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


Finally, it’s Irina’s turn. She tells the audience that her collection is about New York and what it takes to survive in the city as a woman. Her first look sets the tone for her show, as it’s a black jacket paired with black pants. Black is the dominant color in this collection. There are a few exceptions: a cream jacket and a gray sweater, plus the gray New York t-shirts. A couple of pieces are made of fur. Oddly, Irina’s collection looks more futuristic than Althea’s, as some of the looks resemble those from The Matrix movies.

Afterwards, some members of the audience discuss the show and their favorite designers. Many of the eliminated designers from this season have a say. Shirin likes Althea’s looks, while Ari and Louise prefer Irina’s. Nicolas and Ra’Mon are rooting for Carol Hannah.

Back at Parson’s, the judges praise all three designers. Heidi and Suzy appreciate the obvious hard work the designers put into their collections, while Michael was impressed by the variety of their looks: sportswear, knitwear, and gowns. When the designers and their chief models come out, Heidi congratulates them and reminds them of the prizes.

The judges start with Irina, who says she wanted to create armor for strong women. She loves the idea of “shielding.” Michael points out that the “warrior woman” idea is not a new one. Suzy finds the collection cohesive, while Heidi is impressed by its polish. Nina likes the t-shirts and Michael appreciates the work that went into the clothes. Heidi can imagine owning many of the clothes. Nina dislikes the black color scheme, and points out that black is a difficult color to photograph for a magazine.

The judges then move on to Carol Hannah, who tells them that she likes to play with volume and draping. Nina loves the first look, while Heidi’s favorite was the thirteenth piece. She’s especially impressed by how quickly Carol Hannah had put it together. (She doesn’t say so, but I find it impressive that Carol Hannah had put it together while suffering from a stomach virus.) Nina compliments Carol Hannah on her skill in working with difficult fabrics. Suzy is impressed by the tulle dress, which Carol Hannah says is a show piece. On the down side, neither Michael nor Heidi find the collection cohesive. Michael does give Carol Hannah props for her skill at draping.

Finally, the judges turn to Althea. She says she was thinking about the future. Michael likes the sportswear and considers her clothes very wearable. He is especially impressed with the pants she made for her thirteenth look. Suzy likes the knitwear, but doesn’t see anything futuristic, while Heidi likes the silver shirt and grey skirt combo. Nina dislikes her last three looks, as they seem disjointed from the rest of the collection. That doesn’t bode well for Althea’s chances, I’m afraid.

The judges then dismiss the designers and their models so they can deliberate. Carol Hannah had a fantastic opening look and played with color more than the other two.
She also showed “impeccable” tailoring. Althea had a “sense of coolness” and an up-to-the-minute knowledge of trends. Her clothes were wearable, but were less a cohesive collection than an assemblage of separates. Irina had the best sense of showmanship, but all the black made her collection look dark and “ominous.” They also disliked one of her gowns. The judges did like her t-shirts, as they helped lighten the mood.

The judges make their decision and call everybody back in. Heidi addresses them all: Irina used impressive details, but lacked color; Althea showed an ability to translate what’s happening on the street into fashion, but wasn’t futuristic; Carol Hannah showed impressive tailoring and use of color, but lacked a connective thread. She is the first to be “auf’ed”, leaving Althea and Irina in contention.

Heidi then announces the winner: Irina. Althea hugs her, and is then dismissed as well. Irina bursts into tears as the judges congratulate her. Heidi tells her that her collection was sleek, modern, and cohesive. Tim and her model come out to hug her. Then her parents come out to hug her, too, and her father is so proud he starts to cry, too. It looks as if she’s finally won his approval.

Thus ends Season 6. The move to Los Angeles was an ill-fated experiment that hopefully won’t be repeated. As per a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, it caused all kinds of scheduling conflicts for Michael and Nina, which led to their too-frequent absences and some inconsistent judging. (At least one of the guest judges wanted to keep Logan around because of his alleged sex appeal. Need I mention that should not be a consideration?) Speaking of the guest judges, too many of them were actors and celebrities rather than people with ties to the fashion industry. What does Lindsay Lohan know about fashion? Come on. Too many of the judges’ comments devolved into some variation of “I’d wear it!,” as opposed to more thoughtful comments about color scheme, cut, fit, tailoring, and so forth.

I did appreciate that several challenges had a local flavor, such as the beachwear challenge. On the other hand, I missed the unconventional materials challenge that the show usually has. Worse, there was no challenge that at least encouraged the designers to make something other than dresses or gowns. There should have been something like Season Five’s sportswear challenge or Season Four’s menswear challenge, and there wasn’t. Happily, Season Seven will be back in New York, and it will start in January.

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