The arrival of Project Runway’s fifth-season finale is bittersweet for us: sweet, because this uninspiring season never lived up to its early promise and we’re glad to have a break, and bitter because — if the state of the Weinstein/Lifetime lawsuit is any indication — that break might last a little bit longer than we’d like. Still, we at least hoped Project Runway would leave Bravo with a bang; sadly, short of Kenley spiking Tim Gunn’s morning latte with gunpowder, it’s unrealistic to expect any real surprises. But that hasn’t stopped us from laying down some odds on the winner — and hey, we’ve been wrong before. Twice, actually. So maybe there’s room for our jaws to drop after all.
LEANNE MARSHALL: 1-3. Yes, that’s right, she’s actually an odds-on favorite. Based on the slideshows and our peek at the final runway show during Fashion Week, we’d be stunned if Leanne’s collection fell short for the judges. It’s an orgy of intricate pleating and cohesive design, if perhaps monochromatic in palette. But when her first look hit the catwalk, half the audience spontaneously erupted into applause. We even overheard Judith Light being pressed into confessing a strong affinity for Leanne’s fanciful and fabulous wedding dress. And, with all due respect to Tony Danza, we all know Judith is the boss. (Parenthetically, it’s high time Ugly Betty cast Tony as Claire Meade’s next love interest. You’re welcome, America.)
View Leanne’s collection.
KENLEY COLLINS: 25-1. If Project Runway were a popularity contest, Kenley wouldn’t even be in the finals. In fact, when she emerged to introduce her line, we gasped, “Oh shit,” because we were confused about how many designers were showing and were therefore under the mistaken impression that Kenley had somehow bested Korto and Leanne. But horrifying as that was, it was almost worse to realize that Kenley’s line is kind of charming, or at least fun to watch. Michael Kors wasn’t wrong when he said her silhouettes are derivative, but her feather-trimmed wedding dress is still spectacular and well made, and Kenley’s attention to detail — including her hand-painted fabrics — is impressive. But that may not suffice, because (a) after her snit fits with the judges, we suspect the panel would rather wear Crocs in public than reward Kenley for anything, and (b) Leanne is totally going to win.
View Kenley’s collection.
KORTO MOMOLU: 50-1. Korto has an amazing story — escaping with her family from Liberia when she was just a kid — and on a personal level, we’d celebrate if she won. And we did love the short patterned dress, in addition to coveting that green mini she put on ANTM’s Danielle. But “cute” shouldn’t quite cut it when, compared to the other two, Korto’s collection just wasn’t that interesting or unusual. We also overheard several people at the show comment that they liked the patterned dress Korto herself wore more than anything she sent down the runway, and that spells trouble. But then again, what do we know? We’re 0-2.
View Korto’s collection.