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Inspiration

Project Runway Season 6 Finale – Tim has a meltdown

Nov 20, 2009
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Irina produced several beautiful ensembles, but this sweater was a good idea that didn't quite hit the bullseye.

Before the first garment entered the runway, our normally calm and collected Tim Gunn was going into panic mode because the models weren’t ready. But somehow from the stage it looked like everything went off without a hitch. Rerun the episode online if you didn’t see it and listen to all of the pros and cons from the judges, but only here will you will you read our well versed evaluations.

Althea’s presentation was a display of extremes in my book: Everything was either too much, too large, too small, or missing. Who ever thought a sweater could be uncomfortably large? But I thought hers were, with sleeves over the hands and necklines falling off the shoulders. Sometimes an oversized look is sexy but these were so oversized that they were like crawling under a tent. Althea does have a talent with pants, from shorts to harem style.

I thought Carol Hannah won the Bryant park event. The only garment I didn’t like was the bright blue cape with the black shorts. I loved the last pale gold gown, which fit right into her own description of her line as “part Gothic architecture and part fairytales.” Poor little thing does get the award for tenacity; she really did hang in there when she was sick and pulled herself through it. She produced a beautiful and original line of dresses.

Throughout the season, Carol Hannah and Althea seemed to fly slightly under the radar. When designers are just passed on to the next round, even though they’re safe, they aren’t getting exposure. From a self marketing standpoint, it’s better to fight it out at the bottom (like Christopher did) for a fourth of each program than disappear. Interestingly, for as much as I enjoyed Carol Hannah’s show and her obvious skill as a designer, I think the blue dress/tunic she was wearing influenced the judging negatively. It was too strong for her–too much dress, too much color, and too much style, all of which overpowered her. A softer color and a little less volume would have made her look stronger.

I learned some things from Irina. The judges remarked that an almost all black show isn’t good; Nina remarked that black didn’t get on too many magazine pages. One reason is because you can’t see detail in the black. But I realized, as I was watching, that the viewer also starts fading out the people who are all dressed in black after awhile. Hmmm, I wear a lot of black, maybe I should restyle myself. I realized about half way through Irina’s show that she only had four dresses and everything else was some sort of wrap. She’s a coat designer. She talked about structured draping, the judges talked about her talent of mixing tailoring with draping. I believe the structure she’s getting in her draping comes from coat weight fabrics. After all of the mumbling about Althea copying Irina, the interwoven tucks/pleats on her 13th garment (and also used on the long black gown) are in no way original. One thing for sure though, Irina was a presence throughout the season, she won several episodes and consistently delivered a good product even though it might not have been my favorite.

Now tell me what you thought. I’m already looking forward to meeting back here in January for our take on season 7.  Until then….

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  1. Skymom November 29th

    It's taken me forever to get here and read what you all have written! I agree--Carol Hannah's collection was the most appealing to me, too. Feminine, interesting, well-executed...everything you'd want to see. And based on the fact that I would have worn nearly everything in it, I thought it was cohesive. Irina's offered no surprises at all, and the all-black palette made it so hard to see the details that I found it even a little ho-hum on the runway. (It's probably a lot more compelling in real life, though). Althea's? Ugh. Just ugh. Heidi's comment that Althea grasps the "cool" factor from the streets baffled me, but then, I don't really follow what's cool on the streets! Even the best of her pieces required a major overhaul to be wearable at all by an actual person, and the colors were just not there. Overall, the whole show was somewhat disappointing.

  2. sewmamma November 25th

    I liked Carol Hannah the best. I agree that I liked the fact that the abrasive contestants were absent this time. In the past I have tuned Project Runway out because of all the conflict. It would be interesting if the contestants had to design and dress normal women for the whole show. Design for us less than perfect bodies and see who does the best job. I can dress a dress form too but I am challenged to dress my own body.

  3. Cherlyn November 23rd

    I personally liked Carol Hanna's collection the best. The sweaters were too oversized in Althea's collection. Irena's was too outer space. They looked like costumes for a sci-fi film and the hats just sealed that look. Black may be the "in" color for large cities but I don't think the average female wants to wear all black. Althea appeared to loose site of her own creativity and began looking like Irena's ideas. Carol Hanna may have performed better if she had not been so sick. I agree the blue was too strong of a color for her to wear. I do wish she would not giggle so much.

  4. User avater Soli November 23rd

    I would like to think that most people watch the show for the design process, so I agree that the editing needs to be a little less drama-oriented. I saw comments elsewhere from people who considered this season a snooze-fest for lack of crazy people like Santino, Jeffrey, or Kenley, and I say hallelujia to that! I don't see why the whole decision making process involved in creating a look or a collection has to be subordinate to manufactured conflict.

    And am I the only person who thinks that the editing was also less than kind to Tim Gunn in some cases? The man is the calm center of their stormy universe - he doesn't need to be made to look any less than the great teacher that he is!

  5. User avater SCsewer November 23rd

    I was disappointed with the winner - I did not like the color palette, or should I say, lack of color. The judges described Irina's clothing as edgy, which is becoming an overworked word. Does the fashion industry really need another designer that designs unwearable clothing? I think Carol Hannah's clothing would sell much better than Irina's or Althea's.
    Project Runway is becoming less about good designing and more about interpersonal drama, which is a shame. And how about a season where the clothes are designed to fit and be worn by real women, not stick-thin models or mannequins!

  6. User avater msbyrdt November 23rd

    First...I agree with SOLI, that Gordana was robbed. I think that she has a design quality (if nurtured) of designers of long ago. Not all of the manipulating fabric. Just straight pure design.
    As for the final show, I was at the point that it didn't matter much, who won. I liked Carol Hannah's line, but alas, it wasn't cohesive..."drats". Some of the sweaters in Althea's collection looked like a knitting project gone bad(meoOW). I liked the ideas, of some of her sweaters, just not final execution. Finally, Irina....do any of you remember the words in an OLD song.."black is black"...? The only item I really liked, were the hats.
    Overall, this season really lacked spark and OOOOh Wow.
    ps
    What's up with the fashion(?) editors' bangs. Is it just me?

  7. sews4fun November 22nd

    I was not surprised that Irina won, I dont care for her but her win was not unexpected. While Carol Hannah'a clothing was wearable, Irina's was edgy, different and she had the total package, helmets, bags, gloves, you name it. Her collection was polished and sophisticated. It offered no color variation I can't say even one piece was pretty but her presentation was well thought out. I personally liked the pleating and the workmanship in her collection. I feel that Carol Hannah should have come in second, not third. I loved her first dress and one of her last dresses that was made of many bits of tiny fabric was amazing! That dress had such movement! Each section of that dress moved in unison with the main fabric body and it was captivating to watch that dress go down the runway. Carol Hannah designs more for real people like me (not 20 yrs old and not model thin) rather than the young, razor thin models that P.R. seems to prefer. I would have LOVED to have seen Carol Hannah win but I hope we will see more of her. Then there's Althea, what became of Althea? Other than her 13th look, the beige pants, her collection was ..... less than impressive. I could NOT believe this was the same person who had sent so many stylish garments down the runway. She said she had been watching SI FI flicks and that was what inspired her. I suspect she must have been watching "Invasion of the body snatchers" because the stuff she brought to B.P. was not by the same Althea I watched all season. I will say this for both Althea and Carol Hannah, they both showed great class when they didnt win. They were gracious and smiled and Althea stood and applauded Irina after she was declared the winner. I am proud of them both for that. Irina was clearly angry when M.K. told her that her theme was not new and Nina made the comment about the all black collection. I think C.H. and A.H. have more class in their little fingers than Irina has in her whole body. Also, Irina needs to remember, this is a contest themed reality show with emphasis on the show and not on the contest. With the exception of Christian Seriano, Im not aware of any former P.R. winner who has actually become ultra successful in the fashion industry.
    With all that said, I still enjoy watching and knowing Im not alone in my addiction to this ridiculous show! ;-)

  8. User avater Kate_W November 21st

    Carol Hannah’s first dress out of the gate and down the runway was gorgeous. I could see it with different skirt lengths and different color palettes. If last night had been judged on one look, I thought Carol Hannah was the winner.

    Althea and Irina must have taken a cue from Snuggies with their sweaters. Both collections had some eye-catching detailing and styling – Althea’s pants, Irina’s coats. Irina's win? It seemed that she had immunity episodes ago and that it was a foregone conclusion.

    I also look forward to a more design and process oriented PR next season. Really appreciate the blog, and thank you Judith and all at Threads!

  9. User avater Bethsayssew November 21st

    I too think Carol Hannah had the best collection - at least in terms of what could truly be worn. Althea and Irina still looked like they took ideas from each other even though they developed their lines in separate locations. Who would wear a sweater where your hands are completely lost?? And am I the only one who thinks that Irina copied the birds from one of her purchased t shirts that she was told she couldn't use - then designed her own "original" t shirt for her collection??

    There were several pieces in Carol Hannah's collection that I wish were in my wardrobe now. I understand the judges comment about a unifying thread - but why does that carry more weight than "don't use all black"

    I enjoy the show, because I am impressed by what the designer's can do in such a limited amount of time. If I only had 30 minutes in a fabric store I would be completely lost

  10. nativemsn November 21st

    I also liked Carol Hannah's collection which I thought was more pleasing to the eye than the other two designer's collections. If she only had a common 'thread' with her collection, I think she could have won. To me, that was her only downfall. And I think she was actually smart to wear what she did for the show. It show-cased her design appeal and frankly, she was the best dressed of the three. And Althea wearing holey tights was just tacky.

    I think that Irina won based on her having the 'whole' look as Michael Kors thought--the clothes, the hats and the bag(s). So what?! Hers was not the best looking! And Nina gave her the eye when she said that they talked about not have an all-black collection. And she didn't listen. I think because she had this 'complete' look going and the continuity needed for a 'collection' was why she won. I understand what a collection is supposed to be. But, why give praise mostly based on that reasoning? Shouldn't praise be given to the best looking, creatively styled, good construction of the clothes? I think so!

    All I have to say about Althea's collection is boring. I thought she was going to have color in it other than the one green short dress which was not attractive at all! I was disappointed in it.

    Looking forward to Jan. 14!

  11. User avater grnthumb30 November 20th

    Personally, I liked Carol Hannah's collection, even though it didn't seem to be quite so blatantly consistent and unified as Irina's. Her color palette was very nice too. Althea's style is not really my style and I agree that her oversized sweaters were way too oversized. (They reminded me of my 3 year old playing dress up!) Irina did have some nice detail to some of her pieces, but I agree it was way too black... too dark! The hats helped pull it all together, but made me think of punk rockers with mohawks. I will be again watching next season.

  12. User avater Soli November 20th

    Not thrilled with the outcome, but then again, I found this years batch of designers uninspired period. Aesthetically, I found Carol Hannah's collection much lovelier than Irina's. Carol's problem was in not limiting her pallette or using repetition in accessories to tie her collection together. I totally get it, having done my time in retail hell. I still think that Gordana was robbed. Althea's lack of experience and visual acumen showed on the runway, just as it showed in her mangled Getty separates. The discussion boards on the official PR website are full of postings calling for a boycott of anything that Irina produces, or any companies she associates with. While I don't think that sort of action is called for (because face it, the whole world isn't your target customer), I don't think that Irina produced the best collection in terms of design, execution, or fabrication. However, her presentation was best in terms of looking like a unified collection, so she won by default.

    I hope the next season, which begins in January, is more inspiring because this season was just blah design wise. I really don't care about the personal drama, I just want to see what these people can do with some fabric and thread.

  13. User avater sewlore November 20th

    I was in such a hurry to comment, that I wrote on the space for episode 13. I agree that Carol Hannah made dresses that women would like to wear.I think she should have won. In season 5, the winner made structural designs that I thought were unwearable by the general public. Again, in this season, the judges went for the "ugly." What is so stylish about wearing a coat over a dressy t-shirt? I knew that Irina had won when the fashion editor for the Herald Tribune International gushed over Irina's clothes. and of course Michael Kors was totally enamored of the little black hats.
    I wonder what next season will bring.

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