There’s always a huge difference between how a collection looks in pictures versus how it looks in person. For some reason, with this finale, there was a MASSIVE difference between how they all looked on television versus how they looked in person, more so than in past seasons, we think. Dmitry’s fabrics looked cheaper in person, Christopher’s execution problems were jaw-droppingly more obvious in person, and Melissa’s issues with proportion and general awkwardness in her designs were more noticeable in person. In other words, all three of those collections benefited from the TV cameras. Fabio’s, unfortunately, turned out to have the total opposite effect. It just doesn’t translate to pictures at all and what you saw on TV didn’t quite capture the feel of it. His fabrics were the only ones that looked much more expensive and luxurious in person. On camera, they looked like bed sheets.
There was a lot of weird stuff coming out of the judges’ mouths last night, but Heidi said something that was very true; there was a noticeable change in the atmosphere of that tent when Fabio’s stuff came out. It really was a breath of fresh air, and you could feel people getting more intrigued with each look, leaning forward and pointing at certain things.
If you can’t tell by now, we thought his was the best collection by far, and the best representation of what Project Runway does when it’s at its best. It gave you fashion that challenged you on some level, while also providing pieces that could easily be worn and sold in the current market. The best PR collections straddle that line between editorial and salable. It requires a strong eye, but if you take the time and assess each piece separately, you see there’s a lot of really pretty and wearable stuff going on. And while we don’t think we could put this up against the best collections in the history of the show, it was the most interesting collection we’d seen in some time walking down a Project Runway finale show. What made this compelling to us was how much it reflects Fabio’s style and philosophy and how well he interpreted his own look into expensive-looking (trust us on this) womenswear. It was an artistic statement on par with Jay McCarroll’s “hipster country queer quilting” finale collection; something pulled from so far down inside that it surprised even the person doing the work.
Where he failed was in his color choices and his styling choices. If these exact pieces were rendered in more sophisticated hues, and if he’d put all the models in flat sandals, with clean, beachy hair and makeup (and eliminated the crafty accessories), he could have had this in the bag. He surprised himself and everyone else by taking his aesthetic to an elegant place, but he just didn’t manage to go all the way with it.
Bottom line: It showed a distinct and powerful point of view; it was amazingly consistent in that view; and it challenged people by not looking like a typical department store aesthetic.
We don’t think we need to break each look down separately after saying all that. Good luck to you, Fabio. Find an investor and a publicist. You’ve really got something here.
[Photo Credit: Getty]