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Rami and Chris Face Off for Finale Spot on "Project Runway"

I had more than an inkling as to how last night's penultimate episode of Project Runway would play out.

You couldn't have picked two more drastically different designers than Rami Kashou and Chris March and seeing them go head to head was a virtual lesson in aesthetics, unfettered creativity, and determination. After all, only one of them would get the opportunity to advance to the final round and show at New York Fashion Week. Or would do so AND remain in the competition. After all, both of them (along with Sweet P) put on shows. Reward or red herring? You decide.

In any event, Tim Gunn flew around the country to check in with the four remaining designers in the weeks leading up to Fashion Week, visiting the Manhattan-based teeny-tiny closet/sewing room/studio/bedroom Christian calls home (though why exactly didn't he meet any of Christian's friends or family?), checking in with Rami and his fantastic studio in Los Angeles, having dinner with Jillian's family on Long Island (after checking out her fabulous Manhattan flat's view), and critiquing Chris' designs before entering the surreal baroque funhouse belonging to one of Chris' friends.

I always find these episodes to be pretty interesting; it gives Tim (and us) an opportunity to see the designers outside of Parsons and in their regular lives and allows the audience a preview of their collections to come. I thought that, as always, Tim's advice was spot on: edit, edit, edit. All of them were guilty of having a little too much "look" and each seemed open to taking on board Tim's advice as long as it gelled with their own unique vision.

I am in utter awe of Christian's stuff. It's very avant garde, very runway-appropriate, and very Dior. How this 21-year-old kid can construct these garments and have his singular of a vision at such a young age is astounding to me. Jillian also had some really strong pieces. That jacket, inspired by paintings of 15th century armor, was absolutely breathtaking in its detailing and construction; it was strong but feminine, hard-edged and yet soft at the same time.

But while it was nice to catch up with our four remaining designers, what this episode was really about was the final showdown between Rami and Chris for that spot in the final three. So what did they end up showing? Let's discuss.

Chris: I was really shocked and more than a little horrified by his inclusion of human hair on the trim of many of his garments. Was it unexpected and completely original? Absolutely. It also showcased the fact that he was willing to take risks and step outside his comfort zone in order to provoke a reaction. (But was activating Tim's gag reflex too much of a reaction?) The three pieces he selected to show the judges were all a little somber, in my opinion. I understand that he wanted to keep the pieces in the same color palette but I wanted to see something a little brighter as well. Still, I thought the dress with the safety-pins was brilliant, as was the floor-length gown; there was a dark energy to his work and I definitely saw the dark, gothic influence Chris was speaking of but didn't really feel that there was a story or cohesion to his work.

Rami: I was blown away by Rami's selections, which showed a complete departure from his obsession with draping. Rami specifically selected three pieces to showcase different techniques and feels and together they all complemented one another beautifully. The black and white pointillistic dress was gorgeous, a fantastic reveal after the model removed her beautifully tailored jacket. The blue coat was a little too much look for me but displayed amazing construction and wasn't at all that loose, draped effect Rami loves so much. And his final piece, a floor-length tiered black gown, was simply stunning.

Ultimately, I do understand why the judges had a hard time narrowing down the competition in this round. Both of them definitely challenged themselves to do something different than we've seen thus far in the season but ultimately I do have to agree with the judges' decision to keep Rami in the competition, as much as I adore Chris and his out-there designs.

So there you have it, the final three: Christian, Jillian, and Chris. Who do you think will win the season's top prize? Whose collection are you dying to see on the runway? And who will throw a tantrum moments before the show begins? Find out next week.

Next week on the season finale of Project Runway, the final three designers show off their brand new collections, encounter some well-edited and demanding pitfalls before the big shows, and face the judges--along with guest adjudicator Victoria Beckham--one last time before one is crowned the winner of Project Runway 4.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Micronesia--Fans Vs. Favorites (CBS); My Name is Earl (NBC); Smallville (CW); Lost (ABC); American Idol (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); Celebrity Apprentice (NBC); Reaper (CW); Lost (ABC); Don't Forget the Lyrics (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); Lipstick Jungle (NBC); Eli Stone (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Lost.

Missed last week's episode of Lost ("Eggtown")? Here's your chance to catch it again before this season's fourth episode at 9 pm!

8 pm: Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America.

Season Four of the original UK Kitchen Nightmares begins tonight. On this week's installment ("The Granary"), Gordon Ramsay heads to rural Hampshire, where an upscale restaurant--which intimidates locals with its exclusive reputation--is losing $8000 a week and is danger of closing. Can Gordon save the restaurant? Find out tonight. (A hint to those with some major DVR conflicts: the episode also airs at 5 pm and 10 pm PT AND at 11 pm ET.)

9 pm: Lost.

On tonight's episode ("The Constant"), Desmond and Sayid experience some severe turbulence during a stormy flight to the freighter, but that pales in comparison with Desmond's strange side-effects. Lost time, anyone?


Anonymous said…
I love seeing Tim Gunn in the designers' environments and this time was no exception. It was sad that he didn't meet any of Christian's friends/family, though. And I can't believe how small Christian's workspace is! He deserves the top prize just for being able to create anything, let alone those brilliant pieces, in a space that small!!
Giulie Speziani said…
I thought Chris' idea for using human hair was brilliant. Pieces on the runway don't have to be ready-to-wear. It was an avant-garde choice and taking chances is what's exciting. As for the top prize, my vote goes to Christian. He has a broad spectrum of talent and that will definetly turn heads.

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