Darlings, I love me a good accessory. People have been known not to recognize me when I go out without my signature hats and rings. I’m also a huge fan of Project Runway (Call me, Tim Gunn! I’ll bake you scones! Bring Heidi! I’ll make strudel, too!). So you can imagine my excitement at learning about Project Accessory. It debuted last night on Lifetime.
For those of you who missed it and plan to catch it in reruns, those who haven’t yet checked it out on their DVRs, and those who just plain don’t care about the show, I’m going to cut before giving my unvarnished thoughts on the matter. Also, there is a Project Runway finale spoiler. Just FYI.
Okay, I do have a bit of a fetish for reality contest shows. Project Runway started it, but I’m now also painfully addicted to every iteration of Top Chef, Chopped, and Work of Art, too. I can’t help myself. If I’m even vaguely interested in the topic at hand, I’m there. Food and fashion do top the list, though. And as I said before, I do love a good accessory.
Project Accessory follows the same rules as Project Runway, the show that got me hooked on the genre to begin with. They’ve got a herd of talented contestants, crazed challenges, runway shows, Q&A with the judges, a mentor in the workroom, a winner and a loser in every episode… almost everything that makes me so addicted to Project Runway.
But there’s something missing. In a word: personality.
One of the things that drew me initially to Project Runway was the fact that all of the people around the contestants are such quirky souls. I have a huge girlcrush on Heidi Klum based entirely on her deranged delight in the process of PR. I want a Tim Gunn of my own to come talk me down from the ledges I find myself teetering on without realizing it. Even Michael Kors and Nina Garcia – while less comfortable personal fits – do intrigue me with their approaches to the work of the designers. Agree or disagree, they usually do make me think. I like that.
By contrast, the regular cast of Project Accessory is coming off sadly ordinary to me. Molly Sims is perfectly competent in the Heidi role of host/judge, but while she’s an equally gorgeous, leggy blonde… there’s an edge missing for me. I’m not feeling the same passion.
Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti is no Tim Gunn. She’s smart, well-versed (obviously) in the industry, and more than competent. But there’s a warmth and an avuncular charm to Mr. Gunn that’s just not going to be there in every mentor, and it’s missing here.
The regular judges sitting with Sims are Kenneth Cole and InStyle editor Ariel Foxman. Again, they’re fine. But the fireworks just aren’t there. I’m hoping we’ll see more as the show progresses, but even the first decision kind of made me weep.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved their choice of Nina as the winner. Her matchstick and rat cage accessory trio of belt, necklace, and ring was surprisingly elegant and utterly believable. I would wear every piece.
But at the other end of the scale, they sent Cotrice packing and kept Nicolina. Cotrice had produced a necklace that was fabulous, but slightly buried by her styling of the tee shirt it was meant to enhance. The bracelet was 100% fabulous and wearable at any cocktail party. The corset belt she made was less successful and didn’t go well with the other two pieces, but still showed some real potential in both design and construction. By contrast, the judges felt that Nicolina’s skinny belt with attached pouch, leather cuff, and laundry bag netting necklace looked like they’d been made in an hour or two by someone with no imagination. And yet the judges felt they’d seen all they could see from Cotrice.
Dear Project Accessory judges,
Project Runway had Joshua the King of Bedazzlers in this latest season… AND HE CAME IN A VERY, VERY CLOSE SECOND. Why? Because he listened and learned through the season and discovered the wonderful world of editing. Editing is a skill that can be learned. Imagination is not. I’d rather see a glorious fail move on in the competition than a dull but safe piece. And yes, I say this even knowing everything I ever said about Santino Rice and his Von Trapp Family Cathouse lingerie collection.
I know part of my mehness about Project Accessory is the fact that I’m missing Tim and Heidi. I’m hoping that as the season progresses I’ll begin to see the charm in the cast of this show. But I feel very certain I’ll stand by my belief that Cotrice was the designer who deserved a second chance after last nights’ episode. I honestly get the impression that the producers thought that crazy-eyed Nicolina and her backstage breakdowns might make for better television than Cotrice’s potential for another fabulous flop. It’s either that or believe that the entire panel of judges can’t see potential under a bedazzled, overwrought piece… but do see it in the most random of ‘I did something safe in ten minutes’ kind of work.
Right now, I’m willing to keep watching and see how it goes. Another decision like that, and I’ll probably unprogram it from my DVR.
Just so’s you know.