ETV: Project Runway Season Seven Finale Part 2 and Models of the Runway Reunion

E: Emilio, Mila and Seth Aaron collectively knock the judges socks off in the last ever Bryant Park Project Runway show.  There’s very little pre-show drama, and despite 3 models not showing up for Bryant Park, we don’t focus on that at all either.  We just focus on the clothes.

Nina says that this is one of the best groups of designers they’ve ever had.  I don’t think I would go there, not at all, but I’m happier with this season than the last one.

Project Runway

I honestly had no idea who was going to win, did you?  I knew what I was hoping for, but I really had no idea what would happen, which is kind of cool.  The judges had minor quibbles with all the collections, but by and large also loved them all.  They’re not often so pleased.

I also couldn’t help wondering where they hid the other 7 designers who showed, and how they worked all of that out.  So nutty.  Honestly, did they have camera crews following all 10 designers as decoys, too?  That’d waste a lot of film, don’t you think?  Also, we got to see some of the designers who showed in the finale sitting in the audience.  Did they rotate them in and out?  Hate the damn decoy collections, hate them so much!

Ahem.  Where was I?  Oh yes.

Mila is third.  This made me really nervous, and more than a little sad.  As you know, I decided some time ago that Seth Aaron was my horse in this race.  I liked Mila’s collection quite a bit, though, and I’d have been okay with her winning – as opposed to Emilio, which would have been Meana Irina all over again.  (Uninteresting clothes and a nasty personality – a big downer of a combination.)  Really the more pictures I see of Mila’s collection, the more fantastic I think it is.  I hope she’s able to make a career as a designer; she seems to have found herself again,  and feels like this is her vocation, and I think that’s really awesome.

My favorite bits of Mila’s shadow inspired collection were Brandise’s coat, and the purple and black dress, and the purple dress.  The judges loved some of her “mixed media” dresses – the ones where she used big swatches of differently weighted fabrics and somehow made that work.  I respect the technical skill behind that, but I didn’t love them as much as the judges did (Heidi and Nina wanted to wear them).   They’re too boxy for me personally. Although I was with Heidi on the white t-shirt with the black lines; I liked that a lot.  The judges were also huge fans of her leggings with sheer strips and patterns in them, and were thrilled that she listened to their critique and brought the hair and make up styling up to date.  They didn’t say so, but I thought it was nice we got a nice range of separates – coats, pants, sweaters, skirts and dresses.

This season’s first runner-up is Emilio.  He cried full-out with his head in his hands backstage after losing.  I was so unbelievably relieved he didn’t win, but I did feel sorry when he was so gutted.  (Less so when I read on Tim’s blog that the editors actually left out most of his disagreements with Emilio.) I wasn’t blown away by his clothes.  He called his collection Color Me Bad.  Seriously? Mila had already told us in the confessional that she thought his look was very 1994.  Then after the show, Raven Simone said it brought the 90s back.  Now I wonder when Mila’s comment was made, and if the collection’s name gave everyone flashback’s to the 90s.  Either way, bad name.

The collection paired black with deeply saturated colors; scarlet, chartreuse, and a bright blue, as well as the ESOSA print (in pinks and purple and green).  He had a lot of turtlenecks, and stuff that I found pretty plain.  The judges still love his print (yack), and are a fan of some of his coats (especially a lovely blue wrap) but are most blown away by the admittedly stunning billowy green-gold gown, with a sheer black overlay, that closed the show.  Faith Hill raved about it all in a manner that made me fear they’d give him the win. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her end up in that dress (assuming she can buy it at auction, right – aren’t they auctioning them all away?).   Nina wished there were more pieces in between the one show stopper and the other ready to wear items.

During the reunion show, Emilio actually asked Nina flat-out why he didn’t win, and she gave Michael’s answer: Emilio produced a sales rack ready line, not a collection created to wow on the runway.  Not enough drama to the show, baby!  But there it is again, my long time issue with the judges – if it’s commercial, it’s not good enough.  Not that I wanted him to win, or liked his collection, but I hate that reasoning.  At least they didn’t give you the kiss of death, Emilio : “You made a collection that every woman would want to wear.”  So it could have been worse.

And finally, Seth Aaron Henderson wins!  Y’all missed out on my fist pumping happy dance, and probably couldn’t hear me hollering yes! But believe me, I was dancing and hollering.  I don’t think I could have been more relieved.  I wanted him to win, and I needed Emilio to lose (and yeah, I feel guilty about how that looks now that I’ve written it down) and both happened!  Seth Aaron’s grown up punk looks – inspired by German and Russian military looks from World War 2 – took the day.  (Who else can see Diane Kruger’s film star character in Inglourious Basterds wearing Kristina’s red wool dress? Minus the fun and crazy leggings, of course.)  The suspense was painful.  Painful to Seth Aaron, too, who burst into tears right there on the runway, and again when his adorable family came out and his son walked out, awash in happy tears.

Man, but it pays to follow Tim’s advice.  The judges fell all over themselves to say how much more sophisticated these looks were, how much he’d grown while still being very clearly Seth Aaron.  And that is just what Tim challenged him to do in his home visit.  Seth Aaron, I think you owe Tim a big gift for that.  (Don’t you wonder what the judges would think if they saw the other 14 looks Seth Aaron didn’t show?  Would that alter their love for his collection, or expand it? What did those other looks look like, anyway?  And how much would it have killed him if he lost over that purple dress, when he had so many other looks to choose from?)  Like me, the judges loved his coats (I was so happy to see my favorite from the home visit survive the purge), and the gray silk parachute dress.  His dresses were a happy surprise – I think of him as a jacket and pants guy – but it all worked out.  Mila accused him of producing a gussied up Hot Topic line, but I think that’s just what he avoided.

To sum up: Seth Aaron’s pieces are wearable, yet he styled them for Runway Drama.  They’re also a big leap in sophistication. Those are probably the two elements that gave him the win.

Models of the Runway

So to end, we had a half hour reunion show. I hate to see Tim Gunn used as the conduit for this kind of nastiness.  The nature of the hosting position is that you’re there to elicit emotion and drama.  Please don’t do that to Tim anymore, people.  Although, it was kind of entertaining to hear him call out Emilio as a trash talker.  I like how Tim made the distinction between trash talking and discussing someone’s work constructively.

I’m glad Maya got a chance to explain herself.  I hope Nina understands it better.  Tim clearly understood, but I don’t think the judges got it at all.  Maya was afraid she’d go to Bryant Park and fail to show something she was proud of.  Now, granted, I thought that was pretty clear from the show, but since Nina didn’t I guess it’s good that Maya got it out there in her own words.

I hadn’t heard that Anthony trashed Mila to the New York Post.  That makes me sad for both of them.  Mostly, though, I’m horrified by the immaturity and petty viciousness of Jay’s attacks on Mila and Cerri.  Cerri said she didn’t like his designs.  She didn’t say she didn’t like him. She correctly understood the aesthetic that he was trying to achieve.  She didn’t like it, but she doesn’t have to, does she?  And no, she didn’t say it particularly nicely, but it wasn’t anywhere near the level of Jay’s “I would never hire a model with bad teeth and thick legs” jab.  A comment he made after her apologetic explanation, mind you. Even Brittany was shocked, and Tim (among others) called for an apology.  Speaking of apologies, Emilio failed to come up with a valid reason for dropping Holly, but declared that they were alright and Holly knows he loves her.  I’d tell him to ask Holly if that’s true, but we all know he wouldn’t listen.  And of course, she’s not rude enough to disabuse him of that notion.

And there it is!  How do you feel about the winners, and the final collections?  Does it surprise you to learn that this is the last time New York Fashion Week will have tents in Bryant Park?  Did Lifetime finally get it right?  And how much will you miss the show for the next several months?

5 comments on “ETV: Project Runway Season Seven Finale Part 2 and Models of the Runway Reunion

  1. Krizzzz says:

    I was THRILLED that Seth Aaron won. I agreed wholeheartedly: his collection was unquestionably him, but pumped up and polished. It’s not my style by a long shot, and yet I found it fascinating, and I found that very telling. (Truth be told, I had the same feeling about Mila: after saying, “Gee, why is it only high fashion if it’s black,” I found myself saying, “But look what they DID with black.” I got bored with Christian’s long line of black skinny jeans. I never got bored with either Seth Aaron or Mila last night.

    As I watched Mila, I found myself increasingly impressed with the black and white thing, in spite of myself. How do they DO that? What comes first: the fabrics with all their patterns, or the ideas in the mind’s eye? This is where I have to just tip my hat: they see things that I obviously can’t, and they know how to put things together that I obviously don’t. And they both have what my students would call mad skilz.

    Emilio…alas — when he came out, maybe it was just late, and I was working, but about two models into his collection, I found myself looking down at my work instead of up at the TV, and I found that pretty telling as well.

    However.

    If that turquoise blue coat were on sale somewhere, you should know that I would walk over anybody short of my child to beat you to it. Friends are great, blah blah blah, but that coat was STUNNING.

    I do wonder if Emilio would have fared better if he’d shown first or second. I found myself thinking, “Well, his stuff is lovely, but he just can’t follow the previous two acts with it.”

    I’m puzzled by somebody’s comment later about Tim and the judges not always agreeing. Likewise, I knew Emilio was doomed every time he talked about choosing not to listen to Tim. Has he never seen the show? Does he not remember Kenley? Tim is The Man. His observations are almost always dead on.

    Agreed all around on Jay’s behavior. Perhaps Cerri could have made herself a bit more clear (her original comment did SOUND harsh even if it made sense) — there are a variety of looks in this country: New York is not L.A. is not Miami. (Remember Uli? I seem to remember the judges loving her later stuff, but feeling like she and her color palette belonged in Miami, and I can see their point.) She’s allowed to not like his look. And even if he were offended, and even if it were justified, his remark was way beyond hers, and completely out of bounds. As you said, even Brittany was stunned, and she’s his biggest fan.

    I’m not sure Holly WAS satisfied with Emilio’s answer, but I think she was being her mature self and choosing not to push harder than that. Emilio might have been wiggling off the hook, but he might be right when he suggests that he and Holly would do better to sit down over a glass of wine and work it out BY THEMSELVES.

    I’m still not sure I find Maya convincing. Last night, she talked about wanting to do this “on my own terms.” But that’s not what a contest is about, sometimes. Nor is it life in the industry, sometimes. Similarly, she had commented the night she left about finding it harder and harder to “perform on command.” But…that’s life. So maybe the truth IS that she wasn’t ready, but not for the reasons she cites.

    I found Amy’s comment on Jay’s pants (and did Maya weigh in there?) surprisingly…unkind? Sure, there could have been more amazing pants (although I thought they were pretty impressive as pants anyway), but as Jay pointed out, the amazing thing was that he made a good-looking pair of pants (some would say amazing, but I think even those of us who wouldn’t say so would at least agree on good, which is still pretty impressive when you consider the medium) and MADE PEOPLE THINK A GARBAGE BAG WAS LEATHER.

    Loved Christina’s thing about somebody coming up to her and saying, “You look JUST like this girl on that TV show…” =)

    Apropos of nothing much, I thought Mila’s new softer hair was lovely. Even her red lipstick seemed to soften her look rather than make it garish. Good calls all around.

    Similarly, I thought Brandise looked lovely — somehow, the dirty, edgy, grunge look was…soft and edgy at the same time. Maybe she’s doing her hair differently, but I feel like her whole look AND demeanor softened up and became more appealing in the last week or so.

    I think Jonathan could have explained his comment to Cerri a little better. I think I heard him trying to say, “I thought you looked great, but the judges seemed to think I wasn’t playing to your best features, which is MY fault. But I’m having trouble seeing it, because I always think you look great, so maybe I need to change things up. And unfortunately, the only way to do that — since *I* clearly can’t see what the judges mean — is to change models, and I’m REALLY SORRY.”

    Anywho, yep — glad Seth Aaron won, glad Mila acquitted herself so well, and wish her well.

    • E says:

      I can’t believe it took me that long to respond to this – must be because you said so much. Or maybe I’m recovering from the notion that you’d cut me for that coat of Emilio’s. 😉

      Let’s see. I, too, wish Jonathan was more articulate in his explanation to Cerri. I wonder if that isn’t a result of editing – maybe he was better in person? I hope? Mila looks way better with the softer hair. I think the Amy thing might have been edited badly, too, although that question (who didn’t deserve to win a challenge) is never going to elicit nice answers.

      I don’t think it was the order we saw Emilio’s collection in. I think his pieces just weren’t showy, for the most part. Mila and Seth Aaron just had more exciting collections. (And, I agree. I can see why Christian won, but I wasn’t in love with his collection, either.)

      • Krizzzz says:

        I think this one had ended up in the spam folder, which would have made it hard for you to reply to. So no worries there.

        And just for the record, I didn’t say I’d cut you — I said I’d walk over you. And I didn’t say you SPECIFICALLY. I mean, of course, I’d probably have to think about it. I’m not completely inhuman. 😉

  2. MMGF says:

    Thank goodness for Seth Aaron’s win! I was a little worried (because we all know those judges can be nutty and loopy with their selections,) but thought he was pretty clearly the best. I thought Mila was second-best, but figured they needed Emilio to be the runner-up to keep the suspense. But man is that Jay petty and unpleasant! I knew I never liked him for a good reason.

    • E says:

      Jay was appalling, wasn’t he? I honestly couldn’t believe he’d be so juvenile.

      I think I liked Mila’s collection just as much as Seth Aaron’s, or pretty darn close. I don’t get the love for Emilio’s collection at all.

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