Previously on Project Runway, we got to know the finalists a little better and got glimpses of their Fashion Week designs. The finalists learned at the 11th hour that they would need to design a 13th piece, with the assistance of previous contestants. (In fashion-speak, you’d call them ‘remnants’) Lucky Daniel picked Nick, Santino chose Andrae, and Chloe devastated Kara by choosing….Diana. Huh? I hope you know how to thread a needle, because Daniel needs some help with those pesky finishing details…
This Shift Is Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
At the Banana Republic workroom, chaos is king. There are less than 24 hours to go until the show must begin, and it’s a good thing that the designers have their assistants to help with the 13th piece. Nick admits that he is rooting for Daniel to win, and is happily assisting with his 13th piece, which is a lovely neutral-colored shift dress with a draped back. Chloe is letting Diana go to town with some gold fabric, which is meant to become a baby-doll dress. Ironically, Andrae is calming Santino down, and constructing a maroon dress with a rosy lace shrug.
As if all of the Banana Republic product placement isn’t enough, the designers are forced to head to the L’Oreal Salon to decide on the models’ makeup and hair for their shows. Collier “Mr. Clean” Strong is back to help, and Chloe choose a bright-eyed youthful look, Daniel wants a windblown, rosy-cheeked look, and Santino opts for smoky-eyes. A kinder, gentler Santino reminds Collier of how much works he still has to finish, and approves the look based on the completion of one smoky eye. They all scramble back to the workroom, finding their assistants still hard at work.
Now only 12 hours away from show time, the delectable Tim Gunn visits to take a look at the progress of the final garments. He adores both Santino and Daniel’s dresses, even noting that the opportunity to add another piece is a benefit to Daniel’s line. He tries to critique Chloe’s baby doll dress, but again, she has nothing to show him. Diana drapes the muslin pattern over herself and mentions she will be adding pockets. Tim is surprised such a detail would be bothered with at this late hour, but Diana insists that the model will look cute walking the runway with her hands in her pockets. Before Tim leaves, he pulls names out of hat to determine the order for the runway shows: Daniel, then Chloe and then Santino. He mentions that they have a 5:30 call time the next morning, and that they can work as late as 4:30am.
They all take advantage of the remaining hours, and work hard finishing, pressing and bagging their garments for transport to the tents in the morning. Chloe snaps at Diana, which is not like her, but then later notes that she is “emotional and crazy” with the lack of sleep and stress. Speaking of lack of sleep, Daniel says he has slept about four hours total over the past three days, but he works right up to the 4:30 deadline, then zips back to his room to clean up and get dressed. He looks good in that jacket he bought while shopping with Tim. Chloe and Santino opt for a much more casual look…possibly not even stopping to think about their appearance.
The Biggest Tent
Everything has been moved to the designated Project Runway tent, which turns out to the biggest one of the lineup, seating 1,000 spectators. (I’m jealous when I see that each and every chair has a big ole Elle gift bag sitting on it… freebies! I love me some freebies.) The designers are awed as they realize that this is really happening to them, and it’s happening now. Daniel still has lots of buttons to sew on, so he recruits several people to cop a squat and start sewing. Meanwhile, he is frantically looking for his two handbags. When he tells Tim Gunn they are missing, Tim gently notes that it may have happened for a reason. After much ranting, the bags are eventually located.
Meanwhile, Chloe is disgusted when she checks on her models and finds that both the hair and makeup is not coming out like she expected. She demands that the models are re-done until they match her expectations…and she gets her way.
The audience is starting to arrive, and it includes Jay and Austin from last season and family of the designers. Chloe’s ginormous family must take up a whole row. Santino is especially excited because his mother is going to be in the audience, whom he has not seen since 2002. Heidi starts the show with an introduction of the judges. Naturally, Nina Garcia of Elle Magazine is there, as well as Michael Kors. The guest judge is, without explanation, Debra Messing of Will and Grace. Regardless of her qualifications, Debra is looking good with some extra meat on her bones.
Daniel, Plain and Simple
Daniel Vosovic appears on the runway, to large applause. He thanks everyone for coming and says hello to his family, even though he can’t see them. (They get his attention by waving…about four feet away from where he stands.) He exits and the models start heading out of the gate. Notable mentions are a black and white jacket that looks like my couch, a bee-yoo-tiful off-white cowl-neck coat and a shiny brown dress with an odd flap at the bodice. Overall, my impression was that he didn’t live up to the high standard he has set previously. Maybe it was all of that last-minute button sewing? (Since my fashion vocab is slim, I have included pictures for you to judge for yourself. Thanks, Bravo!)
Chloe “Got a Bulk Discount on That Pink Satin” Dao
Chloe is next on the runway, sportin’ her jeans and sloppy ponytail. The theme for this show is “poor posture”… as I notice that not only does Chloe stand in an awkward manner, but at least one of her models has an extreme case of bowlegs. Or maybe the theme is “Two-fer”, as she reused fabrics at least twice throughout. Chloe gives a brief speech in which she says she was so passionate about this competition that she thinks she had an Immaculate Conception…. and the dresses were her babies. Get it? Notable mentions are the hideous ballooning pink thing on the bowlegged model, the dark blue sheath dress with cutouts in the back, and the Diana-designed gold baby doll dress (with pockets!) I had an intense reaction to Chloe’s designs, and it went something like this: “aaaaaarrrrgh!” I was very surprised, because Chloe was one of my favorites throughout the show. Maybe it was the six months she spent back in Texas, but everything was too shiny, too big and too garish for my taste. Now that I’ve offended every Chloe fan and/or Texan and/or balloon-dress fan in existence, you can take a look for yourself:
Santino, the Greatest Show on Earth!
Bringing up the rear, Santino Rice appears on the runway and gives a little speech. He wants everyone to know that not only does he make great TV, but that he is also a great designer. He also wants everyone to know that his mom is the….well, I can’t say it because this is a family-friendly website. I’ll just say that it rhymes with “knit” and it was oddly touching, profanity notwithstanding. In true Santino showboat style, he has also composed the music to accompany his runway show. The music cues up (not too bad, either!) and the models begin the show. Notable mentions are…. Well everything except the weird black leather thing that came out towards the end. I mean… I was stunned. I’ve been rooting for Santino to go from the first episode, and have rolled my eyes with the rest of you over his extremely overdone designs, but nearly everything in this line up was beautiful, elegant and understated. Obviously, I liked the show, now you judge for yourself:
One Last Go-Round the Runway
Back at the usual runway, the judges are assembled, preparing to make their final decision. The designers file out with their models, who wear what must be the designers’ idea of the best of their collection.
Guest judge Debra Messing wonders what Daniel’s inspiration was, to which he answers that he combined military and Japanese aesthetics. Michael Kors doesn’t see either in his designs, but mentions that the brown dress is gorgeous… even if he just wants to yank that tab thing off of the front. The judges agree that the 13th piece saved Daniel’s line up, which Nina calls “versatile.”
Santino is next on the hot plate, and the judges are surprised at the massive difference between the Santino of the show and the Santino of Fashion Week. Nina declares his designs safe but mature. Heidi points out that on every single dress, the bodice was not fit properly, to which Santino replies that all of his fittings were done on a dress form. That’s right… didn’t he say something last episode about none of his models showing up for fittings? Nina tells Santino that he should not stop being Santino (or is that Santino!) and that he definitely belongs in fashion. Is this the same lady who said she was afraid he was going to attack her over her criticisms?
Chloe’s turn for dissection, and Debra thought her designs were beautiful. Heidi mentions that she doesn’t like shrugs, of which there were a-plenty of in Chloe’s show. (Gosh Heidi… negative much?) Chloe states that her inspiration was the chance to design evening wear for a change of pace, something that all women love and that would sell well.
Delibera-shyun Na-shyun. (<-- said in Cajun Man voice)
(Okay, okay. I’m getting slack with the subtitles. But I love me some Adam Sandler…)
The designers have left the room, and the judges work towards a decision. Debra feels like Santino’s designs weren’t cohesive. Michael Kors, who probably has seen Santino’s spot-on impersonations of him by now, says he is underwhelmed. The consensus on Chloe is that she knows how to dress a woman but needs help with putting on a better show. Nina agrees with me (for once!) and says that Chloe’s designs were “one-note”. And if a dare say so myself that note was kind of shrill and piercing, but I digress… Michaels Kors notes that Daniel is quite inexperienced but thinks he has fantastic taste. Nina says she is torn between Chloe and Daniel, but also wants Santino to remain under consideration. Indecisive much, Nina? Finally, a decision has been made, and it appears to be unanimous. The finalists are called back out for the announcement.
The Cheese Stands Alone
Apparently the show was running tight on time, because I blink and Santino has already been aufed. I am sad for him, but I think the exposure he has received from this show will be enough to get him going.
Daniel and Chloe hug each other and wait for the verdict. Heidi says that Daniel has range and good taste, while Chloe understands a woman’s body and creates memorable garments. (Okay, I’ll give her that… I will never forget that pink thing.)
And the winner is…Chloe! She looks completely stunned, Daniel looks happy for her, and there are more hugs. Before Daniel leaves, Michael Kors basically offers him a job, at which Daniel looks quite grateful for.
Grace, Chloe’s ninety-foot tall model is jumping around with excitement that she will appear in Elle Magazine. (You’ll recognize her…she’ll be the one with her head or feet cropped off so she fits on the page.)
Chloe’s family streams on to the stage, along with her boyfriend, and they smother her with hugs and kisses. Chloe can’t believe that she is actually a “real designer”. She is handed the keys to her new silver Saturn sportymobile by Tim Gunn. What remains to be seen is if this year’s winner will reject the Banana Republic portion of the winnings like Jay did before her. Somehow, I think not.
Suncat would have written this recap, but she unexpectedly went on vacation with her new boytoy, Toonces the Driving Cat. We miss you, Sunny! Send postcards to firstname.lastname@example.org