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'Project Runway': Fashion kiss goodbye

April 15, 2010 | 10:12 pm

Proje5180 I will say this: for a "Project Runway" season that didn't yield a ton of excitement, I anticipate seeing some great designs at the finale. All the designers in the first part of the finale seemed to have overachieved prior to Bryant Park, only to have Tim Gunn find additional ways for them to improve their work.

The episode began with one of my favorite parts of each "Project Runway" season: Gunn greeting the finalists' friends and family after seeing their collections. It was clear Seth Aaron felt like he was ahead of the game with the amount of designs he had already created, but Gunn pushed him further by saying what he had done wasn't enough, despite the volume--he wanted him to reconceptualize and come back with something that was not just Seth Aaron but Seth Aaron + 1. Seth Aaron got his revenge though by making Gunn jump on a trampoline, which made him shout "The Hendersons are trying to kill me!"   No seriously, it was adorable. Seth's kids also look older than I would have expected, and I thought it was very sweet that Gunn played Pictionary with the Hendersons.

Next Gunn met Emilio in New York, where he met the Sosa brothers, a crew that seems very supportive of one another.  Personally I hated the pea color Emilio seemed to be working in his designs, but he knows better than I do, and better than Tim too perhaps.  I'm sure that Emilio's work will be great but I'm still hungover from his ego during the last few episodes and the fact that he didn't seem to put too much stock into Tim’s critiques, which to me is a “Project Runway” felony.

Mila looked much happier and softer this episode than previously in the season, perhaps because she was near her adorable Dalmation: leave it to her to get a black and white pup.  Not surprisingly, her collection was mostly back and white, with a little addition of aubergine just to liven things up.  Tim was worried that her looks would trend conservative and matronly, but she mostly seemed concerned not with winning but with beating Jay.

I never understood the alleged acrimony between Mila and Jay ("May" is what I should have been calling them all season). They both talked about disliking each other so much but I never saw actual issues between the two of them.  Jay drew his inspiration between the masculine elegance of a Japanese samurai and the softness and elegance of a geisha. The only question to Tim was: who would be wearing his high-concept ware, and to where?  "Now, qu'est que c'est?" Tim asked, lifting the sleeve of one of Jay's jackets, which seemed to have been made of many connected leather bands.  At lunch with his family, Jay cried (what else is new?), talking about how much his parents had sacrificed for him.

Back in New York, the horror music was queued up to reveal the unthinkable: Mila and Jay were roommates during Fashion Week. But don't fret: the two quashed their inexplicable beef and were ready to compete, sans hatred, on the runway for a spot at Bryant Park.

While I slightly preferred Mila to Jay as a competitor during the regular season of the show, I liked both their showings equally tonight.  I don't mind the retro look of Mila's clothes, nor the black and white: they're very wearable to me, and exquisitely made. As for Jay, he used a little more color, was more contemporary but perhaps a little too avant-garde for everyday, but that's never bad for a runway show.

The judges seemed on the fence about who they liked better: I actually expected them to choose Jay over Mila, to choose his forward-looking point of view over Mila's '60's-inspired pieces, but they selected Mila to go to Fashion Week.  Since they seemed so up-in-the air come decision time I'm still not sure why they ultimately went with Mila over Jay--perhaps to have a female representing in the finale--but I'm sure that between Mila, Seth Aaron and Emilio, we'll see some good clothes next week--and a lot of black and white.

--Claire Zulkey


 Jay Nicolas Sario and Mila Hermanovski. Photo: Lifetime.