Wednesday, April 09, 2008


And the Winner Is ...

Previously on Project Runway: Chris and Rami had a showdown. Rami won. Chris was out. (Sigh.)

3 days to showtime. Christian whines that he's nervous and ready to show. Rami is happy to be the official third. They head out to their workspace. Rami thinks he has Christian worried. Christian hopes he has impressed his competition. Tim drops in for a review. One of Jillian's sweaters doesn't blend with the rest of her pieces. Rami turned it down a notch and Tim approves. Christian confesses that not every piece is wearable and Tim is worried that he overdesigned. Christian has an attack of nerves. Jillian's collection is "innovative" and Rami is so successful, he's wondering how he can compete.

Tim goes away; model casting is next. Christian knows exactly what he wants. Jillian has never done this before. She confesses that she has trouble being decisive. Shocking news, I know. The designers all want the same models.

It's the end of the day, so the designers go to sleep. And then the designers wake up and get ready. On today's agenda: makeup consultation and fittings. Rami's makeup concept is "chiseling the face." Not in the "you have a pound of makeup on" sense, but creating planes and shadows. Christian's will have strong brows and lips but nude eyes. Jillian's makeup is natural with a touch of metallic sheen for drama.

Fittings. Models. Clothes. Rami thinks Christian is over the top and is designing for models, not women. Lea gripes about Christian's shoes; he frets that she sat down in his skirt to put them on. Those are some ugly shoes. Lea wobbles over to let Christian snap a Polaroid. He practiced walking in the shoes, so he's sure the models will be just fine. And Lea does manage a stroll, once she has had a chance to get used to them. (Lea was in Sweet P's decoy show, so she's doing double-duty for Christian. I don't know why he got to grab her for his show, too.) Christian sends the models off with an admonition to look fabulous, be on time and skip food.

Jillian frets that she could have been more consistent with her model selection. She calls to see if she can switch someone around. Christian has no sympathy for the results of her inexperience. He can be such a twerp sometimes.

Only 1 day left! Jillian frets about her model casting some more. She makes another phone call and learns that she's stuck with the models she have. Rami tries to get her to move on, but she'd rather wallow in her misery. Everyone does hair consultations. Christian's models will have buns with a feathery little fillip. Jillian's style is loose and bouncy. Rami's style has a severe ponytail in the back and a slanted braid across the forehead. It's the hair version of those stupid infant headbands I hated in his mini-show. I hate this, too.

Fittings, fittings, fittings. It's crunch time. Jillian is trying to embrace the model diversity instead of resenting it. Christian is tired of thinking about everything and is ready to show. The designers pack up. Tim drops in for a final gather 'round. The show order is Jillian, Rami and Christian. Tim gives a proud papa speech. It's very touching. They all hug.

It's 4:15 a.m. and the designers get ready to go. One last time out the door. They check out the big empty tent and have another group hug. Everyone feels the moment. Backstage, it's two hours to show time. The designers have dressers to help get everything ready. Christian needs models. One hour to show time. Guests start arriving. Christian is missing two models. Dressing. One model arrives. Thirty minutes to go. More dressing. Christian mopes about his model, who finally shows. The tent fills up. Time ticks down. And show time!

Heidi comes out to greet the crowd. The guest judge is Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice. Quite the change from Fern Mallis, I'd say.

Jillian tells the crowd that she was inspired and hopes they feel inspired, too. She does her little curtsy.

I really liked a lot of the outfits in Jillian's collection. She clearly has a good feel for separates, but her dressier looks were also very nice.

Next up is Rami. His collection celebrates women. Don't they all?

I kinda like a few of the separates. The gowns were more successful, but the woven bodice and the lace dress were the only ones I felt real enthusiasm for. Still, you can see a lot of work went into the collection.

Christian just thanks everyone for coming and asks them to enjoy.

Definitely the collection with the biggest bang, but more wearable than the presentation suggests. All the black skinny pants are a little repetitive, but the jackets had variation and I liked a lot of them. However, it was hard to see the construction because everything was so dark. I think a few more punches of color would have helped. I didn't care for most of the hats, but they added to the drama.

Post-show. Various audience members place their bets.

Judging. They all rave about the high quality of the shows. The designers come out for their critiques. Heidi reviews the prizes and the judges, then brings out the models. Jillian goes first. She explains that the inspiration from the art challenge carried over to her collection. Victoria praises the femininity, the attention to detail and the construction. Michael also likes the femininity and the knitwear. Heidi liked seeing new shapes. Nina likes the innovation but saw too many ideas; she agrees that the knits were great.

Christian gets a little tangled in his explanation and Heidi makes him confess that he's nervous. Victoria loved everything, since it was right up her alley. Michael loved the drama but got tired of the black. Nina saw too much repetition and maybe too much design.

Rami explains the Joan of Arc inspiration. He wanted to show a range of pieces. Heidi loved it, especially the weaving. Michael loved the weaving, too, but wanted different colors. Victoria also liked his workmanship, especially in the final gowns. Nina thinks he has the strongest point of view. She appreciated that he showed separates, but his forte is eveningwear.

The designers go away while the judges recap. Michael loved the surprise of Jillian's knitwear. Victoria agrees with Heidi that the shapes were beautiful. Nina thinks Jillian hasn't figured out her signature. Michael thinks women will want to wear Jillian's clothes. (I think so, too.) Nina liked the pace of Christian's show. Victoria is all over it. Michael points out that not everyone can wear what Victoria wears; he and Heidi worry that he'll get stuck in a ruffled rut. Nina thinks he overdesigns sometimes. Michael describes Rami as "cerebral." Victoria brings up the workmanship. Heidi raves over the weaving some more. Nina and Michael have problems with his color choices. The judges decide.

The designers return. Jillian stretched herself. Rami proved his talent. Christian put on a show. Jillian is out. Really? I liked her collection better than Rami's. She hugs the others as she leaves. She's very disappointed and apologizes to her family. No apologizing! Christian tears up with tension awaiting the results. Christian wins. He immediately starts crying. Rami gives him a big hug and makes a graceful farewell. Heidi congratulates Christian. She has to bend way down to kiss his cheeks. Victoria wants to wear his clothes. Lisa comes out to claim her prize and congratulates Christian. His family comes out for hugs and Tim congratulates him as well. Now that he has won, all his confidence returns.

Right winner? I think overall Jillian has the most wearable clothes, but Christian definitely made the biggest impression. His clothes aren't for everyone, but they're not just stagewear, either. He also seems savvier than Jillian about the big picture. As long as his ego doesn't run away with him, I think he'll do quite well in the future. Jillian probably won't have as splashy a career, but she might have a more steady future with her talent for sportswear. Rami's collection wasn't my taste, but he's clearly quite talented, especially with evening wear. And with his LA base, he's sure to have a fine business in red carpet gowns. All in all, a satisfying runway show. A final four would have been even better, but that ship has sailed.


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