Project Runway Post-Show Chat, Week 4

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 5 2010 12:41 AM

Project Runway Post-Show Chat, Week 4

After each episode of Project Runway's seventh season, a gaggle of Slatesters will gather to dish about the show. This week, the challenge was to design a signature dress for Campbell's " adDRESS your heart " program, and the clients were women whose lives "have been impacted by heart disease." Amy Sarabi was the winner; Jesus Estrada was sent home.

David Plotz: Can we just pretend that episode never happened? All that shiny red fabric. All that crass-even-by-reality-TV-standards shilling for Campbell's. All that phony do-goodism. And then all those extremely ugly dresses. Give me burlap any day. 

June Thomas June Thomas

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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June Thomas: Amen, brother. I just feel bad that this week's Project Runway was pre-empted for an hourlong Campbell's soup commercial. There were too many elements to the challenge—the dress had to be suitable for a fancy gala, be predominantly red and incorporate the Campbell's logo, and , as they mentioned so many times, the designers were working with "real women." (As wonderful as those real women no doubt are, I gained a new appreciation for the way the emaciated professional models make clothes look great.)

Hanna Rosin: I actually had hopes for this one. Remember a few seasons back when they did the shameless promo challenge at the Hershey's store ? That produced some of my favorite dresses ever, made of layered candy wrappers and licorice. The problem here was that they weren't shameless enough. They should have gone Andy Warhol on them—made them incorporate actual tin cans and limp noodles.

JT: Hanna, you're making me wish Ping was still around. She could've made a kick-ass tin-can dress.

HR: After the endless reminders that these were "real women," I wasn't sure if we were supposed to pity them more because they had heart disease or because they were "real," which in fashion just means fat , right?

DP: The real women Campbell's chunky soup challenge. Rearrange those words as you see fit. 

I will say this for the real women: They do reveal which designers can't actually, uh, design. That thing--that extra-wide load thing --that Anna sent down the runway was evidence that she and her wispy la-di-da pretty face need to go home. She can't make a dress. 

JT: I would love to pick a fight with you, David, but I agree completely. Anna's dress was the opposite of flattering. I would've sent her home before Jesus--sure, his tacky little number looked like something from the opening ceremonies of the Sex Worker Olympics, but it fit and it was flattering, which is more than could be said for Janeane 's, Anna's, or the really vile ensemble from this week: Jesse's shiny white majorette jacket and paneled skirt

HR: I think disease is a real problem for reality television, because it sucks the life out of the show. Deep in their hearts, the designers were pissed that they had to design for these frumpy non-famous post-ops. But because they had "heart disease," nobody could say that. So, except for one bitchy Mila comment about her model being a "really tough fit" (again, fat ), the episode was a dud.

And did Jay actually say, "I've never met anyone in my life who died"?

DP: Be fair. He did caveat it: "I've never met anyone in my whole entire life who died and came back to life." 

June, what are the events at the Sex Worker Olympics? And will it be carried on NBC? Actually, in their horrific bloody red ugliness, a lot of these outfits could pass for genuine Team USA Olympic uniforms. 

JT: Let's just put it this way: If Jesus' model had carried a tray of drinks in one hand and a pingpong ball in the other, she couldn't have looked any trashier.

Did either of you see anything that you liked tonight? I agree with the win—Amy did manage to create movement and elegance, but it was still a pretty boring design. Other than Jonathan's silk layer cake of a dress , which stood out mostly because he eschewed bright scarlet, the others all seemed ugly .

DP: I disagree about Jonathan's, which, except for being eggplanty rather than bloody, was bad wedding-store dress. I liked Mila's star-spangled fire engine . I worry that Mila is going to poison Amy before next week's episode, but I still think she's the best designer they've got.

I wasn't gaga over Amy's winning dress , but I am gaga over her. It's been a long time since there has been a PR contestant I really liked. Amy has a dignity and charm about her. It may not win her the competition against ax murderess Mila and quietly vicious Emilio, but I am all in for her. 

JT: Ugh, I hated Mila's dress. The story of the stars—the classic Campbell's branding elements—was great, but the dress itself was horrid. Those puckered old stars made me weep for old glory.

HR: I think they can't kick Anna out for the same reason they can't complain about the heart disease patients. It's like kicking a puppy. (And they can't ever kick Janeane out, because she will threaten to jump off the roof of Mood.)

I have become kind of interested in Emilio, though. He's been offstage since the first episode, but he's been amping up the bitchiness at an alarming speed. I feel like they are preparing us for an Emilio showdown. But I'm not sure with whom.

DP: Janeane and Anna remind me of the girls I tried desperately to avoid dating in college. And Maya reminds me of the girls I tried desperately to date. And Mila—a grown-up Maya—is a very useful reminder of how lucky I was that the Mayas wouldn't date me. 

HR: So, David, am I an Amy or a Maya?

DP: You are a total Amy!

Previous chats: Weeks 1 , 2 , 3

 

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