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Petals, Paint, and Beads: The "Project Runway" Season Finale

Last night's season finale of Project Runway wasn't filled to the brim with surprises, per se, but it did offer a nice showcase of each of the final three designers' aesthetics as they each put on shows at New York Fashion Week.

And while I had a feeling that Leanne would ultimately take home the top spot, I actually began to hope during the runway collections that it would be Korto who went home the ultimate winner of this season. (Hell, just as long as it wasn't Kenley, I'd be happy.)

So what I did I think of each of the designers' individual collections? Let's talk.

Kenley showed her collection first and I have to say that she didn't set the bar very high. Yes, there was a very specific point-of-view evidenced in her work and you could tell that it was definitely Kenley's collection, what with the painted fabrics and the use of rope (which I still think was inappropriate and, yes, did break the organic feeling of the collection, as Tim pointed out). It was an okay collection, certainly not groundbreaking or visionary in any respect.

I thought that a lot of the pieces actually looked a little too 1980s and, while I am no fashion expert, you could definitely see influences of other designers in there, from Balenciaga (who did an entire collection of painted fabric, no less!) to Christian Lacroix. I still think that the bridesmaid and
wedding dresses were the most effective and captivating of her pieces and better showed her range than some of her other efforts, which did look a tad too "homemade" for my liking. One piece that did stand out: the separate skirt and top (with an ornate OTT collar) which I thought was gorgeous. She probably should have selected that as her "signature look." I knew that she was done for.

Next up: Korto, who showed a gorgeous collection that injected African elegance into a vivid color palette and amazing
silhouettes. I thought that she took the most risk as a designer with her collection (heck, she created two new pieces on the fly that were absolutely breathtaking!) and offered a unique perspective as a designer. That askew halter dress in emerald was exquisite and showcased her beadwork immaculately. The new pieces, including a floor length off-the-shoulder dress in cocoa and a shorter tunic dress with bubble sleeves, were stunning and elegant.

I thought her collection was absolutely cohesive and inspired. It looked like a collection and her models worked the clothes beautifully (unlike Kenley's models, who seemed dour and bored). Were some of the pieces a little overdesigned (such as the green dress modeled by Top Model's Bianca)? Sure, but Korto can learn to edit and pull back just a little bit. She wisely discarded two pieces that she felt were way too overwrought and created two new ones mere days before the runway show, but I feel that it was some of this excess that did her in in the end. Still, I have every confidence that Korto will make a name for herself in the fashion industry and I really hope that we haven't seen the last of her.

Finally, there was Leanne. If I had one complaint about Leanne's collection it was that it was a little TOO cohesive. Too many of the pieces shared that intriguing petal architecture, which after a while, seemed to blend the pieces together rather than make them stand out individually. However, that's a minor quibble about a collection that showed innovation (the aforementioned petals/wave structures), vision (sustainable fabrics), and technical skill (the execution was flawless on every single piece on the runway). The icy blue dress was sophisticated and soft; the wedding dress was a thing of beauty to behold; that belted white and blue petalled dress was gorgeous.

Out of all three of the designers showing their collections, Leanne was the only one to do something that hadn't been done before. I am extremely glad that she opted to include the pants in the collection and Nina sparked immediately to the fact that Leanne included pants, shorts, dresses, and skirts in the mix, a wise move that displayed her range and abilities to craft all sorts of garments for many different occasions. I did wish that there had been a little more of a "wow" factor involved but the technical elegance and creative scope of her collection had me in doubt that she would be crowned the winner of the final Bravo-based (for now anyway) season of Project Runway.

What did you think? Should Leanne have won? Or was it Korto's prize to lose? And who else jumped with glee when Kenley realized she should have changed her attitude as soon as she saw that Tim would be the guest judge? Discuss.


I wish Leanne and Korto could have won. I thought that Korto's collection showed passion and had a strong sense of style and a fabulous use of color.

Leanne's collection was architecturally astounding. Her shapes were unique and beautiful and very high fashion.

But, the best moment of the whole show was seeing Kenley's face when they announced that Tim Gunn was the guest judge. Priceless!
Anonymous said…
I think the real question is...who cares? This season was so ho-hum and underwhelming. I guess I am glad Leanne won. I was sort of rooting for her. That's about all the enthusiasm I can muster.

I thought Kenley acquitted herself quite well with her collection, but like Danielle, I loved her face upon realizing that Tim was judging.
Anonymous said…
Agreed. I watched the whole thing through and I knew that Leanne would win but I feel like this show has run its course now. The casting this season wasn't very good and I just didn't feel as engrossed as I had in the past.
Becky Kiser said…
I just found out that this was the last season of Project Runway. So sad!!

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