Project Runway Runway Season 5 or..I am sure we've done this before

Written By , on July 17, 2008

For those who just want to know the quick and dirty details:
1. The episode was very good.
2. Jerry Tam was eliminated
3. Kelli Martin won with this coffee filter thing that I want to purchase:

This may be the first and last time I talk about Project Runway Season 5 as the show has lost its appeal for me perspective-wise. I am in the minority here, but I believe that there are plenty of designers off the tee-vee that have something worth contributing. The gonzo nature of television allows these folks to “get their name out there”, but you wonder what the overall success rate is for a designer simply featured on the show. You also wonder what happens to the ones that drift into obscurity. It’s almost mean.

So for me, and though many of you may disagree, I’d rather talk about the project runway show that doesn’t come in TV dinner form, prepared via microwave with plastic serving utensils. That is, I’d rather see the next big designer not fed to me from Heidi Klum and her pied piper followers and sponsorfolk, i’d rather see it from the designer I discover on my own by chance at some obscure boutique on the lower east side.

For those who are still here after that meandering diatribe here’s where it gets good:
Project Runway Characters
Overall the cast of characters are the most diverse (both racially, gender-wise and in terms of design background) that I’ve seen since season 1. Tim Gunn was right when he pointedly made that statement while sipping champagne at the Atlas. There’s an eco-aware designer from Portland, the obligatory straight guy, the biker chick, the chick with way too many tatoos, three black people, several gays and a partridge in a pear tree. All of this makes for a romping good time which led us back to where it all began, Gristedes.The task was simple yet deliciously complicated.

The idea goes something like this: run into a supermarket, spend $75 and create a design from the groceries and items in the market. The premise was simple, the characters were set and all we needed were commercial breaks and tons of messages from sponsors and how to use the internet to get involved and be a part of the Project Runway phenomenon/extravaganza…That’s why I Bluefly!

Project Runway

While at the market shopping for what was sure to get panned by Michael Kors, everyone ran for the tablecloths, Tim Gunn said everyone sucked for making designs out of table cloths, Jerry Tam said he came to do two things: kick ass and chew bubble gum…and he was all out of chewing gum. Kelli was just happy to be there. Stella had an oh shit moment when she realized her garbage bag idea was a bit of the trash side. Joe needed more tablecloths. Blayne lalicioused himself into oblivion by creating a diaper outfit. Korto made a kimono outfit with tasty vegetables in case her model got hungy. Leanimal was putting together her outfit when she realized “hey, everyone took my idea and got tablecloths”, Jerell got all gay on us, Daniel was pissed when he walked off the stage realizing that he didn’t win even though his outfit was the most innovative. Look, he didn’t use table cloths, he used dixie cups.

The rest of the participants weren’t memorable enough to be a part of the diatribe. But excellent sites like Blogging Project Runway and Second City Style should more than fit the bill for your Project Runway fix.

Finally a word about Jerry Tam. This was a classic example of the show going haywire. While our editor in chief has never been a big fan, I have. The guy is talented. I’ve been to his shows and seen his work upclose and personal. Form always has great stuff and the collections are usually beautiful. Tam has recently won ‘Best of Design’ from the Supima Cotton Fashion Show. The design and creativity is a part of his dna. So why did he lose?

Runway’s format on the surface would seem to demand creativity, but as the first challenge demonstrated, creativity was the last thing on everyone’s mind. We watched them fit days of designs into a 42 minute show, fashion design almost takes a back seat to the drama, celebrity and gee golly factor of Project Runway. It seems as if too much is being crammed in, you’ve got to develop the characters, fit in the sponsorships, introduce the models, tell us about the challenge, see who is throwing a hissy fit and finally have a runway show, be judged, be kicked off, win and tell us about your experience. It’s nearly impossible to really understand or formulate an educated opinion (good or bad) about the designers.

Something went wrong on the way to design, which for most of us need not be tarted up to be interesting, but in the cause of making things interesting, we lose what we may have arrived at in the first place, a show about fashion.

Maybe I’ll stick around for the rest of the season and give it a second try, but after 5 seasons, this show may have jumped the shark for me.

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  1. 01. Lauren from Second City Style

    Hi Eva,

    Thanks for the mention! Do you really think the show has jumped the shark? I was actually surprised the first episode was as good as it was. I was expecting less (I’m loving Stella!). Sadly Tam deserved to go. Too bad the audience did not get to see his awesome design talent….he really messed up. IMO.

  2. 02. Laiton01

    Tam did not deserve to go. While his design might not have been strong enough, plus with those gloves it was a tad creepy, he did something. It was a garmet, something the model could wear. What Stella threw together was sad, garbage bags that I could have done with little construction experience. Stella will be a one trick pony, coughing up rock n roll leather clothing. At least Jeff in season 3 knew construction and would try anything. Sending Tam home was wrong, proving that the show has turned into personality/drama versus design talent.

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