Diva disappointment

As usual, DivaMN delivered more skin than anyone really needed to see (think past-his-prime, off-key drag queen in a thong swimsuit so tight, it was painful to watch) and less fashion than promised at its big annual event at International Market Square Saturday night. As far as being a fun, irreverent, let-loose party unlike any other major fundraiser in town, it’s  all that – and some of the best people-watching you’ll see, from shirtless women (the only reason my husband didn’t bolt for the door) to boys in tiny leather shorts to fashionistas decked out in sequins and dashing men in suits. But Club Diva bills itself as more than a fashionable night – it’s also a fashion show, and this year was supposed to begin a new chapter of spotlighting budding young talent in town. Unfortunately, most came off as costume-y at best and far from ready for retail. Jason Hammerberg was the exception, with his colorful and contemporary men’s line, reminiscent of his days with Kuhlman. "Project Runway’s" Jack Mackenroth – clad in a black t-shirt and jeans and appearing to have quite a ball socializing with everyone from Macy’s execs to Diva organizers – showed around eight looks that he gathered up from his workroom:  a couple of men’s looks, a few dresses. Charming as he is, it didn’t make for much of a finale.
Besides, by the time the runway show started, attendees were itching to get to the bar, having sat (or worse yet, stood) through an inordinately long live auction that no one could follow even if she wanted to, due to the horrible IMS acoustics. Sigh. DivaMN is a wonderful organization, supporting AIDS/HIV programs in Minnesota, and it’s always fun to have an excuse to dress up, or dress a little crazy. But if the group expects people to spend $150 or more to attend, they really need to go back to the drawing board and give this event a major makeover.

Tim Gunn on Project Runway and more

So close. I spoke to style guru Tim Gunn today – the day before the finale of "Project Runway" Season 4, but couldn’t get him to so much as hint at the winner. He did say that he’s thrilled with the outcome. Really, it sounds like any outcome would have pleased him – Gunn says all of this season’s designers were talented enough to win and he’s expecting big things (bigger than we’ve seen from past vets so far) from many. Gunn said he’d jump at the opportunity to do a fifth season, which has yet to be announced, but seems inevitable given the show’s continued popularity. As for his other Bravo show, "Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style," Gunn didn’t sound certain there would be a Season 2. Ever the diplomat, Gunn did admit the underwear drawer surprise scene in each episode "bothered me to no end." He’d like to see more education and fewer gimmicks…that is, if there’s anything to see at all. Sounds like a decision has been made, it’s just a matter of when Bravo announces it.
I’ll have much more from Tim Gunn on "Project Runway," Isaac Mizrahi, his new job with Liz Claiborne, the trouble with petites and plus sizes and his own wardrobe in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on March 23. That’s in advance of Gunn’s March 26 appearance at Herberger’s Rosedale Center.