The first season of Project Runway, back on it’s original network Bravo, is getting down to the wire. We are very close to the finale! And thus the final 5 become the final 4. I won’t say for sure that all final 4 designers are showing final collections. But these 4 are nonetheless still in the running for the title and all of the prizes! And what better time than right before the finale, for the designers to really let the judges know who they are as designers.
For most of these final few designers, we have a good sense of their designer POVs and aesthetics. But in this final challenge, they were tasked to really go bigger and bolder in that regard. For this challenge, the designers were asked to create any look they wanted, showcasing who they are as designers, but to also design an experimental art installation to create the setting, the environment, for each look. Over 100 industry insiders would be in attendance, as well as the judges. And with a personal invite from mentor Christian Siriano, rapper Cardi B would also be in attendance.
The designers were choosing their own models this week, with Sebastian choosing first since he won last week. He then chose the next designer who would make their selection, and so on and so forth. You really got to see who was “buddy buddy” & Tessa was not on that list! This would be a 2-day challenge, with a $500 Mood budget. So first up would be sketch time & time with each designer’s creative consultant for their art installation room. Each designer, minus Sebastian, really had clear visions of what they wanted. But all in all, Sebastian was feeling as if he was running low on ideas.
It was then time to head off to Mood! Christian reminded the designers to go for a buzzworthy, memorable, look. Hester decided to go back to a picnic-type look, but supposedly much more aggressive. However, she was frustrated over her color choices. Tessa wanted to focus on design aesthetic “wabi sabi”, showing their is beauty in imperfection, very much going back to the ever-discussed unfinished hems of hers. It was then back to the workroom to complete the first day of this challenge. Garo was focused on his corset work. Bishme was having some self doubt since he is the only self-taught designer in this group. But it was Hester who really went nowhere on the first day, barely getting anything accomplished in this first day.
Day 2 began with a field trip as the designers were off to the CFDA offices. While their, the designers met with Steven Kolb, President & CEO of the CFDA. The CFDA is known for working with and boosting the profiles of emerging designers. This could be such a huge resource for the winner of this season! As important as this was, so was making the final 4, so it was back to work the designers went. Siriano sessions were up next. He cautioned Hester to not repeat silhouettes she has already tried. For Tessa, he urged her to have an editing eye, very similar to his chat with Bishme.
Model fittings were up next. This was going well for all, except Hester. Her top/bodice was off and she had no extra fabric to use. Christian was getting super stressed watching Hester cut away and Bishme only trying on part of his look with his model. The designers were then off to check on their art installation rooms with their models. Most were happy sans Bishme and Sebastian. Bishme wanted his room to look less literal, more abstract. And Sebastian was just very unhappy, only seeing yellow, not seeing his palace creation. Cue in MAJOR BREAKDOWN moment for Sebastian as they headed back to the workroom. He was really wanting to just leave, go home. He took a time-out, chilled out a bit, and came back ready to fight! He is really the best of this bunch, so it would have been a shame to not see him in the finale.
As the morning of the runway approached, everyone still had so much to do. Bishme decided to go with a really cool hair look, using strands of his dress in the model’s hair! But also attaching to his model’s hair was the over-exaggerated back piece as a part of his look. It was not standing up properly, so he had to do something! And Christian was again stressing out, this time over Tessa & Garo, really working down to the wire! This week’s guest judge was Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President of the fashion office and the Director of women’s fashion and store presentation. So she knows fashion and what coordinating installations should look like.
PHOTO CREDIT — ALL COLLAGE PHOTOS COURTESY OF TOPIC PROJECT RUNWAY!!
I think all in all, with this final 5, it was fairly predictable in a sense who was making the final 4. As much as I think Tessa did deserve the shot, I found it hard to see that happening, even before seeing the final looks. So I feel the only shock in this episode was that Sebastian didn’t win this final challenge! I get that his room was not perfect, and he had a hard time formulating his story, but this look was clearly the best of the bunch. Yes, I do think the rooms should be factored in, but I felt with Garo’s look, there were some negatives, and so yes, his room bolstered his look. Whereas with Sebastian, yes, the room was not the best, but it didn’t take away from how beyond stunning this look was.
Heading to the finale, this was just the best and it’s sad that once again, Sebastian was unfairly not handed the win! I think his room would have been better thinking like a museum, versus a palace concept, and this was a sculpture, his looks are such works of art. Or, if he left the room as is, an if he could have incorporated a little color somehow in this look, would have been better. But again, what a stunning look! And going back and just seeing all his amazing looks in final judgment, that should have somehow factored into the equation here as well! It’s just like Brandon said, he doesn’t need a concept, he would put on his looks and just go out, be ready, and be such a standout!
So clearly I wanted a Sebastian win, and I still feel as if this is his competition to lose. But for this final challenge, Garo was named the winner. I didn’t hate his look, but there were some negatives here. I don’t like the knit he used. This look read upscale and using a knit really downplayed the regal quality it should have been giving off. The corset was gorgeous, but I don’t think Garo should win this competition based off his corsetry skills!
The bodice into the neckline was gorgeous! But the sleeves he added were not elegant, really again, stripped away from how great this look should have been. His major greatness here came from how amazing his room was. And I will give him that, this interactive, robotic dressing room was beyond cool! Elaine really made the case for this win, and I guess she somehow got Karlie on board. He should definitely be in the finale, but still not on board with this final win!
I feel as if I am still on the fence about Bishme. This picture above even has me rethinking it. Something about the fabric up close, doesn’t read as great on TV, but does in this photo. I felt he was going bigger and bolder, but it was still maybe a bit too much. I think he should have either focused solely on a crazy back embellishment, or an exaggerated peplum on the front. This look definitely photographs well, but had some fit issues as you took a closer look. I think this is still Sebastian’s competition to lose, but if Bishme can really fine tune and edit, he does stand a chance.
His room was not my most fave, but it was not too bad. I loved the concept of Baltimore and the roses growing from concrete, but I think he stripped away too much from the literal concept and maybe went too abstract.
And even in predicting it would be Tessa who was out, I also figured the bottom 2 was going to be Hester & Tessa as Hester really has been super inconsistent. This look was just such a hot mess. It is not big or bold, just her same old, same old. And it wasn’t constructed very well. I just kept thinking she spent $500 on this?? This was in no way impressive, especially the top.
Her baroque forest concept was great, but the look wasn’t! Hester was put into the finale to add some color, both literally and figuratively. Yes, her looks are fun, cute, very niche. But lots of people do this and do this better. She is theatrical and very silly with her looks, but when they read costume and are not done well, the luster is lost. She had some super low moments here, whereas with Tessa, she had some highs and then safe moments. And yes, Hester had wins, but I would still adamantly disagree that her wins were deserved, especially the bathing suit and the space looking suit! I don’t know if Tessa could have pulled off a win, but I would be beyond shocked if Hester does. It would take a miracle, so I hope she at least provides some good drama, aka color, in these final episodes!
Tessa I really thought did so much better on this challenge, both the look and the room. This ceramics studio was one of the best, probably 2nd or tied with 2nd to Hester. It was so fitting and still very interactive with the potter’s wheel and the model actually working with clay and allowing that to be on the look. It was just such a super cool concept. There is a lot to be drawn into here with, both with the look and the room.
I love this color palette of her look, so bold and still very Tessa and her minimalist style. And no hem issues here apparently, but to be honest, I never noticed them before. Because other than that, whether it was wabi sabi or not, the rest of the work on her looks always felt impeccable. I thought she really gave this such a great final push here, and far surpassed what Hester created. And one of the judges talked about who is buying this in a store? Do they really think Hester’s looks are going to be sold in this mass market, wide spread appeal? Both women have clear aesthetics, clear designer POVs. But I can see more women wearing Tessa looks than Hester.
But what’s done is done. I am eager to see what these final 4 will do with 5 months to create and a $10k budget! That is a lot of time and a lot of money, so the looks better convey that!
PHOTO CREDIT — ALL COLLAGE PHOTOS COURTESY OF TOPIC PROJECT RUNWAY!!