Project Runway — The Finale

Many challenges, all the eliminations, and it was finally the time, finally the finale, the final 3! I had seen bits and pieces of each designers’ collection, even throughout this episode, so was eager to see what everyone would present. So with only a few days before the finale, no time to waste, the final 3 designers headed back to their new Brooklyn workroom. They learned they would be showing at Skylight One Hanson. And that there was plenty to do over the next few days — finishing looks, model castings, styling selections, and consultations with both Maybelline & Tresemme. Christian also announced Marni would be back to help the designers with styling their collections.

Each designer would only show 10 looks. So the surprise 11th look from last week, really wasn’t necessary! And for Garo, who now had 17 looks, no extra looks were even needed! Before work on their collections, the designers first had model castings. They were all making deals and swapping like crazy! Afterwards, Christian announced the designers would have the option on the next morning, to go to Mood with a $300 budget. This would still be an important decision for each designer to make because even though extra resources could be bought, it was time to work on collections that was really being spent!

But before that important decision, it was time to finish up this first day with model fittings. Hester decided to remake her new Nina breather look, since she only made the original in 2 hours. Garo was obviously scrapping his Nina look because he had so much else to choose from, and this look was poorly received. Sebastian was also debating showing his new Nina look and also was thinking about going to Mood the next day, but for thread! Christian was not feeling either of those decisions. So as the next day approached, Sebastian did decide to go to Mood and was the only one. Christian seemed less than thrilled! He did get thread, but also some new fabric, which we later see he ended up not using. Not time well spent, but I guess Sebastian just needed to make sure what he already had was all he needed and there were no doubts!

The next part of the day was filled with more model fittings and Christian consultations. Garo saw his fit was off on one of his corset gowns. And with so many options for looks, it was good Marni popped over to help him fine tune his theme, to best select the looks — Punk Rock Meets Elegance. For Sebastian, he really needed to make sure he was not over-working or over-accessorizing his looks. And what worked well for him was having so many separates he could do a good bit of mixing and matching. And finally for Hester, we saw she had a major wig she was using. Good thing Marni was around to help tone down some of her crazy extra details, especially with makeup ideas!

After a long work day, the designers were in for a surprise, a personal request from the finale guest judge to come for a meeting. So with that, they were off to meet the amazingly talented designer Diane von Furstenberg at her Meatpacking location. She was full of wise and sage advice for the designers! And I am sure as great as that moment was, the designers knew there was still lots to do, heading into this final day before the finale. Sebastian was making some major edits and Christian made sure to put in a request for an extra belt! Garo and Christian debated on if he should really scrap the sparkly look he showed last challenge, the only one that every single judge loved! The end of day came super quick, and ended with some lovely parting words from Christian. He spoke of his experiences mentoring, also giving some advice in advance of this huge runway day.

But before heading home, the designers checked out their runway location and were in awe! As amazing as this space was, I don’t know if this new format of Project Runway can beat showing at NYFW with this cool runway spot. We also saw looking back moments for each designer. The day of the runway was finally here though, and only 3 hours to be ready! Luckily, each designer would have helping hands, 3 dressers each. The models were arriving and Sebastian was laying down some ground rules for them, i.e. no sitting, no eating! Christian was worried with Garo as he was still sewing. You could feel the pressure rising for each designer, especially as Christian called for the 30 minute mark. While Garo was snipping away, Sebastian had an unexpected stain to get rid of! And no surprise, Hester was using all her helpers to actually help dress her, always with the drama!

So with this final 3 runway, I would love to say I was vastly impressed. I just felt in previous seasons, there have been stronger finalists in the mix. I could actually see a decision being hard to make. And even though the judges announced it was still a hard choice, I feel the choice was clear as day, and thankfully that was the named winner, Sebastian! He was really the saving grace of this season! This gown look above, such a standout compared to the other 2 designers’ collections, and his collection as a whole just surpassed the other 2 collections by leaps and bounds! His collection was based on reminiscence, looking back at his life in Colombia. And I very much felt he had a clear theme, a clear story, which led to such cohesion, and you could see this inspiration in all of his looks.

This look above, the 2nd shown, was stunning. Sebastian used some bold color choices in his collection, bold orange & emerald green, pairing nicely with some softer hues, such as creme white and nude taupe. Sebastian hasn’t always had a clear story for his work, the easiest described vision, and even a hard time articulating who is woman is. I have an idea on that for him! His woman is luxe, very regal, but with some edge. She adores fashion, but still looking classy. DVF said it best, “extremely refined, but casual.” This is certainly elevated RTW, but with some high-end pieces included. This collection is still super creative, while still being able to be understated and not having to use every bell and whistle to prove such creativity. It is high fashion, but very commercial and of the 3 designers, his would appeal to the most women.

Sebastian created some amazing details throughout his looks. Such as seen above in this flowy goddess gown, the line-patterned bodice, seen in other looks for him, super intricate and stunning. This was his new “Nina” look and it was the right decision to add & keep. The other designers faced problems in what they showed, and also edits. Sebastian didn’t seem to have that problem. Actually, when he originally showed this look above, he paired with one of his belts. I think it looks better without, but that is not to take away from how amazing his leather belts were. Such another standout detail for his look!

And 2 other details worthy of mentioning, the amazing details on his various pants and the hand-woven, laser cut mesh-like work he did, both as seen in this look above. When I see these looks, I see a sexy, strong, confident woman. Sebastian really knocked this collection out of the park. Clearly I can’t say enough positive statements. And honestly, I think the only negative I recall from the judges was that they didn’t like his opening look, the orange skirt look he originally showed last week. My, how awful! I actually disagreed with the judges here because I thought this look showed us more of what to come. It also would spread out 3 of the looks we had already seen. But for those who had not seen this look, it showcased his inspiration, creative details, and his bold color choices.

For Sebastian, I think of the 10 looks, there was only one I didn’t care for. But showcasing 2 more of my faves above & below!

Garo’s collection, even though he said earlier in the episode was sort of punk rock meets elegance, he actually gave inspiration to this being a “Detour Through his Cosmic Mind.” I really felt a huge issue for Garo was creating too much and in that regard, he didn’t know what to select to show. I think if he could have streamlined his focus, his theme, a bit more in the earlier stages of his work, rather than creating so much, he could have created less looks, but stronger, more cohesive ones. He certainly had a few amazing looks, but he also had some misses. There would be certain elements then to given looks I liked, such as his fabric choices, but not then his creative choices aesthetically. This look below perfectly encapsulates when Garo created a masterpiece, such a stunning fabric, gorgeous silhouette, and using his structuring and corset skills well.

And while this look above was a strong opener, he didn’t maintain that momentum. I was actually quite shocked that Garo was the only one who still had so much to do, and he certainly had some technical issues with a few of his looks. He bit off more than he could chew and really should have again, streamlined his focus a bit more, or made better editing choices. And really the judges were not wrong in taking him out of the running for the win, so he came in 3rd. The judges were also right to call him out on not showing the one look they all loved from the week before. Everyone else showed their same 3 looks, so he should have cared less about repetition and more about strength and showing standout looks. The black, sparkling look below, another example of a stunning creation. However, it was just such a shame seeing other less than impressive looks, and honestly, that number was just too high!

I appreciated that Garo did create some more RTW looks, and that every piece wasn’t that of a costume nature or a show piece. But his more basic looks just didn’t stand out and were not memorable. In comparison to Sebastian’s more RTW, commercial pieces, they still had special elements, and I didn’t see those touches in Garo’s pieces. Knowing he did have 17 looks to chose from, I was left confused on some of the choices he made for what to show. But really another issue for me with this collection just came down to not loving some of his design choices. I didn’t care for his spiky or pointy tops on some his looks, such as the one seen below. And really with his corsetry work, I still feel it at times takes away from the elegance of a look, seeing all of that corset work from the back. The looks then read costume, not mass, wearable fashion a large amount of women would choose to wear.

But his finale look was a gorgeous gown, great fabric choice, with some very cool gloves!

So with Garo coming in 3rd, Sebastian with the win, that of course leaves Hester in 2nd. Her collection was Cyber Recoco or Y2K Coco. You could easily tell her collection lacked cohesion, likely due to not picking a clear inspiration or theme. I actually loved this cyber concept, but then when she was talking about her collection, she kept talking about punk rock. These are 2 different concepts! And even the judges were throwing around other concepts, Marie Antoinette & Clueless. So all in all, there were just too many ideas floating around. She certainly had some strong, editorial pieces, opening strong (the look seen below), but didn’t maintain any momentum. Her looks were up and down, good and bad. The judges had lots to offer by way of critique, unlike that of Sebastian. So as I stated above, it was laughable the judges had to pretend this decision was hard.

The judges were fans of Hester all season, but she was not the right winner here. In there so called “debate”, they kept speaking of her vibe. But this is a fashion competition. You can still make fashion and set trends like Sebastian, without having to create a crazy persona or vibe as the judges called it. She has some cool looks, but it isn’t worthy of the win, nor this prize package. For Sebastian, Brandon said he could be ready to show tomorrow at NYFW. And in that regard, also ready to work with the press/media, and sell to stores, really create a business for himself. That could not be said of Hester. Diane von Furstenberg was sort of offering her a job to work with her. Yes, while that is a compliment, it also kind of means she isn’t quite ready to do this on her own.

She is creative, but I don’t see how she is moving fashion forward, as the judges said. Plenty of people create these sort of cool, crazy pieces, lots of colors, all of the bells and whistles. I think she wants everyone to love her clothes and for everyone to be able to wear them. But the truth is, she just doesn’t create that type of fashion. Her work doesn’t appeal to the masses and is not made for everyone, but I am sure would cater well to a certain audience. She had some great looks here, one of my faves is pictured below, but her less than impressive looks felt a little sloppy or there were less than tasteful elements, such as this red faux fur she overly used and poorly misused.

So again, to re-state and heck even overstate because this was the right decision, Sebastian rightfully nabbed the win! And here is what he wins —

-$250,000 furnished by the Pilot’s FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pen

-a feature in ELLE

-a capsule collection thru Nineteenth Amendment, which will be sold on

-own featured role in a Bluprint digital series

-$50,000 to put toward their own design studio also courtesy of Bluprint

-Plus, for the first time ever, Project Runway is partnering with one of the most prestigious organizations in fashion, CFDA (The Council of Fashion Designers of America) for a one-on-one mentorship including all the tools and connections to create, grow, and sustain a business in fashion

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