In preparation for tonight’s Project Runway season eight premiere, I thought I’d reminisce about some of my favorite PR designers who were auf wiedersehen’d way before their time. Without fail, there’s at least a couple of talented designers cut in favor of less talented designers due to them being reality TV gold. I love good TV and drama so I appreciate why this is done but at the same time I would’ve loved to see the following designers’ creations in future challenges.
10. Daniel Franco – Season 2
Outlasted By: Zulema Griffin & Guadalupe Vidal
Poor Daniel Franco. At least he can take solace with the fact he’ll always be a trivial pursuit answer for being the first designer ever eliminated on Project Runway. I have to give Mr. Franco credit for trying out again for Season Two to prove his designing skills. In his second attempt, I felt he found his stride and was poised to go far-not win but far. Unfortunately for him lingerie was his undoing. Though his collection was Dynasty-80s cheese, it was at least wearable compared to Santino’s deer-gingerbread-house inspired outfits. They were heinous. But as the leader of his group, Franco owned up to his shortcomings and took the fall and was eliminated.
9. Malan Breton – Season 3
Outlasted By: Bradley Baumkirchner
We didn’t really get to see Malan’s potential in the two challenges he participated in but we definitely saw a glimmer of it. At first I was put off by his odd accent, his Disney-evil-looking facial features and his awkward social skills but then during elimination he tugged at my heart. He recanted stories of growing up feeling isolated and unloved. Awww. Not saying he didn’t deserve to go home for that rouching nightmare of a dress- God that was ugly. But just like Daniel Franco, he was eliminated for being the team leader. Sometimes I really hate the team challenges, it really sets up half the contestants to go home while the others end up being safe if they just follow orders . Why try to impress the guest judge to be selected as a leader only to put your neck out on the line. Since his days on PR, Malan has shown independently during New York Fashion week six times- three of which were part of the Official Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Calendar.
8. Kit Pistol – Season 4
Outlasted By: Ricky Lizalde
Kit’s three piece outfit for Tiki Barber (shown above) was definitely the best that week. Unfortunately for her guest judge Barber had the most influence on panel that week since he was to wear the winning outfit on the Today Show. He opted for the more conservative outfit created by fellow contestant, Jack Mackenroth. Kit was eliminated when she partnered with perennial crier, Ricky Lizalde, for the avant-garde challenge. Once again the team leader got cut while Ricky lived another day to create other design monstrosities.
7. Nick Verreos – Season 2
Outlasted By: Kara Janx
One of my favorite challenges ever on PR has to be the Barbie Doll challenge. Contestants had to create an outfit for the beloved doll and sew two versions of it- one for the model and one for the actual doll. HANDS DOWN, Nick deserved to win the challenge. His model looked ferosh walking down the catwalk. And as noted by the judges the doll version would have great packaging appeal and look amazing boxed up on toy store shelves. Though arguments can be made for why he was cut, I still would have loved to view a collection from him. It just sucks that he was auf’d for creating a suit for Daniel Vosovic for the makeover challenge.
6. Vanessa Riley – Season 1
Outlasted By: Wendy Pepper
Having already a successful line, Vanessa proved she had excellent designing skills during the early challenges. Unfortunately for her, the beyotch didn’t know when to keep her shut mouth. While it was friggin’ hilarious to watch Vanessa’s drunk ramblings during the evening montages and the reunion special, her verbal diarrhea was the sole reason for her elimination. For the only time ever in Project Runway history, Vanessa was eliminated for a team challenge while not being the team leader. During a brain fart in judging, Vanessa stated she should be the one eliminated as her sewing skills were sub-par to the remaining designers. The second that “nugget of wisdom” slipped, clarity sunk in and she realized she just screwed herself. Poor Vanessa.
5. Kelli Martin – Season 5
Outlasted By: Blayne Walsh
After winning the first challenge, Kelli was poised to sail through to the finals but then… drumroll please… the dreaded team challenge came. Once again, a talented designer was cut for being good enough to sketch a winning design for guest judge Brooke Shields only to be cut after being paired with a substandard partner. Kelli you wuz robbed.
4. Alexandra Vidal – Season 1
Outlasted By: Wendy Pepper
Oh Alexandra, you were consistently amazing throughout the entire season and should’ve won the Banana Republic challenge. So shame on you for actually creating a wearable swimsuit for the “Making a Splash” challenge while the others created hideous costumes that would never pass as swimming attire. Silly girl, this is TV. Aaargh, this one still gets me angry. To this day, I am in complete shock Alexandra was cut for creating a Missoni-inspired Michael Kors bikini knockoff. Sure there was a bit too much ass showing but unfortunately for Miss Vidal, she was cut for being television boring- the biggest crime on reality TV.
3. Uli Herzner – Season 3
Outlasted By: Jeffrey Sebelia
Yes, Uli made it to New York Fashion Week and was even the runner-up. So was she really robbed? Hell YES. Though I admit, Jeffrey’s zipper dress and bag were insanely awesome, Uli’s collection was far superior. Every piece with it’s amazing use of print was like moving artwork as the models strutted their stuff on the catwalk. The dress-turned-bikini outfit solely should’ve won the competition for you. But alas, my little fraulein was looked over for a more flamboyant personality.
2. Terri Stevens – Season 5
Outlasted By: Stephen “Suede” Baum
So you made the same pants over and over again but how is that any different than Rami using his draping skills for every effing challenge. Not different at all. Terri, you get my runner up position because you never got the respect and accolades you deserved on the show. In my eyes, you should’ve earned the right to be in the top three in most of the challenges you competed in. Well maybe except the astrological one- girl you blew chunks on that one. I digress. During the “Bright Lights/Big City” challenge, your outfit owned Kenley’s half tulle bubble dress by a mile and deserved to win. Sure your ego and annoyance for Keith derailed you, but nonetheless you were a great designer and should’ve gone further.
1. Alison Kelly – Season 3
Outlasted By: Vincent Libretti
YOU WERE ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBBED. No doubt about it. There never was a question in my mind who would be my number one choice for this list. I’m not going to deny that your yellow Minnie Mouse looking fashion faux pas was hideous. Nor will I deny your model looked plus-size in that dress. But it was far better than that Charlie- Brown-Christmas-tree-looking outfit Vincent made. Eeks. Again like many others on this list, you were never given the praise you deserved and should’ve been in the top three in a few challenges even winning a couple of them. I loved how you carried yourself during the entire show. Especially how you picked yourself up after when Keith, your team leader for the challenge, was eliminated for bringing design books- quel horreur. Every Project Runway fan was in utter shock when Alison was eliminated. Her elimination prompted viewers to concoct some of the most outrageous reasons on her demise. Some PR conspiracists even claimed she was auf’d because Heidi Klum was threatened by her beauty. I guess we’ll never know.
There you have it boys and girls, my list for the most robbed designers ever in Project Runway history. I have no doubt, I’ll be adding a couple of names to this list while watching this season of Project Runway. It wouldn’t be PR if some cannon fodder outlast talented designers.