|Did I win?|
Not gonna lie. I never saw that coming.
I had seen Christopher as a frontrunner the whole time (he, modestly enough, had also seen himself as the frontrunner the whole time). But in the end, his collection did disappoint.
Making pretty garments is one thing. And Christopher’s got that down cold. But assembling a strong collection, with a clear point of view that announces to the world who you are as a designer? That’s a whole other can of notions. Melissa, Fabio, and Dmitry all did that a lot better.
But Christopher wins cutest hair and most adorable pout, so there's that.
But Dmitry? Certainly he had been coming on strong in the final weeks: But did he ever actually win a challenge? (Okay, guess he won the print challenge with that clever peek-a-boo print.) But for most of the show he was the bridesmaid, the wingman, the Garfunkel. I always saw him being the “guy who made really impeccable clothing that—shhhh—nobody actually loved.” Boy did I get that wrong.
The other big surprise of the show? I’ll say it: Fabio’s collection. Talk about going from Drabio to Fabio. He really pumped up the luxe, as Nina and co. told him to do. And suddenly his collection, which had previously seemed like the costumes for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar on Mars! suddenly seemed sort of fresh and innovative and chic. (Still not saying I’d wear it. But at least I get it.)
(But I was chatting with my friend R2 about this: Why oh why do the judges keep insisting that Fabio is, himself, a good dresser? He looks like the only hipster in the shtetl, a Hari Krishna gone clubbing, an Amish art student during Rumpspringa. NOT a great dresser. And the mystery of the beard still torments me: Who’s got their money on weak chin?)
|Would you let this man dress you?|
Melissa’s collection was fabulous and very her (that one straightjacket dress with the binded shoes notwithstanding). I would definitely wear every single one of her pieces, except for this, cause really, who the hell could pull this off?
|Besides this model, that is|
(Also probably wouldn’t wear the leather bathing suit either. In public at least. )
But back to Dmitry’s collection. I’m sorry I’d never wear it. I feel like those garments would be sold in a boutique with Russian house music on the speakers and salespeople who smell like bad cologne. (I did sort of like that one dress with the geometrical pattern and the frills, tho. Not gonna hate.)
|Frills gone right|
|Frills gone wrong|
(Where did Michael Kors get the idea that ALL women want this jacket? Not this gal.)
Anyhoo, let’s look back the show, which was, let’s face it All Filler, Not Much Killer.
It starts out with all the designers being, quite literally, haunted by the voices of Nina, Heidi, and MK—sort of the way Dorothy was haunted by the Wicked Witch.
“More expensive looking!” the voices tell Fabio.
“Younger!” the voices tell Dmitry.
“Turn up the volume!” the voices tell Christopher.
“Use color!” the voices tell Melissa.
This is driving them all a little batty, particularly Christopher, who has bags under his eyes and is borderline delirious.
There is so much nervous energy in the room that they woke up Earl, the lone Lifetime FX guy, to illustrate it.
“My nerves are traveling through the screen right now,” Fabio says. And damned if they don’t do some sort of undulating wave effect on my TV screen. Mind. Blown. (Now Earl can go back to his cave).
The producers must’ve promised L’Oreal extra screen time in the finale—as if the whole season hasn’t been one big fat infomercial already—so we have to watch all the designers get extended consultations in hair and makeup.
Lots of product name dropping like, “Oooh, Coral Seduction!” and “I’m just going to go in the Everystyle Curl Mousse.” Etc. Etc.
And because of Christopher’s nervous breakdown, he can’t figure out what to do with his models’ hair.
He takes one poor girl from Bride of Frankenstein to Janelle Monae to Marge Simpson and back again.
It’s always cute to see how awed and humbled and nervous the designers are when they get to fashion week. It really is a big deal—and this was a particularly nice, non-catty group of designers. (But note to Christopher: Blood orange really is a thing. And it’s not the same thing as red.)
|Actually nervous, even though it looks like they're faking it|
They pan the audience as the show is about to begin.
Mondo seems to have taken the Internet’s fake mustache meme to a literal degree and is sporting one that looks exactly like THIS.
Harvey Weinstein is also in the house, which means the winner will not just take home the Project Runway trophy, he will be guaranteed the Best Picture Oscar next year. (My film critic friends are ROFL right now. Trust me.)
Dmitry is talking about his journey to Project Runway: “I left my home when I was 18 with one backpack, a coupla hundred bucks and a huge dream,” he says. The man is good at self-mythologizing. (Later he actually says, unironically, “Winning Project Runway will give me the wings to fly.”)
Fabio is also talking about his emotions. “My whole body is vibrating with positivity right now,” he says.
(Earl looks up for a second, considers it, then goes back to sleep.)
And the show begins. JHud is the guest judge. I agree with the judges. Everyone really did great. And it’s cute to see all their families and loved ones kvelling in the audience.
Afterwards, design insiders pick their favorites. We’ve got fashion editors, the buyer from Lord & Taylor, Joanna Coles, and . . .*record scratching sound*. . .Stephanie Meyers, author of Twilight??? Seriously, the most random people show up at these things.
She’s on Team Dmitry, BTW. (Team Edward is PISSED.)
So Christopher is the first to be eliminated. He’s great, but just not ready.
Then Melissa. Her collection, while young, funky and fresh, was too predictable.
So it comes down to Fabio and Dmitry.
There’s some brief talk of who needs the win more—they all agree that it’s Fabio, whose aesthetic is much more offbeat. That’s a pretty bullshit reason to make someone the winner. (Just sayin’).
So even though Christopher “demands a recount” (heh) I’m glad Dmitry won over Fabio. I never even expected Fabio to make the finale, to be honest. He definitely exceeded my expectations (and his own: He thought he was going to be the first to be eliminated.) In the end, say what you will about Dmitry, he was much more consistent all season long.
|Heidi will now take him back to the dungeon where she keeps all the past winners|
Once Dmitry won, I kept waiting for the big reveal where his family from the Motherland was flown in to see him. (Get the feeling that Mama and Papa Sholokhov are none too thrilled that young Dmitry didn’t join the family distillery?) (I made that up. I have no idea what Dmitry’s family does.)
Instead, he has three bleached blonde besties (all future employees in his boutique, no doubt) and then “someone else who’s very excited to see you.”
Have Mama and Papa Sholokhov forgiven him?
Is it Elena, finally willing to admit her true feelings for him?
Nope. It’s Tim Gunn!
And damned if Tim isn’t all choked up.
“I’m losing it,” he says. Oh, Tim.
So congrats Dmitry: You came to this country with a backpack (unofficial contents of said backpack: tap shoes, a bottle of Drakkar Noir, a pair of leather skinny pants, and a thimble), a charmingly monotone voice, and a dream that you made come true.
I bet you’re feelin’ a whole lot like THIS guy right now.
p.s. Reading my Nashville recaps on Vulture yet? What are you waiting for?