I have been a huge fan of Project Runway since the show premiered a couple years back. Aside from the ingenious competitions, catty banter, and gays galore, I adored the fact that each show's proverbial person you love to hate (like Wendy Pepper or Santino Rice) got theirs in the end, while kooky Jay McCarroll and lovable Chloe Dao snagged first prize. After I lifted my jaw up off the ground following last night's season three finale, I got mad.
I realize it may be ridiculous to get mad over a TV show. It's like getting mad at your mother when she shows pictures of you naked from when you were two years old. It's futile and pointless. And really, aren't there more important things to get mad about?
Well, sure. But not right now. I'm mad because I honestly feel a little betrayed by the show.
All season long the judges have been hammering wearability into the designers' heads. Would a real woman wear this? was a question often asked of the designers. Yes, Jeffrey Sabelia (who won, in case you missed it) makes very interesting clothes. But are they wearable? Since I'm a guy who doesn't wear women's clothes (not that there's anything wrong with that), I did an informal survey of some of my lady friends. Unanimously, they picked the designs of finalist Uli Herzner over those of Sebelia.
Sebelia's clothes are imaginative in a Baz Luhrman movie kind of way. I could easily see the ringmaster at Barnum & Bailey's wearing that cute little number with all the zipper detailing. But would Nikki Hilton (featured as a guest judge on season two) sport it to a gala event? I think not.
While I can appreciate Sebelia's creativity and talent, Herzner's clothesand for that matter, Laura Bennett'sare wearable. On the finale, Klum herself said that she'd wear every single piece in Herzner's collection, and the model host also noted that Bennett's 12 pieces, made with just $8,000, looked like a $30,000 collection. Perhaps the judge's felt that both Bennett and Herzer would get work without needing the $100,000 start up cash Sebelia will get toward his own line.
But aside from talent, Sebelia's win shows that nice guys do finish last (or at least second). The judge's often commented on people's personalities while making their decisions, but clearly they were won over by Jeffrey's free-flowing tears mixed with cutting remarks. (And if I have to hear about his frickin' sobriety one more time, I might kick a puppy; I have plenty of sober friends who don't feel the need to trot it out every five minutes as a sympathy chit.)
While Bennett frequently showed she has no governor on her mouth (calling Kayne's designs garish and suspecting Sebelia of cheating), she always was just speaking her mind honestly. While the effect may have been biting, there wasn't malicious intent. Sebelia made Angela Keslar's mother cry, for Pete's sake. He frequently made fun of other contestants. He was often snarky on the runway, talking back to judges. And he's the winner? That's a great example to set for aspiring designers: be an asshole and you too can win Project Runway.
I'm not saying Sebelia doesn't have the talent to back up his attitude (unlike many in show business). But did he deserve to win? No way.
And I'm still mad.
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