The age old question for any season of Project Runway. Well for this first season of the show, back on original home network Bravo, we finally have that answer and our final 3! But let’s not jump ahead quite yet! How did we get there? So from last week, our final 5 became a final 4 — Garo, Sebastian, Bishme, & Hester. Each designer would have 5 months, and a $10k budget. So at the 2 month mark, Christian was on his way to check in with each designer.
First up, Christian visited Hester in Santa Fe. Hester was going for a y2k recoco, digital tech concept. All in all though, it actually read as just a bunch of ideas. Her collection was very print heavy. The one print I saw was an angel or a broken doll and I did like that one. It seemed that with some time, it paid off in terms of Hester’s quality in her work. I saw some cool looks, but I wasn’t seeing a collection, just a hodge podge of random, crazy looks.
Next up was Sebastian in Ft. Lauderdale. This was like night and day compared to Hester’s visit. Hester clearly can work in chaos and a bit of disruption, but Sebastian’s workspace was super neat, so organized. Because of the mess, I couldn’t see how much Hester truly had done. But it was clear Sebastian had lots accomplished. His idea was stemming from palm trees on ceramics jars. His dad helped him with creating some gorgeous leather belts. Christian was smart to advise him to keep an editing eye and to not overwork his looks. Every trick Sebastian has in his bag, we don’t need to see in each look. I saw cohesion in his creation, but Sebastian still needed to better define his story, how to articulate who his type of woman is, his type of client.
After Sebastian, we were led to Baltimore, to visit Bishme. His studio had a very comfy vibe. He had everything planned out along the walls. His focus would be on the buildings of Baltimore, a mix of the old and of the new. He sees potential in the old, to rebuild, and be better than what it was. It was hard to see any of this because Bishme didn’t have much done, maybe 2 looks. He had all of his fabrics out, seeing some crazy, bold orange color. He has lots of ideas, but the visions had not come to life. Christian helped him figure out next look, what fabric, get going.
And finally, for the last visit, it was to see Garo. Christian thought he would be at Garo’s studio in NY, but instead, he was off to Phoenicia, upstate NY. I guess there is something to be said in just getting out of the city, going remote and really just getting to work. Garo was going for a space, galactic concept. So in his looks, we would be seeing glimmers, textures, and rigid lines. I was seeing some stunning fabric choices! Of course there were corsets! But were these looks dated, too much in that of an era type look? Christian reminded Garo to not go for costumes, but think commercial, a bit more ready to wear.
It was then back to NY, to a new workroom in Brooklyn. Everyone was hugging and then eager to unpack their designs. Each designer’s collection was set at 10 looks. Garo actually did 14, whereas Bishme only had 8. I guess it is smarter to have more, edit down, than be in a scramble to finish. As everyone was unpacking, getting organized, each designer was of course curious to see what the others had created. But before embarking on work, the designers were visited by Karlie & Christian. They announced that before being at the finish line, there would be one more challenge, and Nina would provide those details at the Elle offices.
While at Elle headquarters, the designers received a tour, including the desired fashion closet, aka heaven! Nina was explaining this is where in a given shoot, in a given story, they work to make that story complete. And that is what she would be there to help the designers in doing. The designers would show 3 looks to secure their spot in the finale. Two looks would be ones already completed, and the 3rd look would be a new one created in the next day and a half, an 11th look. Nina would review each designer’s collection and give guidance as to a look that is missing. That is the look each designer would create, and take part in showing as this 3 part mini-collection.
First up in the Nina consultations, Sebastian. Nina was seeing a very rigid, hard collection, so she wanted to see something soft, an eveningwear look. For Garo, she asked to see a tailored suit. Moving on to Bishme, Nina was finding some cool pieces, some standout looks, but she thought the collection needed a more accessible look. Bishme was tasked to create a street inspired outerwear piece. And finally, for Hester, as again we already all knew, her collection was crazy, very print heavy. Nina thought a breather look, something devoid of any print was needed. Hester didn’t seem to be listening though!
So first the designers sketched, and then they were off to Mood with an additional $400 budget. There was lots to do, so everyone was ready to get back to work. The time felt limited to create a whole new look, and make 2 other looks runway ready! Day 2 rolled around, and Bishme was really struggling on creating his look. It was time for model fittings. Christian saw that Sebastian was not going for a gown, and he rethought that decision, scrapping the leggings and just focusing on a gorgeous flowing goddess gown. And for Hester, with this white look she was creating, he thought it read cheap. She was going to change it to red, but decided to try and focus on making what she already created in white better.
It seemed however that some red was going to get on the look regardless! Hester sewed thru her fingernail — YIKES!! She got blood on her garment, so she had to rethink her look. And so while Hester was having an external freakout, Bishme was continuing to have an internal struggle. But all those issues aside, it was time for the morning of the runway! Bishme decided he had to scrap his bomber jacket and make a hoodie dress. And Hester ended up creating an entire red look. In seeing so much of these new 3rd looks, I was ready to see everything being presented! Guest judge for this runway was President & CEO of the CFDA, Steven Kolb.
I said it last episode, and will say it again, this is Sebastian’s competition to lose. And unless he has 8 other truly hideous looks we haven’t seen, I don’t see how he is losing. With what has been seen so far, Sebastian is significantly outpacing the other designers. Unlike Hester & Garo, I feel Sebastian designs clothes that are far more appealing to more women. They are looks women would want to and actually could wear. Say this in comparison to someone like Hester, who really designs for such a niche market. But outside of just a little more commercial appeal, Sebastian still designs clothes that are high fashion, super chic, items that any major fashionista would want to don.
With what I saw, I loved his color palette. This bolder orange can go wrong, but not in Sebastian’s hands! He does have a clear designer voice, such a great aesthetic. His looks are just such a high quality, so well made. I loved this geometric take, and with this new look Nina tasked him to make, I was in awe. He really has created something special with the stunning leather belts and this chain link mesh items were really cool as well. I believe the judges said it was clear Sebastian and Hester were in the finale. And while that does hold some truth, it was slightly laughable to compare what Hester created, to the far more superior looks from Sebastian.
Hester made the finale, more so than Garo, because she lucked out in actually creating a great, new 3rd look. Her 2nd look was not the best. Even though I still stand by my comments from the last episode, that she was barely making this final 4, I did figure she would still somehow make the final 3. I would still be amazingly shocked if she wins, but she did rise to this challenge in creating this 3rd piece, granted there was some major luck in that. The fur-like skirt was better than the top. And this fur-like material was more successful in this piece than on that jacket. I guess it was a blessing in disguise she bled on her original look because that white look I don’t think would have been as successful!
This first look above, it really gave off such a Clueless vibe. And I did really like this first look. I wish we could have seen more of the print, and so I am hopeful the rest of the collection would show more some of these prints she keeps talking about. And while I do love this first look, this still isn’t something to me that I haven’t seen before. Hester says she wants to dress the world, but her looks are always going to just service a specific type of client; it is not going to appeal to the masses. Another huge issue for Hester is going to be if this collection has any cohesion. I didn’t see that in these 3 looks. And my sneaking suspicion is that her collection is going to be hit or miss for every other look. I will probably like one, think it’s cool, but every other look, I am probably going to be like THANK YOU, NEXT. This is pretty much how I have been all season for Hester, and that doesn’t deserve the win in my book!
And so with Hester and Sebastian securing their spots in the final 3, it came down to Garo & Bishme. Garo nabbed that 3rd spot, and really, that was the right decision. Bishme was not ready. Garo was far more prepared, already had all of his looks created, and could just focus on editing and fine-tuning. Whereas Bishme was going to be scrambling to still create 3 looks. And so yes, while Garo’s new look wasn’t a success, his other 2 looks were intriguing enough to leave me wondering what else he had. I also saw some snippets of his other looks throughout the episode and I was curious! This first look, with this stunning, shimmery overlay, I am shocked Nina was not a fan. I was in love with this first look. It had such a goddess-like flow, and really cool with the reveal to create such a different vibe with an asymmetrical dress look.
This next sparkly number was such a fun dress, and something a little unexpected from Garo. I didn’t like the shaping of the neckline, but the mixed media portion with the leather was cool. So it was surprising to see these 2 amazing looks, ending with a fairly hideous suit. The color choice was so drab. I do think he had the hardest new look to create in such a short amount of time. But regardless of not accomplishing that, he still made some questionable choices in even beginning here, color, fabric, etc. I still think it was the right call for Garo to move forward over Bishme. I feel is collection is going to have more cohesion and was overall just more runway ready.
It was also odd seeing Bishme fail so badly in this final challenge. Both he and Garo did pretty well in these more timed challenges throughout the season, but Bishme’s head was out of the game a bit. With his family issues ongoing, I am sure he wasn’t in the best headspace. And so it was bad just seeing this hoodie dress gone so awry. I don’t get why he ended up just tacking on so much fabric here, with the pink and orange. It all felt very sloppy. I also don’t get this as being outerwear. I don’t know why Bishme put himself in this box, in immediately getting stuck in this bomber jacket idea and then scrambling to even put this hoodie dress together.
I liked his other 2 looks, but I don’t think he even picked the best of what he created to show. And thinking back to his original vision for this collection, the architecture of Baltimore, I didn’t see that in these looks. I did really love the top he created on the skirt look. And the all black leather look was very cool as well, but I wasn’t left wanting to see more. The only reason I knew there was more was because we saw some other items throughout the episode. Had I not seen those, I would have no idea where this collection could go, so I just wish Bishme had shown stronger pieces.
I am very ready to see all of the finale pieces! And as an added bonus, the winning designer of the season also gets to create a capsule collection thru Nineteenth Amendment, which will be sold on Bravo. I clearly know who my winner is, but let’s see if the judges agree!