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.

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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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Leanne Speaks!

May we present season 5 winner of Project Runway- Leanne Marshall!

Bravotv.com: How did you feel when you won?
I was just in shock for a good couple of minutes after Heidi called my name. I was exhausted and exhilarated. It was the most amazing moment of my life.

Bravotv.com: Were you shocked by the result?
I was shocked. It was a big shock. I had hoped and I had my fingers crossed but it had been a long week and I was really sleep deprived so I didn't know.

Bravotv.com: What are you going to do with the money?
Going straight to the horse races... No, I'm actually going to re-locate to New York to further develop my clothing line. I'm actually going to hire some people to help me and hopefully show at fashion week again.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of the criticism the judges had for you?
I definitely would have had a lot more variety. I just always had in my mind, throughout doing the collection, to keep it really cohesive. Creating it I had so many different ideas and I started to go off on tangents so I was thinking that I can't do too many things with such a small collection, I had to keep it cohesive.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of the other collections?
I think Korto showed a really strong collection. I loved her colors and she makes great clothes for women. I think Kenley had some surprising pieces that looked really great on the runway. I definitely liked certain elements of Jerell's collection, the drama and the sparkle. It's very Jerell. Joe surprised me too. It was really well made. And Suede also did a really good job.

Bravotv.com: Are you prepared for your life to totally change as of tomorrow?
I'm not. After finding out and coming back I've been living my life normally as if nothing ever happened. Yes, it's going to be crazy and I'm really excited about it all.

Bravotv.com: How did you keep the secret?
I threatened to break anyone's arms who spilled. No... My family, my boyfriend, everyone was as strict as making sure that they don't say anything as I was. It's a great surprise and we want everyone to be surprised in the end. And I don't want to ruin it for anyone.

Bravotv.com: You're only the second female to win Project Runway. How do you feel about that as a female designer?
It's awesome. It's really exciting. I think there are a lot of strong female designers out there. It just so happens that a lot of the Project Runway winners are male. It's definitely about time.

Bravotv.com: Have you kept in touch which any of the other contestants?
I have been in touch with Korto and Jerrell. Also, Blayne every now and then. I definitely would love to keep in touch with them for a long time.

Bravotv.com: Where can we buy your clothing?
Go to my website, LeanneMarshall.com, and I also link to my Etsy page where I sell things online. Two shops in Portland, Oregon, Seaplane and Foundation Garments. And I just got a ton of requests so hopefully everywhere soon!

Bravotv.com: Any final words for your fans?
I'm just so touched and thank you for supporting me, coming up and saying hi and all that. I love it and I'm so appreciative of all of it. It kept me going and propelled when I was creating my collection. It's hard putting your self out there but one of the rewards is having [great fans.]

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