Screen: Lifetime

Mark's Not Viktor's Fan

VIKTOR. Either dial down the performance, or get off Project Runway: All-Stars.

I have a very high tolerance for self-dramatizing personalities. If someone needs to sing in the elevator or walk into work wearing a chicken hat, then I can roll with it. We're all God's children, after all, and every freak flag deserves to fly.

I do have my limits, though, and they're being tested by Viktor Luna, reigning bitch on the current season of Project Runway: All Stars.

When this cycle began, I didn't remember Viktor from his original season — for a second, I even mistook him for Malan Breton — but this year he's working hard to get himself noticed. During runway presentations, he wears, like, hats made of corkscrews and bowties studded with baby teeth, and every time he gets interviewed, he pairs catty comments with a flurry of hand gestures.

Granted, Viktor also makes pretty clothes. But so far his "outrageousness" has been more striking than his work.

And you know what? Fine. Artificial personalities are part of the game, and if it tells an interesting story, then a cultivated eccentricity can even be enjoyable. Mondo Guerra, for instance, has slipped down the spiral of fashion insanity, but he remains a soft-spoken guy. There's a fascinating contradiction between his outfits and his shyness.

Viktor, meanwhile, only serves the braying desperation of someone who needs to get noticed at all costs. Without apparent discretion, he uses the wild wardrobe, and the bitchy comments, and the "attitude face."

He also uses the goddamned Geisha fan.

For the first few episodes, Viktor only had the fan on the runway, fanning away like an extra in a Madonna video, and that was still bad enough. I don't care how hot it was under those lights: Viktor was only using that fan to say, "Look at meeeeee! If you don't look, then I will either cease to exist or have to deal with the unforgiving self-loathing of my inner monologue!"

Recently, things have gotten worse. When the designers were choosing their "inspiration cocktails," Viktor aggressively fanned himself while flirting with the bartender, and I almost lost it. That moment was not about his persona. It was about delivering some basic information about the challenge.

And yes, Korto made a dirty joke about rimming her glass, but the joke was really about Jeffrey, not her, and she wasn't wearing a broken disco ball while she made it. When Viktor used his fan, rocked a tam-o'-shanter, and came on to a poor guy who was probably making minimum wage, he proved he was tone-deaf about his own shtick.

The fan was bad enough, but that was, truly, Viktor's unforgivable sin. If you don't know how to control the volume, tone, and content of your public persona, then you aren't allowed to construct one.

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