Project Runway — It’s the Road to the Finale

It’s that time for Project Runway, the road to the finale, where we see the final collections of the designers shown during NYFW! We at this point are left with the final 4, Nancy, Sergio, Geoffrey & Victoria. Each designer would have 5 months to work on their collections, with a $10,000 budget. Each collection would consist of 10 looks. The designers were sent home to get working! The first part of the episode consisted of Christian visiting each designer to check-in.

First up, Christian was in Philadelphia, visiting Nancy. She had a really nice setup for a studio right next to her apartment. During this season, we saw Nancy a little all over the place at times, but I guess given more freedom in a work environment and parameters, we see a different Nancy, one who is really scheduled and organized. I love that she had a cardboard popup of Christian to keep her work spirit up! Nancy had so much completed for this visit with Christian. Her collection was all zero waste. It really did look like a lot of wearable art. She was also being all inclusive with her looks, even creating another look to work for a wheelchair model. I really loved what I was seeing here. There was a lot of detail and intricacies. Christian’s advice was to make sure to edit, not overwork the looks. And a nice parting bit of fun for Christian, he and Nancy ran up the steps in Philadelphia, like Rocky, how cool!

Next up for Christian was visiting Sergio in NY. He lives in a stunning apartment and his studio was actually in the apartment. His take for the collection was to look at global warmings’ impact on the planet. Sergio was trying to create glaciers melting into ice caps. He had some stunning fabrics chosen, and had decided to use upcycled fabrics. He also decided to grow leather in his bathtub, which actually looked pretty gross! We saw a lot of the middle part of his collection, but I was with Christian on his thoughts here and that the message wasn’t reading clear. And another bit of athleticism for Christian as he left Sergio, playing a little soccer!

Christian was then off to L.A. to visit with Victoria. She had a lot completed for this visit with Christian. She had decided to create a logo, which she put on some of her looks. I didn’t care for this, it read cheap, and let’s be real, she is not LV or Coach, not at a point yet where she needs that level of branding! There were a few interesting pieces, but I wasn’t seeing a lot of cohesion. I saw a lot of RTW, nothing very high-end. Looking at what I was seeing overall was underwhelming. After their studio visit, Christian was able to meet Victoria’s family, her husband and son.

And last but not least for Christian’s visits was seeing Geoffrey, going back to NY, Brooklyn. Geoffrey had a rocky start to working on this collection. He had pulled his meniscus, so was working thru that injury while trying to work thru this collection. He really hadn’t completed much. Lots of sketches and fabric swatches, but not any completed looks. He was thinking futurism for this collection, working on specific details for the collection, fabric manipulations, texture, quilted chainmail, and more. I was intrigued by what he was saying, but Geoffrey really had his work cut out for him to pull everything together and to do so very quickly. We also later learned Geoffrey had gone thru a break-up and was having some financial woes from closing his business. So he had been thru a lot and hopefully it wouldn’t keep impacting the work on his collection.

With all of the visits done, everyone finished their work over the next couple of months and were then back to NY. Victoria had an entire new hair look, big ball of curls gone to straight locks of blonde. Before getting back to work on their own collections, the designers went to Christian’s show at NYFW. But not too much downtime for fun, as the very next day, they were all back to their new workroom to get back to work! And since Christian had a lot going on after his show, Karlie was there to welcome the designers. The designers started unpacking their collections, Nancy literally inside one of her boxes making sure everything made it out! We saw Nancy actually used no horsehair in this collection and didn’t seem to be showing much repetition from what she created on the show. I really loved this liquid like fabric she had chosen. Geoffrey had clearly gotten to work and completed everything. He looked to have created some interesting outerwear pieces. All of the designers were of course curious as to what each other had done. Victoria changed a lot of her collection from Christian’s visit. It definitely looked better than what I had seen previously!

Of course Karlie being around was not just for a warm welcome, she had a little surprise for the designers. The judges were apparently throwing out the rulebook. It was not set in stone how many could show at fashion week. It could be all 4, just 3, or even just 2. The designers had 48 hours to pick 3 looks to show the judges. It could be their 3 strongest looks, or 3 favorites or looks they wanted critique on. The designers then had to look at the model cards and pick upon themselves who would get each model. Geoffrey naturally went into panic mode, not sure what to show the judges. He did have color in his collection, but really loved his all black looks.

The next day back in the workroom, Christian returned. We saw a little more insight into each collection. Geoffrey was honoring his Dad’s purple heart, creating a collection based around armor and protection. I worried about seeing Geoffrey’s cohesion, but also just any sort of mass appeal to his work. I wasn’t seeing a lot of super wearable pieces, but there were some really cool looks. Victoria was still about some branding and accessories, but Christian warned her about distracting focus from her looks. For Sergio, Christian advised him to make the looks feel as modern as he could. Christian didn’t seem to have much feedback for Nancy, really loved what she had created, which actually brought her to tears. It was such a genuine moment of appreciation and joy to see from her. But what was also pretty cool to see was one fun accessory she had created, a bag that dubbed as a boxed wine cover, genius!

Model fittings were up next. Christian provided some final tidbits of advice. He was not going to be with the designers the day of the runway because he was preparing for the Oscars. And with that, the designers finished off their night’s work, Geoffrey making a new skirt for one of his looks and Nancy treading very delicately because one mistake with her fabric could be endgame. For the morning of the runway, Sergio was having an issue with a visible panty line. Geoffrey decided to use stud embellishments for his makeup look, but was having a freakout moment because of the beading placements. And Victoria had decided to use all of her accessories. The guest judge for this runway was President and CEO of the CFDA, Steven Kolb. The winner would be receiving a mentorship thru the CFDA so Steven’s input would be great to have.

It was certainly hard to see where exactly the judges fell with this 4 because they really did have critiques for all. In my opinion, they seem to have the least amount of critique on Nancy and I would be floored if she were not chosen to show at NYFW. I really feel that the judges will let all 4 go thru though. But Nancy really delivered here. She did strive to make an all-inclusive collection, and really doing more than most by creating a look for a person who is in a wheelchair. I loved the feathered bodice on this look, great transitory moment from skirt to cape.

The print she used for her suit-esque look was stunning. Such a great fit on the model. And then seeing this liquid metallic look, such a lovely color and really a high end look anyone would love to be in. I do agree with the judges she should go a little more modern on the styling, less with the makeup. And she should also think of some breathers, so not everything is so print heavy or detailed focused. But editing down versus having to edit up is certainly where one would want to be at this point!

Sergio and Geoffrey both have some work to do, but I did find what they have done so far intriguing. I guess because of some stunning fabric choices, and just knowing Sergio’s technical skills are going to be beyond top notch, I did find his work a little more appealing. This first all white look, did look great, a little off from the panty issue, but did look amazing.

He had one look that weighed 45 lbs, I am sure hard to wear, but it was just so stunning. This look just screams so regal and luxe, I feel it is certainly one standout show piece for him and something a lot of women would want to wear.

I didn’t love all the fringe. And the judges were right that some of these looks did read more dated and he needed to get messy with the editing, think less is more. Sergio seemed to be very receptive of the criticism, but the question is, can he really take this super high end escalated collection and take it from that classy somewhat dated feel to something more modern.

With what Geoffrey showed here and snippets of what we have seen in other looks, I just don’t see cohesion. I don’t see him catering to the same customer. I see a lot of the coolness factor, but not sure how it might come altogether and if he can streamline focus on some of these ideas. There is almost too much going on. This first purple look was probably the only one I liked. A very cool puffer jacket look with a new chainmail skirt he had actually just made, so he was already making changes!

This dress look again was really cool with the metal mesh, but the bodice shaping was odd to me. The silhouette was also very ill-fitting as the judges pointed out.

And while it was nice to see menswear, I did not care for this mustard look. It was a lot of layers, very heavy handed. I think the judges felt underwhelmed by this and so did I.

Victoria was my least favorite. I do see she is going for a certain look, a certain customer. As the judges mentioned, it was great to see separates, you can do a lot of mixing and matching. The judges liked the hats, I really didn’t, but I guess the point was you don’t need to have all of the hats and bags, which is what Christian told her and she did not listen. On this first look, I liked the pants, very cool, but the embroidery print work was not appealing to me.

Then you jump to this suit look which really fell out of place for me, felt dated.

I really did love this jumpsuit, although the judges did not and felt it looked cheap. Go figure the one look I like, the judges don’t! she also had some technical issues up close and some fit issues here and there.

I think some of the designers have a lot of work to do if they want to be in the running. I am really hoping Nancy pulls of this win though!

Creating that Perfect Look!!

And for reference, here is one of mine that I consider the “Perfect Look”, where everything comes together!! Take a look at my thoughts on how I put it all together, creating this look and some amazing details about specific individuals who deserve some major recognition here!


So first, you have to look at the occasion, the event, where is it that you are going? For me, in this instance, I was attending NYLS’s annual Barrister’s Ball aka “law school prom”! The event was held in NYC — Battery Gardens. I knew I needed something more on the formal side, something very special for my last year in law school and my 1st time attending a ball. I prefer shopping for more of a special event at an actual store or boutique. Online shopping is fine for the everyday, but with a need of a more custom look, the computer is not my go-to. Luckily for this specific event, I knew I had a one-of-a-kind designer to literally help with the creation of my perfect look!

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Joyce Penas Pilarsky for JPP Daring Collections last year during Fashion Week, Fashion Week Brooklyn to be specific. Her spring collection runway presentation really caught my eye and it was even more of an honor to cover it for Fashion Nexus! Each of her looks to me represent being one-of-a-kind, unique, special, and so much more! Joyce was so very kind to offer to design and create for me a high-fashion, couture dress. I had a great time collaborating with Joyce on the look and I knew it would be just right for my event!


Joyce’s designs are all about the details, the embellishments, the intricate beading, the silhouettes. Her aesthetic is imaginative and sensual, creating sexy pieces of high fashion that showcase the art of being couture.


Check her page on Facebook for even more amazingly stunning examples!!


After you have your base for an overall look, and for me that is always the dress, the best place to start, it then becomes about the accessories. What I like to look at first is jewelry! You don’t want to over-accessorize, so I try to work towards that perfect balance. And so for this event, I knew I wanted at least 1 statement piece and mix it all in with some more understated pieces. Again, lucky for me, Joyce Pilarsky took part in providing the bold and statement making bracelet to really coordinate with this look!

dsc00451   Check out this custom, unique, Joyce Pilarsky bracelet — the intricacies, the details!


She also designed a statement necklace to go with the bracelet. It wasn’t needed for my overall look for my law school ball, but both pieces are very stunning, very worthy of some recognition!


pic6 Here is another great example of Joyce’s jewelry design work!

But for my overall look, I needed more than just the bracelet. However again, I knew I needed some more subtle pieces, yet still elegant!

dsc00452  Being that my hair was a chic up-do, I was very pleased to showcase my floral nOir jewelry studs. They were the perfect color, nude & brown mix, just the right amount of shine.


And to complete my jewelry selections, I chose a smaller diamond bow ring from American Eagle. It was just the right amount of needed sparkle to complete the jewelry I wanted for this look! Keeping with accessories, I also needed a clutch for the event. Sometimes a larger handbag might do, but for this event, a smaller clutch was the right call.

Francesca’s is a lovely boutique brand that not only has versatile apparel options, but a vast amount of accessories that can certainly provide a bit of luxe one might need for a more formal event. I was happy to have this mint green rectangular clutch on hand, courtesy of Francesca’s!

Accessories are not the last call for a look, sometimes it must extend to beauty. As you can see above, I created a bit of a fun nail regime for this look, rotating my nail color between Finger Paints color from Sally Beauty Supply, in gold, & butter LONDON in nude or yummy mummy!


Sometimes an event might call for more than an at-home do, a blow-out, special cut/color combo, etc. I have to say, as excited as I was about my couture look for the evening, I was equally as excited for my customized hair look — this bold, detailed up-do, all courtesy of Rosalinda Biddle! It took some time to create, but it was all well worth it! Rosalinda was so kind to collaborate with me on the concept. But what I loved about working with her was that I knew I could provide an idea and she could make it flourish!


Rosalinda is the hair stylist who can do it all — she can do elegant up-dos, she can create looks that are literally works of art!


She still works with more practical looks, but that will still scream high fashion, more than just your average everyday cut or blow-out!


She’s professional, and will do what she can to work with you and give you the look you want! If any of my Fashion Nexus readers would like the opportunity to work with such a talent, please contact me and I will make sure you are put in touch with Rosalinda!


So again, a few last details that complete my look and of course are always aspects of a look one should consider. Hair & nails are not all that say “beauty look”. For my make-up regime, I was so thankful for Revlon to create that perfect smoky eye, It Cosmetics to provide that needed shine, and Cover Girl, to create that perfect lip color shade!

And jewelry/handbags are not all that are needed for accessories. You of course need a shoe and for me, it was a dramatic heel, here courtesy of Lauren Conrad’s exclusive collection at Kohls. The blush pink was the perfect color to make this look pop! And finally, it was a bit nippy out so I wanted a little leg coverage and was very lucky to have some great go-to tights, my dark nude tights are xhilaration from Target.


So look complete, all aspect choices made. Sometimes you have those go-to wardrobe items that are right on hand. And if you don’t, maybe you have your go-to shops that you can easily visit. Giving time to make the choices you need always is an added benefit. Start with your base and work to coordinate from the bottom to the top. And with that, you can create your own PERFECT LOOK!