Final four! “Project Runway” is at the doorstep of New York Fashion Week, having finally chosen its four finalists: Roberi, Laurence, Erin, and Rik. After an almost entire season of me screaming from the top of my typing finger tips to step it up, we have come to the moment to see if they do…well, almost.
Heidi and Tim walk onto the runway, congratulating the designers for making it to Fashion Week, announcing that each will get six weeks and $9,000 to create ten looks. As a goodbye, Heidi tells them that the judges have seen what they do best and, “Now it’s time to STEP IT UP!” Sound familiar?
Two weeks before Fashion Week and Tim is off on his home visits. First stop: Los Angeles. Laurence is in Downtown LA, showing Tim her collection which is inspired by the story of her life and her early struggles with having a child at 16 and estrangement from her father. She tells Tim that “she always falls but never hits the floor” and this is part of her story. In a shocker of all shockers, there is NOT ONE SINGLE BLACK PIECE in the collection. Tim seems content with what he sees and I have my comments but I will save them for the runway critiques later here.
Next up is Rik, who meets up with Tim at PINZ Bowling Center in Studio City, CA. “Project Runway” loves putting our dear Mr. Gunn in “fish out of water” situations, so it’s no surprise we have to witness Tim in bowling shoes, trying to throw a strike. And quelle surprise: he does a magnificent job! Tim and Rik are then off to a HUGE loft-like space which doubles as Rik’s studio. Here Rik shows him his 1960s/psychedelic/punk inspired collection comprised of paisley printed trench coats, jumpers, “optical illusion” shirts, and Devo-like 80s sunglasses. I feel as if I’ve eaten some funky mushrooms while looking at it, and maybe that’s the point. Tim is not feeling it, telling Rik that it’s not cohesive, and he is right.
Tim is in Boston next, visiting Erin. Erin just graduated from MassArt and doesn’t have a studio to work in so the school provided her with space, which is where she shows Tim her collection. As we have found out through the season, Erin loves making textures and creating applique. She is continuing with this and wisely so. I’m intrigued by all that she is doing. Even though it’s A LOT, it could be, as Tim says, a “fashion cacophony.” if anyone can make discordant things work together, it’s Erin.
Lastly, Tim is in NY to visit Roberi. He just left Venezuela four and a half months ago, and somehow, he has already moved from Miami to NYC where he is working on his Fashion Week collection. Not sure why Roberi is at what looks to be a conference room/showroom, and no explanation is given, but anywhere is better than nowhere. Moving on… Roberi shows Tim a collection representing “different pieces from different moments, from different places.” There’s a lot of different, that’s for sure, and Tim asks if there are too many ideas, punctuating it with one of the best gems of the season: “I’m not saying it’s too much. I’m just saying IT’S A LOT.” Just as in Rik’s case, there are cohesion problems. To add insult to injury, Tim thinks Roberi’s looks are also too basic and proclaims him a dressmaker as opposed to a designer. Ay caramba!
Jump forward, and it’s almost Fashion Week time. The designers are back in their NYC workroom unveiling their collections. While Roberi, Erin and Laurence are coffee klatching and checking each other’s designs, Rik has disappeared to the sewing room and is stitching away. Personally I’d be doing the same thing, especially if I wasn’t done, no need to view the competition if you are already behind! Seemingly unexhausted from traveling, bowling and racking up endless frequent flyer points, Tim walks in to give the designers a run-down of the following days events, and informs them that they will be presenting three looks from their collections to the judges. They will also be making a logo using the Brother Dream Machine. Tim checks in on the three looks the designers want to present to the judges, and of all four designers, the strongest and most Fashion Week fab seems to be Erin, but I think that’s just my taste.
It’s finale amuse-bouche time and our beautiful Heidi is not there in person but LIVE from LA via a flat screen TV monitor. To help her out with emceeing and judging duties, the ever cheeky Michael Kors makes a grand appearance. And boy, have I missed him…or at least missed his catty bitchy Korsisms. The designs come out and overall I agreed with the judges that most of the designers had cohesion problems. And this was especially true for Rik. The three looks he showed were indeed, three different gals. I liked the leather 60s mod dress, but the other two were a mess. That super drop crotch ill-fitting romper was anything but cute and the black and white leggings and top with a leather skirt was like a bad ice dance figure skating costume. Tim told him way back in his home visit that it was not cohesive and here we are two weeks later and we are still in the same place.
Laurence showed her “softer side,” but I’m not sure if it was successful. I liked the Bavarian-like sack romper, but wished it was more fitted and had richer details. I agreed with Nina that while the jacket was gorgeous, Laurence did it a disservice by styling it with those 90s belly button-exposing, too-tight pants. Even with just this three-look presentation, it was obvious she was suffering from the “not cohesive virus.” On a general note, I’m still a little bewildered at why Laurence didn’t go with what she does best: the harder, fiercer fashion warrior goddess. A designer and their brand spend many seasons to create an identity and we had just begun to see hers on the show…and now she goes and changes it?! On the other hand, I understand how she wants to show the judges a different Laurence. But is it too soon?
I really liked Erin’s three looks, and yes, even the printed crepe de chine maxi dress (and the purse!). I thought the dusty pink neoprene dress was effortless chic, and those oversized laser cut paillettes: I WANT MORE!
Roberi’s looks were the biggest surprise for me, in that they actually looked like the most cohesive collection of the four designers. However, that doesn’t mean that it was perfect. I just don’t know who Roberi’s girl is. Is she geek-chic? Or is she Upper East Side with a [very slight] edge? It doesn’t need to be sexier, as Nina said, but just more interesting! While I may want to start a conversation with any of Laurence, Rik or (definitely) Erin’s gals, I have no desire to talk to Roberi’s, at least now.
At the end of this episode, Heidi ended with screaming COHESION, COHESION, COHESION and that is definitely a steep hill to climb for our final four. They seem to have a lot of work to do and little time to do it. But isn’t that always the name of the “Project Runway” game? Stay tuned for next week to see if they make it work and if they can impress the judges enough to take home the ultimate prize!