Double post again, but beware, readers. Here there be spoilers. (Hey, Kenyon, that's what's written on the edge of my map!)
Next week the looks I'm about to discuss will be shown as part of the Bryant Park Fashion Week finale on Project Runway. In case you weren't aware, Runway was stuck in legal limbo during the show's filming, so back in January (?!) when these collections walked the Bryant Park runway, none of the designers were associated with their looks. However, now that the final models have been chosen, we can be confident as to which collection belongs to which designer.
I won't be discussing every look here; for that, you can check out Tom and Lorenzo's blog at http://projectrungay.blogspot.com. I'll only discuss highlight (and lowlight) looks. If you want to keep the suspense before the finale, don't read this post, but of course come back and read it after the finale has aired. If you're interested in my thoughts, read on...
Althea Harper's Collection
Not my favorite collection of all time, folks. To me, this collection was monotonous, somewhat on the low end of things, as in very Wal-Mart, and didn't really look like $8,000 worth of clothes. Of course, there were exceptions to the rule, like...
...this fantastic piece. Well-made and dramatic in design, it was made in an interesting fabric and really ended the show well. Props for putting it on signature model Tanisha Harper, too. Unfortunately, this was the exception piece instead of the rule, as most of the collection was filled with stuff like...
...this. Hideous. Tight, shiny, and cheap-looking is not aiming high, Brooke Hogan! I'm very antagonistic towards this whole leather jumpsuit look, and the headbands (which were prevalent throughout her collection) aren't classy. They make the collection look like workout gear. This is the collection you wanted to send down at Bryant Park, Althea? Too bad this normally tasteful designer failed so epically.
Carol Hannah Whitfield's Collection
Now this is what I'm talking about. This was a tasteful collection that was cohesive and well-executed.
Not this look, particularly, but...
Seriously, this design isn't a showstopper. It looks like something more out of Althea's trashy collection than one of Carol Hannah's tasteful pieces. But here's the good news...
Yeah. Very good news.
This detailing on the bust is Carol Hannah's signature, but she's never done it better than this look. The rusching is just impeccable. I really, really liked this piece, and again, the designer chose the right finale piece for the right model. I've never loved Lisa Blades as a model, but she looked great in this dress.
I'm torn on this piece. The shaping of the tulle is undoubtedly innovative, but is it really tasteful? There's no question that this piece is ridiculously unwearable, but not all the looks have to be functional. This is fashion, and sometimes, the avant-garde borders on hilarious. It is definitely chic and definitely avant-garde, which I'm naturally drawn towards but I'm still undecided. Regardless, this is a piece that really intrigues and interests me. What do y'all think?
This I absolutely love. I think this look is just great. I love the color, the design is just great, and the construction is impeccable. Carol Hannah Whitfield doesn't get any better than this, and I question a little bit why this wasn't the finale piece. Not to say that her finale wasn't great, but this? This is spectacular.
Irina Shabayeva's Collection
Here's where the magic happens. For me, Irina's collection is so far and away the best of these. It's coherent, cohesive, indicative of the times, and beautifully constructed. Above all else, when I look at this collection, I can see Irina Shabayeva.
The detailing on this dress can be seen elsewhere in her collection, but nowhere is it done better. This was Irina's finale piece, and rightfully so, as it is her best, most dramatic piece. A work of art walking, this was a near-perfect piece, only ruined by the one element I would have removed from her entire collection: the hat. It's really tacky and not very expensive looking, and luxury is Irina's signature. Without it, this piece would have been a masterpiece. Now, it simply has to settle for showstopper.
Many complained about the excess of black in this collection, and certainly pieces like this are a little too black. However, I didn't mind this piece. I actually quite loved it. It's a real life-possible look, though the buyer would have to live in a tundra and have a fortune to spend, but still... It's cozy and well-made, and a greater reflection of her collection.
This is great. I love the sweater (an Irina signature), and underneath is a cool T-shirt with writing on it. It's innovative, interesting, and in a weird way could work for real-world buyers. I love this piece especially because there's no hat! (Sorry, Irina, but the hats are really horrible.)
Now in this case, the hat actually might be the best thing. I have no idea why Irina's taste faltered so badly on this look. Was it required of all three designers to have a tacky leather look in their collections? If so, this is Irina's. It's really horrible and ugly. Sorry, Shabbadabadoo.
So who wins? It definitely ain't Brooke Hogan. I'm sorry, but that collection just isn't up to par. I think there are too many dresses in Two-Name's collection, but she did craft them all very well, so there's hope for her yet. Still, in my mind, Shabbadabadoo is likely the champion of this finale. Her looks are cohesive and consistent, sharp and stylish, and with this collection, Irina deserves to win this season of Project Runway.