Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 13

Nov 05, 2015 by Alex Castle

It is almost time to slam the lid on Project Runway season 14. Before I get into the Power Rankings, I want to address Tim Gunn’s comments on this season; the beloved mentor told Entertainment Weekly:

I hated season 14. I hated it. I felt that other than a couple of designers, they weren’t working up to their potential. The whole thing was lackluster. I have a theory about it, which is that they just weren’t hungry. Their audition videos from home, you know, they’re sitting by a pool, they’re taking us into their closet with all their designer clothes, and I just thought, they’re not hungry! Most of them. And I think that was largely the issue. I wasn’t at the auditions [this] season for the first... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 12

Oct 29, 2015 by Alex Castle

Who says you need people screaming at each other to make good reality TV? Season 14 of Project Runway has been one of the most enjoyable on record, thanks to the strength of this year’s crop of designers, less emphasis on the product placement challenges, and the unusually harmonious workroom, where the designers not only aren’t trash-talking each other, they’re actively helping each other and giving each other real advice. Last week’s challenge brought the four remaining designers to Los Angeles, to create looks suitable for the Red Carpet, and to be inspired by the view from a Hollywood hills mansion, and by their lavishly appointed rooms at Best Western. (I didn’t say they got rid of the product placement, I said they toned it down.)

Last week’s episode... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 10

Oct 15, 2015 by Alex Castle

We are down to five designers, and with last week’s show we have reached a point where there is only top and bottom; no one is just dismissed as “safe” right after the runway show. Last week we saw something we’ve never seen on this show, and never thought we’d see, except in the fevered writings of Project Runway fan fiction: we saw Tim Gunn completely lose it on a designer, calling unabbreviated BS on his excuses at consultation. Admittedly, most of my Project Runway fantasies revolve around locking eyes with Heidi Klum across a discotheque at closing time – a scenario I may or may not have written about and posted online under a clever pseudonym – but as Project Runway wish-fulfillment goes, Tim’s tantrum will do in a... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 9

Oct 08, 2015 by Alex Castle

I was in a great mood for last week’s episode of Project Runway, and so was Heidi Klum, who very unusually liked almost everything that came down the runway, even the stuff the other judges hated. The one piece she didn’t like was the same one I didn’t like. This means that in addition to all our other obvious compatibilities, our tastes and our moods are aligned. Call me, Heidi, our story is written in the stars!

For last week’s challenge, JustFab – they of the omnipresent accessory wall, always to be used very thoughtfully – stepped up to center stage and asked the designers to create a marketable look that JustFab could sell, based on one of five “fashion personas”: Bombshell, Trendsetter, Girl Next Door, Modern Classic, and... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 8

Oct 01, 2015 by Alex Castle

Before I begin taking notes on each episode, I make a list of the remaining designers so as each one says or does something noteworthy, I can note it by their name. Keeps things organized. This is the first week I remembered all the designers without having to look up their names and before the show starts, which means that only the most memorable designers are still in the game. We’re getting into the good stuff now.

A couple of weeks ago I gratefully mentioned that this season has mostly eschewed Project Runway’s old habit of shoehorning product placements into the challenges. Well, speak of the devil and he appears. Last week Heidi took the designers to meet Matthew Morrison, star of Broadway’s FINDING NEVERLAND, explaining that she took... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 7

Sep 23, 2015 by Alex Castle

Of Project Runway’s 14 seasons, I have probably watched five or six, and this one has been one of my favorites. Partly because the talent level is so high – there are at least four designers with a real shot to win – partly because the challenges have been interesting, and most of all because they have ratcheted the distracting product placement and shoehorned sponsorships way back.

The shoehorned sponsorships are usually most evident on the Unconventional Materials challenges, when the designers are tasked to make a dress out of the contents of the M&M’s store (actually happened), and the episode ends up amounting to a 90-minute M&M’s commercial. Our first Unconventional Materials challenge this season forced the designers to make dresses out of Hallmark cards – still product... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 6

Sep 17, 2015 by Alex Castle

Last week the designers were given a deceptively simple challenge: to create a lingerie look that will fit with Heidi Klum’s Intimates line, with the winning entry actually going into production. A bra and panties sounds simple, but when the client is the deceptively sweet supermodel who is also lead judge in the competition, there was a lot of pressure in the workroom.

The designers came into this challenge feeling like this would be one of the easier ones, but nearly all of them ended up struggling with it. Unlike past challenges, where people started turning on each other, everyone seemed to be mostly trying to beat the toughest foe of all. (Themselves. The toughest foe of all is yourself, you guys.)

This season seems to have decided... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 5

Sep 10, 2015 by Alex Castle

After a relatively harmonious first four challenges, the designers are starting to turn on each other, thanks to the greatest device for creating interpersonal drama at Project Runway’s disposal: The team challenge.

The designers divide into two teams, first by Heidi choosing the first member of each team, and then having them choose the next person, that next person choosing the next, and so on. Oddly, this results in an all-girls team and an all-boys team, plus Merline. The teams are then suited up in white canvas jumpsuits, armed with paintball guns, and taken to a remote location where they are to battle each other for yards of loud, solid-colored fabric; they’re then told that in addition to that fabric, they can use their paintball outfits for the next... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 4

Sep 03, 2015 by Alex Castle

What does Mary Kay cosmetics have to do with reimagining iconic designs and being inspired by the New York City skyline? What does Mary Kay cosmetics have to do with clothes at all? They’re paying for this episode, that’s what, now shut up and go with it!

The heavy workload and fatigue that comes with it is starting to affect the designers in week 4, which is week 4 for us, the audience, but is probably only day 4 or 5 for the designers, who have probably never worked as hard in their lives. Some of the designers are starting to crack under the pressure, some of them are starting to get catty, and some of them may or may not be relying on performance enhancing drugs.

In... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 3

Aug 26, 2015 by Alex Castle

Season 14’s designers have been turning in strong work and generally getting along, and that simply won’t do when you’ve got a reality show to fill with drama. So last week Project Runway reached for the most dependable tool in its drama-creating shed: the team challenge!

For some reason (coughproductplacementcough) the designers were dragged aboard a luxury cruise ship to choose their partners and one of seven destination-labeled suitcases, in which they would find the locale-specific fabrics with which they would construct a day-to-night look suitable for a luxury cruise ship. As product-placement challenges go this one is about as well-presented as they get, but it is a little odd to have the designers saddled with pre-chosen textiles – and even weirder to have the judges praising or dinging... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 2

Aug 20, 2015 by Alex Castle

Ah, the unconventional materials challenge. So pointless, so unrelated to fashion design or dress construction or anything else that humans do on planet Earth, other than awkwardly jam some non-fashion-related sponsor’s name and product onto the airwaves. The designers last week were herded into the Hallmark store, and instructed to create dresses out of greeting cards. While this may seem ridiculous, consider that it’s better than being herded into the Times Square M&M’s store with similar instructions (as actually happened on a past season). But yeah, still pretty silly.

The personalities we’re dealing with here in season 14 are beginning to come into focus, and I already have all my money on one designer to win this thing, so let’s get to the Power Rankings!

Note: Power Rankings... Read More

Project Runway Power Rankings: Week 1

Aug 12, 2015 by Alex Castle

Good day and welcome to season 14 of Project Runway, by far my favorite reality competition show. This week we met all sixteen of our starry-eyed hopefuls, ready and raring to make their mark!

The episode began with the designers at center court of Madison Square Garden, and instructed to run around the arena gathering the fabric scattered around on the seats to use for their first task: a blue-sky, “show us who you are as a designer,” anything goes challenge. Some of our designers stood out for great work in a very short timeframe, and others stood out for exactly the opposite reason. So let’s go to the Power Rankings!

Note: Power Rankings are totally unscientific, coming as they are from a straight man, but I have... Read More

How I Learned To Love Project Runway

Aug 05, 2015 by Alex Castle

I have never been the least bit interested in fashion. I like jeans and t-shirts and the occasional solid-colored button down. I own one suit, and I bought it in 2004. I don’t wear anything with any kind of brand name or logo on it, I have never spent more than $60 on any one piece of clothing (other than winter coats, boots, and the suit), and I have been wearing the same kind of plain black and white sneakers since high school.

And yet I am a huge fan of Lifetime’s Project Runway, the reality competition wherein aspiring fashion designers engage in themed challenges, only to be mercilessly critiqued by industry luminaries and the flawlessly preserved Heidi Klum. Most any straight man would blame their wife or girlfriend for... Read More

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