Project Runway’s resident dad Tim Gunn is super disappointed with the show’s latest cast of designers. In fact, he says he “hated” this season. The winning designer thinks maybe some of that is Tim’s fault.
Anyone who watched Season 14 would agree on some level with Tim, whose main gripe is with the designers’ lack of motivation, not their talent. This season featured some of the best contestants in terms of skills, but many of them tried to coast into the finale with safe designs.
“I have a theory about it, which is that they just weren’t hungry,” Tim told Entertainment Weekly. He referred to audition videos of one of them “sitting by a pool.”
“I just thought, they’re not hungry! Most of them. And I think that was largely the issue,” he says. “I wasn’t at the auditions [this] season for the first time ever, and I blame myself, because I wouldn’t have put up with a lot of it.”
Tim is, fairly, blaming everyone, including the judges, who he says gave conflicting feedback (Don’t they always?). “One says it’s black, the other says it’s white, and they don’t really listen and they don’t really look,” says Tim. “It makes me so cross and pissed off, frankly.”
All that said, the season was entertaining. Ashley, who was just OKAY to death throughout and hid behind her insecurities, ended up becoming the show’s first plus-size designer to win, with a Fashion Week collection inspired by Mexico in the 1950s.
In response to Tim’s tough critique, Ashley told E! News:
“It kind of hurts to hear that he doesn’t think that we brought it. Because at the end of the day we’re listening to him and we’re listening to the judges, so somewhere along there someone’s not doing their job...This is our lives right here and we’re putting everything on the line, so it hurts a little bit to hear that because we put everything into it and it almost makes us feel like we didn’t deserve to go to fashion week or we don’t deserve the outcome that has happened.”
The biggest flop this season was perhaps Swapnil, whose unwillingness to step outside his comfort zone (and his general laziness) cost him. (Note that he still got to show at Fashion Week because the show needed decoys.)
While one of my favorites, Candice, made a few great Elvira-worthy gothic designs, her final collection had little creativity. Nina called it “derivative.”
Warm and lovable Edmond—who auditioned for the show every season before finally being cast—designed one of the most clever dresses in the show’s history: a wedding dress made from Hallmark cards.
But after making it through to the final four (on a Tim Gunn Save), Edmond’s ruffle-filled collection fell flat.
The look on the left is the worst of Edmond, and the right is what happens when he kills it.
My bright spot throughout the season was always the show’s eventual runner-up Kelly, a former deli worker whose off-color clothes perfectly reflected her kooky personality and who should’ve won the whole thing.
Given that the show has failed to produce a real superstar designer since Christian Siriano in season four, Tim’s expectations for Project Runway and its contestants are slightly unreasonable. The truly hungry designers in the world may not think competing on a reality show is even worth it.
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Images via A&E, Lifetime