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'Project Runway': Folding like wet newspaper

September 17, 2009 | 11:07 pm
Proje3939 Either I am psychic or "Project Runway" laid out who would be in tonight's bottom two fairly early on in the episode.  After the contestants visited the printing plant of THE GREATEST NEWSPAPER IN THE WORLD (i.e. this one) and received the challenge from our own Booth Moore to create a look out of actual newspaper, Nicolas Putvinski sniffed, "I have never worked with newspaper."  Has he ever seen an episode of this show? Half the challenges are about making things out of newspaper, plants, restaurant accessories and so on. No need for the bad attitude. 

Then, Nicolas went on to talk smack about Johnny Sakalis' "pig's blood" dress, which Tim Gunn also felt "woeful" about. It was at that time that I reckoned that Johnny, who seemed to be all meltdowns and hand-wringing, was not long for this show. After scrapping his original dress, Johnny blamed a nonexistent steamer/iron for ruining it, made a sad face and got to work on his backup dress, meanwhile saying mean things about Nicolas' dress. 

I'm not sure where Michael Kors or Nina Garcia are but for the runway show Zoe Glassner was back, joined by Tommy Hilfiger and Eva Longoria Parker (she and Zoe looked like twins sitting next to each other). 

Heading down the runway, while Nicolas kept trying to impress upon us how punk rock and "just came to New York" his dress was, it looked like a matzoh cracker to me. Christopher Straub's design, with the hard bodice and feathered bottom had seemed very promising, and the judges loved it, but personally it looked a little too arty-crafty and less elegant than I was expecting (although I can appreciate the amount of work that must have gone into it). I liked the colors in Ra'mon Coleman's dress, and the skirt on Shirin Askari's dress was twisted in a way that was at once beautiful and also looked like a big industrial air filter. Irina Shabayeva's trench coat was the judges' favorite and winner, and with good reason: She made something less safe than the other designers and the texture of the cuffs and collars was lovely. 

I don't think the judges' least favorites were that bad, per se, but were just underachievers, although I think Gordana Gelhausen's dress wasn't as subpar as Nicolas' and Johnny's. There were a few other dresses on the runway that were similar to hers so I wasn't sure why the judges took her to task for making her design too "wearable." While the judges hated the work on Johnny's dress, I just thought the images of the eyes was rather cheesy. And I thought Nicolas' dress was dull, although, while I agreed that Johnny's lying and excuse-making on the runway was irritating (Tim found it "a preposterous spewing of fiction," which was awesome -- how often do you hear him badmouthing someone after they've left the show?), Nicolas' tattling was also annoying. In the end, Johnny was eliminated, which is fine -- I don't watch this show to see people cry and moan and grimace and talk about how this reality TV show that many people would kill to be on is worse than an addiction. Jeffrey Sebelia was a fine example of someone who didn't use his personal problems as a constant touchstone on the show.

-- Claire Zulkey

Photo: Guest judge Eva Longoria Parker. Credit: Lifetime