Project Runway season finale recap: season 9 finale recap
We were THIS close to a Gretchen-versus-Mondo-level judging catastrophe. But alas, all is right in the Runway world.
After the crapfest that was last week’s competition, in which pretty much nobody was a winner yet no one lost, the four remaining designers — why there’s not three of them, heaven only knows — have $500 and a couple of days to whip their collections into shape before Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Anya has so much work left to do after the previous night’s judging that it seems almost impossible that she can pull out one of her miracle wins. Kimberly and Joshua’s mini-collections also underwhelmed, even if the judges weren’t as hard on them as they could have been.
Tim swoops in after the judging and acts like the indulgent, “good cop” parent who undoes all the hard work that the “bad cop” disciplinarian parent has done. If the designers are toilet-training babies, Tim basically let them poop their diapers one last time, even after Heidi, Michael, and Nina spent all night teaching them to use the kiddie toilet. Tim pretty much tells them that their designs were perfect no matter what anyone says. Except for Anya’s. Hers were garbage.
But never count out this scrappy beauty queen with the half-shaven head. She’s like that girl in college who doesn’t start a term paper until 2 a.m. the morning it’s due and distracts you from writing your own by instant-messaging you all night. Then she ends up getting the A, and you get a B–. She can pull out the win at the last second, leaving everyone else infuriated. During the last-minute Mood run, she employs the perfect strategy for her: She pulls fabrics from the racks at whim, giving no thought to strategy or those pesky “shapes.” Alas, the judges end up LOVING her fabrics. Of course!
Meanwhile, Joshua has completely let the (undeservedly) positive judging from last week go straight to his head. Suddenly, he’s the Queen of Styling, and it’s his competition to lose — until the cloud of Fashion Week hangs too heavily over him, and he dissolves into a blubbering, face-fanning mess who just got “tackled” by a 58-year-old “linebacker” named Tim Gunn. Of all people, Anya, the recipient of Josh’s jealous glares and unadulterated Haterade all season, comes to the rescue. Awww, Anya really is a sweet person, even if she can’t make a damn sleeve.
Viktor, who so badly wants to be known as the catchphrase generator this season, leaves us with a gem worth cherishing. “Oh my Lord of the RING” is neither timely nor original, but it’s so Viktor. I also loved “You gotta stir the motorcycle. You cannot let go cuz that bitch WILL fall down.” (Okay, I added “that bitch”). Because it’s the finale and we’re feeling generous, Viktor, you get the Christian Siriano catchphrase seal of approval! Congrats, you Fierce Tranny Hot Mess!
NEXT: Maybe it’s the all-important styling, maybe it’s the lighting, but some outfits that stank up the runway last week look pretty good under the Mercedes Benz big top.KIMBERLY
Let’s start with Kimberly’s finale looks. I despised Kimberly’s designs last week. Her cobalt and teal color palette looked cheap to me, and her abysmal styling made me think, “That’s so Raven!” Not even in a good way — it literally made me think of Raven Simoné (WHY is the “e” accented if it’s silent?!) in the overly loud, garishly costumed final season of her hit Disney Channel series That’s So Raven. This week, Kimberly cleaned up the styling and proved that she has a singular point of view. I liked a lot of the bold colors and jaunty angles of her collection, although unlike Nina, I hated the “peekaboo” holes in the clothes. Still, while the clothes were stylish, they looked out of place in a high-fashion runway show. Kimberly held on to the dreaded fuchsia, duck-bottomed bubble skirt from last week and paired it with a cream-colored bubble top — Heidi thought it was all too bubblicious. I loved her ivory pants and blouse combo, although I disagreed with Nina and guest judge L’Wren Scott about the lamé (now that‘s an accented “e” that makes sense!) dress; too much of the wrong type of sparkle makes a dress look cheap.
Speaking of cheap, Josh’s collection is up next! He opened with a blah purple version of that orange Flintstones dress he made a few weeks back. It made his model look like Grimace of McDonald’s folklore. Then came a few looks featuring that abysmal “Joker” print that Tim savaged during the home visits. The print won some compliments from the judges this week, but I have no idea why. Tim was right last week when he said it was sad-looking enough to make him cry. As for another previous bad idea that Josh forced into fruition this week, he had some looks that looked an awful lot like the “plastic stained glass” inspiration he came up with during the Governor’s Island challenge. Before, Viktor correctly talked him out of it, but here comes the stained glass to wreck the day. The neon green shorts, which the judges inexplicably liked, brought down what was left of the collection. They weren’t trashy in a chic way — they were just trashy, like some bottom-of-the-bin 2(x)ist creation you’d find at a thrift store for drag queens. As for the fabric, my viEWer buddy Nanette asked, “Who walks into a store saying, ‘I want something in neoprene?'” Many of the outfits looked disposable. I mean, the only way you could wash some of those looks would be to wipe them down with rubbing alcohol. I don’t know, part of me suspected the judges lavished praise on Josh’s collection to throw the viewers off. To me, that was the only explanation.
NEXT: L’Wren Scott rocks it as a guest judge despite the spelling of her name. And she kind of reminds me of Madeleine Stowe from Revenge, which can never be a bad thing…
As expected, Viktor delivered a beautifully constructed, completely tasteful line of clothing that millions of women, both young and old, would love to buy and wear. He opened with an adorable little dress with a printed top and black skirt. Even though I liked his white jacket and gown pairing last week, he utilized that drool-worthy white jacket even better by pairing it with black leather. However, I completely agreed with Nina about Viktor’s four sheer looks. They were a missed opportunity. Michael called them a “runway joke.” As Heidi said, those looks were a little “bitchy girl,” which Viktor would undoubtedly take as a compliment. They were two separate collections competing with each other, and one was clearly stronger and more inspired than the other. Still, the prints and mirrored glass looks were gorgeous, and the looks varied widely in terms of shape and construction.
Once again, the editing made it look as if Anya were in much more trouble than she actually was. I don’t really care what Josh or anyone else says about Anya’s construction skills. It doesn’t matter if that first dress was held together by grains of sticky rice and Elisa Jimenez’s spit: It moved like a dream. Her ethereal black and white swimsuit almost reminded me of some otherworldly, tropical fish; it was gorgeous and just floated down the runway. But regarding the shapes of the dresses (and yes, they were pretty much all dresses with no sleeves), Heidi noted that eight out of ten looks featured a plunging neckline. Nina and L’Wren pointed out that most of Anya’s easy, Caribbean looks wouldn’t necessarily translate to city life, which is true — you’d have to wear these looks bra-less — but not every designer has to design for every single demographic. Aside from her two rather boring earth-tone dresses, I kind of thought Anya had the most consistent, memorable collection. It just made me happy.
THE FINAL JUDGMENT
Kimberly is rightfully the first one eliminated. She had some good, wearable designs, but none of them looked expensive or high fashion. Then, they announce that Viktor is out. Really?! Before Josh? While Josh had utter confidence in his collection, Viktor’s was clearly better, despite Michael’s observation that there were “hills and valleys” in terms of Viktor’s consistency. But Josh’s green shorts were unmistakeably trashy! They belong in a novelty store across the street from me called Nasty Pig.
When it came down to Anya versus Josh, I was terrified that the judges would make a Gretchen-level mistake and hand the competition to Josh. I actually think that would have been worse than Wretchen winning last year. Arguably, Josh’s personality is worse than Wretchen’s, and at least her final collection wasn’t as aggressively offensive as Josh’s.
Much to America’s relief, Anya won instead. Anya is a deeply limited designer, but I think her taste, resourcefulness, and refreshing style carried her through. It’s very much up for debate whether she’s a better designer than Viktor or any number of previously eliminated contestants, but at the very least, she’s an imperfect yet interesting winner with endless potential. Josh calls Anya’s win a “little bit of a shock value,” but it’s so not. The judges have adored Anya all along, and her above-it-all behavior on After the Runway has suggested that she’s had it in the bag for a while. Yay, Anya!
UPDATE: Read my interview with Anya!
What did you think of the final four collections? Was Anya’s better than Viktor’s? Was Josh’s better than anyone’s? Have you seen the top 9 contestants’ looks online yet? Are you glad this season’s over and just looking forward to All-Stars? Did any of you catch Project Accessory? Sound off on the finale and the entire season below!
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