Episode 14: The Finale, aka Better Living Through Fashion
Oh. Mah. Gah. Tonight’s the night of the final runway show, and finally we can put an end to all of this drama and get to see what all Project Runway fans come to see: The clothes!
Last episode (when I was so rudely interrupted by Real Life and Everything that Comes With It), we saw the clash between Laura and Jeffery, and the question surrounding Jeffery’s collection and whether or not he outsourced his garment construction. He’s freaked out that he won’t be able to show at Bryant Park, and rightly so.
This week’s episode brings us to a day and a half before the final runway show. Laura, Michael, and Uli are feverishly putting the finishing touches on their garments while Jeffery steps out onto the balcony. Jeffery thinks that Laura is questioning his integrity, and I have to agree – by questioning the integrity of his work, you do question his integrity as a designer. Duh.
Tim calls Jeffery and asks him to call Park Pleating to get a copy of the receipt for his daisy duke shorts. Jeffery is worried that he won’t be able to get it, because that shop is so unorganized:
“It’s like Sanford & Son over there.”
Ha! Call Jeffery what you want, but that man is funny as hell.
The next day, Jeffery is on pins and needles, thinking that he’ll be disqualified, so he starts making a skirt, just in case he can’t get a receipt for the shorts. Smart move. Prove Laura wrong.
Man, I’m starting to root for Jeffery here. WTF?
Tim comes in and asks the designers to gather around him. He’s got an announcement to make, and the furrow in his brow worries me. He tells the designers that after a thorough discussion with the producers, Tim says that he is convinced that Jeffery has done the work himself. Jeffery is relieved, and bursts into tears. The outsourcing he did was legal, but since he can’t find the receipt for the daisy dukes, he can’t show them. Tim tells him he is over budget by about $228, so he has to remove something from the collection. Tim also has to tell the judges that he is over budget. No biggie. Jeffery decides to get rid of those damn blonde wigs he has to bring him back under budget. And can I say, praise Jah for that. I saw enough wigs and weaves on this season of Flavor of Love!
But I digress.
Laura says that the solution was a great compromise and that she never meant to get him kicked off. Sure you didn’t, Mrs. Park Avenue. (Still love you though, girl!)
Tomorrow’s the runway show, and everybody is so pumped up. Tim calls the designers for one last “gather ‘round,” and Tim gives them a very emotional pep talk. He tells them they’re all winners and that tomorrow will be a great day. I love Tim Gunn.
The designers get up at 4:15 a.m. the day of the runway show, and Laura is killing me in her black cocktail dress so early in the morning. The woman never lets up. Michael tries to find his happy place. Uli says it’s the biggest day of her life.
Even just walking into the tent proves to be an overwhelming experience for them. Michael feels like he’s come full circle. Laura struts her stuff on the catwalk. Jeffery finds the invisible chip on his shoulder compelling him to “prove himself.” Honestly Jeffery, cut yourself some slack. Two words: Cosa Nostra. Hel-lo. I'd say your work is already done.
Then Bravo pans over to the Elle goodie bags, and I find myself totally wanting one. You know what kind of first-class swag you get in those things, right? I’m all about the freebies. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a swag whore, but let’s just say I’m never one to turn away a gift. Ahem. Anyway.
On to the runway!
Chaos ensues backstage – last-minute hair decisions are made, models get spackled with makeup, designers start to get frazzled. Just another day in the life at Fashion Week!
Fern Mallis, the creator of OFW herself and vice president of ING fashion is the guest judge, along with regular judges Michael Kors and NINAGARCIA. Oh yeah, and Heidi.
Jeffery’s first. He’s still working the deconstructionist angle, but it looks a lit more polished and refined. I don’t know if it’s the music (which sounds a little like Barry Manilow on the trip-hop tip), but I look at Jeffery’s collection and I’m like, “eh.” There’s even what I perceive to be an Uli-inspired print dress (a flop, the judges tell us later). I do have to say, that striped dress with the funky zipper seams looks much better now that I see it on the model. And I totally am coveting the matching purse (the green striped one that he used with another outfit). During the final walk, Jeffery resists The Corny and decides not to carry Harrison with him down the runway. Thanks for not becoming a cliché.
Uli’s next. Seriously, who picks the music for these runway shows? Uli voiceovers that her clothing was inspired by the safari, but the music sounded more like Candyland (the game) on some cracked-out techno acid trip. As to be expected, Uli has designed a few recognizable pieces, but as a whole it was very light on prints. I’m liking her collection so far, but that’s probably because it appeals to my taste more than Jeffery’s collection did. And that’s not to say anything bad about Jeffery.
Wait, I think I just saw Brandy in the audience. Have you heard the rumor that she’s dating Michael? Say it with me: Oh HELL no.
Speaking of who’s in the audience, this season designers are all in the house, along with Chloe and Daniel V. from Season 2. Chloe’s got the digital camera in hand, getting some ideas for next year’s Lot 8 collection.
We break for commercial, and Collier Strong is back, giving us one last smokey eye lesson. I swear, I’ll get it right some day! I’ll make Collier proud, by god.
Laura’s next and cracks a joke about her “making it big in the fashion world,” pointing to her prego belly. Silly girl. To the sounds of some crazy circus polka, her besparkled models traipse down the runway. Laura tells us that she's on a mission to remind American women to take better care of themselves and make their lives better through fashion. As to be expected, her collection is very elegant, refined, and so what I'd wear on a night out where you might run into the mayor or something. Or the opera. I don’t really have anything to say about this collection – it’s pretty formal, although we know that Laura would probably wear the dress with the feathers to Whole Foods, or maybe around the house, cleaning up turtle poop. There are a few plunging v-necklines, but thankfully kept to a minimum.
Clutch the pearls, they saved Michael for last. His collection is called “street safari,” for that woman who is "on the hunt to find out who she is." Brandy cracks that big grin of hers (ugh), and I’m already pissed. Michael has the best music, though, thank Jah. Ooh: There’s a kimono-sleeved wrap top that I am absolutely IN LOVE with. J’adore. Totally. Somebody buy me that for my birthday. There’s a lot of white in the collection, a color which we already know Michael loves. In looking at the Getty images from a few weeks ago, I wasn’t all that impressed with Michael’s collection. I change my mind now, seeing them brought to life on the runway His clothes are sexy hot. I don’t know how I feel about the bathing suits, but whatever.
Did I just see Danielle, Andrae’s model from last season walking down the runway?
Oh. And I totally am coveting Michael’s models’ earrings. Want. Them. Now.
So backstage and after the show, Project Runway gathers soundbites from former cast members, industry people, and that freakin’ Brandy, who says that she “loves” Michael’s collection. Of course you do.
And before you accuse me of being a Michael groupie (which I am, sorta), my disdain for Brandy precedes Project Runway, alright? I don’t want to hear comments.
Sidebar: I still think Santino wins the prize for the best runway music.
On to the judging! The judges thought each show was exciting and fantastic and loved how everyone had a different point of view. I agree. This season may have been the corniest in terms of dramatizing, but this season’s group of designers probably produced some of the more consistently solid and unique garments I’ve seen so far (of course, with a few exceptions from past seasons).
The judges say that based on the budget given, her collection looked much more expensive. Fern, thank Jah, says it’s fine to be as focused as Laura is in her design aesthetic. I agree. Focus is good.
Michael says that the competition gave him some clarity about who he was, and that inspired his collection. Fern says it was clear he was the crowd favorite but that the collection didn’t match that. Kors thinks he went over the top, NINAGARCIA says there’s a “fine line,” but Michael says he wanted to come on strong. The best thing though was that his collection showed range. And isn’t that important anymore?
Jeffery’s collection is based on Japanese ghosts and demons and nightmares or something. Kors says that he dressed his women at every juncture in their lives, and what he meant by that was “going to the movies” and “going to a party.” Here I am thinking he was talking about age. Heidi brings up the fact he went over budget by $200 or something. After chucking the wigs, now he’s $400 under budget. Those are some damn expensive wigs, yo.
Uli wanted to show she could do more than colors and prints. NINAGARCIA says that while the clothes are terrific and will sell (“they do!” Uli says), she says she can “to this too.” Heidi loved every dress. Kors felt the connective thread was disjointed, or a “story.” Screw that “telling a story” through clothes. Uli continues to represent Miami and, sort of mockingly, says that maybe she should move to New York to better understand the design aesthetic of Michael Kors. Thankfully, Fern tells her to stop that nonsense way of thinking!
NINAGARCIA shares with us that after the show, many people approached her, asking them, “how can we get in touch with Uli?”
As if we had any doubt any of these designers wouldn’t be working in the industry after this show.
It’s between Uli and Jeffery as far as who the winner’s going to be. Heidi says Jeffery’s collection was innovative, cohesive, and really showed his range. Then she says that Uli pushed herself and made a beautiful collection that every woman would want to wear.
Jeffery wins Project Runway! Marilinda gets the Elle spread.
And somewhere out there, Angela’s in the corner, curled up in the fetal position, bemoaning Jeffery’s victory.
(Photo lifted from Crunk & Disorderly.)