‘Project’ Funway

Feb 14, 2005  •  Post A Comment

When a crowd as jaded as Manhattan’s fashionistas goes gaga, you know it’s over something that’s about to be the next hot-hot-hot thing. And so it was Feb. 4, when Bravo’s taping of four collections created by contestants from “Project Runway’s” fabuloso first season turned into the most entertaining mob scene since the last premiere party for “The Sopranos.”

Signs on the metal fence around Bryant Park asked folks to pardon the public space’s tented appearance even as they promoted Fashion Week. Stacks and stacks of boxes of Krispy Kreme’s gooey great fried classic doughnut were there for the taking by the skinny-centric crowd.

Inside the “Runway” tent, it was a made-for-TV party until the taping started late enough to give the “Runway” show additional credibility. Page Six’s Richard Johnson low-profiled it. Rail-thin Parker Posey, looking very Grace Slick, flung an end of her wrap over her shoulder and whacked the guy sitting behind her in the kisser.

The extended Bravo family was, of course, represented, including “Inside the Actors Studio’s” James Lipton and at least three of the Fab Five from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Suffice it to say that The Insider does not thrill to the sight of Carson Kressley in an anyone-could-choose-that ensemble of navy jacket, blue-and-white-checked shirt and red knit tie.

And the returning “Runway” evictees were there as well. They dished for an episode that will be seen at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The Insider hears we will not see a “Perry Mason” moment in the case of the mustachioed picture of contestant Wendy’s daughter, but that we will walk away feeling we know whodunnit. It is not a compliment to say that in person Alexandra looks very, very Britney Spears. Contestant Robert does attract the women, and every conversation with him seems to be a tactile experience.

If you watched last week’s “Runway,” you know that drama-queeny Austin is out. If you were at Friday’s taping, you can stop wondering at how a designer who started the series showing such promise presented a collection that showed what not to do with an all-American theme.

The Insider hereby stresses that she knows absolutely nothing about the outcome, which will be revealed in a two-hour finale that starts at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, but she can hardly wait to see which way it goes.

‘Live’ Contest Ad’van’ces

Nearly midway through the February sweeps, it’s time for an update on the Extreme Van-a-Day Giveaway competition that already ranks as the most popular contest ever on “Live With Regis and Kelly.” By the end of last week more than 2 million entries had been received by the show, eclipsing the 1.5 million-entry mark set with the KB Home giveaway in May 2003. And the deadline for Van-a-Day entries doesn’t hit until noon Feb. 18.

As of the end of last week at least nine Pontiac

Montana SV6s (worth $50,000 to $55,000 apiece, once equipped with extras) had been given away (two daily winners had spun and won a second van for a friend) and Mr. Philbin had only once complicated things by blurting out the correct answer before he was supposed to.

“I love live TV when it goes wrong,” said “Live” executive producer Michael Gelman. He also loves that there are heartwarming stories attached to the recipients of the extra van-one couple’s family was expanding; another winner’s friend had recently totaled her car.

“Other people give away big prizes,” he said, but the impromptu examples of charity wraps the contest with “the spirit of giving instead of just taking.”

Baby Makes Well Timed Touchdown

About the time the Super Bowl on Fox was tied up at an are-you-kidding-me 7 points in Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 6, out on the Left Coast, Fox Networks Group President Tony Vinciquerra and his wife, Toni Knight, were welcoming the birth of a 7 pound, 7 ounce (and 21-inch-long) girl. Her name is Sophie Marie Vinci-querra XXXIX-just kidding about the early Italian numerals, of course.