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Finale Episode Recap: An Angry Mentor, a Fashion Doyenne and a NY Warrior Princess

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 4:50am GMT

Althea fixes modelWell, kiddies, this is REALLY the end: Last night was the finale episode of “Project Runway” Season 6, which therefore also means that this is my final recap of the season (at least pretend you’re sad!). A sick girl, an angry mentor, a fashion doyenne with an updo to end all updo’s and Warrior Fashion Princesses who love the Big Apple. Yep, it’s the “Project Runway” Season Finale.

We Need More DayQuil on the Set!
When we last left our three ladies, they had been given the “Make It Work” last-minute twist to make a 13th look and received the aid of fellow “Project Runway” Season 6 alumni to assist them. Carol Hannah Whitfield got sick (did Irina put something in her Starbucks?), and there was A LOT of black and gray coming from them. As the episode begins, Carol Hannah is still sick (in fact, worse), and yes, there’s STILL lots of black and gray on the racks.

Makeup Copycatter
L’Oreal makeup and Garnier hair consultations follow, as well as last-minute model fittings, and Tim makes a visit to check on the girls’ 13th looks. Not only did Althea Harper (allegedly) copy Irina’s oversized chunky sweaters, but now she seems to be using the same makeup inspiration. Lord, someone might need to put blinders on Miss Althea. Like yesterday! Bryant Park is still a day away, but just from the quick shots of the models trying on their looks during their fittings, I already would have given Irina the “Project Runway” crown. Now it’s up to Carol Hannah or Althea to rip one of Irina’s zippers or accidentally spray bleach on her clothes … My guess is that it isn’t going to happen.

Don’t Mess With Tim
Finally the day of the Bryant Park Runway Show has arrived, and Carol Hannah finally got her DayQuil, because she seems to be feeling better. Even Irina Shabayeva seems to be acting nicer. All the girls are getting along — no bitching, man-stealing, or accusations of copying. As the hour is approaching, guests are arriving and models are getting dressed. It’s almost starting time, and no one is where they should be, and Headmistress Tim Gunn isn’t happy. He progressively gets angrier and angrier. The normally pinkish flush of his face grows more Cabernet Red. Not a good sign.

Carol Hannah at judgingAlthea’s UGGs
Heidi, Michael and Nina finally take their seats, along with guest judge and fashion DIVA Suzy Menkes, editor of the International Herald Tribune. Althea comes out onto the runway and she is wearing … wait for it … UGGs! In front of Suzy Godmother-of-Fashion Menkes? Oh, the travesty. I know that because it was Season 6, a lot of this was shot without an audience (to keep the secrecy), but did Althea forget she was going to be on national television? Her collection finally goes down the runway. Her theme is Sci-Fi Heroine. There are chunky sweaters, and lots of black leather and harem pants. Judge Suzy Menkes didn’t see much futurism in Althea’s collection, and frankly, neither did I. There was a lot of wearable sportswear, which Kors applauded her for. It was all very Zara or H&M, which can be a good thing, but maybe not for a Bryant Park runway show.

Carol Hannah’s Cowl-Draped Architecture
Carol Hannah is next. She explains that her collection is about architecture, yet for the most part it seemed more Grecian Goddess to me. She’s got great draping skill, which showed up in dress after dress. Nina Garcia liked the first look, and I, along with Suzy, loved the teal jersey gown — her 13th look — which Amanda Fields (model from Season 3) wore. However, there were SO MANY ideas, as Heidi suggested — enough for FIVE collections. She needs more time and experience to know that for a collection, especially a 13-piece “capsule,” she only needed to have about three strong ideas and not 14.

Irina on runwayQueena Irina
From the first two looks out, I knew this was BY FAR the best collection of the three. Irina’s theme was a Warrior Princess living, surviving and shielding herself in the Big Apple. I really liked it. The fit was spot-on, and so was the styling. As Michael and Nina concurred, her collection had such a strong sense of showmanship. From those fabulous equestrian-meets-Sparta hats to the purses and shoes. Also, the clothes looked as if they were made well; no hanging threads or puckered seams in sight. Kudos to Gordana for helping her finish it to perfection. If I saw one of Irina’s girls walk into a room, I would want to know who she was, where she was from and how I could have some of her fabulousness! But Nina was right: There was too much black. I understand it’s a Fall/Winter collection, but a shot of plum or violet or metallic would have broken it up. A girl — even in New York — can’t live on black alone.

Season 6 Redemption
But in the end, Irina’s was the best collection. I was happy to see that Miss Irina “brought it”! She stepped up to the plate and hit a fashion home run. It was on par with other great “Project Runway” finale collections like those of Christian Siriano, Rami Kashou, Jay McCarroll and Leanne Marshall. In a season where so many people discredited the contestants as being so uninspiring or lacking talent, her tough, modern and effortlessly chic collection proved naysayers wrong. Congratulations, Miss Irina — now take your $100,000, invest it in getting a great work studio, and go to Paris and take your much-deserved vacation with your dog, Princess.

See you in January for another fun and fashionable season of “Project Runway”!


Episode 13: Dirty Dancing, Return to the Big Apple and Cootie Kisses

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:40am GMT

The Final Three have been decided on Season 6 of “Project Runway,” and Althea, Carol Hannah and Irina emerge as the leaders. Last week, Christopher was out, as well as Gordana. It was the elimination “heard ’round the blogosphere.” The fans weren’t too happy with Gordana’s elimination (“She left TOOOO soon ... she was ROBBED!”). Justified or not, the show must go on!

Dirty Dancin’ Tim
Last night’s episode begins with Heidi giving the ladies their real FINAL challenge: to create a 12-piece collection for NY Fashion Week with $9,000 (the retail price of ONE Michael Kors gown!). Making a guest appearance on the runway, Tim Gunn then tells the designers that he will visit them in a few months to see their progress. With that, Tim and Heidi dirty dance away — yes, DIRTY DANCE — behind the “Project Runway” scrim. I thought I had seen EVERYTHNG when I saw “Flip-Flop Tim,” but “Dirty Dancing Tim”? Was he bootie-bumping Heidi? Please say it isn’t so ...

Carol Hannah and Tim Gunn on Long IslandTim’s Biscuits & Gravy
First up on “Tim’s American Snow Tour” is Carol Hannah. She has moved from South Carolina to the suburbs of New York to be more inspired (by the frozen tundra?). On a visit to Duke University, she was moved by the whimsical architecture, which became her theme. On display is gray, gray and more gray. Carol Hannah first shows Tim a tutu-like dress with a tie-neck bodice. She wants to add a beaded waist trim, but luckily, Tim advises her against it. She’s a trim away from Michelle Kwan territory. She’s also proud to show Tim that she made pants, shock of all shocks! Soon it is dinner time, and they go downstairs to an episode of “Meet the Whitfields,” Southern-cooking style. Tim quickly dons an apron and proceeds to make biscuits. Part of me would have loved to have seen him Shake ‘n Bake a bag of Southern fried chicken too!

Georgia, NY
After leaving Carol Hannah’s house in his snowmobile, Tim heads back to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he checks in on Irina. He is greeted by her barking dog, Princess. I love how even her dog has a Bitchy McBitch attitude. Irina’s collection is inspired by Coney Island as well as a celebration of New York. On the racks are lots of chunky handmade sweaters and plenty of fur, as well as a sea of black. She also has some screen-printed T-shirts showing iconic Coney Island images. The requisite “family and friends” lunch follows, where we get more insight on Irina’s very supportive “Follow your dream” mom (it’s always the moms!) and “Marry a nice Georgian boy and cook for him!” father.

Tim Gunn visits Althea in OhioAlthea in Dayton, Ohio
Finally, Tim heads to cold and snowy Dayton, Ohio, to visit Althea. Althea seems to live in a loft formerly occupied by the Ohio chapter of the Midwest Mafia, by the looks of the rickety elevator and sketchy “turn left in the alley” surroundings. However, once inside, it is all “safe and sound.” Her theme involves sci-fi movies and their heroines. There are chunky sweater knits and lots of black. Wait, isn’t this Irina’s collection? Tim liked the sweaters but questioned a “Wild West” costume-y coat. I was happy to see some color, though. There’s a pretty raspberry-colored dress that seems to shout at the TV, saying, “Release me from this gray and all-black fashion jail!”

Cooties and Crickets: Return to the Big Apple
Five days before their Bryant Park show, and only two of the girls have arrived at their Manhattan Grand Hyatt suite. Carol Hannah has the stomach flu. The other two try to pass the time having very awkward, cricket-inducing forced conversation. The next day, they move into their cheerfully decorated New York workroom (which coincidentally looks just like the one they left behind back at FIDM). Carol Hannah finally shows up — two Theraflus later but still sick.

Ding-Dong, You Have Visitors!
Soon it becomes “A Christmas Carol: The ‘Project Runway’ Edition,” with one too many visits. First up, “Ghost of Runway Present” Tim arrives at the workroom to check the collections. Tim questions Irina’s black leather pants (chaps much?); but from what I can see, even among a sea of black, Irina looks like she has the strongest collection by miles. Tim then wonders who Althea and Carol Hannah’s customers are, since their collections seem a bit disjointed. To me, as a viewer, their collections looked very blah. Nothing excited me. I would take a pair of leather chaps over an Althea “Hillary Clinton” suit any day.

Season 6 finalists get help from Christopher, Gordana and LoganLook Who Showed Up
Then, “Ghosts of Runway Yet to Come” Nina I-OOZE-CHIC Garcia and Michael Kors visit to dish out advice to the girls. Amid all the counseling, somehow both Nina and Michael forgot to add: “And if we see one more GRAY look from you guys, we might SCREAM!” followed by a record-skipping sound effect. That would have been my “Uncle Nicky” advice.

Season 2 Redux: Lucky Number 13
Finally, Tim and Heidi, the “Ghosts of Runway Past,” visit the designers to tell them that there’s a twist: They must create a 13th look. In addition, they tell them that they will have help from their fellow Season 6 designers (SOOO Season 2!!). Centerfold Logan is picked by Althea, Momma Gordana goes to Irina, and Odd Duck Christopher winds up helping cootie-ridden Carol Hannah.

You Gotta Work … for That Round-Trip Economy Class Ticket to New York
I wonder if these three “helpers” knew what they were coming back to. I bet they thought “Oh fun, it’s the Reunion Episode: Let’s go drinking!” Not so much, darlings; time to Make It Work. You don’t get a free round-trip economy-class ticket to New York for nothing! Will Christopher make a poufy prom dress for Carol Hannah? Will Gordana find some gray pleated-and-tucked fabric and make a suit for Irina? Or will Logan add a touch of Judy Jetson to the mix? Tune in next week, when all will be revealed ...


Episode 10: Greece...Is Not The Word

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 2:30am GMT

Michael Kors in episode ten of Project Runway season six

It is getting down to the “Project Runway” wire. Out of 16 designers, only seven remain. There are some who are talented and, arguably, some who are not so talented. There are definitely a few in the bunch who probably shouldn’t have made it through so far. After the last “Sequin and Feathers” Christina Aguilera/Bob Mackie Challenge, it was probably time to bring it down one or two sequin notches, or so they thought. With that in mind, Heidi Klum tells the remaining designers they are to take a little trip to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, where Tim Gunn would await them.

Shakopee Trading Post to Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Shakopee, Minnesota native and token “Podunk-er of Season 6” Christopher got excited at the prospect of going to Rodeo Drive, admitting that “there are no Guccis or Yves Saint Laurents in my mall …” That might be his problem. Maybe it’s time to get on a United Airlines flight and get thee to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or find a cheap flight to Paris to see that there are other designers and stores besides the Shakopee Trading Post. But I digress. With this challenge, the producers of “Project Runway” are doing their part in exposing little ol’ Christopher to a brand new world of fashion, and at least it’s a start.

Paris Hilton in Mykonos
The designers arrive at the Rodeo Drive West Coast Flagship of Michael Kors. Surprisingly, Kors was actually there: For a second I thought he might be at the store via SKYPE! He explains how many of his collections are inspired by his travels around the globe, to places such as Santa Fe, St. Tropez, Palm Beach and Greece. It is fitting, then, when he introduces the next challenge for episode ten: to create a look inspired by a fabulous locale. As a designer myself, I am always influenced by international locations, whether or not I have been there. But the whole point is that it provides me with a point of design inspiration. Sometimes too much so, as witnessed back in my season, when I kept referring to the outfits I created each week as “Paris Hilton in Mykonos” or “Diva in Capri.” Curiously enough, Michael Kors chastised me for doing that, which seems odd since that’s what he is all about.

Gordana Gehlhausen design in episode 10 of season six of Project Runway

Put Down the Necklace and Make a Dress
With that, the designers get their locales and are back at the FIDM workroom, post Mood shopping, to see who was actually paying attention in their geography classes back in high school — and who may need a new Eurail Pass. Tim makes his visit and first checks in on Gordana, who picked Park Avenue/Manhattan. She’s used up all her time making a beaded necklace (see photo), and Tim says he’s nervous to leave her without seeing an actual dress. Irina, who chose Aspen, looks as if she’s almost done. That girl is OUT OF CONTROL; she is Bitchy McBitch and Speedy Gonzalez all rolled up into one!

Carole Cook Palm Beach Caftan Fantasy
Althea’s inspiration is St. Tropez, and she is doing separates for a girl heading out to brunch on the French Riviera. Mall rat Christopher is working on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, look, which immediately makes me squirm. However, Tim is somewhat liking the Navajo-looking leather belt. Carol Hannah is going to Palm Beach, but stressed she may not have enough of her leaf-printed fabric. At one point, her drape was looking like a Carole Cook (look her up, kiddies!) caftan, and I was LOVING IT! Nicolas, who got my favorite locale, Greece, is inexplicably doing something that doesn’t look very Greece-inspired. He boasts about never having been to Greece, and Tim looks a bit worried. Soon he’s in the confessional saying that he doesn’t want to go home or be in the bottom three. That’s the moment I say, “Oh, Nicolas is SO GONE!”

Ukrainian Arms Dealer Trophy Wife Goes to Aspen
It’s Runway Day and, as usual, the kids are in a panic. Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and guest judge model/actress/designer Milla Jovovich are all on hand to see the “Project Runway” World Inspiration Tour. Carol Hannah’s sundress looks fabulous (I still secretly wish she would have done a caftan!), and she is praised for it by Jovovich, who says she would “live in that dress.” Gordana did get to make something to attach to her beaded necklace, and the judges liked it. It looked very uptown and classic, but I was yawning over her repeated use of gray. Irina Shabayeva’s après-ski look ended up being the winner. It looked luxe, and at least the girl had a vision — from head to toe! It was very “trophy wife of a Ukrainian mafia arms dealer.”

Logan Neitzel in episode ten of Project Runway season six

New Mexico Circa 1983
The bottom group was a Testosterone Fest: Logan, Christopher and Nicolas. Logan created a cute yet uninspired ensemble for his Hollywood locale. (See photo.) Logan frustrates me. Why he didn’t just go ahead and make a rockin’ hipster female version of himself is beyond me. Logan is more stylish than his own designs! Christopher’s Santa Fe creation was the opposite of Irina’s: It lacked vision. Heidi even said it was “sad and ugly.” But Milla liked the belt, saying it was very 1983. That would have been a compliment, if only the ENTIRE OUTFIT wasn’t so 1983! His look was something a (58-year-old) proprietor of a New Mexico turquoise shop would wear.

Athens, Afghanistan?
But it was Nicolas Putvinski who really “missed the ferry” from downtown L.A. to Patras, Greece, during this Fabulous Locale Challenge. His look had nothing reminding anyone of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea and blue-capped buildings of the Greek isles. Sad, ill-fitting gray pants and a white cotton surplice-wrap top? Nicolas: It’s Greece, not AFGHANISTAN! With that, Heidi waved goodbye and gave him a gift certificate to the nearest gyro restaurant. Yassou, Nicolas!