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Project Runway Finale Recap Part One

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Yes, the season is almost over, but the finale is cruelly a two-parter, so we've got to power through. Don't worry, I have visual aids and Jello shots. Are you ready? Let's finish what we started.

Previously on: The Getty Center was a crappy fashion muse that led Christopher to dress his model up like an algae-covered rock. Then again, he finally got auf'ed so maybe we should be thankful. Irina and Althea shunned one another so of course both made it to the Final Three (the producers hope, I assume, for fistfight on the Bryant Park runway). Gordana's lovely--if rather vaginal--gown sadly got her sent home and the increasingly rundown Carol Hannah rounded out the winners.

Here they are, the final three:

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Heidi tells them that they have to create a 12-piece collection to show at Bryant Park and that they get $9,000 for materials.

Tim comes out on the runway. He says that he is more proud of them than he can adequately express. Oh Tim--that's what hand gestures are for! He reminds them that he'll soon be riding Tim Gunn's Rock of Love bus around the country to check in on their work. Heidi wishes them luck, and then she and Tim get a little humpy in silhouette as they exit. Very sadly, the Lifetime website has no photos of this.

Althea interviews that there is still tension between her and Irina, and that she can forgive but she won't forget. She's totally going to beat Irina with an olive branch. Meanwhile, Irina thinks that the other two are intimidated by her. "They're expecting me to take the big guns to Bryant Park," she says. "But I'm bringing the tank! I've got the whole army." Suddenly I see her riding a missile, laughing maniacally, like at the end of Dr. Strangelove. Shudder.

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We flash forward a few weeks. Tim is on the road to scenic Huntington, Long Island, where Carol Hannah has recently relocated (from South Carolina) to work on her collection. It's a bleak, snowy landscape, of course, because this season was filmed during the last Ice Age.

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They should totally have Tim take over the Publisher's Clearinghouse check delivery. How excited would you be?

Carol Hannah shows Tim her half-finished collection, which includes an interesting violet dress with a poufy, ballet-inspired skirt. Tim likes it, but balks when CH tries to add a sparkly belt.

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The inspiration for her collection was a nighttime visit to Duke's campus, so she's constructed her entire collection out of Budweiser labels. I kid, I kid.

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In addition to the cupcake dress, she's made a few gowns, some shorts, jackets with an evening flair...

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But Tim does not like the capelet she's made. He thinks it ages the long dress.

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Tim's "The Thinker" pose is so hard to read.

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But in this case, I think his viscera is definitely saying uh-oh. I like the dress, but capes can be a bit matronly.

Carol Hannah also shows Tim a silk tank embellished with the ropey details she used in the Getty challenge. Apparently she's finally made some pants to go with it.

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"I swear, Tim, I really did make pants."

After the critique (Tim seemed mostly impressed), Carol Hannah announces that her family is in town and that they are going to treat Tim to a a traditional Southern meal. And in the South, everybody helps to cook said meal. Which means...

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Tim in an apron! A floral apron! With a bow! Making biscuits! OMG cuteness overload.

(After Broadway produces my idea for a Western-inspired musical about Tim's life called Annie Get Your Gunn, I think he should do a cooking show called Project Popovers. Watch your back, Paula Deen!)

During dinner, Carol Hannah and her family reminisce, and we get to see l'il CH:

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Those glasses! That vest! She's almost as awkward as I was.

Tim is clearly moved, because after dinner, Tim and Carol Hannah reenact the snow scene from Love Story.

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Tim: Love means never having to say 'Make it work.'
Carol Hannah: You don't say that anymore.
Tim: Duhvsies, because I love you.

And then Tim bids our heroine adieu to travel to the far away land of Upper East Side and pay a visit to the villain Mean-a Irina.

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"Oh, hi, Tim, come on in. I was just in the middle of stitching some voodoo dolls and securing a patent for sweaters!"

I think the editors are telling us something when one of the first things we see in Irina's apartment is her dog's ass.

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(At least, I think that's the ass. Not very princess-like.)

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Tim contemplates the collection, which is full of knits and furs, unsurprisingly. (If you look behind him you can see more of her sketches.) The inspiration is actually Coney Island, which we only really see in a screen-printed tee shirt depicting the boardwalk.

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Irina has hand-knit the sweaters, and I do really like the patterns she's doing. There's a fur vest that Tim takes issue with ("It looks like a sisal rug!") but overall he's encouraging. Afterwards, Irina is upset that her review wasn't all positive.

Then it's off to dinner at Twenty One, the Shabayeva family's favorite restaurant (and a place the New York Times calls "imperturbable and impervious," much like Irina herself.) Ties are no longer required at lunch, but bitches are on the menu for dinner!

Tim's face is stretched into a grotesque mask of forced merriment.

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That subtitle, by the way, is spoken by Irina's mother. Her parents are pretty cute. Spolier alert: her dad is Antonio Banderas! And judging from this photo, the Shabayevas emigrated to the US circa 1908:

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Maybe they're vampires! Anyway, somehow Tim escapes, and before we know it he's on the road to Dayton, OH to see Althea.

To get to her apartment, Tim has to take a freight elevator and actually exclaims "Egads!" I love Tim.

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"Oh my God, it's Ed McMahon!"

Althea says that she's happy he's here because she's been stuck in a bubble and needs an outside opinion. She tells Tim that her collection is inspired by sci-fi movie women. She's made pants, knits, and this long coat, which Tim isn't overly fond of:

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We see a shot of this gown. I like the color, though the bodice is obviously unfinished. Tim's overall critique is that Althea shouldn't lose sight of who she is and that she needs to edit, edit edit.

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They walk in the snow to Althea's parents' house...

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...but it's not nearly as romantic as his snow frolic with Carol Hannah. It's for the best, since we find out Althea has a BF named Stuart.

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I don't know what's happening in the above photo, but I love how blank Althea looks and how concerned/annoyed Tim looks. It's like he's thinking, "Just get the fucking words out, blondie!"

In her defense, Althea has been generally confused from a young age:

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She's just distracted by bright lights.

The visits are over, but a few days later, we see Tim call Irina. "We have an issue," he says. Apparently the Coney Island images Irina was working with are trademarked and she can't use them. Irina is understandably freaked out. She says she's been busting her ass for a long time and now she has to redo the look. My husband Jeff does the Nelson laugh from The Simpsons, reveling in her misfortune.

Flash forward 10 days. Finally we're back in New York, where this show belongs. Althea is is the first to arrive at the Grand Hyatt. Then Irina arrives, and the meeting is awwwwwkward.

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It reminds me of last Halloween when my friend Amy's daughter Erin went as Annie and had a run-in with another Annie in Greenpoint.

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We thought there was going to be a rumble, but the promise of candy finally sent them on their separate ways.

Anyway, Althea interviews that she lost a bit of respect for Irina when she accused Althea of copying her droopy sweater. Irina asks "Is Carol here?" Althea says no, and they stare at their nails. Tumbleweeds blow by.

Althea tells us that she doesn't trust Irina any farther than she can throw her (TRY! TRY! How far can you throw her?! Sorry, I'm instigating) and is not letting her guard down. Irina admits that she distanced herself from the other designers but that she still likes them all.

Carol Hannah still hasn't arrived by nightfall and the others worry that something's happened. Right on cue, Tim knocks on the door to tell Althea and Irina that CH is sick and that it's contagious, so she couldn't make it on time. In other news, there's champagne in the room accompanied by a note from Heidi. Tim and the girls toast to fashion week, and Irina says that she feels bad for Carol Hannah while she laughs. Althea interviews that getting sick during the final challenge is the worst thing she can think of happening. Later, drunk, Irina tells Althea that they'll either end up best friends or worst enemies.

The next morning they settle into their new workroom digs:

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Althea notes that blue is a calming color. She and Irina awkwardly start working. Seriously, this whole finale could have been one episode if they edited out all of the footage of Althea and Irina being awkward around each other. But finally the tension is broken by the arrival of Carol Hannah!

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"Are we allowed to hug you?" Irina asks. "I wouldn't," Carol Hannah croaks. She does kind of look like death, and not even the warmed-over kind. More like freezer-burned death. Carol Hannah interviews that Althea and Irina were probably secretly pissed that she showed up.

Tim comes to check in on them. First up is Althea. Tim says that she's done a lot of work, but thinks a sparkly jacket looks matronly.

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Is he calling Liza Minnelli a matron?

Tim thinks parts of Althea's collection are older-looking and parts are youthful, i.e. they don't look like they're for the same client. "This is borderline Hilary Clinton," he says of one jacket. Jeff translates this Tim-speak as "You should just kill yourself."

Next up is Carol H1N1-annah. Tim asks, "How are you feeling? Comme ci comme ca?" and Carol Hannah looks like she's going to vomit. Tim gives CH a critique similar to the one he gave Althea: that her collection is uneven and doesn't seem to be all for the same woman. They discuss a simple gold sheath--Carol Hannah contemplates getting rid of it but Tim thinks that among all of her more embellished pieces that simple is good. Althea interviews that she's not intimidated by Carol Hannah's work.

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All of a sudden, Tim spots a giant cockroach!

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Oh, nope, that's just Irina's collection. Why the stinkface, Tim?

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He doesn't like the lack of color, first of all. Too much black. He doesn't seem impressed by the new silkscreened tee-shirts. He also doesn't like her leather pants, which he says look like chaps. Finally, Irina's big statement gown needs a lot of work.

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Althea listens, relishing the smack-down. That dress she's working on looks kind of Malvin-esque--which is to say, egg-sling-y--right now but I think it will be pretty once it's finished.

Then there's a whole segment on model casting which is uneventful. No fighting or hair-pulling. Once it's over, Delia Deetz and Otho stop by for a tour!

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Seriously, Nina, what is that jacket? It reminds me of Balenciaga's aboriginal football uniforms from a few seasons ago. Anyway, she and MK are here to sit and drop some knowledge on the final three.

MK tells them to pay attention to the order in which they send their looks down the runway. It should be like taking the audience on a ride, he says--"down, up, down, up." And I know he's referring to the energy of the looks, but suddenly my thoughts turn sexual and I have to go and burn my mind's eye out with lye. Nina says, rather pointedly (ahem, Irina) that they need to think about color, and getting editorial coverage. MK assures them that self-doubt is part of design process, and says that he tweaks and edits down to the last minute. The basic gist of the whole pow-wow is, "Don't suck." Got it, designers? Got it. Moving on.

Irina interviews that she disagrees with Nina about having an all-black collection. "Color doesn't fit in with what Ilm doing," she says. Is this Mean-a Irina's death knell? You can ignore Tim's advice honey, but you do not fuck with Nina Garcia, Fashion Director of Elle Marie Claire magazine. ("I wonder if next year it'll be even more down-market," Jeff says. "Like, Czech Cosmo.")

It's three days to the Bryant Park show, and Carol Hannah says she's tired and is running out of adrenaline. Althea is feeling super stressed about the fittings.

Tim comes in and tells the ladies that he's sending in their models, and wants to underscore that the most important thing they need to do is to decide which look their "muse" model will be wearing, as that look will be going in front of the judges during the final panel.

Irina outfits her model in an Aspen-y look...

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While Althea tries a leather jacket on her model, who seems to think she has replaced a certain someone who is very close to my heart.

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Do not take Bitchface's face in vain, girl!

Tim and Heidi come back with a surprise. They have to create a final look!

Um, duh. Have they never watched the show? This is about as surprising as Kors wearing a black turtleneck. To their credit, Althea, Irinia, and Carol Hannah don't pretend to be shocked. They just look tired and beaten down. Amen, girls. We are all with you on that. Heidi adds that their muse model will be casting a model to wear the 13th look. Right, because you have to give the Models of the Runway something to do this week. Can that show please die? I need to watch 30 minutes of models casting other models like I need another season of Breaking Bonaduce, okay?

A secondary surprise that is also not really a surprise seeing as it's happened every other season is that the finalists will have help in the form of...

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Jordan Knight from NKOTB, Rosanna Arquette, and the eldest Hanson! The velvet bag will determine who gets to pick first.

Althea gets dibs and chooses Logan, and Carol Hannah makes a sad face. (P.S. I love how they've given so much screen time this season to a romance that is not even happening.) Irina is next and chooses Gordana. "Come to mama!" she cries. Carol Hannah gets Christopher, but it's OK because they're buddies.

Heidi peaces out and Tim escorts the designers to the REAL Mood, noting that "we're walking to Mood. We're using out feet. This is New York." Althea envisions some sort of jacket for her final look, while Carol Hannah feels she needs a "wow" gown. Gordana interviews that she wants to give Irina confidence. (Oh, I don't think she's missing that, G.)

Back at the workroom, CH immediately gets to work on her 13th look, which is something flowy and blue...

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While Chris gets to work on a bedskirt. Typical.

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We see bits and pieces of the other designers working, but not much because the real action is back at the hotel later on, where Carol Hannah retches into the toilet. "I want to crawl into a corner and die!" she says. And that, my friends, is where Finale Part One leaves off. Wanting to crawl into a corner, vomit, and die.

Next week it's all over, for reals. Althea and Irina keep fighting about copying each other! Carol Hannah cries in Christopher's arms! Heidi wears a hot pink suit! Tim says "This is crazy!" CAN YOU STAND IT? Lifetime's website has a countdown clock to the finale (as of this writing, 6 days, 8 hours, 27 minutes and 28 seconds) and I know they're trying to build suspense but at this point I feel like that clock is just mocking us: "It's not over yet, suckers!"

I'm going to go ahead and say Carol Hannah will win it all. She's gotten the best edit throughout the season, plus Tim had the best response to her collection and now she has an 11th hour obstacle to overcome. My official prediction: CH for the win, Irina second runner up, Althea the first one out. Thoughts?

I'll see you next week for the final farewell to Season 6. Thanks, from the bottom of my black little heart, for sticking with me and keeping me going!

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