Thursday, July 28, 2011

Project Runway Brings Fierceness Back to Lifetime

If you are a fashion maven like me, you will be putting all prejudices of Lifetime Television aside tonight when you tune in to watch the number one-rated and most watched competitive reality show.

That’s right; the ninth installment of Project Runway airs tonight.

Heidi, Tim, Michael and Nina are back with 20 designers – the largest group in the shows history – who aspire to be the next best American designer.

If you have been living under a rock for the past nine seasons, Project Runway is a television show that provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor Tim Gunn, who is the Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claiborne.

I realize that I waste too much of my life watching reality TV, but Project Runway is one of my absolute favorites.

There is something about this show that just makes me giddy. I’m not sure if it is the fact the show’s producers seem to find the best talent, or that one contestant whom you love to hate (except for last season…I LOVED them all), or the judges and “Tim.”

I mean, don’t you feel like you know Tim Gunn?  While in the workroom, he has a knack for giving the designers concrete criticism in the wittiest manner.  Such as, “You just have to say all these things on the runway: 'Nina, I wanted her to look like she had a big fat ass,'" or “Just work like there's no tomorrow because for one of you, there won't be.”

But all joking aside, Gunn is the one who works with these designers day after day so he gets close to them.  As their fashion guru, he gleans out the potential of the most talented contestants and helps them create fierce designs to carry them to Fashion Week in NYC. So when they are out, Gunn’s concern is genuine and very touching; this in itself makes him extremely endearing.

I truly get a feel-good vibe from “Marie Claire” Fashion Director Nina Garcia. She has a critical eye, but certainly uses restraint when judging the designers.  I didn’t know who she was before I began watching the show but, since then, I have become a huge fan.  I even follow Garcia on Twitter and she has been putting her thumbs to work tweeting – in both Spanish and English – to promote the upcoming premier of Season 9.

Speaking of restraint, Michael Kors – who gives me mucho comic relief on this show – has very little.  He does not mince his words and is particularly brutal in his assessments of the designers.  Now, I don’t necessarily think that is the wrong way to approach his role as a judge, but it is just like watching a speeding train about to run into a car on the tracks.  You know it’s going to be grisly, but you just can’t look away.

Lastly, the final judge and host of the show, whom I have a gigantic girl crush on, is Supermodel Heidi Klum.  I have always thought of her as beautiful but, after watching her on the show, I have grown to respect her knowledge of the industry and her reviews are given with sarcasm and wit.

Toward the end of last season, I actually had a chance encounter with Klum which made me like her even more.

I work in an office building on the water near downtown Long Beach, and the Catalina Express terminal is on the ground floor. 

One Friday, I hadn’t taken a lunch, so I set out to take a quick stroll along the water to just get some air.  While walking back, I noticed a huge stretch limo with oodles of paparazzi lurking around it.

I have to admit, I was curious; so I hung out a bit.
Klum & bebe going to Catalina

From the plaza level, I looked down and saw Klum get out of the car with all of her children in tow.  Last to exit was Seal, who had a huge hood of a sweat jacket up on his head.  The hood was so exaggerated he almost looked like the grim reaper. He went right into the VIP lounge, but not Klum.  She and the children strolled around the terminal.

Klum is pretty in a very classical way but, if it weren’t for all the paparazzi and fanfare, I wouldn’t have even recognized her.  She had her hair pulled back with a scrunchy in a ponytail and her face was void of any make-up.  She had on jeans, T-shirt, high boots and a bomber jacket. 

She had an entourage, which included Nannies, but she was pretty hands-on with her children. 
Seal, Klum & Family

The coolest part was that – even though they are beaucoup rich – they decided to take the ferry with everyone else over to Catalina Island.  According to some friends who work for the Express, they did rent out the entire Commodore lounge, but they weren’t afraid to mingle among the masses.  For some reason, I just thought that was so down-to-earth and Euro.

But unlike that plain Jane I saw in Long Beach, I’m sure Klum will assume her tougher than nails role as she struts her “fallopian” length skirts down the catwalk of Project Runway.

I can’t wait to hear her say, “One day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”

Project Runway Season 9 premiers tonight on Lifetime Television tonight at 9 p.m.

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