Project Runway Recap: The Season 9 Finale

It’s over, dear readers.

It ended the way we knew it would – in disappointment, deceit, and a hefty cloud of crack pipe smoke. The most disappointing part of this season is that Bunim and Murray clearly believe that the Project Runway audience is a bunch of fucking morons. The editing of this season was much like Anya’s construction style: throw a bunch of crap all over the place, stick some pins in, and pray that the judges miss the forest for the trees.

So, Project Runway producers, hear the cry of the blogosphere and the twitterverse, and know that you have made a mockery of a once-great search for talent. I won’t give any empty threats of never watching the show again, partly because I still care, and partly because I can’t give up on something worth blogging about.

But fuel for the bitchy fire of your recappers and critics shouldn’t be the driving force of the competition. I watched the finale show from Season One today, and you would not believe the differences. Not just in the talent, but in what the competition demanded of the talent. The designers had five months – that’s right, five MONTHS – to create their 12-look collections, and the results, even when imperfect, were inspiring. Because their creative boundaries and fashion skills were stretched by the competition, and they were given incredible freedom, time, and resources to truly create something. By contrast, this season’s designers had five WEEKS for their collections, and it showed.

There are things that are unforgivable. For instance, crafting the entire season to ensure Anya’s place in the top. A scandalous exotic pageant girl with no sewing experience, who would be able to credit Project Runway with her triumphant return into the spotlight as a true artist? A transformation from mindless nympho beauty queen to the next great fashion designer? It’s Lifetime gold. And if something like Anya’s inability to make a sleeve or pant got in the way, well, they’d just throw some cash at her and fix things up in the editing room. Anya loses all her money, and boom! Another trip to Mood, and she’s got the win. Anya designs a falling-apart Jesus/Pocahontas outfit for the Sheepdogs? Well, we love her overall style!, so she’s in. Anya shows three looks from her finale collection, two of which are unarguably terrible, all of which are extraordinarily under-designed compared to her competitors. Boom! Four instead of three are going to fashion week, and so she’s in. The rest of her collection is just as much of a disaster, so the producers hand everyone 500 bucks for an unprecedented last-minute trip to Mood, and boom! Anya buys prints so wild the judges can’t possibly see that there are three seams holding the whole fucking thing together, and she wins Project Runway.

I’ve said enough in the abstract, dear readers. Thank you for humoring me throughout that rant. Let’s get straight to the point, and talk about the looks, one by one.


The top is beautiful – a phenomenal print and a great shape. I hate the little drawstring, but the pants look much better than they did last week, and the toned-down styling is a huge help.

Chic and beautiful. You could easily see this on a young starlet. And braids are all the rage now.

A little underwhelming, but it’s well-made and eye-catching. And as we all know, the ubiquitous crop top was practically mandatory at Spring 2012 Fashion Week.

That purse is ugly, and the dress is nice, but underwhelming. It doesn’t feel new or fresh enough.

I hate the shape of that jacket, and that pink is just a little too blinding.

I sort of hate this print – it reminds me of a circus tent on acid. And I definitely hate that she’s basically wearing a mini-dress with a trippy sheet wrapped around her.


The skirt is better, but still not great. The jacket is kind of lovely, though.

A throwaway look. Hate the shapes and proportions, and the combination of fabrics looks cheap.

It’s glam, definitely red carpet-worthy, but the overall collection felt a little … stuck. Like she had just begun forming an idea that hadn’t really gone anywhere yet. It was very Kimberly, but it wasn’t remotely surprising, and it didn’t look like she really challenged herself. (Probably because she had five weeks to make a twelve-look collection to show at New York Fashion Week.)


Beautiful. It’s a little Jason Wu, but the print is so unique.

The top feels like a cop-out. The skirt is cool, but it looked much better worn over another skirt and unzipped higher, making a sort of paneled effect.

It’s a gorgeous tank top, but if you only have twelve looks, why waste one on a tank and shorts?

The proportions really aren’t great – she looks surprisingly wide. But again, the print is unbeatable.

Another cop-out. Unimpressive.

I loved this gown. I think the black sheer over diapers thing is incredibly trendy now, whether you like it or not. I think it was great that he showed he can do this sexy, dark, fashionable thing, a little less wearable and literal. I thought it was brave to show this side of his aesthetic, and I found this gown sexy and interesting and fairly unique.



Each individual piece is actually stunning. I just think every woman needs all of those pieces in her wardrobe.

So fierce, but when your collection incorporates gowns, it’s a little strange not to end on one. He was stuck, once the judges told him to pair the jacket with a black tank and black pants, because obviously the jacket needed to be in the final look. But it was so much more dramatic paired with a dress.


That color is like poison to my eyes. This is also almost  the exact same dress he made for the bird challenge, rendered in a different but equally tacky color.

That print is a nightmare, and it looks homesewn – in an accidental way, not in a hipster way. The vest is hideous.

Cute tank, cute pants, but I don’t think the girl wearing those pieces would also wear that old lady jacket.

It’s painful to look at colors this tacky. I don’t know why on earth the judges feel the need to praise Day-Glo, but I’m getting a migraine just looking at this.

I’m actually scared to imagine the amount of crack the judges must have smoked to make them compliment these shorts. I’ve seen some ugly shit from the fashion week collections, but these slutty tranny cameltoe biker shorts really take the cake. And that shirt is disgusting.

It’s virtually unchanged from last week. I still don’t like it.

Taking out that little stupid strap made a huge improvement on this dress. It’s a chic LBD.

Too much. I applaud his use of plastic, but a plastic vest on top of a plastic bra just looks bulky and uncomfortable and more like a recycling plant than an outfit.

Still hate the draping, but love the idea of using the plastic as a halter for the dress.

When this walked down the runway, you could see how badly it fit her. This draping looks pretty fucking terrible to me. It’s uneven, bunchy in weird places, and it doesn’t flow the way beautiful draping should.


Anya’s Guide to Surviving Project Runway
1. Choose a loud print, created by someone other than myself, that hides mistakes and distracts the judges from anything other than the print.
2. Show off the tits to make sure Heidi will approve.
3. Add an island flair – funky straps, in this case.
4. Drape, sew three seams, and pray.

1. Loud print.
2. Heidi-approved tits.
3. Island flair – thong sandals.
4. Drape, sew one seam, belt, and pray.

1. Loud print.
2. Heidi-approved tits.
3. Island flair – thong sandals, beach coverup.
4. Drape, sew basically no seams, belt with fabric sash.

1. Loud print [in this case, a hideously unflattering one that makes the model look massive on the bottom].
2. Heidi-approved tits [in this case, the most ill-fitting bust imaginable].
3. Island flair – funky straps.
4. Drape, sew basically no seams.

No rules apply here. This was a fucking burlap sap, and it was offensive to see something so shoddily made, and so clearly uninspired, go down a runway at New York Fashion Week. It demeaned the entire fashion industry to applaud something this under-designed.

1. Loud print.
2. Heidi-approved tits.
3. Island flair – swimsuit-like straps.
4. Drape, sew basically no seams.

1. No loud print, to show “range.”
2. Heidi-approved tits.
3. Island flair – none needed since she’s only wearing a scarf and booty shorts.
4. Drape, sew literally nothing, belt.

1. Loud print.
2. Heidi-approved tits.
3. Island flair – well, it better be warm if you’re wearing this vagina-baring dress.
4. Drape, sew basically no seams, belt.

1. Loud print.
2. Lack of tits, to make sure Michael Kors is still on board.
3. Island flair – thong sandals.
4. Drape, sew one crooked seam down the middle, belt.

1. Loud print
2. Michael-approved lack of lady parts
3. Island flair – thong sandals
4. Drape, sew basically no seams, add collar.

I think the lack of range, originality, construction, and overall design is shocking. The Project Runway judges have called a lot of people one-notes before, but I literally cannot remember a designer whose collection was as redundant as Anya’s. Her silhouettes almost never change; none of them require any tailoring; there are virtually no separates; there is not a single piece that a non-island woman can wear.

Viktor’s collection wasn’t perfect, and Joshua and Kimberly’s were far from it. But they showed pants and jackets, skirts and dresses, tanks and sweaters. They showed prints and solids, color and neutrals, sometimes even a new silhouette. No matter how much you like her prints – none of which she designed, and not all of which are even nice – you cannot ignore how little work she did in comparison to her competitors. Because it shows.

And rewarding that behavior will have nothing but disastrous consequences for the show. By giving Anya the win, Project Runway told the world that on this show for the next great fashion design, the fashion doesn’t matter one fucking bit.

Judges’ Top and Bottom:
1. Anya
2. Joshua
3. Viktor
4. Kimberly

Diva’s Top and Bottom:
1. Viktor
2. Kimberly
3. Joshua
4. Anya

Catch up on the rest of Season 9 here!

All photos courtesy of Imaxtree via New York Magazine.

© Democracy Diva, 2011.
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21 responses to Project Runway Recap: The Season 9 Finale

  1. This. I was tempted to write about the season in one post (I couldn’t summon the energy to write about each episode), but this is everything I wanted to say and more. I completely agree with it all and I’m horrified that Anya won!

  2. Joyce

    “Disappointed” doesn’t even begin to cover how I feel about this finale. I knew Anya would win, but up until they began their deliberating, I was rooting for Viktor. When it became Josh VS Anya, I was rooting for Josh because, hell, even if I disliked his stuff, he was more deserving of the win than she was.
    They could have AT LEAST let Anthony Ryan win the fan-favorite, but oh no, thanks to the Twitter bots, that goes to her, too.
    I’ve come to terms with Gretchen’s win, but I doubt I’ll be able to do the same for this one.
    Anyway, thanks for this, Diva. I agree with you 110%. The producers could not have been more insulting to fans this season.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thank YOU for reading and commenting! I feel the same way about Gretchen’s win – it seems small potatoes in comparison to this offense.

  3. mary

    I couldn’t believe Viktor was placed third. To me that was transparently an attempt to avoid making him the Next Mondo. I can’t find any other explanation.

    • democracydiva – Author

      When it came down to Josh and Anya, my soul cried. I had no one to root for. Anya’s win I saw coming, but placing Josh over Viktor was insane.

  4. Molly

    Lets face it, no celebrity (other than Heidi) will ever wear these clothes. A designer might start their own line, but it will be a massive fail given the lack of talent that PR has. Even Christian Siriano, the one person that has made it, sucks at designing.
    I cant believe that the judges didnt see what Anya was doing. The prints are great, but the clothes themselves are awful.
    Viktor should have been placed first.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Even Heidi wouldn’t wear most of Anya’s stuff – she’s a little more short/tight/shiny than long/flowy/island. Agreed that Viktor deserved the win!

  5. I called it last week, but I’d seen it coming since the win when Anya lost her money. It is clear that this season was a setup for her from the git-go. I don’t know if I can be bothered to watch a fixed competition. This reminds me of the quiz show scandals when the winners were predetermined and given the questions ahead of time.

  6. Excellent recap, and you’ve hit the nail on the head about what bothers me most about Anya’s win: it’s not that she won, we all knew that was coming, it is that the producers think we’re all a bunch of morons. I won’t say I’ll never watch again, but I’m watching now as if it’s a comedy series, or a “whodunnit” where I’m trying to figure out who they’re rigging for the win rather than a competition based on talent.

  7. bh

    You just said pretty much everything about every outfit that I wish the judges had said. THANK YOU FOR STOPPING THE INSANITY!

    PS, if you look at the pictures of Anya’s designs on with the little “magnifying lens” as you mouse over them, you can see how truly poor the construction was. This applies in particular to the burlap sack and the vagina shorts, which actually showed butt cheek when the model turned around. GAH.

    • democracydiva – Author

      Thanks for reminding me about the pics on Lifetime! Is it sad that I’m excited to see the details on that horrible construction?

  8. I honestly don’t get why you hate Anya so much. I mean she is by far not the best designer PR has ever seen (ahem, ahem ahem… Mondo… Korto,) But She made a beautiful, if one notish collection. And her use of prints is fabulous.

    • democracydiva – Author

      I just think the judges have gotten carried away with “style” and have forgotten what it actually takes to be America’s next great fashion designer. There are construction skills and design skills that I feel Anya just doesn’t have.

      Thank you for commenting! Xo

  9. Deeply Disappointed in PR this year

    Thank you for summing up what went wrong with this season’s PR. I was worried when I saw the new “jazzed up” into with EVERYONE appearing and hoped it didn’t mean a similar loss of style and class for the show. But it did.

    Giving the designers $500 and some days to make more clothes let the other three have a run at answering Viktor’s collection after having seen it. If there had been no gift money and no extra time, Viktor would have won because he was the only person to arrive with a finished collection of excellently constructed and inventive looks.

    Viktor should have won. PR has become a sad joke. I will watch next year, but if I feel it is still a fixed non-competition, I will stop watching forever.

  10. princessfam

    You stated exactly how I was feeling perfectly! I refuse to watch this show next season. This show has become a joke!

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