Project Runway Recap: Season 10 Finale

Another season of Project Runway has drawn to a close, dear readers.

The Challenge: Present your ten-look collection at New York Fashion Week.

Guest Judge: Jennifer Hudson. Charming, sweet, and supportive, but the problem with saving the biggest celebrities for the finale is that they don’t offer criticism as well as fashion industry insiders do. It’s more Heidi critiques (“I’d wear that” / “I wouldn’t wear that”) rather than constructive commentary that the designers can actually use. I’m not faulting Jennifer – I’m faulting the producers who don’t understand what makes for a dramatic judging session.

Fourth place

Christopher had quite an ego on him for what was a truly terrible collection. His inexperience showed, and his last-minute panic attacks had a negative impact on the execution of his garments. There were multiple throwaway looks, and in a ten-piece collection, that’s downright offensive. He suffered from a lack of originality, taste, and focus – you can barely call this a collection, the looks were so all over the place. Regarding this garment: the slit is too high and the top is too sheer.

I suppose the jacket is okay, but it doesn’t quite fit in with Christopher’s collection as much as Melissa or Dmitry’s. And the dress or skirt underneath is a whole bunch of nothing.

Again, decent jacket, but he should be ashamed to have sent that blouse down the runway. It’s an absolute disgrace.

How many ill-fitting tank/short combos can you possibly show in ten looks?!

The coat would be okay if it even came close to fitting – it doesn’t even close without the awful belt – and if the construction were vastly improved. But it also has nothing to do with the rest of his collection, and it’s not particularly original (so I suppose it does have that in common with the rest of the collection).

The giant crotch on those high-waisted pants is absurdly distracting – I can’t really look at anything else. Which is probably a good thing, since there’s not much else worth seeing. The bleached leather wasn’t as interesting as the judges made it out to be, but then, they were all about the absurdly exaggerated compliments during this judging session. I know now that the season’s done, the producers want to pretend they chose four incredibly talented people and tell the world how wonderful these designers are now that they’ve been cultivated by Project Runway, but praising such obviously underwhelming collections felt incredibly trite and insincere.

The pants are kind of on-trend, if poorly executed and, once again, not particularly focused to this collection. And I like the idea of the scalloped navy bolero jacket, but the execution is lacking and the belt does nothing for me. The collar on that blouse also looks ridiculous.

Another incredibly basic top/pants combo. Can he do nothing but these ridiculously high-waisted pants that no one but a model could ever wear? (Probably.) And does he think that his literal, boring print makes these otherwise mind-numbingly dull pieces interesting? (It doesn’t.)

Other than the print, you could find this at any mall in America. But the execution is beyond terrible, and I hate that print more the more he uses it.

If this was supposed to be a showstopper, well, then Christopher failed as miserably as I predicted he would. Because if you’re going to do your “signature” scalloped thing for the final look, you better execute that shit impeccably. And this was a total disaster. Having to literally rip the train off the gown minutes before the runway show was actually the least of his problems. Let’s check out the back:

Come on. Not a single part of the fabric lines up along that giant seam. Every single piece is uneven and puckering – there’s no part of the back of this that doesn’t look like shoddy student work at best. He was the judges’ little pet from the beginning, but he had no business showing at New York Fashion Week.


I was hesitantly rooting for Dmitry throughout much of the season, but his finale collection did not impress me nearly as much as the judges. I found most of his work tacky and overdesigned, and the rest was not particularly original. This dress was one of my favorite looks, although the fit leaves a great deal to be desired. It’s still sharp, modern, and about twice as good as anything Christopher put down the runway.

The way the sleeves on this jacket flapped and flopped ridiculously behind the model made me giggle out loud. I do like the cut-out detail on the front, but that couldn’t save the jacket from being totally unwearable. And the other pieces are just too underwhelming for New York Fashion Week. I must sound like a broken record by now, but it’s not my fault they were given five weeks to make a collection. Take that up with Bunim/Murray, dear readers.

I hate this more than I did last week, maybe because I thought Dmitry would edit himself down a bit before the finale show. But there’s nothing about this I like.

Of course Heidi loves this PLEASE LOOK AT ME dress. Of course she does. But pretending that this was some innovation of a dress that could be worn by women worldwide was a fucking joke. It looks tacky on a model-sized woman, and it wouldn’t look any better on anybody else.

Who informed these judges that women want to look like they have saddle bags and gorilla arms? Because I think that myth needs to be debunked immediately.

Another throwaway look. That’s what’s the most soul-crushing to me, dear readers – that every single designer had looks that just had nothing even remotely new or interesting to offer.

Fussy, unoriginal, and overworked.

Probably my favorite look of the collection. If I saw this on the red carpet, I’d be praising the shit out of it. Modern, sexy, with a bit of a vintage throw-back with those darling cap sleeves. This is what I wanted Dmitry’s whole collection to be like – red carpet moments with architectural influences and sharp, interesting lines.

The draping at the top is beautiful (though I wasn’t as convinced by the skirt), but I’ve seen this dress way too many times before.

Possibly the most overpraised piece of the night. This is tacky, Heidi-at-the-Grammys levels of tacky. I never used to have such a problem with the Klum of Doom, but when you base your critiques on what you yourself would wear, and you only wear supremely tacky shit, the result becomes infuriating after ten fucking seasons.


My personal winner was Fabio. Most of the beauty and intrigue in his collection was in how the fabric moved, so trying to show his collection via pictures is almost impossible. And from what I read from people who were at the show, it was infinitely better in person than on television, so even my comments won’t encapsulate what people really got out of Fabio’s show. But I loved a great deal of it – it was the only collection that I felt offered something new to the fashion world. It’s what I knew Fabio was capable of – in fact, he was the only designer to fulfill my expectations of what he could accomplish in a collection. His last-minute adjustments after the last episode’s critique were brilliant, like these fantastic striped shorts. Their sharp, chic tailored juxtaposed beautifully with the flowing silkiness of the vest. The tee he added over that bra top helped the look immensely, though this wasn’t his best use of his chunky jewelry.

This top looks like a whole lot of nothing in pictures, but it did move beautifully, even if it wasn’t one of my favorite looks of the bunch. I did like the pants and the color scheme, though.

I’m in love with that little cropped blouse. The bottom of it, with those cute little buttons? Too delicious. And the skirt was very ethereal and lovely with it.

One of my favorite pieces. The dye work was incredibly beautiful, and there was some subtle, flattering seaming that made this supremely wearable. It goes without saying that this also moved beautifully.

Another great display of his ethereal, modern-hippie style that I can’t quite describe because it does feel innovative and new. His work is thoughtful and careful, which I couldn’t say about any of the other collections.

Cooler than it looks in pictures, I swear.

A bit of a throwaway look. He wasn’t immune from the unreasonable constraints of the finale challenge, after all.

Also better on television, but one of the more forgettable looks of the collection.

Breathtaking. A dress that’s wearable, deceivingly simple, and beautifully styled with that fantastic necklace. It’s Fabio’s low-key, hipster version of a showstopper, and it was my favorite look to come down the runway.

I’m no fan of bathrobes on the runway, and I think Fabio should have closed the show with the previous dress, not this look. But I still can’t express how lovely the movement of that silk jacket was. The pieces seemed a little fantastical and hard to wear together, but if you break down this collection, it has a lot of pieces that could sell easily. Fabio had a vision and a creativity level that the other designers lacked, and I was sorry to see him lose to Dmitry’s much less innovative collection.

Third place

I never had high hopes for Christopher, so even though his collection was the worst, Melissa might have disappointed me the most. She basically used this runway as an excuse to rehash the ideas she’s been using all season long, which makes for an incredibly underwhelming runway show, particularly when almost none of the pieces were flattering or well-made. This jacket looks a lot better than it did last week, now that she’s lost the awful cuffs, but it was probably the highlight of an otherwise predictable collection.

A throwaway for the second look? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

Nothing I haven’t seen from Melissa and countless other designers, countless times before.

You have TEN LOOKS, bitch! This is not the time for a swimsuit and a pathetic excuse for a coverup!

Nothing new to see here.

Seriously? That’s it?

How lumpy, misshapen potato sack of a dress got so much praise from the judges is beyond me. The shoulder is nice, but the rest looks overworked, and there’s still nothing original about it.

Loved that jacket, but you could barely appreciate it because of the awful and overly complicated top she paired it with. What a shame.

Her poor model couldn’t move her feet more than four inches at a time in this incredibly boring Calvin Klein rip-off that took absolutely no thought or creativity whatsoever to make. If you’re going to “design” something this dull, your model should at least be able to get down the fucking runway without hobbling.

I didn’t know that “showstoppers” are supposed to be awkward in proportions, unflattering, and generally stiff and sloppy. But apparently, this is what passes for a showstopper on Project Runway. I hope we can put another boring, disappointing finale behind us. Check back next week for the premiere of Project Runway All Stars!

Judges’ Rankings: Dmitry, Fabio, Melissa, Christopher
Diva’s Rankings: Fabio, Dmitry, Melissa, Christopher

As requested in the comments, my recap of the Season 10 Decoy Collections has now been posted!

All photos courtesy of Lifetime.

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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11 responses to Project Runway Recap: Season 10 Finale

  1. Sammy

    Loved what you said on the Finale. Do you think it could be possible to do a review on the decoy collections?!

    • democracydiva – Author

      I wasn’t sure if anyone would read it, but now that I know there’s an audience for it, I’ll start working on it now! Thanks, Sammy. ❤

      • I’d love to see your thoughts on Elena’s decoy collection. I thought she said she clearest point of view. She really edited herself out to make something else than her brand actually does.

      • democracydiva – Author

        Decoy post is in the works! And I agree that Elena’s collection had by far the strongest and most focused point of view. Thanks for commenting, Manuel! ❤

  2. Ivyfree

    I will TOTALLY read a review on the decoys. I’d been hoping for a Dimitry win- and I think he showed the most marketability during the season- but found his final collection a bit disappointing. Melissa: meh. Fabio really did move his collection upmarket in the couple of days he had available and I thought he might win.

    Christopher: I was watching his runway and told my husband: the only reason to hope for a Christopher win is to keep him from showing up on Project Runway All-Stars. Damn. He’ll be back next year, explaining (like Ivy and Wendy Pepper) how he should really have won his season. The judges are acting like they’re doing him some favor? Well, yeah, they actually are. He’s “over it” and the winner better be Fabio? What a nasty, immature attitude. However, I actually kind of liked his print: the ombre part of it. The part that showed hardware, no.

    Not looking forward to seeing Ivy next week and hope she’s kicked off first. Yes, I am only twelve. I know she advertised how she’d been selected to design a flight attendant uniform and then it turned out a failure. I probably don’t read the right things: I never hear about any of the winners, except of course for Christian Siriano.

    • democracydiva – Author

      You are so incredibly right about Christopher re: All Stars. I’m already dreading the next season of it now, and this one hasn’t even started yet! I hear some news about other PR alum besides Christian on BloggingProjectRunway and Tom&Lorenzo, but Christian is certainly the most successful of the bunch. And I am in 100% agreement with you about Ivy – I think she’s an awful designer with a terrible attitude. Thanks for commenting! ❤

  3. Reli

    I am STILL laughing over saddle bags and gorilla arms. Of course women want to look like that – I had that on my wedding gown! Anyway, I agree completely with your recap. Dmitry was disappointing because he overdesigned some bizarre collection for a ballroom dancer in Belarus. Christopher was boring and had no direction. Melissa – well, I TOLD you she was a one way monkey! 😉 And Fabio should have won, but they were obviously influenced by Lord and Taylor, the producers, etc. etc. I said on another blog that I think Fabio has the ability to create taste, not just cater to it, and that is the difference between a designer and a tailor. Great season of recaps, Diva! Looking forward to the next batch!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Reli, you were definitely right about Melissa in the end! I held out hope for too long. Obviously, Marie Claire, Lord & Taylor, and the other corporate sponsors have a lot of influence on who the winner is, which is why I would have been surprised (but thrilled) if Fabio had won it. But your point about the distinction between a tailor and a designer is spot-on. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Fabio deserved the win, but it is the first time someone I’ve been rooting for throughout the season actually wins, so I’m glad about this. And about Christopher getting eliminated first. I’m not sure I can even be objective about his collection, because I find everything about him SO annoying.
    To be honest, I didn’t expect Fabio to make it to the finale and I wasn’t that impressed with his collection based on the pics when they came out (only Elena impressed me), but I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the show.

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