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PROJECT RUNWAY.....Season 9 Project Runway Recaps: Finale Episode

And the Winner Is...
Caftan Queen: Anya Ayong-Chee, Winner of Project Runway Season 9
Alrighty kids, last night was the Project Runway Season 9 Finale and yes, it was a DOOZY! The show--and season--ended with another controversial ending and winner (we had barely gotten over the whole Gretchen thang!). There has been much criticism about not only the winner, but the show itself--none more biting than by my Fab friends Tom & Lorenzo and their Recap HERE.
Heidi and Nick: Heidi Klum and Nick Verreos , Project Runway Season 9 Finale Fashion Show
Although they do make some very valid points and there's no denying that the show is different than it was "back in my day" (Season 2 Rocks!!). I come from a place where I am an "Alumni"--a Graduate perhaps--therefore, I have a soft spot for the show. I want to see it succeed and have the show--and its designers do well. Sometimes, I turn a "blind eye" to its "bad parts" and hope for the best but I think that everyone can agree that the level of the talent was "lower" than usual and the DRAMA was rather "heightened" maybe, as a result.
Top Four: Viktor Lina, Anmya Ayoung-Chee, Joshua McKinley, Kimberly Goldson
I've been getting comments on my BLOG at saying that I am "toe'ing the party line" in terms of Lifetime and the show. I think it's important to state that Lifetime or any of the producers of the show have NEVER tried to edit me or say "Umm, do you really wanna say that?" and I thank them for that and allowing me to voice my humble opinion. You--the fans, the readers, can make arguments for both Josh or Viktor winning, however, I still feel that out of the four collections shown that day at Lincoln Center, Anya's was the best.
Print Queen: Anya Ayoung-Chee and her models, backstage at the Project Runway Season 9 Finale Fashion Show
Oh, and BTW: this is just my opinion, and to add: I tend to go for the "Anya" aesthetic": I like prints and easy-breezy Resort-y gowns. That's what I like. You may not. That is the great thing about fashion, it is subjective and we can all have our OWN opinions. I attended the Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week Project Runway Show and I was there to witness it all. Let me just also add that the collections look different on TV than they do in person. When you see the collections live, you get the 3D experience, a sense of flow and a power from (some) of the pieces. On television it often can seem slicker with it's fancy camera angles and close-up shots.
And the First Runner Up Is: Anya Ayoung-Chee and Joshua McKinley, Project Runway Season 9 Finale Episode
From the live show, I thought Joshua's was "questionable" (I would have bet he was a "decoy" and not a Finalist!), Viktor's was good and I loved his prints (but I was apprehensive about the no-lining dresses), but I did remember thinking Anya's Resort Luxe-looking collection was one of the most cohesive. But, I also felt, she's not the Winner, not with all those similar-looking printed caftans! But then if not her...who was??? Well, yes, it was Miss Anya Ayoung-Chee. How was her collection the "Best"??? Let me Review them all: Kimberly Goldson:
Kimberly Goldson Project Runway Season 9 Finale Collection, NY Fashion Week Spring 2012
I liked Kimberly's collection but I remember sitting there at Lincoln Center thinking "Those black wedge heels for EVERY LOOK, don't look so good!" and at the same time, loving that black sequined gown and not loving that "Bootie-Bump" skirt. It was very Baby Phat-meets-Rachel Roy. Which I love. But is that the next Top American Designer? I didn't think so. These looks are already out there--versions of them--in stores. It doesn't take fashion to well, "another level" per se. A counterpoint that many commentators are making to me is that neither does Anya's; which is a valid point. I guess the difference to me is that Anya's looked Luxe, while Kimberly's looked more suited for the Contemporary Department of a Store. Joshua McKinley:
Joshua McKinley Project Runway Season 9 Finale Collection, NY Fashion Week Spring 2012
Joshua--such a controversial "Love-him or Hate-Him" character this Season. He almost got the Project Runway crown. Why? Because the judges just LUVED his designs. And he edited. He learned from their critiques. And yes, it made for GREAT TV to have the "Villain" be up against Miss Anya. I liked his collection suffered from being TWO different women. One, loves plastic-accented jersey gathered tunic gowns...and the other, neon green 80's bicycle shorts! No one argues that maybe he should have won (boy, would that have been a WEB uproar!!!). But what people are all angst-ridden about is... Viktor Luna:
Viktor Luna Project Runway Season 9 Finale Collection, NY Fashion Week Spring 2012
Now, this is where the controversy kicks in--everyone and their puppy thought Viktor should have won. His collection was good; but not all-together cohesive good. At least for me. His prints were AMAZING. But then, he went into an S&M Bondage, sheer chiffon, Frida Giannini-for-Gucci Fall 2011 girl. The reason he didn't win--as opposed to Anya--was the same as for Joshua--he also suffered from what I call the "Two-Headed Woman" syndrome. This was also a collection that did not benefit from the LIVE viewing. In person the collection was not very impacting. It was much more subtle and almost delicate (even with its bondage elements). I think if he was able to have made a 35 look collection it could have been amazing, but with only 10 looks to make an impact, it left the audience wanting more. Anya Ayoung-Chee:
Anya Ayoung-Chee Project Runway Season 9 Finale Collection, NY Fashion Week Spring 2012
Miss Anya...How could she have won? I just don't get it? She only learned how to sew months ago...She never finished her dresses with an opening/closure!... Her collection was the most cohesive. She had ONE GIRL in mind and she stayed true to that vision. You may not like that ONE girl or think it was too narrow in its scope, but to my eyes it was the most cohesive and complete collection that day. Congratulations to all four of the finalists and take it from me, its not always winning that makes you a success!! To Read My Recap of the Finale Episode, scroll down kids... "From Beauty Queen to Fashion Queen"
"Project Runway" Rewind: Back in September, I flew to the East Coast for two things: to host a "Fashion's Night Out" event in West Virginia (technically "The South" but still East Coast–adjacent) and then to attend the Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week "Project Runway" show. It was two days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and traffic in Manhattan was at a standstill. I barely made it. I watched NINE — yes, NINE — shows (five "decoys" and the four finalists). There was a whole lot of mess (little Bryce, I am talking to you!), but there were some shining moments. I SWORE Laura Kathleen was one of the finalists. Hers was one of the strongest collections. I was wrong. And I thought Joshua's was all over the place and too "kooky" ('80s neon-green "bicycle shorts"?). I would have bet one of my Herm├Ęs ties that he was a "decoy" (wrong again!). But one thing stuck out: Those glorious dresses from Anya. I thought, wow, if she made it THIS far, and with barely knowing how to sew … Atta-Gurl!

A Gift of $500 … to Anya! Let's see how it really turned out. As of last week, the Top Four finalists showed the judges three looks that were supposed to be representative of their collections. Anya suffered. Her pieces looked like she had made them in three hours. Under any other circumstances, she would have been OUT. But the judges decided to keep her. "She has come this far …" they argued. Going into the final two days before the Finale Show, she was the underdog. Out of the blue, Monsieur Gunn walks into the workroom and provides them all with a "gift." The conspiracy theorist in me felt it was intended for Anya, as a "GURL, you better 'Make It Work' and redo your damn collection!" She did.

The Susan Lucci Award Goes To … How are the rest of the finalists doing? Viktor inexplicably buys some see-through, stretch cheetah print that has nothing to do with his collection, to add some new looks. As they showed him going through his rack, editing out some of his custom prints, I thought, "Oh dear, he's heading down the wrong path!" Kimberly is making more of those not-so-flattering "booty bump" skirts (NO!), and Miss Joshua is doing his best Soap Opera Digest Award Performance of how he has "NOTHING … to come home to … not even a job!" ...
Click HERE for the rest of my Recap---

3 Responses to "PROJECT RUNWAY.....Season 9 Project Runway Recaps: Finale Episode"

Anonymous said...

I have watched Project Runway since the beginning. This was the first time I agreed with the judge's decision with regard to the winner. I thought her clothes were beautiful. Not edgy, not arty - beautiful. Can't there be one year when the judges opt for that? As noted, fashion is highly subjective. There is a market for each of the finalists, although Kim will be in trouble if she keeps designing fashions with extra fabric on the hips, thighs and rear where most women don't want it.

The judges critiqued each of the finalists. The two finalists listened to what the judges told them and were rewarded. They told Viktor flat out to use the last week to make black pants and a tee to showcase his jacket (which indicated to me that the decision to gice them more money was made in advance of the semi-final judging and was known to the judges).

Finally, as they pointed out throughout the season, this is a design competition, not a sewing competition. Do you think Michael Kors whips up samples? Anya learned enough sewing so that the judges could see her vision. It seems to me that she grasps the big picture, as a true designer should. Sounds like a winner to me.

Anonymous said...

Oh Nick, what would the judges have said about your clothes had they been badly sewn and half finished? If you had sewn your models into them? If you had no earthly idea how to make a sleeve? If you sent the same silhouette down the runway taime after time? Of course there is cohesion. This one look is all she knows how to make.

Vic said...

I totally agree with second anonymous. Anya's collection was one note and so predictable that I found myself laughing when I saw the pieces coming down the runway.

Also, the audience knew the fix was in. Anya did not deserve surviving the semi-finals. It's interesting that so few bloggers who support her remember her horrible two looks out of three during the so-called semi-final elimination. What a joke.

Sorry, but looking at Viktor's designs over the weeks and at those gorgeous prints he created, his craftsmanship, and his attention to detail, you saw how he designed and sewed rings around Anya. Yet the judges, recognizing his workmanship basically dismissed him and fawned all over Anya.

Not a single suburban woman in my social set wears floaty kaftans, not even in the Carribean. But they would wear Viktor's jackets in a second.