Project Runway: Gretchen Von Schtupp
God bless Gretchen Jones, we say. This season wouldn’t have been one quart as fun without her. What would our lives be like had we never observed her wafting through the workroom like Nellie Olson, offering opinions no one asked for or valued? Her blithe self-importance was charming in a sitcom character kind of way, especially when she let slip her insecure side every now and then. Like Blair from the Facts of Life, if she was a hippy chick instead of a preppy one.
We tell you this so you know that we say the following with love:
Here is the best example yet of the PR phenomenon we call “judging momentum.” Just as when a designer gets labeled quickly with “taste issues,” and never overcomes it, the designer who starts off the strongest, will make it to the end no matter how bad or uninspired their entries become along the way (see: Rice, Santino).
This is as off-the-rack and un-designed as it gets. We’ve only recently realized this, but there’s barely any difference between Gretchen’s work and Christopher’s very middle-of-the-road, department store aesthetic.
She’s got a slightly better sense of style than he does (although you wouldn’t know it looking at this outfit), which made her stand out. It says something about the lackluster design talent this season that “slightly better sense of style” is good enough to get you to the end.
In a way, she should thank Michael Costello. He made something good enough to get him to the finals, which thereby ensured her place because there was no way they weren’t going to wring the most out of this rivalry, even if her entry was the clear loser on the runway.
We never could work up the hate for her that some seemed to have. She seems to suffer from nothing worse than a high self-regard and perhaps a naivete about how reality TV works. Still, we can’t help but laugh when she inadvertently lets slip a classic Gretchen backhanded remark: “I’m just really relieved that they gave me the second chances each of you guys got.”
Face it: the girl is reality TV gold.
Tim Gunn’s Workroom: