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.
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.
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!
Project Runway judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director