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Project Runway season finale recap: Coming in Fierce

In the season finale, the designers put on their Fashion Week shows, and Christian’s dramatic flair edges out Rami’s elegance and Jillian’s accessibility

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Christian Rami

Project Runway

TV Show
Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen
Current Status:
In Season

”Project Runway” recap: We have a winner!

Well, well, well. Here we are, friends, at the end of the Project Runway season, with a brand new Anointed One. As predicted in the pages of Entertainment Weekly magazine, Little Mr. Fierce pulled it off. His dramatic bonanza of ruffles, feathers, skinny pants, chapeaus, and puffy sleeves — nearly all of it in black — beat both Rami and Jillian. ”I’m the youngest winner of Project Runway ever — it’s crazy!” he said to the cameras. ”But hello? Did you have a doubt? Come on. What up.

As obvious as the Siriano sweep might have been to plenty of us, damned if the show’s producers didn’t try to throw us off the scent. At the top of the hour, echoing his own comments from last week, Tim wondered if Christian might have indulged in a bit of over-designing, even though he’d wisely jettisoned those dubious-looking feather trousers. (Which he seemingly replaced with a feather gown that the judges loved.) Sensei Gunn’s doubts sent the bespectacled little dude into a mini-crisis of confidence. We were treated to shots of him nervously watching Tim check in with Rami and Jillian. For once, Christian couldn’t help comparing himself to his rivals. ”It messes with my head,” he said. Then Rami mused to the camera that the 21-year-old had ”a lot to learn about designing for women,” that fashion wasn’t ”just for models.” As my kitty Lilu (who’s grouchy tonight) might say, ”Gggggrrrrrreeeeeooooow!

Of course, whatever nerves Christian was battling — performance anxiety the likes of which I can only imagine — he still managed to throw around a little of that snappy attitude — which, yes, I have grown to enjoy. He worked in his favorite adjective six times. (Season grand total ”fierce” count: 27. I’m actually gonna miss that little game. What will I count now? The number of times Paula Abdul actually speaks coherently on American Idol?) ”Be really skinny, don’t eat!” he trilled to his model. And I totally cracked up when he grabbed Jillian’s Mohawk-hat thingie and strutted around the workroom, ready for his catwalk moment. Work it, girl!

Not surprisingly, the biggest crisis of the night came in Lewis Land. For someone who speaks with as little apparent enthusiasm as Jillian, she sure is a stress ball. After admitting she’s incapable of making a quick decision and sticking to it, she started having doubts about the models she’d chosen for the Bryant Park Big Top. The problem? They were, as humans tend to be, all different sizes. As she paced around the studio, fretting, stressing, and proclaiming, ”This is horrible,” I scribbled in my notebook, ”Boo-hoo!” So her procession of waifs will be different heights — what a tragedy! Granted, it’s likely that the producers trumped up this segment for lack of any real behind-the-seams drama. ‘Cause the truth is, the finalists really got along this year. There was no Kara Saun getting chastised because a friend made her some shoes; there was no Chloe breaking down in tearful exhaustion; and there was no Laura questioning Jeffrey’s work ethic. (Aside: I’m sure you all noticed that one of Jillian’s catwalkers was former America’s Next Top Model winner Jaslene. Oh, how I wished the cameras might have taken a moment to record her spouting some sort of characteristic nonsense about her life as a Cover Girl. I wonder if she is, as she once proclaimed to Tyra, ”still spicy”?)

Finally, the day of the fashion show arrived, and we watched the contestants engage in their primping rituals one last time. (No more shots of Christian flat-ironing his hair!) In the wee hours of the morning, the trio scurried off to Bryant Park, where Christian gleefully pranced atop the empty runway in shoes that looked downright gargantuan on his tiny frame. As a team of backstage dressers furiously assisted the designers with last-minute stitching and what have you, the cameras swept across the audience. Soon Heidi, sporting a sleek new hairdo and clad in a sparkly top (which I deemed ”icky”) and skin-tight, high-waisted denim (which inspired my husband, this column’s Resident Pants Inspector, to grumble, ”She’s got bad jeans, man”), introduced the judges. Shocker! Guest critic Victoria Beckham failed to crack a smile! (More on that topic below.)

In reality, Chris March and Sweet P also showcased their goods that chilly February morning, but as far as last night’s episode went, Jillian was first at bat. Her prêt-à-porter collection was by far the most accessible — and very feminine. (Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with her being a member of the sex that has, you know, breasts?) From separates to evening wear, her versatile line was lovely. Tim Gunn had questioned the loop-de-loo poodle sleeves of her black-and-white striped sweater, but the judges gobbled it up, calling her knitwear ”spectacular.” Alas, that wasn’t enough. Nina dinged Jillian for lacking cohesiveness. And — cue sad Heidi face! — she ended up in third place. ”I’m really surprised by the outcome,” she said. Guess it’s time that Long Island psychic who had foreseen Jillian’s superstardom took her crystal ball in for a tune-up.

Next came Rami, who made good on his promise to prove that, in fact, he doesn’t live in ancient Greece — or the drapes-and-curtains department of Pottery Barn. I’m still in love with that black-and-white strapless frock he unveiled last week, and I’d race to Saks tonight (in my pajamas!) if I thought I could afford the pink-trousers-and-flowy-polka-dot-top ensemble. Strange thing, though: I attended the actual show, and I distinctly remember the crowd clapping heartily for the aforementioned dress and the show-stopping woven gold gown. Yet on last night’s episode, those looks barely got any applause. Some sneaky editor has been futzing around with the applause-o-meter.

NEXT: What’s wrong with Rami