Project Runway Recap: Season 11 Finale!


Somehow, we made it to the end of another season of Project Runway. We all deserve a drink.

The Challenge: After months of work, and with a little help from your sewing assistants and from Mood, present your twelve-look collection at New York Fashion Week. Or, in the case of Stanley, make half your collection in the two hours before the runway show.

Guest Judge: Michael Kors. Oh, Michael, queen of all things bitchy, how we missed you and your unique witticisms.

STANLEY HUDSON
Third Place
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Like Michelle, Tim Gunn, and pretty much anyone else with a pulse, I was positively disgusted by the sheer amount of work Stanley left unfinished on his collection. I had no sympathy for him whatsoever when he was complaining about how he still had four dresses to construct hours before the runway show. And it’s not as if he was laboring over the creation of his own artisanal textiles, like Patricia – Stanley contracted out that stuff to other people, leaving him EVEN MORE time to work on his designs. There was just no excuse for how ill-prepared he was for the runway show. But honestly, even if he had been fully prepared, he stubbornly refused to internalize the judges’ critiques from the last challenge. He stuck rigidly to his VERY stuffy aesthetic; yes, he can make beautiful pieces, but almost nothing he made would actually be worn by a modern, remotely youthful woman. Also, some of these pieces are such obvious rip-offs of famous designers that it got a little offensive.

Those complaints apply to basically every look in the collection, but regarding this look: like everything else, it’s pretty, boring, and stuffy. The jacket would be great if he didn’t pair it with those pants – I just can’t see those stiff, slightly shiny pants on anyone under the age of 75.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This worked much better as a top than the dress he presented it as during the last challenge, but he used that same matronly fabric from the first look’s pants to make this skirt. I think virtually any other material could have given this a chance of looking youthful, but his fabric choices are just so dated.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The dress is pretty, but I’ve seen about a million designers make the same exact thing. And the jacket looks sloppy.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

A rule Stanley needs to apply to everything he creates: If Queen Elizabeth could pull off this look, it’s probably too matronly for New York Fashion Week.

Photo: Lifetime

Stanley, stubborn bitch that he is, refused to take Nina’s brilliant critique into consideration. She recommended that he split up these pieces – show the top with a skinny pant, etc. It was a fantastic idea that would have made his whole collection look more youthful and cohesive, so of course he ignored that advice and showed the same exact matchy-matchy matronly look. Listen, I understand not wanting to listen to Heidi, who has no taste, or some random-ass guest judge who doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about. But when Nina tells you to change something, YOU CHANGE IT, or you go the hell home.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Hideous. Adding a solar panel to one of Betty Draper’s old housecoats does not a runway look make.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Boring, derivative, and unflattering.

Photo: Lifetime

Probably my favorite look of the collection, though it’s not without flaws. Something about the neckline combined with the slightly odd sleeve length still reads as matronly – had the sleeves been short or hit right above the elbow, I think this could have been one of the only youthful looks in the collection. But even that wouldn’t stop it from looking like a Valentino knockoff.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This only remotely worked because the model wearing it was unstoppably fierce. Put this on literally any other human being, and it’s awful.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Lingerie for the elderly watercolor painter community.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I did NOT understand why this got so much praise from the judges. It looks like a Christmas ornament. And a Marchesa rip-off.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

How many times have we seen this dress on the runway and the red carpet, dear readers? It must be approaching infinity. And look at that hemline – it’s a ragged mess in some places, making it clear that Stanley couldn’t even be bothered to finish perfecting the final look of his collection. F for lack of effort, Stanley. This was a real disappointment.

PATRICIA MICHAELS
Runner-Up
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

And now, a dozen or so looks that prove, as every challenge this season has proved, that Patricia is a brilliant textile designer and a terrible fashion designer. There was not a single shape or silhouette in this entire collection that I liked, but the textiles are fascinating and lovely.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The top is beautiful, if absurdly unwearable.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Too much. This was a mess.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

A throwaway look, albeit with one beautiful textile.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

This looked a little cheap and tacky.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Great print, awful shape.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Probably my least favorite look of the collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Still pretty, but man, there was nothing cohesive about this collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

My favorite look of Patricia’s collection. I love that top, and she actually styled it in a cool, modern way.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Another strong look. The hair samples don’t bother me as much as they did last week, because when you compare it to the rest of the collection, it’s pretty refined.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I still don’t like this look.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Great skirt, but that’s it. It was exactly what I expected it to be – hand-crafted textiles that make you think, but rendered in shapeless, unflattering, or just plain boring silhouettes. But considering how disorganized she was in the workroom – watching Tim cringe as she couldn’t find ANYTHING in her mess of fabrics – it wasn’t a total disaster of a show. But as expected, nothing could really compare to Michelle.

MICHELLE LESNIAK FRANKLIN
Winner
Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Awesome. Michelle could still afford to bring a constructive, editing eye to her looks – just removing the little belts around her upper arms would have perfected this – but this was an incredibly strong opener, and she stayed true to her vivid vision throughout the collection.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Love it. The backwards belt is awesome.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Cool as hell.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I disagreed with the judges about the ties – I LOVED this look, especially because of the tie.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

These pieces are incredibly beautiful. I didn’t realize it until now, but this might be my favorite look of the collection. I’d kill to rock this look.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The top is cool, but I don’t like that neckline.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

FREAKING AWESOME SWEATER. And I love the hat and shorts too. She could make a fortune just on that sweater, it’s so damn cool.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I actually didn’t hate how Peter Pan this was from the front – I thought it kind of worked! – but the back is way too much, and it pushes this into difficult-to-look-at territory.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

I still think this is overdesigned, but I do love a lot of things about it.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

She could have lost one more bag and I’d have been a lot happier. Also, those little crossing swords at the bottom look like garbage bag ties or security tags. I just hate them.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

Still an awesome sweater. And I liked the chaps last week, but now I’m thinking this look might have been even better without them.

Photo: Lifetime

Photo: Lifetime

The judges were right – this would have worked better in a shorter length. But I still thought it was lovely and still managed to be cohesive with the rest of her collection. And for the first time in recent Runway history, the person who deserved to win actually won! So congratulations to Michelle, the clear front-runner for quite a few challenges now. Her collection was unique, cohesive, and dare I say it, fashion-forward. But you couldn’t pay me to watch next week’s reunion episode.

Stay tuned for the Season 11 Decoy Collections – coming soon!


© Democracy Diva, 2013.
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2 responses to Project Runway Recap: Season 11 Finale!

  1. Dan

    Michelle mentioned in her interview to Blogging Project Runway that she couldn’t put the sweater into production as it belonged to Lifetime…!

    • democracydiva – Author

      Ugh, I had a feeling the contestants’ contracts involved Lifetime getting the rights to whatever they make on the show, but I wasn’t sure until now! I hope Lifetime will still put the sweater into production and work out some sort of deal with Michelle wherein she can actually get paid for it, because then everybody could make a killing and we could all have those fabulous sweaters. Thanks for commenting, Dan!

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