Not Gay Enough For 'Project Runway'? Try Your Hand At 'Design Wars'

Now here's a sporting event even I can get interested in: Design Wars. Yes, it's just as creative and potentially-violent as the name suggests, a spectacle in which wannabe designers and actual designers alike duke it out to determine the fastest and craftiest fashion designer. And although it sorta sounds like Project Runway, it's much, much cooler — and has been going on since long before Heidi Klum ever got knocked up and decided it would be fun to speak one German phrase a day on cable TV. Design Wars was born in 2001 when fashion "personalities"/self-proclaimed important artistic folk Mary Jo Diehl and Roman Milisic decided that it was super important "to raise fashion's already quick pulse to New York-minute speeds via fast-paced live styling, snipping, clipping, burning and taping of just about any material — textile or industrial." (Read: They were probably stoned and had some scissors close by.)



And yet, from this seemingly meaningless verbiage came one helluva fun spectator event. Fellow self-proclaimed creative types apply to participate in Design Wars events on-line; once selected, the players are gathered, audience and judges file in, and the designing/warring begins. And for all those babies on Project Runway who bitch about time management and why they couldn't manage to make a pair of pants in like two and a half day, the Design Wars contestants are given thirty seconds to create their competing looks. But talk about standing too close the preciple of "trying too hard"!

"Over the top is never too over the top," Diehl says. Breaking the mold is apparently not an option but a mandate. One finalist — who wore a skirt hanger in her hair — created a fuchsia and yellow coat dress with shoulder pads made of aluminum pie tins and yellow latex kitchen gloves with the fingers cut out. It drew raves..."The theme is Fabulous Rehabulous," announced Diehl. "Design or die!" The competitors scrambled to re-purpose wedding dresses. "Married or buried, we can't decide which one," said Milisic, eyeing [one finalist's] elegant flowing white gown and Domini's crepe-wrapped creation, accessorized with a pair of white pantyhose stretched over the model's face.
Wow. How, uh, post-modern. Now, in the words of Nina Garcia, go find us something aesthetically pleasing and expensive looking.

A Guerrilla 'Project Runway' [LA Times]