Cast Blog: #PROJECTRUNWAY

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Raw Talent

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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

Raw Talent

Who is victorious and who gets slammed.

Heidi announces that the designers are to meet me for a field trip, and we hear audible groans in response. The designers have grown weary of surprises, and what a surprise we have for them. For our field trip, I bring the six remaining designers to the lobby outside of the auditorium at Parsons where we have the runway show and the judging. We can hear shouts and grunts and shrieks emitting from behind the doors. The designers look extremely apprehensive, even a little panicked. What's going on? I open one of the four doors to reveal a regulation wrestling ring in which six Divas of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) are engaged in combat. It's quite a sight -- and sound!

We meet the Divas who introduce themselves and provide a few words to describe their "character." Then, I invite the designers into the ring to select a Diva to be their client. Their challenge: to create an outfit for the Divas to wear in the ring. They have 30 minutes to consult with their clients, after which we go shopping at Spandex House (I didn't make it up; it's a real place) with a budget of $100. The designers have two days to complete the challenge.

We are fortunate to have the perfect guest judges: Richie Rich and Traver Rains, who are Heatherette. If anyone would understand this challenge, they would! raterunway_06_410_220x415.jpg

Chris wins! Chris enthusiastically embraced this challenge from the beginning. He has experience facilitating design challenges that are tongue-in-cheek. His personal challenge throughout the season has been to tame the over-the-top costume designer in him and create designs that can navigate the real world. This challenge involved a different iteration of "real world," and one that was his cup of metaphorical tea. Compared to the other designers, Chris worked stealth-like at Spandex House. I could sense his confidence from that very moment. His client was Maria, a self-described "glam rock" Diva. Chris created a shrunken hoodie in green leopard velour with a dark green glittery lining. The hoodie was over a leopard print bikini top with S&M strapping over a bikini bottom in the dark glittery fabric. And there were matching elbow-high gloves. The effect was jungle disco: Rousseau does Vegas. It was an appropriate look for the challenge, absolutely believable, and Maria looked fabulous. Congratulations, Chris! raterunway_03_410_220x415.jpg

Ricky is out. Had the challenge been to design swimwear for the Caribbean, then Ricky may have won. Alas, not so. His tangerine bikini with gold hardware trim was well done, although derivative, but it wasn't even remotely appropriate for the WWE ring. He thought he could mitigate the look through use of a cover-up, but the cover-up -- a gold lame front and back -- merely looked like he was grasping for something, anything. He was. His client, Layla, wore the outfit like the professional that she is, but even she wasn't believing the look. Ricky, we will all sincerely miss you. raterunway_02_410_220x415.jpg

Christian designed the most high fashion of the looks. Frankly, it was "fierce and fabulous," to borrow two of his pet words. When his client Kristal declared that she loves leather and lace, I knew that we had a match made in heaven. However, initially I was also concerned: Chaps? I feared that this was going to be a silly biker bar costume, but I was wrong. The faux leather chaps with the lace inserts, the sleeveless lace top with the high waistband in faux leather, and the faux leather shrunken jacket were sleek, elegant, and even sophisticated. Kristal looked like she was going to the WWE in Paris. I swooned and thought that Christian's work was a strong contender for the win. raterunway_01_410_220x415.jpg

Jillian was another strong contender for the win, at least in my view. Her client Michelle personifies the "girl next door," and Jillian's design for her exuded an all-American sensibility. She designed a royal blue top with white engineered stripes and matching short shorts with a white waistband. She styled the look with white mid-thigh tights. he look was clean and athletic with a nod to preppy. Excellent, Jillian. raterunway_05_410_220x415.jpg 

Rami was as close to crashing and burning on this challenge as I've ever seen him. The context of this challenge eluded him and took him too far away from his comfort zone. But that's precisely why we presented this challenge in the first place. At Spandex House, he chose a vibrant (that's an understatement) pink fabric that needed to either be fully embraced or rejected. Once it was back in the workroom, it was clear that it needed to be reckoned with. Rami battled with ambivalence. In the end, his client Torrie, another all-American girl, looked dowdy, if that's possible. The top looked voluminous, even accepting Torrie's ample breasts. The bottom, shorts with a removable over-skirt, looked like a diaper. Torrie looked like she was going to the WWE retirement home. Rami was way off his mark. raterunway_04_410_220x415.jpg

Sweet P was almost as debilitated as Rami. Although she certainly understood the challenge, she had difficulty embracing her client's desire for wretched excess. Candice is the current WWE women's champion and she's not called the "sex kitten" for nothing. Her signature is "robe and reveal;" that is, entering the ring looking grand, but demure, then removing the robe with a flourish and revealing a sexy next-to-nothing costume. Sweet P just couldn't find the right path to go there. Furthermore, and now becoming characteristic of her, she was filled with self-doubts. She builds up good momentum, and then she stalls. Candice looked lackluster on the runway in Sweet P's sleeveless robe and very basic modified bikini. Lackluster. Sweet P, I'm just happy that you're still with us!

The Real Winner

No doubt about this years Project Runway 5 winner!

Just a heads up that my book Fashion Inside Out is almost upon us! Though I've heard places are starting to ship it out, the official release date is on 10/28, so mark your calendars! I'm heading out on a book tour to celebrate with you all, so be sure to check my website for details on times, dates and locations: www.danielvosovic.net. After a year and a half in the works it would be delightful to see all of your supporting faces!

But NOW, it's down to business! PR5 has finally come to an end. I hope after a week of digesting we've all be able to form clear-headed opinions about who we really thought was the winner.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I hands down think it should have been Leanne, but what did you think? Tightly edited, unique and comparable to no one, I think she did an excellent job of taking her inspiration and running it cohesively through each and every piece she sent down the runway. Unlike some of the other designers, Leanne's work is both subtle and intricate, and I applaud her to no end for being able to successfully straddle that fine line, especially at exactly the right time. Korto and Kenley both showed very nice collections, but I do think that Leanne was the one who had the whole package. Korto's sense of color and proportion are excellent, and the way she styled the looks was just intoxicating - the high buns, dewy skin, and fluttering fans - she certainly infused a lot of "earthy sexiness" into it. That being said, you take away all of the extras and we're left with clothing that didn't quite stand up to Leanne's more intricate work.

To me, watching Kenley's show was like watching your friend go into her glamorous closet, and parade out to see if the look is a "keeper" or a "throwaway." Although it was filled with definite highlights and interesting (sometimes costume-like) elements, I just didn't feel that it was a cohesive collection. One of the highlights for me was the green silk dress with the ballooned shoulders - I just thought it was a chic, well made, and truly stunning look.

All in all, these designers will find work and hopefully create stunning collections in the future. Congratulations to them all for coming this far and a HUGE congratulations to Leanne for the win! I'll see you in NYC sweetheart!

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