Vision Malevolent #4: Day of the Braindead

The first season of Heroes. The 2007 New England Patriots. Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born.


Project Runway, Season 8.


The common theme: Greatness ruined, sullied, irrevocably damaged by a catastrophic denouement. Quite simply, this finale was the Project Runway’s 18-1.


Of course, Heroes’ season finale had it’s proponents (the person writing this foofaraw being one of them), whereas only trolls and Joneses defend this decision. The sure-thing Patriots were overwhelmingly detested by nearly everyone in the country (an exception being the Bay Stater writing this balderdash), but Sure-thing Mondo was universally beloved. And “Less Than You Think” was at least an artistically bold and defiant penultimate track on A Ghost Is Born, and completely unexpected from the notoriously safe Wilco. This was a timid, vacuous choice.


But who knows, maybe this finale will end up being to Season 8 what Cut the Crap was to The Clash: a disgraceful ending that we all simply choose to ignore and embrace everything that preceded it.


Hi, I’m a very ebullient J. Michael and this is Vision Malevolent, home of the Project Runway recap that takes longer to read than it did to watch the episode itself. Of course,  if you were to add the time needed to recover from the intense psychological damage inflicted by this episode, it’s not even close. You’d need an Atlas Shrugged, two Infinites Jest’s, and Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples to cover this one.


And Michael Kors, I sincerely hope you’re proud of yourself. Your recalcitrance won the argument, You walked out of Parsons a victor. But you left your credibility in the building, pal. You were the judge we could at least respect; I doubt you’ll ever be taken seriously as a PR judge again. If it weren’t for your mordant witticisms, you’d be replaced instantly.


Nina Garcia, I do not fundamentally understand how you allowed Michal Kors  to manipulate, control and bully you. I don’t understand it. And Mondo, you’ve taken the bullet and now I have to send… AHEM.


Really though, Nina, you come off as one demeaning, and yet pusillanimous bitch. You’ve been particularly confounding this season. Half the time, you didn’t even offer cogent criticism; your vacant derision of the designs made early seasons Heidi seem erudite in comparison. You seem entirely irrelevant on a show you’ve been on for five years. But the finale was the coup de grace. At one point, you want to declare a dual-winner, the apex of indecision. Then you let Kors browbeat you with his sanguinary rhetoric and you swayed with the Orange seabreeze. Bollocks. You should be ashamed. Though you’ve been at Marie Claire long enough that I assume you don’t even faintly recall that emotion.


OK, recap-uation time.


Last week, four designers battled for three (televised) spots in Fashion Week, and I guess I imagined one of them having a breathtaking mental breakdown at the end, because it’s not in the “previously on…” recap.


In retrospect, they give away the ending: Kors wonders whether Mondo will be the ringleader Fashion Circus, they think Gretchen needs to style better, and they only pay attention to Andy long enough to abhor him. They very specifically show the part of the conference where Nina shrilly points out that this is the judges opportunity to voice concerns. I wonder if a particularly rebellious editor is mocking the glorification of blind obedience this finale ended up becoming.


Anyway, Mondo is in. Gretchen is in. Andy is in. Michael is out, and then, of course, nothing happened at all. Tim congratulates the top 3, because that’s exactly what followed the runway.


It’s now the day before the Fashion Week show, and the final three are quite excited. In a surprise to no one, Mondo’s morning bathroom routine is infinitely more elaborate than Gretchen’s, right down to the hair care, makeup, and pubis grooming.


A very flamboyant tool to make a gay man straight, hyuk haw harrrr!


They eat breakfast, and they aren’t even bothering to indulge the producer’s coaxing for juicy and/or platitudinous banter. There is a note on the table, telling them that people are waiting for them at Parson’s. The producers do manage to adjure them to pretend that they aren’t fully aware that they are walking right into the cast reunion. The mercurial switching between self-aware and obliviousness this season has been jarring. But sensational.


Well no, this wasn't a producer invoked scene at all. Everyone sits down for breakfast and then abruptly leaves behind plates full of complete untouched food.


So the other 57 contestants are waiting at Parsons.

The look-at-me's to the left

Naptime in the front, "bad acting in a series of commercials that you can't escape from all night" in the back.

And guess how many syllables she managed to get on air.


The Top 3 saunter in, and don’t even try to attempt to feign to keep up the façade of surprise. They walk in and hug everyone. There’s some clearly-not-at-all-ADR’d dialogue from Heidi which leads into a seasonal montage of Andy. The most revelatory thing about this is the use of Tim Gunn producer interviews. I totally forgot that they did those early on. And they just kind of unceremoniously dropped it, too, huh? Next season, let’s break that enigmatic veneer for good! MORE TIM. LESS HAUGHTY PRINCESS JUDGES.


Is Tim caught in the void? Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Sturm und Drung.


Michael gives Andy a hug and it’s kind of adorable.


And why do Gretchen and Mondo look equally upset by it?


Peach notes that she now has a huge gay fan base, which gets a round of applause from a group of gay men, aka: the cast. Valerie got a marriage proposal on Facebook, and there is polite laughter. Casanova quips that he’s learned a lot of English, and there is buoyant laughter. Gretchen jokes that she’s “not a bitch, I just play one on TV,” and… and… AND…


Oooooo. :/


Gretchen tearfully opines that confidence in a girl quickly equates in in most people’s perceptions to “bitch,” and, of course, that word cues a quick cut to Ivy. But Ivy does good this time, thankfully calling her out on this. Ivy contends that Gretchen is fake, and April concurs. Not exactly the two you’d want on your side, but, coupled with the Mondo v. Gretchen Judge’s Debate later on, perhaps that’s the theme of this show: two chicks that you’d never want on your side of an argument happen to be totally right.


But to clarify, I do not agree with Visionless Seamstress and Inarticulate Forehead. Even so, Gretchen, I should point out this has nothing to do with confidence. It has to do with duplicity and demeanor. On the former, obviously it’s easy for you to counter April’s claims by pointing out the separation of design and person. You can criticize the design without criticizing the character of the designer. HOWEVER, you do come off like a bitch, because of your demeanor. Sorry. I mean, I’ve made it clear these last few weeks that I feel you are, in fact, the opposite: a well-read, intelligent, thoughtful and empathetic person.


But you carry yourself above your surroundings. Your demeanor is studious, rigid, and supercilious. When you are Tim Gunn, you get away with it; in fact, it’s YOUR JOB if you are Tim Gunn. If you are Gretchen Jones, however, you are a detached snob in a room full of equals. You can criticize the design without sounding highfalutin. Look at Mondo, for instance. He did it all season and no one has taken him to the cleaners for it. Hell, even Michael C.’s dismissive smarminess comes off better; at least there’s raw emotion in it. You come off terribly. And it’s especially the way you talk, girl. I can’t belabor this point enough. Just like Valerie has an up-talking problem, you have a condescension problem. A BIG one. Even if you do it somewhat involuntarily.


Anyway, Michael, Andy, and Mondo all come to Gretchen’s defense. April is demonstratively displeased. In fact, she look far too happy to be there the whole time. I made a composite of some of the best April expressions:


What, she designs with herself in mind? You don't say!


We have a Gretchen recap. The word aesthetic is literally eroded out of the dictionary from overuse. It’s dust on the fucking floor. I never want to hear it again. We have to invent another word for an artistic conception/theory/ouevre, thanks to Gretchen.


Tim Gunn touches upon the Mondo-Michael C friendship, correctly singled out as a highlight of the season’s narrative. Mondo speaks of his respect and love for Michael, and AJ makes a very cogent point about first impressions. It kind of makes me wish AJ had stayed longer; he’s very bright and fun. He might have been a contender.


We recap Mondo and… it’s pretty clear that this reunion is essentially the cast watching montages of the Top 3. Oh, but we get a montage highlighting the quirkiness of the cast. Of clips we’ve already seen! Wooly balls, Tim chasing Swatch, etc. Then a montage of crying, just in case were weren’t aware of how fragile these people are. Guys, the awareness is as painful as priapism. Let us be.


The other designers gracelessly dance around not picking a winner, and that’s it. That’s the reunion. So off we go to…


Wait, THAT’S IT?! You know, I don’t think it was unreasonable to expect a worthwhile reunion show this time. Yes, they have been dreadful the last few years, but so has the show itself.  Season 8 changed that, if only because of dramatics. And in light of those dramatics, why was this such a rushed, underproduced waste of time? Why did the most theatric cast in PR history conclude with such an innocuous reunion? If there was ever a case to be made to do a thorough cleaning house of producers, this is it. Complete incompetence.


In the work room, Andy is moving along, but the judge’s displeasure of how coquettish he was in presenting his three-look collection last episode is haunting him. Gretchen is basically restyling the collection exactly as the judges want. Keep in mind, this is the same  woman that  relentlessly referenced “vision” all season. Score one for blind win-lust. Mondo is freaking out like he always does. Tim asks about the judge’s critique. Mondo relays that although they told him he might be going to far, they also loved his showmanship, And so he’s confused. Tim is certainly pleased.


Tim's "Ah yes, you've noticed the crack pipe dangling from their lips as well, haven't you?" face.


Mondo feels that his high performance all season is validation of his work. Oh come ON Mondo, you were right there in Parsons when April was thinking the exact same thing on the runway and got axed. You have to be more astute than this… Anyway, Tim tells Mondo to trust the bubble dress, and it’s just more validation for Tim Gunn this season.


Andy is a bit lost. He doesn’t appear that way. In fact, he appears quite confident and well-to-do. But he must be totally confounded, because he somehow did not notice how disgusting this look is:


Speaking of styles that went out with the 70's...


And after Tim pointed out that it looks like matted, malignant runaway pubis, he claimed he did not see it the same way. Dude, it’s self-evident. It’s a monster that grew upwards like vine until it penetrated the girl’s brain stem and took over her mind. You made a terror-kini. Andy’s having another “What the fuck are you thinking,” for the third week in a row in fact. I can’t tell if Mondo is confused, terrified, or the most of both he’s ever been in his life:




And then there’s Gretchen. She drops the 11th look because it looks like a potato sack dipped in guacamole. Apparently, she’s going to downplay the accessible for the “aspirational.” Makes sense. You know, as long as you disregard Korcia’s ENTIRE LOGIC FOR CHOOSING HER TO WIN.


The marathon continues, necessitating filler thrillers Peter Butler and Collier Strong to make appearances. Butler’s beard is even more geometrically precise than normal. He might be the only person to actually step up for the finale. He holds product up to camera even more blatantly than normal, too.


Lost in the woods and don't have a compass. This beard will get you home.


Fittings for everyone, and a very noticeable segment with Mondo deciding to go with the Bubble Ballgown after all. In retrospect, a very revealing moment, but it only makes Mondo more sympathetic. He refused to skew what could be his only shot at Fashion Week to the judges sensibilities;, Gretchen completely oriented hers toward their whims.


Collier Strong holds more product up to camera, and Gretchen speaks of how planning is a strength of hers, as well as her ability to make a “look” work. God dammit, they certainly did make this an excruciating episode to rewatch. The editing makes the preposterous outcome seem self-evident the second time around.


More contemplative talk, and it’s amazing a drum circle doesn’t break out. It leads to more montage and WHAT IS GRETCHEN WEARING? It looks like she bleached and wove thermal insulation. Gaga’s meat dress was more dignified. Anyway, more crying and flaccid attempts at self-confidence lead us into commercial.


If Liberace was elected mayor of White People.


The designers are off to Lincoln Center. In a Cadillac?! No way!  Mondo notes that he’s lost weight, and Gretchen says she has as well. I thought I noticed that, but who can really tell with a waif like her. A sequence of painfully orchestrated shots of them walking through NYC follows. 2 hours before the show, and the backstage is shambolic.


Mondo’s runway order has been upended. This is the extent of the drama in the Season 8 finale: clerical errors. Mondo does, in fact, look totally psyched out and Tim has to calm him down. This bedlam is peppered with shots of the crowd, and our villains appear on the runway. The must have known the finale would air right before Halloween, because Heidi came as Snoopy’s doghouse, Nina came as a woman who‘s pregnancy robbed her of all common sense, and Michael Kors came as the Netherlands.



They've got style, they've got grace...


Our guest judge is Jessica Simpson, who came as The Worst Design Michael Kors Ever Attempted.


A bag of Twizzlers walks out to the center of the runway and speaks of how emotionally attached she became to this cast of designers. We then get a sequence of shots of said designers in the crowd, because obviously they are all in the crowd and not all SHOWING COLLECTIONS AT THIS VERY SHOW.


Heidi introduces the judges. Kors van Oranje is as smug as anyone about to lose all credibility could be. Nina looks like she’s going into labor right there, and Jessica Simpsons looks like she’s wearing the most illogically unflattering dress ever constructed.


Thank you, thank you. Oh hey! Yeah, I can come! I'll be there right after I'm done fucking up this entire season!


Gretchen comes out and she cries. She also looks like a junkie drag Stevie Nicks in that sheer dress. Her collection comes out to the ethereal single off the new White Hinterland album, “Icarus.” You might have been fooled by this song, thinking that the new White Hinterland album is as breathlessly airy and effortless as this, the lead single.


Now, since this is technically a music blog, I feel it’s appropriate to point this out:


WHAT THE FUCK, CASEY DIENEL. White Hinterland is the sobriquet Dienel has recorded under the last few years. She released her charming debut album under the moniker in 2008, and it still stands as one of my top ten albums of 2008. It was a erudite, buoyant song cycle of Americana and jazz. Most importantly, it brought jazz into the indie singer-songwriter spectrum without going all NPR on us. It was masterfully done, with a hint of abstraction. She followed it up with a breathtaking EP later that year.


Now she’s trying to go more electronic with this new goddamn album, and it’s a real misfire. I have to admit, this is personal; I feel betrayed. Not coincidentally, this downfall aligns with her move from Boston to… you guessed it: PORTLAND GODDAMN OREGON. There’s a lot of really great bands in Portland, actually; what the hell happened to this poor girl, however, escapes me. But it’s a really nice counterpart for Gretchen’s collection.


What I mean is: White Hinterland’s new album is everything I hate about the where indie is trending right now (electro, marginally chillwave), just as I abhor the current trends in fashion that Michael Kors insists Gretchen encapsulated (retro bohemian offal).


The collection that killed Project Runway


Oy vey. Where to begin? That 8th piece is just horrendous. The midriff, the cringeworthy (and tacky) patterns, her attempt to emulate Mondo and juxtapose patterns… all of it equals a true calamity. Just embarassing. The whole collection itself… where’s the vibrance? This is a look to the future, Michael Kors? You know what, Brave New World was a look into the future. So was Player Piano. And no one openly embraced those visions. Read something besides a magazine, bro.


The hats are borderline heretical. I mean, Jesus… MONDO went into costume territory? Look at those things, It’s like spaghetti western folklore out here. A Fistful of Potions. And good God, look at the pants for look 3. That’s a sheer design debacle. Even with perfect execution, they are going to look amateurish and unsavory.And I’m not even going to touch upon the granny panties or the totally anachronistic hair styling.


Let me be blunt: This is only for the frap-guzzling, sexless NPR crowd.


Andy comes out and notes that his collection was inspired by his Asian heritage. I liked Andy’s, though one thing that he fell victim to was making his art somewhat incomprehensible without explanation. More specifically, his color scheme. Most people seem baffled by it; what was the deal with that green and why did it seem so randomly allayed. In post-airing interviews, Andy explicated that he was inspired by Buddhist ruins in South-east Asia, and so the grey represented the building ruins and the green represented the moss. Knowing this, his collection seems infinitely more inspiring and well-crafted. I liked his music, by a fellow Laos-American and friend, much better than Gretchen or Mondo’s. But it also didn’t seem to fit the collection. Gretchen’s would have been way more congruous for such a spiritually inflected theme.


Well, I feel that what Andy did nicel... wait, he's already out?


I actually liked Andy’s collection. I didn’t love it, but it was tolerably nice. There aresome solid pieces, but also some extremely basic and bland ones, and no show-stopper. There was nothing truly memorable here, which is probably even worse than presenting the drivel Gretchen did. At least Gretchen made logical, memorable drivel. I do, however, disagree with the common opinion on the headpieces: I thought they had more character and intrigue than almost anything else Andy presented.


The first look is exceptional. The pants are totally within Andy’s conceit. Likewise, the pants in look 7 are phenomenal. Great print, great fit. A little bit of an issue in the naughty region, though, which has been a flaw of Andy’s for all times. But look 3 is humiliatingly simple. There’s nothing exciting about it at all. It’s clothes. Clothes you could get at Ocean State Job Lot. Even the look before it is pretty uninspired. It really shows that he only had two weeks to work. Andy claims he could have put on his dream show with more looks, as in a real, 40-50 look collection. I’m skewing the other way; he looks like he only has a 5 look collection here. He needed a lower number.


Mondo comes out looking goddamn dapper, and cites his Mexican heritage as inspiration. He dedicates it to his grandmother. Oh, Mondo. Mondo once again proves why he his name has now become an adjective to describe his own work. The pattern work is masterful. The fact that, unlike Gretchen, he personally made everything in the collection… astounding. I love the prints, I adore the intricate leggings, the divisive Day of the Dead print is super fun. The one problem is that the headwear seems totally incongruous with the rest on the look. They are all  too colorful, an iridescent distraction in a collection based upon such a delicate interplay of black/white patterning. The infamous bubble dress comes out as the consummation, and Korscia are NOT pleased.


Michael, do you see what just went by? Michael? Michael? Michael, don't ignore me. Michael. Michael?


There’s another screen shot that unfortunately could not be rendered well enough due to the movement in the picture, but when Mondo comes out and is coming back down the runway, there’s a frame where you can see everyone smiling (including Kors) except for Nina. She has a clear sourpuss and it makes you wonder just how to balance the antipathy.


Pee Wee Hermeneutics


The converse of Gretchen: where may I begin? I love every look. Enough has been said about look 9, the tunic, that I can’t add much to the galimatias, but I will say that Mondo should have closed with it. Open with 10, close with 9. That way, the judges might have complained less about the gown. Look 3 takes my breath away. I love the oversized shirt; it’s so Kim Deal, Brixton Academy 1988 that I’m beside myself. And those leggings are the height of pulchritude. Look 5 has one of the most wearable dresses out of the 30 pieces on this show, if not the most wearable, It’s a clear indictment of Nina and Kors van Oranje that they couldn’t think of anyone who would wear it; I’m trying to think of girls I know who wouldn’t.


I adore the way Mondo reuses prints without seeming redundant. The bubble gown print becomes a super cute shirt. The Mondo-high pants fabric becomes that gorgeous, sporty dress. The one qualm I have about the looks is that the turquoise shirt still looks totally incongruous with the rest of the collection.


We get a rapid sequence of attendees commenting on the collections. The best they can do for Gretchen is Jay Manual. The best they can do for Mondo is every single goddamn person that took breath in Lincoln Center.


This is going to be a close one.


Back at Parsons, the designers are brought out. There are general acclamations, which of course seem especially vacant in retrospect.. Andy was inspired by the Buddha Park in Laos. OranjeKors admires Andy for making an Asian themed collection without it devolving into costume. He liked the one-shouldered dresses, but thought there was a myopia in the collection. Heidi thought the first look was underwhelming and she liked the shirt that he plagiarized from a pattern book. Nina saw a softness, but inexplicably claimed that there wasn’t enough of Andy’s voice and that there is too much “Orientalism.” You know, in the way that you can have too much of YOUR EXACT POINT. Jessica Simpsons sat next to Nina and said stuff. The other judges didn’t care, so I guess I don’t either.


It was at this point in the Live BPR chat that I wondered whether Nina would “ruin the season.” I was truly scared.


Gretchen once again miraculously calls her collection “Running through Thunder” with a straight face. Nina loves the prints. Say WHAT?! And she follows that by saying that she liked those ungodly patchwork pants. Honestly, whatever it was that redefined Nina‘s world like this, I hope it becomes legal for medicinal use mach schnell. She specifically notes that Gretchen listened to them in the styling, surprise surprise. Kors likes the vibe, but is perplexed by the leather. Everyone loves the jewelry.


Ok, am I seriously alone on an island with this one. It’s fucking Transformers cosplay. She glued Optimus Prime’s face to the girl’s upper chest. You know what? Maybe Heidi really is a robot, and what Nina and Kors were really fighting for was our freedom. Freedom from Decepticons like Heidi.


Heidi thinks the prints were repetitive. And now I say, bring on the Klum-led Decepticon Junta. This is followed by more insufferable references to how “modern” Gretchen’s looks are, even though they are based upon bohemian 70’s fashion that we all correctly recanted for decades. :/


Mondo wanted to play with the symbolism of his Mexican culture, and incorporate Day of the Dead. Michael Kors, who clearly overtans in order to trick himself into believing that he will one day escape the clutches of death, is not impressed. At least, not nearly as impressed as he is with himself for calling it Molto Mondo. :/


Wishes he was reading a magazine


Heidi thought his collection has tonal diversity, and she loved the printed t-shirt. She loves the color-blocked tunic which, according to basically every report available, was the talk of the show. THE talk of the show. Nina goes into a bunch of balderdash compliments that doesn’t mean anything, because it was all just to get to her ridiculous contention that Mondo’s collection was too young. She thinks he needs more sophistication. Pitiful. Jessica Simpson inhales and exhales in turns.


Heidi wonders why he chose that dress, and Mondo says that his model made the dress work so well he could not remove it. Kors gives very substantive critiques and notes that he loves the oversized t-shirt and the tunic. He feels that it was an eclectic and exciting collection that really had Mondo’s voice, even if he felt it did tread close to costume. Ok, so how did we get from this to the biggest travesty in modern television?


Time to summit, and the Usual Three begin deliberating, pausing only to catch their breath and collect their thoughts (ie, let Jessica talk). They almost instantly eliminate Andy from the running. I mean, to the point where Andy’s credibility was so decimated that someone from the show is going to have to claim that they edited it down or something. Otherwise, he’ll never live this down.


As for Gretchen, they bring up abstract concepts like being “on trend” and are clearly impressed with Gretchen’s ability to listen… to them. They bring up this word… “sexy” I believe it’s spelled. I vaguely remember this word, but after Gretchen’s collection I’ve totally lost track of it. Like it jumped clean out of my mind. All I can recall about this… “sexy…”  is that Gretchen’s collection was NOT “sexy.” In fact, I have a twinge of memory that says it was the exact opposite of “sexy.” I wish I knew that that meant, or if it is accurate.


Nina likes the fucking hats. Come on. More bollocks about being “current” and “now.” Tlo already destroyed this argument, but let me summarize: there’s more going on in the fashion world than Bohemian Balderdash. And just because something is “now” doesn’t mean that the zeitgeist is not repugnant. Let’s say that is where fashion will be… fine. Gretchen’s an excellent designer and this is her niche… but the color scheme. The patterns. The fundamental visual aspects of clothing, godammit!


Heidi is wowed by Mondo, and Nina is apoplectic in response but then gets cut off in mid-sentence. Even the Reunion Half-Segment ADR’s were less glaring than that smash edit. Kors makes the totally nonsensical point that Mondo’s work wouldn’t translate into real life, as if any self-respecting woman would wear Gretchen’s blustery nonsense clothes outside the folk tent at Bonaroo.


Heidi defends Mondo and Nina looks like she’s ready to sever Heidi’s head from her cherry red blazer. Honestly, Nina is so detestable the more you watch this episode. Stubborn, unyielding, and petulantly dismissive of the inferior judges.


I can hear Nina's baby being crushed as she clenches her womb in anger.



Nina and Michael are clearly offended that Mondo didn’t listen. The pettiness is assuaged a bit when Nina presents the possibility of creating dual winners. Oranje is exasperated by the mere thought of such a thing. So the illogic returns in a massive way when Nina turns it into a debate on whose designs are more sellable. That’s what she wants to base Project Runway;s winning collection upon. But the true zenith of preposterousness comes when Heidi starts pointing out pieces of Mondo’s that worked. Kors retorts: “But we’re not here to restyle his clothes.”


Seriously, think about that statement. Was Kors just willing to say anything to get his way at that point, or did he really want the viewing audience to wonder if he’s actually been to a Fashion Show that wasn’t his own? Kors becomes increasingly more obnoxious, literally laughing in Heidi’s face and openly insulting Jessica Simpson, at one point derisively telling her to “read a magazine!”


O rlly, orange cretin?


I should note that at some point Heidi went and got Tim Gunn to try and talk sense to these imbeciles. It didn’t work. I wonder if Korcia’s pitiful harping about the current and future fashion vanguard happened before or after Gunn’s interjection. Either way, Michael and Nina get more defensive, more apoplectic, and far more elitist towards Heidi as she attempts to argue, of all things, for design to win a show based upon design. Oh, and this is where the pettiness finally comes out: “He didn’t listen to us, fuck him, how dare he.”


I’ll give you a “how dare you” moment, Michael Kors. HOW DARE YOU play the subjectivity card. Really. I mean, REALLY? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A CRITIC. Do you understand the very nature of professional criticism? It is that you have attained a level of knowledge worthy of being dubbed “expertise.” Your professional opinion is thereby supposed to be an attempt to transcend the subjective in the search of an objective truth, an objective standard of excellence. And you played the goddamn subjectivity card in that role. I’m more upset by this than anything.


They bring them back out. Gretchen wins. The world begins a retrograde orbit in response. Show over. Season tainted. Memories tarnished.


I’d like to touch upon something: Michael Kors, you are a goddamn hypocrite. You gave an interview in Summer where you made a point to say that fashion is supposed to be fun, and then you blatantly disregarded a collection bursting with elation and playfulness and glee in favor of Gretchen’s joyless mess. A disgrace to the animals her prints replicate, if not the entire African populace. And what is your reasoning? Well, thanks for tweeting it:



“A different attitude.” Sounds like yet another capricious, indefensible decision made by two once-respected insiders of the fashion establishment, who for one night become obsequious to it.


It’s still hard for me to advocate auffing Michael Kors from the show, though. I mean, I’d LOVE to make a joke about circumcising the Korskin of Project Runway, but I’d miss his quips. He needs to get a grip, though.


As for Gretchen, well… I suppose it’s a little late for me to go with my original intent for this article, thousands of words ago, but here goes: don’t blame Gretchen. Yes, scorn her clothes, scorn her victory… but don’t scorn the girl. As Tim Gunn said, she needed the money. More than the other two. She already had a business, which seems like she would have a leg up on them. Wrong. All that meant was that she was already in an unseemly amount of debt. So good for her. I won’t excoriate her for winning. In fact, I’m pulling a Gretchen: excoriate the clothes, not the person. I still believe Gretchen is a warmhearted girl that was simply misunderstood. There’s no misunderstanding how truly dreadful her collection was. A lot of people actually liked her collection but believed it wasn’t as good as Mondo’s (or even Andy’s). I’m not being diplomatic about this; it was offensive. But she can only try to win; if it was undeserved, more power to her. Which, of course, would therefore mean less power for a certain two bronzed hysterics.


And thus ends the most dramatic season of Project Runway in it’s tenure. Fitting that it ended with the most controversial win in the show’s history as well. That’s something of a positive; television is drama and buzz, after all. It was also possibly the weakest in terms of design, and Gretchen’s winning collection was an unfortunate reminder of that. That is decidingly not positive.


Some exclaim that they are done with Project Runway, that they will never watch again.Bollocks. If anything, this scandalous ending will only draw you back more intently to next season. The promise of redemption is far more appealing than the satisfaction of closure. In the après, at least. We’re still in the residual period, and it’s not very comfortable here. And it won’t be for a while.


Until then, buy a Team Mondo shirt and wear it proudly. And if you see Michael Kors, chop off his head and put a candle inside. I’m J. Michael.


That third pumpkin is lifelike, but overripe.


2 Responses to Vision Malevolent #4: Day of the Braindead

  1. sophie says:

    Enjoyed your post! Agree totally and am glad someone else is sick of Gretchen’s over use of the word ‘aesthetic’….add to this the over use of ‘skill sets’. I am sick of Gretchen and her nasty, ratty granny pants ‘assthetic’.

    • Thanks!

      I do really like Gretchen, and I think she’s a sweet girl at heart, but she’s got serious language issues. She’s very pedantic; she definitely wants to know how intelligent she is, and thus she comes off terribly on television.

      I do wonder if I went overboard trashing her collection…

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