And the season 16 winner is...
Our Sweet 16 Project Runway Party has ended. And from start to finish, it was quite the surprise.
The final episode began with the designers stressing over the critiques they just received from the judges — except for Kentaro, who has decided that he’s already lost and he’s just going to do whatever he wants. Meanwhile, Margarita is stressing in double time: In addition to showing a collection at NYFW, Hurricane Maria is headed toward Puerto Rico and her family might not make it out in time. She still works on finishing touches, along with Ayana and Kentaro, while Brandon takes a nap in the workroom.
Tim comes in to talk through changes with all of them (the resounding takeaway is “you do you” but in a very eloquent Tim Gunn way) and then they have model fittings. They work for another day, but honestly it’s mostly just filler and flashback to remind us of their journey. If this were Survivor, this would be when they light the torches for the past contestants and we all itch to just fast-forward.
The morning of the runway, Tim tells Margarita that her parents are still trying to get out, but they’re playing it hour by hour. Then the fuses backstage start blowing so they can’t use their irons. Then Ayana rips a ruffle straight off her dress before sending her model out. So basically a typical runway day.
All four designers show their 10-look collections before Heidi, Zac, Nina, guest judge Jessica Alba, and a large crowd of people, including all the other season 16 designers, a few season 16 guest judges, and former Project Runway contestants. Some of the more notable guests in the crowd give their feedback after the show (they all love everything!), but back on the smaller runway, the real critiques begin…
Ayana’s collection is titled “Evolution” and is meant to document her personal journey. And though her journey may have been rough, this collection is not. Zac says he loves how she can dress women in forms of modesty that are still hip, and she’s truly representing a whole community of women who are often ignored in the fashion industry. Nina likes it, too; she’s impressed how the collection goes from athletic wear to street wear to the “precious” finale gown — although, she does wish there were some color in the collection. Jessica tells her the tailoring is beautiful. Heidi says that the looks got better and better as the collection walked the runway. She’s obviously a fan of not-modesty (“Don’t judge me, but I like to show a little skin!”) but is still in love with most of the looks. And everyone is in love with her final gown.
Margarita’s collection, “Fish Out of Water,” takes her culture as inspiration and finally shows the judges what she’s all about: vibrancy! Nina is overwhelmed by how much energy, passion, and color runs throughout this. Zac says it was spectacular and even “joyous.” Jessica loves how it’s sexy, sensual, and Latina. Heidi says, “I’m not a Latina, but I might as well be one” since she’s into all the glitz and glamour. There are places where Nina thought it was too much, but she does think Margarita did one thing truly well: making a runway moment. When Jazzmine ripped off her sarong on the runway and revealed a bathing suit beneath, the room went wild. (I was there; they weren’t joking when they said everyone burst into crazy loud applause.) And even Jazzmine pointed out how important it was for not only Margarita’s collection, but for the plus-size community as well. (Collections from Kentaro and Brandon continued on page 2…)