The penultimate episode of Project Runway 9 aired last Thursday (10/13/11) and it had the final 5 contestants competing to see who would make it on to show their collections at New York Fashion Week. In this episode, the contestants had 2 days, a budget of $500 and 3 designs to create to earn a coveted spot to the finals. By now, all the contestants dropped any pretenses of friendship and it was every designer for him/herself.
For the theme, the final 5 were taken to Governors Island to gain inspiration for their 3 new looks. Laura became fascinated with circles that she apparently noticed “everywhere” throughout the ginormous location, so that’s what she decided to focus on. Kimberley took her inspiration from one of the many large sculptures, as did Anya. Viktor, rather than enjoying the natural getaway of the island instead decided to look across the harbor back towards the Big Apple and focused on the city’s skyline. Joshua was transfixed by the military camp aspect of the island and a church, along with its stained-glass windows.
For such a large challenge, the designers were assisted by the last 5 eliminated contestants on their three looks. While this could have proved a dramatic and interesting point, since the designers had to choose their assistants in order from who’s name was randomly chosen first, it seemed like everyone was paired up with their preferred assistant: Kimberley with Becky, Viktor with Oliver, Laura with Anthony Ryan, Anya with Bert and Joshua with Bryce.
From there on, the episode sort of rushed through the details of the designs until they started showing shots of the finished pieces. Laura’s looks were focused around this weird, black, circle-y fabric which she planned on using in all three of her looks. I personally didn’t care much for it and honestly thought she’d get sent home by going with such a horrid idea. Even her assistant and friend, Anthony Ryan didn’t seem too keen on the concept. Anya chose her fabrics based on a desired color scheme and palate, so that she wasn’t so much focused with creating over-the-top looks. Instead, she opted for draping and classic, simple looks. I didn’t really notice her work much throughout this portion of the show – it really shone once it walked the runway later on.
Joshua’s small, white dress with lace on the top was really cute and surprisingly edited for him (something he’s always critiqued on by the judges!). It was hard to focus on his work so much, though, since he kept bitching about Anya beating him in the last competition. We get you’re good, Joshua, but you’re also not the best! I just want to say, “Get over yourself.” Viktor’s fabric was criticized by his assistant, Oliver, so that I thought it might actually cost him a spot in the finals – Oliver has a good sense of taste, so I valued his opinion. When he says it’s ugly, don’t take it for granted. But as with Anya, I didn’t notice his looks much until the runway. Finally, Kimberley looked like she was in trouble. She redesigned her original idea of pants because they didn’t fit her model and had to create a quick skirt out of nowhere, which wasn’t really any good.
Once the runway show started, I was really impressed with Anya. Of the remaining five, my clear favorite this season has been Joshua, but I even had a little trouble with the striped top he made and put under this really cute vest. Other than that, his looks were worthy. Back to Anya, it’s surprising that she’s only been sewing for a few months, yet every challenge has managed to create something totally new, different, and fashionable. She definitely has won me over these last few episodes.
Another favorite of mine, Kimberley, looked like she wasn’t going to make it through. Her looks were all criticized sans one: a glittery, short dress, but which also reminded the judges of previous designs she’s already made. Laura, who I don’t really care for, faired the same as Kim, having one of her three looks praised and the other two dismissed. Viktor, another designer I’m not too fond of, got praise for his commercial looks, but was also knocked down for not being flashy enough. Although I am personally not a big fan of his person, I have to admit he does make some really good clothes.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived. Four designers were chosen to advance, with one of them to be eliminated upon their return to New York once they’ve created their collection. Only three will eventually show their collections at Fashion Week. Anya, Viktor, Joshua and Kimberley all advanced, with the “I’ve-been-sewing-since-I-was-eight” Laura eliminated. I have to say, I was really pleased with the final four selected, and now eagerly anticipate the finale to air on Thursday, October 20th. I’m really torn at this point as to who I want to win, but I’m leaning towards Anya and/or Joshua. We’ll just have to wait and see! I’ll be back with my recap of what’s sure to be an intense and entertaining finale.
– Jose Vera