Friday, October 21, 2011

Project Runway, Season 9 E13: We're All Winners

We've finally made it to the finale! Well, sort of. The first half of the Project Runway finale is always a weird state of purgatory—the excitement of Fashion Week contrasted with the similarity of a challenge-based episode that we've been dealing with for three months—and with the exception of the blood-boiling twist at the end, it wasn't exactly an exciting episode.

So before I watch Heidi and Tim cha cha down the runway together for the 30th time in a row (I wish I was kidding...), let's get to the rundown.

Challenge: Although Anya, Joshua, Kimberly and Viktor all made it to the end, they were not yet guaranteed a spot at Fashion Week. They were sent home with $9,000 and 5 weeks to create a 10-piece collection. Three of those looks would be presented to the three permanent judges in a mini-collection to determine who would go on to compete in the finale.

The Outcome: Let's just cut right to the chase. They all made it to Fashion Week. Wah wah. It was pretty obvious to me that Anya should've gone home, and also pretty obvious that there was no way the producers were going to let that happen. Since, in theory, all of the garments we saw last night will be in next week's finale, and since the judges made it very clear that their critiques from this week should not be ignored, I'm just going to discuss the home visits and pinpoint what each designer needs to change in order to be successful at Fashion Week.

  • Tim's Visit to Maraval, Trinidad: Tim makes the trek down to Trinidad to visit Anya and experience her life near the sea, which is a huge part of her life. The inspirations for Anya's collection are the textures and colors of Trinidad's sister island Tabago. After meeting Anya's two brothers and learning more about the untimely death of their brother Pilar, Anya brings Tim to her work room, which looks a lot like Mood: lots of fabric, no clothes. Concern overcomes Tim.
  • Mini-Collection Critique: [Look 1] [Look 2] [Look 3] Anya's was certainly the worst of the mini-collections. Assuming she won't be able to whip up 10 new looks and forgetting the fact that the producers are in love with her, Anya's saving grace going into Fashion Week lies in the styling. If she can make her models look easier and breezier (Cover Girl), the judges will forgive a lot of the technical shortcomings. They want to see "the girl" the collection is targeted toward. Essentially, Anya needs to just style the models after herself. And make 10 new looks.
  • Tim's Visit to Queens, NY: Tim meets up with Josh and his sister in an empty restaurant in Queens—reminds me of The A-List: New York when no one is ever in the restaurants they film in—and we are treated to a slideshow of pictures of Josh running track in high school. Darling. It's not really clear what his inspiration is for the collection, except maybe highlighters and Cyndi Lauper. Tim tells Josh he wants to weep over how homely the featured print is and throws out at least six of his fabrics. Josh has a lot of work to do.
  • Mini-Collection Critique: [Look 1] [Look 2] [Look 3] At first the mini-collection felt all over the place, but there was a distinct through-line, even if it wasn't a particularly pretty one. Each of Josh's garments had a great idea behind it, but as usual there were some crazy details that distracted from it. The judges praised him for his styling, but I think he needs to seriously rethink those horrible glasses his first model wore. And, as far as Michael Kors is concerned, Josh will win if he gets rid of the "modesty tab" on the little black dress.
  • Tim's Visit to White Plains, MD: Tim marvels at the size of Kimberly's house and the two of them start talking about her inspiration: the transformation and elevation of the Brooklyn urban girl. My thoughts immediately go to Mychael Knight's "urban safari" collection from Season 3 and I become concerned, but I like where Kimberly's head is. Well, with the exception of the "updated sweatpants" paired with a crop top—that's a big no. Kimberly is motivated by her mother, who passed away almost twenty years ago, and she wants to be the first African-American winner of Project Runway. Personality-wise, she's probably my favorite of the Final Four. 
  • Mini-Collection Critique: [Look 1] [Look 2] [Look 3Here's the thing: unlike Anya's collection, I totally understand who Kimberly's girl is. The styling may have been a bit over the top—that braid needs some serious rethinking—but the young, chic urban girl is crystal clear in these looks. Ditch the braid, ditch the huge bags, figure out some more subtle accessories and the collection becomes instantly better. And ditch the updated sweatpants. Please.
  • Tim's Visit to New York, NY: You guys... how cute are Viktor and his boyfriend together? Loved it. He's inspired by the "urban coast" of Mexico where he grew up and where he recently visited for the memorial of his brother's death. Viktor definitely wins the Home Visit Round—Tim tells him to just keep pushing but not overthink the collection. 
  • Mini-Collection Critique: [Look 1] [Look 2] [Look 3I mean, it's pretty obvious that Viktor has the best collection of the bunch, right? The judges think it needs to be edited, but I think the good news is that Viktor excels with separates and his pieces can easily be rearranged between now and Fashion Week. As Tim told him during the home visit, he just needs to not overthink what he's doing and he'll be fine. And as for that white jacket: screw the judges. That thing is dy-no-MITE!
I normally do a full predictions post before the finale, but I think it's pretty clear who I want to win. With any luck, the judges will give the win to Viktor and not let their crazy sides out like they did last season. 

What did you think of Finale Part One? Are you disappointed the judges took a "we're all winners" approach? Who do you think should've gone home? And who are you rooting for to win it all next week? Sound off in the comments!
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