This is the last showing of Project Runway ever on Lifetime, and probably the last all-stars season for a bit, which does make sense! So to crown the World Champion of Project Runway, it was great to see these last 4 designers give us a truly spectacular runway, leaving the series to go out with a bang on Lifetime!
The designers met Alyssa at Baccarat in NY. For such a glam environment they were in, it was the right mindset to be in for inspiration with the designers’ final collections. Each designer would create a 6 piece collection and the perk, it could be any theme they wanted. Their budget at Mood would be $3000, with 4 days to create it all. Another perk, the designers would get some help in the workroom.
Model casting began at the luxurious hotel. The designers would also sketch there as well. Biddell was thinking of conspiracy theories, the Queen of England as a reptile! Irina was wanting to do something very geometric, very sculptural — to work with deconstructing shapes and creating a 3-D aspect. Michelle was inspired by a favorite album, Harvest Moon, so she wanted her collection to be called Harvest Mood. And finally, Dmitry didn’t seem to focus on a clear direction, but rather creating a killer jacket.
The designers were off to Mood to shop. Biddell found a fabric Anthony Ryan used, but thought heck, it fit with this theme, he would risk it! It was then back to the workroom to finish up Day 1 for the designers’ work. Everyone was planning, then many starting full-fledged looks. Dmitry was intent on keeping a schedule. Irina was not on this same path as her first day was spent cutting triangles, no draping and no patterns.
For Day 2, the designers’ helpers arrived! Mondo would work with Irina, Erin Robertson with Dmitry, Sean Kelly with Michelle, and Christina (from this season) with Biddell. Anne came by for her check-ins as well on this day, and the helpers stepped aside for a break during this time. Anne loved what Michelle was doing; she even tried on her bold green jacket! She reminded Michelle to take her somewhat frumpy fabrics and to give them elegance. Onto to Dmitry, she put in his mind how this could be a triple win for him — the only designer who could nab that title! She loved his jacket he was so focused on, but asked him to add a little sexiness to his work. Jumping then to Irina, she noticed 2 very similar red looks and suggested her collection needed more ebb and flow. And finally, with Biddell, she really loved his interesting fabrics and the manipulative work he was doing. She questioned if there was cohesion and pushed he find that connective thread.
On Day 3, well really throughout the episode, we were taken back a little on each designers’ journey, personal confessions of why they want to win. Irina experienced a mini meltdown, which was understandable given what her mom was going thru. The models also came by for their fittings. This mostly went well. Michelle changed up her looks a bit and Irina finally found herself in a better place.
The last and final day quickly came, and there was lots left to do. Little bit of a bummer, the helpers were only there for 3 hours. Brand consultant, Francesca Amfitheatrof (formerly of Tiffanys), also stopped by for a visit. She discussed with the designers how important branding is. Michelle thought of for this collection, peach romantic moodiness, very emotive looks. Dmitry was going with a dark, romantic, graphic collection. Biddell was set to be the dramatic showman. And finally, with Irina, she was pursuing bold femininity, which actually is something I always see for her, really sticking to her true designer aesthetic. To end the day, the designers had a little champagne and cake celebratory moment.
The morning of the runway was filled with still a good bit to do for each designer, lots of final finishes, details and even doing some re-fittings. Dmitry had a minor snaffu with one of his jackets, but handled it like a pro! Even at 15 minutes left, many models were still not dressed! Of course fast finisher Biddell was doing a little rapping! But rapping aside, it was time for the runway. This show would be in front of the NY Fashion elite and many previous Project Runway designers. The guest judge for this finale was actress Andrea Riseborough.
So first up, I will discuss Biddell. He pushed his street-style with aggressive elegance, giving us Regal Reptilian. I have not been a fan of Biddell most of this season. His aesthetic is just not my thing. But I really commend him for this impressive collection. I would have to agree with the judges in his 4th place finish though. While I loved so many of his fabric choices, I didn’t love everything he did with them and how some of the final looks resulted. Using a corkscrew like fabric was so interesting, but the zipper down the front of that dress, it just lacked sophistication.
I loved the 2nd look, such fierce pants, but this super long-sleeved top was too much for me. The judges even pointed out the sleeves being too long! With this skirt 3rd look, I thought the fabrics used here were super stunning, and I loved the top, so chic. But the skirt was far too boxy for my taste.
The 4th look, shades of blue, again, such a killer pair of pants. His use of mixed media in this look was so amazing. But the jacket, it was so flared, really just took away from this piece. The 5th look, the shorts piece, definitely the worst for his collection, even with the judges agreeing. I couldn’t find anything positive here, such an ill-fitting look. Up until the final gown piece, I can’t say that I fully loved any complete look, but this last look, this was a stunner. It was so luxe and regal, which really Biddell needed for some of his other pieces. I also didn’t care for his styling choices here with the braided pigtails & huge jewelry pieces. I really think Biddell could use some help editing! Everyone was right here in saying this collection did lack cohesion. He has a clear designer POV, but there was just so much going on here, as the judges pointed out, this work needed some finesse.
Deciding 3rd was tough for me because I love both Irina & Dmitry. I wouldn’t want to offend either. The judges gave it to Irina, but I think ultimately I would have given that spot to Dmitry. He never really settled on an identity for this collection. Before presenting he just said this was his personal journey as an artist I guess coming to life. I think the lack of specific direction here hurt him. These looks were super Dmitry like, but I can’t say I saw growth here, or any elevation. I saw more from Irina in that regard, so 3rd would have been Dmitry in my book.
You can’t take away from his stunning red jacket opening look. The cutouts were beyond amazing. And these pants, I mean anyone and everyone, including Isaac is obsessing over them. I don’t know that any other look really matched this level of success.
The next look in the black LBD, it was a little too short, and I didn’t care for the shape of the over-sized sleeves, but I did love the shimmery neckline. The 3rd dress look, it had great Dmitry cutouts, but the sleeve pads, the fringe, it was probably the weakest of his looks.
I don’t think Dmitry had great cohesion here and this next yellow dress probably didn’t help that concept. It was a great color. I appreciated the drama, but the side embellishments I don’t feel were needed and the length again, way too short! The 5th look, another pants piece, I did like this look. The sheer top was spectacular. The pants, not as good as the first pair, but still an overall competent look. The last look should have been a bang, but I didn’t feel that with this dress. I loved the sheer aspect, but again, wish it was longer. I got what the judges felt here in wanting more. Dmitry even teared up some on the runway, but I agree with the judges, this collection was not enough for the win!
I would love nothing more than to have given Irina the win, but I don’t think this collection beat Michelle. Michelle really did find some magic. But I can very much feel good in saying Irina should have been 2nd. I appreciate that Irina pushed herself here. As much as I wanted to see 6 super glam, super luxe looks from her, including some killer gowns, I love that she gave us that more commercial, more RTW side, really showing that she can do it all. I don’t know how you could have paired some of what she did here with the gown/dress goddess vibe I love from her. But if that magic could have been found, hands down she would have won.
With this collection, it was very RTW, still some super luxe looks, but varied silhouettes. I think to really perfect what she was aiming for here, she also was lacking a bit in time. Other designers were relying on fabrics and prints to do their work. Irina was creating her own, making her own textures, and so in that regard, it wasn’t about simply cutting fabrics and patterning. But this collection still embodied what Irina set it out to be, the strength of a modern woman, Fearless Femininity.
Her first look, a jacket look, I did love this blue piece. I felt the top to bottom lacked some connectivity, but overall, I really liked this piece, solid opener, really showing this sculpture and geometry she was aiming for.
I agree with the judges, the 2nd look was probably the weakest. I didn’t love this color choice in lime green, but I appreciate the direction she was aiming for. I thought the 3rd look, red & pants piece, very solid and I loved the pants here.
The next piece, the red dress, my fave of the collection. It was super chic and so cute, still very sculptural. I’m afraid of white pants, lol, so I don’t think I could rock those in this next look, but I loved the black sculpted top, so interesting. The judges raved over the final all white lace look, but I still contend the red dress was the best! I agreed with the judges that there was a heaviness to some of her pieces, which really didn’t go with her last 2 lighter pieces.
Super hard to take away the win from Michelle though. She really did pull out every stop here and I hope she can take some of this magic home, to revitalize her business. Her goal was textured baroque, romance, nice to naughty, her Harvest Mood collection. The first piece was stunning. I don’t know why everything looked so short for me, but other than length, I loved the peach color and the mixture of lace work.
The 2nd look has grown on me now and I really do like it. Fierce pants and such a shimmering and shiny, eye-catching top. The 3rd look was a little repetitive then to this 2nd look. It was a great fabric choice, but not as successful as the 2nd look.
It was that look and the full peach look that were the weaker links for her. But neither took away from the supreme quality of the other 4. The fully peach look just felt a little too voluminous. The green jacket look, such a success. Everyone would want that jacket, and whatever was under it looked amazing too.
And the final piece was a great closer. The fabric was another solid choice, so sexy and dramatic. Probably what I didn’t care for more than any of her looks was the big hair — way too over the top with already such a voluminous collection.
I do congratulate Michelle on this win. So what again does she win —
- Guest editor for Marie Claire
- chance to also collaborate for an editorial and photospread for Marie Claire
- Create a signature color for Butter London
- A trip for 2 to London, sponsored by Butter London
- a $40,000 Brother Sewing package
- a cash prize of $100,000
So no more Project Runway on Lifetime, but ready for the focus now on this new season on Bravo!