His models, all with tribal white dots painted over their eyebrows, move down the catwalk to very loud drums. He cleverly mixes thin leather tops with prints that look African. The dresses flow beautifully. A short halter paired with a beige skirt, and a short brown dress with a black spiral print, are particularly winning.
In case there was any doubt that it’s Fashion Week in New York, a glance around Lincoln Center reminds. Here, the usual skinny — social X-rays who attend opera and ballet by night — are replaced by the fashionista skinny, models who look as if they not had a good meal in, well, years.
Tourists line up, cameras poised. More proof that “Project Runway” remains a phenomenon in its 10th season is how hot this ticket is, how many layers of security even invited guests go through and how many fans wait outside, just for a glimpse.
The season finale is a fashion show, and at Fashion Week it takes on a patina. Inside the theater, the hosts and guest host, walk the runway to pose in front of banks of photographers. Judge and producer Heidi Klum rocks a draped, sequined, backless dress, and looks remarkable, even more so for a mother of four.
Guest host Jennifer Hudson, in a green pantsuit, her hair in a fishtail braid, looks less than thrilled on sky-high black heels with gold platforms. Michael Kors is in his usual black suit, black shirt and sunglasses, and host Nina Garcia is lovely in a strapless, fitted black cocktail dress with sequined appliqu�s.
They acknowledge Debra Messing, sitting front row and center of this extremely well groomed crowd. As always, the show runs on schedule, with the sort of precision most commuter railroad lines would do well to emulate.
“Happy anniversary ‘Project Runway’,” says an animated Klum. “Wow! Ten seasons. Who would have thought that would have happened 10 seasons ago?’
She explains that eight designers will be shown because the show is careful to not reveal finalists. The winner will be named Oct. 18, and this is happening on Sept.7.
With that, Gunnar Deatherage takes the catwalk. “I was inspired by aborigines and exotic tribes,” he says.
Elena Slivnyak is next, as the beat switches to techno. She has a definite point of view, with body-hugging dresses that have a vague 1960’s mod feel. They’re bold, two-toned and sculpted. But her choice for the models makeup is so distracting that it’s difficult to notice plum and black panels, the gray jacket with ecru accented jackets.
Note to the world: No one, at least no one in this galaxy, looks good in yellow lipstick. Or green.
Yes, Ven Budhu sparked controversy with his comments, and he was just plain rude and imperious. In Episode 6, he said of a client: “She doesn’t have any sense of style whatsoever.” Bad manners, definitely, but he is a brilliant designer.
His exquisite designs drip with Hollywood style. These were creations that women can dream of wearing. And they made each model look completely glamorous.
The satin ecru strapless, with perfectly folded fabric as if it were origami, the satin cocktail dress with a plunging V-backline and a rhinestone belt, and the ensemble of airy palazzo pants with a red satin bustier are all outfits in which you can just imagine a star saying, “I would like to thank the Academy, my director and my acting coach.”
Each creation fit perfectly. Their hair and makeup were done, but classically. The black strapless gown with the split leg was stunning, and perhaps the only dress in his collection that was not as special was the hot pink cocktail dress with the obvious bra top.
What’s always interesting about “Project Runway” is the range of designs. Sonjia Williams, who describes her collection as “based off me, a bold, strong collection for confident women” was next.
There was a lot of lace; lace pants, lace tops, lace leggings. Yes, it does take a confident woman to wear the modern version of Fredrick’s of Hollywood.
“I was very inspired by deconstruction and reconstruction,” Christopher Palu says.
He offers plain, clean silhouettes and, sadly, boring designs. There is a vast difference between something we have seen before and a staple we must have in our wardrobes.
Then it just got weird. Melissa Fleis who says her line is inspired by Vera Mercer’s photography, and was going for a “death to life” look, had models sporting exaggerated French twists — think Bob’s Big Boy icon — and clothes that just did not fit. Seriously if the clothes do not flatter women with no visible body fat, what chance do real women have?
Dresses cut so severely on the sides — remember these are high-fashion models so most of them are probably A cups — that the models are spilling out. By the time her red leather (pleather?) gown with the Jetsons’ collar strolls by, we long to see Budhu’s creations again.
Fabio Costa describes his collection as “cosmic tribalism.” He wears a skirt — and if ever a man can carry it off, it is he — with a vest that had a streaming scarf in the back. His designs do have a cosmic, almost ethereal feel to them. There’s a billowy light blue tunic over pants and a cropped cream-colored top over a skirt.
But the way his creations are draped in the back, and folded up by the butt make the models look chunky. Trust me, these were not people who register in the upper regions of the BMI chart.
Costa has such a lovely aura to him that I want the clothes to be more special. And someone please note that wearing six-inch heels, with very clunky platforms, does not necessarily make clothes look better. The models understandably move as if they are on high wires.
Dmitry Sholokhov says, “I put my heart and soul into this collection” and he shows a bias cut cream-colored dress with brown trim, reminiscent of a Tudor-style house. He uses an elaborate fringe as the hem of a black and white cocktail dress and on a jacket sleeves. His workmanship is undeniable.
It’s a question as to whether the silver paint sprayed on the back of the heads of Sholokhov’s models will catch on.
And with that it was over. The heartiest round of applause went to the man dressed in a classic pinstriped suit. Mentor Tim Gunn, who looks to be wearing the same suit he opened the season in, comes on stage and asks Klum, “What did you think?”
Klum smiles for the camera and says, “It’s going to be hard for us.”