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The top and bottom on Week 2. Did you agree with the winner and loser? We all kind of lose to have to deal with Timothy for another week.

The top and bottom on Week 2. Did you agree with the winner and loser? We all kind of lose to have to deal with Timothy for another week.

When all else fails, sob. Or make a speech. Or be a random cartoon character who babbles about eco-nonsense. On reality TV, drama is like sex — it sells.

Poor Kahindo may not have made a standout dress on “Project Runway” Season 12, Episode 2, “Million Dollar Runway,” but it wasn’t that bad or that boring. But she didn’t get to show much personality, so like Angela last week, she had to go home over more TV-friendly characters.

Yes, I mean Timothy, but also Helen. Did you see what she made? I know her intention. Everyone has the same intention every week: to make a standout design that represents them as a designer. It’s harder than I can even imagine, having seen every season. But some people manage to work miracles. The people cast for each season, out of the thousands of hopefuls, are put in the position to be daily miracle workers. When your miracle falls flat, you should go home. Helen’s design was the farthest thing from a miracle. And she knew it. In fact, Helen was so upset with her faulty construction that she literally started shaking in her runway seat. Father Tim Gunn had to come out and help her. She cried, she made a speech to the judges to illustrate her passion, and she was saved. They all have passion or they shouldn’t be there. Should Kahindo have made a speech? Would that have saved her? It probably wouldn’t save you in the real workplace.

The second Helen started shaking I knew she would be safe.

The second Helen started shaking I knew she would be safe.

Anyway, this week the designers were loaned more than $30 million worth of jewels and told to create a look glamorous enough to walk the runway with the jewels.

Of course Timothy was not inspired by the jewelry. He doesn’t care about money (or so he says). They had to pick the “prettiest” one, which he found superficial. (I need him to go home before my eyes get stuck in the up position.) He compromised enough to put makeup on his model and even though he had one of the “lower” scores, he was still safe. He is the judges’s pet.

This week, Sandro — who had a mini tantrum in the workroom and even grabbed a staffer by the arm to try and get him to fix equipment — had one of the higher scores, despite riding that line between “stripper and chic.” For me, he’s still on the stripper side. But good for him for supporting Helen. I don’t agree with any of it, but we all need someone in our corner.  Just keep me away from that particular corner.

This week, Kate the Redeemed won the challenge. She won a corset-based challenge on her last season too. Heidi likes that stuff. I liked her (intentionally) disheveled Marie Antoinette-inspired design but I didn’t love it, and I’m not that invested in Kate’s redemption story. Sorry.

I liked Dom’s green and white design and, once again, I really liked British Jeremy’s design, which wasn’t even put in the top. Again. Still love his pants from last week too. I have a feeling he’s going to be my “cause” for the season.

Jeremy, I love your stuff. I can't wait until you're in the top instead of just "safe." I still love last week's pants best, despite the extra hardware.

Jeremy, I like your stuff. I can’t wait until you’re in the top instead of just “safe.” I still love last week’s pants best, despite the extra hardware.


With my stream-of-consciousness thoughts as they walk the runway.

Dom – Like the design but is the green and white too matchy-matchy with the jewels? I need to see it up close.

Justin – Love her hair, and black dress is beautiful in a simple way.

Ken – Nice green classic simple, OK.

Kahindo – Interesting print, almost camouflage.

Alexandria – Very simple navy blue, beautiful, elegant (I love how opinionated she is behind-the-scenes. She’s going to piss someone off soon.)

Miranda  – pretty much the same as last week just in blue.

Alexander – Black and flowy with some yellow. Not for me.

Kate  – Victorian-like silver dress, lot going on but works.

Timothy – Um, not sure.

Karen – Blah, blue, doesn’t seem to fit right, doesn’t accentuate jewelry.

Jeremy – LOVE – My man of the season. It’s official. All on board. Love the bottom. It’s not the most original design I’ve ever seen, but it perfectly showcases the jewelry instead of overpowering it. I thought that was the challenge.

Sandro – Tight, shows a lot. This is what he likes apparently, so be it.

Helen – She’s shaking and in a panic on the runway because she couldn’t finish her look well enough. “My construction is so awful.” They stop so Tim can go talk to her. Sandro tries to support her as she shakes. This crying will probably help her. They love drama. So much for Helen being the tough girl. It’s not weak to cry but it is a sign of deep insecurity to play up your toughness and then fall apart when you can’t deliver. Sorry to be harsh, but this is happening to all of them at the same time, not just her.

Sue – Black and sexy but not a standout. Not my style. The judges love her, though. There’s always at least one I don’t “get.”

Bradon – Silver dress with a light wrap. Hmm.

This isn't the best photo, but the more I look at Dom's design, the more I like it. But does it show off the jewels enough?

This isn’t the best photo, but the more I look at Dom’s design, the more I like it. But does it show off the jewels enough?


Dom – HIGH SCORES – Nina loved that she made it very young. She found the print interesting. She loved the back too, however, whatever she used to hem is overpowering it. Heidi said if she had to pick a dress it would be Dom’s. But she wouldn’t put the ribbon around her hair. Zac agreed.

Timothy – LOW SCORES – Tim went for makeup this time but Heidi still didn’t like the model’s hair. She asked him about the fabric he used to see if it matched his “cause.” Stop making him a gimmick. Zac commended him for going for something as ambitious as velvet. But he thought the dress looked backward. It’s hard to find bras for razorfront dresses, Heidi noted. Nina called the razorback-in-the-front “bizarre.” Nina expected something like a tuxedo jacket. Timothy is such a brown-noser.

Kate – HIGH SCORES – She was inspired by Marie Antoinette fleeing in the night. Heidi knew immediately that this was Kate’s dress because she loves buiding corsets and won a corset-involved challenge on her last season. Nina thought she picked a fabulous cover. Zac thought the jewelry popped, which was the whole task so that’s a good sign. WINNER

Sandro – HIGH SCORES – He had vintage rubies and went for a more “feminine” style. Heidi noted that he likes to put a lot into his garments. He piled on last week and he did it again. But she thought it worked this week. (Really?) Eric Daman liked the color with the jewelry. Zac and Nina liked his unpredictable fabric choice, but he had wrinkles in the fabric. Zac felt the sides of the dress took away from it and it got a little trashy. He walks the line of “stripper and chic,” as Eric put it.

Kahindo – LOW SCORES – Heidi thought it was so simple that it was boring. How is this exact argument not being made for Karen’s blue dress? Eric is wearing camo too but he didn’t seem to appreciate. Zac thought the print was hard and the construction was not inspiring. “I think it looks like a dress on sale.” And he felt the designer popped more than the model and looked cooler. It’s not exciting enough for Nina, either. Are they talking more about her own personality, ’cause it feels like they make arguments to keep the “drama” crowd but if you’re “boring” to the judges they’ll push you out the door.

Helen – LOW SCORES – Helen had never done cups before; Heidi said she’s always shocked when the designers try to do something they’ve never done before. Why? Isn’t that something you’re supposed to do on PR?! Heidi said she’s obsessed with boobs and these look pretty bad. Evening wear is Helen’s forte but this didn’t work. The dress had a lot of problems in the back. The execution is very poor. Zac said a gown like this takes days. The hem is off. The fabric was the wrong choice. Eric said you have to time manage. Nina said there were so many imperfections that they distract from the jewels. But she found the design interesting, so that could save her, along with her tears and passion. She makes a speech. Should Kahindo have made a speech and cried? Sandro jumps in to defend Helen. “Don’t judge her too much, please.” That’s kind of him, but it applies to all of them and someone has to leave.


Kate for her Marie Antoinette gown.


Kahindo, basically for her fabric choice and for boring the judges/not being enough of a storyline character.


• Alexander Pope, 38 – Hometown: Los Angeles, CA; Resides in New York, NY

• Alexandria von Bromssen, 38 – Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden; Resides in San Mateo, CA

• Angela Bacskocky, 33 – Hometown: Richmond, VA; Resides in Richmond, VA (Eliminated Week 1)

• Bradon McDonald, 38 – Hometown: Lowville, NY; Resides in Los Angeles, CA

• Dom Streater, 24 – Hometown: Philadelphia, PA; Resides in Philadelphia, PA

• Helen Castillo, 25 – Hometown: Weehawken, NJ; Resides in Union City, NJ

• Jeremy Brandrick, 41 – Hometown: Birmingham, England; Resides in New York, NY

• Justin LeBlanc, 27 – Hometown: Tampa, FL; Resides in Raleigh, NC

• Kahindo Mateene, 34 – Hometown: Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Resides in Chicago, IL (Eliminated Week 2)

• Karen Batts, 29 – Hometown: Boca Raton, FL; Resides in Queens, NY

• Ken Laurence, 24 – Hometown: Birmingham, AL; Resides in Birmingham, AL

• Miranda Kay Levy, 29 – Hometown: Wilton, WI; Resides in Milwaukee, WI

• Sandro Masmanidi, 28 – Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia; Resides in New York, NY

• Sue Waller, 45 – Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in Brooklyn, NY

• Timothy Westbrook, 24 – Hometown: Wanakena, NY; Resides in Milwaukee, WI

• Kate Pankoke, the Runway Redemption winner from Season 11


Catch up on my old (vintage) “Project Runway” stories in this archive.


Nina does look pretty good in this, even with a patch around her tummy.

Maybe Joanna Coles’ fantastically b*tchy attitude is just rubbing off on me, but I’m not happy with this “Project Runway” challenge. As Nina Garcia would put it — repeatedly “No.”

Cecilia should've gone home for this.

I’m not happy with who was in the top group — although of the three I definitely think the right garment won. I’m not happy with who went home. But more than anything I’m annoyed that once again one of the judges was made the client. Especially since that judge has such muted taste and she’s not the type to allow the designers to be themselves. At all.

Heidi Klum has been the client more times than I can count and it’s almost always a disaster. Michael Kors has assigned some kind of resort wear before and I can’t recall that going well. Now, you can imagine how things go with Nina Garcia as the client.


There was a time when she was The Goddess Nina Garcia for me. But after last season, and the past two episodes, I’m not sure about Nina. She’s tough but not consistent. Does anyone else remember how frustrated she got with Christian Siriano and anyone else who had too much black in their final collections? She was always a proponent of color. But now she’s fine with LBDs and other safe stuff.

She’s also an extremely difficult client. Her tastes are limited. She doesn’t listen. She knows what she wants and assigns it rather than letting the designers express their own viewpoints.

I don't really mind Julie's coat thing.

And she’s harsh. But man! Nina is nothing next to Joanna Coles, aka Tilda Swinton + Anna Wintour. No wonder Nina is the queen of “No” with that lady as her boss. Gotta say, I kinda love her.

The challenge on “Project Runway” Season 9, Episode 4, “All About Nina” was to create a look for Nina that she can wear to work during the day and wear to an industry event at night. So it’s a day-to-evening look. The winning design, which turned out to be Kimberly’s gold top and pants, will be featured in a Marie Claire ad and New Yorkers should see it riding around at the top of cabs. Pretty cool.

I’m glad for Kimberly, but it was the gold top that they loved and she didn’t even want to make those pants. Nina assigned them. She also assigned Danielle’s top, because she and the other judges failed to see how that kind of top was boring last week.

Julie was sent home, which is sad ’cause she was sarcastic and cool and actually wanted to be there. Imagine that! Julie should’ve been kept over Cecilia, who pulled a Fallene + Bert, throwing her own design under the bus and acting like she didn’t want to be there. Her garment was beyond awful and she knew it. But because Julie had been in the bottom several times (loved how she called it living in a bad neighborhood!) she got the boot. I actually kinda liked that housecoat thing.

Does it matter that Anya got help sewing this? Should she have said something on the runway when the judges complimented her skills?

I also like how the women on this season seem to be supporting each other, for the most part, especially since so many of the guys are getting catty. I did like that little moment between my boy Anthony Ryan and Anya, when Anthony introduced his fiance via Skype or whatever. That was cute. The fiance was cute, too. Jealous.

It was a little odd that Anthony Ryan and Becky both picked the same fabric, but there really didn’t need to be so much high school whispering about it. And even though I usually adore AR, I thought Becky did a better job with the fabric. But they were both declared safe by The Powers That Be, so in the end it didn’t matter at all.

But how do we feel about Anya getting help with her almost winning design? It looked very Gretchen Jones, by the way. The second I saw that it was a Gretchen-esque jumpsuit with that kind of styling I thought it would win.

It was sweet of Laura to help Anya, but considering the judges keep gushing about how well Anya is sewing with such limited experience, shouldn’t they let her present her own work? Sloppy construction is often called out, so why should she be exempt? And wasn’t it Josh’s idea to dye the fabric away from that mustard color? True, the designers are choosing to help her, but they should realize that it could be at their own expense as Anya’s work is elevated above their own.


Josh M. — Big gray spot in the front. The back is very futuristic, kind of melony pink colored. JUDGES: SAFE

Bert — Very clean, basic black dress with a plunging neck and back. JUDGES: SAFE

Olivier — Safe and boring gray pants and top. JUDGES: SAFE

Anthony Ryan's look is at left, Becky's at right. I think she used the fabric better. His look is ... surprising, from him.

Anthony Ryan — Not my favorite look of his. Not even close. Disappointing. JUDGES: SAFE

Becky — Of the two fabrics, I like this one more. Weird, ’cause Anthony is my boy. JUDGES: SAFE

Kimberly — Very gold, like Goldfinger top with the pants Nina wanted. JUDGES: HIGHER SCORES. You can tell Nina will like this when you see what Nina is wearing to the runway. Heidi loves this look because it doesn’t need any work. MK loves that it’s separates. Joanna calls this “a special shirt.” And “it’s just gorgeous.” She wants to wear it herself. *WINNING LOOK*

Cecilia — Yeah, this deserves to be in the bottom. JUDGES: LOWER SCORES: Man, I thought Nina was mean but Joanna goes on a rampage about this. Fair, though, because even Cecilia hates it. Once again, “it’s very sad.” That’s the phrase of the day. Cecilia’s attitude is challenged, too. She doesn’t seem like she wants to be there.

Anya — Interesting brownish pantsuit. It looks like something Gretchen would’ve made, which is perfect for Nina. JUDGES: HIGHER SCORES. Nina is amazed at the transformation from mustard to this brown. Heidi loves this jumpsuit. They are still obsessing over her sewing skills. She doesn’t mention how she got help from Laura with the sewing. Kerry loves this. “It’s so fun.”

Danielle — Very green top and black pants. Total snore. JUDGES LOWER SCORES. MK calls it “very pedestrian.” So finally he’s insulting the kind of “old-fashioned” blouse she made last week. (It’s a Joan Crawford at St. Patty’s Day look!) Why was it great last week? Joanna thinks Danielle and her model might be depressed. If Nina came into work wearing that she’d think she was ill. Poor Nina really has to worry about what she wears with this woman!

She really does look just like Tilda Swinton.

Julie — I like the idea but it looks unfinished in some way. JUDGES: LOWER SCORES. Kerry Washington doesn’t understand it. Is it a dress? Is it a coat? (It’s a droat!) It’s not one of Nina’s favorites. Michael Kors calls it a housecoat. “It’s just sad.” Heidi said this is not Nina at all and it doesn’t look clean. It looks like she wore it in an airport for 12 hours. Joanna Coles called it “unwearable” and said if Nina came into the office wearing that she’d think she was asking to be fired. *LOSING LOOK*

Bryce — Very simple and short navy and gray skirt with a troubling hem. JUDGES: SAFE. Really? So short. Execution problems. Whose cousin is this guy?

Laura — Hideous green fairy outfit that is so not Nina. JUDGES: SAFE. She did have immunity. That’s the only reasoning I can think of for making this safe.

Viktor — Funny how he and his former nemesis Bert both went for the clean, basic LBD. JUDGES: HIGHER SCORES. Of course Nina loves this. She’s always complained about collections having too much black so of course she goes against her own words.


Catch up on my “Project Runway” stories in this nifty archive.

Will April win the next challenge? Will Michael C. be sent home? Will Tim Gunn ever post another vlog?


[To be said in best Tim Gunn/Snagglepuss voice]: Heavens to Murgatroyd!

I know “The Bachelor” is off season, but did Lifetime hire the same producers to cut the Episode 10 trailer? It screams “manipulation.”

You can watch the preview here, but this is a semi-transcript:

Voice-over: “Heart-wrenching confessions break the runway!”
Mondo: “This has been so hard to keep a secret.”
V-o: “Scandals destroy the workroom!”
Tim: “There was an accusation about cheating.”
V-o: “It all leads to the most controversial season finale ever!”
Michael Kors: “I’m gonna fight for this.”
Heidi Klum: “It’s wrong what he did.”
V-o: “And the one moment you’ll never stop talking about!”

Chances are we’ll stop talking about it eventually, but how juicy! Sounds like the most dramatic rose ceremony evah!

Blogging Project Runway already has polls up, speculating who will be accused of cheating and who will be the accuser. As you can imagine, many people suspect Michael Costello of being accused and Gretchen Jones as the accuser.

I think there has to be something to Mondo’s “secret.” Is he the accuser? Is he being accused? I saw another promo that showed April Johnston saying she doesn’t know the story behind Mondo’s print. (This Thursday they are bringing back the pattern challenge from last season.) Is he just sharing an emotional story that has nothing to do with the cheating allegation?

Long story short, I don’t know a dang thing. Although for whatever reason people think April will win this Thursday’s Episode 10, “There’s a Pattern Here,” and Michael C. will be sent home.

How dare the producers deny me more Seth Aaron time?! I miss my S-A!

By the way, sharp eyes at BPR spotted a photo in the Episode 9 gallery showing my boy Seth Aaron Henderson, winner of Season 7, and what could be Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva. You can also see Ivy Higa in the photo. So is that something they left out from last week, or something we’ll see in a different version this Thursday?

On a somewhat related note, the previews seemed to show designers getting emotional at the “special guests” which usually means family members. So is this pattern challenge going to also include family time?

(*Update* Here’s an extended preview of Episode 10)

Anyway, The Goddess Nina Garcia graced the world with a couple of recent interviews, alluding to the upcoming drama. (Which won’t all be this week, since this Thursday’s ep does not include the finale.)

To Zap2it she says, “It gets really good. It’s very soon. It’s just a very emotional moment in the show, and it’s the first time that something like this has happened. It’s a very powerful and a very admirable moment.”

Then it can’t just be a cheating allegation followed by research and absolution. Remember on Season 3 when Laura Bennett accused eventual winner Jeffrey Sebelia of cheating? They looked into it and said he hadn’t cheated.

So this must be something new. Maybe someone admits to cheating and is given a second chance? Maybe someone quits the show because they accused someone falsely? Maybe the cheating allegation and the emotional moment are two different things?

Nina also gave a really long, cool interview with good deets to Celebrity Baby Scoop. On the drama coming “very soon” she says, “It’s just a very emotional moment in the show and it’s the first time that something like this has happened. It’s a very powerful and a very admirable moment. So, you’ve just go to watch.”

So she’s sticking to the script on this.

By the way, Nina thinks the winner of Season 8 could have the same career stamina of Season 4 winner Christian Siriano. To me, this goes with the spoilers that the winner could be Mondo. Because Heidi adores Mondo the way she adored Christian.


Here’s a portion of the Celebrity Baby Scoop interview where Nina talks about that:

Christian Siriano has found such mainstream success, post Runway. Do you see any up and coming contestants who have the same ability to achieve that success?

NG: “It’s a tough business to make it in. It takes a long time. I don’t think people realize how long for a normal desire that’s not in a celebrity that’s on a television show. It’s taken Marc Jacobs 20 years. It takes a long time.

But, what Christian has that has helped him tremendously is he’s got the tenacity, the personality, the creativity, and the age where he is prime to really work very hard and go for it. You need a lot of components to make it and some designers take longer than others. It’s a tough business. It’s just not instant fame like other fields. Fashion is a little longer. But, yes, Christian has a lot of elements that have made him very successful.”

Have you seen anyone else who you think who has ‘it’?

NG: “Well, you have to wait until this season’s over, but I do think the winner of this season could very well have the same kind of stamina that Christian has.”


By the way, Tim Gunn still hasn’t posted an Episode 9 vlog and the reposted Episode 8 video seems to have disappeared again. I worry that he’s given up on us.

Catch up on my “Project Runway” archive here.

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