Okay, Project Runway finale time! Yay! Get excited. We open up with a reminder look at who was Auf’d last – Jerell. Sad, but true. So, as you know, that leaves us with Korto, Leanne, and the detestable Kenley.
Yeah, I know. Don’t think the fact that Kenley’s managed to hang around isn’t part of the reason I missed a couple of recaps. It’s frustrating to keep writing about the success of someone that ridiculously rude.
Anyway, it’s an all girl finale, and as Tim addresses the final three in the workroom, they look extremely excited, if not exhausted. Leanne in particular seems super sleepy; but I can’t even begin to imagine what a rollercoaster being on a show like PR would be, so I’m giving her a pass. A pass, and a soothing sleep mask. And maybe some under-eye cream.
Tim lets the designers know that although they have made twelve looks for Bryant Park, they will only be showing ten. Meaning they need to get rid of two. Unsurprisingly, Kenley, with her astonishing lack of self-awareness, decides that not only will she not get rid of the wedding dress she was called out for (negatively) last week, but also she will SHOW IT AS HER FINAL LOOK. Wow, Kenley, brilliant. Tim thinks so too, and he tries (futilely) to convince her that PERHAPS this is not a good idea. Kenley says she doesn’t care what the eff anyone thinks, she is gonna do what she wants. Ahh, that’s refreshing, Kenley.
Korto and Leanne give us a brief peek at their collections, and are pleasant and normal to deal with. Tim gives advice, and they seem to take it. How hard is that?
Oh and wait, Kenley has changed her mind - although she will still show the notorious wedding dress at Bryant Park, she has decided to make her final look something different. Tim looks relieved. Kenley looks smug. She’s SO proud of herself for making this decision; it’s like she somehow has found a way to take all the credit for A) following Tim’s advice and B) changing her plans accordingly. Gross.
Not feeling confident with several of her outfits, Korto has decided to make two more for the show. From scratch. Like, right now. That’s good, because otherwise I don’t know how she’d fill her time. I mean she does have something like 36 hours before the show.
So, it’s one day before the shows at Bryant Park, and the girls are back finishing hemlines, doing final fittings, or, in Korto’s case, sewing entirely new dresses. Tim comes in and tells them the lineup for the show; it’s gonna be Kenley, Korto, and then Leanne. Next, Tim does what he does best, and it’s the reason he is so beloved by…well, everyone, really. He congratulates the three final designers, tells them how proud he is of them, how amazing the experience is going to be, and really brings the designers back to the main point of what they’ve been working so hard for. I really appreciate someone who can take you back into the true spirit of things, because I can only imagine how easy it would be to lose the HUGENESS of showing a collection at Bryant Park in stress over silly (meaningful, but still) details. Good ‘ol Tim, he really is the best.
Morning of the show, the designers are up at some horrifically early hour, and they make their way to the tents. Of course by now, the tent the Project Runway stars show in is one of the biggest and best, and it looks accordingly amazing. As the designers are led to their respective prep areas, the models start filtering in (literally, some of them look like the Kate Moss character from Family Guy, if they turn sideways they disappear) and the hair and makeup pros get to work. There are a few minor mishaps (Kenley is being a control freak and won’t let anyone help her, one of Leanne’s dresses somehow magically got way too big for her model) but overall, the process appears to be moving along smoothly. Ooh, and I think we get an accidental boob shot. Model boob, so basically no boob, but hey. For the heterosexual males that make up 3% of Project Runway’s audience, that might have made it all worthwhile.
And it’s time for the show! Out comes Heidi, in a VERY demure black dress (below-the-knee AND long sleeved, wow) and announces that although they WERE going to have Jennifa Yopez as the guest judge (alongside Nina Garcia and Michael Kors), poor Ms. Yopez has sustained a foot injury (yeah, that would be tough to SIT and WATCH OTHER PEOPLE WALK with that type of injury) and so she won’t be there. However! The replacement guest judge is none other than Tim Gunn, and if I wasn’t happy about that already (I like Tim waaaay more than Jenny from the Block), I would be absolutely thrilled because when Kenley hears the news, she FINALLY seems to get it. “Maybe I should have had a better attitude,” she says. YA THINK?
Tim, however, is as classy as can be as he addresses the crowd eloquently, promises to be unbiased and impartial, and says he is honored to be a judge for such an event. Awesome.
As we know, Kenley is up first, and I will VERY GRUDGINGLY admit that to start, her collection looks pretty good. Lots of great colors, different silhouettes, and everything looks well made. Well, until she sends out the beige dress with the painted flower trail. That looks like home economics 101. And then Michael Kors (who is, inexplicably, wearing his sunglasses inside the dark tent) does a double take when one of Kenley’s signature garish floral prints comes down the runway. I can only hope his second look means bad things for Kenley, but I think it might just be because he’s inside. And it’s dark. And he’s wearing sunglasses.
In between takes, we get glimpses of the Auf’d designers in the audience, watching and cheering along. Blayne looks sufficiently orange again, and Stella actually looks kind of pretty. Granted, I still haven’t seen what she’s wearing (could it be the stripey leggings of doom?) but at least her makeup looks nicely done.
Korto’s next and can I just say - wow. Her collection is great. There are several dresses in there I would absolutely take and put in my closet right this instant. She also makes heavy use of the color green, which I am extremely partial to, and as always, her construction looks impeccable. The necklines and back enclosures of the dresses are really uniquely made, with a lot of embellishment, creative composition, and intricate beading. Korto should be thrilled with her collection, and her husband and daughter look like they could not possibly be prouder of her.
And finally it’s Leanne’s turn, and I don’t know if it’s my imagination or not, but she seems to come out to a LOT more applause than the other two. Perhaps she is not only my favorite? Okay, and now that I’ve seen her entire collection (I truly am writing as I watch), I have to say this: I’m not sure how well this will play for Leanne as far as judging goes, because both Kenley and Korto had quite a bit more diversity in their line. But Leanne is the only one of the three designers who, I think, really shows her point of view. Almost every skirt Leanne showed has the same basic treatment; those petal-like layers that move and flow so gracefully are in every piece she sent down the runway. Also, her color palette was used in a totally different way than the other two designers – both Kenley and Korto made good use of many different colors, and that made their collections bright and interesting. Leanne, on the other hand, stuck to the same three basic colors (white, tan, and soft turquoise) and used those colors in different parts of each outfit to make the particular piece stand out the way she imagined it would. As I mentioned, I don’t know how this will go over with the judges, but as far as true fashion goes, Leanne did the best job of interpreting her design aesthetic in a runway show format. And therefore, even though as far as separate pieces go I like many from Korto’s line the best, I think Leanne should win the overall prize.
Judging time, and Michael Kors has seen fit to remove his eyewear. Thanks for that, Michael. The judges bring the designers and their main models back on the runway to discuss. Kenley goes first, and basically all four judges liked her show very much, thought it had a lot of “spirit” (whatever that means) and generally thought she did a great job. Their only complaint is that Kenley continues to rip off Balenciaga (among other designers) and does it under the guise of “I don’t look at other collections”. Be that as it may, Nina says, you MUST know what is going on in the world of fashion, because even if you don’t, and you genuinely think you’re sending out something one-of-a-kind, the fashion editors who are watching your show you DO look at other collections, and will write you off as a copycat. Kenley rolls her eyes but concedes the point.
The judges turn to Korto next, and all agree that her use of color is extraordinary. Nina says the collection looks effortlessly cohesive, and the dress Korto chose for her final model was a favorite amongst all judges. The only real complaint anyone comes up with is that some of Korto’s pieces look “overworked”, and while I have personally seen garments that I feel have that quality, Korto’s never strike me that way. Regardless, the praise is overwhelming, and Korto looks happy.
As I feared, the judges are concerned that Leanne’s petal-layering collection might be too “one note”. Michael Kors doesn’t want her to be known as Petals Marshall, because, he says, that sounds more like a stripper, dontcha think? However, the judges do think Leanne’s workmanship was nearly perfect, and they appreciate that she showed shorts, pants, skirts, jackets, and a long dress. One note, eh? I think not.
Next the judges ask the designers why they should be the winner of Project Runway. Kenley cries her way through her answer (I’m very passionate, I have it in me), Korto also tears up (it’s what I’m meant to do, showing at Bryant Park made me realize even more), and Leanne answers, somewhat stoically, that she knows she can take it to the next level and also that she feels she’s somewhat cutting-edge as half her collection was made out of sustainable materials. She’s all business, this one.
The designers are sent backstage while the judges do their final roundtable discussion. Hard as I may try, I am not gleaning any information from their dialogue that leads me to believe one designer is faring better than the other two. This one is down to the wire, I think.
Final decision time, and they’re not wasting a second. Heidi immediately (and do I sense a HINT of comeuppance in her voice?) tells Kenley that she’s out. Kenley looks extremely unhappy, and I’m honestly surprised she didn’t do any backtalking. I think she’s going backstage to collapse; I’ve never seen a better personification of a balloon deflating. I also hate to say I Told You So, but…well, I don’t hate to say it at all. Acting like a giant brat generally isn’t going to garner you much favor. I hope Kenley’s learned that lesson, but if we’re to believe her exit interview (this is all BS, she says) she probably hasn’t. So now we’re down to Leanne or Korto.
Winner: Leanne! Yay! I mean, I’m sad for Korto, I really am. I think the decision between those two would have been almost impossible to make. Korto, as the judges mentioned, has an amazing talent of knowing how to dress women of all sizes in flattering silhouettes, and Korto’s use of color is probably the best I’ve seen. Leanne does appear to have more potential as a businesswoman, and maybe, given the relatively low success level of some of the past PR winners, the judges are trying to emphasize this quality. But when it comes down to it, Leanne truly did the best job of translating her unique point of view into fashion. And isn’t that what it’s all about?
As my final note, I’d like to thank everyone for sticking around through the somewhat-bigger-than-expected task of recapping Project Runway. I hope you enjoyed the show, first and foremost, especially since it almost certainly is now over as we know it (Bravo! Why did you let it go?), and I hope you didn’t find the analysis too tedious. At any rate, I’ve enjoyed writing the recaps, I’ve REALLY enjoyed reading your comments, and it’s kind of bittersweet that it’s all over. Over, that is, until Stella and/or Blayne shows up on their own Bravo-sponsored reality show. Personally, I’m voting for some kind of relationship clinic with Stella and Ratbones. If that happens, you can better believe we’re gonna talk about it.