 2. Our readers disagreed with the judges. Here are the results of our weekly "Who would you have 'aufed'?" poll:

40 percent - Korto
34 percent - Leanne
25 percent - Wesley

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Christian Siriano is selling & strutting his stuff

Project Runway Season Four winner Christian Siriano is selling an eight-item eponymous collection on that includes an uber-skinny black sateen pant ($280), a gold “red carpet” shift with puffed sleeves ($325) and a black cotton “Posh” puff sleeved blouse named after Victoria Beckham, whose role as judge on the show's finale definitively helped Sirano clinch the win.

According to a spokeswoman, the other items, great looking jackets and dresses, get sold out as soon as they are put up for sale. While the clothes are very cute, the You Tube videos documenting the Christian/bluefly collaboration are a laugh a minute, particularly the one in which the diminutive Siriano shows a towering model(he asks her if she's like 6'12") how to work it on the runway. It's nice to see that fame hasn’t dampened his Fabulousness’ mega-personality a bit. As you can imagine, there are plenty of Siriano's "Fierce," and "Tranny" expletives, and for the most part, the clothes are the real in wearable.

– Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Season 5/Episode 2 IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

The challenge: use environmentally responsible textiles to create cocktail dresses for clients who are…the models. The bummer: The models, armed with $75, shop for fabric and trim and have absolutely no idea what the heck they’re doing.

A bunch bought this vile, glossy brown organic satin, which was the undoing of one contestant. Poor, sweet Wesley got the boot for his overwrought, ill fitting number that Michael Kors said looked like 27 hands had been all over it. Leanne’s loopy, too-many-tricks mini was second to worst. So sad… speaking of which…the water works were on tonight with Korto’s near breakdown when her darty dress was criticized, to Leanne’s girlish sobs, when her model didn’t back her up, saying that the dress she created was not really what she wanted.

Onward to happier fashions and moments: Kenley’s lean, ladylike cocktail number in champagne was elegant, but Suede’s girlish tulle skirted frock of ivory satin and red strips won. Guest judge Natalie Portman, who is an environmental activist and a designer for vegan shoe line Te Casan (pricey but very stylish) as well as a fashionista (and did we mention, a Long Island girl), loved, loved Suede’s confection. Beneath the blue Mohawk and the overuse of the third person, “Suede is a bisexual Sagittarius…. Suede rocks…” well, we sorta’ like him, and thought the dress was really cute.

Stella redeemed herself tonight imbuing her rocker chic attitude into an asymmetrical shoulder silky mini. Her model loved it. But, um, Long Islanders, was it us? Or were the contestants making fun of our famous accents? We forgive, because Stella of Astoria speaking the Queen’s English is sort of hard on the ear as in “letha” this, “letha” that (yes, that would be leather). But Blayne really went to town…you don’t hear us speaking Leprechaun, do you Blayne? Stella was a good sport about the ribbing.

Truth told, we’re kind of liking Blayne too – what a character – but we must question his judgment. Is it wise to call Heidi Darth Vader? As he put it “all shiny on the outside, but Darthlicious inside.” Hats off to him, Terri, Daniel, Joe and Emily for the good work, while we’re thinking Jennifer did shmata and Jerrell did hoochie mama.

– Anne Bratskeir

(Photos from

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 2

We've been hosed, dear readers. Hosed!

In the previews (look over there in that video player in the top right), Tim Gunn was throwing crazy fastballs at people during his "Let's hammer these kids" mentoring/guidance segments of the show.

In the actual show that aired, nada. No "Holla at your boy!" No "It's a pterodactyl in a gay 'Jurassic Park.'"

Instead we were left with a modified Siriano holdover. We considered protesting this, but honestly, we're just a little blog about a big pop culture phenomenon, so who'd notice?

So we caved and still came up with a Tim Gunn quote of the week. We're not happy about it, either, but it is what it is.

"Oh this is the outside of the dress? . . . " followed by a confused 10-second pause and then a sketchy/bewildered ". . . Ooooohhhhhhhh!"

Love Project Runway Style

There have been a lot of haters on Runway...venomous types who enjoy controversy and in general driving other contestants nuts. But this season, brace yourselves; word is we're going to witness some lovin' as in a full-scale romance. We have no idea who the two parties involved are (assuming that two is the number), but a romantic relationship between contestants, judges or anybody else -- well that's a Runway first. We welcome your thoughts...who is the creative couple? We get this feeling that the answer may, um, have us in stitches. - Anne Bratskeir

Week 1 poll results

Jerry got the boot from the judges in Week 1. Readers disgreed, choosing to whack Stella if they were sitting in those mighty chairs off the runway at Parsons.

Here are the results of our weekly "auf" poll

53% Stella (60 votes)
29% Blayne (33)
17% Jerry (20)

'Runway' and relationships

During a repeat viewing of the Season 5 premiere via DVR on Tuesday night, I had a revelation.

The first show of each season is reality TV's version of speed dating.

Think about it: we just finally gave in to our unrelenting friends and decided to get back into the dating circle after a breakup (Season 4 ended and left us five-plus months ago).

We walked into this room full of 16 new faces and we had about three minutes with each to form conclusions and decide whether or not we're going to want to invest any more time in these people. (Those darn commercials really messed up this one conversation we were having.)

Starting to catch the concept here?

Then when that hour was up, we immediately began to compare these people to what we liked about the relationship that just ended.

Yep, a "Project Runway" season premiere is speed dating with a sewing machine instead of questionnaires and index cards.

- La Monica

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heidi Klum scores Emmy nod

(AP Photo)

One thing is for certain after the Season 5 premiere of "Project Runway:" Heidi Klum is still smoking hot!

Seriously, it's almost not even fair to see those legs on television anymore. Just let Seal enjoy it. He's already won the game of life, why taunt us still?

Clearly, we're not alone in this assessment as the good people at The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Thursday awarded Klum with an Emmy nomination for the new category of Best Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Show.

She's up against Tom Bergeron of "Dancing With the Stars", Ryan
Seacrest of "American Idol", Howie Mandel of "Deal or
No Deal" and Jeff Probst of "Survivor."

We'll root for Heidi on Sept. 21 for three reasons:

1) We don't like the other hosts as much
2) She's bound to drop some sort of bomb on stage
3) She's freakin' hot!

- La Monica

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Episode 5/1: Gristede's and tablecloths

It’s baaack.

The first episode of Project Runway had it all – the pretty, the weird, the nerdy, the Goth, the over-inflated ego… you name it. To be honest, we found ourselves missing our curly-haired girl, Jillian Lewis, from Selden, and the entire cast of Season 4, but we know, we know, we’ve got to move on.

The challenge: create a look from items purchased at a grocery store with a budget of $75. The problem: many of the contestants bought tablecloths . . . not risky enough for Tim or the judges, who included Season One contestant Austin Scarlett who came off frothier than a double latte, but in the end was quite a good judge.

In terms of geography, Stella, billed as the rocker chick, from Astoria, is our girl. But she came close to being the first designer to go. She feared if she were, she would be known, and we quote, as “the biggest jackass of the nation.” Stella chose cheap trash bags to do her version of something leather. It didn’t work. For a while we thought she was just going to quit, but she pulled through with a pretty unimpressive trash bag dress that evoked, well, a trash bag. Heidi said it was “butt ugly.”

Jerry of Montana took the bullet and unfortunately took the phrase, “dressed to kill,” literally in an outfit of shower curtain and rubber gloves that prompted Michael Kors to say it looked like something out of “a slasher movie.” Bye, bye fella.

Who do we love… already? Kelli, whose tattooed arms conjure last season’s Sweet P, and whose clever vacuum cleaner, coffee filter, pushpins dress was the winner. Nerdy Leanne, who is way out of her element but created cuteness with candy -- Daniel who molded royal blue plastic cups into a bombshell dress -- Joe whose pot holder-pasta dress was adorable -- Terri for her mop top cropped sweater -- Jerell for his paper umbrella embellishment -- Korto for using lettuce and tomatoes as a necklace, and Emily for her spunk and bouncy ball collar.

Christian Siriano wannabe? Yeesh, the overly tanned Blayne, who is trying to trademark his “girlishess” exclamation a la Siriano’s “fierce.” Forget it. His weird bustier type thing of jump rope, drawer linens and windshield wipers prompted Kors to comment that his model looked like she had “an old diaper pushed in between her legs.”

And although we’re withholding judgment because his work is good, Keith gets suck up award of the night for telling Heidi that he always designs with her in mind. Heidi, credit to her, doesn’t really buy that jive, and on another note, is wearing micro minis and looks better than ever.

– Anne Bratskeir

The Tim Gunn highlight, Week 1

On Opening Day of Season 5, Tim Gunn is already in playoff mode.

He came out dealing line after line to these unsuspecting designers. Here are the highlights of his verbal undressings:

"Those judges don't want to see a black garbage bag walk down that runway."

"Yeah, you should worry that it's just a tablecloth!"

"I'm seeing a lot of tablecloths around here . . . I just think the judges are gonna say 'You guys are a bunch of slackers!'"

The Project Runway Season 5 preseason rankings

They announced the new cast Monday morning. The new season debuted Wednesday night at 9. In between, we asked you to vote for the winner based on their bios, their photos, their names and whatever else you could dig up.

And away we go with the preseason rankings. Let's see what happens come September.

1) Stella (13)
2) Suede (11)
3) Wesley (7)
4) Jennifer (6)
5) Kelli (4)
6) Daniel (3)
7) Emily (2)
8) Kenley (2)
9) Leanne (2)
10) Jerry (1)
11) Korto (1)
12) Terry (1)
13) Jerell (0)
14) Joe (0)
15) Keith (0)

Will Mariah Be A Judge?

Talk about major celebrity wattage! Word on the street is that Project Runway producers are negotiating with songbird Mariah Carey to fill the role of finale judge at the series’ final challenge held in the tents at Bryant Park during Fashion Week in September.

Though Bravo won’t confirm, “We never talk about people we’re considering for guest judges until much later,” says a spokeswoman, it would be a major coup and will most certainly cause paparazzi panic.

Past finale judges include Fern Mallis, Parker Posey, Debra Messing and last season, stone-faced Victoria Beckham, who actually smiled during the finale fashion show when winner Christian Siriano presented his final collection.

– Anne Bratskeir

VIDEO: 'Project Runway' sneak peeks!

Hold onto your Balenciaga bags, we have a couple sneak peek videos ahead of the long-awaited 'Project Runway' debut on Bravo tonight at 9 p.m. Be sure to flip through the Season 5 cast photo gallery, too. Enjoy!

Project Runway photos
'Project Runway' Season 5 photos

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Christian Siriano sighting

(AP Photo)

Journalista friend Lauren, my partner in free WE bags and free bottles of water at four Fashion Weeks in New York City, is stalking Runway 4 champ Christian Siriano.

OK, not really. Well, at least we don't think so. But she does write in her Urbanite blog that Siriano has cashed in that little closet/shoebox he called an East Side residence when Tim Gunn came to visit him for a loft in Williamburg.

Monday, July 14, 2008


stella zotis
Okay, so there’s no true Long Islander like Jillian Lewis, last season’s Project Runway finalist, to root for on the show, which premieres on Bravo, Wednesday, July 16 at 9 PM this time around. But if geography is a factor, than Stella Zotis, 42, from Astoria is our gal. Billed by the show as a “rocker chick,” we caught up with her pre-premiere for a little one-on-one conversation.

First off, she began her career doing hair and make up for famed Rock ‘N’ Roller photographer Mick Rock for whom she worked on legends such as Debbie Harry of Blondie fame. “I used to make my own stuff, patch up my own jeans, and then Debbie Harry said to me ‘I’d like you to make me something to wear to the Grammy awards.’ She came over to my house and we worked on what she wanted and I made her an outfit. She called me after to tell me that she felt really good in it and loved it.”

To date, Stella makes one of kind denim and leather pieces out of her apartment – “I’m a word-of-mouth designer” -- and is hoping that exposure on the show will “help me expand and get an investor.”

As for the rigors of being a Project Runway contestant? “Trust me, the show is no joke. Seriously you really need to know what you’re doing to be on this show. From draping to pattern making…and the hours were intense. You’re not sleeping a lot, it’s chop chop, get it done.”

So do the players play nice this time around? Stella says, “Everybody is pretty different, some more competitive than others. We were all pretty civil, but there are people you don’t love all the time.” Oooh, cannot wait. – Anne Bratskeir

Video: Tim Gunn on Season 5 of 'Runway'

Here we go with the Tim Gunn videos. Summer just picked up as The People's Champion discusses the designers for Season 5 of "Project Runway."

Video: 'Project Runway' Season 5 preview

'Project Runway' addicts rejoice!

The fifth season debuts Wednesday night in its new time slot (9 p.m.) and mighty Heidi (as in Klum) and company (as in mentor Tim Gunn and judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia) will all be there.

The season is bittersweet for Bravo -- it's auf wiedersehen at the end, as next time around it moves to Lifetime. But the powers behind the show assure that they are pulling out all the stops. Fashion fabulous guest judges range from Diane von Furstenberg to Brooke Shields, and even a few notable LIers will weigh in, including LL Cool J of Manhasset for a music-centric challenge and Natalie Portman, a Syosset high school grad, who will render judgement during a "green" episode.

Challenges, as always, will be (to steal a phrase from last season's winner, Christian Siriano) fierce -- and fun -- including the reliably wacky "think outside the box" type when contestants have to construct a garment out of unconventional materials to an Olympic uniform design smackdown judged by gold medal winning speed skater and "Dancing With The Stars" champ Apolo Ohno.

So whose scissors will be sharpest this season? Contestants converge from all over -- Arkansas, Florida, Montana, Utah, even Italy. There are surfer dudes, stylists and even a rocker chick, Stella Zotis, 42, who, (yay!) hails from Astoria. When she found out she made the cut, she says, "You know when you go to the dentist and you get Novocain, you don't really know what's happening? That's how I felt when Tim Gunn said welcome to the show."

We're thinking she'll provide some spark this season -- she started as a punk rock makeup artist and now produces one-of-a-kind leather and denim designs for hipsters including Debbie Harry and Paula Abdul. She says her best fashion advice is "not to blend in." Hmmm.

- Anne Bratskeir

'Project Runway' cast revealed!

'Project Runway' is finally back and likely to be better than ever. Season 5's cast of characters has been revealed and we've got two contestants from the New York area!

Here's a quick rundown and my thoughts (Click here for bios and photos):

Stella, 42, from Astoria, Queens, New York says the vest is one of her fashion must-haves. Her favorite designers are Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. And while she's not a Long Islander, she's still representing New York to the fullest. I'm rooting for her!

Jennifer, 27, is from East Syracuse, New York and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her favorite designers are Moschino, Schiaparelli, and Cynthia Rowley. Watch to see if her fashion idols influence her style during competititons!

Jerell, 28, is from Houston, Texas and counts Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood among his top designers. He's a former model too. Will his model experience help him advance?

Jerry, 32, hails from Butte, Montana and favors black and white combinations in clothing designs. He did stints at Parsons and FIT. I'd love to see him dig up his Montana roots and create something "rustic" and wearable.

Joe, 41, of Troy, Michigan went to the Parsons School of Design and says a basic black t-shirt is a fashion must-have. He's worked at Pelle Pelle, Bugle Boy and Ralph Lauren. Is black the 'new black' again?

Keith, 26, of Salt Lake City, Utah believes in a great fitting pair of jeans. He went to the Salt Lake City Community College -- they teach fashion there? -- and lives by the motto "get noticed or go home."

Kelli, 27, is a Columbus, Ohio native and started her fashion career working in retail at 15. She's just launched Black Market, a new boutique in her hometown to showcase her edgy fashions.

Kenley, 25, was born and raised in Pompano Beach, Florida and is inspired by the likes of Coco Chanel, Betsy Johnson and Edith Head. Her must-have fashion item is a black, high-waisted skinny jean.

Korto, 33, is from Liberia and believes a great bag is a fashion must-have. She injects her African ancestry into her classic looks that are fit for real, full-figured women. Finally, someone looking out for the curvy girls! Right on!

Leanne, 27, hails from Yuta, California and begain a love affair with fashion at the age of 12 when she started making ballet costumes. Her go-to fashion item is a plain white or gray t-shirt.

Suede, 37, comes from Seven Hills, Ohio and says a great hoodie is a must-have fashion piece. He's passionate about various fashion looks, including couture, eveningwear and specialty apparel. With all this passion, he's likely to come up with lots of surprising looks for the judges.

Terri, 39, is a Chicago native and a freelance designer who favors low-waist, bell-cut black pants. She is currently working on her own fashion line. I hope her line shows off her funky sense of style!

Wesley, 23, of Blackstone, Mass. began his fashion aspirations making his own clothing in middle school and boasts a clean and classic aesthetic. This guy reminds me of a walking J.Crew catalog. I'm curious to see what he'll do to wow the judges!

Blayne, 23, is from Yakima, Washington, and attended the Art Institute of Seattle. He worked on an athletic clothing line for Seattle Seahawks' running back Shaun Alexander. Blayne also loves anything neon. I adored neon too ... back in the late 80s!

Daniel, 25, hails from Great Barrington, Massachusetts and is a lover of novelty blazers. He says Charles James and Thierry Mugler are among his favorite designers. I would love to see him design a reconstructed blazer with some interesting embroidery on the back.

Emily, 27, comes from Sacramento, California and attended the Otis College of Art & Design. Her fashion must-have is a pair of great jeans and she says her biggest inspiration comes from her friends and family. I hope she doesn't get homesick!

Stay tuned to Newsday's 'Project Runway' blog as we follow the long-awaited season premiere on Wednesday, July 16th and every episode leading up to the grand finale!

Photo: Model Heidi Klum (Photo by Getty Images)