Fireworks On The Runway

This season's Fashion Week was like no other season!

I could not be more pleased with the three collections that the Project Runway finalists presented this season. I could not agree more with Tim when he said that the caliber and consistency of talent that emerged from Jillian, Rami, and Christian were like no other season. After a week of back-to-back shows from some of the best American designers, I can honestly say that all of the collections were worthy to share the same stage of Bryant Park. With that said, unfortunately only one designer could be named the winner and for us it was incontestable. tim_08.jpg 

Last week, we got a glimpse of what the designers had in store and frankly I was concerned that Bryant Park was going to look more like a funeral procession than a runway. To my surprise, we saw three strong varying collections that were faithful and consistent to each designer's point of view. Jillian was the first to show. Her collection was an extension of the Metropolitan Museum challenge, crediting the Italian 15th century painting Master of the Argonauts as her muse. Throughout the competition Jillian has really failed to formulate a distinct point of view. I am not sure if it is because she has been working under someone else's vision (Ralph Lauren) for so many years that she is still trying to cultivate her style, but Jillian's final collection was pulled in a lot of directions making it disjointed. I have to say her knits were absolutely marvelous and overall her collection was fun, accessible, and inherently feminine.


Rami, the King of Drapery, set out to prove to the judges that he could produce a collection that was not 12 variations of the same goddess dress and did so with a precise execution. There is no doubt who Rami's clientele is and throughout the competition showed her solely as a woman with a fully active black/tie social agenda. For his final collection he presented how the social butterfly gets dressed for work and not just play. His collection was cohesive, showcasing every category of dressing comprised of wearable separates. Rami did not sway from his distinct point of view with his series of jackets, blouses, and trousers, but verified his status as an expert of evening with his two closing gowns that shined. My biggest problem with Rami was not his technique and execution but in his choice of color. Not only specific to his final collection, he consistently chose colors that were drab, unflattering, and frankly outdated. Remember the prom challenge? Construction-wise the dress was flawless but he chose this sea foam green color that is complimentary on only a handful of skin tones and is most commonly found on a mother-of-the-bride gown, to quote one of Michael's favorite phrases. In terms of the final collection, Rami's color choice was the weakness of an amazingly designed collection. tim_05.jpg

Christian concluded the show and like a 4th of July fireworks display -- it really was the grand finale. The variety of challenges that occurred over this season, from women's wrestling uniforms to candy bar couture, the one who really managed to ride the waves was Christian. At first, his cocky attitude and avant-garde fixation could easily be written off as a consequence of youth and inexperience. But challenge after challenge we saw that Christian's aesthetic was consistent. Despite his flair for drama, which always pushed the envelope, he managed to be conscious of the wearability of his pieces. Although during judging I pointed out that there might have been a little bit too much black in the collection, making it hard to differentiate each look from one another, the dark romantic moment was all the rage at the Paris and Milan F/W shows. tim_04.jpg

Having Victoria Beckham as a guest judge was such a treat. Her love of fashion as a consumer and style icon and her own endeavors in design made her the best choice to judge the final collections. She offered great critique and compliments to all of the designers, but it was undeniable which collection was her favorite. I think we all agree that all the designers presented fierce collections, but in the end Christian's gothic romantic tale was the most major of them all.

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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!

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