Rock N' Runway

Feeling the music and rocking the runway!

Heidi instructs the designers to meet me in the workroom where I announce that for this challenge they will be designing for each other. Furthermore, they will each be assigned a musical genre: pop, rock & roll, country, punk, or hip hop. The designer who designs for them will have to embrace that genre and create an appropriate persona.

The designers have an hour for a consultation. Then, we go shopping at MOOD where they each have a budget of $150. And there is one day for this challenge.

The incomparable LL Cool J is our guest judge! How amazing is that?


Korto WINS! She designs for Suede's punk persona and, together, she and he bring down the metaphorical house; that is, her design and execution were fabulous AND Suede really rocked this look -- he was menacing and truly punked out. I must be truthful and admit that I wasn't enthusiastic about the top - an athletic looking textile of gray mini-mesh with some organic leather forms appliqued - but the judges loved it, thankfully. I was wowed, however, by her treatment of the jeans, which she splattered with bleach to create a very unique look, and she treated the black Converse sneakers in the same manner. The look was cohesive, the hair and makeup were huge enhancements, and she - and he - ruled the runway. Congratulations, Korto!


Suede is OUT. His design for Jerell's rock & roll persona fell flat, regrettably. Frankly, the black skinny pants with the exaggerated fly zipper, the tie-dyed plunging top, and the leather (pleather?) patchwork vest simply didn't stretch the theme far enough. In fact, Jerell looked like he looks every day. Even the judges remarked, "He [Jerell] doesn't look as good as he does every day." Furthermore, Suede invested an enormous amount of time in the pants, which had a dramatic texture created through the use of horizontal cutouts, but that detail was lost on the runway. In addition, owing to the extra tight fit of the pants, they looked more like leggings. Suede, what happened to the rock & roll?


Jerell designs for Kenley's pop persona. His black mesh mini-dress with a spangly bust and under-skirt indisputably resonated pop. Over this was a purple faux fur vest/shrug that served as icing on the cake. Add to this the perfect hair, makeup, and accessories and you had a look that competed for the win. As Jerell declared, Kenley was "Kenley Spears!" Indeed, she was.


Kenley designs for Leanne's hip-hop persona. What didn't Kenley understand? High-waisted jeans, and demure floral print tank, and a shrunken leather jacket? How did this look say hip-hop? Furthermore, any of the items could have been purchased in "anywhere mall," today. I tried to give her some constructive feedback, but she pushed back with unbridled resistance. Therefore, it was with more than a little satisfaction that I listened to LL Cool J take her down a few pegs. Kenley, please mind your game.


Leanne designs for Korto's country persona. This look reminded me of Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun (which is amusing in these days of Sarah Palin!). Leanne created a full-length skirt in black (which read as chocolate on the runway), a sleeveless fuchsia western-style shirt with yoke detail and tied at the waist, and wide gold belt, and a black-and-white gingham print scarf tied around her neck. Her look was beautifully executed, but it fell short of her intention: to make Korto into a country music STAR. Had there been more drama and flare, then her look would have been a contender for the win.

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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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