Project Runway: Season 9 – Episode 12 The Final Challenge [Runway Rundown]

Now I want to start this week by saying that it has been a while since I attempted to throw together an entire dress in a day… but this week I made a dress for my partner to go as “Carrie” for a party we are throwing. The make-it-work moments and time crunch helped me remember just how tight of a schedule these talented designers are working with and it always impresses me to see what they are able to do with such limited time and funds. (Don’t even get me started on my own project’s blood, sweat, and tears… oh yeah, and more blood.) Amazingly, this week I can honestly say that there was a little bit from every designer that I liked. *gasp

As always, spoilers are ahead so if you have yet to drag your butt to the TV or the internet to catch up, please do so and return to hear my snarky commentary at a later date.

This was the final challenge for our remaining five designers before the big Fashion Week challenge(s) and the pressure appeared to be taking a toll. You could see the fear on all of their faces at what this week’s challenge might hold and it looked like any one of them might breakdown crying at the drop of a hat. After being whisked off to Governors Island by ferry, the designers were instructed to create a collection of three garments that show a wide range, and they were to look on the island for inspiration. With golf carts and cameras in tow they proceeded to search for something this strange island might inspire in them that might win them a ticket to Fashion Week!

Kim set her sights on a sculpture called “New Beginning” and wanted to show pieces she had yet to really work with on the show. Josh found a phallic cannon that he seemed to take too much interest in, told us some story about his brother being in the military and after seeing a chapel next door decided that his collection would be Military inspired but have a softness as well. Hmm… ok. Laura fell in love with circles which to me sounded dizzying but also as if it may pay off. Viktor wanted to play with structures and silhouettes after seeing the large scale sculptures against the sky. Finally Anya found beauty in the positive and negative space she found within the large works gracing the grass. All in all, this told me next to nothing about what I should expect from all of them… I couldn’t say I wasn’t worried.

Back in the workroom, Tim walked in with the dreaded button bag but luckily it is to choose which order they get to select their new assistant. Each designer got a chance to pick their helper from the last 5 contestants to leave. Kim chose Becky, Viktor chose Olivier, Laura chose Anthony, Anya chose Bert and Joshua ended up with Bryce. Everyone seemed pleased with their new helper which must be a first!

Not three minutes into work time and Joshua was already back to bitching about Anya’s win last week, griping how a “beauty queen stole that $20,000 out from under me, do you think it was her beauty or her talent?!” Give it up Joan Crawford, I mean Josh, we all know she won because she can pull off plucked eyebrows better than you can… you’re a man. Viktor chimed in with “Does she even know how to tailor a pant?!” Oh you mean that amazing pair of pants she whipped up in the very first challenge Viktor? The ones that got her a top 3 spot?! Anya has the talent and the boys have her in their sights, beware girl they are not above cutting your dress when you ain’t lookin’!

*Side note update with no real point: I ran into Jeffrey Sebelia at my gym this morning. He still has the neck tattoos, is sporting some serious facial hair, and doesn’t seem too approachable. I don’t see a sportswear collection in his future. Just thought you all should know.

Our guest judge this week was Zoe Saldana (who is super nice in person by the way), and she was a tough judge to please. For once it was nice to see a beautiful actress on the show with a working knowledge of fashion that also wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She really spoke honestly with each designer, but also backed up her criticisms with constructive commentary. (Psst! I can totally see you in that dress of Kimberly’s, Zoe!)

Josh was up first this week on the runway with three looks that I couldn’t be more torn about. I really enjoyed the style and ease of the first look he sent out: a nice white cocktail dress with mesh neckline. I could see a lot of girls snatching up that dress and was surprised he could edit things down to such a classy look. That had me teetering over to liking his work — that was until a mildly ugly silver skirt walked out with a drum major T-shirt and black jacket with plastic on it [pictured]. Oh Josh, when will you learn to take things down a notch, or forty… we don’t need the whole parade, just one float. His final look was a one armed silver “Statue Of Liberty” dress (thank you Heidi) that looked cheap and boring. Josh did get nailed on the glitter and shine, which he seems to be addicted to, and Michael Kors explained it best when he said, “that can go cheap very fast.

Kimberly brought some solid work to the runway this week. First: her oversized orange coat with grey scarf look — and I actually really liked it. I did think it swallowed the model a little bit too much but overall she made me like orange here. Her second look with separates had a skirt I didn’t love too much with a plain slim fit top. Nothing too memorable there huh? Her last look blew me away though, she sent out a gorgeous silver cocktail dress [pictured] and instantly my thought was “That is how you do a metallic!” Kimberly got sideswiped a little by Michael Kors with his “Disco Halloween” reference, but I thought she turned it out for the most part. *High Five girl you might still be in this!

Laura got caught up in the monkey house this week. She fell in love with circles and couldn’t seem to spin herself out of their grip. Her first look, a circle covered black and white blazer with a skimpy white skirt was nothing memorable. The second look was like a homeless woman walking around in a slip [pictured]. This could easily double as a garment worn by a zombie in the TV show The Walking Dead. (Which starts airing new episodes this Sunday on AMC by the way…) Her final look at least showed some talent with a nice lattice circle overlay gown and bold black cuffs. This was not her week by a long shot and I fear she is going home.

Anya hit it out of the park this week with three unique solid looks that just oozed with her design sensibilities. I loved every single piece from the gorgeous black dress with the asymetric hemline, to the rust pants/top combo. Her white gown [pictured] had the judges slightly on the fence but I loved the modern look she created. The slit was a tad to high there, Anya, but otherwise these garments were to die for!

Viktor turned out some nice but fairly safe pieces this week. His water inspired jacket was kind of hideous in my opinion, it looked like a flappy half finished pleather garment. His black cigarette slacks however were incredibly tailored. The grey and white top-orange belt combo was cute but nothing really groundbreaking [pictured]. I enjoyed his structured black dress at the end, but looking back all three looks just kind of mush together and aren’t really striking. Michael Kors gave him the biggest back handed compliment of all time: “You are the most commercial designer up there.” It’s like saying your stuff will sell by the millions and you will make tons of cash, but you don’t really have the pizazz for me to say you have a point of view all your own. Ouch and yay all at the same time.

Without much deliberation we learned Anya and Viktor took the top two spots and were on their way to Fashion Week. Joshua completed the final three but with a warning to continue editing. As is standard the last several years a fourth designer was thrown into the mix with Kimberly heading home to prepare a collection as well. All of that means Laura was auf’d. I feel bad for Laura but it was time for her to go. Laura had a good work ethic, some solid foundation as a designer, but really needs to find her voice. She worried too much about the harsh judgments each week and not enough about what makes her looks stand out. As for Kimberly, she skirted by this week and I’m glad she is heading to fashion week. Now we have to see who will show as only 3 will get to present their full collection in the end. This could still be anyone’s game. (My prediction is Anya… but Viktor could wow us by kicking it up a few notches.)

Next week: we see Tim check in with our designers and we get a glimpse of what it takes to win it all. The promo makes me think some of our favorites may be in trouble so tune in and see who chokes and who rises to the top!