‘Project Runway’ recap: ‘Finale, Part 1’

It’s part one of the finale, and Melissa is soooo displeased that she’s stuck with three boys in this last battle for Fashion Week. She’s going to kick their asses! Okay then! I will say, though, that I’m also displeased. It’s not that the guys aren’t talented — it’s just that women do tend to understand some basic ideas, such as the one about women not wanting to look like houses, or wear outfits with big, enhanced hip cushions (Christopher? Take a note on that one), or generally look monstrous. Unless they’re Lady Gaga, in which case it’s a thing. 

In any case, it’s time for Tim to visit the designers, which means a lot of sitting in living rooms talking to people who are not necessarily camera ready. First, he’s off to Massapequa, New York to see Christopher. He has a workspace in the basement, I think, which is a good thing because if he had to work anywhere else the bad ’80s decor might blind him. He tells Time he came across his mom’s X-ray, and he’s using it for a print. He wanted something haunting and alluring at the same time. Why am I reminded of Mondo’s shock therapy/Rorschach test collection? 

Tim loves his pieced together leather jacket, which is really pretty fabulous. He thinks the leather bustier is too sweet. Christopher feels he’s destroyed a leather skirt by bleaching it. Tim is extremely excited! It looks much tougher than Christopher’s other designs, which I think is good, but it’s very Helmut Lang. And Mondo. 

Christopher’s family shoves fattening desserts at Tim. It’s tea time with Tim! Personally, I think they’re trying to give him diabetes. Christina and Katie tell Tim it was exciting growing up with Christopher, which is their nice way of saying it was hell. His mom is very proud of him. His boyfriend Ryan is very proud of him. Christopher’s gonna make it after all! He just needs a little crochet had to throw in the air. 

Fabio’s nervous to see Tim, who only has to take the subway to him since Fabio’s in Manhattan. Tim is floored by how fabulous Fabio’s apartment is! When did Fabio become a millionaire? But it isn’t Fabio’s apartment — a friend’s dad lets him use the back studio. Fabio’s dad’s friend is very generous, I will say, because I wouldn’t let anyone with scissors and pin cushion within ten feet of that sofa. 

Time to meet the family! Has Fabio always been creative, Fabio’s mom? “He’s always dressed… different from me,” she says with a hesitation I hope to attribute to the language barrier. But she and his whole family back in Brazil are very proud of him. 

Tim declares Fabio’s work is incredible. Huh. It looks like someone accidentally threw in a pink shirt with the white sheets to me. Fabio is thrilled and explains his theme is cosmic tribalism, which means tie-dyed pastel stuff. It all looks a little Chico’s to me, but Tim loves it! Except for the pants. And the bra. And the shoes. He hates the shoes. I agree that the shoes look more winter than the collection itself, as well as trashy junior collection, but Fabio loves the shoes. He’s standing by the clunky, ugly shoes! Tim now hates the whole collection. Change the shoes, Fabio!

Next, Tim’s off to Jersey City, New Jersey to visit Dmitry. Not at his home, of course, but at a friend’s place. I’m very impressed that everyone on this show seems to have rich friends who let them come over and run around with sharp objects. 

Tim seems pretty happy with Dmitry’s collection thus far, even though there’s dress that looks like something a streetwalker might like and a jacket with fringe that makes my head hurt. Tim senses he’s very confident, but is there enough of a surprise in it? Dmitry sure hopes so! Dmitry thinks this is a great critique, but I get the sense Tim just isn’t saying everything he’s thinking.

They have tea (just tea, no diabetes on plates), and Dmitry talks about quitting his job to do the show, not being able to rent a new apartment while he’s unemployed, and being kind of homeless, albeit in a really nice place. Tim nods a lot.

Tim heads off to San Francisco to visit Melissa. Hey, look, lots of black! Tim tells her he’s really impressed. He thinks she seems confident. Really? Melissa, confident? Does he know Melissa?

Tim goes on a boat ride with Melissa’s parents and her boyfriend, Nick. A boat ride? Was the hope someone might sick up and this meet-the-family routine would be less boring? Melissa would cry at Christmas when her mother bought her clothes that weren’t in style. This is cute now that she’s a designer, but at the time I’m pretty sure her parents wanted to send her off to military school. 

Fast forward to one week later, and it’s Fashion Week! I love the magic of television! All the designers come back to Manhattan and moon over their fabulous new suite. It has a pool table! Which they’ll never use! Yay! Christopher is wearing very short cut-off jean shorts, which distracts me from the predictable “I’m gonna win this” interview patter, which is actually fine by me. 

The designers toast one another, and Dmitry hopes all four of them will be able to show at Fashion Week. Um, yeah, they will. We all know the truth, Lifetime. It’s the down side of showing at Fashion Week — photographers who can count. 

In the workroom, everyone sniffs around at everyone else’s collections. Melissa is so proud of Fabio’s collection! Christopher thinks Melissa didn’t push herself. Dmitry knows he’s more experienced than Christopher. Christopher is positive he can win, while Melissa is feeling self-doubt. So, you know, same old, same old. 

Tim visits the workroom like the fairy godfather he is. Fabio is keeping his ugly pants and his ugly shoes, but at least he painted the ugly shoes and changed the laces. Tim clearly doesn’t think this is enough of a change, but admits the judges will either love it or hate it. I’m thinking they might lean toward hate. Is Fabio attached to the shoes because he spent all his money? He loves sales at DSW? What?  

Christopher isn’t sure which three looks he wants to show the judges. So what is he going to do? He’s going to have the models try on everything, THEN figure it out. At the absolute last minute. Tim suggests this is not a great idea, but Christopher doesn’t care. He just has to wing it! 

Melissa dumps her neuroses on Tim, who tells her to stop being silly and buck up. She should be proud, her work is excellent!I think he wants to tell her the guys aren’t all that and a bag of chips, but he can’t while they’re within earshot and cameras are rolling.

Dmitry shows Tim his three looks. Tim points out he’s only showing him black and white. But he’ll tell the judges he has some color in reserve! Tim tells him to stop being stupid, but Dmitry is standing tall in his stupidity. 

They have three hours to fit their models and get them ready for the runway. Dmitry’s model is too skinny for the clothes. Oh no! This is very dramatic and upsetting, and then apparently it’s a non-issue, because it doesn’t come up again. 

Time for the runway! 

Our judges are Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and… well, Heidi and that’s it. No fancy guest stars. I guess everyone’s trying to keep their schedules clear for the real Fashion Week. 


First Look

I do like this dress – but is it something new for Dmitry? Nope. Looks like a much bigger version of that gorgeous black windowpane cut-out jacket he made a while back. This better be his only callback.

Second Look

I like the pants; they’re interesting and the waistband has an architectural slant that looks runway. With the top? Not so much. The top reads Hot Topic to me.

Third Look

Whoa, I don’t care for this at all. The fringe is well done, but it looks like part of another jacket. The see-through top is not working for me and is actually distracting from what does work — the skirt. 

I’m actually really disappointed in what he’s sent down the runway.


First Look

The vest is cute, but from a distance (and we only ever get to see anything from a distance on this show) it doesn’t look like much of anything. The top is cute and so are the shorts, but this isn’t anything at all.

Second Look

I don’t like the leather shorts at all. The top is nice, but it doesn’t work for me with the shorts. The back of the top with the chain is nice — but very clearly, this is not a look for more than a few women in the world. 

Third Look

The bustier is a little more impressive than the vest, but this isn’t all that great, either. He had a gorgeous gown and other elements that were showstoppers (that black leather jacket comes to mind), so why this stuff?


First Look

I hate this. It looks like crazypants beach wear. The flow of the vest is impressive, but a crop top? Blech, 

Second Look

This is much better, but what’s with the ruching over the butt of the skirt? Men do not seem to understand making a woman look fat is not a goal to have. 

Third Look

“The pink dress tells a story,” says Fabio. Of what? Crazy people with bowl haircuts who like Rit dye and leather necklaces?


First Look

The top shows a lot of skin (what is this, the skanky season?), but the attached scarf is an arresting element, the perforated leather shorts are cute and I like the belt. Do I love the outfit? Not really. 

Second Look

Dig the jacket. It’s theatrical without being costume. Okay, a little costume. Maybe big cuffs or big collar, but not both. The black pants and top are not the focus, so I don’t mind that they disappear into the background.

Third Look

Okay, I like the black leather dress — but didn’t she notice she’s not showing ANY color? Unless you count a little red wristband as color, which I don’t. And the hair? The wigs suck. 

I am completely underwhelmed by EVERY collection. This is awful. 

Heidi tells the designers the judges saw some things they really liked — but also some things that confused them. Me, too!

Fabio is first. He tells them he might stutter because he’s nervous. Heidi loves that he has a completely point of view. She thinks it just works. Michael thinks it’s very cool that he took sweet colors and made them modern. He also liked the demented shoes. He likes the cutouts, but some combinations aren’t well balanced. And gives him props for using color. Nina loves the vest, but she’s worried that his stuff doesn’t look expensive. She sees junior department. Me, too!

Dmitry talks about organic architecture. Nina thinks it’s polished and expensive and the white dress is very beautiful. She thinks he’s come a long way, but he has to push himself more on the styling. Michael thinks he has a lot of ideas, and the result is too much. The jacket is overshadowed by the slutty, sheer top. 

Christopher talks about his mom’s X-rays. Heidi loves the colors but she didn’t see wow. Michael thinks the volume wasn’t turned up enough. Heidi tells him his first look was boring. Michael loves the prints, but he thinks he didn’t do enough. Nina was surprised he went so dark, but she thought the clothes all looked too similar. He would have loved to show them his coats, pants and jackets! They’d love them! Nina is worried nonetheless. So is Heidi. She doesn’t understand why he sent down this crap. 

Melissa says she wanted to focus on texture. Heidi thinks it’s very goth. She thinks the jacket is very cool. The dress is almost too simple. She wishes she’d seen more of her range. Michael tells her saving your showstoppers for Fashion Week is stupid. Michael loves the two handbags, but he hates the wigs. Nina wants to know if there’s some color. She thinks the clothes are cool, but she needs some color. And she thinks the sleeves on the jacket are too Robin Hood. 

The judges declare Dmitry’s clothes gorgeous individually — but styled horribly. They think Fabio isn’t playing it safe, which is good, but it looks a little cheap and unsophisticated. Christopher’s clothes are consistently polished, but he may not be able to put on a good show. Michael thinks Melissa’s clothes are very commercial, but the wigs were bad. 

Time for the cutting! I really couldn’t say who’s going home. This wasn’t a great show.

Christopher, Fabio, Dmitry and Melissa… are all going to Fashion Week! They will have two days to polish and style their collections, then it’s go time. 

Well, that seemed like a good decision, given that no one wanted to show their really strong stuff to the JUDGES. This was such a disappointing episode, at least from a fashion perspective. 

But the designers are so happy! Group hug. They’re all going to love and support one another… right up until they’re in the interview room and can say disparaging things about everyone else. And that’s what we love about “Project Runway,” isn’t it?

Did you think anything was wow on the runway? Which designer do you think is strongest? And which one should go home first? 

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