Thursday, February 14, 2008
Drape Expectations: The Project Runway Recap
Here’s my question: How exactly does one develop a “passion for draping”? A passion for the late string quartets of Beethoven, sure. A passion for a bottle of 1970 Chateau Rothschild, perhaps. But a passion for draping? How do you actually muster such strong feelings for what is essentially a way of folding fabric? (I can only imagine that Rami has a bumper sticker on his car that reads: “I’d Rather Be Draping” or that his friends wear T-shirts that read “I’m With Draper.”)
But our boy Rami is nothing if not consistent. He began this competition as a draper, and by God, he will leave this competition as a draper.
Still, just between you and me, don’t you get the sense that Rami has a little bit of contempt for this whole process? I realize that I’ve been schooled in the language of reality TV, where everyone goes on a “personal journey” and has growth and change and all that Dr. Phil stuff. But what has Rami learned? Nada. Zip. Nothing. He came into this competition with a clear, unshakable faith in who he is as a designer and he leaves the competition (or at least, heads into its final stretch) as the exact same designer. Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia bow down to his impeccable taste and superior craftsmanship, but I see a one trick pony. (It kinda reminds me of the girl who just made the Top 24 of American Idol by singing Amazing Grace—twice! Honey, Amazing Grace is great, but once in a while ya gotta sing a little Stevie Wonder.)
So of course, there was really no question that Rami was going to pick the toga room—er, the Roman and Grecian sculpture wing—at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was there? (Anyone else getting serious From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler flashbacks as they wandered the Met. Just me?) It almost seemed like a trap. Dangle an Aphrodite statue in front of Rami and see if he can resist. No suspense here: He can’t.
But enough about Rami, for now.
Loved the fact that Chris made a true groaner of a joke at The Met (a Joan Rivers joke in the ancient temple wing? really Chris, that is beneath you) and then howled with his patented trumpet laugh, and Tim Gunn shot him a stern, patrician look. No talking in class, Chris!
Say what you will about Christian, but the kid can sew like a whole team of German seamstresses. Remember last year when Laura accused Jeffrey of hiring outside help to finish his collection? (Oh, how I miss the days of naked acrimony among the designers.) Well, no one could possibly level that accusation against Christian. As far as I saw it, boy designed a shirt, a hat, a pair of knickers, a jacket, and a cape of some sort. He practically did an entire collection in the time that it took Jillian to freak out over a coat and a dress. (Jillian? Freaking out? Shocking!!)
Speaking of working fast, how dead did you think Chris was when he was caught napping on the job? Does this guy have 9 lives or what? Not only is he the only designer to ever get cut and brought back to life on Project Runway, but I was 100-percent certain that Nap Gate would do him in. Tim Gunn was positively incredulous. “You can’t be done!” he squeaked, several times. “No one’s done!” (I half expected him to break out a Tom Hanks-like “There’s no napping in couture!”).
But Chris pulled it off—sorta. There’s no denying that his dress was very, very evocative of the dress he made with Christian. (Who are we trying to kid? It was the exact same garment.) But it was well done. And Robert Cavalli was practically kvelling. (Of course, he hadn’t seen the previous dress.)
But still, fair is fair. If you don’t penalize Rami for redundancy, you can’t penalize Chris, can you?
(One irrelevant aside: Is Michael Kors sharing his tanning spray? Everyone on the judging panel seemed particularly orange this week.)
So here’s how it all went down.
Christian won, and deservedly so.
Then Jillian came in second, for making another hot jacket (that lining was to die for, but the dress was nothin’ special). Then, Christian—perhaps emboldened by his shocking arm wrestling victory over Sweet Pea last week—attempted to swing Jillian up in the air in celebration, but realized he couldn’t actually lift her. Oh well.
Speaking of Sweet Pea, aww, bless her heart. She had such a fretful time on Project Runway. She always seemed worried. (Her model even attempted some sort of Reiki healing spell on her to calm her down, to no avail.) But I agreed with the judges. Her dress was cute, accessible, and easy to love—just like Sweet Pea herself. But it wasn’t finals material.
Then it came down to Rami and Chris. I was on the edge of my seat. Could they possibly ditch Rami—Mr. Professional Designer—for Chris, a man who makes triumphantly tacky dresses for plus-size drag queens?
And then they said it: Chris is in!
But wait! Rami is also in?
Ohnotheydi’int. Not the same “We love you all, we can’t choose!” cop out as last year?
Well, not quite. Both Rami and Chris have to design collections, but only one will make it to Bryant Park along with Christian and Jillian. (All completely complicated by the fact that all five designers—yes, Sweet Pea included—had to show at Bryant Park to avoid web spoilers. But we’ll ignore that technicality).
Not sure how I feel about this. I really, really, really would’ve liked to have seen Rami’s stubbornness punished. I mean, how awesome would it have been if he had lost to loud, flamboyant, gregarious Chris—a man who is literally the embodiment of everything he can’t stand? Let me answer that for you: Very awesome.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Still, can’t wait to see all their collections, even (she grudgingly admits) Rami’s DrapeFest 2008. (Christian for the win? Anyone with me on this?)
Next week, reunion. And Frau Farbissina, a.k.a. Victorya, gets smacked down by Heidi! Achtung, baby!