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'Project Runway': What we saw at today's Bryant Park show

February 12, 2010 | 12:05 pm

Runway "I want to get to Bryant Park" has become a mantra for "Project Runway" designers, but Fashion Week is moving uptown this fall, making this cast the very last one able to claim Bryant Park bragging rights.

Even the current season's losers got to bask in the spotlight at today's Bryant Park show, though: Jesus (sporting a high pompadour) and Ping (in a bleached-blond bob) planted themselves on the plastic-covered runway before the event to pose for photos. There weren't too many other celebs there to compete for attention, other than guest judge Faith Hill and the usual pantheon of past "Runway" stars, brought out every fashion week to represent the brand: 1st season winner Jay Carroll gabbing with Leanne, Korto sitting near last season's winner Irina, the notorious Kenley adjacent to Logan. 

Because the filming of the series is now out of sync with Fashion Week, Heidi Klum strode out on the runway with Michael Kors (in his aviator shades) and Nina Garcia (looking very chic) and announced that they would be showing not the final 3 (or 4 or 5) but 10 designers' collections. In other words, nearly all of the designers who are still appearing on the series as of today showed their clothes, so that we would not know who will be eliminated between now and the finale.  So there will be no actual spoilers here (well, maybe one, if you read between the lines); but because I know "Project Runway" fanatics consider any descriptions of the final looks spoilage, I will continue (and make some uneducated guesses) after the jump. You have been warned!

Jay: The theme of much of the show seemed to be retro futurism -- as if several of the designers had drunk the same Kool-Aid in the cutting room. Jay started things off with a strong, hip collection of minimalist, lean clothes in greys and blacks, with lots of shoulder detail and striking, studded high boots that made his models look positively amazonian and a little bit sci-fi.

Chance of being in the finale: Good

Up second, Janeane seemed nervous, noting that she was inspired by crystals and rocks. She sent out looks that seemed both angular and baggy -- and not really in a good way.
Chance of being in the finale: Unlikely

Looking like a cute overgrown schoolboy in a scarf and wool shorts, he announced that his collection was called "Aviary" and was "an experimental study in volume" inspired by insects and birds. He had  some fetching pieces, but it was an odd clash of styles, from fluttery tweed to red satin, to a series of garments with chains bearing objects that looked like insects. And then there was a sort of bodysuit dress that resembled a bug's carapace. Do you want to go to a party looking like a ladybug?
Chance of being in the finale: Probably not

This designer's high energy attitude immediately connected with the crowd, and his collection was as over the top as he is: silver-plated leggings, bright purple shiny gown, blue satin pants. It was almost too much, but amid the bombastic glam there were a few outright stunners, like the lovely silver and grey gown that successfully brought all of elements in his collection together.
Chance of being in the finale: Good

Jesse: Looking serious in his tweedy suit, Jesse explained that his looks were inspired by crime novels and film noir. There was a retro feel to them, but it was closer to retro-futurism and seemed more heavily influenced by military chic than noir style, with a series of hats that looked like WWII army caps, and some cute one-piece jumpsuits that wouldn't look out of place on "Battlestar: Galactica."
Chance of being in the finale: Unlikely

Seth: Hair lacquered straight up in the air, Seth came directly after Jesse and confused me even further by citing "1940s German and Russian military" as his touchstone in this collection -- but it was hard to see any of that in his clothes, which were actually bold and impressive. There were lots of eye-catching black and white patterns mixed with some flashes of bright red and yellow (including some yellow plaid leggings), and a gothy purple puff-dress. (I would have loved to see what Faith Hill wrote about him in her little notebook.)
Chance of being in the finale: Good

Emilio: You have to give the guy credit for announcing his collection's title -- the awful name "Color Me Bad" -- with such enthusiasm and conviction. Still, it's asking for trouble when the first look you send out is a coat in a sickly shade of chartreuse. But he had some very attractive, colorful coats and dresses, many with strong shoulders and an 80s feel.
Chance of being in the finale: Probably not

Mila: Some consider her the frontrunner, and Mila did not bump herself from the front with her collection, inspired by "shadows." It was a little bit goth and little bit mod.  Her love of color-blocking was very much in evidence here, as was her skill. Black and white -- and  multiple textures of black on black predominated, though the ultimate piece was the loveliest: a shimmery dress covered in white paillards, held up by a black patent leather halter.
Chance of being in the finale: Good

Ben: Choking back tears, Ben sniffled that it was a very emotional day for him (perhaps because he hadn't expected to show in Bryant Park?), and explained that his looks were influenced by Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and that he was taking us "back to the future." Which apparently meant more shoulder action: strong epaulettes, even pointy-shouldered suits. His tweed color-blocked dresses were appealing, but the palette -- which mixed electric blue tights with outfits made of rust and brown -- was a little awkward.
Chance of being in the finale: Probably not

After all the military retro-futuristic color-blocking tweedishness, Amy's collection made for a great finale. Her thing, she said, was "Photographic printing and pleating," and her subtle but original clothes perfectly bore that out. Her first dress was a bit of a shock: worn halfway over the model's face, it could have made her look like Quasimodo, but it was so delicate that it still elicited sighs (or maybe those were gasps?). She sent down a mix of gauzy  white prints with heavier black dresses, made interesting by a range of complex pleats, that showed off her skills.
Chance of being in the finale: Good

-- Joy Press


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Photo: Singer Faith Hill, Marie Claire editor Nina Garcia, designer Michael Kors and Heidi Klum attend Project Runway Fall 2010 fashion show on February 12, 2010 in New York, New York. Credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG