Project Runway Review: Tobago Love

On Thursday night, this season of Project Runway culminated in a rare look as fans and fashionistas alike got at the skill, the soul, and meltdown of the designer who will potentially be designing their closets.

Two days before the runway show Tim Gun arrived in the workroom and announced that he was gifting each of the designers with $500 to spend at Mood any way they wanted.  Kimberly planned to change the color of the “bubble-butt” skirt and not the shape even though the judges hated the bubble in the skirt.  Viktor planned to change the gown even though Tim said he liked it.  Anya had an identity crisis the day before (i.e. last week), so she said she planned to go into Mood and grab whatever grabbed her.  She said she saw 10 black and white prints in five minutes, so that was her premonition – to go with black and white.  Ironically, Viktor asked Joshua an important question when Josh asked Viktor for advice about making a green jacket.  He asked, “Are you making extra pieces or do you still need to work on your collection?” In short, the collection was not done, and Josh had a mini meltdown as the pressure of the competition got to him.

One day before the show Kimberly sat at the sewing machine and declared that she could not make “one more living, breathing change” while Anya sat at the machine with straight pins dangling out of her mouth knowing she had miles to go before she could sleep. Tim arrived in the workroom for consultations and talked to Kim specifically about the bubble skirt.  Although the day before, Kim said she planned to re-create the bubble skirt in black, but at that point, it had not been done, and given Kim’s previous statement to Anya in the sewing room, it probably wasn’t going to be done. During Anya’s consultation with Tim, she seemingly gave a good-bye speech, but if the proverb comes true for Anya, “[She] who humbles [herself] shall be exalted.”  With his Mood money, Joshua bought a green fabric and showed Tim a green short he’d made.  After looking at a few of his other pieces, Tim told Joshua that the imaginary woman who’d wear one of his other pieces didn’t fit with the women who were wearing the pieces he’d shown the judges a few days ago.  Tim was right.  Those heffas weren’t even neighbors! Actually the new piece was hidden in the back closet, i.e. in the shack down south, because from Tim’s visit to Joshua weeks ago, clearly Joshua did not show the initial vein of his collection.  Viktor edited a few pieces in order to show the judges that he wasn’t “emotionally attached” to the pieces, even though he was.  Why is it a bad thing for a designer to be emotionally attached to a piece?  If more of them were, maybe they wouldn’t send these women down the boulevard looking like streetwalkers.  Anya ran around the design room like a chicken with her head cut off still kneeling on the design floor cutting and sewing fabric while everyone else was folding and packing up.  Okay, Anya.  Work it out!

The morning of the show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week the designers arrived at Lincoln Center to a pristine, white Project Runway runway in the midst of a black room.  (Last season this time, weren’t there just three designers at this point?)  An hour before the finale show Kimberly was brought to tears because she did not have her tools.  Thankfully an unflustered Anya was a dear and let Kimberly borrow whatever she needed.  With the past Project Runway designers in the audience amidst the judges, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, and guest judge L’wren Scott, Heidi Klum started the show.  As the first designer, Kim did a couple things well: all of the models wore the same black shoe and the same soft, over-the-shoulder braid, and the collection exuded her theme of contemporary Brooklyn chic.  She kept the “bubble-butt” skirt, but in the company of the other pieces, it worked.  As he introduced his show, Joshua announced that his show was for his mother.  While he probably meant it was dedicated to his mother, it begged the question if it was inspired by his mother.  Taking nothing away from her, the collection just seemed to be designed for this off-the-wall, funky woman who lives and works in South of Nowhere, USA.  Viktor arrived on the runway in a Capri short and a vest made from his now-signature print for his collection.   Last but not least, Anya announced her collection, “Tobago Love,” which was inspired by her life in the Caribbean.  At the top of her show, the first few pieces flowed like waves down the runway.  The first piece even looked like water.  A few of her pieces had the same low-dipping silhouette in the back, but at this point, that’s Anya signature silhouette.

Back in judging, Michael said Kimberly listened to everything they had to say but still held onto Kimberly.  Heidi liked the peek-a-boo pieces, and although she held onto the bubble skirt, pairing it with the bubble blouse kept Kimberly in good stead with the judges although Heidi said maybe it could have been paired with a tighter top.  As for Joshua, Heidi liked his psychedelic print and the green shorts.  Nina actually called Joshua “most improved.”  She also liked that he experimented with new materials, i.e. plastic (although, again, can a plastic top be washed in a Whirlpool?). Michael said Viktor lost him with the overdone transparency although the tailored pieces were “stellar.”  Heidi said the see-thru girls looked “cheap.”  For the final judging, “cheap” is not the word any of the designers would have wanted to hear.  Heidi said Anya didn’t have to work as hard as the other designers because 8 of the 10 designs had the same neckline.  Michael also liked Anya’s opening look although Anya’s designs were limited to the woman who was floating around the Caribbean.  Although most women would love to be in Tobago, we’re not there, and Anya’s garments were more her and did not translate to state-side women.

During deliberations, the judges concluded that although Kimberly’s clothes were great “she’s not there yet.” Unfortunately, Viktor had four missed steps, according to the judges, and he had two shows in one – the tailored, patterned look and the edgy, see-thru print.  Anya impressed the judges by pulling together pieces at the last minute and not having had anything done when Tim Gunn visited her but turning it out on the show.  Heidi asked an important question: how do you think her next line will look?  Answer: The same as this line.  While Anya had some of the most memorable pieces in this season, if left to her own devices, an Anya Collection will be designed for a tiny-busted woman who doesn’t have to wear a bra and barely has to wear a panty who lives in a warm climate and whose heaviest outer garment is a windbreaker.  Michael said Joshua had “a focused show with gorgeous tailoring.”  This, about a guy who was the epitome of “Over the Top Dot Com” (Tamar Braxton).  Obviously Joshua was the most improved, but elephant in the room, when all these designers are off the show and left to design their heart’s desire, who’s going to be the biggest disappointment by not producing what he or she displayed on the runway, or who’s no longer going to edit once they’re not being literally judged by Heidi, Michael, Tim, and Nina and be the biggest embarrassment and not be a good steward of the title win?

The final announcement.  Kimberly was the first to be told that she was out , and she left to the tears and embrace of her family and friends.  Viktor was the next to be out, which left the final two between Anya and Joshua.  In a first shall be last and last shall be first moment, Anya who was the last one to be told she’d be able to participate in fashion week who had the least amount of designs to show Tim Gunn during his visit to the Caribbean who has the least amount of sewing skills, and who was the last person to finish her collection was the last designer standing and received the first place prize.

Season 9, Episode 14: “Finale: Part 2″ (originally aired October 27, 2011)

For more Project Runway coverage, click here.

Images courtesy of Lifetime


  1. They have gotten much more tougher on the contestants!

  2. They have gotten much more tougher on the contestants!

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