Project Runway is all about vision and delusion. The vision of the final collections and the ultimate winner of the season. The delusion that we'll remember them longer than a week. But for now, here's to the victor!
We're getting this giant spoiler alert out of the way right now, so we don't have to talk around it. Seth Aaron won. He probably deserved it, at least based on these collections. As per usual, the final episode of the series consisted of the three finalists showing their collections to the judges and someone being crowned the winner. There wasn't much surprise or drama, but there were still plenty of:
Things We Hated:
- Save the Drama: There was no "13th look" last night and so the episode was completely slack in terms of drama. Like in past seasons, everyone seemed relatively finished with their collections when arriving in New York so they weren't scrambling around the sewing room finishing their garments. I know I lambasted the show for doing the "surprise 13th look" last season and trying to pretend like it was still a surprise that the producers made the designers make one more dress in a short time usually with the help of some previously booted contestant even though they do this "surprise" every season. We did not have that this year. We had no drama whatsoever. Maybe if they make up a different little challenge (made the other designers pick one look that couldn't walk and they had to replace it with a new idea) there would have been some more excitement. But no. There was just a lot of shit talking and model walking and judging. Sure, it was fun, but it could have been better.
- Don't Go Changing, to Try to Please Me: I do not enjoy when Tim Gunn tries to dress up as someone else. Grampa Gunn is best in a simple, conservative suit and tie. Last night he was wearing a Shaft costume. Tim, don't wear a black turtleneck and a leather jacket, it's just unbecoming and the season finale is not casual Friday.
- While We're Talking about Bad Outfits: Emilio couldn't even put a little bit of effort in to what he wore to the final runway presentation? Mila looked sophisticated and wonderful in a dress that meshed well with her collection. Same with Seth Aaron (more on him in a minute) but Emilio came out dressed like Tyrone Biggums, Dave Chappelle's crack addict character. Way to look like you don't care about the whole thing Emilio. Shit, you couldn't even make a pocket square out of that baby vomit ESOSA pattern you created to gussy up your blazer-over-hoodie look?
- The Naked and the Damned: Who did Seth Aaron's hair? He looked like a Saturday Night Live actor dressed up like Billie Joe Armstrong or a 40-something dad trying way too hard to look cool. Oh, wait. Anyway, the hairstyle can only accurately be described as "hairmuffs." Also, Seth Aaron knew that there would be cameras filming him waking up and still he chose to sleep shirtless. The American Association for the Blind thanks him for this, because now they have about 3 million more members thanks to his pasty hairy asscrack.
- Model Citizens: Stop making the models a factor in this show! There was some sort of stupid model drama where three of Mila's mannequins and one of Emlio's didn't show up and they had to be replaced by alternates. If there are alternates around, then why are we even bothered when the originals aren't there. Just plug the holes and get on with the damn show. Also, I almost watched the reunion after the show (if only to see Nina Garcia Fashion Director of Marie Claire Magazine ask questions while looking down her nose) but as soon as I saw that all the stupid models were on it too, I couldn't be bothered. I don't know them and I do not care about them, so stop giving them equal time. The only people we really care about are the designers, so give them more room to speak.
- The Great Pretenders: There were several shots last night of eliminated designers watching the runway shows as they happened. Know who else was in the audience? Me and a bunch of other press and they can all attest that most of the eliminated designers were backstage prepping their own collections, because ten contestants showed that day. Ten! Not three. We're not saying they have to let everyone know how this all went down (though transparency is nice) but don't lie to us with footage made later. Maya and Ping and a few others were definitely in the real audience. Show them. It's one thing to mask the truth, it's another thing to blatantly disregard it.
- Faith Hill Is the Guest Judge: Ugh.
- That's So Raven: Cosby kid Raven-Symoné was in the audience. She liked Emilio's "Color Me Badd" collection because it sexed her up and she is "bringing back the '90s." First of all, how does one bring back a decade? Second of all, R-S was born in 1985. She knows about the '90s like I know about the '80s, in a vague way I don't quite understand because I was too busy paying attention to Jem and the Holograms and not enough attention to Devo, Klaus Nomi, Danceteria, and all the other awesome shit that happened. It's great to educate oneself about the past, but don't go appropriating it for your own fiendish purposes. And if you really, really want to bring back the '90s, R-S, I have a pair of vintage Jnco Jeans (that might still have a baggie of K and a flier for some party in the back pocket) to sell you for about $5,000.
- Misquoted: When Emilio lost, not only did he cry and cry about it because he is an arrogant bastard who didn't even think he had any competition, he tried to save some face by quoting fan favorite Suzanne Sugarbaker (who mere mortals call Anthony) and saying, "You don't have to wear the crown to be the king." Wrong! Miss Sugarbaker would never say that. She said, "You don't have to wear the crown to be the queen." That is a huge difference that you need to embrace, Emilio, if you want to succeed. Fucking over Suzanne on the way out is just one of the many dick moves that Emilio made throughout the season and is a failure to Ms. Sugarbaker's legacy.
- Staying Strong: A long time ago in a grammar school in Monowi, Nebraska there was a little boy that no one liked. They picked on him for having a round head and being bald at a premature age. He also was trapped in the barn when his Great Uncle Ned burned it down for the insurance money and it did some very strange things to his face. This poor poor boy had to endure the other children's taunts and teases for many many years. They would kick him down and always pick him last when choosing kickball teams. Little Johnny Daigle even stole his Smurfs lunchbox and threw it into the creek where it broke and the little boy would walk by it every day on the way home from work, it's shattered carcass filling up with algae. One day there was a new girl in Monowi. Her parents had died in a car crash and she moved in with her grandparents. Her name was Tammy Fink, but everyone called her Tammy Stink because she had red hair and a rather interesting odor. Our little boy loved it because it took the heat off him because everyone had a new person to degrade. This carried on for months and little Tammy Stink got sadder and sadder. At recess one fateful afternoon, the taunts were just too much for Tammy Stink and she was sitting on the ground under the tree, her seeping eyes buried on her dusty knees. The little boy saw her and knew her deep, deep sadness. He went up to her and told her she was going to be OK, that he could make her beautiful and all the kids would like her. He opened up his new lunchpail—a boring black one with the thermos strapped on top that his Great Uncle Ned left behind when they dragged him off to prison—and pulled out a strawberry. He crushed it up and rubbed the bright red juice all over all over her lips and some more over the apples of her cheeks. He found a burned match that Mrs. Fusco, the librarian, had thrown on the ground after smoking a cigarette and he ground up the sooted tip and place the powder all over her eyelids and around her eyes. She looked like a horrible mess. Like the Joker, but minus the white. "How do I look?" She asked. "Beautiful," her new friend said. "You look beautiful. Let me go get everyone." And he ran off to the playground while the little girl sat up straight and smiled her biggest smile. Finally everyone was going to love her! The little boy and the crowd returned and he yelled, "Look, I told you. Tammy Stink thinks she can wear makeup. She thinks she's a model!" Everyone laughed and pointed. "Tammy Stink's a model. Tammy Stink's a model." They all sang turning something that should be praise into an insult. As she cried, sooty streaks washed down her face and she turned bright red with rage. "I hate you," she yelled at the little boy. "I'll make you pay one, day. One day everyone will love me and I will hate you forever, Collier Strong!"
Things We Loved:
- Gold Finger: There was nothing graceful about Emilio last night. His outfit was stank, his demeanor was horrible, and he was a very sore loser. So sore, in fact, that during the reunion show (OK, I watched a little) he asked NGFDMCM why he had lost. It's simple, Emilio, you weren't as good as everyone else. Just accept it. What was amazing, however, was his final gold dress, which looked amazing on the screen and looked a million times better in person. It flitted and floated like the world's most glamorous cloud of dust. Like it alone was bringing Donna Summer back from the grave before she even died. It was the best outfit of the evening. If you brought more of that, Emilio, maybe you would be the arrogant victor instead of a sniveling loser.
- We Are Family: Seth Aaron looked a fool last night, but I was genuinely touched when his family came out and shared the love after his win and he said he did it for them and that he was glad his kids were proud of him. That's what real life is all about, and for a second we didn't want to make fun of Seth Aaron ever again because he was so sincere and happy. Then we took another look at his hair...
- Getting Turned On: Michael Kors, the Queen of all the Tangerines, is turned on by shine. That is good to know. It is matte finish for me from now on! But seriously, she was the highlight of the evening. Her criticism was astute and valuable to the designers. "It's a line, not a collection. There's a difference," he said damning Emilio's simple and too-commercial losing entry. He also got a few choice digs in without being overly bitchy or going out of the way to make a joke. We're a little mean to QT, but she is really one of the best in the reality business.
- The End of the Day: And after the reunion show had been taped, Emilio's crying carcass put back into a cab to the Bronx, Seth Aaron shuttled off to the airport with his family and a giant cardboard check for $100,000 under his arm, and all the dishes from Heidi's crockpot full of bratwurst mit Limburger washed, Grampa Gunn walked into the Project Runway work room. Only one desk light was left on and casting shadows on a drafting table. Grampa Gunn, comfortable in his robe and slippers shuffled along the floor and then he stopped in front of the Bluefly Accessory Wall. And there it all was, all the reminders of his past. All those students taught and lessons learned. The plaid shirt from little Marc-y Jacobs grunge collection, a few feathers from that strange Icelandic exchange student's swan dress, the white fedora from that backwards tuxedo tiny Cindy Dior put on that crazy Canadian singer who married a mummy, an A&F logo from that class that went on to found their own shop and never wore shirts. Grampa Gunn remembered them all. As he touched each memento, he smiled a little smile, thinking back to the day when he warned them all they were making a horrible fashion mistake. And none of them listened. Not one of them, they didn't listen and they failed. No matter their other successes in life, they will be remembered for their hubris and not paying attention to their well-intentioned Grampa. And then he reached into the pocket of his robe. His soft, wrinkled hands crinkled around in a pool of gold-foiled-wrapped candies and he found it. It was a little scrap of fabric that he had torn off one of the dresses in Bryant Park. He placed it on one of the jaunty shelves and patted it down flat, beaming over the newest addition to his collection. All the colors came rushing up at him, red and yellow and puce green, and through the fog of the busyness, you could make out a name. ESOSA, the little fabric said. "Emilio Loves Seth Aaron," old man Tim chuckled. Grampa Gunn turned around and shuffled over to that solitary lamp still aglow. "I told you," he said to no one in particular but the night and the regiment of winning and losing gowns on dress forms that stared back at him like victims before a firing squad. "I told you," he said again before clicking off the light.
So, yes, that's it. Emilio lost in a puddle of tears for a collection that looked like the window display at Strawberry and a beautiful gold dress. Seth Aaron won for the Seth Aaron for Jesse James line of German and Russian inspired dresses. Most of his outfits were quite nice and original and exquisitely made using stripes, polka dots, and the Scotch Tape yellow plaid. His largest misstep was a black and purple gown that looked like a patent leather boa constrictor was trying to kill Grimace. Mila made this (snore, chortle, head falls on shoulder) oh, sorry. I fell asleep. Mila did something with shadows and Ambien.
To see all the collections and a little more drama, here is our last collection of videos for the season. It was fun, kids. We can't wait to do it again.
Context: Everyone makes fun of each other.
Vision: Mila says that Seth Aaron's is classy Hot Topic and Emilio's is a boutique in Harlem in 1994. Emilio says Mila's is harsh and severe. They are all right.
Delusion: But only one of them can win, and it's not you Mila.
What Would Nina Say?: "I'm not going to miss any of you."
Thoroughly Unmodern Mila
Context: Mila's collection.
Delusion: This is the same '60s retreads we've seen from Mila all season. No color whatsoever. Lots of leggings and mod stuff. There are a few standouts, but mostly this is exactly what we figured Mila would make.
What Would Nina Say?: "I used to love you so much. Now you bore me."
Seth Aaron Jingleheimer Schmidt
Context: Seth Aaron's winning collection.
Vision: Ninotchka goes to Cologne in 1944.
Delusion: Other than the purple stinker that ends the collection, it wasn't too shabby.
What Would Nina Say?: "I think I want some of these dresses for our Eva Braun issue."
Context: Emilio said he was designing a collection "for women" but then he says he made it to impress the judges.
Vision: Color Me Badd
Delusion: That showing something that could be sold in a department store can win you a design competitions. After all, Macy's dropped out as a sponsor.
What Would Nina Say?: "Didn't I see that blue coat at Zara?"
Context: Seth Aaron is so happy he listened to Tim's advice and started his whole collection over that he gives him a bear hug.
Vision: Always listen to Tim and go home a winner.
Delusion: See, Emilio. You should have listened.
What Would Nina Say?: "See you next year, suckers."