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Review: Project Runway - Finale Part 2 (Season Finale)

by Michael Pascua, posted Nov 20th 2009 4:42AM
Project Runway's final three (L to R): Carol Hannah, Irina, and Althea(S06E14) It's finally the end of Project Runway season six, and Carol Hannah, Althea, and Irina get to show off their looks. The three were evenly matched with a solid concept, good models, and similar makeup consultations. I've been disappointed with the way this season turned out after its long hiatus, and I'm hoping that next season's return to New York will be better.

In the end, I got the reunion show I was wondering about, in the form of Models of the Runway. It was the weirdest use of Project Runway's footage because the models didn't have any involvement in many of the videos.

The beginning of the episode was mostly an extension of the last: Carol Hannah is still sick, Irina looks at Althea jealously because Althea apparently is knocking her off, and Althea is crying under the pressure. Logan, Christopher, and Gordana do their best to help their designers and all the model fittings seem to go without a hitch. The girls makeup and hair consultations took place, but Althea and Irina's similar taste kicks in again when they have similar smokey eyes. Truthfully, one contestant every finale wants the smokey eye look; I don't think that Irina should be upset that Althea wanted a standard model look.

The girls arrive early to Bryant Park in the dark; all models show up at sunrise. It felt like there was less space this year than previously. There was something about the pre-final runway where no one was ready. They had months and all of their fittings looked like it went well. Hopefully it was just editing, because that would have proved that makeup and hair were taking too long. The finalists should have shown up an hour earlier than they did. It was nice seeing Tim throw a fit. He's usually just concerned, but getting physically upset was a new emotion for Tim.

Along with a neon pink Heidi Klum, Nina, and Michael, our guest judge was Suzy Menkes. I was taken aback by her trademark hair and her loud print. Who am I to judge a judge's fashion sense? As the models walked down for all the collections, I only liked five pieces on each of the collections. Althea's strength was her separates, but I would have appreciated more color. There was a similarity between Althea's and Irina's knits with the extended arm look, but I was surprised how many knits showed up. I was expecting evening wear and dresses and got a lot of pants and separates. Carol Hannah's collection was the most creative, but it suffered from a lack of cohesion. I disliked Irina's felt hats until I realized that all the hats were different. Those hats were better than Althea's headbands.

The judging was edited in such a way that I was convinced Carol Hannah would win. Suzy was so impressed by her pyramid dress. My biggest problem with Carol Hannah was the fact that her thirteenth look was exactly the same design as the dress that she was wearing, except longer. Irina was bashed for only picking black, but yet they liked the t-shirts that had purple accents. Irina's collection needed more explanation to the judges about the layers with purples and grays underneath. Althea's biggest problem was her cohesion, but she was praised for the fact that she could listen to the masses. I don't think it's hard to translate separate pieces and say that one person could wear the jacket or the pant. There's a point where it gets too commercial, and Althea is barely above that line.

Irina was the winner because she had a concept, cohesion, and thought about accessories. With her win, Irina's father cried and showed that he loved his daughter. Kalyn was excited, as well, while both Tanisha and Lisa still believed in their models.

Could Althea or Carol Hannah have won? Althea could have had a chance if she varied her pieces a little better with color and paced her storyline together. If the final three pieces weren't the dresses, I think it would have helped. While Carol Hannah got compliments on her color, her best piece was her first; it was flirty and played with colors.

How did the season play out? Which, if any, eliminated contestant would you have liked to see make a collection? Leave comments below.

[Watch clips and episodes of Project Runway at SlashControl.]

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just me

This was the most forgettable season of Project Runway. I knew from the very beginning Irina was the most talented of the bunch, and none of the other designers really compared. Carol Hannah and Althea are good, but not great. Personally, I think both tend to be one-note in their designs. Carol Hannah ALWAYS makes dresses. Althea ALWAYS makes low cut tops that are a little oversized that she features on a braless model, which I think is slightly unflattering.

I'm a little disappointed Epperson didn't make it farther, as I thought his designs were pretty nice and perhaps the only real challenger to Irina.

But in the end, I came away unimpressed with this season as a whole. Moving to L.A. was a bad idea. Not having mainstay judges Kors and Garcia hurt the show. Having celebrity judges certainly didn't help (Lindsay Lohan? ..Really?) Heidi Klum seemed like she didn't do much this season. And Tim Gunn did a little too much. Did we really need him backstage at Bryant Park telling everyone they were running out of time? or eating with the families of the final three?

It's a shame, because Project Runway WAS a good show at one time. If they do another season they really need to find designers with real talent so it's more of a competition.

November 21 2009 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy Martin

The one thing I've never understood about any of these designers is why do they all dress so awful. The things Althea and Carol Hannah wore were straight out of trash bins with no style whatsoever. It's amazing to me that season after season, with the women, this is always the case.

November 20 2009 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Irina's collection was cohesive, but "cohesive" translated into "boring". Dull as dishwater color palette, too many pieces with the same silhouette, a lack of the infamous 'wow factor'. Vision, certainly, but limited, and no faults with the tailoring.

Althea's was similar, but a lighter shade of dull. I thought maybe the judges might see her collection as 'understated, but elegant'. No such luck.

Carol Hannah took the prize for my money. I just took another look at her collection and the difference is stunning. There's not that strong a thematic sense of cohesion (though I could see some consistency of silhouette), but her vision tied it all together strongly enough to outweigh that, and the style, taste, impeccable construction and creativity put her easily ahead of the other two.

Interesting bits. According to Tim Gunn in the L.A. Times, we saw some video editing artistry last night. There was no crowd when the designers did their introductions.

"Owing to the fact that we couldn't reveal to the audience who the finalists were, we wanted to tape their introduction before the audience came in. We had to do a pre-fashion show, and we taped the whole thing. Through the miracles of editing, it's going to look as though the designers are speaking to the audience, but there isn't one."

Also, Irina is a former student of his. Make of that what you will. I don't make much of it myself. Tim Gunn strikes me as very ethical and straightforward, and beyond that he's not a judge anyway.

November 20 2009 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Someday they will show us Gordana's line or someone will post a copy made while she showed at Bryant Park, because, of course, she did show and that was reported in February when the actual runway happened.
In the end, this season was not so much. Talk about a lack of cohesion: With rotating judges there is no follow-through on if the designers get the message from one episode to the next and the new judges have little or no knowledge of what has been criticized.
I was sad that with all the time to correctly edit this series, it was still so boring. That tells me it was truly unexciting if this is the best they could do.
If model/host Heidi Klum is the centerpiece of judging, then we are in trouble.
At the end, the transvestite won (do the helmets effectively project phallic symbolism or what) and that is breakthrough enough for me.
The next season has already been taped. Nina and Michael are there for almost every episode. So they can edit until January and produce a better show.
As all the contestants are under contract for a year after the final show airs, don't expect to hear from any of them again.

November 20 2009 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Michael Pascua

I'm pretty sure there was no decoy collection this year, so sorry there was no Gordana collection. I'm pretty sure it was a time thing; they knew that there would be so much time between the taping, them at court, and the show airing that they didn't do one.

The Finale was in February 2009. I checked the Blogging Project Runway blog and they also only mentioned three designers (and no faces, so I think the introduction/explanation was either taped after all the media left, or before the media showed up).

November 21 2009 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Truthfully, I think Gordana's line would've been much more interesting than any of these 3 ladies' designs...

November 20 2009 at 1:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm with the post-ers about me. I loved Carol Hannah's looks, I'd wear most of them if given a chance and a place to sport the lovely gowns. But I agreed with the judges that Irina's was the most interesting and cohesive of the three.

I'm just excited the next season starts so soon! In January!


November 20 2009 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i really like Althea's collection, but i do agree with everyone that it was a show of separates. if i am honest with myself, the only reason i didn't want Irina to win is because it validates her horrible personality, but i did love her aubergine pants.

November 20 2009 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked Carol Hannah's the best. Irinia won because she has been the best all season. You can't just give it to someone because the finale was better.

November 20 2009 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think they had to force the suspense as I believe it was Irina going in and all the way. Personally I like Carol Hannah as I like soft dressing and romance but it was always going to be Irina. I might not love Irina's personality, she really has crazy talent -- some of those sweaters were so unique and to die for. What irks me is that Althea was runner-up, just no way her stuff merited that.

I would have loved to see a collection from Epperson, Ramon, or Gordana or even Shirin over Althea.

I think Suzy stole some of Ben Stiller's hair gel from Something About Mary :-)

November 20 2009 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As much as people disliked Irina's personality, they have to admit that she was consistent all season. She had a vision since day one and it was apparent. She edited her clothes well and they were well made. She's not someone you necessarily want to have coffee with, but she is someone with a future in fashion.

November 20 2009 at 7:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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