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Project Runway, Nov. 19 – And the Winner Is …

Last week on Project Runway, the three finalists, Althea, Carol Hannah, and Irina, were sent home to prepare for Fashion Week. Tim visited them at their homes and examined their collections. Several weeks later, the trio reconvened in New York City. Carol Hannah, alas, had fallen prey to a stomach virus while away and was still feeling the effects when she returned to New York. Heidi and Tim gave the finalists an unwanted surprise: They now had to make a thirteenth look for Fashion Week. They did provide help, however, in the form of three previously eliminated contestants. Even so, the frantic activity proves too much for Carol Hannah, who collapses in a bathroom and is violently sick.

Two days before the show, Carol Hannah is still feeling horrible. She looks like death warmed over; she’s very pale and her hair is a stringy mess. Irina tells us that she feels for her, but there’s nothing she can do to help. Logan says he’s proud of how well she’s holding up. He gives her a hug and assures her that her collection looks great. Gordana is working on the details of Irina’s collection. She comments that the pressure is getting to Irina.

Carol Hannah feels horrible and breaks down in tears, saying “This is not how this is supposed to go.” Christopher hugs her and and says that he’s happy to help both by giving her a shoulder to cry on and being her tailor.

The designers then go to hair and make-up consultations. Irina shows Collier Strong her helmet hats, which are black and look a bit like English riding helmets. She asks him for strong eyes. Althea wants a smudged, dirty look, while Carol Hannah wants clean and pretty make-up. Irina wants sleek shiny hair, while Althea puts headbands on her models.

Back at Parson’s, the models come in for their fitting. The designers are all anxious to have this proceed smoothly as there is no margin for error. Carol Hannah later tells us that her fitting has been going very smoothly, as all of her outfits fit the models she’s picked. It’s very obvious she’s relieved that this is the case, as it means she doesn’t have to spend too much time or energy altering clothes.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and see how everybody’s thirteenth look is progressing. Irina shows Tim her thirteenth look, which is a cocktail dress. Tim has misgivings about the equestrian helmets, as he fears they will look too costumey. Irina tells him that her make-up will be “muddy”.

When Tim stops by Althea, she confesses that she’s getting nervous. Her thirteenth look includes a blazer with huge shoulders and Tim comments that it looks like something from the 80’s. Althea then tells him that she will be using “messy” make-up and he notes that this is similar to Irina’s make-up style. Irina naturally assumes Althea is copying her. Somehow, I don’t think Irina invented that particular look, any more than she invented the oversized sweater.

When Tim stops by Carol Hannah, he asks about her health, which she describes as “okayish.” Her thirteenth look is a draped green dress. Tim applauds her use of color and encourages her to take advantage of Christopher’s help.

The day before the show, Carol Hannah is feeling better. At Parson’s, Irina vows to work fast. She believes she can finish, but she’s not entirely sure. Carol Hannah is hurrying to finish her thirteenth look. When the models arrive, Irina ponders what look to use for her main model. She decides on the thirteenth look, a black cocktail dress.

Carol Hannah is finally feeling more energetic. Althea jokes there will be no lunch or bathroom breaks. Tim comes in for one last “gather round.” He reminds them of their deadlines and sends them back to work. Irina assigns Gordana the task of packing the finished outfits while she concentrates on the incomplete outfits. Carol Hannah, meanwhile, has realized she forgot to alter an outfit– but it’s too late. At 5 p.m., they all go home.

On the day of show; the finalists get up at 3:14 a.m. Althea explains that they need to prep the models before the show. They walk to Bryant Park, and Irina has some trouble opening the doors, but manages to get everybody in. The women check out the runway and even try out some of the front seats, just to see what it’s like.

The models come in to be dressed, styled, and made-up. Heidi, Michael, and Nina arrive. As the day progresses, Tim gets upset because the models aren’t as close to being ready as they should be. He does not “lose it,” though, despite what the show’s previews might have suggested. Come on, Silver Foxes don’t do temper tantrums. He just tries to hurry everyone along, though.

Eventually, everybody is ready and the show starts. Heidi goes out onto the stage to introduce the judges, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, and Suzy Menkes, the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune.

Althea is up first. She tells the audience that she was inspired by 50’s and 60’s sci-fi movies. Her first look is slim black pants paired with a large grey sweater whose sleeves are so long that they cover the model’s hands partway. She uses practically all neutrals, especially black and gray. There are a couple of white or silver pieces in there– which strikes me as one of the the few futuristic touches. Astronauts and space explorers have often been depicted as wearing white or silver attire. Other pieces, like the tan gown with the train at the end, don’t look futuristic at all to me. I don’t recall seeing people in knickers or oversized sweaters on, say, Forbidden Planet. Her thirteenth look includes a black jacket with large shoulders that actually looks retro. Still, it’s a nice collection.

Carol Hannah goes next. She doesn’t announce a theme for her collection, but thanks her friends and family for being there and hopes everybody enjoys the show. Her first look is great: a short, sleeveless champagne dress with stripes in varying shades of brown. Most of her collection consists of dresses, but there are some pants and leggings in there. She also uses a lot of neutrals, but her thirteenth piece is a gorgeous draped green gown. She also plays with textures in some of the pieces, too. There’s a gray outfit with an inverted pyramid tulle skirt– and, yes, it’s about as odd as it sounds. There’s a gray dress that looks as if it’s been feathered, and a sleeveless cream grown with a ruffled bottom and decorated top. Some of the pieces, like the one with the tulle skirt, look utterly impractical, but most are quite pretty.