The Challenge: The designers are tasked with creating a mini-collection inspired by their countries of origin for a runway show at the United Nations. Oh, and they’re forced to throw in an additional look made of a random printed fabric thrown in at the last minute.
Guest Judges: Gayle King (BFF to Oprah, and no, I have no idea what she was doing there either) and fashion designer/Project Runway judge Zac Posen.
Elena’s collection was, in a word, ELENA. Like we all predicted she would, Elena trapped herself inside her tiny little box of futuristic jackets with big shoulders, and didn’t show us anything we haven’t seen from her before. That’s not to say there weren’t some beautiful, stylish looks, like this first one, but there was not a surprise to be found amongst this collection.
One of the judges critiqued that Elena spends so much time on the tops of her looks that she nearly always neglects the bottom half. That’s always been one of her biggest flaws, and it ever-so-slightly reaffirmed my faith in this show to hear a judge actually call her out on that. For all the intricacy her jackets and tops contain, this very basic skirt was the most interesting silhouette she showed below the waist of any over her looks.
Same skirt, different color, and this one doesn’t go with the top half at all.
Cool jacket; the bottom is a complete throwaway.
I found this hideously unflattering, though the judges didn’t seem to agree.
These proportions are a nightmare. Oh, and there is maybe no styling choice I hate more than clip-on bangs. Even Seth Aaron’s obnoxious glasses on every model didn’t bother me as much as Elena’s addiction to fake fringe.
Flowy and easygoing are not Elena’s strong suits. Taken in a vacuum, this collection might have pleased some, but anyone who’s seen Elena’s prior work knows this is all she’s done before, and apparently all she’s ever going to do. I’m so glad the judges actually recognized that, at least in this episode, if not the others.
This was a spectacular opening look, and one of my favorites in Project Runway history. It was warm and feminine, effortlessly sexy, and the cut-out in the back? Delicious, and so perfectly Korto. She and Seth Aaron both showed beautiful, interesting collections that showed their voices as designers while also highlighting their versatility. Their aesthetics are so different that it was hard to compare them, and difficult for me personally to choose which I liked best. I think I’d agree with giving Seth Aaron the win because his collection was more cohesive, and Korto had more looks I didn’t love. But as far as I’m concerned, it was a very close competition.
This dress would have been so much better without the peplum. That skirt is so delicate and lovely, but the peplum is completely unnecessary. Let’s finally let that particular runway trend die, please.
This doesn’t translate quite as well to photos, because the movement of these pieces was what made this look particularly spectacular. Definitely one of my favorites of Korto’s collection.
I hate that mini-skirt underneath the printed fabric – I think this dress would have been so much better with a complete skirt in the print, and without the belt.
The weight of the top of the dress seemed to be out of balance with the lightness of the bottom, but I liked what she was going for here. This had a sort of modern art deco aesthetic that really drew me in.
I don’t think she does the big shoulders particularly well, and this look seemed to be for a woman much older than the one who’d wear the rest of the collection. I just don’t think this one fit in particularly well.
Beautiful, but I hate how much the bracelets distract from the dress. It didn’t pack quite enough of a punch to be her finale look, but it was still a collection that felt like a breath of fresh air.
SETH AARON HENDERSON
Seth Aaron isn’t one to shy away from theatrics, which is why I’ve always loved him as a designer. I know he’s too cartoonish for some, but that’s exactly what I love about his work. As I said earlier, the giant glasses were a bit much for every single model to wear, but I thought they worked so perfectly here, with his take on the little black dress. The mix of textures was very interesting, and the cut-outs in back were expertly tailored, like basically everything Seth Aaron makes.
I could very easily understand why people might hate this look, but I absolutely love it. He definitely should have ditched the glasses for this one, but I thought this was so much fun. His collection gave you color when you thought you’d get monochromatics, and vice versa – everything felt like a little surprise, and in my opinion, that’s what makes for a great collection.
An incredibly important piece in Seth Aaron’s collection, this look proved that for all his over-the-top tendencies, the boy can edit. He’s not so committed to his own personal point of view that he can’t create something easygoing and wearable – that’s what distinguishes him from Elena, who couldn’t create something this simple and lovely and outside her box if her life depended on it. This is one of the most flawless little white dresses I’ve ever seen.
Definitely the weak link in an otherwise strong collection. I understand what drew him to this print, but I didn’t think it worked particularly well here, at least not when tucked in to this rather disappointing skirt.
To me, this looked incredible on the runway. Seth Aaron can mix textures like a pro. This was a risk, but I think it paid off.
I love the front and the back, but I think they belong on two different dresses.
Stunning and Dior-esque from the front; slightly too wide and Little Red Riding Hood-esque from the back. But it’s a memorable finale look that packs a punch. Seth Aaron brought the drama and brought it hard, and for that, I think he deserved the win.
Judges’ Final Rankings: Seth Aaron, Korto, Elena
Diva’s Final Rankings: Seth Aaron, Korto, Elena
Thank you for joining Democracy Diva for another fabulous season of Project Runway, dear readers. Continue the sass with me on Twitter tonight for the Golden Globes red carpet & show – I’ll be starting at 6 PM EST!