Project Runway: The Big Wrapup

Posted on October 19, 2012

Okay, well. That happened. We have to laugh, because we sat down and did a tally and only three times in the history of the show did the person we want to win, win it; Jay McCarroll, Leanne Marshall, and Seth Aaron Henderson. Clearly, us and those judges? We don’t see eye to eye.

But Dmitry’s a nice guy (or played one on TV), a hard worker, and his clothes were the most polished of the lot (although that’s not saying much). And besides, we’ve been doing this too long to get upset that someone won Project Runway without our permission.

So Congratulations, Dmitry! You were kind of rude and full of yourself when we went up to you and introduced ourselves at a different runway show later that week, but whatever. Maybe you were tired. Maybe you think we’re bitches. We’ve also been doing this too long to worry about what Project Runway contestants think of us and we’ve long lost count of the number of you who flared your nostrils and spun on your heels at the sight of us.

We’ll say this: that was a very good finale episode. No, really. Ninety minutes is still too long a format for this show, but they managed to give all four of the finalists decent camera time and a chance to plead their case to the public. And whatever struggling or drama that ensued actually arose out of creative concerns. That is to say, last week’s critique served a purpose and it was interesting and enlightening to see what each designer did with their time. Melissa panicked and rethought her collection to its benefit. Christopher ripped off the wide-eyed “l’il ol’ me” mask and revealed what had become increasingly obvious over the course of the season, that he’s a petulant little bitch who thinks too highly of himself. No wonder Gunnar hated him so much. Fabio had an almost Jay McCarroll-like creative epiphany and a sudden understanding of what he can do as a designer. And Dmitry? Well, we’re not quite sure what Dmitry did. He seemed to have made some minor adjustments, but basically, he just quietly forged ahead, like he’s always done.

Anyway, that’s it. It’s not the kind of season, finale, or win that’s going to inspire long diatribes or manifestos from us. Everyone fixed their collections after last week’s critiques but we stand by what we said then; none of these collections can hold a candle to the glory days of the show. There were several good looks throughout, but it still mostly looked like department store clothes to us. In fact, Dmitry’s looked the most like department store clothes (next to maybe Christopher’s).

Let’s run down the winning looks, shall we?

This is a fine look. The fit is bad (because they’re not given enough time to fit their models) and the illusion netting isn’t providing quite the illusion it needs to, but it’s perfectly Dmitry in a lot of ways.


To our eyes, this was probably his best look. It’s stylish, has a hint of uniqueness, and looks polished. But it totally looks department store to us and not runway. High end department store, maybe, but still.


Awful. Absolutely terrible. There’s some interest with the pants, but we think they’re ultimately kind of awkward-looking. The top is hideous.


This is tacky; we don’t care what any of those judges said. The sheer panel at the midriff and the leather fringe? Sorry, you’re never gonna convince us that this is elegant or stylish. As always, his tailoring skills are perfect. But like we said yesterday, that’s what this show’s become: The Amazing Sewing Race. More and more, it’s about rewarding the person who can get the look the most polished in the least amount of time.


Jaw-droppingly awful. Michael giddily proclaimed that any of the ladies on the panel would look good in that jacket and we laughed long and hard. We don’t like to make “No woman would…”-style proclamations. But we’re pretty sure most women would take this off the instant she realized it was giving her gorilla arms. Come on now, Michael.

The pants and the sheer top are ugly and tacky. Yes, he can sew like crazy. That doesn’t mean he has taste.


So department store-basic, it’s almost embarrassing. This IS a New York Fashion Week runway, remember.


This is probably his second-best look in the whole collection. It’s also a look that’s been done countless times over the last couple of years. How many folded napkin dresses have we seen on the red carpet or various other runways? This is nice, but completely unoriginal.


This is nice too, but also not particularly original.


And ditto. It’s very nice, actually.


This is tacky, trophy wife wear. We’re sorry, but we think those judges were nuts when they praised this.


In the end, it was a fairly meticulous collection, almost completely devoid of any new ideas, and in those instances when he took risks, he veered straight off into Tacky Land. Don’t get us wrong; this isn’t some sort of travesty in our eyes, like when Anya or Gretchen won. He’s talented and he’s got an aesthetic. We just don’t think, as Nina used to say, in better days, “the taste level is quite there.”

More collections later today, dolls.



[Photo Credit: Getty, Barbara Nitke/Lifetime]

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