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

April 22, 2010 | 11:37 pm

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