When Pervez Musharraf traded in his military uniform for a suit and tie, or Castro embraced an Adidas track suit, it was that rare moment when dictatorial politics and the sartorial sweep of history collide. OTM takes this idea one step too far with Project Runway: Strongman Edition.
[CLIP]: [PROJECT RUNWAY THEME MUSIC UP AND UNDER] FEMALE CORRESPONDENT: Coming up on Project Runway, in politics as in the fashion world, one day you're in, the next day you're out. This week we're inspired by President Musharraf. His fiercely independent sense of fashion dictated when to wear the military uniform and when to take it off. Contestants: the challenge is to construct a look for a strongman that says I'm not going anywhere! [CRESCHENDO MUSIC] TIM GUNN: All right, designers, you have until midnight tonight to complete your design. Okay? HEIDI KLUM: One of you will be named the winner. And one of you will be out! [MUSIC] TIM GUNN: Go, go, go. [PROJECT RUNWAY THEME MUSIC] MALE CONTESTANT: My inspiration is Castro, so I'm doing a baggy pant and belted jacket. And I found this great lightweight fleece. It's revolutionary meets track suit. I'm revolutionizing the track suit. [MUSIC] FEMALE CONTESTANT: But I think it's important to make it something different, without being too, too shocking. [MUSIC] MALE CONTESTANT: Right, yeah. [MUSIC] FEMALE CONTESTANT: Growing up my dad was kind of a dictator. And he also had really good style. So I'm really excited about this challenge.
So I tried to use elements of Chairman Mao's tailored jacket and Iranian President Ahmadinejad's more casual modern khaki windbreaker. [MUSIC] HEIDI KLUM: For me, that was my favorite. MICHAEL KORS: It was impeccable. NINA GARCIA: Mm-hmm. [AFFIRMATIVE] MICHAEL KORS: You know, gave the character, I think, a sense of power but, at the same time, it was very feminine. MALE CONTESTANT: I wanted to work with a retro palette, so I took my inspiration from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. I have a very long mustard-colored jacket with, with shoulder pads and this little hat that I just love. It's my take on his bouffante hairstyle. MICHAEL KORS: I think you ended up with just -uninteresting. HEIDI KLUM: If one of you would have to go home, who should it be, and why? MALE CONTESTANT: This is an integrity issue, and I feel as a leader in this situation, I would be going home. FEMALE CONTESTANT: It was his idea to do a woman's outfit for Khadafy, kind of sexpot-despot, but I feel like all that fabric was bulky and cheap. So I think he should go. Sor-ry. MALE CONTESTANT: No, that's -- that's -- [MUSIC] HEIDI KLUM: Kelli, your construction was questionable, but your taste level is leaving us questioning even more. You left us speechless today. And we wonder if you can ever step outside of yourself. [MUSIC] I'm sorry, Kelli, that means you're out. [PAUSE] Alvedazane. KELLI: Thank you. HEIDI KLUM: Best to you. FEMALE CONTESTANT: I, I wouldn't have changed a thing on my outfit. My dictator looks good. Maybe that frightened the judges. TIM GUNN: Kelly, I'm sorry. I have to send you upstairs to clean up your space. FEMALE CONTESTANT: I think history will remember this differently. [MUSIC/MUSIC OUT]
BOB GARFIELD: If Project Runway, Strongman Edition didn't already remind you of Project OTM T-Shirt, then allow us to hit you over the head with it. BROOKE GLADSTONE: As promised, Bob has hosted the show topless to demonstrate his commitment to the project, which is mercifully drawing to a close. There is just one week left, so if you feel the muse, go to onthemedia.org, get the rules and regulations and submit your design for our first-ever On the Media T-Shirt. BOB GARFIELD: Next week we'll have a winner, and we'll grill him or her on the air.
That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Megan Ryan, Jamie York, Mike Vuolo, Mark Phillips, Nazanin Rafsanjani and Nadia Zonis, and edited - by Brooke. We had technical direction from Jennifer Munson and more engineering help from Zach Marsh. We also had help from Michael Bernstein. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl. BROOKE GLADSTONE: Katya Rogers is our senior producer and John Keefe our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. This is On the Media from WNYC. I'm Brooke Gladstone. BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield.