Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers about last Thursday’s episode of Project Runway: Season 10, Episode 4, “Women on the Go.” If you’re a fan of the show and you haven’t seen it yet — you stand warned.
So if you were on Project Runway, and you realized you were in over your head and couldn’t cope with the pressure… what do you think you’d do?
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this week’s winners and losers. Yes to Sonjia winning. Yes to Buffi going home. Yes to Fabio: at first I was puzzled about why this was on the bottom and not Melissa’s “friar of the Jawa monastery” look, but the judges made a good point that, at this level of the competition, you should be doing more than making a decent dress in a pretty print. And no, I don’t care how well-made it was: Christopher’s thing with the weird dangly asymmetrical handkerchief hem did not look like a “woman on the go.” It looked like Stevie Nicks dressed as a Goth pirate. Gunnar’s brown dress with the petals was way better, I thought: elegant but also sporty, and somehow magically both structured and soft. I’d wear it in a second.
But there’s no way I can write about this week and not write about the quitters.
I’m not going to pretend that I have any idea what I’d actually do if I were on Project Runway. I understand that being a contestant on Project Runway is difficult in ways I can’t begin to imagine. (I apparently understand this better than some of the designers do. Tim Gunn was recently on the Daily Show, and he revealed that many contestants literally don’t believe that the show is what it is. They think the whole “making an outfit in one day” thing is faked, and that the designers really have a week for each challenge…. and when it turns out that no, they really do have to make an outfit in just one day, they freak out. Sheesh.)
Anyway. My point is: These are exceptional, highly stressful circumstances, and I can’t really say what I would do if I were there.
But here’s what I’d like to think I would do if I were there, and I were feeling the stress, and had decided that it wasn’t worth it.
I would like to think that I would not quit.
I would like to think that instead, I would have fun.
I would like to think that I’d stop worrying about whether I won or lost — and just play. Experiment. Spend somebody else’s money on expensive fabrics I’ve always wanted to fool around with. Try things I’ve always wanted to try: see what happens when you pair a zebra-striped skirt with a houndstooth bodice, or when you put polyester in the toaster oven, or when you tie-dye leather.
Not for a team challenge, obviously. If someone else’s opportunity of a lifetime were on the line, I wouldn’t throw up my hands and say, “Hey, who cares if we win, let’s just have fun.” ([cough] Fuck you, Andrea [cough]) But if it were just me… why the hell not? What have I got to lose? I’ve got a huge amount to gain: tons of free publicity, thousands of potential adoring fans who could turn into customers, the chance to catch the eye of industry movers and shakers. Sure, if I make something dumb then I look dumb… but if I quit, that looks way worse. Industry movers and shakers have some respect for designers who are throwing a bunch of weird, interesting shit to the wall that just isn’t working this week. They have little respect for people who get handed an opportunity most designers would blow the corpse of Andy Warhol for, and then hand it back politely (or not so politely), saying, “No, I think I’m not interested after all.”
I am not the slightest bit sad that Andrea is gone. She never made a damn thing that I thought was anything other than a boring mess, and her personality somehow managed to be both ditzy and abrasive. As evidenced by the manner of her departure. Good riddance.
But I miss Kooan. Yes, I know. He was in so far over his head, he might as well have been in the Mariana Trench. Everything he tossed up on the runway was like unicorn puke. He was clearly an alien from another planet. But his gentle species had so much to teach our own. I would dearly love to have seen his interpretation of “woman on the go”: maybe turquoise leg warmers and an L.E.D. brassiere? And for all his attention-grabbing “kooky shenanigans” shtick — much of which I suspect was a shtick — he seemed to have a genuinely sweet, kind heart.
I’m sad he’s gone. And I wish he’d stuck it out, and let go of trying to win, and just played.
Good night, sweet prince.