‘Project Runway’ Designers Regress With ‘Mean Girls’ Cliques, Dolls And Pirate Costumes

By Rya Backer

May I get those 60 minutes of my life back now, please? Funny story — last month, I saw this noise band (that shall remain nameless), and I thought they were so lame and droney, and their music literally nauseated me. But everyone around me was headbanging and really, really rocking! And that’s how I feel about “Project Runway” at this point. Like, we’re all watching the same show, right? And everyone’s getting a huge kick out of it? So why am I inching away from the crowd, with my fingers in my ears, holding back vomit? OK, enough pouring out my soul — I’m starting to sound like Kenley. Ins and Outs!


Stella Zotis: You guys don’t get it, do you? In addition to being a personable, talented and whip-smart woman, Stella made great television. When I saw those digital cameras, I was reminded of her, and I poured one out. Admit it, you did the same. Actually, I take that back, because I don’t drink on the job; though maybe if I did, this show would be bearable.

Tulle: In the world of fabrics, tulle is sugar. It’s an essential ingredient that makes everything that much more flouncy, feminine and fun — take that alliteration, Cosmo. So for a minute — and really, only about a minute — I felt for Kenley, when she realized she forgot hers at Mood and had to use drafting paper to create volume in her gown. Then I caught myself and went back to wanting to chop off her bangs in her sleep.

Dolls: Admittedly, Jerell’s dolls weren’t nearly as lifelike as the babies the women take care of in the BBC doc “My Fake Baby,” but he talked to them, nonetheless. And for some odd reason, I feel like he had no idea that there were cameras around. Speaking of Jerell …

Eating: It doesn’t hurt!

The New York Botanical Garden: Not to talk about weather, but how gorgeous was that day the designers got in touch with nature? And how beautiful was the garden?

Michael Kors: There’s something to be said about the classy way in which he diffused Kenley’s fiery gabfest on the runway. Somewhere, Halston is smiling.

The Aggro Crag: The actual structure (from Nickelodeon’s “Guts”) is a perennial “in,” but I’m referring to the physical representation of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” royalties that sat comfortably atop Heidi’s ring finger.


Headwear: Unless those bright yellow headbands were a tribute to Blayne (which they likely weren’t), those wraps have to go. They looked like an accessory for a Xenu Halloween costume. And I understand that Kenley’s feathers are a signature, but after my kind mother asked me, “Why does she keep wearing that sh– on her head?” when we watched the episode, I realized that perhaps everyone’s (least) favorite ’50s fashionista might have crossed the line.

Junior high school: Someone get me my Discman, pop in “Odelay,” and have my BFF’s mother drive me to school, because last night’s episode brought me back to seventh grade in a gigantic way. Namely, if last night’s group hug was any proof, even Tim is inching his way toward Jerell, Korto and Leanne’s clique! How Plastics of him! All while Kenley sat in the corner, thinking about how much her fellow designers will so regret not befriending her when she’s rich and famous. And in keeping with this junior high theme, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman played the role of the token “preternatural beauty with a charmed life who made me feel ugly and if I’d ever reach puberty.” Only something tells me that unlike my real life junior high nemesis, I’ll never bump into Ms. Chapman at 2:00 a.m. at a deli on Avenue B with her arms linked to some sweaty, old guy from Long Island. Then again, Chapman is married to Harvey Weinstein.

Pirates: I was a fashion intern at Women’s Wear Daily three summers ago, when the “pirate” look was all the rage. While it probably seemed like a great idea to many at the time, I never really got what was so exciting about drawing inspiration from a group of grown men whose lives revolved around drinking alcohol, stealing treasure and raping local women. They’re like investment bankers with funny hats and billowy shirts. I guess what I’m trying to say is Jerell, you’re a great guy, but don’t ever wear that outfit you wore on the runway ever again.

Kenley: Guys, honestly, I’m over talking about her, I’m over thinking about her, I’m over acknowledging her. Her storyline isn’t even interesting anymore. It’s just sad; she’s so depressing that it’s depressing. I don’t want to say that I feel for Kenley, but I will say that in the 79 squillion hours of reality television I’ve watched, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone spiral out of control so subtly, yet dramatically since Justin on “Real World: Hawaii.” Which means that it’ll only be a matter of time before Kenley, too, is but a character description on a Wikipedia page.

Yom Kippur: A thousand apologies, reader(s), but I won’t be here next week, as I’ll be hard at work atoning, and being inscribed in the Book of Life for one more year. I’m actually a little annoyed, because now I’ll have to wait another week and a day find out who “goes home.”