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TV Review: Project Runway

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I have no business watching Project Runway, Season 2. That said, it was the most addictive piece of television I have ever seen. I hungered for each week’s show and would watch that week’s repeats hankering for the next week’s show like a crack whore.

The satisfaction of picking the final three back in week three is so satisfying! It was so satisfying that I can’t help but mention that I was dancing the higgledy jiggledy for my wife when, to my even deeper satisfaction, I picked the winning collection. Not only did I pick the winner, Chloe, but I placed Daniel and Santino in the correct order as well.

Who wasn’t happy for Chloe — dissed by the “artiste” Santino and always getting second-fiddle lip to Daniel’s “talent.” Look back at her clothes over the weeks of the series — those clothes outdo all the other designers and could almost stand on their own as a collection. Who can forget her leaf dress? What was more perfect than the piece she unveiled in the On Thin Ice challenge? Innovative, diverse, inspiring — and as the last show revealed — capable of the dreamy and esctatic.

Why would a Monday-Night Football-watching guy’s guy like myself be so enamored with Bravo TV? I’m not sure I have the answer — but let me take a few guesses. The point of the show spirals around basic character traits such as self-reliance and innovation. Creativity takes a backseat to the pressure of time and understanding the parameters of the problem to be solved. The designer’s frame of reference was always more important than the raw vision of their deisgns.

Also, there’s the basic drama of judgement — decision — the subjective view of what is an unquantifiable quality: the beauty of something. This exercise in aesthetics demands the mind accomodate the competitor’s judgements of each other, the judges’ perception of the competitors, and I even tried to factor in the producer’s influence on the dramatic balance of the show. If I was producing the show, who would I need to keep the show interesting, who balances out my demographics, etc.

This combination of improvisation by the “actors” and the drama of definitive “judgement” of art combined in a way that was both visceral, almost violent, and yet very true to the way great success is achieved. Part luck, part preparation, part grit: Chloe Dao’s work deserved reward. Did she deserve to win? That is a question for debate, but I don’t think anyone would say she deserved to lose. She made no mistakes and performed to the highest level throughout the competition.

Check out Chloe’s collection and designs from the series.

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About David Koehn

  • Great review! While I don’t agree with everything you said (“Creativity takes a backseat”? I don’t think so. And Chloe’s dress for the Iman challenge was a huge mistake that even Tim couldn’t hide his disappointment), I totally agree that this show is like crack. Visual crack. and I’m hooked. I need a fix. and soon.

    And congrats on predicting it all so well! Very impressive. I was genuinely surprised by Chloe’s win, although looking back it makes sense now.

  • Hmmm…I think that was alot of posturing in episode 11. True, Chloe’s piece was not as good as Daniel’s but was certainly superior to Santino’s–by a stretch–and Kara’s was a version of a dress from Sears.

    Thanks for the comments!

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