And so, my friends, it has come to this. As Boyz II Men sang so soulfully, we've come to the end of the road. Or, the runway, I guess. Which means we're about to fall off into the lap of the Malaysian Prime Minister, if Zoolander is to be believed. Put on your best vagina dress and grab a cocktail, y'all -- it's time to finish this bitch.
Previously on: Charming Southern belle Carol Hannah, icy New York princess Irina, and vapid Ohioan Althea made it to the final three, and are so drama-deficient that the primary story-lines going into the finale are that Althea "copies" Irina--which is obviously not even true -- and that Carol Hannah might vomit herself to death. Funny aside: I saw my mom last weekend, and she's all, "I turned on ProjRun this week and I couldn't tell what the hell was going on, so I turned it off. But that Carol Hannah, she doesn't look good. There's something wrong with her." I should make a companion to the ShitMyDadSays Twitter feed.
We're in New York, two days before Bryant Park. At the Grand Hyatt, Carol Hannah grooms herself while Althea and Irina sit in the kitchen waiting, I guess, for her to die so that they can get to the workroom already. "If I'm lying with my head in the toilet that's not really helpful," CH interviews. I bet Irina would beg to differ. She interviews that she feels for Carol Hannah (whose name she pronounces Carol Honna for some reason) but that "there's really nothing I can do to help her." Well, yeah, not if you sit drumming your fingers on the table. Someone go hold that girl's hair back, at least!
All three eventually make it to Parsons. Logan says that he's really proud of Carol Hannah for getting it together despite the immense pressure, and hugs her. Gordana interviews that Irina is under so much stress that "she's not 100% cool as she normally is." (Perhaps her cryogenic chamber is on the fritz?) Carol Hannah then suddenly starts to weep, cracking under the pressure of all the work that's left to be done, and Chris comforts her. He says that he's glad to be able to be there for her as a friend and a tailor, and reassures CH that he's there to help. For all of the bitching I've done about Chris, he was one of my early favorites and seems like a genuinely sweet person, which is good because the others all stand around woodenly. Althea tries to break the tension by suggesting that they all go get their hair and makeup consultations. If there are kind words exchanged between the three girls, the editors don't let us see it.
The hair and makeup consultations are predictably dull. They all tell Collier Strong from L'Oreal that they want the models to look "glamorous" and "soft and pretty." Let's mix it up! How about "I want them to look like a drunk Lady Gaga after a visit to the department store makeup counter where Joan Rivers and Miss Piggy worked in The Muppets Take Manhattan!" or "I'm thinking Edward Cullen with pinkeye." At the hair counter, Carol Hannah explains that her collection is inspired by Gothic architecture and the stylist nods politely.
Back in the workroom, the models come in for fittings. Carol Hannah is having an easy time matching her models to looks but Althea and Irina struggle a bit. Tim arrives to check in on their 13th looks. Irina's involves a military-looking hat with a chain chinstrap, and shockingly Tim does not respond by slapping her in the face. He asks about the makeup and Irina says that she is going for a "muddy" look.
Althea's final look is mae up of silk harem-esque pants, a top, and a leather jacket with Star Trekk-y shoulder pads. Tim worries a bit about the exaggerated shoulders. He then asks about her makeup (at the request of the producers, no doubt) and Althea says that it will be a bit messy. "That sounds like what Irina was telling me," Tim says, and ugh I am over this whole copying storyline. I guess Althea is, too, because she starts to cry. Tim checks in on Carol Hannah and asks how she's feeling. "Ok-ish," she tells him. Her final look is a pretty blue jersey dress--Tim approves.
It's now only one day until the big show. Once again we see Carol Hannah getting ready while the other girls wait. But this time, CH is on the mend. "I dont feel like I'm going to die!" she says cheerily. They arrive at the workroom, and Irina debates what look to put her "muse model" in. She finally settles on her 13th look, a black dress/tank combination that of course comes with a twee hat. Shirin lives! Later on, Tim comes in to remind us of what we already know, that they are going to Bryant Park and that this is a BIG DEAL. They all put finishing touches on their collections, fret over shoes and accessories, and worry that they're forgetting something. They leave. They sleep. And then it's D-Day.
An alarm clock goes off at 3:14 am. Apparently they have to start super early in order to get all of their models dressed, etc. Carol Hannah puts on a big, bright, one-shouldered blue thing that makes me wonder if she isn't still sick, and possibly hallucinating that she's an extra in the Pretty in Pink prom scene. They get ready to leave and then... Irina can't open the door. It's actually kind of funny, if you ignore the fact that this episode didn't really need to exist, and that they could have condensed the finale into one hour instead of making us watch these bitches not be able to open a door for five minutes.
At Bryant Park we get the obligatory scene in which the girls are overwhelmed by the empty runway and can't believe they've made it this far. I don't mean to be glib -- these women did work very hard and should be proud -- it's just that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the sweet, sweet light of 11 pm EST, and like Liz Lemon I WANT TO GO TO THERE.
Suddenly it's only moments before the runway show, and backstage is total chaos, with the designers crouching and pinning and fretting and Tim having a series of freak-outs because the models aren't in full dress. In all of the seasons of the show I've never seen Tim freak out this bad. He's pacing and his facial muscles are contorting in all sorts of horrible ways and his brow is so furrowed I'm afraid it might cave in and swallow his whole head. "I'm about to lose it!" he exclaims, and Carol Hannah interviews that it's unnerving for Tim to be so stressed out because he's usually their calm center.
Seriously, have you ever seen Tim so unhinged? He's making blowjob face AND handjob hand at the same time.
Also, Carol Hannah must still be pretty sick -- is she hooked up to an IV drip? A colostomy bag? Oh, no, wait -- that's just a steamer.
Anyway, we've finally made it -- it's RUNWAY TIME.
Heidi comes out in a hot pink suit with clamdigger pants that I desperately want to mock, but somehow she makes it work.
I like to think that in this photo Tim is saying "Women of America, stay away from this. Heidi is a professional. You will look like Hillary Clinton attending Ziggy Stardust's Glam Rock Brunch for the Cure."
Heidi introduces the judges: Michael Kors, who is wearing mirrored sunglasses indoors (Jess: "How can he see anything?"), Nina Garcia, and someone named Suzy Menkes, a fashion critic for the International Herald Tribune whose bangs defy gravity in a way that we have not seen since There's Something About Mary.
Seriously, this photo does not even do it justice. Also, MK: Glasses off. Here we go.
Click here for the NY Mag slideshow I ganked these images from.
Well, I'm stumped. How is catwoman supposed to scale buildings if she can't find her hands? Is this model an amputee? Does Mrs. Smith have PMS? I suppose Althea was going for a hard/soft texture combo here, but a PVC bodysuit paired with a comfy sweater doesn't compute for me.
I can't really tell what this is: top and pants? Jumpsuit? Top and skirt? Whatever it is, the legs/hem looks too long. I'm getting a 70s Bianca Jagger vibe, but I think that's thanks to the model.
This is Althea's 13th look, and while I do not condone harem pants, I must concede that this look is very of-the-moment. Everything looks well-tailored, and I could totally see an actual woman wearing this.
A white suit is a ballsy move, and unfortunately this looks like balls. The open jacket looks messy and the pants are ill-fitting, not to mention too long, with a weird ankle cut-out on the sides. It doesn't help that the model looks to have been mauled backstage (perhaps by a rabid, manic Tim Gunn) just before she walked.
This is fine. But my mother always told me "If it doesn't look good on the model, there's no hope for the rest of us." These pants widen hips and stop at the thickest part of the calf. I see that on willowy women they'd look good, but being a normal person I can't help but try to apply them to normal women. I won't even discuss the canklemakers... I mean, booties.
You know, I have a favorite saying when it comes to addressing peep-toe boots: "If it is cold enough for boots, it is too cold for bare toes." This sweater brings to mind a similar adage: "If it is cold enough for a sweater with enormous sleeves big enough for Fat Albert that swallow your hands and will probably catch fire if you try to cook while wearing them, then it is probably too cold for sternum-baring."
High-waisted PVC pants: never NOT flattering! I once owned a pair of faux-snakeskin pants in college, which I wore un-ironically and paired with a leotard for some reason that has since escaped me and that I will blame retroactively on hormones. Anyway, one night after a party that involved a few hours of sweaty dancing, I could not get them off. I jumped around and tugged and swore and even knocked over a lamp trying to free myself, but I had to sleep in them and enlist my roommate's help the next day. The half-undone zipper and shredding of this model's blouse leads me to believe that she found herself in a similar situation backstage.
REALLY not liking the sweater. I have a lot of ground to cover, so I'll leave it at that.
Love this. Love the color, love the jacket, don't love the hem but can deal with it. I just wish I could see what the dress looked like underneath: does it have sleeves?
I actually like this in theory, although I think that a fitted top would be more flattering. It makes the model look short, though, which I assume she is not, which means, according to my mother's wise words, that an average woman would look pretty squat.
JASLENE! It's so good to know that America's Next Top Model winners are actually modeling, even if it's for something relatively low-rent like this. Maybe I'm biased because of my excitement at seeing Jaslene, but I like this. The structured bodice is cool and contrasts nicely with the drapey skirt.
Wait, I've seen off the shoulder, but are HALF JACKETS a thing now? Because, no. Take it off, and we'll talk.
I am not a fan of this. I don't know if it's the color or the fabric or the cut or some combination thereof, but this looks cheap to me, and bland--too neutral. I think this was a bad choice for the muse model, not to mention an underwhelming final piece.
OVERALL: I did not like Althea's collection. The craftsmanship we usually see from her wasn't as visible here, and while the layered looks were modern, there were no "wow" gowns or statement pieces. I also have to say a big WTF to the uncircumsized sweater arms.
Click here for the NY Mag slideshow.
CH starts out strong. I love the Deco, geometric aesthetic paired with the soft, drapey execution.
Eh... I do like the way this looks as kind of an arty piece but I can't see it on the street. (Yes, I am still naive enough to believe that fashion should be wearable.) I want that turtleneck, although I suspect it is not flashbulb-friendly...
Hmmm. On the rack this looked cool (and also had no sleeves). In motion the ropes form kind of a weird happy face. And I never thought I'd say this, but I would have preferred this with leggings. The pants do not impress. Are they too-long and bunchy on purpose? Are they inside-out? Either way, do not like.
Et tu, Carol Hannah? Creating faux hips where most women need none? Or did some Bryant Park squirrels get in there for a rassle backstage?
I LOVE the eggplant hue and the dramatic skirt. I could do without the bar across the collarbone.
This dress is pretty, although the model appears to have a torso made of Silly Putty. I love the delicate detailing that turns into a strap.
When we saw this in Carol Hannah's workshop (like Santa's workshop, but with tiny Logans instead of elves), I thought I would love it, but I don't. The colors seem too drab for the festivity of the shape, although I suppose if it were bright pink it could turn into a costume. Maybe it's that both the skirt and the top are busy. Maybe if she had done a simple tank top the skirt could be the focal point. Thoughts? This vexes me.
This top smacks of Louise Black, and we all agreed that it veers a bit too far on the side of maternity wear. I like the purple heels, though.
Daaaayyyy-ummmm. This 13th look is bangin'. And it looks so awesome on this readhead model. Perfect pairing.
Love the gold dress, not so into the Christmas bow belt, want to blot model's T-zone.
"David Bowie, is that you?"
"Shhh. Don't address me by my human name. I'm in disguise."
"What are you?"
"What? Isn't it obvious? I'm Formal Shorts Man."
"Formal Shorts Man. I'm a superhero. Peep the cape."
"What do you... do?"
"I travel the globe saving people from the grave mistake of wearing shorts as formalwear."
"But... you're... wearing formal shorts."
"I'm leading by example, moron."
Either chiffon leeches are draining this model of every drop of blood in her body or it's the Great Disco Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Either way, this is a misstep.
Luckily, she totally makes up for it in her showstopping final dress. I love everything about this, from the freshly churned butter color to the vaguely Zac Posen-y structural detailing to the cool, flouncy, but not over-the-top skirt.
OVERALL: I know I'm somewhat biased, but Carol Hannah's was by far my favorite collection of the bunch. I admit it was uneven, and lacking a cohesiveness, but the individual looks were for the most part very strong.
Click here for the NY Mag slideshow.
Before her show, Irina says that her collection is about "what it takes to survive as a woman in New York." Apparently, it takes vagina armor, ladies. (Irina: For it to be truly effective, best to make it a full on-bodysuit. Someone could attack from below!)
And... here come the caps. I am not a fan of hats, mostly because they do not look good on me. I understand wearing a hat if it's cold outside, but wearing a hat as a fashion statement has never made sense to me. In any event, either this Girl Scout is a secret Soviet agent or this Soviet agent is a highly motivated seller of Trefoils.
A Clockwork Orange goes to a gothic Renaissance fair. Scarier than the original!
Okay... as much as the copying storyline irks me, I find it highly unlikely that two people could decide independently that what's really hot this season (well, last season) is to completely immobilize the hands with wool. I understand the need for warmth, but that's what gloves are for.
Now I just feel like I'm taking crazy pills. SHOW ME YOUR HANDS! How did you zip up those PVC legwarmers, huh? Riddle me that.
While I appreciate the importance of the discreet breast exam this model is giving herself, I hardly think the runway is the appropriate place to do it. Irina: I don't think "breast pocket" means what you think it means. That said, I like this look from the waist up. I can't tell if the bottoms are just leggings or leggings worn with the PVC legwarmers, but either way I'd like to speak to whomever decided that PVC was an appropriate material for anything other than pipes. ("They're all dominatrixes!" says Kerry.)
I will concede that the model looks fierce despite the stupid hat, but I'm not sure I can get behind Irina's 13th look entirely. The skirt is kind of lapping at the boobs of the top like waves. To quote the lady herself, it looks like one dress is throwing up the other. Perhaps it is an ode to Carol Honna's illness...
Love the sweater coat. LOVE THE VISIBLE HANDS MORE! Do not love the leggings, but I won't belabor the point.
This is nice. Fine. Very New York. I apologize; I just know I'm getting toward the end of the recap and I want to get there faster.
Oh, but this requires a HOLD UP. This is too much, I think. Just too much... look. There's the helmet with the chain, first of all, which fit more with the dominatrix-y outfits but looks like an afterthought here. There's the busy tee shirt scrawled with New York Magazine's reasons to love New York, the textured leggings, the sweater capelet, the PVC opera gloves. I think this look, in any challenge, would have landed Miss Meana in the bottom two. I suppose, however, that it does technically fit with her theme of self-protection, because if I saw this woman in the street I would back away slowly with my hands in the air.
Are those pants both shredded AND bejeweled? And is that Hagrid's scarf? The questions about this look go on and on.
Again, so very many things going on here: the scaly cocktail dress over pants. The gloves. The hat. I'm not reading warrior so much with this one--where's the armor? Doesn't make much sense in relation to her other looks...
And... ditto. Why the gown? Why the gown with the hat? I know this is the final look, but it seems disconnected from the rest, like she just made a gown for the sake of ending with a gown (I'll admit, I'm stealing Michael Kors' words here.)
OVERALL: Again, I know I'm biased, but I was very lukewarm about Irina's collection. It wasn't a hot mess like Althea's, the knitwear was masterful, and it DID have a strong connective thread what with the caps and armor and amputated hands, but viscerally I didn't connect with it as much as I did with Carol Hannah's.
Phew! I wasn't really prepared for 39 looks. And much like Grover in the Monsterpiece Theater version of The 39 Steps, I've now come to a giant brick wall that I must scale in order to be done with this recap: The final panel.
After the show, the camera catches up with some of the audience members and gets their take. John Varvatos says he thinks that it was a strong group. Old Austin Scarlett/Siegfried from Episode 4 is there, being scary. Epperson is there, too, being my favorite. Shirin has a new twee red hat. Ari says she liked Irina's the best, but no one cares what you think, Ari, you got kicked off on the first fucking episode. STFU. Ra'mon-Lawrence thinks Carol Hannah deserves to win the most.
Finally, the designers assemble on the runway in front of the judges. All of the judges say nice things about the overall work. Out come the models, and the final panel is ON.
Irina: MK says that quite honestly he's seen a lot of the warrior woman as a fashions statement. Suzy Menkes--no, seriously, is she wearing a Bump It? What is going on up there?--says it was very coherent. Nina likes the handmade tee shirts. Michael says that the amount of work that went into the collection is commendable. Nina then calls Irina out on using so much black ("We talked about this," she scolds), saying that black gets very little editorial.
Carol Hannah: Nina loved the first look. Heidi loved the blue jersey dress, and is impressed when she finds out that it was the 13th look. Suzy asks about the tutu dress. Heidi says she had hard time seeing the looks as a collection and that it didn't seem cohesive. MK says that structured drapery is CH's strong suit.
Althea: Althea says for the first time that her collection was inspired by the "new political tone" (oh, 2008) and is meant to represent looking into the future. Nina loves the dash of color in the green dress. Heidi loved the skirt and shiny top. MK drools over the khaki silk harem pant. Suzy saw a lot of great knitwear. But Nina thought the last three pieces were off and almost felt like different collection.
No scathing critiques, no exclamations of Appalachian hookers or garbage bags. The judges, I suppose, realize that now is the time to make the designers feel good about their accomplishments. The deliberations begin. Heidi makes the hilarious declaration that Althea is "street." "Yes, Althea is nothing if not street!" Kerry, also from Ohio, crows. "The streets of Dayton!" Michael says that Irina has the most showmanship of all three, and the hats, much to my chagrin, are widely praised.
The designers come back out. "Carol Hannah..." Heidi says, and I shriek because I can't BELIEVE that she would be out before Althea. But it turns out Heidi is just talking super slow, you know, for emphasis. "Althea..." "Irina..." Seriously, if you didn't watch this you need to know that Heidi spoke as though reading flashcards in a foreign language from thirty feet away. These final moments were draaaaaaaaaagggggggeeeeeeeeed ooooooouuuuuuuuuuuttttttttttt, y'aaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll. Heidi rehashes all of the critiques and stares at them for awhile. Then she says...
"Carol Hannah, I'm sorry, you're out." WHAAAAT?
Man, I thought she would win! And I'm pissed that she got kicked off first because now there are only two options:
1. Irina wins, deservedly, and I am pissed at the producers for not making us like her more, because now we have to have the asshole of the season win it all,
2. Althea wins, which is a huge upset and not really deserved, and I am pissed at the producers for letting such a boring-ass contestant win it all.
I am pissed anyway because our final two are Irina and Althea? REALLY? Could you make me care any less?
And then, I am not kidding you, Heidi and the judges stare at Irina and Althea for a good sixty seconds to kill time. Finally we get the drumbeat...
"Congratulations...." OH GET IT OVER WITH.
"Irina! You are the winner of Project Runway." Irina kind of clasps her hands together and smiles and this climax could not be any less climactic. Give me a cigarette or something. God.
And... I'm done.
OK, OK, fine, I'll finish. I think Irina deserved to win this season. She is a skilled designer. But I watch a lot of reality TV and as a viewer I'm disappointed that we didn't get a payoff. The editors knew that Irina was going to win, so they could have given us some moments in which she didn't come off like a total bitch. She was just... not someone you want to root for. Which means that when she wins, it feels empty and unsatisfying. To get viewers invested you need to give them an emotional payoff. Carol Hannah winning would have been an emotional payoff. But whatever, this was the perfect ending to a season that has made no sense from day one.
I would say I'm hopeful for next season, but it's already been filmed so there's no way that the producers could have taken the negative feedback from Season 6 into consideration. Still, you know I'll be watching, and recapping. I can't help it. It's like a sickness.
In closing, let me say thank you. I am as serious as Tim Gunn's pink tie collection when I say that your support in the comments has kept me going this season. I don't know what I was thinking, trying to post entire recaps the morning after, especially since I don't have a DVR and can't type for shit. Thursday nights and Friday mornings have been rough, but knowing that you were waiting for my posts kept me from procrastinating, having a complete mental breakdown and weeping over my keyboard, or mixing a Bloody Mary at 7:00 am.
I have to shout out to Kerry (below, left) and Jess (below, second from left) for hosting each week and providing wine, TV, computers for my typing, and witty asides. Thanks also to Karen (second from right) for putting up with my constant bitching. Here we are reacting to the season being over (hubby Jeff is not pictured, but I thank him for putting up with me and my Bitchfaces through these fourteen weeks):
The next season starts in a few short months, so we'll be reunited soon. This is just a short break, like when Brenda went to Paris for the summer on 90210 . Which I guess makes you guys Dylan. Don't cheat on me with any other recappers, though, or else I'll have to get all self-righteous and storm off yelling "I HATE YOU BOTH! NEVER TALK TO ME AGAIN!!!!!"
Until then, follow the way of the Gunn and...
Final self-promotional effort: If I've made you laugh, cry, banish rompers from your wardrobe, or throw things at the TV this season, check out my blog or become a fan on Facebook. And please become my fan on The Huffington Post, too, so that you'll get notified when I write new posts. I actually can write non-Project Runway related things, promise.
Follow Una LaMarche on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sassycurmudgeon