Season 14 of Project Runway — the season where not one, not two, but THREE designers showed up without tools; the season where Tim blew up in the workroom and screamed the f-word at a designer; the season where we got to hear the musical stylings of Merline and the clever catchprasing of Kelly From the Deli — has come to a close. And what a season it was…or not.
After last week’s judges’ critiques left the final four scrambling to get whole collections ready in two days for New York Fashion Week, Tim tries to build the designers’ confidence back up. He tells them that they should feel great about the critiques. And in case you missed the “previously on Project Runway” from two minutes before, he gives each of them a rundown of what the judges just said: Kelly needs to go bananas and bedazzle it up. (“You don’t have to tell me to go bananas ’cause I will go bananas, apples, and oranges all at the same time.” Kelly is the best.) Candice needs to tone down the drama. Ashley needs to work on the detailing. And Edmond needs to “sex the living daylights out of” his collection. Tim Gunn, ladies and gentleman.
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Only Ashley and Kelly need things from Mood, so Tim opts to go shopping for them, which gives them all equal time in the workroom. Kelly and Ashley would probably be okay with less time. But Candice and Edmond have to do serious retooling on their collections, while the other two are really just fine-tuning. Tim comes back from Mood with 20 pounds of glitter for Kelly, who makes a concoction of colors with it all to slather on shoes. “I want to eat it, but it’s probably toxic and will kill me,” she says.
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Turns out Kelly isn’t the only fan of glitter: When Tim comes to check on them, he says he wishes he could stay in the workroom to help. “I’d be glittering the living daylights out of this,” he tells her. Who knew Tim loved bedazzling so much? (Video proof here.)
It gets less fun when he turns to Edmond. Edmond has decided to create new pieces, without so many ruffles, but Tim tells him that’s a bad idea, that he should just be making minor adjustments, not making big last-minute decisions. He reminds Edmond what happened with Sean Kelly last season: He was given a bad critique from Nina about the fringe, but his final collection was all fringe, and he still ended up winning. So I guess that means bring on the ruffles?
Candice has decided to pare down to avoid going full-on costume. She takes out the giant hoop skirt from the finale look and the wooden skirt she made. The biggest thing she has to do is create new pants because the ones the judges hated were on backward. (I’m assuming she meant sewn together backward because otherwise I think you could just turn it around?)
Ashley is doing the most minor edits: re-dyeing zippers and looking through model measurements to make sure she’s getting the best fits. However, Tim warns her that in the past, people who had the best critique ended up dropping below the others when it came to the final collection.
In successive order, the designers do model fittings, get to meet with Sally Beauty for hair consults, are given Lexus cars to arrive at the show “in style,” and pack up their bags.
NEXT: It’s final runway time…[pagebreak]
The next morning at 3:30 a.m. (that’s how you know designers are committed — you couldn’t get me up at 3:30 a.m. for anything), the designers arrive at Moynihan Station (Lincoln Center is no longer in vogue). After a bit of backstage craziness and a busted zipper, the four collections walk the runway.
As Kelly‘s “disco Barbies” were walking down the runway, I wrote “fun!” in my notes. And that’s exactly what the judges think, too. Zac says “it’s a little flash, a little trashy,” but he’s a fan — even though he does have an “allergic reaction” the to the Spandex-like fabrics. However, Heidi is on board with those. The long wood-panel-like dress is her favorite, and she says the matching fanny pack is “chic”…the first time that word has ever been used in reference to a fanny pack. Guest judge Carrie Underwood says Kelly isn’t afraid, which pretty much sums it up. Any designer who can send models down the runway with bedazzled wedge heels and headphones has no fear.
Edmond dedicates his 10-piece collection to his mother and calls it “Anna’s Roses.” Apparently “Anna’s Roses” is code for “Lots of Dresses.” Edmond was one of my favorite designers all season — and I know many of you liked him as well — but I’m pretty confused by this collection. There’s nothing wrong with an entire collection of dresses, but there’s no cohesion here. The judges agree here, too. (Maybe I should apply to be a judge for season 15!?) Heidi says half of the dresses were good but then he had looks like the “toilet paper gown.” Nina says he lost his essence: Instead of creating sexy clothes like we’ve seen all season, he tried to created showstoppers, and the collection got away from him.
Even though the judges hated the cherry blossom fabric, Candice was running out of looks to complete her collection, so at the last minute she threw in a cherry blossom dress. It started her show, then it transitioned to leather dominatrix-style looks, then it finished with Asian-influenced costume designs — yes, they were costumey, even without the ginormous hoop skirt finish that she scrapped. She definitely edited down from her original three-look critique, but the collection still lacked cohesion. With absolutely no context, Carrie says it’s hard for her to get behind a lot of leather (which made me LOL). Nina liked Candice’s first look but didn’t think it worked with the rest of the collection. Zac called her a little “witchy,” and Heidi referenced Frederick’s of Hollywood. Ouch. (But kind of true.)
Ashley‘s collection changed the least from the three-piece critique to the final 10-piece runway collection. She improved the zippers and fit issues, and she pared down the floral headpieces. The judges are clearly fans. Nina appreciates how she’s creating the kind of clothing that isn’t already on the market for plus-size women. Ashley has incorporated flawlessly forms that are considered “taboo” for full-figured women. But there are some flaws in her collection: Heidi doesn’t like the romper, and Zac says she took a few shortcuts, such as gluing on the flowers to her final look.
After the designers each tell the judges why they deserve to win and the judges deliberate a little longer, the decision is announced.
What do you think Runway fans? I was really torn between Kelly and Ashley’s final collections, and I’m still not sure what I think. Let’s talk about it below and on Twitter @realdalener.
Be sure to come back tomorrow when I’ll have an interview with Ashley. And I’ll see you here next week when we get to do this all over again with Junior! (Get your first look at Project Runway Junior here.)