March 05, 2008 10:28 PM by DA Southern
The final Project Runway show has always seemed a bit anti-climactic in past seasons, but this year, we have a real fashion race on our hands. Christian’s more youthful, avant garde style vs. Rami’s layered, classic styling vs. Jillian’s penchant for what is truly stylish and wearable could produce a real surprise ending.
The recap of the last episode when Rami was given the final spot over Chris quickly blurred before us to set us up for the frantic pace of the final days leading to the show. We picked up the action three days before the Bryant Park show and saw the three remaining designers prepping for the show as they were fine-tuning their collections.
Tim Gunn was in to view the remaining pieces of each of the designers and first stopped at Jillian’s designs to see what she was going to present. He seemed concerned with a sweater that looked out of place with the rest of her designs and told here to rethink it and to have fun with it as he headed over to see Rami.
Rami pulled out a classic blouse that was made of antique lace that Tim called, “Phenomenal” as the other designers looked on in awe at Rami’s design.
Tim’s last stop was with Christian and as he looked at the different pieces he could not help to wonder if Christian had maybe “Over-designed” the pieces. Tim even was amazed that the cockiness that had been Christian’s hallmark was gone and Christian said that “He was taking a break”. Truth be told, Christian was truly inspired as to how good Rami and Jillian’s designs were and humbled for the first time in the competition.
The designers went to model casting for the Bryant Park show and each of the designers seemed to have a certain type of girl who would represent their fashions. Christian was especially vocal when he said that he needed girls who could “Walk for days” and, of course, were “fierce”.
Two days before the show, the designers met with the makeup guru and did a final fitting with their models. Rami was concerned about Christian’s overall design sense and that he wasn’t designing for women but more for models and Jillian was second guessing herself and her model choices. Essentially, the big show was near and the claws were starting to come out, but still, no where close to past seasons.
With one day out you could see the edginess start to affect all three of the designers. Jillian was still obsessing over her model situation and started to have a mini-meltdown. Rami seemed to be a calm voice and told Jillian to focus on the positive, which had Jillian snapping “No”.
Hair was next on the agenda as they all went to meet with Nathaniel Hawkins, the TRESemme stylist who would make sure everything was hair-tastic for the show and then one final tweaking with the models before show day.
Tim came in and gathered the designers to tell them the order for the show. Jillian was showing first, followed by Rami then Christian. Tim then shared how proud he was of them and said that he truly believed that the work on this season of Project Runway was at the highest level ever for the show and to trust that they were each superb designers.
The Day of the final Runway Show had the usual frantic pace always attached to any Runway Show Day and all three of the designers were nervous being so close to the prize. They then went to the Bryant Park stage and walked the runway to get a sense of what was in store for them. With two hours left to show time, the designers were racing to complete the last minute details and dealing with late models.
With five minutes to show time, it seemed as if all three designers had finally settled down and had readied themselves for the moments ahead. Heidi greeted the crowd and introduced the judges, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors and guest judge, Victoria Beckham, and then started the show.
Jillian gave a quick greeting and then started her show. I have to say that as I saw Jillian’s designs come down the runway, I believe she had grown the most on this season and had just as good of a chance to win as the two men.
Rami was next with his collection that “Celebrated women”, as he called it, and, said that he truly believed in it. Rami’s designs have always had a classic styling that he portrayed all season long, but this collection was years ahead of anything he ever produced on the show. Rami seemed to have a real sense of the female form as we saw his designs come down the runway.
Christian did a little dance on his way out said that everybody looked “fierce” and told everyone to enjoy the show. Christian’s designs were much more elaborate, as was to be expected. They were really the other end of the spectrum from both Rami and Jillian and truly had much more of a youthful exuberance about them. I guess it would all come down to what the judges saw as the most unified look.
The after-show audience seemed to enjoy each of the designer’s collections and Jillian’s collection seemed to strike a chord with a lot of the celebrity women in the crowd. Everybody seemed to be drawn to a designer who fit what they liked, as is the very nature of fashion.
The judges were meeting and all were very impressed as to the quality of the collections. Victoria Beckham expressed how impressed she was with the overall quality and Nina Garcia said that any of these collections could have easily been in Fashion Week as a legitimate collection. Heidi called the designers out and told the designers that she was “Blown away” by the collections from each of them.
Jillian told the judges that she was inspired by the final challenge of the season at the Art Museum and really did try to be very innovative in her designs. Heidi told her that she loved the new shapes in the designs that Jillian had displayed.
Christian then told the judges that he wanted to create a “Hard and soft effect” in his design. Beckham thought his designs were “Major” and all of the judges thought he may have been a little too extreme in his use of black but that the collection truly reflected him as a designer.
Rami said that he was inspired by Joan of Arc and Heidi was amazed at the weaving technique that he had incorporated into his designs. Kors agreed about the overall cohesiveness of Rami’s design as did Victoria but Nina was the most vocal saying that Rami had the strongest voice and understood who he was as a designer.
The judges then conferred back and forth about who they thought should win. Each judge pronounced the pros and cons of each designer’s overall style and you could see this had to be the hardest decision ever on the show.
Heidi called them out for the winning announcement and told them that they each put on an amazing show but that only one would win. Heidi told Jillian that she had truly stepped out of her comfort zone to put on an amazing show. Heidi told Rami that his collection truly showed what an enormous talent they knew that he was. Heidi told Christian that he was a master showman in all of his designs and way beyond his twenty-one years. Heidi then told Jillian that she was “auwt”, leaving Rami and Christian for the top spot.
Heidi then announced, after a very pregnant pause, that Christian was the winner of Season 4 of Project Runway. Heidi gathered Christian’s family and friends for the celebration and Christian said a final “fierce” as we saw him leave the runway and get into his car that he won.
This truly was the best crew of designers ever assembled on Project Runway and, I, for one, can not wait until the next season, which they are casting for right now.
Even if you have never had an appreciation for fashion, a healthy dose of Project Runway will make you a convert. If nothing else, come for the drama then stay for the fashion. You won’t be disappointed.
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