Things to Write Home About

This week was a bittersweet reality transition:

The end of America's Next Top Model (my model won)


The start of Project Runway.

In Bravo's Project Runway fourteen (?) aspiring fashion designers compete each week to design women's clothing under certain restrictions. For example, the semifinal round required designers to use 6 pre-purchased yards of drab cotton muslin and $20 to create an outfit that best represented them. The results were as varied as the designers and two of them were sent home.

Later, the contestants were told to attend a party to celebrate the official start of the competition. Each person, wanting to make a good impression, wore outfits that said a lot about them, everything from vintage jeans and leather jackets to an heirloom scarf. At the party, they were given their first challenge in the competition proper. Called "The Clothes Off Your Back," the contestants were required to go home and put their entire outfit into a bag. They were to make a new outfit using only what they were then wearing during their work time the following day. This was almost as good as the "Create an outfit using only what you can purchase at a grocery store challenge" from last season, the one that resulted in Austin Scarlett's inspired cornhusk dress.

Unlike its boring and uninspired Tommy Hilfiger-led network equivalent In the Cut, Project Runway really forces the designers to transcend the competition, rise above the restrictions to make individual visions of fashion. Take it for what it's worth from a colorblind, fashion-challenged gay boy (I rarely wear patterns and try to limit myself to wearing only two colors or less so I don't clash), but Project Runway reminds me of being in Beckian Fritz Goldberg's workshop, where we were often given assignments to write poems under restriction. Although the challenges don't always work, they always put the attention of the artist on the product more than the process. And sometimes, that's what it's really all about.


  1. The challenges remind me of the "hot pants" answer in your profile, which I've always admired.

    I've felt for a while that I'm all washed up, very very washed up. It occurred to me yesterday that most of me is sleeping (or, well, dead), and one very tiny part is surfing.

  2. so, my fascination with project runway has to do with being a student of beckian's...i suppose that makes sense. this show is one of my guilty pleasures and you're right about tommy's knockoff. it just didn't cut it...ha...this season, i'm really interested to see what happens with terribly talented and terribly arrogant santino 'they didn't want to give me two in a row' rice. i don't yet know if i love him or loathe him.

  3. I saw the episode last night: it was riveting. I don't know a thing about fashion, but still could not stop watching.

    If you ask me, the crying guy shoulda been tossed.

  4. been a lurker for a while and had to comment today--you really had nicole picked on antm? like from the beginning? or just in the last few weeks?
    also--i love your buffy quotes. i miss that show. can i make a request? an andrew quote for next week?

  5. Ruth: I know what you mean. I'm coming out on the side of hating Santino. Talk about hubris! Good lord. I love the guy from LA with the beard and the fauxhawk. I'm rooting for him. I also really like Daniel Franco this season too.

    Peter, I don't know anything about fashion either, and I think that's one of the draws for me--I'm totally in awe of what these people can do with so little.

    Jeremy, thanks for commenting! I'd actually picked Kyle from the beginning. I thought she was beautiful. Once she was gone I got on Nicole's chariot. :) And I've been rewatching Season 7 of Buffy this week, so I'm full of great Andrew quotes.

    Em, whenever you feel that way you must call me immediately.

  6. That blond on the top? Doesn't it look like her feet are on backward? If this were a painting of mine, I would lose sleep over this. Literally. I would not sleep until I fixed her feet and put them on the front part of her body where they belong.

    Can't wait to read yr book, Charlie. Happy Beethoven's Birthday. Almost.

  7. Okay I would like to note that Bella had "Nicole" picked from the begining. The power of seven year old minds.

    Yes I know I am going to hell for letting her watch it but she LOVED it.

  8. Seth is a total Runway junkie, and now he's got me almost hooked. I like the part at the end where they reveal the finished projects--makes me want to sign up for sewing classes. When I lived near NYC I used to make my own outfits for theme parties and club-going, though they were always poorly sewn and/or held together with duct tape. I'd like to say Santino is a total prick, but I have a soft spot for egomanical over-achievers.

  9. So no one cares that this woman's feet are on backward? Jeeze.