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Project Runway Finale Recap: German Military–Inspired Collection Wins

“This year was a fantastic season,” Heidi announces as she steps out to introduce the three runway-show contenders: Seth Aaron, Mila, and Emilio. Well, for clothes, maybe, but not for personalities. Other than Anthony, we don’t think we’ll remember any of these contestants by the time they “conquer the fashion world,” evidenced by the fact that we couldn’t for the life of us recall the names of their co-designers in the audience. Jamie? Jason? Jessie! There wasn’t much drama leading up to the shows — Mila sees Seth Aaron’s collection as “glamorous Hot Topic,” Seth Aaron thinks Mila’s clothes are “older,” and Emilio thinks that Mila’s line is “demure” — just lots of plugs for Garnier and Lancôme, and everyone had to get up so early that it made us dizzy with exhaustion just watching them. Some models go missing (where the heck are these girls? You’d think they could show up for the one booking that’s going to be on TV), but they get replaced, and the three shows go as smoothly as possible.

First comes Seth Aaron, who says he was inspired by forties German military. Wait, like, Nazis? Hmmm. That’s a questionable choice to show to a judge whose love of Yiddish rivals only his love of old-timey garmento expressions. SA’s clothes are well-tailored, somewhat severe, and very Seth Aaron, with lots of red-and-black and stripes. Some of his looks, like the purple dress, remind us of very well dressed insects, but that’s perhaps because we’ve been watching too much Life. SA kisses his wife and kids after the show, which is sweet.

Next up is Mila, who calls her boyfriend her rock, and shows a collection that is just what you thought it would be: Black and white and mod. She plays with shine, uses patent leather, and has “roughed up” her styling enough to satisfy Heidi — but if you ask us, all her models still look like … Mila. Which is weird.

Emilio comes last, and his designs are somewhat different from what he was showing week by week. There are fewer dresses, more coats, and scant overt “showstoppers,” in Heidi’s words. He uses an E. Sosa print on his linings and dresses; it’s all very commercial, and we’d have rather gone on thinking that it was just a pretty design. After the show, a bevy of A-Listers (heh) share their thoughts on the three contestants, including Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles, who likes Mila, Raven-Symone, of That’s So Raven, who sides with Emilio, and Beth Ostrosky, who’s into Seth Aaron’s looks. On to the judges!

Emilio: “Why color me bad?” Heidi asks Emilio. He doesn’t really have a good answer, and neither do we. Faith Hill was “knocked out” by Emilio’s show, and loved the length of the sleeves on the coats. Michael points out that Emilio’s was the most commercial of the bunch, but his favorite thing was the least commercial: The gold gown. “I thought the gown was absolutely gorgeous,” he says. Nina calls the collection “quiet but sophisticated,” adding that it was “a little heavy on the suitings, with maybe too many coats.” Emilio loses and it’s kind of sad. Even though he can be a smug bastard at times, he’s a very talented designer, and obviously wanted this a lot.

Mila: Also a loser! Heidi liked Mila’s show, and was happy with the styling changes she’d made. “You made it look totally contemporary,” adds Michael, who loved the shiny miniskirt and the “mixed-media” dress. “Whenever you played with shine, it really turned me on.” Well, that’s just gross. “When you loosen up, it becomes a lot cooler,” says Heidi. Ultimately, Mila was too one-note for the judges’ taste, and so was eliminated first, presumably to happily return to her black-and-white house and black-and-white dog. Good luck, Mila! We won’t miss you.

Seth Aaron: The winner! The winner!
Okay, fine, Seth Aaron wins. Whatever. We agree with Michael when he says that SA’s collection “was so much more sophisticated than where he has been. This was polished and expensive looking.” Seth did step up his game after Tim Gunn’s visit, and we applaud him for that. While we’ve never been huge fans of Seth Aaron’s aesthetic, we see Heidi’s point about his “fearlessness.” But we’re more on Nina’s side — “It can borderline on costume-y.” His reaction to winning, however, is very endearing, and when he talked about making his kids proud, he won us over for good (aside from that whole Nazi-inspiration thing). So we wish Seth Aaron all the best! We’ll never buy his clothes, but we’ll certainly recognize them.

Project Runway Finale Recap: German Military–Inspired Collection Wins