Project Runway: Still Making It Work

Austin + model, Project Runway, Season 1, Episode 1

During a snowstorm, I came across the first season of Project Runway in its initial run.The show had been a poor performer on Bravo, but a savvy new executive had arrived and ordered the show to be relentlessly rerun during the holidays, a prime time for TV channel-surfing.

The strategy worked: the show became a smash hit and transformed Bravo into the monied reality show network it is today. But the partnership with Bravo was not to last—after extensive litigation, the show moved to Lifetime starting with season 8.

When it launched, PR was a new type of reality show featuring competitors who were craftspeople: they could manipulate fabric into fashion according to their personal taste and construction skills. They were like the mice in Cinderella, creating fantasy dresses on command.

It is amazing (and entertaining) to watch a designer in an inspired moment. By giving someone a design challenge, you are giving that person limits, forcing him or her to push “outside of their comfort zone” and apply his or her skills to untraditional materials (raw parts from a car), a limited amount of material (whatever you are wearing), specific elements of design (awful fashion trend from the past), or a designated silhouette (swimsuit). Some of the most “limiting” challenges has led to the most striking fashion: Austin’s corn husk dress (grocery store challenge), Leanne’s rubber minidress and Korto’s woven seatbelt coat (the aforementioned car part challenge).

The PR winner is not always the one who shines throughout the season; Season 1 victor Jay didn’t win any of the challenges (not even for the Chrysler Building dress!). Some of the most consistently outstanding designers make it to Fashion Week, only to disappoint with the final collection—having no limits can be a detriment. There’s also the pressure to come up with several looks dedicated to one theme while being “fashion-forward”: on trend but not derivative, unique but not costume-y.

Snap prediction for season 9 final 3: Bert, Danielle, Anthony.

Another Project Runway: All-Stars special is in the works. Curious. I wasn’t pleased with the result of the first one—poor Korto. It seemed unfairly stacked in Daniel V.’s favor.

Favorite designers: Jay McCarroll, Austin, Chloe, Kara Janx, Mychael, Christian, Rami, Leanne, Korto, Maya.


Blogging Project Runway

Tom & Lorenzo

Tim Gunn’s Facebook page

From his early podcasts to his “Tim’s Take” videos and blog posts, Tim has remained active in sharing his thoughts with fans throughout the show’s run. For the past few seasons, he has posted his episode commentary videos on his Facebook page, and I hope that has not changed now that he is a producer (one hopes that now he has less to criticize in terms of the editing). Tim’s insider opinions on PR are insightful and diverting, offering behind-the-scenes revelations and hilariously on-point commentary. Tim’s eloquence and lack of filter is gold.

Poet Ron Silliman is a Project Runway fan and blogs about the show. Love it.

Big Apple Armitage: New York City Captain America Screening

Yesterday, a Captain America film event took place at the Loews Lincoln Square Theaters in Manhattan.

It seems that this was an “advance screening” as opposed to a “premiere” event. If I still lived in New York City, I would have been crushed to have missed this under-the-radar public appearance.

None of the major American cast members were in attendance, but who needs Americans when you’ve got Armitage—open collar casual Armitage.

Courtesy of:

After flying in from Los Angeles, he must have been exhausted. But he still has that twinkle.

It’s very sweet how he stands off to the side in group pictures and when onstage with others so that he is not the center of attention. So courteous. (see photos at

Oh Yeah: Armitage In Tom Ford and Similarities to Colin Firth, Plus Armitage + HeathRA Encounter

Armitage fashion speculation became reality: Armitage wore a Tom Ford suit for the Captain America premiere.

Courtesy of:

Well done. Another sign that he is walking the Colin Firth path.

Armitage vs. Firth Similarities:

A. Gains legions of fans in a BBC period drama miniseries in the role of a misunderstood, darkly handsome suitor to a headstrong young woman (North and South vs. Pride and Prejudice)

B. Stars in a Minghella-related project where his character is in love with a woman who desires the leading man (Robin Hood vs. The English Patient)

C. Stars in a Richard Curtis romantic comedy as a man from London who falls in love with a woman in the country (The Vicar of Dibley vs. Love Actually)

D. Has the leading role of a king facing a great impediment (dragon vs. stutter) in a major ensemble film surrounded by distinguished British and Australian actors (The Hobbit vs. The King’s Speech)

All signs point to an Oscar!

Do enjoy this heart-stopping photo of Armitage at the CA premiere shared by HeathRA, who was able to meet Armitage. ( will be posting more of her photos soon.)

She manages one of my favorite YouTube channels (HeathDances); she creates and shares a plethora of RA videos, including the delicious “SexyBack” compilations.

I first discovered her work through this beautiful Pride and Prejudice film video a few years ago. If only I had clicked to see why she was making all of those Richard Armitage videos. . .

ADDED NOTE: heathravideos Twitter feed with picture links and delicious details on meeting Armitage.

Just remembered: she made him the Guy of Gisborne Havoc Tour shirt! And he still has it! Aww, this is the best fan meeting EVER.

The Havoc Tour shirt design on her website. Brilliant!

Speculation: Armitage and the Captain American Premiere

The Captain America premiere will be streaming live via AP and Marvel today.

Wondering about Richard Armitage. . .

A. The Wardrobe: I hope he gets the Tom Ford treatment.

B. The Date—?

C. The Red-Carpet Interviews: Any revealing questions? Although red carpet events may seem rather unpleasant to RA and he may seem shy, he doesn’t hold back on providing some deliciously candid answers to event reporters.

At the 2009 BAFTAs, an interviewer asked him what onscreen kiss would he like to do to have on YouTube, and he responded, “I would probably like to kiss Nigella Lawson after she’s eaten a chunk of chocolate cake.”

Then he bashfully smiles and there’s an abrupt cut away. (video on RA Frenzy)


Domestic goddess + RA + a taste of chocolate = RA red carpet gold

Such a modest man, but such aphrodisiacal thoughts. Ooh la la.

D. The After Party: Will there be reporting of the elusive Armitage dance moves? From this interview: “I get off on the euphoria, so I’m always the first on the dance floor.” You know this Hollywood after party will be raging with DJs.

E. The After-After Party—

Will there be:

i) LA clubbing—RA mentions clubbing in Paris in one of his fan messages. I think Europeans tend to club farther into middle age than Americans.

ii) Karaokean RA pastime. There are tons of late-night karaoke joints in LA.

One wonders what is RA’s “go-to” karaoke song. With RA’s lovely baritone voice, I can’t help but think of another famous English baritone—Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. I bloody love Depeche Mode, and I think that Strangelove” and “It’s No Good” would serve as perfect soundtracks for RA fanvideos, especially ones about Guy of Gisborne (from “Strangelove”: “I give in/to sin/because you have to make this life livable”).

iii) In-N-Out Burger—because it’s the traditional red-carpet nightcap in LA.

Armitage Everywhere, and in Motion in Captain America

It is strange to have advertorial traces of Richard Armitage scattered across my city and injected into my live television feed.

With The Hobbit on hiatus and Captain America on the brink of release, there has been a flurry of new Armitage content.

Here are two new Captain America stills.

Still looking back (Courtesy of:

Here comes trouble: Armitage double-fist gun action (Courtesy of:

Heinz Kruger is quite the dapper assassin. In this scene, he wears a three-piece grey suit with a windowpane pattern, pink plaid tie, and white pocket square. Esquire would approve.

It will be exciting to see Armitage in motion on the big screen. He is an elegant mover to the point where it is distracting: there was one scene in Robin Hood where I thought, “That’s not how Guy of Gisborne would have walked up those stairs.”