Handicapping 'Project Runway''s final four designers
Josh M., Anya, Kimberly and Viktor take their shot at Bryant Park
Thursday night, Lifetime will air the season finale of "Project Runway," and this trip to Bryant Park will be no less fraught with tension than usual. But who will win and who will be auf'ed? It's anyone's guess (if evil, Aztec kitsch-inspired Gwetchen can trump Mondo as we saw last season, any injustice is possible), but hey, you can't blame me for trying.
Odds: 99 to 1
The fact that Kimberly is still in the running is something of a shock. With only one win (and two top three showings) to her credit, she's mostly made a name for herself as "the chick who makes great pants." This would be wonderful if we were watching "Project Seamstress," but that's not the case, no matter how fabulous those chiffon stilt walker trousers were. The collection we saw a smattering of last week suggests that the questionable taste we saw at the very beginning of the show (but hoped had been vanquished) has reared its head again. An aggressively tacky bubble-butt skirt, garish colors (did she go shopping with Josh M.?) and poor styling made even some sharp, well-tailored items look cheap. Her desire to introduce us to a Brooklyn girl who has become gentrified but not lost her street attitude? J. Lo already has a collection, Kim, and it's at Kohl's, not Bryant Park.
Odds: 49 to 1
I'll be the first to admit it: my personal dislike for Josh M. and the catty, pouty behavior he's demonstrated on the show undoubtedly plays a role in his low ranking. Still, I think his persistent (and unfounded) belief in his own tacky taste level will be his undoing. Though he has two wins (and four top three showings) for the season, he also has turned up in the bottom three twice. More importantly, most of the outfits which curried the praise of the judges were ones that he either tossed together at the last minute (the orange shift he clearly copied from Bert) or were stripped of his usual garishness due to the parameters of the challenge (that basic black dress he designed for a client). More than anyone else this season, Josh M. seems to have lucked into the winner's circle over and over again, like some delusional show pony who doesn't realize he's only succeeding because the frontrunner broke a leg.
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Josh M.'s tendency to rip off design elements in the workroom revealed a designer lacking both confidence (despite his superior attitude) and vision, and the fact that he showed Tim a collection that was a neon bright nightmare (and made Tim look as close to politely vomiting into his coat pocket as I've ever seen him) suggests that the judges' requests for less rather than more ultimately went, at least to some degree, unheeded. Though the limited array of designs that walked the runway last week weren't his worst, I still saw plenty of crayon-colored crap on his hanging rack. Though it might appeal to Michael or Heidi, I suspect Nina would rather give the winning prize money to a homeless guy wearing a black trashbag as a fashion statement than let Josh M. take the win.
Odds: 2 to 1
Oh, Anya. Just a week ago, I would have put her as the obvious front runner. How could she not win "Project Runway"? The judges love her (three wins, three top three showings and just one bottom three result), the fans love her (last I checked the fan favorite results, she had a whopping 50 percent of the vote) and she made outfits that were both fashion-forward and (gasp!) wearable. But then, the unthinkable happened. The laid-back island beauty queen lost confidence.
Truth told, The poorly-sewn mustard-colored gown she sent down the runway should have been enough to get her sent home, especially as it was paired with an unimpressive bathing suit. Anya's attempt to dress up her clothes with bangles and other fashion flotsam just compounded the problem. Anya made not just a misstep, but a serious, game changing one.
And yet... I'm still rooting for her, and clearly the judges are as well (what else accounts for a final four instead of a final three?). I'm hoping that the rest of the designs on her hanging rack are more impressive than what we've seen thus far, and knowing Anya she just may be selling herself short. I think there's a place in fashion for modern silhouettes with an island attitude, and if Anya can rediscover her mojo in time for Bryant Park, she still has a solid shot at winning. More than any of the other finalists, she had an innate sense of what worked, what flattered and what constituted fashion. Still, that mojo rediscovery is a big, big if.
Odds: 1 to 2
Maybe it was the white, jeweled jacket (though it was a little too Michael Jackson-y for my taste, it was certainly a hit with Heidi), maybe it was the fact his pieces (though horribly put together for last week's runway) all looked expensive and well-made, but Viktor may just be the man to beat on Thursday -- if he can get his styling right.
Like Josh M., he still needs to remember less is more on the runway, but he's been a slow and steady contender thus far (he's had two wins, three top three showings and two bottom three results). No one can argue that he has exceptional tailoring skills, and unlike Anya, he can make a jacket like nobody's business. Though I don't think his instincts are as dead-on as Anya's usually are, he does make beautiful clothes, he has vision, and he's definitely creative enough for Josh M. to know a good thing (and want to rip him off mercilessly). Plus, you have to give him points for entertainment value -- "Oh my Lord of the Rings" may just be the catch phrase of the season.
Who do you think will be the first eliminated? Who do you think will win? And whose clothes do you think consumers would actually buy?
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