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'Project Runway': Kaboom, pow -- we have a winner!


Was this my favorite season of "Project Runway?"  I have to say, no. Aside from Anthony, the contestants' personalities didn't sparkle and it felt like the challenges thrown at them had mostly been ones we'd seen before in some form or another.   The show needs a bit of a facelift, perhaps. However, I was happy with tonight's finale as I think the right designer won, and in victory became a more endearing person and designer than had been shown throughout the season.

The finale began with the contestants gathering and participating in hair/makeup consultation/advertisements. You're telling me this makeup is L'Oreal? And it looks so good despite being applied by a professional makeup artist? Amazing. I thought it was funny that in her striving to make her models look more rock 'n' roll, Mila's girls ultimately ended up looking a lot like her. 

After having cast the models the contestants ran around backstage and Bryant Park, freaked out because three of Mila's and one of Emilio's models didn't show up. Why can't the show plan for this in the future? The moral of every "Project Runway" finale is that models are the least reliable people on Earth, so just cast some extras because we know some will always flake out.

Heidi Klum, de-pregnated and resplendent in a tight-fitting, strappy Ikat-style dress introduced the show and special guest judge Faith Hill. I'm not sure what Faith did to deserve that special honor of hosting the finale, but she's a pretty lady and seems nice.

Seth Aaron showed first, and I liked his punky-dapper outfit, which actually sort of matched his runway show, which he said was inspired by 1940's Russian and German military styling (I admit I am a sucker for military motifs in clothing).  I was also a little touched when he said "My girls are strong; they're going to kick ass." In short, I loved his show. Seth’s coats were immaculate, and I really liked his use of accessories, especially the wide leather belts used on pieces like the yellow plaid coat and the black and white plaid dress.  I adored the polka dot and tweed dress and black and white checked coat with a sheen to it--it looked like something from a spy movie.  He showed a black slashed top that flashed red underneath and it looked like the clothing equivalent of a pair of Christian Louboutins. I loved his work with patterns and the fact that his clothes were basically quite classic and wearable but had little touches of punk and dominatrix looks to them.  Even though the judges didn't love it, I even thought his finale, a double-bubble purple dress, was fun to look at: I wouldn't buy it, but I liked it for a show.

I actually have been a fan of Mila's work overall this season, and I think I would have liked her finale show a little more had it not followed Seth Aaron's, because basically hers reminded me of his, with the patterns and use of black and white, but toned down.  She showed some very nice pieces that the judges and I both really liked, like the black, white and gray dress with the black and white scarf and the white T-shirt with the paillettes across it with the purple cardigan.  I really liked her cocktail dress with the paillettes on it too but while I felt the clothes were well-made and thought out, the show lacked a certain zazz. 

After Mila had described Emilio's line as reminding her of "Harlem" and his naming his line "Color Me Badd," I would have expected something of a funkier, more daring show from him. I did love his use of color, especially the teal blue and red combinations and once again while I didn't expect to like his monogrammed pattern, it worked for me.  I wanted to own the bright blue jacket with the diagonal cut. But I agreed with the judges that the amount of suiting got a little bit sleepy and while the gold lame gown was glorious, I would have liked to see more looks in line with it. I also though the brocade miniskirt was a bit of a disaster: too too short and not shown very well by the model. 

After the show the judges all seemed delighted with the show in general and praised all the contestants (Seth Aaron's red dress with the perforated black leather detail looked even better up close).  Emilio seemed to have a crabby expression on his face while the judges praised Seth Aaron's "exciting, editorial" collection. The judges seemed surprised by the quietness and commercialism of Emilio's show and lauded Mila for taking their advice and making her collection look more modern.

I personally at this point wanted Seth Aaron to win. I liked his runway show far and away the best and I felt like Emilio was getting a little insufferable as the season wore on. Thankfully, I got what I wanted and Seth Aaron won! Emilio looked both devastated and peeved that he didn't win, which made me perversely extra glad that he didn't.

Seth Aaron's family joined him on the Parsons runway after the win and they seemed as overcome with emotion as he did, which was very sweet. I loved that Seth Aaron has a punky sensibility but seems like such a family guy. I also realized at this finale that Seth Aaron seems especially female-positive: I remember how seriously he took the little-girl challenge and how tight he seems with his wife and daughter. I am obviously biased being a female-type person but that just made me like him, and the win more.


In the show’s apologetic reunion, Seth Aaron seemed to stay above the fray, either because he wasn’t as guilty of as much trash talk as some of the other contestants (like Jay, who resorted to juvenile physical insults when one of the models put down his designs) or just because the winner gets to look like the good guy.

Tomorrow I will chat with the "Runway" winner so if you have any questions you'd like me to ask Seth Aaron, please leave them in the comments.

--Claire Zulkey


Art: Lifetime

Comments () | Archives (11)

I ,like you am so glad Seth won!He handled himself well thru out the competetion.Emillio is a nasty guy,so I was not rooting for him regardless of his designs.What surprised me most was how ill mannered an ungracious all the losers were in the after show.Even criticizing Tim!Especially Anthony,who so many thought was cute and funny,what a creep!The best man,and the best designer won.

true, the right person won, but overall I felt like I was looking at a tabletop fashion video at a department store. lots of ready-to-wear looks, but very little glam. and really, Faith Hill - is that the best they could come up with? they need to dispense with the stunt-judge casting for the finale and stick to someone that actually has something to do with fashion.

sadly, the show is starting to feel tired and really needs some kind of facelift - and definitely a new script for Heidi. that "one day you're in and the next day, you're out" is really played out.

I agree. Seth's show was the most exciting, and his clothes looked very high fashion. At the same time, I agreed with Mila's comment about it looking very Hot Topic.

Seth Aaron definitely wins the cute family award!

We thought the best designer won! Seth Aaron is so edgy, good-looking, and extremely talented. He also seems very nice, decent, a family man, very savvy and sharp-minded. Questions for Seth Aaron: How did he become involved in fashion design, and will he and family someday consider moving to NYC? Also, when can we see more of him? Sad to see the show end as he was so much fun to watch (besides Tim Gunn, of course!). Thank you.

I've watched the series from the first season. The last season was lackluster but the show redeemed itself to me this time around. I thought they had a better batch of designers this year. I also thought Seth Aaron had the most innovative, creative show and deserved the win. His was "out there" enough to be fashion, but still had a real-woman wearability to it. He had been consistent throughout the season, too.

While I liked Emilio's style throughout the challenges (except the Barbarella bikini), and also liked his attitude at first, I had a hard time supporting him as the show wore on and his humility wore thin. I was disappointed in his runway show and thought it was repetitious -- too heavy on the stretchy tee and turtleneck style tops and mini-skirts. I agreed with Mila - we'd seen most of that before. I liked the blue coat though.

I think the disconnect between audience favorites and the judges pick is one of expectations--audiences (at home and at the shows) want to find the next Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and the judges want to find the next Alexander McQueen. Both Milia and Emilio could have sold those clothes in any store in the country--without any changes. Seth Aaron's stuff was great looking, but almost no one is going to wear those clothes without a big editing process by a mass merchant buyer.

Seth Aaron is another guy in the Santino, Jay, weird guy with neck tattoo lineup. He's edgy, he's fun, and he's never going to be heard from again.

Seth Aaron deserved the win. Aside from his portfolio, his personality as revealed during the two-part finale made him even more likeable. He really seemed to connect with Tim, and Tim with Seth's family. Trampoline and Pictionary for crying out loud! Emilio indeed became more insufferable each week, and really needs to learn to respect other's professional opinions. His work is fantastic, but he's seems a drag to be around. Moral of Project Runway: be nice to Tim and you get good karma in return.

The Finale episodes were surprisingly good, and I honestly thought the winner could have been either of the top two. I was really impressed with the seeming transformation of Seth Aaron's final looks, which leads me to a few questions for him:

The finales implied that you started over from scratch after Tim's consultation, but I am not sure what remained in the final looks from before his visit and what was new. How many new pieces did you make after his visit, and how much did you alter your approach after that tough critique?

Also, did you always have the strong color element, or was this a part of your rethinking?

This was a very close PR, all the designers were money. In the end, they probably thought that Emilio, (the favorite) strayed too far from his fab gowns and outfits with the outerwear...To be fair, the contestants should be told in advance what the judging criteria is going to be. I love the ESosa print look, somebody is going to put smart money down to jump-start his collection and he just may wind up passing them all....

I despised Mila, her work was never revolutionary (not that I wanted to see another Ping) and I believe she's lying about her age - maybe that should be a non-issue but it's sort of like Tiger, if he cheats on his wife then what's to stop him from failing to self-penalize out on the course.

All of the designers had their ups and downs but Seth seemed to consistently put out quality product. Most importantly for him, his execution was great so the judges forgave him for 'interesting' innovative designs. I appreciate and applaud him for taking Tim's advise to heart and I'm sure that was a big part of his heartfelt hug.

Brand Sosa failed to recognize the fine line between confident and obnoxious cockiness, that irk weighs on everyone from the models to the judges. I recognize his skill but in the end he had a blend of yawn wear with a few pieces that were re-invented through color - yeah I get it, but can see that at Macys or Nordstrom.

Seth's look was exactly what the judges expected for Mercedes Bryant Park - amped up styles that show off their creativity while at the same time can be toned down for commercial pieces. I'd say 7/10 seth, 6/10 sosa (includes DBL POINTS for the dress), 3/10 Mila (includes ONE POINT for remaking the cocktail dress from the show).

I'm pleased with the conclusion. I wish Seth great success and hope he and his family relish the moment to the fullest.

BTW, Mila's illegitimate daughter Maya had the most idiotic response of all time - bad strategy too since once she'd made it to the final she would have been free from cameras and able to hit up instructors / friends for 'design support.' ... do it on my own terms? Ummm ... okay, good luck with sponsorship and funding.

Jay jay jay - I felt so bad for you but that personal dig was disgusting. For shame.

Ask Seth about the contract with the show, other than pieced earmarked for cancer / magazine / etc ... are the contestants free to refine and commercial their desigs for resale.


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