Browsing Archives for September 2010

Friday night I had a little Project Runway fest and caught up on all the episodes for season 8 that were still available on Hulu.  My boys watched three episodes with me.  They like the competitive aspect of the show and they like to judge the outfits and try to predict who will win.  I love having my sons take an interest in a show that is about design and creativity.

While catching up with the show I grew more and more alarmed at what seems to be a bizarre hatred for one of the contestants – Michael Costello.  He is almost uniformly despised by everyone and I can’t figure out why.  He seems so harmless.  In fact he almost seems boring compared to the other characters on the show.  Is he too normal?  Too mainstream?  He has won two of the challenges, but the other contestants insist that he can’t sew calling him what I guess is a derogatory term in the fashion world, ‘a draper’.  I keep wondering how this can be possible.  How can you sew an evening gown if in fact – you can’t even sew?  Do elves make his gowns for him while he sleeps?  Clearly he can sew, so then why do all the other contestants insist that he can’t?

After partnering with Costello on the latest challenge, another contestant named Mondo heroically and humbly admitted that he was completely mistaken about Costello and even tried to change the other contestant’s minds about him.  But when Michael walked back into the room and very humbly and quietly announced the had had won his second challenge he was greeted with complete and icy silence.  No one even pretended to care or to offer the the most hollow of congratulations.

I realize that not everyone watches the show, but I was wondering if anyone else has any ideas as to where this hatred for Costello comes from?  I know that the show is a series of sound bytes and we could be missing some huge moment where Michael acted like such an ass that we would all understand why he is so disliked, but I can’t imagine they would cut a moment like that from the show.  If what appears on the show is accurate at all, the negative feelings that the other contestants have for Costello seem to be based entirely on the fact that they think he is weak on sewing skills which is such a bizarre reason to hate someone that I can’t even fathom it.  It’s like being in a cake contest and hating the contestant who doesn’t know how to turn on the oven.  If that person ended up winning the round one in the bake-off, I would say WHOA!  I guess they figured out how to bake without an oven and that is pretty dang amazing or maybe they know how to turn it on after all!

I think Costello made a crucial mistake when he assembled all the ‘winners’ in his group for the team challenge.  It’s an honest mistake and I can see how one might want to comprise a team of ‘super stars’ in the hopes of winning a challenge, but it seriously back fired on him as all the ‘stars’ belittled him the entire time which leads me to the following questions…

1.  If you were vying for a large and important prize and could assemble any type of team to help you to win, would you assemble a team full of super stars or would you assemble a team based on a different idea such as friendship, personality, team players – etc…

2.  What do you really think is motivating the hatred for Costello on that show?

3.  Who do you think is the best designer on the show this season so far?

4.  In your opinion, which designer is the most likable as a general human being?

A super cute tour of Valerie’s closet.

Cassanova’s NYC apartment. He was the spirit of the show this season. I wonder if anyone will step in to take his place.

The Night The Sky Boiled Over

September 10th, 2010

I recently watched The September Issue, a documentary about the making of the annual Vogue Fall fashion issue.  It’s a really fun film, delving into crystalline characters, punitive power struggles, cold cut business decisions and the art infused passion that is Vogue.  The movie focuses on the relationship between editor in chief, Anna Wintour and creative director, Grace Coddington.  In front of a glittering backdrop of models, movie stars and European photo shoots, the classic battle of business versus art wages on between Anna and Grace.  They are both fascinating women with passion and talent but very different visions regarding what they feel Vogue should represent to the world.

Laura Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada, was Wintour’s personal assistant for ten months and it is widely believed that the fashion editor in her book, Miranda Priestly, is based on Anna Wintour, although Weisberger insists that her book’s character is an amalgamation of many people she and her friends worked with over time.  You might remember that Meryl Streep played the role of Miranda Priestly in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.  Evidently Meryl played a much more sympathetic version of the editor on film than is portrayed in the book.

Meryl also played Julia Child in Julie and Julia a great film that covers the life of Julia Child while she lived in France.  I just finished Julia Child’s autobiography, My Life in France,  and I enjoyed the book very much.  Child’s wrote this book in an extremely engaging style blending the details of her life, scenes in France, cooking, friendships, family, marriage and her painstakingly slow rise to publication and success to make a very memorable memoir.

It is hard not to hear Julia’s cheerful trill as you read the book, but you will also be surprised to learn of some of the difficulties she faced in her personal and professional life.  It took eight years to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking, yet, Julia faced each crisis with her signature vigor and unflinching honesty which is just what one would expect of her.  She truly was an American gem.



Meryl Streep as Julia Child

Julia Child as Julia Child

Meryl Streep as fashion magazine editor in chief,  Miranda Priestly.

Anna Wintour as fashion editor in chief, Anna Wintour.

Meryl and Stanley Tucci when they both worked for a fashion magazine.

Meryl and Stanley Tucci in happier times when she was a gourmet cook and he a retired government worker/photographer/all around wonderful husband.