Four designers enter New York Fashion Week. Only one will come out a winner.

By Dalene Rovenstine
December 22, 2016 at 10:02 PM EST
Credit: Karen E. Evans/Lifetime

“Let’s say it all together: cohesion.” —Tim Gunn

Cohesion was the biggest problem for the final designers of season 15 and the resounding note from the judges. So with only a day until NYFW, they get $500, a trip to Mood, and a few hours to put it all together. And we get lots and lots of flashbacks.

Tim checks in with them after they purchase new fabrics to make sure things are on track. Nothing too exciting happens here except Roberi saying, “Confusion is my thing,” which may be the best thing he has said all season.

The next day the models come in for fittings and hair and makeup consultations. Then Tim makes them gather ’round so he can give his “I’m so proud of you” speech. He gets choked up a bit, and I have to wonder if he appreciates these designers more than those in the past few seasons. Season 15 contestants have all been such great sports and really open to his mentoring.

Anyway, no time for sappy stuff, they have to get up early…

…as in 3:30 a.m. It’s the morning of the runway! Zendaya is there to guest judge their finale looks and things are hectic backstage. Laurence has a rip in one of her skirts — but that looks like cake compared to Roberi’s model going missing. He has to fit his new model, Hildy, into a pair of shoes that don’t fit her (on ANTM, Tyra Banks made me believe all models wore shoes too small for their feet, but this interaction is making me think otherwise).

After the big fashion show, the judges and designers meet back on their mini runway for critiques of the collections.

Credit: Karen E. Evans/Lifetime

Inspired by rebellion and punk rock, Rik created a collection that somehow ended up combining paisley embroidered denim, black-and-white print, and colored leather in a way that made sense. Zendaya loves it and wants to walk off with some of the pieces: “That jacket right there — holler at your girl.” Nina says the air came out of her when the first look walked the runway. And she had been skeptical of the denim, but she thought it all pulled together well. Zac says he wanted a little more bedazzling, but overall it felt “now and cool and California.” Heidi was just happy it was cohesive.

Credit: Karen E. Evans/Lifetime

Although Roberi’s “confusion” concept worried Tim, the “experiences and memories” inspiration wowed the judges. Heidi says she’s proud of him and excited by the looks in his show. Nina says it was a turnaround from the sneak peek before — she likes how he mixed refined pieces with outerwear. Zac says everything has a feminine but cerebral quality to them, and Zendaya says it’s almost ethereal…but his jackets are “dope.” (I won’t lie — I was shocked this was Roberi’s collection. It felt different from what he’d done this season.)

Credit: Karen E. Evans/Lifetime

Kooky. There’s really no other way to describe Erin’s collection. But kooky works here. Zac says she has a unique sensibility: It’s “pop-glam, art school, cut and paste.” Zendaya says she had fun watching the looks and it felt expensive while chic at the same time. Heidi says there were a lot of wow moments and it was a true fashion show. Nina likes how the clothes have a sense of femininity and humor at the same time — and she tells Erin she has a true gift for design.

Credit: Karen E. Evans/Lifetime

Well, this was a change. Not a stitch of black on the runway in Laurence’s collection. And what’s more, her collection was showing “the light at the end of the tunnel,” so there was ~white~. Zendaya says it’s beautiful and chic but also has a nice toughness. Zac says Laurence’s collection is the most wearable but had a lack of runway impact. I agree, and so does Heidi. She says the women were sophisticated, but there were no wow moments. Nina loves the tailoring, but the more commercial pieces didn’t seem like they were from the same designer.

After giving mini speeches on why they should win, the judges deliberate for a little longer and then declare the winner, who is…


To quote the winner herself: “An ex-Mormon girl from Utah just won Project Runway season 15.”

What do you guys think? Were you happy with the final runway show? Did the right person win? Or are you already thinking about those adorable Junior kids!? Before you go, make sure you read our interview with Erin about her win and her time on this season.

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Project Runway

Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.

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