‘Project Runway’ recap: What do you think of the season finale winner?

So here we are at the finale, and while I don’t think I’ll be too upset if any one of these three designers win, I definitely have a favorite going in (which some of you who listened to the podcast this week already know).

As much as I appreciate some of Stanley’s work, he seems to be stuck in churning out retro silhouettes for a consumer old enough to remember when these looks were in the first time. I love that he has such an appreciation for quality fabrics and all the little details, but I suspect that someday there is a job at St. John waiting for him. 

Patricia, well, I’ve never been much of a fan. While some of her designs have been interesting, too often she goes for boxy silhouettes or hippy dippy designs. The judges, though, just can’t get enough of her for some reason. While it’s wonderful that she makes textiles and pounds metal and spins her own yarn or whatever the hell, she’s one step away from a scrapbooker or a middle school arts teacher with too much time on her hands. So, that leaves Michelle. 

Although she needs to put down the accessories sometimes (and the messy hair thing last week was a fail in my book), she’s made clothing I would wear as well as clothing I would never have an occasion to wear but wish I did. She has an aesthetic that’s cool and edgy and is geared to a woman who is strong and independent. Stanley designs for a 65-year-old woman who lives in Beverly Hills, while I think Patricia designs for a crazy person or a Dead head. It wasn’t hard for me to pick a favorite this year. 

The finale is a two hour slog which spends WAY too much time in the hair and make-up room plugging product (Zzzzzzz…), and as expected, the show hits the usual beats. I won’t even bore you with the stuff you’ve seen so many times before (the designers walk toward Bryant Park and think deep thoughts, check; they go to Mood, check; they run around frantically, check) but instead, we’ll cut to the chase. 

Tim comes by the workroom to offer advice. While he likes most of Michelle’s designs, he hates her bleeding heart sweater. He warns her not to overstyle, and Michelle nods and smiles and ignores him. Constructive criticism is fine, but she doesn’t want to make oatmeal. Or something. I think she can probably ignore anything he has to say, though, because Stanley and Patricia are such a mess. 

Tim feels as if Stanley has picked up some of his designs at a vintage shop, and he’s not a happy camper (his words, not mine) looking at what Patricia is up to. Patricia, by the way, is a disorganized mess. Stanley is organized, but so far behind he’s sewing people into outfits as they hit the runway. 

Helpers come, and helpers go. Amanda, who floundered so much in the competition, really needs to start a business with Michelle because they work perfectly together. And, more importantly, Amanda makes the point that, while she appreciates some of what Patricia is doing, she’s also “a little like the hippie store in the mall.” Someone, please write this down on a Post-It note and hand it to Zac Posen.

Anyway, after family visits and tears and really SO SO many time waster, it’s time for the runway. 


#1 Wow. Just… wow. This dress is amazing. I love it. It’s architectural and flattering and different and I love it. Did I mention I love it? Because I love it. It looks runway. I could do without the little bag, though. 

#2 I love the interplay of leather with, I think, a perforated fabric. The yellow is a pop of color, that’s for sure. 

#3 This silhouette is really working and it’s not something I’ve seen everywhere. Great LBD, really. This is something that someone could wear. 

#4  I really like this as a tunic, but I don’t love the necktie. 

#5 So, that hat. Huh. 

#6 Restyled, this works a lot better, I’ll say that much. 

#7 Still a little too baggy for me.

#8 I like the gauzy, floaty blouse and I like what’s happening around the neck. It’s a different silhouette. 

#9 So, the baggy 80s sweater returns with the skinny pants, and I still don’t like those chaps. They look like something for a porn Western for midgets. 

#10 I’m not so sure about the peplum, because I’m so so sick of peplums and this isn’t so figure flattering. 

#11 If you have to have a baggy sweater, let it have a Frida Kahlo bleeding heart on it, I say. Because this is kind of fun, really. 

#12 Oddly, the dress seems like a letdown after these layered, creative dresses from the beginning of the show. And what is it made out of? It looks like wool. Oh, oh no. 


#1 Look! A nightie!

#2 Look! Pajamas! But I do love the dropped sleeve top. That is cool. You know, if you want to dress up pajamas. 

#3 More pajamas! This is so hippie dippie I’m getting a contact high.

#4 And so is this. This collection is definitely cohesive, in that I think they’re selling it on Topanga Canyon Boulevard right this minute.

#5 A nightie! With sequins!

#6 I swear a friend of mine bought this at a Dead concert.

#7 This is a much better use of the scarf, but I still can’t get over the previous six looks. 

#8 I still like the headdress, and it works well with the horsehair here. It has movement on the runway, which is fun. But a headdress does not a winning collection make. 

#9 I likes the skirt, but, again, I don’t see why she needed neck interest at all. 

#10 Leather shorts. Leather. Shorts. I don’t understand this outfit, with the weirdly perforated fake flannel shirt. It’s too lumberjack/bondage gear for me. 

#11 The poncho returns. After all the crazy stuff we’ve seen, it seems positively staid. 

#12 I still hate this dress, even if the smurf headdress is kind of a kick. 


#1 Black jacket, black pants. This is nice. Boring. But nice.

#2 Did he cut up that gold dress and turn it into a top? I still don’t like the trim around the neck, but that was a good idea.  

#3 This is… nice. Where’s Stanley? You know, the guy who made showstoppers? What happened?

#4 How… office appropriate. 

#5 This is a nice outfit, but, matchy-matchy and again, knee length? 

#6 He should totally design for “Mad Men,” as long as Betty has to look overweight. This makes the model look HUGE.

#7 This is such a blah dress. Really, this is much more blah than I was expecting. 

#8 This is not tough, urban or Park Avenue, Stanley. Just FYI. 

#9 I like this silhouette, but it doesn’t look well-sewn. Worse, it looks like a shower curtain. 

#10 What’s with all the old lady coats? 

#11 This is cute. Thank God, it’s short. That helps. But the sleeves hit at old lady territory. So, this is kind of a Liza Minelli outfit, maybe. 

#12 This is a very blah awards gown for, yes, an older woman. Stanley made some improvements since getting lashed by the judges, but not enough. 

The judges weigh in. Nina loved the heart sweater, so Tim was wrong and maybe Michelle was right about that oatmeal comment. Michael loved the opening look and hated the gown, which makes sense to me. Michael hated the ties, but Zac didn’t. Everyone seems a little underwhelmed by Michelle’s collection, which surprises me. It wasn’t a home run, but it was very solid, if you ask me. 

On to the acid nightmare that was Patricia’s collection. Michael loves Patricia’s craftiness. What? Craftiness? That’s a bad thing, isn’t it? Ah, Michael adds that there was an element of “art teacher on an acid trip.” But Zac doesn’t mind! He loves her “techno powwow” showstopper. Really? Those horrible handmade sequins that look like a backpack I got in college that was made in Guatemala? Yeah, he thinks that’s chic. Nina also thinks Patricia is unique. Come on, Nina, be the voice of reason here!

Next up, the judges tackle Stanley. Michael loved the gold coat dress that made the model look fat. What? Still, he said the showstopper gown is Betty White on “Dancing with the Stars.” Heidi noticed the quick sewing. I’m pretty sure Stanley is getting the boot first. Sewing your dresses minutes before they go down the runway does not a polished and detailed look make. 

And yes, Stanley is out. But it’s okay, because he’s learned so much about himself! Patricia is out, too. She cries. And cries. Because she’s grateful and she’s won one for the Native Americans everywhere and yeah, I still hate her clothes. But that means… Michelle is the winner! 

She went for the kill, and she did it. Michael tells her she’s going to have to kill four times a year, and everyone makes a kill comment, and it’s starting to sound like an episode of a NatGeo show and I wish it would stop. But still, I think the best designer won. Look for breast plates in stores soon. Okay, that may not trickle down, but we’ll see. 

Did your favorite win? What did you think of the finale?