Fashion is fickle, so “Project Runway” always has its ups and downs, but throughout this season the person I feel has gotten the short end of the stick isn’t one of the designers, it’s one of the models. Kate has been subjected to one bad outfit after another, and it’s not because she’s incapable of wearing clothes. It’s because the designers seem incapable of dressing full-figured women.
This season’s models have diverse sizes, shapes, races and even gender identities (Mimi is the show’s first transgender model), but it has been a recurring theme all season: the designers are scared to death of curvy women. In the season premiere Kate was dressed by Frankie Lewis and ended up in an infamous blue body suit that was practically falling apart.
But it got even worse. Two weeks later, in “All the Rage,” Kate was paired with designer Nadine Ralliford, who bullied her about the quality of her walking and then threw Kate under the bus when the judges criticized the design. That was the first time judge Brandon Maxwell had to reprimand a designer for disrespecting their model’s body.
Then in “High Fashion to High Street,” she got stuck in Jamall Osterholm‘s tortured idea of Elizabethan streetwear. She was paired up with Osterholm again in “Power Play,” when for the second week in a row he failed to finish his design for her, which left her in a black suit with nothing underneath and no support for her bust.
She was disrespected again in “Elegance is the New Black,” but at least she wasn’t in the room to see it. One by one the designers picked their models for the challenge. Tessa Clark was one of the last to select, and she was concerned because the only two women left were the full-figured models Kate and Asia. After Maxwell once again reminded the designers that it’s their job to dress all women beautifully, Clark picked Asia as her model, so it was Kate who got picked last for gym class. Luckily for her, she ended up with designer Garo Sparo, who made her one of her most flattering looks, though sadly that’s not saying much.
Then this week in “Blame it on Rio” poor Kate got her fifth low-scoring outfit. It was designed by Renee Hill, who was eliminated for the look, though in Hill’s defense the poor design seemed to have less to do with any discomfort with Kate’s body and more to do with Hill’s discomfort with having to do another team challenge. Regardless, Kate had the misfortune of walking Hill’s ill-fitting, banana-colored mall-walker pants up and down the runway.
It sure would be nice if at least once before the season is over, Kate could have her garment inspected by the judges to praise how good it made her look. At the very least she deserves a raise, a bonus, and hazard pay for what some of these designers have made her wear this season.
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