“If there is a lesson I learned is that I definitely think twice before I say something about someone I don’t know.” – Santino, finalist.
So what’s the final challenge?
For Chloe and Daniel it’s not to kill fellow finalist Santino now that the Project Runway shows have started airing.
Well, ok, so that’s not what it is officially.
Part 1 of the two-part finale begins with the 3 designers being sent home with $8000 and five months to design a 12-piece collection for New York Fashion week.
And Tim Gunn is sent to check on their progress after a couple of months.
7 weeks until Fashion Week. Tim visits Santino who is renting a house in Hollywood where he’s working on his collection. Tim seems genuinely happy to see him and is very pleased with the way Santino has toned down his signature garish style.
The theme is ” ’40s glamour… Hollywood boudoir… publicity still.” It is a self-proclaimed mix of vintage and rock and roll. Tim is blown away by a beautiful soft-toned, gray and purple, sun-burst pleated dress.
Tim: “I am disarmed by this dress. It’s still you, but it has a refinement that, frankly, I didn’t see from you in the show. It took me to another dimension of you.”
What a compliment after some of the harsh criticism Santino has faced on the runway.
Santino takes Tim for a stroll along Venice Beach and memory lane. He talks about his childhood as old photos of him as a child – even one in a little sailor suit – flash across the screen. He speaks of the adversity he grew up with in Missouri as the son of a school teacher and a disabled vet.
And he talks about the line he created a few years ago that basically fell apart and left him “pretty much homeless.”
“I come across arrogant, but I feel major insecurity,” Santino says of himself.
He and Tim watch the sunset on a park bench.
Then Santino takes Tim to visit his best friend’s family. Tony is an accomplished model and photographer and supposedly someone who can actually tolerate being around Santino. He’s also someone who has helped Santino out when he didn’t have a place to live. It gives us a chance to see Santino’s softer side as Tony’s little daughter sits on Santino’s lap and hugs his neck. Santino announces to them that he has made the final 3. And later he tells the camera:
“I see people give up their dreams every day and I’m not ever going to do that. I’ll die trying.”
6 weeks until Fashion Week. Tim’s next trip is back to New York to see Daniel V. It’s 6 weeks until Fashion Week. Daniel says his collection is a mix of a military influence and Japanese culture. He shows Tim a jacket and a few other pieces and Tim is impressed.
“I think there is something very special, something very unique about this.” Tim says of the collection. “Push the risk factor.”
Daniel takes Tim out shopping but this time it’s for fun not fabric. Daniel needs a fitted blazer to wear for Fashion Week. While they shop, Daniel talks about growing up gay in Michigan as pictures of him and his family flash on the screen.
He tells the camera: “I love my life right now. This is the beginning.”
5 weeks until Fashion Week. The last stop for Tim is Houston, Texas.
Tim gets to Chloe’s house where Chloe and her mom are there to greet him at the door. Chloe shows Tim pictures and portraits of her and her 7 sisters (the reason her boutique is called Lot 8). The sisters are all about 1 year apart. Then she shows a photo of herself when she was little and tells Tim the story of how her family tried to escape from Laos during Vietnam and were caught and put in a family prison for several years before finally making it to Dallas, Texas.
While Tim was visibly touched by the story, he was disturbed to find out that Chloe didn’t have a concept for her collection nor did she have sketches to show him of what she might do. “It has to develop piece by piece,” she told him.
5 days before runway show. The 3 designers gather in New York again. Daniel is the first to arrive at the hotel where the three of them will be staying. He still isn’t done with his collection and is a bit nervous, but feels confident that his designs are very strong, including a couple of purses he has also designed for his collection.
Chloe is next to arrive. She says she hasn’t slept in 2 days but is mostly finished with her designs.
Chloe and Daniel are obviously happy to see each other again, but neither of them is particularly anxious to spend any time with Santino. And as the camera follows Santino’s trip to the hotel, we learn he is a bit nervous about how the other two designers will receive him now that they’ve seen the shows and heard some of things he has said.
“If there is a lesson I learned is that I definitely think twice before I say something about someone I don’t’ know,” Santino says.
Things are cordial when he arrives. They chit-chat. Then Chloe and Santino talk about his “pattern-maker” comment. And Santino realizes that he screwed up and hurt Chloe’s feelings.
The next day the designers go to their new workspace and start pulling out their collections. They each want to look at each others but no one will do more than just steal a few glances.
“I feel like Chloe’s collection looked like a couch was coming at you,” Santino tells the camera. When will Santino learn to sew up his lip!
Tim comes in and asks to see everyone’s collection. He starts with Santino, who pulls out the same dress Tim saw before and a few other pieces. Tim is wowed. “It’s incredibly impressive,” he says. “You should be very proud.”
Then he moves to Chloe’s collection. Tim called it brilliant. I kind of agreed with Santino’s assessment. She showed him a lot of big puffy pieces.
Daniel V. is feeling confident and seems eager to get Tim’s assessment. First he pulls out a cashmere jacket, then a top with a fur-lined vest and a skirt. Tim is deadly silent and Daniel gets worried. Daniel pulls out the purses he designed. They all have humungous wood handles on them (one handle looks like an over-sized “8”).
Now Tim has a reaction: They look “a little crafty. It looks a little like your dad did this in the garage. It bothers me.”
Not what you want to hear 5 days before runway.
No time to fret too much. It’s off to see Michael Kors and to pick the models they will use for their runway shows.
They audition dozens of models. Chloe is looking for sexy, curvy girls. Daniel wants fresh-faced girls with a level of sexiness that’s not vulgar. And Santino wants girls that have energy and excitement.
3 days before runway show. The 3 models they’ve been using all season come in to try on the designs. Tim drops in too, to see how the garments look on actual models.
This is when Daniel expects to shine. But Tim still isn’t impressed and actually gets on the floor and starts pointing out flaws in the hem and the lining of one of his dresses.
Daniel is worried and offended. And comments that this is the first time that Tim hasn’t really had anything to say about one of his designs.
Daniel has a lot of finishing to do on his dresses and Chloe has a lot of alternations now that she has to fit the models. Santino’s models haven’t yet shown up for his fitting so everyone is a bit stressed about getting done.
48 hours before runway show. Tim and Heidi show up at the workroom with a final surprise: The designers have to create a 13th garment for their collections and it must be shown on the runway. The designers – already exhausted and spent – start to freak out.
Daniel: ” I just wanted to punch someone.”
“It’s impossible,” Chloe says and starts to cry.
The good news is each of them will get another set of hands to help. The potential bad news is they must pick an assistant from one of the designers who was kicked off the show. Heidi pulls names out of the bag to determine who gets first pick and it’s Daniel.
Daniel chooses Nick. This was a shock to me. I thought FOR SURE he would pick Andrae.
Santino picks Andrae. This wasn’t a shock since Nick was already taken.
Chloe picks Diana… yes, Diana, who left early in the show and built those whimsical high-tech dresses.
They each get $250 dollars and 30 minutes to decide what they are going to do. Then they have to go shopping. The trip as all a blur for the designers who are just too worn out to even THINK about doing another design.
Santino said it best:
“Even if you put pasties and a friggin maxi pad on the 13th model and send her down the runway it’s like who gives a f—– at this point.”
Now THAT would make an interesting finale.
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