Last week on Project Runway, the final four designers were sent to their respective homes to make ten outfits for Fashion Week. They had five weeks in which to do so. Tim visited them at their homes and checked out their collections. Upon returning to New York, the designers had to submit three finished looks for a final judgment to see who would go on to Fashion Week. All four of them made the cut.
Immediately after the judging, Tim congratulates the designers and then advises them not to “overthink.” This probably translates to, “You have only two days, so don’t spread yourselves too thin.” Back at the hotel, the designers have a toast to celebrate having made it to Fashion Week.
Christopher, however, is in a foul mood. He complains that the judges act like they’re doing him a favor and then mimics Nina. He seems to believe that his four wins entitled him to a spot regardless of what he showed the judges. Um, no. Being the front-runner actually means that the judges expect more from you than two outfits involving black shorts. After all, they did specifically asked to see a range of looks. (Fair warning: Christopher whines a lot this episode. I am not going to transcribe every moan.)
The next morning, the designers get back to work. All of them are thinking about what the judges had told them. Fabio was told to make his collection more “luxe” and expensive-looking. He decides to make a couple of pieces that fit that description. The judges told Dmitry that his outfits looked too dowdy, and that some, like the one with the patterned coat, were too busy. He decides to mix and match his separates to get better combinations and rethink his styling in order to get a more youthful vibe.
The judges were understandably bored and underwhelmed by Christopher’s three pieces. He decides to make new ones– but can’t decide what to make. Oops. Mister Front-runner may be in trouble. As for Melissa, the judges were less than impressed by her decision to make everything black and white. She decides to make a colorful dress.
As the designers work, Tim comes in to announce that they will have model fittings and hair consultations that day. He then gives everybody a budget of $300.00 to spend at Mood. Christopher wanders around Mood feeling completely lost, while Melissa finds some bright orange leather, a color she informs us is called “blood orange.” She’s especially happy to have gotten the chance to go to Mood as she was practically out of fabric.
After that it’s time for the L’Oreal hair consultation. Melissa asks for hair-dos that are midway between a faux-hawk and a French twist. Dmitry, remembering the judges’ critique, asks for a youthful look. For some reason, this apparently involves giving the models exaggerated eyebrows. Christopher, still anxious and indecisive, explores disheveled styles.
Then it’s time for the models’ fittings, prompting Christopher to whine that he’s not ready. It seems that Christopher is really showing his age, or lack thereof. He’s the youngest, and probably the least experienced, and the stress of getting ready for a major show is obviously getting to him. Hence the dithering and complaining. The other three, who are all older than he by five to ten years, maintain their focus and work.
Melissa takes the judges’ advice and cuts the oversized cuffs off of her jacket. She also has one of her models try on a long white dress. She then asks the model if the shoes are bothering her. No, the problem’s not the shoes, it’s that Melissa unwittingly resurrected the hobble dress of the 1910′s. She then claims there’s no time to fix it. Um, wouldn’t a slit or two do the job?
The next morning, the designers get back to work, as it’s the last day before the big show. Tim comes in to announce the make-up consultations. He also tells the designers they will have only until 5:00 to wrap things up. Christopher actually calms down enough to make his selections and is happy with the results. Melissa asks for lots of color in her make-up.
Then Tim makes his final rounds, starting with Melissa. She shows off the new blood-orange dress she’s making and Tim likes it. Melissa needs something like that to liven up her collection. On to Dmitry. Tim likes the clothes, but thinks the “silver leaf” effect in his models’ hair is too much and will distract people from the clothes. Tim notes Christopher’s lack of focus– he’s trying to make five pieces at once or something ridiculous. Tim urges Christopher to calm down and focus and points out that one of the new pieces looks cheap. Last up is Fabio, and Tim likes his collection, commenting “You’ve had an epiphany.” As he leaves, Tim tells everybody that he’s thrilled with their collections.
Melissa continues working on her dress. Dmitry notes that Christopher and Melissa seem stressed, while he and Fabio are calm. Melissa has always had time-management problems, while Christopher’s nerves are simply getting the better of him. At 4:45, Tim comes in to deliver a 15-minute warning, prompting Christopher to protest that he has two more looks to make. Tim retorts, “That’s ridiculous!” Fifteen minutes later, Tim herds the designers out the door. They need to go home and rest.
At around 2:00 a.m., the designers get up to go to Fashion Week, which will be held at the Lincoln Center. There they check out the runway, which is the biggest they’ve ever seen. They also note that there are enough seats to accommodate one thousand people. They don’t have much time to gawk, though, for the models have started to arrive. Dmitry gets an unwanted lesson about his poor choice of hairdo: The elaborate do’s take a long time to style, which causes him to fall behind schedule. To make matters worse, the models’ hairstylists apparently all finish at more or less the same time, and Dmitry has to organize all ten models at once.
Finally, it’s time to start the show. Heidi welcomes everybody to the tenth anniversary of Project Runway. She then introduces the judges, including the guest judge Jennifer Hudson, singer and actress. Insert rant about how the guest judge for Fashion Week ought to be an actual fashion designer, and not just some celebrity who likes to wear pretty clothes and/or looks really good in said clothes.
Christopher is first and he tells the audience that his collection is about “construction and deconstruction.” He wins points by being the only designer to make and use his own textile (the X-ray print seen last week.) He loses them by apparently not getting the memo that this is a spring collection. The colors he uses are more suitable for a fall or winter collection: black, brown, ivory, and gray. The only colors he uses are dark ones: purple, maroon, and dark blue. The fourth piece is one of the tank top and short shorts combos that he’d showed last week. The fifth piece is a dark blue-purple trench coat, which looks a lot more impressive. The last piece is a tiered brown gown that seems to have come from out of left field. I’m not a designer and even I know that a gown doesn’t belong in a collection that consists mostly of separates.
Melissa is next, and describes her collection as showing the transition of “death to life,” which is actually a good theme for a spring collection. Easter, the chief Christian holiday held in spring, is all about resurrection. The ancient Greeks had Hades, the god of the dead, marry Persephone, the goddess of spring. The collection’s vintage Melissa, with lots of leather pieces. She improved last week’s shorts and tunic combo by adding a spackled white leather jacket to it. Last week’s white jacket, minus the over-sized cuffs, is part of the first look. There is too much black for a spring collection, with three black dresses, a black swimsuit, and two pairs of black pants. The white hobble dress, the ninth piece, really did hobble the poor model wearing it. Melissa’s collection does end on a strong note, thanks to her final piece, the blood orange dress, which is the color of some dahlias or poppies.
Dmitry then tells the audience about how he was inspired by “organic architecture.” He then starts off with one of last week’s looks: the white dress with geometric cutouts. His third and fifth looks are also from last week, but he wisely pairs his patterned fringed jacket with a rather basic pair of black pants, thus keeping all eyes on that jacket. Unlike Christopher, he remembered this is a spring collection, and thus added a couple of pieces in pale yellow. Like Christopher, his last piece is a gown. It’s black and the skirt looks as if it’s made of some feathery material that doesn’t look too dissimilar from the fringes on his jacket. It fits the rest of the collection, at least partly because half of his looks are dresses, while the other half are separates. The ninth piece quite arguably prepared the audience for the gown as it was a metallic dark gray dress.
Last up is Fabio, who calls his collection “Cosmic Tribalism.” It looked the most like a spring collection, particularly in terms of color. I’m not overly fond of pastels, but they are spring colors, and he used them. The only neutrals in sight are white and light gray. Black is conspicuous by its absence. The light colors and the draping provide an airy, ethereal effect. His first two looks combine garments from last week with new ones. Like Dmitry, he’d apparently decided to mix and match some of his separates to improve his collection. The third look, unfortunately, is one from last week I hadn’t liked: a gray skirt with a white vest that doesn’t seem to close properly. Most of his looks consist of skirts, pants, and dresses in some combination. There aren’t any looks I’d call showstoppers, and the tenth look is just plain strange: It involves gray pants, a pink dress or tunic, and a sleeveless white robe with a matching belt. Huh?
Afterwards, we get the usual backstage from people like Joanna Coles and various Project Runway alumnae about who they like best. Nick from Season 2 likes Christopher, while Valerie from Season 8 is a fan of Fabio.
Then it’s time for the judging. Heidi begins by complimenting everybody on their efforts. The judges then start with Dmitry, who had wanted to use geometric shapes in his work. Heidi thinks his clothes are beautiful. Michael calls them “impeccably made,” but the last look, the feathered dress, verges on costume. Nina likes the fringed jacket and the yellow dress. Most of the looks were “editorial,” which is Nina-speak for, “They would photograph well and could be put in a magazine.” Jennifer thinks the clothes look rich.
Melissa tells the judges that she wanted to play with textures. Michael praises Melissa for understanding how women want to look. He does not like the hobble dress, though. Jennifer, curiously, does like it. The judges think Melissa’s clothes have a “tough chick vibe” to them. Nina likes the blood orange dress. It’s cool and sexy, without being slutty– and that can be very difficult to pull off.
Christopher talks about being inspired by his mother’s X-ray. He wanted a dark and haunting collection. For spring. Right. Michael loves the first look and the splattered leather used in the collection, but he doesn’t think the gown goes with the rest of the collection. Nina would have preferred a more romantic collection from him, as that is one of his strengths. Heidi likes his black jacket and one-shoulder dress.
Fabio was inspired by tribal body art that he’d seen in his native Brazil. Heidi loves his collection, and calls it “fluid” and “ethereal.” Nina thinks it looks both sophisticated and easy. Michael says the draping looks effortless. Jennifer likes the colors and layers.
After that, the judges have their chat. They note that Christopher was the only one to make and use his own print. However, his collection was “all over the place.” He’s a young designer who’s still finding himself. Melissa has good taste, but her collection had no surprises. Fabio’s pastels were a surprise and he’s a conceptual designer. Dmitry is a perfectionist, and his looks are polished and commercial.
Heidi then announces the judges’ decision. Christopher is first out. Melissa is next, leaving Fabio and Dmitry in the top two. Dmitry’s the winner. His friends and Tim all come out to congratulate him.
Next week: Project Runway All-Stars 2 starts.