And so, it was over. In a storm of 90s prints, shadows and maybe-Nazi inspiration, the final three collections walked at Bryant Park and a winner of Project Runway‘s seventh season was chosen. Now that it has all come to pass, have we learned anything? Are we better for having watched it? Why did Jay have to be such a raging jerkface in the reunion, therefore canceling out any goodwill toward him which I might have built up over the season?

The finale answered one big question and launched a thousand more, most notably whether or not this show is still worth watching. My answer: sort of. But before we talk about that, we have to discuss how this whole thing went down and the collections (or lines? Princess Michael Kors says that’s an important distinction) that constituted the grand finale.

This finale, unlike almost every one that has come before it, included no surprise 11th hour challenges or extra looks to make – everyone showed up, put their clothes on their models, and got judged. The producers tried to make us believe that it was an issue when several of Mila’s and one of Emilio’s models didn’t show, but as soon as Tim Gunn made it clear that there were alternates ready and waiting, the bloom was off of that rose.

One by one, the excited designers came out to explain their inspiration and thank their families. Seth Aaron was first, and I very nearly missed it when he said that he was inspired by 1940s German military. For a second, I was like, ok, yeah, military. Uniforms. Tailoring. Right. But then I realized…wait, Nazis. That was the 1940s. That’s a little weird.

I’ve read some reactions that found his inspiration offensive, and I can understand why people might. Dictatorial regimes tend to include a lot of useless pomp and circumstance, however, and that often begets the need for extremely sharp (albeit somewhat unnecessary) dress uniforms – I found it hard not to stare at the costumes when I first saw Inglourious Basterds. Plus, much of the Nazi wardrobe was supplied by Hugo Boss, so there is a somewhat interesting sartorial element. I fully believe that good art can come from extremely dark places, and Seth Aaron mostly seems like an overgrown kid that wouldn’t even consider that the German military was, like, totally heinous, brah.

And his clothes? They were easily my favorite of the three presentations. His designs had McQueen-esque flourishes here and there, particularly reminiscent of his houndstooth-heavy work, and the graphic patterns and bold shapes were indeed a little military-reminiscent. As was to be expected, his jackets were tailored perfectly and it looked like an ultra-glam Hot Topic collection from time to time, as Mila somewhat accurately noticed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

You certainly got a sense, however, that the clothes told a story that reverberated to the back of the house. His was the showiest of the shows, and it was also so rich in pattern and structure (and, somewhat surprisingly, in bright color) that Nina deemed it “very editorial.” Watch out, designers – when Nina decides that she could put a collection in that ladymag that she works for, it’s got a good shot of winning.

Next was Mila, whose collection looked exactly how’d you expect: black. Then some grey. And how about some white? Just for a twist, let’s add some dark purple on a couple of the looks. But not too much – Mila wouldn’t want to give anyone the impression that she intends to embrace color at any time in the future. Her collection was cohesive and capably tailored, and I actually liked it more than I expected to. I prefer my runways to be conceptual rather than commercial, and I found Mila’s collection interesting to look at. Color me surprised.

Speaking of conceptual rather than commercial (or the other way around, actually), Emilio rounded out the top three. He called his collection “Color Me Bad,” which was kind of hilariously awful, as was his “signature” pattern. Signature fabric is one thing for a handbag or wallet, but a dress? Count me out. I didn’t hate his collection – in fact, I want his blue coat – but as Princess Michael Kors so aptly noticed, it’s not a collection, it’s a line. With the exception of the gorgeous gold gown at the end, those weren’t runway clothes that Nina could put in her precious little magazine. I was disappointed that Emilio went so commercial because I think that he’s a good designer, if a bit of a jerk.

The judging went exactly how you would expect it from those descriptions: Mila was too expected, Emilio was too commercial, Seth Aaron was just right, save for the weird purple torture device that he called a final look. And he was victorious! They didn’t even take off points for his weird haircut! His kids and wife ran out and he said that he was so happy that they were proud of him and it was adorable. I wanted to join in the group hug and perhaps slip Seth Aaron the card of the girl that does my hair.

Before we knew what hit us, it was time for the reunion. We didn’t get one last season so I was pleased that we had one this time, but then I became significantly less pleased when I realized that all of the models were there. I still don’t care about the models and Lifetime can’t make me!

In stark contrast to reunions of the Real Housewives variety, Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn spent most of the reunion trying to make the designers be nice to each other. They prompted a lot of apologies about various buffer-interview snark, including Anthony’s declaration that Mila is some kind of 50-year-old harpy, which sounded surprisingly apt when the remark was recounted. Because Anthony is wonderful, however, he managed to both apologize and make another joke in the process, thereby providing yours truly with a title for this post. Anthony is the reality tv gift that keeps on giving.

I wasn’t aware of most of the model drama because I try to avoid the terrible model show, but I was aware that Ceri had talked some relatively pathetic smack about Jay’s aesthetic in the past. I don’t know why the models feel qualified to comment on the clothes, since last time I checked their job didn’t require them to be knowledgeable about fashion or trends, but she did and it aired and we all knew about it.

When that incident was brought up, instead of taking the high road, Jay managed to look like a smug little a-hole and make a really uncreative, mean-spirited comment about Ceri’s teeth and legs. Not that either of those things had anything to do with the issue at hand – some men are just gross misogynists, and their first line of defense against a woman is to call her ugly in some way. He looked so disgustingly proud of himself after he said it that it only magnified how shocked everyone else was, and Tim Gunn made him apologize like everyone’s favorite gay uncle.

That unpleasant incident was at the end of the episode and left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. I enjoyed this season more than the last, but besides Anthony, there weren’t many interesting characters to keep the narrative arc of the show going. I’ll probably keep watching the series, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it to continue recapping – do you guys want more Project Runway recaps when the new season debuts?

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Relli

    I completely agree with you on Jay’s little behavior and the FACE, gawd! Although i call the producers on this one because we had just been made to feel sorry for him for losing out to Mila, it just mixed signals and really could have been edited out easily. I do not love the models show but I do like it to hear a some what unbiased (not from the competing designers at least) on how the designers are doing and taste level. I though Emilio’s model WAS EXTREMELY nice about saying how ugly his stuff was. Plus some of them have walked in major shows for big designers so in a way I guess they have some sort of insight. Seth Aaron was the righteous winner and I hope him and his family are doing well. One thing i find truly irnonic that no one has pointed out is that when Irina (last season’s black and white winner and graphic stealer) was interviewed on he opinion she loved Mila’s collection! Really you don’t say…………………….

  • Leticia

    Seth’s Collection was SO McQueen! I hated Emilio’s, and Mila’s was only nice. (fb)

  • Anna Cooperberg

    Yes! Good quote choice, Amanda. I had a laughter attack when I heard that during the show. Anyways, your review is awesome as always and I can appreciate it fully because I watched the show (and last week’s show, which aired right before). I’m so glad Seth Aaron won, despite that awk hairstyle, hehe. I actually loved the final purple look. That, along with the genius cut of the two pairs of skinny pants (with ankle zippers!), were my favorite parts of his collection.

  • Lizzie

    I am happy that Seth won…but honestly, I wasn’t wowed by any of the collections. oh well
    (fb)

  • Jules

    I agree w/Lizzie… not Wowed by any of the designs/collections. & I was a little creeped out by the 1940’s german military inspiration… I thought Nazi right away, and was like WTF? And Jay’s comment to Ceri?! OMG I could NOT believe he had the gall to say that! How horrible!

  • marian t

    I am glad Seth won, but wasn’t impressed by any of his designs. (fb)

  • Jesse

    I loved Seth’s collection! I am glad he won. I really like Mila’s and Emilio’s was okay. Jay totally was out of line with some of his comments. Great season overall. (fb)

  • Monique

    Congratulations to Seth. (fb)

  • PK

    I think this season at least had some talent at the end competing. And what was with Emilio and his ESOSA material, I mean really? can we say arrogant and so not hot. And I agree that Seth Aaron should have won, he had the most innovative collection. (fb)

  • stephanie

    The only reason I made it through this season was Anthony’s humor. It’s becoming boring and predictable. Even moving it to NYC. didn’t help. (fb)

  • Sofia Nolan

    I sensed some McQueen here…. :)

  • Pat

    I was so very happy that Seth Aaron won. I too saw McQueen in his collection. Mila’s was somewhat predictable with all the black and grey…when she said she was inspired by ‘shadows’ I wasn’t surprised. I was a little disappointeed with Emilio’s, but I liked his use of color in contrast to Mila’s. Jay’s comment was a low blow and juvenile. I think the show may have jumped the shark, but I’ll still watch it. I enjoy the recaps here, so hope you’ll still do them. (fb)

  • hannah

    first off, anthony should get his own show! i adore him. my boyfriend watched the finale and reunion with me and laughed like crazy at anthony and wanted me to find youtube best of vidoes to share more anthony awesomeness. and thats a high mark in his book.

    i def agree with you on all fronts!! i adored seth aarons stuff (minus the fact of the nazis, i didnt even catch that wowww) and loved his mcqueen-esque looks. i also loved emilio’s pieces and all the colors that he used, minus the name print, it looks cheap. but i loved his last gold dress! that was impeccable! but like kors said, there wasnt a transition between day wear and that. it was odd. but then when he lost and got all huffy and woe is me and “i just dont get you people and why i didnt win” my visions of his collection were gone and then replaced by how much i hated his attitude.
    and mila omg, i mean she has a dalmatain — a freakin black and white dog! color me surprised. she is crazy.

    also, i know you do the real housewives recaps (which i love btw!) and i found this video i wanted to share. its of crazy kelli and her house and shows a better look of her apt and her handbags shot = dieeee. but get this, she took her HERMES SCARVES and sewed them into PILLOWS! i mean i have hermes scarves but if im not using them they are in their ornage boxes and being petted for how gorgeous they are. but hers she made PILLOWS! my mouth dropped. its ridiculous.

  • hannah

    heres the video idk why it iddnt go through. but its def worth watching if nothing than to reiterate our theory that shes crazy.

    http://www.hulu.com/playerembed.swf?referrer=none&eid=jnShRmdT2DWtfuUvjub2Ig&st=&et=&it=

  • Barb

    I’m beginning to think that this show has run it’s course. It just seems so flat… And this being saifd by someone who defended this show against Top Chef by saying fashion design is just more suited to TV.. Being a visual on a visual media and all. Even with the drama this season, it seemed flat. Last season the designers seemed flat, this season the designers seemed much more talented but still the show is flat. I’m going blame it on Lifetime! (fb)

  • Magda

    Hi guys, I also liked Seth Aaron’s line the best – so I just wanted to comment on something: he said (at least that’s what I recall) that he was inspired by the 40s German AND Russian military uniforms. So, it’s both sides – not only the bad guys. I don’t believe that he intended to praise Nazis or anything like that…

  • kacee

    thought this season better than last. congrats to seth aaron although i’m still partial to mila. (fb)

  • Debby R

    Thanks for your post on this. I am less and less enthusiastic about PR and it looks like the new producers have lost the magic. It will get less of my head-space in the future until they earn it back and probably isn’t deserving of your commentary either–you have too many other interesting thins to write about!

  • Jane

    I LOVED Seth Aaron’s collection! Emlio’s was a let down for me, but his red carpet green gold dress was amazing!

    Seth Aaron was the only one who had real COLOR in his collection. what is up with THAT?

  • Jane

    I LOVED Seth Aaron’s collection! Emlio’s was a let down for me, but his red carpet green gold dress was amazing!
    Seth Aaron was the only one who had real COLOR in his collection. what is up with THAT?

    ( fb) oops!

  • 19yearslater

    I loved Seth Aaron’s collection, and I’m sure that he meant no offense by the Nazi reference, the clothes may have been good even if the politics were not. Emilio and Mila fell short. Anthony was hilarious, once again- dancing to Mila’s show and his comments. I’m going to watch next season, and I’d still like recaps.

  • Vivian

    For runway and couture, Seth Green was definitely hands down the winner. (fb)

  • Leah

    I was happy Seth Aaron won, and was even more thrilled that Anthony wasn’t in the final ones. That guy is the reality gift that you just can’t return!!! I am amazed at how many people like him – he’s such a cliche…

  • Adrienne Zedella

    OMG this show is definately worth keeping on TV – it’s one of my favorite shows! Once I run across it, I quit surfing for something to watch. (fb)

  • Adrienne Zedella

    they never pick who i think should be the winner, though.
    i was rooting for Mila or Emilio (but Mila first) (fb)

  • Sue

    Please keep recapping Amanda! Your Project Runway recap is the highlight of my Monday. (fb)

  • Pretty Little World

    First of all, I feel like this season was so far ahead of the last season (yawn!) that’s it’s difficult to complain much. But the show is still on Lifetime (yawn!). I was super pleased that Seth Aaron won, esp. because it’s nice when nice people have good things happen to them.

    I’ll probably still watch the next season (and will definitely read your recaps!), but not because I love it anymore, just because I’ve always done it. The show lost something when it left Bravo, and while it’s tough to a finger on just what (everything looks the same, after all), it’s not as good as it used to be.

  • CW

    I was happy that Seth Aaron won. He did have the best overall look. I was not feeling Emilio’s collection at all. Mila’s was interesting and that was it. To me it was something that you would say, “Oh!” and then I’d forget about it.

    Amanda, I hope you continue your reviews!.I watch the show weekly but I still always look forward to reading your recaps on Mondays. I like the brutal honesty and with the side of humor.
    (fb)

  • Joyce

    Oh. Don’t watch this show. Used to though. It was a pretty good show from what I remember. :/
    Sorry. :/
    (fb)

    I really wish I took the time to watch it now!! D:

  • Roxanna

    Too bad I don’t watch this show but congratulations to Seth! (fb)

  • Denise

    I love who won, totally the right choice (fb)

  • Beth S.

    Are you kidding?!? OF COURSE I WANT YOU TO RECAP PROJECT RUNWAY, Amanda. Pleeeeeasedon’tstop!!

  • Kayla

    Love your recaps! (fb)

  • Meredith

    I would watch this show regardless because I want to give Tim Gunn a hug. And share a bottle of wine with him. I also need Nina Garcia to be snarky at least once an episode. Seth Aaron did have the best collection, but I liked Mila’s more than I expected. There’s a few pieces I really want. Note to Emilio – most women don’t want a mustard colored anything in their wardrobe. (fb)

  • ;;

    My job doesn’t require me to comment on a designer’s clothing, but I do anyways. Her remark might have been unnecessary but i don’t see why she’s obligated to keep quiet. She made an observation, a judgement and seeing that she’s wearing/around the clothes she has far more of a right to comment them than I or the general public do. Also I’m pretty sure that Jay’s made worse comments about the other designer’s clothing and isn’t his job just to make the clothes, not bitch about other people? the reasoning that cerri shouldn’t have made that remark bc she’s a model, not because it’s in bad taste is kind of off-putting.

    blehhh I agree about the whole unpleasant taste of the thing.

    w/e Seth Aaron seems like a really nice person and his clothes were so well made. Congratulations to him :)

    Oh yes, please keep recapping! your insights are interesting and frequently funny :D

    • I think it’s ok if the designers comment on each others’ clothing because not only are they charged with having good taste and thinking about aesthetics, but they also have to put their work out there to be judged as well. It’s easy for someone to judge when we have no way of evaluating her taste level or what kinds of expertise she might have. In that context, it seemed like a low blow to me. Although Jay did a good job of finding an even lower one.

  • JenG

    Amanda, I hope you continue to recap PR because without your recaps there would be no need to watch!

  • JennMSU

    i like your recaps, but sometimes it’s hard to keep writing the same thing, especially about a show like PR. “her outfit was boring, his was expected, i’m not sure what that designer was thinking … ” i can see how each review could be the same unless there is drama. it’s up to you! i wouldn’t write it if it was going to be painful because then your good writing style may not show! :) (fb)

  • Tamee

    I’m really glad Seth won – and not just because he’s from WA (woot woot!) His collection had pieces even I would wear, with the exception of the last purple piece. That one’s too much for me to pull off!

    I really liked Mila’s collection too, but as much as I wear a lot of black and gray, even I enjoy a bit of color every now and then – and I’m talking a bright color you can actually notice! After awhile, nothing but black and gray and white gets BORING!!

    Emilio’s was good too, but only a couple of his pieces I would (or could) wear! I do have to agree about the signature fabric though. While it was very cool, it would do best on accessories. (fb)

  • Chris

    If it becomes a pain for you to write about it – stop it. However, I still like the show and I would love to see further recaps from you.
    The show has lost some sparkle, that is true – perhaps it is simply difficult to find new challenges. However, it is still relevant. And probably the best fashion infotainment around.
    It always depends on the participants – they are not always that talented and not always good in front of the camera. And you cannot always have a Christian Siriano, who is clearly both (I still think this was the best season of that show).
    What I really liked this season (apart from the fashion): the finalists still were decent to each other and friendly, at least in front of the camera. In the past, some finalists were just nasty and showed a terrible side of themselves.
    As for Seth Aaron: he deserved to win. However, to refer to 2 (!) dictorships (yes, not only the Nazis killed, do you know how many millions died under Stalin in Gulags etc? Hmmm? What happened to the countries suppressed in the Warsaw pact? I think some people need a little history lesson here) was just TERRIBLE. He has to be more careful with his words. I understand that the ethic of Leni Reifenstahl or Helmut Newton are intriguing, but PLEASE be more careful with your words (and your thoughts).
    And last but not least: I love Tim Gunn – he is a real gem.

    • Chris

      I meant aesthetic of Leni and Helmut …. Not ethic. SORRY. English is not my native tongue.

    • I’m aware of the Russian atrocities as well, but I was merely addressing that from what I had read before I wrote this, people seemed to be particularly put-off by the mention of the German inspiration. I think he should have said “midcentury military inspiration” or something like that and been done with it. Although I know that comment may not be directed toward me, but I wanted to clarify my own sentiments.

      I agree that Christian’s season was the best of the show so far, and it’ll be hard to ever top that season. So many of those designers were so talented.

  • Mai

    I still haven’t watched the finale yet… Is it worth my time?

    • I think it is. I was genuinely entertained and the three collections were stronger than I had predicted.

      • Relli

        YES that was the best season ever. I wish they would bring back Tim Gunn’s guide to Style, that was an amazing show!

  • Savannah

    Seth Aaron deserved to win. (fb)

  • Monique

    It’s Wednesday. I’m hopeful about the Linea Pelle giveaway! (fb)

  • Jacqueline

    I loved Seth from the beginning. Glad he won (fb)

  • Jocelyn

    I don’t watch project Runway but I want to win a Linea Pelle pleeeeeeeeeeease! (fb)

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