I generally don’t watch reality tv, but I do have a couple of guilty pleasures.
One is Project Runway, a reality show about a contest between fashion designers. Every week, they’re given a outfit to design and create. As someone who is trying to learn to sew, their skill utterly fascinates me. In particular, I love how easily they can create clothing without patterns. I often design my costumes then find myself looking through large boxes of old patterns for something that that reasonably fits my vision. I often end up combining patterns (with a lot of help) as needed- if only I could create like them- straight from my mind to cloth. I’m not particularly into fashion, and they use “costume-y” as a negative judgement, but they do some avant garde stuff… maybe someday they’ll have a Halloween costume challenge. Heidi Klum is actually known for going all out on Halloween, with really outrageous costumes. I’d like to know where she got her Egyptian headdress for this costume. I need it for an upcoming LARP!
While I was living in NYC, I went to see the fabric store the contestants shop at- a store called Mood in the Fashion District (as in, “thank you, Mood!”) It’s a really cool place, though I never ended up doing any costuming supply shopping there. I did get to pet the store dog, Swatch. He’s a nervous little thing.
(Quick story- the contestants’ mentor on the show is fashion guru Tim Gunn. I adore him- and once saw him on the street in New York City. I was wearing ratty old gray sweatpants though, so I was too afraid to say hello. He seemed like a nice guy though- twice, I saw him hold the door open for people coming in and out of a wine shop.)
My other guilty pleasure is Face Off, a SyFy channel reality show about special effects make-up artists competing. They create the most amazing things week after week- monsters and demons and aliens, with latex prosthetics and painting… It’s kind of a costumer’s dream. What LARP staff wouldn’t want the stuff they make in their lab for their monster camp?
What I’d really like to see is a crossover between Project Runway and Face Off– have the contestants on Project Runway supply the costumes for outrageous characters and monsters, while the Face Off contestants create the prosthetics and paint jobs… now that would be worth watching.
Incidentally, both are starting new seasons and can be found on hulu (the Project Runway videos are actually hosted on mylifetime.com.)
Even if you don’t watch them, I recommend this video. John Rhys-Davies (the actor who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings– Face Off has the coolest judges!) judged the first episode of the current Face Off season. Hulu posted an extra clip of him getting out from behind the judges’ table and wandering around the set, commenting on how the contestants and their models should be trying to adjust the poor lighting… It’s just something guest judges don’t do on reality shows… and certainly the models never voice opinions or get to decide where they stand. (They’e rarely heard to speak.) It’s just John Rhys-Davies being awesome because he felt like it.
Also, I have the weirdest crush on Face Off judge Glenn Hetrick. Cannot explain it.