Scroll To Top
Arts & Entertainment




Music and fashion go together like Lindsay and Sam, but no one told the Project Runway kids that news.

I can hear my neighbor Jill watching this week's episode because both of our front doors are wide open. It's almost October and still way too warm in Los Angeles. Everyone else in the civilized world gets to wear jackets already. Not me. I spent this week sweating through T-shirts. Who wants to trade me my glamorous zip code (I'm one over from 90210, y'all -- I know, exciting) for 25 fewer degrees Fahrenheit, starting right now? Anyway, I can hear Jill. And she's at the point in the episode where Kenley gives Tim Gunn way too much lip. So I walk over. Who cares that I'm wearing a ratty T-shirt that's soon to be a dust rag and a pair of boxer shorts? Not Jill.

I enter her apartment and she's chopping up apples because she's about to make some kind of baked apple crumble thing. "I hate that fucking Kenley and here's why," she starts. "Number 1, she's a megalomaniac. You probably like her for that."


"I knew it," she says. "I knew you enjoyed that about her. You live for evil. Also? She's so mean, laughing at other designers on the runway, being rude to everyone, never saying one decent word to Tim Gunn, not even 'thank you.' Nothing. She's awful. And number 3, her voice. That nasal, pouty whine just cuts right through me. I want to see her get punched in the face. I say that as a woman. I'm embarrassed that she's one of my people. She is, I guarantee you, an only child."

I can't argue with Jill. Kenley is a brat. But still, I want her to stick around because she livens up the show. You simply can't count on Korto, Leanne, and Jerell to be cruel to one another. But you can count on all of them to hate Kenley. And that's why I'm here. If I want real fashion, I'll go watch runway shows on the Internet.

"I need to step up my game or I'm gone," says Suede, who opens the show wearing a black leather vest. I get the feeling he bought it at some BDSM emporium hoping to butch it up a little, maybe scoop himself a cigar-chomping Daddy to bankroll his line. Korto, meanwhile, is wearing jeans that really show off, for I think the first time this season, the level of booty she's maintaining. If her ass were math it would be:

Badonk + adonk + Janet Jackson's "Pleasure Principle" video + one of those hydraulic things they lift your car up on to change the tires.

It's a stunning achievement in buttocks. Normally I don't like to comment on the bodies of reality show contestants, especially the ladies, because even though I'm a gay it still seems sexist when you criticize, and I'm not that kind of asshole. But this is praise, so I feel OK about it. She's been hiding her coolest feature this entire season.

Next? Model-stealing time. Heidi meets them all on the runway and trots out the nameless women that no one really cares about. Jerell stays with his model, but Leanne takes Suede's. The Leannimal is loose! She crouches! She attacks! "Childish!" pouts Suede on interview cam, and Korto says, "You're a heartbreaker, Leanne." But Leanne doesn't care. And why should she? Suede's going home this week anyway. Everyone can feel it in the air. Because even if he and Kenley have competing badness on the runway at the end of the show, who's better TV? The brat or the lump? I vote for the brat.

Then it's off to the workroom, where Tim Gunn is going to explain the challenge. It makes me feel a little cheated out of Heidi time, but I'll recover. I have to start weaning myself off her anyway; the show only has like three episodes left. I don't even think we're going to get a fighty reunion episode and that annoys me. Thanks for nothing, Bravo.

Tim explains that they're going to design for each other -- so all that model stuff was even more filler than usual -- and that the designs have to reflect a specific genre of music. I wish I had a little link to a sound file you could click on to hear Tim Gunn say the word "genre," because he fancies it up like he's actually French, pronouncing it "Jeawwuhnruh," not elongated necessarily, but swallowed way into the back of his throat. I hit the TiVo repeat several times to hear him do it. I love that Tim Gunn.

Suede gets Jerell as a model and rock as a jeawwuhnruh. His response: "Suede is gonna win and get Tia [his model] back!" Ha. Wrong and wronger. Kenley gets Leanne and hip-hop. Korto gets Suede and punk. Jerell gets Kenley and pop. Leanne gets Korto and country. Everyone gives a mild chuckle over that one. Translation: "You're black so this is hilarious." Jerell is excited. He's going to make Kenley look like a rockabilly Jawa. Suede explains that he's not punk rock at all, in spite of his lame blue fauxhawk. And somewhere off camera back at Atlas, Stella is putting her fist through a wall.

I sit on the couch with Xtreem Aaron (sorry, but the husband/partner/whatever has been traveling for work a lot or missing episodes because he's out at movie screenings for his job, so if you've been missing our warm, loving, longtime companion interplay, you'll just have to wait until next week, I guess -- or American Idol -- I don't know what to tell you) and we discuss what Leanne's taste in hip-hop might be:

Xtreem Aaron: She likes Mos Def.

Me: I was going to say Talib Kweli. Maybe Common.

Korto grins as she is "countrified."

That's all we can think of, really. Unless she's into Aesop Rock or thinks LED Soundsystem is hip-hop because the guy just talks over the music. Cut to Suede and Jerell's consultation. Suede has drawn Gandalf's hat on the faceless head. And Jerell is asking for a big collar and a cape. So Jerell is about to be transformed into a wizard from the band Sorcery, featured musical act in the 1978 film Stunt Rock. It was this movie about auto stunts and a band called Sorcery ("A death wish at 120 decibels," growls the voiceover guy in the trailer). Maybe you didn't see it. I think about 12 people have. Do we think Suede did? Cut to Leanne rapping. Oh, good. Skinny white indie rock chicks waving their arms around and saying "yo" is always a rib-tickling moment. Here is her rhyme:

"Yo. Kenley's gonna make an outfit for me.

She better not make it look like it's from 1950."

This prompts me to contact famous-y model pal Elyse to ask her what music she's been listening to this week and what she's been wearing while she listens to that music. And like Leanne, she composed a rap as a response, even going so far as to help you, the reader, know how to pronounce the word "drawers."

"Dave, surely you are aware that the correct pronunciation is DRAWZ. With that in mind, I submit my weekly sartorializing in rap form...

I roll through my hood rockin' Ratatat,

In Cacharel shorts that make my ass look fat.

I like to have sex to Of Montreal

So I'm usually butt nekkid or in VS drawers.

When I'm on the job I like to bump some Beck

'Cause he's got a hot beat to make my work less wack.

Clubs play house, so when I'm sayin' 'cheers,'

I can't hold my drink with my fingers in my ears."

And this is another reason I like Elyse.

They go to Mood for fabric and it's here we see Kenley's first moment of sass directed at Tim Gunn. He expresses concern over her choice of fabric because it doesn't seem related to hip-hop at all. She says dismissively, without looking at him, "Well, you'll see it when it's done, Tim." Cut to Korto, saying, "We're not gonna tell her. We're just gonna let her believe that's hip-hop." This is fine by me, because not five minutes later Korto decides to really get into the spirit of country music by badly warbling some unidentifiable song and shuffling around in a pair of cowboy boots. So nobody tell her, either, OK?

Everyone starts working. Kenley gets a fitting in her "pop" outfit that Jerell is designing for her, the stated intention of which is to make her look like a Pussycat Doll and/or "Kenley Spears." He succeeds -- she's hooched right past most of the women on America's Next Top Model. Tim Gunn comes in to consult and seems unimpressed by just about everyone's designs, and with good reason: They're all cliche pieces of garbage. I'm not talking about proportion or silhouette or texture or anything else. I'm talking about concept. And all of them are straight from the book. The book that is not the novelization of Stunt Rock. Or Krush Groove. Or The Decline of Western Civilization. Or whatever that George Strait movie was called. They're from some other book, one I think my mom wrote in 1985 called, Why Are You Dressing That Way? Are YOU ON DRUGS NOW?!

Weirdly, the only designer not giving in to tired imagery is Kenley, who is simply walking around in a fog of her own making, thinking she hears Eric B & Rakim guiding her footsteps through the blindness. She doesn't, but at least what she's going for is something that maybe Mary J. Blige might have worn back in the day before she did all that growing and changing she enjoys singing about so much. And if it were neon orange, it'd be even more likely she'd put it on.

Tim Gunn, though, believes he saw a Kris Kross video on cable once in 1992 and wonders why Kenley isn't designing a pair of baggy jeans meant to be worn backward. He confesses his ignorance, but Kenley's response is so snotty it's like she just turned Tim Gunn into her own personal human handkerchief. The words she says won't read that way here, but trust me -- the delivery was dripping with bitter mucus.

Tim Gunn: "Pretend I've come from the moon. Talk to me about hip-hop and what characterizes it."

Kenley: "Well, I see a lot of hip-hop artists today are wearing leather jackets and dark denim. I'm doing these high-waisted jeans."

TG: "Correct me, I'm an old fart. Isn't part of the whole hip-hop fashion oversized?"

K: "No, that's like '80s hip-hop." [Translation = "You fucking idiot."]

TG: "OK." [Here Tim puts on a scowling, downcast face. His feewings are hurt.]

K: "I know what you think when you say hip-hop, and you immediately think oversized, but I can see that. I'm not gonna make her look stupid."

TG, defensively, voice pitched up high: "Kenley, I'm not disrespecting you. I'm here to support you."

K: "But you said everything's oversized."

TG: "You need to listen. [Cut to Jerell and Leanne shrinking away.] It will benefit you tremendously as a designer."

K: "I just want you to understand the outfit."

TG: "It would help if you removed the sarcasm and the facetiousness. It would help me a lot. You just think I'm being snarky."

K, with a snorty giggle: "OK."

Tim Gunn keeps looking hurt. Such a weird moment.

K, on interview cam: "What does Tim know about hip-hop anyway?" This is, as we've just seen, a fact. He knows nothing about it. That doesn't make her attitude any less repellent.

And no one else likes Kenley either. One by one, on interview cam, everyone talks shit. Leanne refuses to play along with the garment and says, "I won't lie, especially not for somebody like Kenley." Then Korto, so amused she can barely stand it, says, " So. Kenley is a hip-hop designer." [Pause while she makes a face like the ones John Krasinski has perfected on The Office.] "I can't wait for tomorrow," she exhales happily.

Meanwhile, Suede putters along, thinking aloud about his fate on the runway. He deduces that the judges are going to hate his piece or "really like it." Well, those are your two options, Doofus-head. I keep waiting for Korto to come stick a punk rock safety pin through his cheek. Maybe two.

Elimination Day:

"What do you think, Jerell?" asks Kenley.

"It's cute, it's cute," says Jerell, right before announcing, via interview cam that, "KENLEY'S ASS IS RIDICULOUS. She is trying to force -- ha ha -- Leanne into this children's sized 'hip-hop' suit... I'll let Kenley destroy herself."

Which might make me have to rethink the rethinking I was doing about Jerell last week.

"Right, Jerell?" asks Kenley, holding up some big, dangly earrings to Leanne's head.

"Yeah," nods Jerell.

"Hip-hop?" she coos.

"Mm-hmm!" lies Jerell. Korto turns her head away from Jerell and smirks.

What happens next is maybe the biggest pile-up of ugliness as has existed in Project Runway's time on the air. Kenley is turned into a fishnetty slut. Jerell is Lenny Kravitz if Lenny Kravitz were not the kind of man who could impregnate women just by looking at them. Lenny's gay cousin. And you can see his weiner in the pants. Like all of it. Suede has been transformed into a female extra from Liquid Sky, all blue eyeshadow and androgyne scowl. Korto is a Gunsmoke barmaid when she should have been festooned with Porter Waggoner rhinestones and bedazzlement. Leanne is a kid trick-or-treating in a hip-hop costume conceived by her Sunday School teacher, complete with multi-hued swoopy hair and jeans sporting a lumpy vagina-pouch. For a second I think Jerell is wearing them. It's so off the mark that even Roxanne Shante and Kelis fused together via a science experiment couldn't sell it. In fact, I think the BWP girls just reformed the group and wrote a song about it called, "Why You Got a Dick in Your Pants, Bitch?" Before they even hit the runway, Tim Gunn is cracking up and saying, "Good heavens! What happened to everybody?"

What happened is this challenge, this stupid challenge that even the judges (including guest LL Cool J) don't know how to judge properly. At least Heidi dressed the part of Seal's wife in a black minidress. Thought bubble above her head: "I'm a kiss from a rose."

Judging Time:

1. Nina, of Suede: "I think he looks like Marilyn Manson." He doesn't.

2. When Korto says "Thank you" to the judges, she seems sad. I like that. It hints at a complexity she's shown all season but refuses to discuss on camera.

3. Kors scrunches up his face trying to see Jerell's thingie.

4. Nina shoots her shudder-y "Ugh, not this dumbass again. GET OUT!" face in Suede's direction.

5. "Jerell looks like Jerell," says Heidi. And in this moment he also looks like Seal in those spandex bike shorts he was wearing when she and he first met. Oh yes, that's a real story. She talked about it on Oprah. Heidi liked the cut of his...ahem... pants.

6. Heidi wants Kenley's tits supported more. LL says, "They look supported!"

7. Heidi says, "What happened to the pants," and Kenley asks, "What do you mean?" Well, I'll tell you what she means, Kenley. She means that the zipper is fucked up and the pockets are tiny and weird and make the vagina-pouch area even worse looking because they frame it. "I didn't want to put oversized pants on her with a backward baseball cap," she whines. LL almost jumps out of his seat to slap her down like Dre did to Dee Barnes back in the day. You can see him holding back.

I just want this episode to be over. Luckily, it's about to be. Then I'm going to go back and steal some sliced apples out of Jill's crumble-bake thing.

Winner: Korto

In: Leanne, Jerell, Kenley

Out: Suede

Now, you thought it was going to be Kenley. Maybe you even hoped. I think lots of people did. And if we were going by clothes alone, it would have been her. She was a heap of hip-hop hell. But again, brattiness trumps boredom. Later, Suede.

"Like Madonna says, you get up again over and over," offers Suede, doing his best to sum up all the wisdom he's learned from this crazy thing called life, while he collects his bag of fashion tricks from the workroom. "So, Madonna, I'm ready to dress you up in Suede."

Somewhere, Madonna is screaming for Guy Ritchie to get one of his chav buddies to go perform a little kneecapping. If you see Suede hobbling around on crutches soon, you'll know what happened.

Next week? Everyone cries a lot!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Dave White