The Challenge: We’ve finally made it to New York Fashion Week! Each finalist must present his or her ten-look collection, including one look made out of unconventional materials and one made out of washable fabrics so that we can say Tide a million times per episode.
Guest Judge: The incomparably fabulous Kerry Washington. Kudos to the Project Runway team, because this was quite a get for the finale guest judge spot. And Ms. Washington was as gracious and warm and lovely as I could have ever hoped she’d be.
ALEXANDRIA VAN BROMSSEN
Alexandria opened her collection brilliantly, with her unconventional look. It had an incredible impact and was fascinating to look at, making it a really remarkable opener, because it set the tone for the rest of her modern, interesting show.
Like all of her competitors, Alexandria was at the absolute top of her game and showed exactly the kind of collection I’d hoped for from her – cutting-edge garments with a distinct point of view that actually look like they belong on the Spring 2014 New York Fashion Week runways.
Above all, Alexandria’s brilliant choice of textiles impressed me the most. She proved that she has an eye for rich, luxe fabrics – a laser-like vision of what fabrics will create that chic-but-laid-back, ridiculously-expensive-but-carefree aesthetic. Whatever that perforated shawl top is, I think it’s gorgeous.
If you’re going to show a tee and a pair of shorts in a ten-look collection, it better be the most spectacular tee and shorts imaginable, otherwise you’re just wasting a look. The shorts definitely meet the standard here, but I’m not sure that top is really quite special enough.
Still love the asymmetrical closure on these pants. I just think it’s brilliantly fresh.
This was Alexandria’s Tide washable look, which I think she nailed. I don’t know how the hell you wash that sheer fabric, but if it’s really possible to do, then color me impressed. And I love this interesting silhouette, with the top cropped in back and slashed diagonally in front.
I love this look, but I’d love it a hundred times more without the exposed zipper. It’s just been done to death (although this one is expertly executed, I’ll give her that.)
This didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the collection, and it’s also kind of ridiculous, but I sort of love that weird vest top.
I’ll take that suede jacket in this gorgeous slate gray and every other color, please.
Not too memorable in photographs, but the real beauty of this dress was in the texture, which doesn’t read too well here. It moved beautifully on television, though. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Alexandria’s collection, which had a breath-of-fresh-airiness to it. Dom was still my pick for the win, but Alexandria definitely gave Dom a run for her money. I hope to see a lot more from her in the future.
This was the first finale in years where I truly felt that every designer deserved to be there, and created a collection worthy of New York Fashion Week. Bradon’s was my least favorite out of the four, but each of these designers could have won any of the last few seasons with these collections, Bradon included. This shiny pink-gold fabric played a major role in the collection, but I thought it read as a bit tacky on television and in photos. It may have looked much more expensive in person (I wouldn’t be lucky enough to know), but I can’t say it translated well to film. That said, the ivory draping at the bottom of this gown was spectacular, and a feat worthy of an opening look.
Bradon made a lot of beautiful separates; however, I wasn’t sold on the way he combined his pieces. This textured top is so lovely, but if it was paired with the kinds of pieces Alexandria showed, it would have really shone.
Hard to like this look when I so heartily dislike that fabric, but it’s well-made and has a lightness to it that I’m enjoying.
I wish the whole short was rendered in that print, instead of just the front. But either way, that’s one hell of a pair of shorts. The blouse isn’t particularly innovative, but it’s lovely all the same.
Bradon’s washable look was probably my least favorite of his collection. You could tell immediately that this look was created separately from the rest of his collection, and I think that’s a problem. It’s a fun, wearable dress, but it didn’t speak to any of Bradon’s other looks.
This blouse is definitely my favorite use of the shiny fabric – it’s got an off-duty Karolina Kurkova vibe to it. And if I were long-legged enough to pull them off, I’d be putting in an order for those pants as we speak. (Sadly, once I hemmed them to my 5’0″ height, the proportions would be completely insane.)
I cannot for the life of me remember what unconventional material this is made of, but I still enjoyed this look. There are two ways to make a great unconventional look – construct it so expertly that the audience can’t tell it’s not made of fabric, or own the unconventional material and make it extraordinarily obvious that you’ve managed to create a gown out of Solo cups or whatever the material may be. Bradon went for the former, which can be really lovely, but I prefer the drama of seeing a gown obviously made out of test tubes strut down the runway.
The dyeing looks fantastic, but it’s a little bit too plain of a silhouette to really grab my attention. But it looks like there might be pockets, so that’s something.
By far my favorite look of Bradon’s collection. Flawlessly executed, beautifully designed, and red-carpet ready. Now that I think about it, Kerry Washington would look outstanding in this print. Bradon, make it happen.
Again, I think the simplicity of the silhouette kind of ruins this look for me. The metallic ruffle is really stunning from the back, but I can’t say I love the bulkiness of it in the front. Kudos to Bradon – he may not have wowed me quite as much as his fellow designers, but as I said earlier, this could easily have taken the win in many other Project Runway seasons.
I never stopped rooting for Dom, but even if I hadn’t already been a devotee, I would have been sold on her collection from this first look alone. Dom designed every print in her collection, which was a brilliant move, since she’s been recognized as this season’s princess of prints. She’s got the best eye for how to pair clashing textiles together I’ve seen on this show since Mondo.
They’re impossible to appreciate in photos, but her plastic pieces were truly awesome. Surprising and fun, which is what I think all fashion should be.
I preferred this print in other silhouettes, and I don’t think the fit here is quite right, but it’s still incredibly cool. Also, I thought the big, old Hollywood hair and starlet sunglasses were fantastic styling choices. They gave an Upper East Side sensibility to an otherwise downtown, funky collection, and that juxtaposition of aesthetics really worked for me.
This plunging neckline is divine. And I’d happily never see another peplum on a red carpet gown again, but rendering it in that plastic fabric was yet another brilliant choice.
Love, love, love. I’m not much for dresses I can’t wear a bra with, but I want to be friends with the flat-chested girl who’s wearing this dress.
I think it’s a fool’s errand to put a bathing suit in a Project Runway collection. You only have ten looks, so it’s risky to make one a swimsuit to begin with. And unlike other kinds of clothing, the primary way to make a new silhouette of swimsuit is to create insane tan lines that no woman could ever want. So I don’t think there’s a way to win here. But I think the cape-coverup thing is pretty groovy.
GIVE ME THAT JACKET. NOW. IT MUST BE MINE.
A phenomenal print, rendered so expertly I can’t even believe my eyes. It is not easy to line up a print this crazy so that the end result is symmetrical, so kudos to Dom. And that neckline is sexy as can be.
From the front, I thought Dom’s washable look was adorable and chic. But the closure in the back or whatever’s happening at the bottom of that open back is just a bit too sloppy for me.
Dom’s unconventional look was daring and delightful. And the red wig paired with it? Absolute perfection. Until Helen got eliminated, I didn’t truly believe the judges would actually award Dom the win, even though I’d been praying for it all season long. Heartfelt congratulations to Dom – you deserved it, lady!
The rest of Justin’s collection was as surprisingly chic as the three-look preview he presented in Part One of the finale. And he definitely helped himself out by getting rid of those awful wigs, but I can’t say the weird asymmetrical bangs he chose were much better.
A touch on the basic side, but very sweet and incredibly wearable. Great use of the 3D printing as a sort of cap sleeve.
I was not such a fan of Justin’s washable look from the front, but the draping in back is truly breathtaking.
Still adorable in a new-wave Carolina Herrera sort of way.
I just find those clip-on bangs so terribly distracting. I don’t think they reflect the woman who would wear Justin’s clothes, and I think they sometimes make it hard to focus on his designs. But I loved this sound wave print.
Incredibly modern and chic from the front, but I think the babydoll draping in the back doesn’t really go with the cool, laid-back vibe of the rest of the look.
This was probably my least favorite look of Justin’s collection. I think it lacked focus and a strong point of view. The 3D-printed necklace looks great in the back, but that’s the only thing I like about this look.
This is far too similar to the look before it; this one is just more refined. He should have nixed the look before this altogether and perhaps done some sort of gray-and-white transitional look.
Very cute, but a shade too similar to the second look of his collection. And the fit in the back leaves a bit to be desired.
There was something magical about listening to this dress come down the runway, with the test tubes clattering against each other to mimic the sound of falling rain. It was a brilliant unconventional look, and a spectacular finale dress. It spoke to Justin’s inspiration, and looked damn good doing it.
Judges’ Final Rankings: Dom, Alexandria, Justin, Bradon
Diva’s Final Rankings: Dom, Alexandria, Justin, Bradon
Thank you for another wonderful season, dear readers! Come back next week for the Diva’s recaps of Project Runway All Stars.