Project Runway: Let This Hat Be a Metaphor for Your Failure, and Also Sex


The Runway Rundown

1. At four episodes in and 13 souls remaining, the Runway ranks are still cluttered with extraneous contestants. Watching them band together for their next Trail of Tears march to Mood Fabrics, they clump like errant sequins at the bottom of our Chanel Chinatown handbag. By now, it’s painfully obvious that the contestant with each episode’s predominant narrative arc will go home or win the challenge. There are no other options. This week, the leading lady is Kristin.

2. The challenge, presented by hatmaker Philip Treacy, is to design a garment to complement one of his outlandish headpieces. In the biz, we call Treacy a “milliner.” (Our biz is haphazardly Googling wisps of long-forgotten words we read years ago in Allure, this coming at the expense of 20 minutes of attention to this awkwardly inflated show.)

3. Treacy’s hats are wild, architectural creations of striped buzz-saws, sharp fabric tufts, cavernous ovals, and more. Kristin receives the most straightforward shape, a gargantuan orchid. She has plenty to expound on the subject: she wore orchids in her hair at her wedding! She resents the literalism of the cap she chose! Orchids look like lady rude bits! And so forth, until Gretchen graces us with a snide observation about Kristin’ “sloppy” construction. (Gretchen is reduced to cameo length in this episode, mercifully.)

4. Did you know that Project Runway was the first reality show to win a Peabody Award? We learn this while Googling “millificent?” (question mark SIC).

5. April’s Treacy travesty looks like a bubblegum-striped Sorry! board game piece. She pairs it with quilted white booty shorts with exposed rear zipper. Tim Gunn chokes down his rage and compares them wanly to a diaper.

6. Casanova, after previously offering forth several tawdry scraps even a mermaid would find revealing, crafts a beautifully pleated yet distressingly banal long-sleeved black dress. Tim Gunn calls this newest lost-in-translation escapade “Donna Karan circa 1998.” Casanova smiles blankly.

7. The go-to insult on this show is that someone’s “taste level is questionable.” Kristin lobs this missile at Michael. A “questionable” taste level is the new black.

8. Gretchen wears a veritable pound of makeup at the runway presentation. Inexplicable, disconcerting, and the most exciting thing to happen in 20 minutes. Mondo’s accessorizing is better; he gives his model a John Waters pencil mustache. Satire! We think.

9. Heidi enters the runway show to strains of her husband Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” She is wearing a Treacy rose hat on her skull. The bloom is positioned upside down, anarchy-style, as if hurled by an angry Creator.

10. There are hats. There are dresses. Kristin’s black-and-fuchsia satin frock is shoddily constructed and features a loop of fabric that runs between the model’s legs, under her privates. She also merchandises this with flower-adorned shoes when her model’s skull is currently supporting an orchid that could nonchalantly swallow the world whole if provoked. Michael’s bronze Grecian gown clashes a bit with his scarlet Treacy, but Kors raves, “This is what harmony looks like.” Guest judge Treacy shrugs politely. Other Michael’s corrugated tan top is a sleek contrast to his topper. April’s futuristic diaper-baby doesn’t land on any planet. Ivy’s gently draped petal-pink jacket is a blatant Erin Fetherston rip-off. No one cares about Casanova. Michael wins for his strappy goddess drapes, and Kristin is sent home.

11. The orchid hat eats Nina Garcia.