Project Runway Season 10: From Russia With Yawn

watching the runway shows

The challenge: Finish up your collection and show that shit at Fashion Week, bitches!

Guest judge: Jennifer Hudson, wearing the hell out of a gorgeous green pantsuit.

The winner: Dmitry! Shiny, bugle-bead-y Dmitry! (FYI, Kelsey is in Los Angeles and wasn’t able to watch last night, and is probably walking around with her hands over her ears so she won’t hear any spoilers, but she is going to be amped about this.) 

The auf’d: The other four.

The World’s Greatest No-Goodnik

Ugh!!! UGHHHHHHH!!!!! I mean, no offense, Dmitry? But really! The final decision of Fabio vs. Dmitry (conceptual vs. commercial, dark horse vs. predictable winner, etc vs. etc) was perfect in that it fit in with many of the final decisions of ProjRun past. Here we have two designers. One has been good but unsurprising, and the other is a bit wacky, but gutsy and original. Oh look, the less interesting winner triumphed. That’s nice. When does the next season start?

Annoyingly but inevitably, the structure of Project Runway leads to essentially finding not the best designer, but the best reality show contestant—one who can jump through the many hoops thrown their way and who can design for babies, mothers, candy stores, and Lexi. If you want someone who excels at everything and appeals to everyone, they have to by extension be generally good. And being generally good does not often translate to distinctive or risky or trendsetting. While Fabio’s concept of ethereal pastels isn’t the craziest leap to jump to as a designer, I actually agreed with the judges that it was a refreshing and compelling collection (and certainly unlike anything else we’ve seen on this ragtag show). For a while there, it seemed like they were going to give it to him, too. Wouldn’t it have been interesting if the under-the-radar contestant had snatched the win out from beneath three inevitable finalists’ feet? There was Fabio’s collection, looking all ahead-of-the-curve and artsy, and there was Dmitry’s, looking well-made but also well-trod. Dmitry gave us what we have grown to expect from him, with very few risks in the mix of sophisticated black, white, and leather. (Sparkles, fringe, and sparkly fringe don’t qualify as risks.) And as per usual with Heidi & Co., the judges looked at Dmitry, a dominant contender for most of the season, and seemingly said, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to the idea of Dmitry winning. Looking back at Bitch’s guesses for this season’s final three (since we did not foresee a cop-out final four), I put Dmitry in my imagined finale. While I know that a show in its tenth season (HAVE YOU HEARD?!?!) is inevitably going to become predictable in, say, its challenges or its twists, constantly having a predictable winner is just a bummer. All of this aside, I almost feel mean to be slamming Boris’s win on the one week where Kelsey isn’t recapping, since I’m sure she’ll be psyched that Dmitry beat out all those one-way monkeys.

Speaking of predictable winners, Elena won this season’s fan favorite! As announced on the bottom left-hand corner of my screen, so small that I could barely see it! What gives? Anyway, high fives all around to Team Natasha!

Assorted thoughts: It was strangely satisfying to see the two whinier finalists get booted right away. As much as I was Team Christopher last week, man was he irritating! I’m sure you all are like, “Duh, Annalee, he’s been irritating all season.” I guess I was swept up in x-ray scarves and bleached leather? Regardless, it was nice to see the two more collected, less drama-prone contestants come out on top. To Christopher’s credit, I did enjoy his take on Melissa calling her fabric “blood orange” (I get that “red” is unexciting, but was “tomato” not an edgy enough color description?). —Annalee

picture of Tim Gunn

I’m concerned: Didn’t we all used to be deep into the vino by this time?

The Way We Wore

I’m not going to lie: I woke up this morning, remembered that this Project Runway finale recap was on today’s to-do list, and racked my brain trying to remember if I watched it. I did. I saw the runway shows. Saw Melissa’s model teetering on those ridiculous shoes in that dress that was a big white bad-cut blemish on an otherwise cool collection. Came way around on Fabio’s “Cosmic Tribalism,” mainly because I love Fabio and have learned from him that you can’t judge a freegan by their willingness to use the word “freegan.” Enjoyed Dmitry’s structured leather creations. And agreed with my husband when he said, of Christopher, “I really don’t want to hear that guy talk anymore.” (Seriously, with the whining.)

But what I realized today is that in the absence of an all-cast reunion, the season just doesn’t feel complete. Annalee’s point above about the show devolving, over the years, into being less about pure design and more about what’s consistent, reality-show palatable, and product placement–friendly, is well taken. But despite that, it seems like as much as the contestants’ individual stories and foibles and idiosyncrasies are amplified via editing (anxious, self-doubting Melissa, peevish, entitled Christopher, blissed-out happypants Fabio), as well as in last week’s home visits, that anything-goes interaction—ranging from real affection to abject hatred—that used to occur in the reunion specials is missing. I mean, how much better would last night’s finale have been if it had been preceded by an hour of the season’s designers getting drunk and shit-talking each other, with workroom outtakes featuring Tim Gunn using big words and cutting away to the faces of designers who are unsure of what “faux bois” refers to? I mean, we know ten of them were already at Fashion Week—how hard could it have been to get them all in a room together with a big box of Franzia? I don’t know about you, but when the show was on Bravo, those reunion shows were key to solidifying how I felt about the final three (or four) designers.

Plus, as Annalee points out above, how in the hell were we supposed to know that Elena was fan favorite or know what that even means these days? Is there still a big-ass check involved? 

Three things I loved:

1.) Jennifer Hudson’s lovely judging. You kind of knew Dmitry had it in the bag when she laid out this assessment of his collection: “I felt like I was learning your story. It’s rich, honey. It’s everything.” I mean.

2.) Melissa calling her fabric “blood orange,” despite Christopher’s eye-rolling. It automatically made me at least 80 percent more excited to see what she was going to make with it. But, as the owner of at least ten lipsticks with names like “chocolate cherry,” I am clearly the kind of sucker that people have in mind when they come up with names that invoke delicious foods.

3.) Instead of family members coming out to congratulate Dmitry after his win, he was joined by three gorgeous blond lady friends. Do your thing, Boris!

The Gunn Show: As PR devotees know, this is Tim Gunn’s world and we just live in it. Each week we pick our favorite Gunn moment…but his week, nothing truly stood out—just another reason Lifetime needs to bring back the reunion special, because Tim ruled those things. Instead, this week’s vote simply goes to Tim’s suits this season, which seemed to escalate in pinstripiness each week. See you back here for All-Stars? —Andi

Previously: The Finale Countdown

by Andi Zeisler
View profile »

Andi Zeisler is the cofounder of Bitch Media and the author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. You can find her on Twitter.

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6 Comments Have Been Posted

You really took the words

You really took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn't help but let out a mutated cackle snort when I read this, "I'm not going to lie: I woke up this morning, remembered that this Project Runway finale recap was on today's to-do list, and racked my brain trying to remember if I watched it. I did."
Personally I thought Fabio's collection looked like Rainbow Bright got doused with bleach, but I can't say any of them blew me away. And I LOVED the final 4 up to this point. Dmitri, well, I like his style, but would have chosen him? Honestly, I'm not sure I would have chosen any of the above? Can we just give Mondo the win for this one?

Is it All Stars yet?

I'm bummed I had to miss posting about the finale but as you both so eloquently stated, THERE WASN'T A WHOLE LOT TO MISS. This finale was drama free and, even though I'm Team Boris, kind of a snooze. I liked all of the collections fine but I also found myself checking my email and Twitter feeds every two minutes out of boredom. A reunion would've helped so much—or at least given us the chance to see Elena get a big-ass check.

Still I was skeptical about Dmitry's styling but it turned out okay, right? Could've been worse. (That's the unofficial tagline of this whole season.)

Tim Gunn

I mean, I was really in love with the moment where he told Christopher that it was "no time to be petulant" when he wouldn't come out of the work room. Probably because that was precisely what my roommate and I were yelling at the screen.
Since Gunnar's departure I've been team Fabio or Dmitry. I was pleased that my two replacement faves (I still love Gunnar the most forever, just sayin) were in the top two. And I also loved that Christopher was the first one sent away. I loved both Fabio and Dmitry's collection and was happy to see them both being acknowledged at the top. However, I did think Fabio had it in the bag and it was sort of surprising to me that he didn't win. My roommate was a bit surprised too.
Also, we did not approve of Christopher's response when they asked him why he thought he should win ProjRun. We felt like he basically said, "I think I should win because I'm a designer who wants people to know who I am." And we were like, "Wasn't that the whole reason you went on the show in the first place? That's not exactly a reason to win the competition. That's the reason they let you in in the first place." (I might have a bit of a hate-on for Christopher. I'm not proud of it.)

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