Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

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Episode Five: What's The Skinny?

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow

Transformation

Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Good Queen Fun

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Episode Five: What's The Skinny?

Unable to defend that hot mess.

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For this challenge, Heidi brings in the models: twelve women, each of whom has undergone a significant weight loss. They are wearing the outfit that they loved most when they were at their heaviest, so on the runway they look like deflated balloons. Heidi announces that for this challenge, the designers will create a beautiful new look for these women using the clothes they're wearing as the raw material for that look. She then assigns each model/client to a designer by selecting names from our velvet bag.

The designers are given 30 minutes to meet with their new clients in the workroom. That accomplished, I take them shopping for extra fabric and/or notions with a budget of $10 (yes, ten dollars). They have until midnight of that day, with a possible hour or two in the morning, to complete their work for the challenge. tim_guest_405_320x240.jpg

Oh, I almost forgot, these new looks are for each woman's daily life -- think about that when you bring your own evaluations to the outcomes. Patrick Robinson, head designer for The GAP, is our guest judge. jack_01_405_320x240.jpg

Finally, I'm terribly sorry to say that we lose Jack in this challenge. He was seized by a repeat episode of an extremely serious staph infection, one that would require a week in the hospital with an IV drip. Morally, ethically, and medically, it was impossible to keep him on the show. Chris March was the last designer to be out, so we brought him back to replace Jack. Owing to the fact that Chris began the challenge very late, we allowed him to work through the night. rate_runway_05_405.jpg

Christian wins, and in his own words, "Finally!" Our resident wunderkind really deserved this win, too. He created a look that embraced his spirit of innovation, but it was grounded enough to navigate the real world, too. And that, readers, was the challenge. His client, Kerry, looked "fabulous" in the reinvention of her heaviest weight outfit: a fitted and cropped jean with a shrunken jacket (a metaphor?) over a nude top. I was crazy about the horizontal pleats in the placket of the jacket. Furthermore, the silhouette and proportions of the entire look was "fierce." Go, Christian! rate_runway_10_405.jpg

Steve is OUT. I felt sick for Steve from the moment he received Laura as his client, because of -- omigod -- that wedding dress. To be blunt, the prospect of working with a full-length gown of white polyester/acetate with prefabricated adornments of cheap-and-cheerful lace, pearls, and beading was daunting even to me. And Steve's decision to create a black dress and use remnants of the wedding dress for a collar and cuffs was risky. A black-and-white design scenario, especially with a collar and cuffs, is rife with cliches, and how to mitigate that trap added another dimension to the challenge. Had the dress been flawlessly executed, Steve would have had a hard enough time on the judging runway. But given that it was an oversized jumble of disparate parts, he was unable to defend the hot mess. Steve, we will sincerely miss you! rate_runway_04_405.jpg

Chris returned to replace Jack, who had only barely begun to work with his client, Sylvia, when the impact of his infection became too serious for him to remain. So as happy as we are to have our dear Chris back in the workroom, what-oh-what was he thinking when he created Sylvia's new look? Considering his background as a costume designer, I have been pleased that he has avoided that potential trap -- until now. If one were to remove the red sash from the skirt, then you'd be left with a baby-blue top with a scooped neckline and a navy pencil skirt. But even the skirt's red kick-pleat was a costume nod. So was Sylvia's runway styling: another slash of red in the form of a scarf that was tied around her neck. I didn't get it. Was she boarding the HMS Pinafore or was she engaging in a French apache dance? Perhaps both! rate_runway_07_405.jpg

Elisa's design point of view was simply too dominant in this challenge. Tracy, her client, had lost 102 lbs., so Elisa had volumes of fabric with which to work. Frankly, those excesses contributed to her derailment, at least in my opinion. The look she created had too many layers, too much asymmetry, and was just, well, too much. This was to be an outfit for Tracy's everyday life. I wasn't a believer, unless Tracy is a ringmaster for Barnum & Bailey. Elisa, please tone down the clown clothes! rate_runway_02_405.jpg

Jillian stunned me with her bold decision to barely use any of her client Erika's wardrobe. Frankly, I was prepared for the possibility of a "disqualification" ruling from the judges. Jillian told me that she replicated the red of Erika's shirt in the fabric that she bought (and I'm not at all certain how she obtained all of that fabric for a mere $10), and she cut up Erika's pants for strips for piping I have to say that her design was strong: a red dress with a halter cum racer back. And her use of the piping to create the illusion of a longer and leaner silhouette was outstanding. I'm merely happy that the judges subscribed to the package, whereas I would have balked. rate_runway_09_405.jpg

Kevin created a strapless, modified bustier top that flared from the waist and fell to mid-thigh. This was paired with black leggings. The top was in canary yellow with graphic accents in black: large buttons and piping. I found the look to be sleek and modern, and it looked adorable on his client Elise who walked it on the runway with extraordinary confidence. I saw Kevin as a strong contender for the win, except for the limitations of where Elise could really wear this look: everyday? I don't think so. rate_runway_08_405.jpg

Kit's design was ambitious. Her client Alicia had lost 160 lbs, which was even more ambitious an achievement! Kit had a difficult shade of pink with which to work, plus a non-cohesive black and white print. To her credit, she made it work: a short and "girly" (her words) trapeze dress in the difficult pink with an underskirt and waistband in the print. It was a pretty dress, but was it fashion? rate_runway_11_405.jpg

Rami created a tailored, high-waisted skirt paired with an organic, draped top. The skirt was sleek and beautifully fitted on his client, Lisa, and it offered an excellent counterpoint to the superbly draped top of twists and pleats, his Greco-Roman signature. Frankly, I was surprised that he didn't remain on the runway as one of the three strongest designers for this challenge. Was his work too basic in the eyes of the judges? We'll never know. rate_runway_03_405.jpg

Ricky designed a baby-doll top and cropped jean for his client Penny. The top was in a nude fabric with a jeweled neckline. He gave the silhouette additional dimension by using a sash at the waist. Penny looked great on the runway, but regarding the top, I had to ask myself at how many stores on Madison Avenue could one buy an almost identical look? rate_runway_01_405.jpg

Sweet P's client Chris lost 100 lbs, thereby leaving Sweet P with ample fabric with which to work. She took the olive gray poly-blend and created a halter dress that evolved from basic to stunning with the use of white piping along the seams. Heidi asked for "beautiful" and Sweet P delivered it! rate_runway_06_405.jpg

Victorya's model Ory had lost 139 lbs. When Heidi made the initial introduction, Ory was wearing a dark green velvet floor-length dress. That meant that Victorya had plenty of material with which to work. What eluded me was how little innovation and invention Victorya brought to this challenge. Basically, she shortened the dress and fitted it very well to Ory's newfound figure. Victorya even described it as a "cocktail dress." How was it that so many of the designers lost sight of the premise of the challenge: to create an everyday look? To repeat: it eluded me.

The Final Showdown

Bryant Park was a frantic frenzy backstage but most kept cool.

After weeks of vigorous drawing, designing and sewing, the final three designers arrived at the last challenge. The pressure was on for Leanne, Korto, and Kenley as they geared up to show their collections at Bryant Park for New York Fashion Week!

As the TRESemmé Styling Team entered the fashion tents, we were filled with excitement and anticipation to see what the designers put together. Since each contestant had 10 models each, backstage was buzzing! Kenley was frantic because some of her models were missing and didn't even show up until the last minute. Leanne was the complete opposite - she stayed calm and collected and even had all her models ready to go way before runway time. Korto looked nervous but was ecstatic to be at Bryant Park. She told us it was something she had been dreaming about her whole life. After we gathered the 30 models, we split them up by designer so that the TRESemmé Styling Team could start transforming the girls. Korto's collection reflected her African heritage and culture. To complement the loud prints and bold colors, we decided to give Korto's models an up-do to accentuate the embellished detailing on the neckline of the garments. First, I started by taking a zig-zag section from ear to ear across the crown. I worked in TRESemme Anti-Frizz Secret Smoothing Crème to help create a sleek base. Then, we tied two separate ponytails to the right side of the head within the top and bottom sections. To add volume to the ponytail, we created waves using a 1″ curling iron, and then teased the hair. After, we lightly brushed the surface for a smooth exterior and neatly twisted and pinned the hair into a doughnut-shaped bun.

For Leanne's collection, she found inspiration by the lake near her home in Portland, Oregon. Each piece in her line had some sort of ripple or wave effect to it in different shades of blue and cream. We wanted to create a hairstyle that had a similar wave-like effect. Leanne envisioned the hair to look natural, organic and earthy. I began by generously spraying TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer throughout the models' hair. After blow-drying, I gave her models a deep left side part and tied back the front pieces of their hair into a ponytail. I pulled the remaining hair and the ponytail into one low pony and curled it to create soft waves.Kenley designed an assortment of colorful knee-length dresses that she hand painted herself! She wanted the hair to be classic and sophisticated, so we decided to give her models Marcel waves. To get this look, I created a low left side part from above the eye to the crown, then sectioned the hair from the crown to behind the right ear and clipped it aside. Next, I put the remaining hair into a side bun to the right side of the head. After, we released the top section of the hair from the clip and misted the hair with TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer before blow-drying for a smooth finish. Then, we finished by applying TRESemme Thermal Creations Curl Activator Spray to the front pieces and used a 1" curling iron to create face framing Marcel waves. Finally, we loosely pinned the remaining length of the hair into a bun.

Even though all the collections looked amazing on the runway, there can only be one winner of Project Runway. Tim Gunn, who surprised everyone as the guest judge, thought Leanne's line was uniquely structured and versatile. Heidi said her cohesive collection floated down the runway. The judges all agreed her designs were flawless and Leanne was crowned winner!

It has been such a memorable experience seeing Leanne grow into the designer she is today, and I'm sure we can expect many more beautiful collections from her. I can't wait to see what type of ripple effect this designer will make in the fashion industry!