pr finale

Thursday night saw the end to our long national nightmare, also known as Project Runway Season 6. Three brave but dubiously qualified women took the catwalk of battle and squared off with their marginal design talents and delusions of grandeur, and only one would be left standing among the tattered ruins of swatches and…felt helmets?

That’s what those were, right? Whatever, it’s probably best to not ask so many questions, as the answers have been unsatisfying for the entirety of the season (although I’ve got another one – how was it that the designers were shown introducing their collections on the runway when all the press from the event said that they made no appearances and that the designers were not identified? Was that staged?) At this point, I would recommend some serious suspension of disbelief while Carol Hannah, Althea, and Irina all send their models clippity-clopping down the runway and pretend like they’ve made professional-quality collections.

Even the stoic and composed Tim Gunn was reduced to a bit of a tantrum by trying to organize these three “designers” into a passable runway show. When they’re pushing Tim Gunn to that kind of behavior in front of a camera, it’s obvious that this entire thing has gone pathetically wrong at some point.

We’ll dispense first with Althea, since I liked her collection the least. In fact, when I think back on it, hardly anything comes to mind – there were no chatter-inducing standout looks, and if you can’t get people to talk about your collection, you’re sunk. Fashion is a field that’s ruled by hype and trends and the Next Big Thing – if no one’s talking, no one is buying. Her best look was probably the one that they were forced to add to the collection after arriving back in New York, and if that one overshadowed all the others, then what had she been doing for all those weeks that she was at home? Watching Gossip Girl on DVD? Actually, if she had been, the clothes probably would have been better. As they were, it was a lot of 80s derivative and some wonky tailoring.

And then Carol Hannah. I actually like, oh, about half of her collection. The other half looked like it belonged in the closet of a woman dowdily making her way through the later parts of middle age (not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just not runway fodder). Just as Althea did, Carol Hannah had some issues with cohesion (although I’m not convinced that anyone other than fashion people actually care about cohesion – if someone just wants to buy a sweater or a dress from a line, do they really care how well that sweater or dress goes with the stuff that they’re not buying?), but at least all of her clothes managed to fit beautifully. She’s easily the best tailor of the group, but she’s got some work to do on her design chops.

Unlike Althea’s collection, however, there were actually looks that I remember. My favorite, of course, was the grey-lavender dress with the inverted tulle skirt. If Carol Hannah had made a collection of pieces that were on par with that dress and played with volume and proportion in the same interesting, artful way, then she may have actually had a serious shot at winning this season.

Of course, she didn’t have a chance, because her collection wasn’t entirely interesting (or entirely anything), and because the scowling, whining, blame-passing, smack-talking juggernaut that is Irina could not be stopped. Her collection was blackity-black-black, which was mostly ok with everyone but it made Nina give her the sort of withering look of which I hope I am never on the receiving end. You see, Nina told them when they got to New York for the runway show that all-black collections don’t get much editorial, and apparently she thought that would mean that Irina would change her entire collection to something different, given no time or resources.

I was kind of on Team Irina on this issue – that would have been valuable advice to give the designers BEFORE they were sent off to do their collections. But the day before Bryant Park? What was Irina supposed to do, exactly? Even if she had made her 13th piece something not-black, it wouldn’t have been cohesive with her collection and then they would have complained about that AND the fact that she still had so much black.

She won anyway, because even in all black, her collection was still head and shoulders above either of the other ones. Mediocrity ruled the day, just as it had all season, and we all bore witness to a fate that had been long ago sealed (by my estimation, approximately when Epperson was eliminated). And now it’s over, and hopefully we’ll all be able to forget it quickly and move on. Maybe after the next season gets going, we’ll all look back and go, “Remember that weird season of Project Runway that got delayed forever and then totally blew?”

We’ll find out sooner than we all expected – the next season premieres January 14. All this show needs in order to be good is a decent cast, and I’m holding out hope that they found one. Until they prove it, I shall continue to title my recaps with TS Eliot quotes.

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  • BeBe

    I just want the winner of one season to actually be a likeable person. Irina didn’t even smile when she won! What would it take to put a smile on that girls face or for her to even look like she wanted to be there???

    I hope they find more people like Koto & Carol Hannah for their next season…you know, people who are genuinely nice & happy at the chance to make a big name for themselves…that would sure be refreshing!!!

  • PerkyPeach

    Maybe this season of PR will be like the Real World London season…a mistake that everyone agrees to forget; something that just disappears over time!

  • Susan

    I was sooo disappointed with this season. I at least liked Carol Hannah, and thought her clothes were well made. Irina’s were interesting…but not anything spectacular, and all black…yuk. And remember about her T-shirt and the plagiarism, with the Coney Island ferris wheels? Well, it looks like the ‘tribute’ to New York -her reasons for loving New York – were NOT her own. She plagiarized THAT as well. They were the NY Magazine’s 2008 Reasons to love New York they do each year. Here’s a link, hope it works…

    http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/11/irinas_project_runway_shirt_kn.html

    That should get her disqualified! Even if Althea would be the one to get the money and all, not Carol, my favorite..Irina should NOT benefit. She did it on purpose for a 2nd time!

  • alund

    Irina was a total bore, as was this whole season. When you don’t really didn’t care who wins PR, you know there’s a big problem with the season. Worst of all, you can be a total a__hole like Irina, but if still inspire with your designs or at least have a bigger than life personality (Santino, for example) at least you’ll make us care one way or another. Didn’t care about any but Epperson.

  • hiptownrose

    If Carol Hannah had built up to that grey/lavender confection, and maybe carried the color (even with a deeper hue) into some of the other looks, she may have pulled it off. I think the judges were looking for any reason not to vote for Irina, but blackblackblack was cohesive (if boring). Let’s just chalk this one up as an appetizer.

  • Mochababe73

    I liked Irina because she treated Project Runway like it was meant to be-a competition. She had a goal, put her nose to the grindstone, and won. I wish more people her age would have that type of drive and ambition.
    The judges had no choice. Carol Hannah and Althea’s collections were a complete mess. There were other eliminated designers that could have done a better job than Carol Hannah. This chick was always “safe” until the Christina Aguilera debacle. So, that ‘s what you got out from her, a safe, boring runway show. Althea is a good designer, but her collection was a mess!
    I love color and wear very little black so, yes, I think that Irina’s clothes would look just as good in color, but, hands down, she was the best of the 3.

  • naked_lunch

    as tim would say, “egads!” egads to this whole season! let’s all try and forget it ever happened, okay?

  • Beth

    I guess I’m a latecomer, as I never watched Project Runway until this season. I was just surfing the channels one day at the very beginning of this season and got hooked. Not that I’m a reality/competition show watcher, or much of a fashionista. I just found the whole thing incredibly amusing (esp. Tim Gunn, I must say!) CH was adorable, but so was Shirin. Althea never interested me much, nor did Logan. Epperson was wrongly eliminated way too soon — I would have loved to see what he turned out later on — but I picked Irina as the winner from the very, very beginning. She jsut had the most competitive personality and the most professionalism about her. Not that I liked her all that much, in fact I thought it was delightful when she got called “Mean-a Irina”. But her runway collection? The blatant plagiarism should be enough to strip her of her title! And those helmets? WTF?!? Oh well, I’m excited to dig into another season ASAP. (Better than having to wait a year between seasons of “Big Love”.)

  • Nancy

    I must say, I disliked Irina most heartily, and didn’t think she was creative at all, just a good seamstress. However, her collection was cohesive and my heart sank when I saw it, because I instantly knew they were going to pick it for the win. However, the other two have more potential to be much greater designers imo, so the fact that they didn’t win shouldn’t be that big a deal. 100,000 bucks to start a company isn’t really that much any way. Carol Hannah and Althea should find some investors ASAP.

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