Thank God the Project Runway finale is upon us once more! It’s been nearly a year and a half since neck-tattoo enthusiast Jeffrey Sebelia was crowned last season’s winner and, at the very least, we’re jonesing for a new victim to insert into those terrible Saturn ads. It’ll be tough sledding this time, though. Not only must Rami, Christian, and Jillian not nauseate Michael Kors, disgust Nina Garcia, or prompt a derisive outpouring of German from Heidi Klum, but they must impress the toughest critic of all: guest judge Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, who is nothing if not a refined, gentle tastemaker who isn’t afraid to tell you what she wants, what she really, really wants. In keeping with our age-old tradition — one year strong! — we’ve tried to predict the winner based on photos from the runway show, our Magic 8-Ball, and some red-wine spills that we read like Rorschach blots.
Rami Kashou: 2-1. The presumptive favorite early on, Rami faltered when the judges got impatient with the endless similarity of his draped gowns. Dooming him to a design-off with teddy bear Chris March seemed like they were just making a point — much like how a girl rarely wins Top Model without having once landed in the bottom two for some bogus reason. It apparently worked in this case: Rami’s collection is romantic but not a retread, and it has a nicely balanced color palette punctuated by beautiful shades of blue and red. But let’s face it, we’re cynics, and that’s really why Rami is our choice. Project Runway doesn’t need a commercially successful winner in order to remain a ratings hit, but after Jeffrey, Jay McCarroll, and Chloe Dao faded away, it sure couldn’t hurt. Rami is the show’s chance to anoint a victor equal parts talented and Most Likely to Market Himself for the Red Carpet.
Watch a slideshow of the Rami Kashou collection.
Christian Siriano: 3-1. Before we saw his collection, we thought Christian would win. And frankly, he still might. His work was bolder and braver than most, almost more Chris March–ian than what Chris March showed. But despite the theatricality of his collection — wouldn’t you die to see Posh wearing that giant hat with the beige face-eating neck ruffle? — the largely monochromatic parade felt cohesive to a fault. By the third or fourth black skinny-pants-elaborate-coat combo that sashayed down the runway, we wondered if we were stuck in a temporal loop. And while his chocolate-and-gold cocktail dress is stunning, the final look had a whiff of rare-bird roadkill about it.
Watch a slideshow of the Christian Siriano collection.
Jillian Lewis: 25-1. Jillian is certainly talented, but the problem with her collection is the same problem we had with her as a contestant: SNORE. She’s possibly the first robot ever to make it on to a competitive reality show — seriously, she has no affect in her voice whatsoever — and while her line is totally serviceable, there’s nothing surprising or exciting about it. You’ve seen her do one funky, neatly tailored coat, you’ve seen it all. Also, the jacket with the holes in the crooks of the arms looks as though it was designed for a person who donates a lot of blood, and that kind of makes us queasy. —The Fug Girls
Watch a slideshow of the Jillian Lewis collection.