Let's jump right into it.
Laurence's collection suffered from Kini Syndrome: that thing where you do fantastic work the entire season and then your collection is completely unlike anything you've made that the judges loved.
I understood her desire to take a departure from black, and I think the neutral color palette was fine, but there wasn't a single piece on the runway that stood out or made me say WOW. Some of her fans have stated that "if 'sparkle' was required in order to win, that should be a stipulation from the judges before the designers make their collections," and I see the point of that, but at the same time you have to understand that NYFW is a SHOW, and everything you make needs to stand out under flashing lights. Laurence just didn't get that.
As she got into her white "finding the light" moments, any detail that might have been there got lost in the whiteness of the white. It has been said many times on Project Runway that an all black or all white collection is a bad idea because detail gets lost, and I don't know how long it's going to take for designers to take note.
Is it a swimsuit? Is it lingerie? Is it supposed to resemble a mermaid? Why is there an ARROW POINTING TO HER WHO-HA??
Especially given Laurence's clear ability to display a classy, elevated taste level, this look was unprecedented and disturbing coming from her.
Rik's collection surprised me the most in the best way possible. Going into the final four, I didn't really think he belonged with the other designers, but he absolutely proved me wrong. His collection was quirky, cool, stylish, and unlike anything we've seen over the years.
I was thrilled that he took the judges' advice to have his models show a little more skin and let them breathe. His collection already had enough going on, and the results were fantastic.
I was so nervous for Roberi after the preview, but he TURNED IT OUT. There were very few looks that I had any complaints about, and he created a unique, creative, lovely collection.
You all know that I have been on Team Erin since episode one, and after the judges preview I thought she would turn her collection into something brilliant, but on the whole I just wasn't digging it. She made so many better things throughout the season, and while some of her pieces were good and you could argue she's more of a "visionary," her collection definitely wasn't better than Roberi's.
Erin's first look, which should ideally be one of your strongest, was incredibly weak. Pairing an orange top with a tomato red skirt just looks like a mistake - like she was trying to match, but it was too dark in her workroom. Normally I love her applique details, but the plexiglass on the skirt just isn't impressive. The top could have been fine with a different bottom, but this outfit as a whole just doesn't work.
So who do you choose as a winner? Erin, the season favorite who can create masterful pieces but had a hit-and-miss collection, or Roberi, the underdog of the season who brought forth brilliance in his final show?
Obviously we have no way of knowing what led to the judges' final decision, but it must have come down to this:
If you're judging based the NYFW collection alone, Roberi should have won. He had more interesting pieces and more successful looks overall. If you're judging based on on the body of work throughout the season, Erin had it in the bag, hands down.
However the judges came to their choice, they chose Erin. I've been saying I thought she should win from episode one, and I wish I could be a little more excited about it - Roberi put up quite a strong fight.
But I am happy for Erin, truly. She has an aesthetic the world has never seen, and I'm excited to see what she has in store!