Project Runway: Which deserving designer, or Kenley, will win?

This was pretty sad. If this is the way Project Runway "ends," it's a real shame. What a boring episode. Sure, some of it can be "blamed" on the designers. None had the outward personalities of Santino or Wendy, or the drama of Jeffrey vs. Laura or Kara vs. everyone else.

But I really do think that Bravo just scuttled the ship. And that really sucks. So you'll have to pardon me if my recap is a little deflated.

The designers are told right off the bat (3 days to go) that they'll be trimming their collections from 12 looks to 10 for Bryant Park. This gives everyone a chance to get rid of their suckiest pieces, a blessing for Korto (although she ends up making two entirely new looks and scrapping a total of four--wow). Then it's straight to model casting. Oh, God, it's Morgan the "I wore your outfit out to the clubs and it ripped and why are you being such a jerk for being mad at me about it?" model from Season 1! Don't let her out of your sight, girls!

The much-ballyhooed confrontation between Kenley and Tim didn't really happen, sorry to say. The best part was when Kenley told Tim that the judges, for calling her a mimic, could suck a fat one and she'd do what she wanted. Amazing how much she sounds like Morgan the Diva-zilla. Her confessional comment was priceless Kenley. You have to imagine that pouty-kid, nasally overpronounciation: "My decisions are final." Tim's look at the camera (the fourth wall is out the window in this, the final season) is absolutely priceless.

It does seem like the designers all still have a lot of work to do, Korto's new looks aside. Only Kenley appears to be down to minor fitting issues, especially considering all that ridiculous fabric painting she did. Leanne's model's dog, who poops on the floor during the fitting, could have done as well.

The show order will be Kenley-Korto-Leanne, and they wake up at 3 AM to get rolling (there's a 3 in the morning now?). Kenley reveals, like almost every other damn designer on the show, that she snuck into Bryant Park (albeit only last year), but got kicked out right away. I'm hoping they've got her picture distributed to Security and they boot her out again. She also reveals that her parents haven't really been a part of her life for the last three years. My first reaction was, "I wonder why," but that's horrible. So instead I'll point out the funny Bravo editing that juxtaposed Kenley shooing her assistants away as she insisted that only she could iron painted fabric, and Kenley dropping said piece on the ground while ironing.

Leanne gets the OMG moment pre-show, as one of her flouncy wave-forms has been oversteamed and is too floppy on the intended model. She's forced to flip-flop models and looks, which of course is dicey because they've all been custom fitted.

But the show does indeed go on, and Bravo actually airs the "excuse" that J-Lo injured her foot. Uh huh. No one saw the pictures of her competing in a triathlon two days later. Either she wasn't really injured, or it was a bullshit primadonna injury like a stubbed toe. So I guess both options are that she wasn't really injured.

This, however, gives us what we've all wanted for five years: Tim Gunn in the judge's chair! It also gives us the first glimpse that Kenley is aware of the world around her, when she responds to the Tim announcement with a faux-confident "Okay, maybe I should have improved my attitude." This is the kind of thing you'd read on Wile E. Coyote's sign as he's hovering over the Grand Canyon.

My thoughts on Bryant Park:


Her shtick is just not my thing at all. I don't understand how something that looks that dated can get so much praise from the judges. Nina calls it "almost couture," and I guess so, 'cause no one "gets" couture. The only look I even sort of like is the cream dress with the stripe of floral painting going up the front like a vine. But there's not much runway fashion to it. You could buy it for probaly under $500 pretty much anywhere. Everything else is so exaggerated and heavy (and heavy-handed). Not sure if the second model with the big-shouldered green thing couldn't walk in it, or if the print just didn't work on-camera.


The short yellow and green dress with the sort of babydoll look was really cute. As she has most of the season, Korto plays with symmetry in unexpected ways. Her palette is fantastic, and even though it stands out as all the models come back out for the last walk, that blueish dress that came out first is really spectacular. It's made even better by the direct contrast with the rest of the collection. This show has ensured that at least Kenley won't win.


Girlfriend should have rehearsed her opening statement just a little. But that's our socially-awkward Leanne. The long aqua dress was amazing, and generally I'm a fan of that palette, but I'm worred about variety. Where's the line between cohesion (bugaboo of many a final collection) and repetition? And while I like the colors, there's not a lot of variation from beginning to end. I know I can see a lot more colors in the ocean when I look at it. But it's definitely a contender. The winner will be either Korto or Leanne.

After seeing them all, I'm voting Korto on the virtue of the broadness of her color choices. Both were well-made, both were visually interesting. But Korto brought a little diversity to the show, and not in the trite cultural sense (but yes, she did manage to work the African angle without, as Michael tells her, looking like a costume show).

Indeed, the judges appreciate that each designer has a distinct identity and well-voiced perspective. Michael likes Kenley's paint work, likes her cohesive separates. Tim appreciates the construction, and while Nina generally liked it, she calls out the (frankly) ugliest piece as another Balenciaga knock-off (I know I've heard that designer's name earlier this season).

Nina likes Korto's cohesion as well, calling it apparently effortless. Michael said that Korto takes expected looks and tweaks them, like the slightly twisted halter-top on the green gown (didn't I say that? I did!). But both Nina and Heidi saw more of the overworking that plagued Korto last week. Too many baubles. I guess I didn't see it. And Michael must not have minded, because he praised the African-ness of the looks, and the jewelry was integral to that look.

Leanne pulled out a magic trick with her droopy top, because Michael said that starting with that look was the best possible way she could have gone. I guess... Nina liked that Leanne offered skirts, pants, shorts, dresses, coats...but worried about the uniformity of the aesthetic (I said that, too!). She doesn't want Leanne to be the "petals" girl ("Petals" Marshall, as Michael calls her. I think someone's gotten herself a nickname, and a mobster name if she needs one). I dig that half of her collection was made of sustainable fabric, though!

The judges kibbutz. I wonder why Heidi says "ideers"; that doesn't seem like an English pronunciation through a German filter. "Idea" in German is "idee," pronounced "ee-DAY." If anything, I'd think she'd stretch out the "i" sound, not add an "r" to the end. Weird. But anyway, they break down the weaknesses from each collection. Kenley's too prone to mimicry. Leanne'e architecture needs to evolve. Korto...well, they didn't really say much bad about Korto in this final evaluation. Wonder if that means anything...

The designers come back out, and the first to go is......Kenley! Yay! In the confessional: "I think it's bullshit." Stay classy, Kenley. I'm sure you'll find work.

Between Korto and Leanne, the winner is.....Leanne! Somewhat surprising, but I think that while the ladies on the panel loved that Korto knows a woman's body (and any shape of woman's body) like no one else, they didn't care for her use of jewelry. Those high-fashion types want the piece to speak on its own. But why the fascination with crazy-ass hair on the runway?

ANYway, congratulations to Leanne! She managed to stay out of her own way and make it all the way to the end. And she really did make some great stuff. I liked Korto most as a person among all the designers, but I definitely preferred most of Leanne's looks. I just hope she takes some of her loot and buys some conditioner, 'cause damn.

That's it for this season. Honestly don't know if I'll be back on Lifetime (if indeed PR is back on Lifetime). But who am I kidding--I'll at least give it a try. Top Chef starts in a month; if you're leaving, be back then! But I welcome you all to stick around and read.