Project Runway: I Heart Blayne & The Retro Olympics

I give up. I totally have given into Blayne and have decided that he’s as lovable and funny as a puppy that’s just learning how to walk, but occasionally has accidents in your apartment that make you hate him for a couple minutes. Maybe it’s that we both have an addiction to being tan, though I gave up the booth years ago in favor laying out on my roof deck and slathering on bottled self-tanner. (May I recommend, by the way, that Blayne use a bronzer for African-American women in between tanning booth sessions? It’s my secret.) In any case, Blayne is just one of the many Project Runway contestants this season that seems to be competing to coin the show’s next catchphrase rather than to win the title of Top Designer — after all, “fierce hot tranny mess” is worn the hell out, and Blayne’s “holla atcha boy” is desperate to take its place. While we’re not convinced it’s bankable enough, it’s certainly better than Suede’s desire to make his own name — spoken constantly in third person — the next big utterance on reality TV. Amelia does not like Suede, she does not like Suede at all.

Designs We Hated [From Left]: Jarrell’s costumey hatefulness; Stelleathuh’s biker-from-the-future; Daniel’s cocktail-ready Betty Boop; Jennifer’s matronly tea party-wear.

Something else that’s changed this season on PR is that the show no longer seems to be going for blatant product placement — last season’s Hershey’s challenge made me want to gouge out my eyes because the advertising and marketing strategy was so transparent. You know some advertising exec at Bravo got wined and dined for that spot. That said, the challenges this season are still strange. On last night’s episode, the designers were instructed by speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno that they were to create a look for the Summer Olympics’ opening ceremony. That meant designing a garment that was sportswear-inspired and infused with a little red, white, and blue patriotism. The latter was heard loud-and-clear , though most of the designers seem totally stuck on making clothes for the Olympians of the ’70s or those from space, than those competing in modern day. Just take a look at Stella’s, duh, biker-from-Mars-inspired get-up and Kelli’s Little House On The Prairie-meets-Carol Brady ensemble.

Designs We Loved [From Left]: Leanne’s chic high-neck blouse and shorts; Korto’s winning linen-and-leather loveliness; Kenley’s plaid; Blayne’s one-shoulder ensemble.

A few of the other designers made outfits that we would totally wear, but were hardly appropriate for the task at hand. Which brings us to another problem we have with this season’s crop of sketchers and stitchers. Why are they all so caught up in their own creative bubble that they can’t, you know, follow directions? Certainly losing designer Jennifer knew her cardigan and striped skirt look was more appropriate for Alice’s Tea Party; ditto for Jarrell, also in the bottom three, whose hat we would not wear if you put a gun to our heads. Kenley’s plaid pencil skirt was undeniably chic and cute, even if her cackle throughout the episode was not, while Daniel’s cocktail dress looked like it was made for Betty Boop. I thought it was so fitting that Korto, the designer who immigrated to America from Africa, was the one who won the challenge, proving that understanding what represents America isn’t always American-born. Plus, white linen pants are fierce AND really bring out a sweet tan.