No gimmicks. No tricks. The designers finally get to show what they’re about with real models, real fabric, and some good ol’ inspiration.
In my opinion, this season of Project Runway has given the designers very few opportunities to show who they are as artists. It’s been a pretty gimmicky season and I was afraid we would be going to Bryant Park not knowing what to expect from the finalists. Thankfully, this week’s challenge finally gave us a glimpse into who these people are.
In perhaps my favorite challenge of all four seasons of this show, the designers were taken to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and asked to choose an inspirational piece of art from the Greek and Roman Sculpture Courtyard, the European painting wing, or the Egyptian Temple of Dendur and create a look of their choice.
In a completely predictable and unbelievably safe move, Rami jumped at the chance to create a Grecian-inspired, draped gown. Because he needs to do that 17,000 times this season. Despite Tim Gunn‘s advice that he try his hardest to not bore Nina, Rami wouldn’t budge. And while his dress *was* beautiful — great color, flattering cut — it was just more of the same, as always.
Meanwhile, Rami’s best bud Jillian looked to the Italian painting Master of the Argonauts for her inspiration. I was incredibly impressed with her ability to translate and interpret the concept of armor into a beautifully structured and wearable garment. And Heidi called her”ballsy” which was awesome.
Christian also seemed able to move past the literal and on to the interpretive with his dramatic and androgynous military-ish suit inspired by a Spanish painting. Once again, he showed skill and a point-of-view that few others in the competition have been able to match.
Last week’s winner, Chris, pulled from a Dutch painting of a noblewoman decked out in a fabulous large, oyster-colored frock. I was a bit nervous watching Chris work this week. Not only did he create a dress very similar to the one he and Christian put together in the avant garde challenge, but he actually TOOK A NAP during their work hours. But, when Tim Gunn finally dragged him back into the workroom to discuss his progress, Chris held strong and said he wouldn’t change a thing. Such a stunt from anyone else would be written off as incredibly arrogant in my book, but coming from Chris, it just seemed like he was someone who knew when he needed to stop for fear of taking it too far. I can respect that.
And then there was Sweet P. I’ll admit, when I heard about the challenge this week, I thought Chris would be the one that would drown, but I was totally wrong. Sweet P looked overwhelmed from the very beginning when she went for the painfully obvious painting of a peacock for her inspiration. While almost everyone went all out, she opted to make a short, simple dress that failed to show if she had skills equal to those of her fellow designers.
The runway deliberations showed us what the judges really want this season: A SHOW! Christian (the winner this week) and Jillian were sent right on through to the finals, and Sweet P was Auf’d right away. And then we were left with Rami and Chris. This represented the first moment in the season when I had absolutely no idea what would happen. Would they go with Rami who has been consistently good but consistently boring? Or would they go with Chris who’s had his ups and downs but knows how to bring the drama?
Well, it turns out that they went with both. But with a twist, kids…
Rami and Chris will both complete collections, but before the actual runway show, they which each have to present three designs. Whoever impresses the judges the most will get to show at Bryant Park. It’s sure to be interesting to see if these guys can get it together for this, or if we’ll be looking at racks and racks of draped dresses and drag queen outfits when they’re left to their own devices.
And on to the goodies…
Once again, Jillian. She has a point-of-view without being over the top and I cannot wait to see her collection.
What we actually learned:
That guest judge Roberto Cavalli is both incoherent and awesome.
Who I now love:
I know I usually refer to a designer here, but I’m going with Heidi Klum (even though I already loved her) because, like I said, she used the word “ballsy.”
Who’s next to go:
While I think Rami is as stubborn as anything and he probably won’t branch out much from his usual approach, I’m not convinced that Chris has got it in him to create a cohesive collection.
Who’s it gonna be:
At this moment in time, before reviewing previous episodes and watching the coming reunion show, I’m saying right here, right now, that it’s going to be Jillian. While Christian has won more challenges than her, I think his youth might end up betraying him and he’ll find himself struggling to compete with Jillian’s focus and work ethic.
The reunion show is this week, so you won’t hear from me again until after the final episode on the 27th. Until then…