Project Runway: We’ve Got Their Number


Last night’s Project Runway‘s eighth season premiere encompassed a seemingly rebellious enthusiasm in the constrictive fashion world: more is…well, not better, if the glacial stride of these 90 minutes were any indication, but somehow worth having. More is just more. Hear that, ye waist-whittling Photoshopping editors and celery-gnawing catwalkers? Project Runway is now an hour and a half, with 17 contestants (up one from the usual harried troops), and it will siphon those extra 30 minutes of L’Oreal Paris advertising gold through a houndstooth-lined funnel of indulgent contestant eccentricity and quickly bubbling friction.

Short version: Project Runway is so very long now, and we’re so very tired.

In the (apparently unshared) interest of brevity, a quick guide to steer the unwieldy beast of this season. Because as we all know, even if this show were 400 minutes weekly and sponsored by ads for Kim Jong-il brand pantyhose or whatever, we’d still watch it. C’mon, it’s Project Runway.

Project Runway Season 8, Episode 1 Index

Contestants: 17 (up from traditional 16)

Episode length, in minutes: 90 (up from 60)

Contestant described in ominous terms of a bankruptcy-laden ready-to-wear brand: 1 (Tim, in comparison to Heatherette)

Time newly allotted on Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s Bachelorette-style confessionals against white, seizure-inducing white background: 8 minutes (approximate)

Immediately strange, jarring, twitchy contestants named Casanova: 1 (you’re killing me, Smalls)

Age of oldest contestant: 50 (Peach Cobbler Carr)

Number of times we slur, “Those dreadlocks worry me,” at screen: 2 (to contestant McKell)

Indications that location of their first meeting, Lincoln Center, is going to work as the new home of Fashion Week: 0 (plaza is near-empty, echoing)

Challenge: 1 (incorporate fellow designers’ personal favorite clothes into new look)

Hours for construction: 5 (stroke-inducing)

Contestants who look aghast at concept of handing over wares to competitors: 16

Contestant who offers no discernible human reaction to news: 1 (Casanova – hey, tell us now if you’re merely a Dolce and Gabbana cyborg, will ya?) Pro-offered knitted pieces that look like knitted, asymmetrical Rodarte knock-offs: 2 (both Michael’s)

Product placement before end of first hour: arduous (HP, Brother, Mood, L’Oreal, Marie Claire)

Helpful Tim Gunn critiques in workroom as too many contestants cast side-eye and whirl around each other like glittery dervishes: limited (“heavy-handed,” he moans of eventual winning frock)

Staples left on garment as it is sent down runway: 4-7 (Jason’s)

Inexplicable guest judge: 1 (Selma Blair)

Contestants facing elimination: unclear (Heidi Klum bellows with internal laughter)

Looks on runway that can only reasonably be described as “wonky”: 5-8 (Mondo admirably offers adjective for own pea-green and black zig-zag pattern shift dress)

Times in Runway there has ever been a unanimous winner: 0 (Nina and Michael need the hate sex)

Unanimous winner in this challenge: 1 (duh…. Gretchen’s simple black dress with beaded epaulet-trimmed sleeves)

Contestants facing elimination: 6 (the horr-ah)

Michael Kors’ spectacular insults: 2 (“very confusing” on Ivy’s ruched pants; “It’s odd, like mother of the bride who’s a bellydancer. A sexaholic who’s conservative. A pole dancer in Dubai,” on Casanova’s tasteless escort wear)

Nina Garcia’s spectacular insults: 1 (“mumsy” on Ivy’s pants)

Heidi Klum’s spectacular insults: 1 (“she made pants out of pants” on Ivy’s pants)

Selma Blair’s spectacular insults: 0 (Bueller?)

How much it sucks to be Ivy: incalculable (but those pants were lame)

Contestants sent home: 1 (McKell, for confusing side-boob mixed-material dress)

Overall contribution of extra 30 minutes to show pacing, excitement, and purpose: unclear

See you next week!