The Costume Trap

Human hair, enough said.


I can hardly believe that the season is coming to a close. The episode before the finale is always one of my favorites. It is a chance for us to see the designers in a different context. Season after season, Tim visits the designer's homes and they share their life outside the workroom and how they came to love fashion. But this season, torn between Chris and Rami from the last challenge, we gave them the opportunity to present three looks from their final collections to see who would go to Olympus Fashion Week. I was pleasantly surprised with both Rami and Chris' collections but surprised that they both gravitated towards a darker, almost gothic, inspiration. Yet both Rami and Chris overall presented us with ingenuity and a craftsmanship that I don't think any of the judges were expecting to see. rate_runway_01_413.jpg 

I was pleased to see that Rami really internalized the advice we have been giving him and surprised us with dark and dramatic looks that were not entirely drapey goddess gowns. I was thrilled that he decided to tackle tailoring, although in the end I found his jacket to be disproportional. His second look, the bustier chiffon dress, was truly brilliant He took his knack for draping and elevated his craft by working with an optical printed fabric, which gave the piece a balance of modernity and femininity.



The statement piece of the collection was also a winner. Rami's choice of fabric was clever, which gave the dress incredible movement, almost fluid, like water, as it came down the runway. The important thing with the designer's final collection is a lot in the presentation and total package. Rami's choice of hair and makeup was very contemporary, much more so than Chris who made his models look more like they should be on the stage than the runway. rate_runway_02_413.jpg

Chris really amazed me! I was really impressed more so than shocked of how creatively he approached his collection. Firstly, his use of unique materials-human hair and the black safety pins. His black velvet shredded gown with stole seemed a bit overdone and was really unflattering. Michael was correct to point out that velvet moves with such fluidity that it was awkward to see the model be so overwhelmed by it. Another concern was that his clothes were not 95% fashion and 5% costume. There are incredible designers that have a foundation in costumes that have become successful. Designers like Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Vivienne Westwood, to name a few, still push the envelope of fashion with more costume-like fashions. But theses designers are theatrical and put on a show yet manage to translate that fantasy into wearable clothes that still have a sense of modernity to them. This coming season the only human hair that I will be wearing will be on my head. That is not to say that I have not seen designers incorporate it into their clothing, just the problem with Chris is that he might have used a little bit too much instead of just being an accent. Texturally it gave the illusion of fur -- I just wonder if he used any de-frizz on it before he sent it down the runway!

Now we are down to only three designers and what a fantastic competition it will be. Who do you think has what it takes to win Project Runway? I am so excited to see how the final three will fare. See you at the tents!

Nina Garcia
Project Runway judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director

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: 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!