Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: Runway's Back, So You Think You Can Keep Your Hat

A very young-looking Olivier Green gets guidance from The Gunn

Project Runway's back! Oh, how I've missed it! True, it hasn't been as good recently as it was in its heyday, but anything that Tim Gunn is involved in is aces in my book. So who do we have an eye on this season?

There's Anya Ayoung-Chee, a 29-year-old former Miss Trinidad and Tobago who was in the Miss Universe pageant. Her thing is that she's only been designing for three or four months (or so she claims?), raising the eyebrows of Tim Gunn and the other judges when they saw her beautifully crafted work. Also, one of her Caribbean-inspired pieces was worn to the BET Awards? I'm as confused as Tim about what Anya's actually able to do, but Heidi pulled for her and she made it to the top twenty.

Anya's like, what IS this thing?

...Possibly to her own chagrin, as it quickly seemed that Anya was in over her head. Faced with the challenge of sewing an outfit using nothing more than her own pajamas and a bed sheet, Anya rattled off the things she had to do, but didn't know how to: she'd never made a pair of pants, sewn silk (she was sleeping in a silk nightie), or dyed/draped fabric before. "She's cuckoo bananas!" I shouted at my television. AND YET! Anya's outfit landed her in the top three out of 16, getting her high praise from the judges and quite the nice pair of pants, to boot.< /p>

                    Look what little miss no-sew can do!

I'm not a huge fan of the top, but I admit that it's interesting, particularly in the back. Well done, Anya! I look forward to hearing more about your insanely steep learning curve next week.

Not so lucky was David Chum, another 29-year-old who is from Arlington, MA. He works full-time as a waiter in Boston and taught himself to design and sew clothing after going to school for fine arts with a concentration in painting. Sweetly, he had little fortune cookie fortunes taped up in his home studio. Not so sweet? The fact that David was one of the first four designers cut without even a moment in Parsons. Catch ya on the flip side, Davey.

And finally we have Olivier (pronounced "Oliver," I think) Green, 22 years old and living in NYC but with a British accent because he went to art school in London when he was 16. He also spoke Italian with his Italian model and told her he's lived in Italy? I guess because he also went to school in Milan? That Olivier is an enigma all right. He started out showing the judges his androgynous menswear, and Heidi took an immediate shine to him, as well: "I love the clothes, I love the accent, and you're cute on top of it." His pajama challenge look was simple and clean, like the clothes he brought in for his audition, and he was declared safe by the judges. Can't wait to see what else Olivier has up his mysterious sleeves.

This kind of looks like a costume from Battlestar Galactica, but I don't hate it

And, of course, we must discuss our boys on So You Think You Can Dance. Each of the remaining eight dancers participated in two performances: one with an all-star, and one with a fellow contestant. Marko pulled out lovely performances as usual, first in a powerful Sonya contemporary performance with all-star Allison in a dance about guilt that brought all the judges to their feet. Guest judge Lady Gaga actually had tears in her eyes! Then the camera cut to Marko's adorable mother in the audience, who also was crying! Then Marko pointed out that his mother had just flown in from Guam, and he apologized to her for being a bratty kid and told her he loves her with tears in his eyes! By that point I was crying too, obviously. Oh, Marko. You really know how to pull some heartstrings.

     Marko is filled with angst, thinking of all the tears to come

Marko's second dance was a hip hop performance with Ricky (Marko's first hip hop, I believe?) in which the two guys were "waste management technicians" complete with uniforms and props (brooms, wheelie garbage can). This time Mary stood at the end, and Nigel commended Marko for looking "mean" and "nasty." The guy can do it all! He was safe this week, duh.

            These guys will keep the streets clean...and stylin'

Tadd had quite the varied week as well, dancing a smooth jazz with all-star Lauren and pulling out some sweet Michael Jackson-style moves. He lost his hat halfway through and had to do a bit of miming, but he still looked great and I didn't even notice that he got hit in the face, which the judges mentioned afterward. I guess I was too mesmerized by Imaginary Hat. Mary Murphy called Tadd "a young Elvis," and I completely see it. Smooooooth.

Little did Tadd know at this moment how precious his time with that hat was

Tadd was then paired up with Caitlynn for a foxtrot that was just lovely with more smoothness and also elegance and that pretty floaty quality that some ballroom has. He also looked very handsome in tails (though no top hat, as the song "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" would have you believe -- maybe they were avoiding another pretend hat scenario).

                   Gravity only applies to Tadd sometimes

Unfortunately, Tadd landed in the bottom (again, weep!) the following night, and so he had to dance for his life. He was saved yet again, however, so our boys are now one third of the remaining contestants! GO, GUYS, GO! And here's the results show group performance with Tadd sporting stripes and Marko rockin' some tightly curled hair right here.

          If Tadd goes home, he's taking the set with him

And finally, comedian Steve Byrne was on Conan last week. Check out his act right here. Congrats on your continued success, Steve!

Steve is surprised you haven't watched his clip yet (Meghan Sinclair/Team Coco)

About The Author

Dianne Choie

Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.

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