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Times fashion critic on the 'Project Runway' final runway

November 19, 2009 |  7:00 am

Project-runway-finals
Jeffrey over Uli? Santino over Chloe? Kenley over Leanne? With every "Project Runway" finale comes a conflicted decision: root for the designer with the best runway or the designer with the more interesting attitude? Honestly, it's enough to make even Tim Gunn have a breakdown.

But this season is a bit different. See, one of the best things about the whole "Is 'Runway' moving to Lifetime or isn't it?" holdup that delayed this season's airing for several months is that that finalists Carol Hannah Whitfield, Irina Shabayeva and Althea Harper already peddled their wares during the Fall 2009 New York Fashion Week. While hiding off camera so as not to spoil the surprise must have been brutally stressful for the three ladies, it did give Times fashion critic Adam Tschorn an unbiased, honest review of their runways:

Most of the clothes that came down the catwalk had two things in common -- lots of black leather and lots of ruffles. The amount of intricate folds, woven strips, pleats, pin tucks and delicate floral twists and details seemed to be an exercise in demonstrating facility with needle and thread (as such a contest should, indeed, be). It was actually freeing -- and much closer to reality -- to view the collections without knowing anything about the designers.

Each had some fun pieces. The first (whom we'll call Designer A) had lots of chunky cable knit sweaters, black leather bustiers and jackets. Designer B went to town with tulle and ruffles; one piece caught the eye because the silver was edged in a shade of blue that made the whole piece shimmer.

Designer C seemed to have the most consistent and noticeable point of view, which focused primarily on strips of black leather interspersed with black fabrics and edged in black sequins, on dresses, tops and handbags. Many of the outfits were topped off with pressed felt caps that were part-Peter Pan and part-equestrian toque. And who doesn't love a woven black-leather corset?

Read the rest of Tschorn's review and check out our photo gallery of all three collections. Do you agree with our critic? Chime in below.

-- Whitney Friedlander

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Photos: A look from each "Project Runway" finalist's collection. Credits: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson

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