We hate to say it, but despite Lifetime’s fervent promises that they’d never do anything to change our beloved Project Runway, they have, in fact, tainted it with a faint aura of Television for Women. We don’t mean the television show itself — which has been, for the most part, a faithful paint-by-numbers recreation of the original — but rather, the finale presentation. Most years, the Project Runway finalists’ show has been packed to the rafters with fans, press, past contestants and a variety of Real Housewives. One season, it was so crazed that one of the PR girls tried to convince us that we’d be fine sitting in the photographers’ pit. This year? Not so much — although, in fairness, we are thrilled we weren’t forced to sit in a pit.
We knew it was going to be a Lifetime kind of day when we arrived and no one was screaming prostrate at the PR desk, though we did spy last year’s finalists Althea — looking insanely tall and gorgeous in giant platform boots and leather pants — and Carol Hannah (who has bangs now). It only got Lifetime-ier when we noticed the guest judge was (SPOILER!) Faith Hill, who surely must be working on some kind of movie for the network in which her children are kidnapped by a drug-crazed neighbor, or where she plays a suburban mom who’s also secretly a murderer, because as far as we know she’s not a big-time clotheshorse. Therefore, the only possible explanation is network synergy. Speaking of horses, though, Faith could easily have ridden one to tents, considering that she was wearing skintight black leggings with an aggressively ruffled peplum jacket. She also was sporting hair identical to Heidi Klum’s — a somewhat deconstructed, blonde-with-lowlights updo. Do you think they called each other that morning to discuss or were just horrified when they finally came face-to-face this morning?
Regardless, either one of them would have had ample time to redo her coiffure during the show, which was quite lengthy this go-round. Because the network has to control spoilers about the identity of the three finalists from leaking out prematurely, each season there are decoy lines from designers who have already been eliminated from the competition, but whose eliminations have not yet aired on TV. Usually, there are only one or two of these. This season, though, we saw seven decoys, as well as three lines that were still in competition, making for quite a long outing. We think even the front row got restless: We spotted “That’s So” Raven-Symoné chatting the whole way through the event to her seatmate, Noted Fashion Photographer and Official Fashion Week Hottie Nigel Barker. Although it’s possible that she wasn’t bored as much as trying to pick up Nigel. We can’t blame her, even if he is married. On the other side of Nigel sat Beth Ostrovsky Stern, looking amazing in a fabulous black-and-white houndstooth suit and a white coat, which she carefully wrapped in a black scarf before stowing under her seat, with an assist from Nigel. Smart girl. We always just toss our stuff on the ground and then wonder why it’s covered in crap.
Having ten designers in the house did, however, make for a bit more drama during the presentation than usual. Some of them gave a very perfunctory introductions to their collections, making us wonder if they just felt bitter about having to be there at all, knowing they’ve got no shot to win it. On the other side of the coin, Anthony was as boisterous and charming as he is on the show, and we still want to go out for drinks with him. Jesse gave a sappy speech about his fiancée before sending down a line that looked like the stewardess uniforms for Von Trapp Family Air. Ben cried. (Honey, it wasn’t that bad.) Seth-Aaron noted that his line was inspired by German and Russian militaries in the forties, and we decided that he must have meant East Germany, rather than by Nazis, because we’re pretty sure announcing that you’re really inspired by the Nazis is a very bad idea, especially on TV. And Emilio claimed his line was called “Color Me Bad” but made the fatal mistake of not having his models walk to “I Wanna Sex You Up.” For that tragic error alone, we can only hope he hasn’t made the final three.
As for our guesses about who did make the finale? It’s hard to say, especially as there are that many models stamping past you. Eventually, you get fashion fatigue. But if we were betting women, we’d place good money on Seth-Aaron and Amy being among the final three. The final spot? Apparently, we’re all just going to have to tune in.
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