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Project Runway 11: Triumph of the Lone Wolf

Last week, on Project Runway, the designers all headed home to make 12-piece collections for Fashion Week.  Upon returning, they had to show the judges three of their best pieces in order to secure their spot in Fashion Week.  Daniel bored the judges with an all-black collection and was duly sent home.  Michelle, Patricia, and Stanley will all be showing at Fashion Week.

Back at the apartment, the three finalists discuss their critiques.  Stanley has to make his collection sexier and more youthful, while Patricia has to make hers more cohesive.  Michelle just has to edit and fix her styling.

Next morning, the designers get back to work, assisted by their helpers.  These are the same helpers they had last week:  Amanda for Michelle, Layana for Patricia, and Richard for Stanley.

Tim comes in to make some announcements.  First off, the designers will have hair and make-up consultations.  Second, Tim will take everybody to Mood, so they can buy whatever they need to improve their collections.  Each designer will have a budget of $500.00.  They will also have 30 minutes to plan their purchases and another 30 minutes at Mood.

The designers then examine their collections to decide what they need.  The judges told Michelle they wanted to see more color in her work, so she will get some colorful fabrics.  The judges told Patricia that her collection needed more cohesiveness, so she will buy things with that in mind.  Some of her current pieces have leather in them, so she will get more leather.  Similarly, she asks Layana to make a blue tank top, so she will have something that matches her dress.  Then it’s off to Mood to put their plans in action.

After the designers return from Mood, it’s time for the make-up consultations.  As the judges had hated Michelle’s styling last week, she asks for help in changing it.  Stanley wants a sexier look for his models, so he’ll be getting the usual “smoky eye.”  Patricia asks for a clean, simple look that will make it seem as if the models aren’t wearing make-up.  She also asks for lip gloss to add some color.  The idea seems to be to not have anything that might distract people from her clothes.

The following morning, the designers get back to work.  Stanley decides to shorten some of his dresses, in an attempt to make them look sexier and more youthful.  Patricia is dismayed to discover that the leather she’d bought has holes in it; she decides to use it anyway.  Then  it’s time for the hair consultations.  Michelle still wants her models to have tousled do’s, but in deference to the judges’ critique, gets a more sophisticated look.  Stanley asks for a more youthful look.  Patricia presents the stylist with headdresses she wants to have incorporated into her looks.  The stylist decides to give her models braids.

Tim comes in to make his rounds and he starts with Michelle.  He likes most of her clothes, except for a sweater with a bleeding heart on it.  He also advises her to not use a compass as a decoration on one piece, pointing out that Michelle’s woman would prefer high technology over anything as old-fashioned as a compass.

Stanley talks about his efforts to jazz up his collection.  Tim apparently doesn’t think that Stanley’s been successful, for he comments that Stanley’s clothes look like they came from a vintage clothing shop.  Ouch.  He also notes that Stanley has a lot of work to do.

Tim is not pleased that Patricia is sending out leather pants that have holes in them.  He reminds her what a big deal Fashion Week is.  He also doesn’t see much cohesiveness in her collection, and he’s shocked and amused by how disorganized she is.  At one point, Patricia offers to show him some white material– and then she and Layana spend several minutes looking for it.  Like Stanley, Patricia has a lot of work left to do.

After Tim leaves, the models come in for their fittings.  Michelle notes that Patricia is all over the place, while Stanley is horribly behind.  Speaking of Stanley, he wants to make a ballgown, but discovers he doesn’t have enough material for that.

On the last day before the show, the designers get back to work.  Michelle struggles while trying to put a zipper in a dress; it takes her several tries.

Tim comes in to send the helpers home– and then he sends in a nice surprise:  the finalists’ loved ones.  Michelle sees her husband and brother.  Stanley is visited by his mother and partner.  Patricia dances with her kids.  Everybody has fun, and the relatives talk about how proud they are of the finalists.  Then it’s time for them to leave.

Tim then returns to explain logistics.  The designers will have until 5 p.m. to finish working on their looks and get everything packed and organized to be moved to the Lincoln Center, where Fashion Week will be held.  He also tells them that Michael Kors will be the guest judge.

Patricia then has a brainwave:  She will fix her leather pants by adding more holes to them, thus making the holes part of a fashion statement.  Michelle, who has finished her work, helps Stanley with his.

On the day of the show, the designers get up at 2 a.m.  They then go to Lincoln Center, where they check out the impressively large stage and runway.  Then they go back stage to start preparing themselves for the show.  Two hours before the show starts, they’re still working on their looks.  Michelle simply needs to have things pressed, while Stanley is actually still sewing dresses.  He’s also recruited four assistants to help him sew.  I don’t get what happened, since he had five months.  Did he have to wait a long time for something he’d ordered?  Is he simply really, really bad at time management?  Did he get cold feet at some point?  Did he bite off far more than he could chew and try to make really elaborate clothing?  What happened?  Stanley never seemed to be flaky or disorganized before.  Even Tim’s stunned by the chaos surrounding Stanley’s area.

On stage, Heidi welcomes everybody to Fashion Week.  She then introduces the judges, including the guest judge, Michael Kors.

Michelle is up first, and her collection is definitely cohesive.  The first, second, and fifth looks all involve a breastplate.  She uses a lot of leather and quilted material, and there’s a steampunk vibe to many of the pieces.  She also uses many fall colors, with a lot of neutrals.  The reds and yellows she uses are reminiscent of autumn leaves.  The sixth, seventh, and ninth looks are the ones she showed last week, while the tenth look is the orange bleeding heart sweater that Tim had disliked so much.  Her final piece is a red gown decorated with silver studs.  It has the same neckline as her tenth look, a yellow top paired with khaki pants.

Patricia’s collection shows her mastery of textiles.  Her first piece is a pink dress with flowers embroidered on it.  The second, third, fourth, and sixth looks all include pieces she’d dyed.  The second and fourth looks have pieces with a geometric pattern against a green background, while the third and sixth pieces have two-toned black and green fabric.  She used horsehair in the skirt of the second look and the black poncho in the eleventh look.  She used the holey leather pants in the third look, which also has a green and black top and a tan scarf with large polka dots.  The ninth, eleventh, and twelfth looks are designs she’d shown the judges last week, with the twelfth look being the blue dress decorated with pieces of mica.

Stanley calls his collection “Urban Opulence,” which is a bit confusing as the word “urban” tends to suggest clothes with a hip-hop or ethnic vibe.  It also suggests clothes aimed at young people, and many of Stanley’s clothes look as if they were made for affluent middle-aged women.  As for the clothes themselves, Stanley obviously likes metallics:  His second, fourth, sixth, and ninth looks all have metallic elements.  Similarly, he used sequins in his fifth, seventh, and eleventh looks.  His second, fourth, and fifth looks are the ones he’d showed last week.  His first look is a nice black pant suit.  (Well, I liked it– but I’ll be 50 in September.)  His sixth look is the weakest.  Not only is it a gaudily bright gold, but it looks like something from the 1950’s– and adds about 20 pounds to the model.  His final look is a gown with a red skirt and a translucent, sleeveless black bodice with an intricate ivy pattern.

There’s the backstage chatter where Project Runway alumnae and other audience members talk about which finalist they liked best.  The judges briefly chat among themselves, with Michael saying that it’s easier to be objective when he doesn’t know the designers.  Heidi thinks everybody put on a good show, and Michael agrees, commenting that everybody had a distinct point of view.

The judges start with Michelle, who talks about how she’d seen herself as a female lone wolf struggling for survival.  She also points out the wolf design on a clutch she’d made.  Nina calls the first look a “phenomenal opening.”  She also praises Michelle for her consistent silhouette.  Nina also loved the black coat originally seen last week and the bleeding heart sweater.  In fact, she calls the latter her favorite piece in the collection.  Michael liked the fabric combinations, but he thinks the ties were a bit costumey.  Zac argues they weren’t.  Heidi deems Michelle’s looks a cohesive collection.

Patricia tells the judges that she was inspired by trees and that she’d made her own textiles.  Michael calls the collection “fabulous,” and adds that the first outfit looks as if it were made by an “art teacher on an acid trip.”  Heidi admired Patricia’s skill in making her own textiles.  Zac also liked the collection.  Nina liked the twelfth look, but adds that Patricia needs to work on her styling.

Stanley talks about how he drew inspiration from the 1950’s and the 1960’s.  Michael says he liked some of the dresses, because of their “youthful sophistication,” but says the gown looks like “Betty White on Dancing with the Stars.”  Zac  liked the beading, but the materials seemed dated.  Heidi noticed the construction issues, such as the wavy hemlines.  She also agreed with Michael that the last look was too “old lady.”  Nina agreed that the last look was the weakest and adds that the black pants should have been paired with the beaded top.

The judges then ask each designer why they should be the winner.  Stanley cites his clear message.  Michelle believes she’d creative  and has “a voice towards the future.”  Patricia wants to keep creating and adds that she has a voice that’s never been heard before.

The judges then have their chat.  They quickly toss Stanley  out of contention, saying he’s both old-fashioned and rigid.  That leaves the two women.  Patricia is cool, new, and makes her own materials, but her looks may not be the most marketable.  Michelle’s collection was more cohesive and marketable, but some pieces were over-designed.

The judges then announce their decision.  Stanley was polished, but not modern, while Patricia’s “one of a kind collection” wasn’t cohesive.  Michelle’s the winner.