The latest season of Project Runway brought some surprises -- a must for any reality show in its thirteenth incarnation. This season saw a returning designer as the runner-up, a winning look that was amongst the Emmy's best dressed, and a finalist who never won a challenge (or wowed the judges) once. Die-hard fans should be proud that a show running so long retains unpredictable elements.
Initial criticism that winner Sean Kelly received was doused away with a color-changing dress. Before Lifetime was airing the finale, Kelly's fringe-dress was making headlines for supermodel Heidi Klum. Even if Kelly hadn't won the competition, having a dress picked out as one of the best of the celebrity best-dressed is a win in itself. The New Zealand born designer's fresh and eye-catching fashion make him a deserving winner of the $300,000 prize package and publicity. Of course that package can't beat Project Runway Season 12's Dominique Streater's $500,000 winnings.
However, the show doesn't just glorify the winner, or even just the finalists. Char Glover arguably was a finalist because of Tim Gunn's favoritism, but five eliminated designers (some who had won more challenges than Glover) also showed at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Heidi Klum may have said Korina Emmerich, Sandhya Garg, Alexander Knox, Fäde zu Grau, and Emily Payne were "out," but they still debuted collections with the show's support. Getting eliminated doesn't seem too bad, since you only have to finish in the top nine to present a collection.
The main show may have ended for now, but there is plenty of Project Runway offshoots to whet your appetite.
The latest addition to the Project Runway family is Project Runway Threads, judged by the most (monetarily) successful of the winners; Christian Siriano. It should be interesting to see how this program progresses, since it focuses on preteens designing garments that many may find too junior. However, from what you can gather from the previews, there seems to be plenty of drama to be had between the kids and their older sewing assistants.
Conveniently, host Alyssa Milano returned with Project Runway All Stars Season 4 just a week after the main series finale. This Project Runway All Stars may turn out to be the most dramatic yet; rekindling rivalry between hothead Helen Castillo, and seething Alexandria von Bromssen. The latest season of Project Runway All Stars also brings back memorably creative designers; Patricia Michaels, Justin LeBlanc and winners Michelle Lesniak and Dmitry Sholokhov. This All Stars season is a must-watch for any fan of the Project Runway universe.
With the addition of Project Runway Threads and the continued success of Project Runway All Stars, the Project Runway universe continues to grow its media presence. This empire is on the rise, and surely fans hope it won't end up like Rome.