By Adam B. Vary
October 11, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
  • TV Show
  • Bravo

Although we’re only going to see the first half of Project Runway‘s loooong anticipated finale tonight — consisting mostly of Tim Gunn Visits the Designers in Their Natural Habitat — that still gives us a good week to wildly speculate as to who is going to walk away America’s Next Top Designer. Except I don’t think my speculation need be all with the wild. In fact, I think I’ve cracked it for sure.

Uli is going to win. My reasons are twofold.

(See Adam’s reasons after the jump.)

One, as EW’s style sheet mavens pointed outa few weeks ago, by far the two strongest showings at Olympus FashionWeek were made by Jeffrey and Uli. (You can clearly see for yourself here, here, here and hereand with American Idolfinalists singing underneath to boot! YouTube, will your pop-culturalwonders never cease?) Of the two, Jeffrey’s is the bigger surprise –feminine and delicate and very rarely punk rock. But when the equally,er, unconventional Santino Rice pulled the same sartorialbait-and-switch on last season’s finale, the judges responded with, ”Where’d Santino go?” (In fact, the change is so drastic that on tonight’s episode, it appears to lead Laura to accuse Jeffrey of cheating. Or it could just be that she finally caught wise to the highly suspect Italian inscriptiontattooed on his neck.) Uli, meanwhile, does some striking variations onher signature style, giving the judges a clear narrative of who she isand where she’s going.

And two, after Uli won the final regular challenge of the season, we didn’t then see her enjoy the reward: a photo shoot for Ellemagazine’s First Look page. At the end of previous episodes, we’d seenKayne go to his Miss Universe fitting, and Michael his TRESemme adphoto shoot after they’d won their respective week’s challenges. What’smore, after Daniel Vosovic won the final regular challenge of seasontwo, we saw him go to a fitting with Iman before the credits rolled.Not so, however, with Uli and her prize. Why? This gets into an issueof timing: The four finalists showed at Olympus Fashion Week September15, so by the time the episode in which Uli won the First Look rewardaired on September 20, the producers almost certainly knew who Season 3’s Chloe Dao or Jay McCarroll was going to be. But because Project Runway‘s grand prize includes an entire photo spread in Ellemagazine, they didn’t want to give away that Uli’d won the wholeshebang by cutting to a photo shoot at the end of the 9/20 episode thatwould’ve seemed much more extensive than just a First Look page.

And, OK, two-and-a-half, Uli is so much more pleasant to be around than Jeffrey.

Q.E.D., Uli wins Season 3. Of course, this is just one man’scarefully considered and practically airtight opinion. Do you have abetter theory? Who do you want to win? Will Jeffrey weather Laura’saccusations? Do I seriously need a life? Do tell!

Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.
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  • 12/01/04
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  • Eli Holzman
  • Bravo
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