'Project Runway' Loses A Leath-uh-Working Legend

Diane von Furtstenberg and Stella ZotisBy Rya Backer

Hi, guys. Sorry if this post is a little terse. I have to get back to covering my mirrors, wearing all black, welcoming distant relatives from out of town and receiving elaborate gourmet food baskets. Stella's gone. Forever. Until the reunion. So, in honor of Stella's contribution to the show and — who am I kidding — my life, today's post is dedicated to her. Ins and Outs! And then ... we eulogize!

Ins and Outs and "Farewell, Stella" playlist after the jump!


Diane von Furstenberg: Here's a fun fact you definitely don't need to know: DVF isn't just a visionary goddess and the emblem of what it means to be a woman in power (seriously) — she was also my mother's critic when she presented her final collection at FIT. So thanks, DVF, for being a role model and for letting my mother graduate college. And thanks for offering up a suggestion for how women with cleavage can hold their eye glasses.

Jerell: Before I get into why he's in, I'd like to have a word with the producers. Buddies, could you have had a little more nonsensical b-roll of Jerell pouring himself a glass of orange juice? Anyway, I had a moment with him last week because of that rant about Terri having "two faces and four patterns." Whatever, I'll admit he was sorta right; the girl loves making pants and blouses. That said, am I the only one who believes that Terri is the Susan Lucci (or to put it in more network-friendly terms, the Mariah and/or Britney) of "Project Runway"? Always in the top three but never the bride?

Korto Momolu: I've been accused by co-workers, acquaintances, friends, family and strangers alike for being a little too "on" all the time. That's why I'm going to use this blog, this wide-reaching means of communication, to contact my Little Rock fashionista and ask, "Korto, do you take literal 'Chill Pills,' and if so, may I quality-check them?"

American Express: Surely I'm not the only one who's considering applying for that piece of plastic so I can scoop up Leanne's dazzling shrunken jacket?


Joe Faris: I just read this article about Anne Hathaway's crazy ex-BF. And I feel like Joe and his "handmade" (DVF's word, not mine), Asian-inspired look have equally as creepy delusions of grandeur. Why is he still on the show and Stella's not, you ask? Well, in the words of my Rabbi, "Sometimes God says no." 

Suede: Honestly, I'm just so grateful that the rest of his family lived to see his herringbone mess (I meant vest! Meow!). However, I wanted to die when I saw his blue rattail.

Feather shoulder pads: Really, Kenley? I gave you a pass on your trip to the waterworks upon meeting DVF (her presence would make even the hardest of hearts a little misty-eyed), but I think you could've lived without the wings.

Rachel Zoe: I'm doing this for Stella because she didn't take kindly to the criticism offered up last week by "the stylist in the oversized muumuu dress and the waistband."

And now, something else for Ms. Zotis. As you've come to learn in recent weeks, and as Suede has taught me, I'm none too good at this "feelings" thing. But music is a good catalyst to kick-start the grieving process, and lucky for all of us, I work for a network that — despite what some naysayers may claim — celebrates the art. So here's my playlist for those who haven't yet accepted the loss and want to commemorate a beautiful, televised snippet of Stella Zotis' life. Whilst listening, feel free to recall warm yet distant memories of her playful rapport with Blayne, her perfectly spaced and clump-free eyelashes, her leather hat, her confrontation with Tim about using black leather for the Olympics outfit, and the racket she'd create whenever she hammered grommets into her leath-uh. Or just think of Stella being ... Stella.

The Clash, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" — It wasn't up to her, guys. But it's for the best, right?

The Misfits, "Attitude" — I bet Ratbones sings this song to Stella, because of how sharp she is. This and "Sacred Love" by Bad Brains, which isn't available on video on the Internet, so you'll just have to imagine what that sounds like.

Boyz II Men, "End of the Road" — A song about finally accepting that something beautiful has come to an end.

The Dead Kennedys, "Your Emotions" — My emotions are making me a monster right now.

Sonic Youth, "Little Trouble Girl" — Because she was the show's little trouble girl.

The Ramones, "Something to Believe In" — First of all, I feel like she's in this video. Second, the title speaks for itself.

Toni Braxton, "Un-Break My Heart" — Someone must undo the hurt that was caused when she walked out the door and walked out of my life.

Blue Cheer, "Rock Me Baby" — She loved bikers, and bikers loved her, and bikers love this band. Synergy, yeah?

Blondie, "In the Flesh" — I don't mean for this to be suggestive, but I'd really like to meet Stella Zotis in the flesh. And did you know that Stella started out as Debbie Harry's makeup artist?

Sleater-Kinney, "You're No Rock N Roll Fun" — This is how I feel about "Project Runway" right now.

You know what? We'll all be in better spirits next week. And look on the bright side: I know for certain that now that Stella's gone, my loved ones can have me back, I'll be a more focused employee — which is a good thing, what with that whole "election" thing coming up — and I can better nurse my obsession with that total babe from Battles. (Look at that! I've moved on already!)

Stella, it's been slick.