February 16, 2006

Project Runway

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Amidst a myriad of mediocre reality TV shows, Project Runway shines like a diamond in the rough. The show appears on Bravo, and brings new life to the network last famous for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Project Runway appeals to a varied audience ranging from the fashion-obsessed to people who know nothing about high fashion. The outrageous time constraints and high pressure atmosphere help to emphasize the enormous talent that each contestant has. The top four contestants have proven themselves to be innovative designers,and are able to deftly switch gears from haute couture to designing an outfit for Barbie.

Irrefutably, the most creative designer is Santino. Santino’s design for Nicki Hilton was hip, yet classy, and enabled him to nab first place in the challenge. His girly, ruffled lavender Barbie dress was also unique, and closely rivaled Nick’s “Socialite in Capri” design. Santino’s greatest downfall however, is his tendency to over-embellish (honestly, that vulgar, Dutch-milkmaid lingerie line was ridiculous). If he makes it to the top three, his biggest obstacle will be whether or not he can channel his creativity, while still making things wearable, and not outlandish.

Daniel V. (our fave) is also unbelievably gifted. His designs, compared with Santino’s, are much more marketable and tend to be trendy, yet classic. He has a unique ability to infuse every project with elements of elegance and style, while still keeping his designs young and updated. His Banana Republic dress was gorgeous, and his Garden Party dress was incredibly chic. However, Daniel did fall flat on two occasions: during the “Barbie” challenge and the most recent “Makeover” challenge. All in all, we really think Daniel is capable of taking the fashion industry by storm!

Chloe has two wins under her belt, and she has been the most consistent contestant so far. Chloe shined during the “Makeover” challenge when she made her first ever menswear debut by designing a tailored, pinstripe suit for Nick. The suit was great, and the pink button-down made it more modern. Her least creative project was her garden party outfit, which entailed gluing flower petals all over a basic linen dress. Her garment construction has been flawless; however, she needs to be more innovative if she expects to win.

The final contestant is Kara. To her credit, Kara has made vast improvements during the course of the show, and she generally executes her designs very well. We also thought it was very selfless and commendable of her to help Chloe finish her garden party dress. However, being nice in a cutthroat, competitive industry isn’t enough. Kara lacks the ability to plan beforehand and work through her design. Her nervous breakdown during the Banana challenge won’t help her either. In addition, her Barbie outfit was hideous (a ruffled denim skirt and a terrible looking hat) and her design for the “Inspiration” challenge was atrocious. However, her talent and creativity have made her one of Tim’s favorites. Her black and white graphic design Banana Republic dress was beautiful, despite the fact that the judges didn’t seem to care for the white jacket. The intricate designs, particularly the braiding and purple flowers, that she used on the bodice of her garden dress were also exquisite.

Overall this show is a must see. Watching the designers create their work from scratch and being able to see the finished product is amazing. The judges’ commentary, especially Michael Kors’ critiques are also really entertaining. Now that we caught you up to speed, you really should watch the show that everyone who is anyone is talking about.

Archived article by Maria Panagopulos and Joanna DiCostanzo