Can a television show exist in a vacuum? (And no, I don’t mean in, like, the dusty bag of a Hoover. But that would be cool, too. Especially if David Lynch did it.) That’s what I kept asking myself this morning as I sat watching the Project Runway season 6 finale in one of those giant tents at Bryant Park. As you all undoubtedly know, the sixth cycle of the one-time hit show has been stuck in legal limbo since last spring, when producer Harvey Weinstein decided to move the show from Bravo to Lifetime. NBC Universal (which owns Bravo) then sued Weinstein. A few months later, Weinstein countersued. Then, because they didn’t want to be left out of all the fun, Lifetime sued, um, everyone. Thanks to the legal melee, season 6 has yet to air and no one has a clue as to when (or if?) it will. But since Fashion Week only happens twice a year, the series’ producers decided to go ahead and shoot the finale anyway.
Needless to say, none of the designers stepped onto the runway to introduce their collections, thank their moms, or shed tears of exhaustion/joy. Nope. Heidi Klum said a few words, acknowledging that the day was “a little bit sad for the designers,” thanked everyone for coming (no prob, Heidi! Any time!), then uttered her usual “Let’s start the show.” There were three collections, which, taken together, could easily have made one big mega-collection. Now, considering that a big part of each season is the season finale ta-da! reveal of each designer’s work, the similarities between the designs is, in fact, a veerry lucky thing for Runway producers intent on maintaining some level of secrecy. (And I’ve been told that the contestants were given no special instructions that would make their pieces come out looking like siblings.) But for me, it was kind of strange. I kept wondering why I couldn’t get a sense of the designers’ individual voices, or if I just thought that because it’s impossible to have an emotional investment in the collections without knowing who’s behind the seams. Who are these poor, anonymous souls who have toiled away for months on their dream duds? There were lots of very pretty chunky sweaters, metallics, silky tops, and skinny pants parading on by me this morning. But true Wow! moments? Sadly, in short supply.
So, you Runway fans, what are your feelings about the “lost season”? Do you miss the show? Are you worried that when (or if!) it ever comes back it will feel dated? Were producers right to move ahead with production, even with a lawsuit looming?